City of Palo Alto goes into “Code Blue” mode with life saving actions

LIFEPAK CRPlusToday Palo Alto will be outfitting six of its police cars with defibrillators, which can be used to revive people who have had heart attacks, city’s police and fire chiefs said yesterday.

The remaining 46 of the 52 devices purchased by the city for $92,500 will be placed in community centers, libraries, parks, golf courses, soccer fields, city hall and other facilities in the coming weeks, according to a statement from the city.

Police Chief Dennis Burns and Fire Chief Eric Nickels told the city council that the money was well spent, because the fully automated automatic external defibrillators can detect heart irregularities and deliver a shock without needing to be operated by a highly trained first responder.

Putting the devices in more places, including in police cars, which are often the first to arrive on the scene of an emergency, can increase the likelihood of survival for the person who had an attack, said Ian Hagerman a senior management analyst for the city.

Haggerman said that while there is currently no money to maintain the devices they come with eight-year warranties.

To make sure that the defibrillators are kept in good working condition, at least one person is charged with checking a light on the devices that indicates they are in working order once per month.

Whoever is assigned to check the defibrillators will receive monthly email reminders to do so and will update an online system that stores information about them.

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Palo Alto’s new (NSA) chief communications officer intercepts calls

NSAReporters are finding it’s more difficult to interview Palo Alto city employees now that the city government has a $175,000- a-year-chief communications officer who handles city’s public relations.

Calls placed by Post reporters to city employees, including City Manager James Keene, are now being returned by the new hire, Claudia Keith, who wants to know what questions the newspaper had.

Often she has acted as a go-between between a reporter and a city employee, relaying what the employee has said to the journalist.

“It sounds like she’s trying to justify her position,” said Alan Mittelstaedt, a journalism professor at you USC and former news editor of the LA Weekly.

Mittelstaedt said that as time goes on Keith will learn that her job is “more of an invisible one.”

He said typically a spokeswoman would welcome a call from media and would try to get to the person they are looking for faster.

It takes “a self-confident political official to know that the department head is the best person” to talk to the media. Mittelstaedt said. Keith was hired by the city in April. The city’s website has a job description for chief communication officer.

“This individual be an ambassador for the organization and will need to build relationships with the media,” the website states. It goes on to say that the person will “exercise judgment to prioritize media opportunities, and prepare talking points, speeches, presentations and other supporting materials as needed.”

Efficiency

Oftentimes, reporters’ calls to the city manager’s office, human resources and the city attorney’s office are returned by Keith.

Keith told the Post that she calls to make sure reporters get whatever they need and make the process more efficient. Part of her job is to be open and transparent to facilitate the process of getting information out there.

If it is needed, she said she can provide a statement on behalf of City Manager Jim Keene. If  “you ask me your question,  I can provide a quote from Jim,” she said.

Keith said he is “very busy “and can’t always call back. But she said that if she can answer the question, then she will.

Keith said it is difficult for the city when reporters asked the same question of six different city employees and all of them are trying the answer. “It’s not an efficient use of time,” she said.

Examples

On August, 1, the Post called the Palo Alto Police Department about the proposed car camping ban that was about to go to council. Police said questions regarding possible violations would have to be directed to Keith, the city’s spokeswoman.

Keith, who according to police was designated to answer any questions, told the Post that she hadn’t read the ordnance and would have to get back after some “checking”.

In July, the Post tried to talk with City Manager Jim Keene about a grand jury report that said the city’s rate for public safety retirees with disabilities was the highest in the county with 51%, or 22 out of 43, but numerous phone messages were intercepted by Keith.

The Post tried to ask Keene about the number of public safety employees retiring with disabilities, and asked if the city is OK with the rate or, if not, what are the city’s plans to change it.

Calls to Keene were return by Keith who said she “thinks” the city would want to reduce the numbers of police officers and firefighters injured on the job but didn’t have more information than that.

Greater change of error

Thomas Ulrich,  who teaches journalism at San Jose State University has written for the Christian Science Monitor, TIME Magazine and the Washington Post, said accuracy is the most important goal for a reporter and when a person takes on the role of a gatekeeper, it increases the opportunity for inaccuracies since that person can’t be the authority on all of the city’s issues.

“They, (the city) is trying to control whatever is written about them,” Ulrich said.

He said Keith “must be in place to say we’re going to protect comments that are true, but not thought out.”

