Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of sprawling urban living in Palo Alto I discovered what could be perhaps a perfect solution and alternative to the proposed city wide ban on vehicle habitation on the streets of Palo Alto.
What I discovered, was Foothills Park. And it just might work out to be the next future location and home where people may park their vehicles overnight in a controlled green environment.
So I embarked on a field trip to scout out the surrounding areas and what I found was ‘Tranquilly Base Here, habitation vehicles have landed or parked’. A place beautiful, serene and inviting.
Thus far, nothing has been published or debated in the press or any other place for that matter on any alternative or solutions. Creative thinking is the mother of invention so they say.
I stopped to interview one long time resident Peter Dvorak
to get his thoughts on the newly purposed ordinance to ban vehicles from the city streets of Palo Alto and whether or not Foothills Park could be used as one solution.
He thought it would be a great solution given the setting but he also added, it would need to be managed and controlled by “someone” a camp host.
Nothing new, our National Parks System utilizes retired persons as “camp hosts” to care and greet incoming campers. Or in this case, alternative vehicle habitation visitors.
One other possible site location Peter suggested was the south end parking lot which also includes bathroom facilities.
I attempted to interview the park supervisor but he declined all comments and opinions for this story and deferred my questions to Daren Anderson, Palo Alto Open Space Parks Division Manager at 650.496.6950. As of this writing there’s been no response.
I support the Health and Safety of community and the need and right of un-housed to live in vehicles. Un-housed are mix of financially unfortunate and those with personal and substance abuse problems. Many of the un-housed are vets from Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Vets from Vietnam averaged ten years before becoming un-housed, Now with Afghanistan it is one year to become un-housed. There are more young un-housed and even children.
I have lived in Palo Alto since 1957. I was un-housed using public streets, parking lots, and church lots to sleep in my vehicle for 13 years. With out the freedom to live in public domain when I had no other place to go with out being harassed and criminalized being arrested for sleeping in only shelter I had. This use of public areas allowed me to life, liberty, protect my property, and pursue happiness.
I was responsible and considerate of community and created work for myself and other un-housed which gave them income and served needs in community. I housed other un-housed in my vehicles that worked with me. I supported my god daughter to improve her life. I could not have done these things with out the freedom to use the public domain.
Un-housed are members of community and living in fear for being criminalized for living. There is many organizations that help un-housed to integrate them into community. Those that break laws threatening community health and safety can be reported and will be sited or arrested. Police will respond to complaints and direct un-housed to appropriate places to park. There are laws to protect community and I do not feel a new law restricting use of public domain are not needed or desirable.
For nearly 100 years now, the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park has been submerged under 300 feet of water. However, Restore Hetch Hetchy, a non-profit organization created by the Sierra Club in 1999, has set their sights on restoring the valley to its original condition.
In 1913, after a long debate in congress, the Raker Act was signed, authorizing the creation of the O’Shaughnessy Dam and the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, for the purposes of providing water to the city of San Francisco. The dam, which blocks the flow of the Tuolumne River, was completed 10 years later.
Today, Hetch Hetchy is the largest of 9 reservoirs that store water for San Francisco. But, were the Hetch Hetchy Valley to be restored, San Francisco could continue to maintain its current supply of water by storing the water from the Tuolumne River further downstream.
While San Franciscans may be concerned that restoring the valley and draining the reservoir is a daunting and risky task, the benefits of completing such a project are vast. First, Yosemite National Park could be returned to its natural splendor in its entirety, generating large increases in revenue as a result. Next, recent studies suggest that the project could be completed without any significant decrease in San Francisco’s water supply, and would even provide cleaner water to the city, as the production of a new filtration system would be necessary. Lastly, restoring the meadows and trees that once flourished in the Hetch Hetchy Valley could help kick off trend of habitat restoration that will be essential for the prevention of global warming.
Current predictions estimate temperature increases of 3-9 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 100 years. In addition, sea levels are expected to rise 1-2 feet over the same time frame. With little progress made on the reduction of fossil fuel emissions, habitat restoration is a viable and practical solution for slowing global warming. Habitat destruction, like the flooding of the Hetch Hetchy Valley, is the cause of a quarter of global warming due to human activity, twice as much as effects from transportation and industry. In addition, a restored valley would not only eliminate the current methane emissions of the reservoir, but also act as a carbon sink for over 6,000 metric tons of carbon a year, enough to offset 5 months of emissions from the Caltrain system.
