See and Review The City of Palo Alto’s Second Twitter Event Q&A

Thank you and have a wonderful evening. #AskPaloAlto

Mayor @YiawayYeh, @PaloAltoCityMgr Keene, and @PaloAltoCIO thank you all for participating this evening. #AskPaloAlto

We are tentatively scheduled for our next Twitter Q&A on May 2nd. Keep an eye on this handle and City website for more info. #AskPaloAlto

We’re closing in on the hour. We’ve really enjoyed the diversity of questions this evening. #AskPaloAlto

We are enjoying using Twitter right now. #AskPaloAlto

Technology – Does the city plan on live video conferences (Skpe) #AskPaloAlto

City Manager Keene: We are enjoying this & awaiting your questions and always happy to be available to our community. #AskPaloAlto

Technology – Does the city plan on live video conferences (Skpe) #AskPaloAlto

We have just 10 mins left to answer your questions. Tweet away. #AskPaloAlto

Jonathan @PaloAltoCIO: Looking into the future we will explore & innovate with the concept of the “augmented” City. #AskPaloAlto

Today, we just launched an experimental website called StreetViewer: #AskPaloAlto

#AskPaloAlto Cool conversation. What is the next “big thing” for city of Palo Alto technology?

City Manager Keene: Look for Mayor @YiawayYeh at the Oscars next year. #AskPaloAlto #shbp

#AskPaloAlto Cool conversation. What is the next “big thing” for city of Palo Alto technology?

Mayor Yeh: Fun, but I’m no actor. “You need to look more scared than that.” – Director. #AskPaloAlto

Mayor Yeh, what was it like to act in the Super Happy Block Party promo video? #AskPaloAlto

Mayor @YiawayYeh & @PaloAltoCityMgr Keene will be at on Saturday on High St. Will you be there? #AskPaloAlto #shbp

Mayor Yeh, what was it like to act in the Super Happy Block Party promo video? #AskPaloAlto

Mayor @YiawayYeh & @PaloAltoCityMgr Keene are ready for your next questions. #AskPaloAlto

City Manager Keene: More than we would like to have. All appointments are time limited. #AskPaloAlto

How many retired city employees have returned as contract employees? #AskPaloAlto

Caltrain has been our priority. Increased efficiency + better service important. We must work closely w/Caltrain on details. #AskPaloAlto

What are your thoughts on the MTC deal with HSRA to spend $1.4 billion to modernize Caltrain? #AskPaloAlto

Little direct impact. City collects few taxes on services under state law. Some lost through employee’s shopping. #AskPaloAlto

How is the departure of Facebook going to affect city finances?#AskPaloAlto

No. More people are recycling, which is free and has resulted in less City revenue. #AskPaloAlto

Did the city finance committee fail take into consideration smaller trash containers =’s less revenue #AskPaloAlto

What are your thoughts on the MTC deal with HSRA to spend $1.4 billion to modernize Caltrain? #AskPaloAlto

RT @cityofpaloalto: Welcome to our 2nd City of Palo Alto Twitter Q&A. #AskPaloAlto

Does the City of Palo Alto have a stance on Prop 13? #AskPaloAlto

City Manager Keene: Sorry to hear that. Time for me to follow-up & see what is possible. #AskPaloAlto

Keene asked CPAU about new water rate for OWNER-OCCUPIED master-metered MFR’s in November. Dept. & consultant ignore. Why? #AskPaloAlto

We are discussing downtown parking options with all stakeholders. Community input essential to decision in June 2012. #AskPaloAlto

What’s the city’s objection to residential parking permits for the downtown neighborhoods? #AskPaloAlto

Did the city finance committee fail take into consideration smaller trash containers =’s less revenue #AskPaloAlto

Must make decision on lease in 2013. #AskPaloAlto

How important is it to decide this in 2012? #AskPaloAlto

Accommodating school, community, and neighborhood uses. #AskPaloAlto

What are the top 3 options the city and PAUSD are considering for Cubberley? #AskPaloAlto

Formed housing committee last year to review aggressive ABAG projections. #AskPaloAlto

How is the departure of Facebook going to affect city finances? #AskPaloAlto

What steps are we taking to limit growth? #AskPaloAlto

We will grow some, but not like ABAG projections. #AskPaloAlto

64K residents, doubles during the day. #AskPaloAlto

We will first state the question and then the subsequent tweet with be the answer. #AskPaloAlto

This is Jonathan @PaloAltoCIO; I’m delighted to be joined by Mayor @YiawayYeh & @PaloAltoCityMgr Keene. #AskPaloAlto

How many retired city employees have returned as contract employees? #AskPaloAlto

Does the City of Palo Alto have a stance on Prop 13? #AskPaloAlto

#AskPaloAlto: Our Twitter Q&A with Mayor @YiawayYeh & @PaloAltoCityMgr Keene begins in 30 mins:

Keene asked CPAU about new water rate for OWNER-OCCUPIED master-metered MFR’s in November. Dept. & consultant ignore. Why? #AskPaloAlto

Have a question for Mayor Yeh or City Manager Keene? Join our Twitter Q&A tonight at 7pm: #AskPaloAlto

Have a question for Mayor Yeh or City Manager Keene? Join our Twitter Q&A tonight at 7pm: #AskPaloAlto

What’s the city’s objection to residential parking permits for the downtown neighborhoods?#AskPaloAlto

What are the top 3 options the city and PAUSD are considering for Cubberley? How important is it to decide this in 2012? #AskPaloAlto

How big is Palo Alto today? How big should it get? What steps are we taking to limit growth? #AskPaloAlto

Differing standards make tracking poor cops challenging

NEWARK — A series of shoplifting offenses could cost a police officer his certification in Indiana or Pennsylvania, but that wouldn’t keep an Ohio officer off the streets.