The city is now asking that, in many cases, reporters email their questions instead of asking in an interview. Conducting interviews through email with a city official provides a “rational rather than emotional answer, ” Ulrich said, since it allows time for answers to be more thought out rather than spontaneous.

Another view

Palo Alto resident Carla Befera, who has owned her own public relations firm since 1986 and previously worked for KQED as a communication manager, said the job of someone in communication is to make it easier for information get out in a “cohesive and timely” manner.

Part of the job is setting up interviews with officials who are typically hard to get a hold of, Befrea said.

“That’s why I’m here,” she said, to get reporters to the people they want to speak with. Befera said Keith may still be trying to figure out how city officials will work with her to make information available to the public.

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Let Freedom Ring! – A Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Celebration

To the Palo Alto community and beyond, a personal invitation from former Palo Alto Mayor Peter Drekmeier

Dear Friends,

There will be a wonderful celebration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech on Monday, August 26 in Palo Alto.  The event will take place at King Plaza (named after MLK and Coretta Scott King) in front of City Hall at 250 Hamilton Ave.

From 5-7p.m. there will be a showing of “Soundtrack for a Revolution.” The official program will be from 7-9 p.m.

Echoes of ’60s March: Sixties-Style Civic Disobedience Drives New Era of Activism

Palo Alto City Council to declare “de facto” martial law hours on the homeless

De facto homeless lawsPalo Alto’s Cubberley Community Center, which city manager James Keene called a “de facto homeless shelter,” could soon be closed to the public after 10:30 p.m in an attempt stop camping of any sort on campus.

Extra policing of ‘de facto homeless shelter’ costs city $3,000 week

A city council subcommittee proposed the closure last night and said the city should also consider spend $250,000 on new homeless programs.

The recommendation by the policy and services committee follows the Council’s controversial August 5 vote to ban car camping and an announcement last week the city plans to close the public showers at Cubberley by August 31.

Policing the the homeless in Palo Alto
Policing the the homeless costs in Palo Alto to skyrocket

The idea to close the campus at night came as Capt. police Ron Watson told the panel, which consists of councilmembers Larry Klein, Liz kiss, Karen Holman and Gail Price, that the city is spending an additional $3,500 a week to police the area.

The amount of money that could be earmarked for helping the homeless does not include $7,000 that has already been spent by the police department, or the funds that will be likely be spent in the coming weeks on extra policing.

Watson, who spoke on behalf of police at the meeting, said that the department has assigned officers to police the community center between midnight and 6 a.m. each day for the past two weeks and will likely continue to do so for at least two more.

At that rate, the additional police force needed at Cubberely will cost the city $14,000 a month.

As Klein proposed that the dual solution be recommended to the city Council, he said that he believed the homeless deserve help and compassion but shouldn’t have “more rights” than anyone else.

“The homeless have the same rights as other citizens, and we also need to express compassion for the other residents of our  community. But the homeless do not have more rights than the rest of us -none of us has the right to declare or make Cubberley or any other community center into a homeless shelter.”

Klein’s motion was supported by Price and Kniss and opposed by Holman, who wanted even more restrictions and policing Cubberley and other community centers.

It recommends that the city spent $150,000 on the homeless outreach team and $100,000 over two years on a county-run, case-management program to help some of the homeless people find housing.

It also proposed that it be illegal for anyone to be at Cubberley for any other community center between 10:30 p.m and sunrise.

When he addressed the Council, Watson said that at one point during the past two weeks, police had counted 30 homeless sleeping outside at Cubberley and 20 people camping in their cars.

Recent police patrols there however, seem to have diminished the numbers of campers somewhat.

Echoing homeless advocates, Watson said that many people live at the center peacefully, but some present a serious danger.

“A small number of those people are in fact creating some significant problems. It’s almost like the more time we spend down there the more we see of this,” he said.

Watson mentioned that police have arrested a woman with baggies full of methamphetamine, and said “she was probably selling it.”

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Living in Vehicles Ordinance

Palo Alto Councilmen’s questionable motive behind Weekly’s lucrative advertizing contract

Palo Alto Councilman and Attorney Larry Klein
Palo Alto Councilman and Attorney Larry Klein

We reported last month the lucrative city of Palo Alto advertizing contract, valued at $450,000 dollars with the Weekly was expiring on June 30th and up for grabs.

In a previous editorial written by Dave Price of the Daily Post entitled; “bad idea newspapers” Mr. Price bitterly referred  to this contract as “Corporate Welfare” describing and suggesting the city of Palo Alto was fundamentally engaged in “subsiding some news organization” in reference to the Weekly.