Last month, Turlock and Modesto Counties, which receive their water from the Don Pedro Reservoir further down the Tuolumne River, applied to renew the license of the Don Pedro Dam, due to expire in 2016. Restore Hetch Hetchy argues that because San Francisco trades water with Turlock and Modesto by releasing water from Hetch Hetchy downstream, in exchange for water in drought years, the two reservoirs function as part of a system. If the Federal Environmental Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is set to decide whether or not Don Pedro will be relicensed, determines that the two reservoirs are linked, an assessment of the environmental impacts of the dams must be completed under the National Environmental Policy Act. This analysis in turn could expedite the process of approving the restoration of the Hetch Hetchy Valley.
Ultimately, restoring the Hetch Hetchy Valley would have an ecological impact that would be felt for many years, providing more beauty for the visitors to Yosemite National Park while helping combat global warming. Restore Hetch Hetchy is hopeful that approval for the restoration of the valley can be achieved by 2012, and resources could be allocated for the restoration by 2014, the 100th anniversary of John Muir’s death.
Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks in evaluating employee’s performance is during the evaluation conference. The citizens of Palo Alto on July 20th, 2011 at 6:00 pm will be give the rare opportunity to provide input on Mr. Keene’s overall performance and areas where the community feel he should improve upon.
I met with Mr. Keene earlier this year on a city policy in which he has FULL ownership and control over. That policy is the city’s policy over anti-discrimination. POLICY AGAINST ARBITRARY DISCRIMINATION
“The city manager shall take all appropriate actions to assure that the statements of policy set forth in Section 9.73.010 are implemented to the fullest extent permitted by law with respect to those City activities listed in subsection b) below.”
As a minority business in Palo Alto city attorney Donald Larkin directed all city staff members to “Blacklist” Palo Alto Free Press as a news reporting agency. See related story – http://bit.ly/fwmpQX
Naturally I reviewed the policy and decided to meet directly with the person of ownership and oversight. That person was city manager James Keene. I told Mr. Keene that I felt the city of Palo Alto was in clear violation of its anti-discrimination business laws and I was hoping he would correct the apparent monopoly of my competitors The Weekly, PaloAltoonline.com, the Daily Post and the PaloAltoPatch.com.
What I was hoping for at the conclusion of our meeting was fair media access which had been denied by PAPD Lt. Sandra Brown and city attorney Donald Larkin. Does that seem fair?
Well after weeks of silence I decided to follow-up with Mr. Keene and much to my amazement his secretary called me back and told me the matter had been referred back to the city attorney’s office, in other words, the enforcer of discrimination and bigotry city attorney Donald Larkin.
BTW all my compositors have remained silent as well and these guy’s believe in fair competition and Freedom of the Press. I don’t think so. You can be sure I will be at his performance review.
What’s better than free recycling? Free recycling and the opportunity to win great prizes the more you do it! From now through August 31, 2011 Green Citizen (http://www.greencitizen.com) invites California residents to drop off their unwanted or obsolete electronics for responsible recycling at no cost at its four San Francisco Bay Area eco-centers. For every five qualifying items recycled and/or GreenCitizen repair or data security service used, consumers are entered to win a new iPad 2.
“With this program, GreenCitizen hopes to turn what might be considered a chore into a fun and potentially rewarding activity. It’s something people should be doing anyway, this just gives them even more incentive,” says James Kao, Founder and CEO. “Repair, which is even better for the planet, qualifies too. Every month, we hope to offer a hot, new electronic item as a prize.”
GreenCitizen (http://www.greencitizen.com) is a socially and environmentally responsible company dedicated to helping consumers and businesses reduce their environmental footprint through proper disposal management of their unwanted or obsolete electronics. GreenCitizen achieves this through repair services (including computer and iPhone repair) that keep items out of the waste stream, closed loop reuse and donation, and convenient drop-off and responsible recycling for end-of-life electronics that is fully accountable all the way through de-manufacturing.