Each state has its own laws about what qualifies as a valid reason for revoking a police officer’s certification, which is awarded after the successful completion of training and is a prerequisite for most law enforcement positions.

Under Ohio law, peace officers’ certifications can be revoked if they plead guilty to a felony offense — which can range from drug possession to murder — or to a reduced charge as part of a plea agreement and surrender their certification.

Concerns about troubled officers finding new jobs in law enforcement have become apparent twice in recent weeks in Perry and Licking counties.

A Perry County Sheriff’s Office detective, who shot a man multiple times during a February arrest and had a history of questionable conduct at previous law enforcement positions in Muskingum County, remains a certified police officer. Kirkersville police Chief James Chapman and Sgt. Derek Abner were fired from previous jobs but remain certified amid residents’ concerns regarding a dramatic increase in enforcement. Springboro Police Chief Jeff Kruithoff, who fired Abner for repeated lies, said there is no process to decertify dishonest police officers or statewide standard for hiring.

Fit to serve?

The mayor of Kirkersville, a small Licking County village just north of Interstate 70, said he never knew Abner and Chapman were fired from their previous jobs.

Abner was fired from the Springboro Police Department on June 6, 2011, after being placed on administrative leave May 27, 2011, for violating department policies, making untruthful statements and having integrity problems, according to Abner’s personnel records from Springboro police.

In a letter firing Abner, Kruithoff wrote: “Your actions to date as a probationary police officer has shown time and time again the inability to tell the unvarnished truth when being questioned.”

Kruithoff said Abner’s unwillingness to tell the truth became evident May 15, 2011, when Abner, while off duty, followed a person he suspected was driving drunk in the city of Franklin.

Abner said the SUV almost struck him, but a Franklin police sergeant saw the opposite, according to Franklin police’s letter to Springboro police.

Kirkersville Mayor Terry Ashcraft and Chapman said they thought Abner was dismissed because of budget concerns. Abner said he was an at-will employee dismissed with little explanation.

Chapman, who hired Abner, was fired from the Mount Sterling Police Department in September 2009 after Columbus police received reports that Chapman had attempted suicide with a gun surrounded by family photos, according to a Mount Sterling Police Department internal investigation.

Chapman said he resigned from Mount Sterling Police Department because of stress and unwillingness to comply with then-Chief Michael McCoy’s riskier drug stings. Chapman said he never saw the internal investigation detailing his dismissal and called it highly inaccurate.

On Sept. 5, 2009, McCoy received a call from Columbus police reporting that Chapman had been transported to the Ohio State University Medical Center after a suicide attempt, according to a Mount Sterling police internal investigation.

“The witness called police to report that (Chapman) had tried to shoot himself and taken a bunch of pills. She then informed that she had taken the gun away from him and put it in another room,” according to a Columbus Division of Police preliminary investigation.

Columbus police officers noted “there were several notes that were typed out in the room saying sorry and not to judge him,” according to the preliminary investigation.

Chapman, who was placed on administrative leave Sept. 6, 2009, told McCoy that “he just took some aspirin and that everyone was blowing it out of proportion,” according to an internal investigation.

McCoy fired Chapman on Sept. 16, 2009, according to the internal investigation.

Background questions

Most agencies complete background checks and speak with former employers, but if a local agency isn’t diligent, officers with histories of misconduct or criminal behavior could end up patrolling the streets.

“That is a subject of a lot of concern among police chiefs,” Kruithoff said.

People who aspire to be officers who complete training must find a job within one year to avoid retaking classes, and that leaves some searching for volunteer positions. At a rate of $9 or $10 per hour, the salary for the part-time Kirkersville sergeant and chief respectively, might not attract more qualified candidates.

In many cases, the top cops want to work for the larger agencies, and smaller jurisdictions are left with the rest, Newark Police Chief Steven Sarver said.

To even get on the list of potential candidates for a Newark police officer position, a person must successfully complete a physical fitness test, civil service exam and police officer certification, Sarver said. A doctor’s approval and negative answers to a list of disqualifying offenses also are required.

Once on the list, Newark police will speak with candidate’s neighbors and significant other — not to mention the candidate’s employers for the past 10 years. And that’s all before the criminal background checks, polygraph test, psychological examination and medical health exam, Sarver said.

“We literally turn somebody upside down,” he said.

The same standards are not applied to smaller agencies, said Sarver, speaking from experience as Amelia’s former police chief for 14 months.

Sarver recalls convincing the mayor that polygraph tests, which Sarver received at a discounted rate of $100 for six candidates, were worth the expense. The first candidate tested had been stealing from his employer, Sarver said.

“We would have never found that out had we not had the polygraph test,” Sarver said.

Soon after Sarver left, he learned the next chief had hired the thieving candidate.

His successor said, “I’m hurting for people right now. I’m sure it’s just a one-time thing,” Sarver recalled.

Sarver said poor background checks are not unique to the law enforcement field, but they have a detrimental affect on performance and public perception.

“It’s very unfortunate that we’re not making more of an effort,” Sarver said.

State policies vary

The 15 Ohio officers decertified in 2011 all were convicted of criminal offenses, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office records.

Among the 50 states, certification and training agencies differ on how they handle revocations. In Indiana, an officer convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors would lose his or her certification, said Janice Hardwick, an administrative assistant with the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

In West Virginia, every time a police officer changes jobs, whether to move closer to family or to avoid a firing, his or her certification is deactivated, said Chuck Sadler, law enforcement training coordinator for the West Virginia Division of Criminal Justice Services.