Questionable preferential treatment over other Newspapers

The Post also described and questioned  “Honest competition” leading some to suggest that the Weekly may have engaged in illegal activities to win this contract. Mr. Price further relates; “Council decided to pay the Weekly as much as $450,000 over the next three years for legal notices and other advertising. We could understand if the city were to spend a few thousand dollars with the Weekly, but a six-digit figure reeks of a subsidy”.

The city of Palo Alto selected the Weekly because it was the only local newspaper which is adjudicated to run legal advertisements in Palo Alto.

What it boiled down to was neither the Daily Post or the Palo Alto Daily News were adjudicated, pronounced through Judicial decree that they were fit as a newspaper of general circulation under Government Code Section 6000-6008.  They both essentially lacked accreditation to run Legal Advertisements in Palo Alto.

We discovered what we believe perhaps to be the true motives behind the city’s choice and push to have the Weekly’s lucrative contract approved and city councilman Larry Klein’s involvement discovered through a California Public Records Request Act identifying the former law offices of current councilman Larry Klein as, W. James Ware, Blase, Valentine & Klein Petitioning the court  “To Have the Standing of The Palo Alto Weekly as a Newspaper of General Circulation Ascertained and Established”.

Conflict of financial interest

California government code section 87100-87105 makes it abundantly clear that “No public official at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he knows or has reason to know he has a financial interest.”

Furthermore; California government code 87105. (a) A public official who holds an office specified in Section 87200 who has a financial interest in a decision within the meaning of Section 87100 shall, upon identifying a conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest and immediately prior to the consideration of the matter, do all of the following:

(1) Publicly identify the financial interest that gives rise to the conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest in detail sufficient to be understood by the public, except that disclosure of the exact street address of a residence is not required.

(2) Recuse himself or herself from discussing and voting on the matter, or otherwise acting in violation of Section 87100.

(3) Leave the room until after the discussion, vote, and any other disposition of the matter is concluded, unless the matter has been placed on the portion of the agenda reserved for uncontested matters.

(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), a public official described in subdivision (a) may speak on the issue during the time that the general public speaks on the issue. (b) This section does not apply to Members of the Legislature.”

None of the above followed

On April 5th, 2010, a special meeting was called in council chambers to address among other consent calendar items, item 6. “Approval of Agreement with the Palo Alto Weekly for Newspaper Advertizing Services in the Not to Exceed Amount of $150,000 per Year for a Three Year Period, for a Total Value of $450,000”.

That MOTION: passed with Council Member Klein moved, seconded by Vice Mayor Espinosa to approve Agenda Item Nos. 3-9

According to state law, Attorney and Councilman Larry Klein should have recognized his legal involvement and special interests in petitioning the court in behalf of the Weekly and “recuse himself or herself from discussing and voting on the matter and “leave the room until after the discussion” and on the grounds of “a conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest and immediately prior to the consideration of the matter.”

Penalties and Remedies

As with other politicians who have engaged in wrongful or questionable activities Mr. Klein should be fully investigated to determined if he in fact benefited financially or if he engaged in any illegal activities in light of the Bell California lucrative contract scandals.

We further believe, there should be strong penalties and sanctions imposed if in fact councilman Larry Klein benefited from the Weekly’s contract as found in California Government Code Section “7485. (a) Any person who, with the intent to violate, knowingly participates in a violation of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be imprisoned for not more than one year, or fined not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both”.

In fact,  the Charter of the City of Palo Alto under article VII. miscellaneous sites the following Prohibitions:

Sec. 1.     Interest of officers in contracts

“No officer of the city shall be interested in any contract entered into by the city, and the general laws of the state forbidding city officials to be so interested are hereby made a part of this charter.”

Sec. 10.     Coercion by council members – Campaign funds

“No member of the council shall in any manner, directly or indirectly, by suggestion or otherwise, attempt to influence or coerce the city manager in the making of any appointment or removal, or in the purchase of supplies, or attempt to exact any promise relative to any appointment from any candidate for city manager, or discuss, directly or indirectly, with any such candidate, the matter of appointments to any city office or employment.

Any violation of the foregoing provisions of this section shall constitute a misdemeanor and shall work a forfeiture of the office of the offending member of the council, who may be removed there from by the council or by any court of competent jurisdiction. Neither the city manager nor any person in the employ of the city shall take part in securing or shall contribute any money toward the nomination or election of any candidate for a municipal office.”