Qualifying items for recycling rewards are desktop and laptop computers, televisions, monitors and servers. Consumers will also receive credits for any repair or upgrade service including iPhone repair, computer or laptop repair, in-store PC virus and spyware removal, data migration and hardware or software installation as well as security services such as hard disk destruction, media destruction, copier destruction and cellphone and PDA erasure.
In addition to consumer drop-offs, GreenCitizen offers a full range of business solutions including professional pickup, inventory, data destruction and safe electronics disposal, and an in-building recycling kiosk program offering small-scale electronics recycling for employees, customers or building tenants.
801 Mahler Road, Suite I
Palo Alto, CA
161 Homer Ave
San Francisco, CA
591 Howard Street
Berkeley, CA – NEW
1971 Shattuck Avenue
GreenCitizen is open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM – 6 PM.
Dean Karnazes is internationally known for his amazing athletic abilities. In conjunction with ABC-TV and the Regis and Kelly Show, this world-class extreme athlete just completed the Run Across America to raise awareness for the need to get active, especially for kids.
McRoskey’s Welcome Back Party on Wednesday, July 13 from 5 pm to 7 pm at McRoskey’s Palo Alto Showroom at 220 Hamilton Avenue at Emerson, is your chance to meet Dean and hear his stories about his cross country run.
Dean will be signing his new book at the party: “Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss.”
McRoskey Mattress Company has always been concerned with health and wellness for active people. Ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes sleeps on a McRoskey and agrees that a good night’s rest is essential to his performance and recovery and a major building block of an active lifestyle. In fact Dean made sure he had a McRoskey Mattress in his bus during his Run Across America.
A candid review of Noam Chomsky’s, book – Media Control, Second Edition: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda.
Palo Alto being a liberal college town, fawns all over bloviating cranks with PhD’s like Noam Chomsky.
To provide balance, here’s a review of his much acclaimed pamphlet, (he calls it a treatise). I call it – begging for more money using a skinny book instead of a sign on a freeway ramp.
Here, Chomsky relives his ‘glory days’ here as he rehashes the Vietnam War, exonerates communism and glorifies enemies of the United States.
Here he needs an editor or proof reader to improve the ‘flow’ and better integrate the snippets of transcribed lectures that he has jammed together in this rehash book of his ‘glorious youthful protests’.
He tries to make the case that America is responsible for all the worlds evil. Chomsky would have you believe that only America corrupts, coopts and diabolically invades the minds of everyone, everywhere thru its greedy and naive media.
When Chomsky was a young protester, graduate student and professor it was ‘cool’ to go on ‘strike’ and shut down your university, skip your own classes (as if that was such a big sacrifice), rage and parade around campus with self righteous indignation, while your parents worked and paid for your tuition. room and board and hundreds of thousands of your contemporaries were swept off by the draft to fight. Chomsky has survivor guilt.
What Chomsky really hates is himself and he projects this hatred and connivance on to everyone and everything that is bigger, better, more effective, honorable and worthwhile than he is, sitting there in his Ivory Tower at MIT so much smarter than everyone else.
Like most academics, he’s made a reputation by looking at things in a way that no one else will, backwards and twisted. In fact, the only way to distinguish oneself on a college campus is to adopt a contrarian outlook that embraces some new degeneracy and deviance and that has been Chomsky’s career. Hence, Chomsky’s focus in this book is on Vietnam because that was the nexus of political power, greed and industry of his generation, which he was too cowardly to fight. As it turns out, neither side was innocent.
After the U.S. left Vietnam, over a million people were executed and more were imprisoned, tortured and ruined as the communists ‘liberated’ the country. Then Vietnam created the concept of ‘boat people,’ as over a million south Vietnamese tried desperately to flee their homeland to escape the true atrocities of communism. Yeah, America is not perfect, but try demanding your ‘human rights’ in any of the world’s communist countries or tyrannies and see how that works out.
The book is a sloppy, one sided example of propaganda’s’ effectiveness. It would of been better to see how North Vietnam and Communist China were also propagandizing the world at the same time and to much greater effect – that would of been a good lesson on the vulnerability of all of us to the power hungry sneaks, liars, egoists, sadists and deviants we call – leaders of the world.