A subcommittee reviews the deactivated certifications to determine if the officer resigned while being investigated, resigned to avoid investigation or was fired, Sadler said.

A fired officer could retain certification based on the circumstances and judgment of the subcommittee, Sadler said.

“If an officer is arrested, we do need to know and track it,” Sadler said. “We’re going to look at what the grounds are.”

In Pennsylvania, the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission can revoke an officer’s certification if he or she fails to maintain CPR certification, qualify with firearms or complete in-service training.

Being convicted of a crime punishable by at least one year of incarceration, whether a felony or more-serious misdemeanor, also could end in a revocation, according to information provided by E. Beverly Young, an administrative officer with the commission.

Under Pennsylvania law, certification would be revoked after notice is provided and a hearing is completed.

In Michigan, an officer can lose his or her certification for being convicted of a felony offense or making a materially false statement on applications, said David Harvey, executive director of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.

The commission hopes to introduce legislation that would allow it to revoke certification for officers who agree to a misdemeanor conviction to avoid a felony one, Harvey said.

“That’s what happens quite frequently, then another agency hires them,” Harvey said.

About five years ago, the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training launched a National Decertification Index to track officers who lost their certifications, executive director Michael Becar said. Thirty states, including Ohio, provide and review data through the index, he said.

The records, available to state standards and training commissions, do not detail the reasons why officers lost their certifications because guidelines for revocation of certification vary among states, Becar said.

Officials can contact the state that revoked the officer’s license for additional information and make their own determinations, Becar said.

The goal is to prevent bad cops from floating from state to state, Harvey said.

“You don’t want to get somebody else’s problem,” Harvey said.

Jessie Balmert can be reached at (740) 328-8548 or

Zanesville Times Recorder

Controversial PAPD officer Dan Ryan rejoins force after a short absence

Police spokesman Dan RyanOfficer Daniel (Dan) Ryan aka “Father” Ryan is no stranger to those who know him. He served as media spokesperson for the PAPD during the final tumultuous days of former Police chief Lynne Johnson who resigned in disgrace for ordering her officers including Dan Ryan to stop and question all African Americans wearing a “Doo Rag” prompted by a string of robberies having occurred in Palo Alto back in 2008.

“When my officers see an African American who has a doo-rag on his head, absolutely the officers will be stopping and trying to find out who that person is,” Johnson had told reporters ……

In one of his most provocative and chilling media statements, Ryan fully supported former police Chief Johnson’s actions in stopping African Americans by suggesting that news media had reported the original story incorrectly.

It’s alleged that former police Chief Lynne Johnson instructed Ryan, to release the following media statement to CBS 5 crime watch:

Police spokesman Dan Ryan defended the chief’s statements Friday, saying they were taken out of context and were truncated to appear in the worst possible light”.

Ryan’s controversial media statement prompted one Palo Alto city council member Pat Burt to see through Ryan’s media spin by questioning his own tone on illegal racial profiling to the press.

“He [Ryan] is still making statements that it’s largely the fault of the listener and the press,” Burt told the Post yesterday. “I requested that … we don’t have the community representative in the department making statements that essentially contradict the city manager and the police chief and contradict the record”.

Ryan is also well known for his supportive role in other officer’s questionable behavior as in the tazing of long time resident Tony Ciampi ruled unconstitutional calling it a ‘training exercise’.  We beleive the community should be aware of Ryan’s return to the streets of Palo Alto and his perceived bias of African American’s and Latino’s.

Reward-Dan Ryan

Oak Tree Planting Ceremory

Welcoming the new tree.

The new Cowper Oak looks great! The landscaping is very attractive and, most important, itʼs tree-friendly – providing permeability and protection from traffic.

And the choice of a deciduous Valley Oak bodes well for many reasons. Best of all, it is a native tree that will one day be majestic, as was our dear departed George.

This is the result of a constructive interaction between neighbors and the city staff as well as others including Canopy, PA historians, woodworking experts, Channing house…. Thanks are due to all who helped!

It didnʼt start out that way – it started in September with a sign on the tree that said “Tree Removal” plus some fine print. Wow. Were we ever dismayed! Ian went and spoke at the next Council meeting.

Then we started talking with neighbors and bugging Dave Dockter and others. Attempts were made to save the tree and care was taken to ascertain that it really did pose a serious risk of falling.

Neighbors were included in discussions about Georgeʼs condition, choice of replacement tree and landscape plans, as well as ways to memorialize George. But if we had not blown a whistle in the first place we might not have had such a good outcome. Speaking of outcomes, I have two hopes:

FIRST, I hope that the care that has been taken over this new tree shows that the city has raised its prioritization of street trees, especially heritage ones, and that it resolves to improve their maintenance.

SECOND, I hope that the group of neighbors who have been participating will expand and remain in touch both in person and by email, ready to go into action over neighborhood issues that may arise in the future.

By the way, this combination of watchful neighbors and responsive officials is key to putting an end to debacles like the stealthy denuding of Calif Ave last year!!!!

I wont be around when this tree gets seriously big, but our newest neighbor, Isabella, will, and hopefully it will be here much longer than George was for all to enjoy.

Census documenting Great Depression to be released

Associated PressBy CRISTIAN SALAZAR and RANDY HERSCHAFT | Associated Press – 4 hrs ago

NEW YORK (AP) — It was a decade when tens of millions of people in the U.S. experienced mass unemployment and social upheaval as the nation clawed its way out of the Great Depression and rumblings of global war were heard from abroad.