We further believe in light of the foregoing that the alleged severity of the matter should be fully investigated and if determined improprieties did in fact take place, Mr. Klein should immediately remove himself from the office of city councilman and the Weekly’s past contract invalidated and the money returned to the citizens of Palo Alto.

The Weekly and Larry Klein’s Proclamation Expressing Appreciation to Jay Thorwaldson for Outstanding Public Service

$450,000 Weekly contract reveals “Less than 10 percent of the applicants indicate they discovered the vacancy through these ads.”

InnVision Shelter Network’s proposal for Palo Alto’s Homeless community

Homeless cart of terror for one Palo Alto resident
Homeless cart of terror for one Palo Alto resident

InnVision Shelter Network (IVSN) is proposing a comprehensive plan to both **ameliorate the homeless encampments at Cubberley Community Center, as well as implement modified approaches to engage and ultimately house homeless individuals throughout Palo Alto.

If implemented, outreach case management will target homeless individuals residing at the Cubberley campus in conjunction with a recommended City of Palo Alto night closure of campus facilities and grounds, with the ultimate goal of dramatically reducing the overnight and day-time presence of homeless individuals at the center, a successful outreach to a broader unsheltered population, and significant efforts undertaken to help to secure permanent exits from homelessness for the target population throughout Palo Alto.

This proposal concerns the immediate undertaking (within 15 days of contract award) of engagement and census efforts at Cubberley Community Center in response to the City of Palo Alto’s imminent closure of bathroom facilities on site.

Initially, via the use of peer counselors and small incentives, experienced IVSN Outreach Case Managers will work to obtain an accurate census of all Cubberley unsheltered and vehicularly-housed occupants.  During this engagement process, the target population will also be educated concerning case management, shower, food, and laundry opportunities at the Opportunity Services Center.

The plan further delineated has several components, including the establishment of a city-centric Palo Alto Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), the enhancement of services at the Opportunity Services Center, the implementation of a Beyond the Streets Homeless Connect, and a potential temporary expansion of emergency shelter beds to meet the specific demand.  IVSN has an extensive track record in working collaboratively toward creating permanent exits from homelessness.

BACKGROUND

InnVision Shelter Network (IVSN) is the leading provider of shelter/housing and supportive services across Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula.  IVSN operates over 18 major sites from San Jose to Daly City, providing emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive housing, along with a breadth of supportive resources to help clients secure a place to call home.  The organization serves thousands of homeless clients annually through its “Beyond the Bed” service model – a proven methodology that has historically delivered a 90% success rate in returning program graduates to permanent housing and self sufficiency.

Within Palo Alto, IVSN operates The Opportunity Services Center and various programs and services throughout the Palo Alto community including the Breaking Bread hot meals program, the Food Closet, and Hotel de Zink, the only Emergency Shelter in Palo Alto founded over two decades ago. With the recent 2012 merger of the former Shelter Network and InnVision organizations, there is a significant opportunity to apply best practices and organizational support to the success of existing programs and new initiatives.

METHODS

In the preparation of this concept paper, a team of IVSN outreach staff conducted a preliminary assessment of the Cubberley campus, the current homeless population in residence, and existing IVSN homeless services in Palo Alto.

COMPONENTS OF THE PLAN PALO ALTO HOMELESS OUTREACH TEAM (HOT)

The establishment of a city-centric Palo Alto Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) will serve to engage, case manage, transport, and ultimately secure housing for the most difficult to serve homeless residents (individuals with mental health and substance abuse challenges, individuals who have been residing on the street for extended periods of time and are resistant to services, etc). Comprised of IVSN staff, key public stakeholders and community partners, the team will focus first on individuals at the Cubberley site, and then expand their geographic scope to other homeless residents of Palo Alto.

a) Beginning within 15 days and completing within 30 days of contract award, the HOT team of experienced IVSN Outreach Case Managers will develop a census of Cubberley residents, seeking to discern whether residents are in need of substance abuse recovery services, mental health services, and whether they have family either in the area or in other places in California or throughout the nation.  During this engagement process, the target population will also be educated concerning case management, shower, food, and laundry opportunities at the Opportunity Services Center.

b) IVSN plans to solicit the participation of multiple community stakeholders in Palo Alto HOT.

c) HOT will work to develop an individually tailored Needs and Services Plan for each resident at Cubberley.  This may occur during one-on-one outreach sessions, at the Beyond the Streets Homeless Connect at the Opportunity Services Center, or at outreach events that will be convened at Cubberley for especially resistant and entrenched individuals.

d) Critically, HOT staff will have a vehicle to transport Cubberley residents to the OSC, and shelters in San Jose, including IVSN’s Montgomery Street and Julian Street Inns. IVSN has successfully implemented HOT programming in East Palo Alto, The City of San Mateo, and Redwood City. The program has recently received awards to expand HOT programming to Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, and South San Francisco.