Just as Hearst fomented lies to the American people in order to garner support for a war with Spain and as journalists essentially published articles written by government staff in support of the war with Iraq, so too does the Palo Alto Weekly foment baseless arguments fanning the flames of hate and prejudices in order to seek an Unconstitutional ordinance taking away the right of some citizens to freely enjoy the public roads as all other citizens do.
Mr. Thorwaldson claims that he is not advocating driving specific residents out of Palo Alto, yet what Mr. Thorwaldson is asking the City to do, would do just that. A person, whether by choice or other circumstance, (lost job due to the economy), finds him or herself without a cabin that has a foundation, yet he or she has a vehicle to sleep in. Should he or she sleep on the sidewalk, or should he or she sleep in his or her vehicle?
The person has a vehicle. It is 50 degrees in January and it is raining. The person has a choice, he or she can sleep in his or her vehicle or sleep outside exposed to the elements. Mr. Thorwaldson and those who support his position want to pass an ordinance that would force people to sleep out in the elements rather in their vehicles. Mr. Thorwaldson’s ordinance would force people out into the cold and rain or risk having the authorities seize their vehicles and property should they seek refuge inside their vehicles.
The result of Mr. Thorwaldson’s ordinance would result in the Unconstitutional seizure of citizens’ vehicles simply because they lack the financial resources to avoid doing so. Mr. Thorwaldson wants to outlaw citizens because they are poor.
Mr. Thorwaldson claims that the rational for outlawing the existence some residents is that it is a quality of life issue. Others also argue that it is a health and safety issue. That is an interesting position, for the only difference in many of the vehicles that Mr. Thorwaldson and those like him are referring to and Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin is that the vehicles, (cabins), that Mr. Thorwaldson wants to outlaw have wheels whereas Lincoln’s cabin did not. In fact, many of the vehicles that Mr. Thorwaldson refers to have many more amenities than Lincoln’s log cabin.
Is sleeping on the ground out in the rain a better quality of life than sleeping warm and dry in one’s mobile cabin? Mr. Thorwaldson is correct in that the issue is about quality of life, the ordinance that Mr. Thorwaldson would like to see enacted would lower the quality of life and actually have a greater likely hood of causing health problems by forcing residents out of their abodes and into the elements.
Quality of life isn’t just about material possessions, quality of life also has to do with a person’s character and integrity and whether or not that person’s character possesses compassion and understanding coupled with wisdom and logic. Anyone who would rather force fellow human beings out into the elements rather than allow them to take refuge in their own abode has diminished their own quality of life.
Anyone who would rather force fellow human beings out of their own abode into abodes paid for with money out of your wallet, (socialism), lacks economic wisdom and logic. Why spend money on housing people in abodes when it is unnecessary to do so.
In actuality, Mr. Thorwaldson’s proposed ordinance would force citizens to pay for the housing of other citizens through the criminal justice industry, (jail), or the poverty industry, (shelter), simply because he doesn’t want to look at the citizens that his proposed ordinance would effect.
Mr. Thorwaldson’s ordinance has everything to do with physical appearance and very little to do with content of character, yet if Mr. Thorwaldson’s ordinance targeted people because of the color of their skin, black, or people’s religious nationality, Jewish, I have to believe that Mr. Thorwaldson would be summarily rebuked by the community.
Any person who gives money to help economically challenged people in other nations, “Whole Foods’ Feed 100 Program” yet turns around and oppresses economically challenged people in their own community contradicts the integrity of their value to be compassionate to their fellow human being.
If Lincoln were alive today and Mr. Thorwaldson and those like him were to have their way, they would outlaw the existence of one of America’s greatest Presidents. Yet perhaps Mr. Thorwaldson and those who view life from the same perspective would want to outlaw the 16th President of the United States of America just as the Southern Confederacy would have done, for Mr. Thorwaldson’s ordinance isn’t about judging people’s character but it is about judging and penalizing people based upon their physical appearance.