Now, intimate details of 132 million people who lived through the 1930s will be disclosed as the U.S. government releases the 1940 census on April 2 to the public for the first time after 72 years of being kept confidential.

Access to the records will be free and open to anyone on the Internet — but they will not be immediately name searchable.

For genealogists and family historians, the 1940 census release is the most important disclosure of ancestral secrets in a decade and could shake the branches of many family trees. Scholars expect the records to help draw a more pointillistic portrait of a transformative decade in American life.

Researchers might be able to follow the movement of refugees from war-torn Europe in the latter half of the 1930s; sketch out in more detail where 100,000 Japanese Americans interned during World War II were living before they were removed; and more fully trace the decades-long migration of blacks from the rural South to cities.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., a Harvard University professor and scholar of black history who has promoted the tracing of family ancestry through popular television shows, said the release of the records will be a “great contribution to American society.”

Gates, whose new PBS series “Finding Your Roots” begins March 25, said the “goldmine” of 1940 records would add important layers of detail to an existing collection of opened census records dating to 1790.

“It’s such a rare gift,” he said of the public’s access to census records, “especially for people who believe that establishing their family trees is important for understanding their relationship to American democracy, the history of our country, and to a larger sense of themselves.”

Margo Anderson, a census historian, said the release of the records could help answer questions about Japanese-Americans interned in camps after the outbreak of WWII.

“What we’ll be able to do now, which we really couldn’t do, is to take a look at what the Japanese-American community looked like on the eve of evacuation,” said Anderson, a professor of history and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

More than 120,000 enumerators surveyed 132 million people for the Sixteenth Decennial Census — 21 million of whom are alive today in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The survey contained 34 questions directed at all households, plus 16 supplemental questions asked of 5 percent of the population. New questions reflected the government’s intent on documenting the turbulent decade, by generating data on homelessness, migration, widespread unemployment, irregular salaries and fertility decline.

Some of the most contentious questions focused on personal income and were deemed so sensitive they were placed at the end of the survey. Less than 300,000 people opted to have their income responses sealed.

In part because of the need to overcome a growing reluctance by the American public to answer questionnaires and fears about some new questions, the bureau launched its biggest outreach and promotional campaign up to that time, according to records obtained at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y.

It opened its first Division of Public Affairs to blanket the country with its message, reaching out to over 10,000 publications and recruiting public officials, clergy and business owners to promote it.

Movie studios were enlisted to encourage their film stars to participate, including Cesar Romero, who later played the Joker in the Batman television series. A photograph of President Franklin D. Roosevelt taking the census also was used for the campaign.

The bureau also hired the managing editor of “Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life” to galvanize support in the black community. However, studies in the 1940s revealed undercounts, including 13 percent of draft-age black men.

In a first for the National Archives and Records Administration, the nation’s recordkeeper plans to post the entire census on the Internet — its biggest digitization effort to date.

That might be unsurprising given that increasingly popular online ancestry services make vast amounts of genealogical data available. But for previous decennial census releases, researchers had to trek to NARA branches to crank through microfilm machines.

Still, finding a name in the 3.8 million digitized images won’t be as easy as a Google search: It could be at least six months after the release before a nationwide name index is created.

In the meantime, researchers will need an address to determine a census enumeration district — a way to carve up the map for surveying — to identify where someone lived and then browse the records.

Some experts said enthusiasm for the release could be dampened by the lack of a name index, especially for novices.

“It may very well frustrate the newcomers,” said Thomas Macentee, an industry analyst helping recruit volunteers for a name indexing effort sponsored in part by the Mormon-run “It’s like showing up on Black Friday. If you really want that TV set, if you really want that census record, you are going to be ready to go and you are going to keep at it no matter what.”

Publicly-traded, which has over 1.7 million customers, is also working to make the census records searchable by indexing almost all fields and providing proprietary tools to mine the data.

Josh Hanna, a senior adviser for the company, said the 1940 census will be the biggest database of its kind. “It’ll be the deepest level of indexing we’ve ever done,” he said. Access to the index and tools will be available for free through the end of 2013.

Other individuals and organizations across the country are also working to ease the use of the records, including the New York Public Library, which is digitizing the full set of New York City’s 1940 telephone books to help people locate addresses.

Genealogy societies and libraries also have been holding packed workshops to educate their members.

In January, about three dozen people gathered in Manhattan for a meeting of the MetroNY Genealogy & Computers Special Interest Group to discuss the census. They included Michelle Novak, who has spent six years searching for information about her paternal grandfather, but has no street address to help locate him.

Novak, 43, said family members recalled him as a heavy drinker who worked long hours for the Pennsylvania Railroad and abandoned his family in the early 1930s.

But the few records she has been able to find include a signature in a railroad pension book. She believes the 1940 census might hold additional answers.

“If I can find one record, anything, it may help,” she said in an email after the meeting. “Even if I find him in jail or deceased, at least I will have an answer.”



Palo Alto-Max Occupancy 70,000-year 2095

Welcome to Palo Alto where the population will never exceed 70,000 residents.

What will the population of Palo Alto be in 2040? 67,480? 100,000?
How many jobs will there be in Palo Alto in 2040 89,370? 118,650?

“Toward the end of the decade, the new population began to strain city services. Palo Alto installed its first parking meters along University, Hamilton and Lytton avenues. Rumors were rampant that incensed shoppers were planning to move their bank accounts to Menlo Park where one could park for free. The issue finally went to a town vote and citizens voted almost 2-1 to keep the meters.