ENHANCING SERVICES AT THE OPPORTUNITY SERVICES CENTER

In order to meaningfully increase program effectiveness at the OSC (i.e., increase the rate at which homeless individuals transition from the streets to shelter and ultimately, to permanent housing), staffing and service enhancements will be implemented.  Current staffing allows only for the provision of a safe environment and safety net services.  Proposed enhancements include:

a) Intensified case management: Intensified case-management services will be implemented to more effectively transition unsheltered homeless people into shelter and other housing opportunities. With bolstered staffing, case managers will be able to work with each OSC client to set and work towards long-term goals (housing, financial stability, improved health/mental health, etc.).

IVSN Outreach Case Managers understand that homeless encampments most frequently have some members who may be employed, may choose to live in their vehicles because of cost efficiency, and who may not be addicted or seriously mentally ill. These individuals pose unique challenges, as they may not be in need of behavioral or primary health care services. Although these individuals may not pose risk or undue nuisance factors to the community, they also must be assisted in transitioning out of Cubberley (or other areas unsuitable for vehicular or unsheltered housing). IVSN is experienced in negotiating with these individuals and circumstances.

b) Intensely structured life skills workshops:  A day services coordinator will organize a full calendar of daily workshops, including Project Read, GED classes, legal services, computer classes, and resume development and landlord negotiation.  Attendance will be high as a result of incentivizing program participation, and close case management by HOT staff.

c) A behavioral health services program:

a. The OSC will become a hub of mental health and substance abuse recovery programming.

The bulk of the labor will be provided by IVSN graduate-level mental health interns. These students will provide therapy and link clients with critical psychiatric and substance abuse recovery programming.  On-site 12-step meetings will also be convened.

b. Primary care services will be enhanced with behavioral health, and specifically, psychiatric care.

c. Given that a significant majority of both Cubberley and other street homeless in Palo Alto may be addicted to alcohol and illicit drugs, a determination will be made concerning whether same-day access to drug treatment is available through SCC Gateway, or whether IVSN will secure DADP certification to operate outpatient drug treatment services onsite at the OSC.

d. IVSN seeks to collaborate with a community partner that would be able to provide advocacy and mental health evaluations for SSI/SSDI applicants at the OSC

e. IVSN seeks to collaborate with a community partner that would be able to offer Wellness Groups at the OSC followed by individual one-on-one office hours focusing on recovering from the trauma of homelessness

d) Continuum of services to engage individuals discharged from hospitals, jails, etc: Homeless individuals exiting institutions, especially emergency rooms, psychiatric and primary care hospitals and jails, present unique opportunities for engagement.

Persons reentering the community are most frequently sober and open to linkage to services.  IVSN will work with existing partners of both IVSN and of the City of Palo Alto, as well as the Day Services Coordinator, to insure that individuals exiting services are successfully engaged and do not just return to the streets. It should be noted that frequent users of Cubberley may also be frequent users of the criminal justice system and medical facilities.

BEYOND THE STREETS HOMELESS CONNECT

The Opportunity Services Center (OSC), HOT staff, and community partners will plan and convene a twoday “Beyond the Streets” Homeless Connect event at OSC.  All night homeless residents of Cubberley will be given a voucher redeemable for $25 cash, as well as small incentives, for participating in a tour, screening and assessment at the OSC.  The cash incentive will encourage strong participation of Cubberley homeless in the event.

The HOT Outreach Case Managers will distribute numbered vouchers as they gather Cubberley census data.  Although the Beyond the Streets event will be open to and target homeless individuals throughout Palo Alto, only Cubberley residents will offered the $25 incentive to participate in programming (other homeless individuals will be provided other incentives, including a barbecue lunch).