When Mr. Thorwaldson brings up the fact that the City has been looking at the issue of people sleeping in their vehicles as far back as two decades, Mr. Thorwaldson essentially acknowledges that the issue is not a problem, for if it truly were a problem about health and safety the City would have taken action a long time ago. There are already laws against disturbing the peace and littering and those laws are enforced upon all citizens whether they happen to be sleeping in a small metal box or a large wooden one.
In the end it is quite clear that the City cannot pass an ordinance against sitting in one’s vehicle on a public street, because then all citizens would be in violation of the ordinance.
The City cannot pass an ordinance about what kinds of belongings people can place in their vehicles, for again, all citizens would be in violation of the ordinance for there is nothing inside the vehicles of those who sleep in them that is not common to what all citizens bring home from various stores and while going camping or skiing or vacationing themselves.
At the core of any ordinance that the City would enact would be whether or not a person closed his or her eyes. A citizen can sit in his/her car at 3:00 in morning or 3:00 in the afternoon, but as soon as that citizen closes his or her eyes, that citizen would be in violation of any proposed “vehicle-sleeping” ordinance. Since it is not unlawful to park one’s vehicle on the public street and sit in one’s vehicle on a public street, the ordinance would actually prohibit sleeping.
Mr. Thorwaldson claims that he doesn’t intend to drive economically challenged residents out of Palo Alto, yet it is quite clear what his proposed ordinance would accomplish should it ever be enacted, it would deny people sleep and then take away their vehicles and property for attempting to do so simply because they sleep in a mobile dwelling as apposed to a dwelling that has a fixed foundation.
Just as Prop 8 denied equal protection of the law to a small minority of California Citizens according to Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown, any municipality that would pass an ordinance that would deny people sleep under the threat of having their property seized for doing so is a violation of their right to equal protection of the law and blatantly contrary to the rights secured to all citizens by the United States and California Constitutions.
On its face Mr. Thorwaldson’s ordinance would deny American Citizens freedom. Mr. Thorwaldson wants to deny some American Citizens the freedom to exist in society simply because they do not possess the financial resources and material possessions that would be required to avoid violating Mr. Thorwaldson’s ordinance.
“Law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when itviolates the right of an individual.”
Fortunately the majority of Americans do not believe as Mr. Thorwaldson does. Unfortunately, a small minority of Americans enacts the laws, which affect all Americans.
“Injustice fights with two weapons, force and fraud.. A common form of injustice is chicanery, that is, an over-subtle, in fact a fraudulent construction of the law.”
Cicero – On Moral Duties
If it were not for their parents, or some kind of support system, 20,000,000 adults between that ages of 18 to 34 would be living in their cars due to the current economic recession.
Palo Alto needs to separate, prioritize issues to protect neighborhoods from intrusions, old vans and clutter, or worse
August 10, 2010
To the Honorable City Council of Palo Alto, City Manager Jim Keene and City Attorney Gary Baum,
My vehicle, license plate “1lmr274,“ has been tagged with another tow warning. I do not have a problem with the placing of the 72 hour notice for violating Municipal Code 10.36.30, however the warning also states that I am violating California Vehicle Codes 22523(a) and 22523(b) which means that my vehicle is subject to immediate tow without any further warning. As I have previously informed you, my vehicle is not abandoned.
Since my vehicle is not abandoned, your seizure of my vehicle would be a violation of the law and Constitution. Please inform the Police Department to not cite me for violating California Vehicle Codes 22523(a) and 22523(b). Officer “03840” informed me that my vehicle was reported as being abandoned. Whoever made the report with the police department made a false report.
I will be in the Police Department tomorrow or the next day seeking a copy of the report in order to find out who made the false police report.
Should the police department cite me in the future for violating California Vehicle Codes 22523(a) and 22523(b) I will consider it not just an Unconstitutional threat to seize my vehicle, but the actual seizure of my vehicle since I would not be able to leave my vehicle unattended for five minutes without the possibility of the police department seizing it and as such I would essentially be confined to to my vehicle indefinitely in order to ensure that the police department would not impound my vehicle.
Response to alleged phone call to PA police by editor Jay Thorwaldson Editor Palo Alto Weekly
August 10, 2010
Hi all —
FYI, I did not call in any parked vehicle. I don’t even know where it was parked. I don’t mind the (somewhat immature) name calling, but for someone who professes to value the truth it would be nice if more of it were showing in the posts, not surmises/beliefs/speculations.
