As local and surrounding city community members mingled yesterday to discuss and exchange ideas on the pending Palo Alto vehicle ban which will prevent a small group of non-conventional housed homeless individuals also know as vehicle dweller from sleeping in their vehicles on streets of Palo Alto the tone was relaxed.
The event described as a community dinner in an effort to bring together opposing interests to find equitable solutions to an outright ban.
So what gives?
Missing we’re both the Daily Post and the Palo Alto Weekly who support the vehicle ban in their efforts to rid Palo Alto streets of vagrancy including member of the Palo Alto Human Relations Commission tasked with addressing human rights issues were also notably missing. (note mission statement at bottom of agenda)
From all outward appearances those who gathered from the community were as one prominent vehicle dweller Tony Ciampi put it; “Can’t tell the vehicle dwellers from the resident”.
And as members from the local and surrounding community’s stepped up to the microphone to exchange ideas, it was clearly expressed from both sides, a deep concern about homeless issues not only on a local level, but nationally.
Comments given were spirited yet cordial absent of any animosity. In fact, I was surprised at the relaxed and casual atmosphere.
Far different from any ‘heated exchanges’ at times fill the Palo Alto city council chambers as noted by the one, and the only city council member in attendance Gail Price as she strained her eyes to find others colleagues.
As boxes of pizza lay before my eyes, I thought the event organizers felt there strategy would be to feed those in favor of the ban, making then happy and content perhaps forgetting the real reasons why they were the there. A strategy that seemed to work.
I was surprised to see Palo Alto Police chief help himself to a large piece. The strategy must have worked because he didn’t say a thing concerning the ban and he’s just one person leading the way in pushing for a ban against homeless vehicle dwellers.
The Cubberely Community Center where the community dinner and gathering was held and part of the Green Meadow Neighborhood association is the epic center of the controversy on the homeless and vehicle dwellers and has been designate and labeled as the city of Palo Alto’s de facto homeless shelter by Palo Alto City Manager James Keene.
One speaker who claimed to be the spokesperson for Green Meadow Neighborhood claimed to speak for the residents of Green Meadow and she stated that she and others “DO NOT support a Vehicle Habitation Ordinance”
Defining moment for the homeless vehicle dwellers coming up
All she was concerned about was that her 6 year old child who attends several classes/groups at Cubberely Community Center wants assurance that her child can safely walk from the classrooms to the bathrooms without adult supervision.
‘She stated that she grew up in Palo Alto and believes that their are systemic problems with the cost of housing related to income which results in homelessness’.
Another person in attendance, attorney Robin Yeamans from Los Gatos was asked what brought her here today. She stated she was outraged why such a wealthy city such as Palo Alto would even think of “begrudging” the homeless.
August 5th may in fact be the defining moment in which Palo Alto city council will once again meet and potentially decide on the fate of the vehicle dwellers. But, it just may not be the final conclusion on the matter, “Much more needs to be discussed” concerning the homeless issues in Palo Alto as city councilwomen Gail Price related…