In November 1947, a $300,000 bond issue to improve City Hall, which was located on Ramona Street behind today’s Senior Center, was rejected by the voters. The next year a special campaign was launched to inform people about the future, when the population was expected to double in 10 to 15 years. Said the mayor, a member of the South Palo Alto Civic Club: “It won’t be long before you will be the center of Palo Alto and not the south end of the city.”

Profile of Palo Alto in the 40’s

Based upon the Association of Bay Area Governments, ABAG, the bay area will increase in population by 2.1 million by 2020 going from 7.2 million to 9.3 million as reported in Saturday’s Daily Post. ABAG estimates that 1.1 million jobs will added to the bay area over the next 30 years. Additionally ABAG forecasts that 29,270 jobs will be added to Palo Alto by 2040 increasing from 89,370 to 118,650. In 2010 there were 28,200 housing units in Palo Alto which equates to 3.1 workers per housing unit. ABAG is requesting that Palo Alto add 7,140 housing units to a total of 35,340 units by 2040 which equates to 3.35 workers per housing unit.

Palo Alto City Council Member Gregg Schmidt is quoted in the March 9, 2012 San Mateo Times stating, “The most basic problem is that the state is mandating communities to commit to aggressive housing growth rates now that are based on very speculative long-term assumptions.”

Planners release new roadmap for Bay Area growth

As reported in the Daily Post 3/10/12 Palo Alto Planning Director Curtis Williams and other officials stated that ABAG’s initial request of 12,500 additional housing units was unrealistic that the city does not have the land or infrastructure to accomplish such growth.

Yet, the city has the land and infrastructure to assimilate 29,270 new jobs? An additional 12,500 housing units would increase the total to 40,700 units which equates to 2.9 workers per housing unit.

In 2010 there were 89,370 jobs in Palo Alto yet only 28,200 housing units with an average household size of 2.41 which equates to 67,480 residents. This result means that a minimum of 21,890 people who work in Palo Alto are forced to live in other communities. Why should other communities be burdened with housing Palo Alto’s workers?

Palo Alto’s 2010 population was 64,403 people which means that 21,890 employees of Palo Alto businesses are forced to live in other cities due to a lack of housing in Palo Alto. That is 21,890 people whom the majority are burning fossil fuels to get to work every day and parking on residential streets to avoid parking violations upsetting home owners.

The limited amount of housing available to all workers forces the cost of housing up putting more of workers’ hard earned income into the hands of landlords and the state. Those workers at the bottom of the earning scale are not able to afford much of anything and have absolutely nothing to show for their hard work at the end of the year. The numbers play this out.

Numerous workers at Palo Alto’s retail outlets live in other cities handing over 60, 70 and 80 percent of their incomes just to have a roof over their heads. And this goes on year after year after year. I imagine that most of them would prefer to live closer to work in affordable housing. I imagine that the employees at Peete’s Coffee and Whole Foods and the reporters at the Daily Post would like to be able to live in Palo Alto as apposed to having to have to commute from some other city forced to park on residential streets.

The root cause as to why there are homeless people living in Palo Alto and the bay area is a result of a lack of total housing units available in each city to the number of workers in each city. This limited amount of housing causes higher rents and mortgages and taxes which results in a number of people moving into their vehicles to survive.

Palo Alto wants to punish people for trying to survive by getting into their vehicles because Palo Alto and the surrounding cities refuse to provide housing to the workers that serve them.

If Palo Alto wants to truly solve the homeless problem and people living in their cars then Palo Alto would address the problem, which is a lack of housing, a lack of living wage housing.

If Palo Alto added enough housing units to house every Palo Alto employee and every city in the bay followed suit, homelessness/vehicle dwellers would disappear on its own without having to take any other actions.

The population of California increased from 10,586,223 in 1950 to 33,871,648 in 2000 and to 37,253,956 in 2010. That totals an increase of 26,667,733 over the last 60 years and 3,382,308 over the last 10 years, not counting undocumented immigrants which would push the number higher. Based upon these rates it is reasonable to conclude that the population of Calif. will increase 10 to 13 million over the next 30 years.

The figures above clearly demonstrate that Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Williams are simply in denial over the facts of growth not wanting to upset land owners’ property values. It is this selfishness which results in ill-planned communities and societies to the detriment of the majority of workers and citizens.

Case in point, the Developers of that Lytton Gateway project put forth a 5 story building with 14 apartments that included 7 for low income tenants. On Monday 3/12/2012 the City Council of Palo Alto rejected that Plan and demanded that the housing be removed. The Lytton Gatway project is at a busing downtown corner where there are numerous buildings over 5 stories. One of which happens to be Casa Olga which is three blocks away. Casa Olga once housed a very diverse population of low income, elderly and disabled people and now will be turned into an upscale, for wealthy people, hotel.

The Lytton Gateway project and Casa Olga are choices to not to provide housing for blue collar workers, but to provide high end office space and luxury living to wealthy transients.

Mr. Williams’ and other officials’ assertion that they are not capable of providing housing for all of the workers in Palo Alto is not true. If we are creative enough and ingenious enough to send men to the moon, surely we’re capable of providing housing to everyone who works in a specific local.

The fundamental problem with a lack of housing is the type of excessively expensive housing, both homes and apartments, being built. There-in lies the problem. Communities do not want to build eco-friendly; high-density housing because the current residents are more concerned about their own property values then about the 2 million new people who need places to live.

Contrary to Mr. Williams’ and the city’s position, it’s not that he and the city are not capable of providing the housing and infrastructure, Mr. Williams and the city simply choose not to provide the housing. Had the people of Palo Alto in 1940 used Mr. Williams’ and the city’s 2012 illogical rational there could very well be only 20,000 residents in Palo Alto for there isn’t enough land or infrastructure for the additional 40,000 residents that exist today.