Palo Alto Weekly
August 11, 2010 (Aram James)
I think you can skip Judge Judy– the court of pubic opinion already has Jay’s number. Remember his unsupported attacks on those in the community who opposed Tasers? As my dad often said about folks like Jay …”some people prefer not to be disturbed by the facts.” Jay suffers from a serious case of this syndrome.
Does Your Computer have a Social Media Transmitted Disease? – The Danger of Third Party Apps and Free IPads.
Have you ever receive an email from a Nigerian Prince asking for your help with a complex 10 million dollar inheritance transaction?
Have you ever clicked on a link to Southwest Airlines on your computer and been taken to a page asking if you would like to use your Facebook account to login to their site?
Or how about receiving a post on your Facebook wall announcing how your best bud from high school just received a free IPad and so can you?
If you haven’t received such wonderful communications from the noble Nigerian, my favorite airline or your high school class clown it’s just a matter of time until you join the club.
What’s going on with all this stuff? In the case of the “Noble Nigerian” he’s just trying to sucker you into a scam where he gets your financial info to suck you financially bone dry in one of the most stupid scams in the world. If you fall for this, you probably don’t deserve to hold on to your finances or you have one foot in the door to the Alzheimer clinic.
Recently, the editor of the Palo Alto Free Press asked me to write a guest blog about the Dangers of Third Party Apps built for sites like Twitter or Facebook. Third Party Apps are those special programs that allow you to expand the functionality of your social media sites and compliment a program (first party app) written by another business such as Facebook or Twitter. Examples of third party apps that I personally use are Hootsuit for Twitter and the Roost real estate app for Facebook.
Other kinds of third party apps you may have heard of are called plugins or add-ons. Perhaps you have a blog and you want to insert a photo contest in to your blog – there’s a third party app for that. Or, perhaps you want to add an e-commerce page on your website – there’s a third party app for that too.
So what’s the danger of Third Party Apps and clicking on that link to get a free Southwest Airline ticket or free ipad? In the case of many third party apps you are requested to give access to your Facebook, Twitter or other social media account’s confidential and private information including login information.
In some cases you give access to your complete email directory and allow the app provider access to all your contact’s email addresses while waiving your right to protect this information. I personally do not know of an instance where the contacts in my email directory have received an unauthorized email through me, and as far as I know I’ve never posted a message saying I’ve just won a free iPad on my friend’s walls on Facebook.
So here are the two big deals I see: First issue, I’ve heard of third party app developers selling their businesses to another business. Who’s to say the new owner of the app on your computer has the same high standards as the first business that developed the app in the first place? Some people believe this is where their info can be compromised and used against them. Is my confidential info now owned by someone I don’t even know?
Second issue, this involves those free Southwest Airline tickets, the free Ipads, and that question, “Would you like to know who’s looking at your profile on Facebook?” (FYI, the terms of Facebook specifically prohibit third party app companies from accessing who is looking at whose profile).
Most of these too good to be true offers and questions are really just companies trying to get you to answer questionnaires where the company asking the question gets paid for each questionnaire successfully completed. Their goal is to get you to open the post, answer it and have the post delivered to your friends and have them repeat the cycle. For most people silly enough to click on these free offers the only result is having to send an embarrassing message to all your friends letting them know you screwed up.
If you’re not sure about which of those Facebook offers are legitimate or not, check out FaceCrooks.com or “like” Facecrooks on Face Book. Facecrooks is a site that tracks which of those posts are legit or a bunch of B.S. Anyway, I gotta run, I just got an email from Nigeria requesting I fly to another city using my free Southwest Airlines ticket and that there’ll be a free IPad waiting for me at the airport check in stand. Life is too good to be true!
Tim Hmelar is the CEO and Founder of Web Lunch Box a social media training and consulting company in Palo Alto, CA. Tim devotes his professional time to helping small businesses grow their business, helps many community organizations achieve their goals, and loves to spend time with his family and with giving, kind people. Feel free to contact Tim at Tim@WebLunchBox.com.