HOTEL DE ZINK LIMITED PROGRAM EXPANSION

IVSN operates Hotel de Zink, a 15 bed rotating church shelter for single adults. Upon the funding of this initiative, IVSN will work with the faith-based community hosts to temporarily increase the number of beds in the Hotel de Zink program, so that no unsheltered homeless individuals who wish to access this service are denied the opportunity. Hotel de Zink has a track record of transitioning unsheltered individuals to permanent housing.

JOB DEVELOPMENT

Through building connections with local businesses and landlords, IVSN seeks a collaborative partnership with multiple community agencies that will provide our clients with the opportunity to secure and maintain steady employment and permanent housing. Clients who are capable of working but have experienced long periods of unemployment, and who would otherwise be applying for SSI/SSDI, will instead be matched with jobs suited to their mental and physical capabilities. This will empower our clients to earn their own money and achieve a level of self-reliance while saving valuable public resources.

Utilizing IVSN’s full-time Job Development Specialist along with partner agencies’ Peer

Counselors, the Job Development Collaborative will seek out large employers, such as Walmart, Kmart, and San Francisco airport hotels, as well as small employers, including local restaurants and gas stations. Together with hiring managers and human resources offices, the Job Development Collaborative will identify or create positions that will mutually benefit the employer and our clients.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS

IVSN will engage in community outreach, attending meetings of local, civic, and community groups to provide information, PR and outreach to the residents of City of Palo Alto surrounding homelessness at Cubberley Community Center.

BUDGET

IVSN has the infrastructure necessary and a successful track record of implementing complex and challenging projects on-time and within budget.  A complete project budget is attached.

GOALS

1. A census of Cubberley residents will account for a minimum of 80% of Cubberley residents.

2. A minimum of 90% of Cubberley homeless will participate in the two day Beyond the Streets event.

3. Within the first 6 months of contract award, 20% of Cubberley residents will secure permanent, permanent supportive, or other appropriate housing options.

4. Within a year of contract award, 40% of Cubberley residents will secure permanent, permanent supportive, or other appropriate housing options.

**To make something bad or unsatisfactory better

Laws Enacted By Fraud Are Not Legitimate Laws

At last Monday night’s City Council (CC) meeting Palo Alto City Manager James KeeneJames Keene and City Attorney Molly Stump repeated what they have been stating for months, “the police do not have the ability to deal with the problems caused by vehicle dwellers,” and therefore need another tool in their tool belt to deal with a very few problem vehicle dwellers.

Approximately 15 people spoke at the August 5, 2013 CC meeting in favor of the Vehicle Habitation Ordinance, VHO, yet nearly all fifteen referred to behavior and activities that have nothing to do with dwelling in a vehicle.  Their motivations for speaking in favor for the ordinance are a result of disrespectful and illegal behavior perpetrated at Cubberley Community Center by homeless individuals who do not possess vehicles in addition to the presence of ugly vehicles which are not necessarily owned by homeless people.  It should be noted that approximately 70 people spoke against the the VHO during the August 5, 2013 meeting including former Palo Alto City Council Member, 2004 to 2008, and former Superior Court Judge Ladoris Cordell.Ladoris Cordell

“I”ve been a Palo Alto resident for 40 years and I am the Police Auditor for the 10th largest city in America, San Jose, which has a far worse homeless problem than Palo Alto yet does not outlaw living out of vehicles nor is it intending to…. There is no grace in this ordinance banning the use of vehicles by the homeless only disgrace.”   (paraphrased)

City Manager James Keene knew full well that an ordinance prohibiting the habitation of vehicles would not solve the problems at Cubberley Center verified by his latest actions of closing down the showers, enforcing existing rules and applying a Community Center closing time for if a VHO would have solved the problems at Cubberley then it would not be necessary for Mr. Keene to close the showers, enforce existing rules and set a closing time.

The Daily News, Palo Alto’s ‘de facto’ homeless shelter in the cross hairs

Mr. Keene essentially created an unnecessary problem at Cubberley to obtain support for a city wide VHO that has absolutely nothing to do with the problems at Cubberley.  Now that Mr. Keene has the VHO in hand he is setting out to fix the problems at Cubberley by enforcing existing rules and laws.

shell gameIt was a good ole fashion “shell game,” worked to perfection by Mr. Keene and the PAPD.

Though many local reporters were informed that Keene was not enforcing existing rules several weeks prior to Keene enacting the VHO not one reporter asked City Manager James Keene:

“Mr. Keene why didn’t you close the showers, enforce the existing rules and apply a closing time at Cubberley prior to enacting a VHO?”