“In the 1930s, Palo Alto was just a sleepy little burg with fewer than 14,000 residents. By the end of 1939 that had grown to only 16,774.
Palo Alto was not a center of high finance. Rather, it was a pastoral area, with orchards to the south and farms to the east in the neighboring communities of Ravenswood and Runnymede. If you couldn’t afford to buy one of the homes (which cost about $4000), you could always rent a seven-room house near schools for about $70 a month.”

Profile of Palo Alto in the 30’s

If the people of Palo Alto want to provide housing for all of its employees, then Palo Alto would find a way to build the housing for there is plenty of land and infrastructure to accommodate every worker in Palo Alto. The same goes for every city in the bay area.

As reported in the March 15, 2012 Daily Post-pg. 38, Councilman Schmid is quoted as stating that the each of the 14 units of housing axed from the Lytton Gateway project would cost $ 625,000.00 each. This just demonstrates the lack of creativity on the part of city planners and a choice to only build expensive housing for the wealthy when they could choose to build inexpensive housing for the people who work at Peet’s Coffee, Whole Foods and the Daily Post. Based upon two eco-freindly building methods, the 14 units could cost anywhere from $ 20,000.00 to $50,000.00 per unit which brings the total cost down to $280,000.00 to $700,000.00 for the 14 units as apposed to $8,750,000 that was proposed. Or better yet, that 8.75 million could build 175 to 437 living units in Palo Alto for full-time employed adults.

Tumbleweed-Tiny House Company

Sustainable Domes  

Next Big Future

Just about any male and most females over the age of 16 have the ability to build a safe and sanitary permanent living structure with-in a few months. As such an adult’s permanent single abode should never cost more than one years work or 2,000 hours, anything beyond that is exploitation. Anything beyond that, is not free-market capitalism, but a form of land owner socialism.

If Palo Alto can get away with using the excuse of not to provide housing, “we don’t have enough land or infrastructure” then all of the other cities in the bay area can get away with using the same excuse and absolutely no housing will be built for the 2 million new people.

Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Williams, “if you and the other bay area cities are not going to build housing for the 2.1 million new people, where do you expect them to live if you’re not going to allow them to live in their vehicles, detention camps, prison?

What is interesting is that most of you who are dictating to others how and where they can live are in your late fifties or older won’t be around in 2040 to see your work for you will be dead due to old age

The true cause of vehicle dwellers is a lack of housing, all housing. And instead of addressing the cause of homelessness and vehicle dwellers by applying the one solution that would work , the City of Palo Alto, society, criminalizes the result of a lack of housing.


One Bay Area

Rural San Mateo County activists — and others around Bay Area — oppose development plans

Planners release new roadmap for Bay Area growth

U.S. Population by State, 1790 to 2010

Profile of Palo Alto in the 30s

Ex-Modesto officer suspected of sex crimes while on duty

Alleged victim tells her side of the story

By Brian Clark

A former Modesto police officer was arrested Thursday after detectives say he “committed criminal sexual violations against an adult female” while on duty in early January.

Lee Freddie Gaines II was arrested at his Modesto home and, after a brief court appearance, was booked at the Stanislaus County Jail, according to police Lt. Rick Armendariz. Gaines had worked for the department for five years before he was “separated from employment” with the department Feb. 10.

The arrest was made after the Stanislaus County district attorney’s office obtained an indictment from a criminal grand jury.

Gaines faces felony charges of oral copulation by force, violence, duress or fear of bodily injury; being armed with a firearm in the commission of a sexual offense, and a felony sex offense enhancement.

“I apologize to every citizen of Modesto,” Police Chief Mike Harden said. “There are no excuses for the conduct of this officer. The message is clear that no one is above the law.”

The woman first described the incident in a phone conversation several weeks ago with The Bee. Her name is not being published because of the nature of the alleged crime.

“Today was a good day,” she said late Thursday night before referring all questions about the case to her Fresno-based attorney.

The 37-year-old woman said she works as a massage therapist out of a local motel and advertises her services on a Web site.

She described the incident as follows:

About 10 p.m. on Jan. 5, she received a “call for service.” She said she had been working out of that motel for a couple of years.

About 45 minutes later, there was a knock on the door. When she answered, she said she could tell by his voice that it was the same man who had called her.

She said he identified himself as a Modesto police officer. She said his name was Lee Gaines.

She said he told her to walk outside because he was going to arrest her for solicitation. She said she wasn’t soliciting.

He stepped inside, shut the door and asked her to turn around and put her hands behind her back. She said he then put handcuffs on her, forced her to her knees and demanded oral copulation.

About 20 minutes later, he took the handcuffs off and left. At no time did he use a weapon to threaten her, she said.

She said that after the incident, she called a friend and stayed with that person for the night.

She said on or about Jan. 7, she got in touch with a parole officer who knew a friend of hers who was staying at the motel. The woman told the parole officer what happened. The officer put her in touch with someone at the Modesto Police Department.

In talking to The Bee, the woman said: “I want people to know what this cop is doing. I want them to know who he is, what his face is like, that he used his badge and his uniform to sexually assault a female. No matter what brought him there, that’s not right. Even if they do prosecute him, the city of Modesto and the females have a right to know. I’m sure I’m not his first victim, but I’ll do everything I can to make sure I’m his last.”

Armendariz confirmed that the alleged incident took place Jan. 5 and that the case began Jan. 8 after someone made the department aware that Gaines may have committed possible criminal misconduct while in the performance of his law enforcement duties.

The case was forwarded to the Internal Affairs Unit, which launched criminal and administrative investigations, Armendariz said.

Gaines was placed on administrative leave and stripped of his law enforcement powers after the allegations came to light, Armendariz said.

“Those who are sworn to enforce the law have a special obligation to obey it,” Harden said. “I’m disappointed and disgusted at this former officer’s conduct.

“His actions were abhorrent and not representative of the dedicated staff who work tirelessly to serve the community.”

Gaines made headlines in January 2010 after the patrol car he was driving at high speed on Scenic Drive spun out of control, collided with an sports utility vehicle and sheared off the back end of the car.

Modesto police concluded Gaines was at fault.

Both he and the driver of the SUV were hospitalized.

Bee Online News Editor Brian Clark can be reached at or  (209) 578-2362.

Why are there Car Dwellers?

The root cause as to why there are car dwellers living in Palo Alto is a result of a lack of total housing units available in each city compared to the number of workers in each city.

This limited amount of housing causes higher rents and mortgages and taxes which results in a percentage of people moving into their vehicles to survive.

Cities now want to punish people for trying to survive this housing shortage thereby actually making the scourge of poverty into a crime.

Palo Alto and some surrounding cities refuse to provide housing to the workers that are recruited from elsewhere, so the cities are actually causing this dilemma.

If Palo Alto wants to truly solve the problem of people living in their cars then Palo Alto would address the real problem, which is a lack of living wage housing.

If Palo Alto added enough housing units to house every Palo Alto employee and every city in the bay followed suit, homelessness/vehicle dwellers would disappear on its own without having to take any other action.


Car dwellers are feared by the housed people because the housed people refuse to view others with an open mind, instead they “imagine” what the root cause of such human activity would be.

Perhaps these car dwellers are all taking drugs or alcohol, so have no money left over for rent? Or perhaps these people are actually running from the law and don’t want to be found by police?

Maybe they are actually “serial killers” and we housed people aren’t safe, better get security cameras and a shotgun! Why, we need to pressure our city council to pass “laws against poverty” then we housed persons can rest assured that our police department will round up these questionable characters and free OUR STREETS from these rift raft.

After all, 99% of all serious crime is perpetrated by “homeowners” included in these crimes are: murder, rape, child molesting, theft, fraud and yes, elderly abuse.

When is the last time you picked up a newspaper and read “homeless woman holds up liquor store”, or “Homeless man arrested for murdering neighbor?”

Never! Why not?; Because homeless people are too busy finding their next meal or a safer place to sleep when the sun sets, we don’t have the same issues as the housed population. So if anyone should be “feared” it should be those housed people who suffer from greediness and hostility!

They sure scare the dickens out of me!

Ray Samuels: A Police Chief and Leader Who Championed Rights For All

First and foremost Ray Samuels was my dear friend—his sudden and unexpected passing has saddened me to the core (Ray died on February 17, 2012.)

I think what stands-out most for me about Ray Samuels are his humble qualities – his decency as a human being, his lust for life and learning and his insatiable curiosity about other human beings.

Ray always had a desire to be a problem solver, and he had no arrogance or pretense. His routine instinct was always to look out for the other guy first.

When Ray retired as the Police Chief of Newark California in August of 2008, we had only known each other for a little more than a year and half, but our friendship already seemed strong and special. When Ray announced his retirement as police chief, he invited me to attend his retirement party at a small restaurant overlooking the water/bay in his hometown, the historic and charming Benicia, California.

As soon as Ray spotted me he seemed slightly surprised that I was attending the event by myself. Ray then took me from table to table introducing me to a mostly law enforcement crowd. At each table he went out of his way to let the folks know that I was a retired public defender—and he seemed proud of this fact. When we finished the introductions Ray quickly decided that I should sit right across from him at the head table. In Ray’s own way he decided it was important to take care of me first, to make me feel comfortable at this mostly law enforcement event. Needless to say, I had a great evening.

Even though Ray Samuels never stepped through the doors of De-Bug/ACJP Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project — he was a friend and inspiration for our organizing efforts, particularly in our campaign/battle to ban Tasers. His words and wise counsel over the years that I knew him extended well beyond our battle against Tasers, and became an overall understanding of how to best work towards ensuring police accountability and a more equitable criminal justice system.

I wasn’t the only one at De-Bug/ACJP touched by Ray’s wisdom and commitment to justice. In a letter to Ray while trying to learn more about use of force issues, Raj Jayadev wrote, “Please know your very honorable stance against Tasers, and the intelligent arguments against their use has helped tremendously as we try to carry the torch here in San Jose.”

Ray Samuels’ words and concept development regarding the risks posed by Tasers were frequently reflected back to the community by the ACJP team in numerous community talks and presentations, press conferences, TV interviews, radio call ins, in addition to articles written jointly and separately by Raj Jayadev and Aram James i.e., Did Court Deal Fatal Blow to Tasers for Police? (New America Media—posted Jan 7, 2010).

Yes, our friend Ray Samuels defied — across the board — the often negative and frequently legitimately held stereotypes maintained by those in the community who must interact with our police in a less than mutually respectful environment.

Ray inspired by his words, his credibility, and his courage to speak the truth as he saw it — even if it ran contrary to the strongly held views and conventions of his colleagues in his profession (policing). Ray embodied and nurtured a wider angle view of policing and police practices then not just most police officers — but of the majority of institutional participants in the criminal justice system. His wisdom and articulation of the issues was not just supported by theory but by decades of practice in the hardscrabble of law enforcement. Ray sought out the facts, not to support his world view but as an investigator seeking to discover the bigger truth. And Ray had the writing skills of an artist and a poet to back up his points.