“Mr Keene do you think that a VHO would have been necessary had you closed down the showers, enforced the existing community center rules and applied a closing time at Cubberley prior to enacting a VHO?”

“Mr Keene do you think that you would have had the community support necessary to enact a VHO had you closed down the showers, enforced the existing community center rules and applied a closing time at Cubberley prior to enacting the VHO?”

The argument that a VHO would solve the problems at Cubberley was a lie perpetrated by Keene, the PAPD and Keene’s staff and then regurgitated by city council and the local media to the public at large.

This fraud committed by Mr. Keene and his staff is further corroborated by the fact that his staff was repeatedly asked by vehicle dwellers during the Working Group Meetings as far back as a year and half ago to enforce existing laws and rules.  The vehicle dwellers even offered to help Mr. Keene’s staff to enforce these rules upon those individuals who were disrespecting the environment and others, yet Keene and his staff refused to apply existing rules and laws upon violators.

Mr. Keene and his staff has been asked numerous times over the last two years to provide documentation of the problems caused by vehicle dwellers yet Mr. Keene has refused to provide any documentation and continues to erroneously assert that vehicle dwellers are a constant source of violating the rights of other citizens.

City Manager James Keene and his staff falsely portrayed the VHO to the public as a tool that would solve problems that have absolutely nothing to do with dwelling in a vehicle, which is fraud.

Mr. Keene and the Palo Alto City Council enacted a law not based upon facts or the truth but upon lies, manipulations and scheming.  These nefarious acts witness against Mr. Keene and the City Council confirming that they know they are in the wrong, for if a person is in the right he/she doesn’t have to resort to lying and cheating to obtain his/her goal.

The VHO is an invalid law because it was justified and enacted upon immoral acts and any law that is created by using immoral Kangaroo Courtacts is an invalid law.  No doubt Mr. Keene and the other Palo Alto players who support the VHO believe they have an ace in hole through their connections to the courts who will determine the validity of Palo Alto’s ordinance.

Each and every city council member who voted for the VHO is liable under misfeasance and or malfeasance of office.  Generally, a civil defendant will be liable for misfeasance if the defendant owed a duty of care toward the plaintiff, the defendant breached that duty of care by improperly performing a legal act, and the improper performance resulted in harm to the plaintiff.

Palo Alto City Council members relied upon false information to justify the enactment of the VHO even though they were adequately informed the information had been falsified yet still used that falsified information in justifying an ordinance which has and will cause direct harm to several residents/citizens of Palo Alto and the United States of America.

Mayor Greg Scharff several Palo Alto residents are going to hold you and your fellow council members personally responsible for the harm that you have caused to them and will cause to them because of your Unconstitutional law.

Mayor Greg Scharff your only way out from personal responsibility is to void the ordinance before the second reading on Monday August 12, 2013 at 7:00pm by refusing to endorse the second reading, this goes for each and every city council member.

Each and every excuse, See Making Mountains Out Of Mole Hills, that City Manager James Keene, City Attorney Molly Stump and P.A. Police Chief Dennis Burns have used to justify a VHO is already covered by Muni-Code 2.08.050 Regulation of the city of Palo Alto regarding prohibited conduct at or in community centers

A tyrant is someone who arbitrarily manipulates the laws for his/her own self-interests in violation of the rights of the individual and to the detriment and welfare of anyone else but most especially the powerless.

City of Palo Alto to shutter homeless public showers

de facto homeless shelter shower facility
de facto homeless shelter shower facility

Palo Alto will close down the public showers at the Cubberely Community Center in an attempt to regain control of what city manager Jim Keene has called a “de facto homeless shelter.”

City Council members will meet with homeless advocates and church leaders Tuesday to talk about how to help the homeless now that the city has ban sleeping cars, but Keene said yesterday that no matter what, the free showers will end on August 31.

In a report to the committee, Keene said the showers are one of the key attractions make Cubberely a magnet for homeless car campers.

Despite the emotional and sometimes disruptive protests of homeless advocates who said the car can ban criminalizes homelessness,  the city Council voted 7-2 on Monday to ban the practice.

The ban,  which will take effect in approximately six months, with make vehicle habitation a crimes that would be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. The meeting on Tuesday is meant to take a less punitive look at ways to help the local homeless population.

In the meantime, through, some steps could be taken to help solve problems that residents and Cubberley workers have complained about, including closing the showers that have been opened in the early morning four years so that the homeless can bathe there.