Case in point, in the beginning of 2007 I contacted –cold called– then chief of the Newark California Police Department, Ray Samuel after reading his comments regarding the controversial weapon Tasers. Here are his words:

“What scared me about the weapon is that you can deploy it absolutely within the manufacturer’s recommendations and there is still the possibility of an unintended reaction. I can’t imagine a worse circumstance than to have a death attributed to a Taser in a situation that didn’t justify lethal force.”

At the time I read Ray’s words in the press I was preparing to speak to the Palo Alto Taser Task Force assembled to make a recommendation to the Palo Alto City Council regarding whether to purchase Tasers for all members of the Palo Alto Police Department. I thought, why not take a chance and try to contact him? Maybe a conversation with Ray Samuels would give me a fuller understanding of the Taser issue.

After my initial phone conversation it became clear that Ray Samuels had a gold mine of information on the Taser controversy at the tip of his tongue. As we talked, it was evident to me that anything he had to say regarding the risks that Tasers posed to the health and safety of the community would be seen as 10 times, if not 100 times, more credible on the subject then anything I — a retired former public defender, whose public perception was one of a radical police critic activist — might offer.

Prior to my presentation to the Taser Task force on March 27, 2007 there had been at least three prior task force meetings, with all of the formal presenters being strongly pro-Taser, and mostly speakers from either the Palo Alto Police department or other local police agencies.

At those meetings I spoke during the oral communications portion of the meeting re Ray Samuels’ view that Tasers were dangerous and constituted too high a risk to justify their introduction into the already weapon heavy arsenal of the PAPD.

On the date of the March 13, 2007 Taser Task Force meeting, then Palo Alto Police Chief Lynne Johnson commented that she had talked to Ray Samuels at a recent statewide police chief’s conference, and that Ray Samuels was now leaning towards introducing Tasers in the city of Newark, California. Having discussed the issue on the phone with Ray on several recent occasions, I was in a state of disbelief regarding Lynne Johnson’s statement. My distinct impression was that Ray would not so quickly have changed his view.

Shortly after the March 13,2007 meeting I contacted Ray Samuels by phone and he assured me he had not changed his position—and the he was not in fact “leaning towards Tasers,” as Police Chief Lynne Johnson had represented.

I asked Ray if he would write a letter outlining his current position on Tasers, so I could present his letter as part of my presentation to the Taser Task Force. Given chief Johnson’s misrepresentation of Ray’s position, I felt it was important that I have a written statement of Ray’s current position to avoid any possible ambiguity.

Ray’s letter, it turns out, was my David against the City’s Goliath.

When I finally had my opportunity to give my presentation to the Taser Task Force, I used Ray’s late arriving letter (the day before the presentation), as the centerpiece of my quickly reorganized presentation.

(See Ray’s letter here:

Once I read the letter to the Taser Task Force, the reaction was one of disbelief and denial –after weeks of pro-Taser propaganda Ray’s fact based letter simply turned the Task Force member’s world view upside down– they were in a state of shock, unwilling and unable to absorb the straight talk outlined in his letter. Rather than ask substantive questions re his positions, they attempted to attack both my and Ray’s credibility. Did I have Ray’s permission to read the letter to the Taser force? Was the letter really prepared for the Taser Task Force? Why wasn’t Ray at the meeting to answer questions about his letter?

In the end, the Taser Task Force voted 7-2 in favor of recommending to the city council that the Palo Alto Police be allowed to purchase Tasers. The two individuals who voted in opposition to Tasers did so in large part — if not exclusively — on the basis of the letter Ray had written. In fact, one member of the Taser Task Force actually drove to Newark to consult personally with Ray.

On May 7, 2007 the city council ultimately voted 5-4 in favor of bringing Tasers to Palo Alto. Ray made himself available to any member of the city council who wanted to discuss his letter and his views on Tasers. The then mayor of Palo Alto called Ray on the day of the vote and had a discussion about Tasers. The mayor was ultimately one of the 4 votes in opposition to Tasers. Ray’s amazing and precise articulation of the dangers of Tasers, outlined in his letter, almost single handedly prevented the introduction of Tasers into the city of Palo Alto.

Reflecting back, at my friendship with Ray, his words may best express why I feel so honored to have had Ray Samuels for a friend and why I will so dearly miss him. Here is what he wrote in an e-mail exchange with Raj Jayadev after I had introduced them to each other in September of 2010.

“With regard to Aram, the two of us have developed a relationship over the last four years that I cherish. We often disagree on issues, but we have the utmost respect for one another and acknowledge that surrounding ourselves with people that agree does nothing toward our goal of being lifelong learners. Nor does it do anything to validate the causes we believe in.”

Ray’s friendship will be with me forever. His advocacy for human rights such as through the opposition to the death penalty and the opposition to Tasers, his call for openness in police misconduct proceedings, and all of his other causes, will continue to be moved forward by others as part of his legacy. He broke barriers with his extraordinary articulation of the issues and his willingness to so freely share his views with others.

Ray Samuels: A Police Chief and Leader Who Championed Rights For All
Silicon Valley De-Bug
March 7, 2012

Social Media Conference Silicon Valley – Oshman Family Jewish Community – May 1, 2012

Social Media Conference Silicon Valley Tuesday, May 1, 2012 from 7:00 AM to 7:30 PM (PT) Palo Alto, CA

Learn from the people and companies who invented social media. You’ll hear from the experts in your own backyard. Learn about social media marketing best-practices and find out what tools and techniques the pros are using to achieve success for their businesses and organizations.

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