In 2004, some of the homeless who camped at Cubberley asked the facility workers there to open the showers at 6 a.m. so that they could shower before work.

After the city received complaints from some of the nonprofits and businesses that use Cubberely, the hours were shortened from  6 a.m. – 10 a.m. to 6 a.m. – 8 a.m.

Not an official program

“The use of the showers is neither a formal city of Palo Alto program nor an official policy, and staff has set a closure date for public use of Aug. 31, “Keene wrote in the report to the committee.”The closure does not require action by the council.”

Later, the report says, “specific complaints have centered on individuals or groups of individuals intoxicated, lawn chairs that are set up next to RV’s, loud music coming from the parking lot on weekends, syringe needles found around campus, and encounters with half-dressed people going to the showers in the morning.”

Keene said that there was also concern with people peeing and defecating in the open, dumping sewage in the bathroom sinks, cleaning cooking utensils in bathroom sink, and fights in the bathrooms and showers, among other things.

The committee, which includes council members Karen Holman, Larry Klein, Liz Kniss, and Gail Price, will also consider closing the bathrooms at Cubberely for part of the night between 10:30 p.m. and sunrise during the time that about 20 people or more sleep at the center every evening.

“As Cubberely is currently open overnight, staff is concerned for the safety and security of the Cubberely patriots, tenants, staff and individuals residing on campus,” the report says.

Help for the homeless

According to the report, Keene proposes that the city immediately start closing the showers, give people bus fare to go use the showers at the Opportunity Center and put them in touch with case managers.

At Monday’s meeting, Councilwoman Liz Kniss and Keene both called on nonprofits and churches to help the city deal with homelessness.

“I would challenge the nonprofits to come forward and say, here is how we can put this together,” Kniss said.

Edie Keating, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church who opposes the car camping ban that the city Council voted to pass on Monday night, said she and people representing other churches planned to attend Tuesday meeting to see how they can work with the city and local nonprofits like InVision, which runs the low income housing at Palo Alto’s homeless center.

Roaming shelter program

Keating said her church will be hosting the city’s roaming homeless shelter program, Hotel de Zink, for the month of September, and said she thinks expanding the program might be one way to help the homeless.

“I think there’s a possibility there, we’ve never had any problems with the Hotel de Zinks.” But she added that she understands why it might be hard for some churches to get their members to agree to host the month-long shelter program at their church.

“Since many churches are in residential areas, there may be push-back for using their sites as part of a distributed car camping program,” she said. “What will be important is to find sites that are well-accepted, some of them might be at businesses.”

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Living in Vehicles Ordinance

♬Life’s a Wi-Fi at – Elinor Cogswell Park♬

People began logging on to Palo Alto’s new downtown wireless Internet hot spot at Cogswell Plaza yesterday after the city officially flipped the switch on the new service.

“This is better wireless then StarBucks has, “Mayor Greg Scharff said during a ceremony to launch the new service.

Scharff added that the new wireless hotspot was one example of technological progress, which the city Council has decided to make a priority for 2013.

Elinor Cogswell Plaza Park Bench
Elinor Cogswell Plaza Park Bench

“It’s really good really fast,” said Mai Ngo, as she logged on with her laptop from one of the parks benches.

As Ngo surfed the Internet, Philz coffee passed out free drinks and a woman performed songs with her guitar. According to city representatives, the wireless functions by way of a single, tall, wireless transmitter in the center of the park, which has a 140 foot radius that covers its entirety.

City representatives said that it cost the city about $13,000 to get wireless in the plaza up and running. Now that it is set up, it will take about $7,000 a year to maintain.

The wireless is open to anyone in or near the park. Anyone can log onto the network, which is called, “City of Palo Alto free Wi-Fi.” Those using computers will have to agree to the terms of use.

The wireless was made possible by Top Corner, a startup founded by Stanford student Christopher Frank. Frank approached the city in March 2012 with the idea of crowdsourcing ways to solve city issues, then raised $9,291 to cover part of the wireless project and it’s operating cost.

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Mythic Statistics on Myths may shape immigration debate

TomEliasW2Tom Elias, columnist for the local Palo Alto newspaper, Daily Post, wrote an article on August 7,2013, in favor of legalizing all illegal immigrants based on supposed ‘economic’ statistics he gathered.  But the numbers are wacky.

Do illegals (immigrants) in California really pay $30 Billion a year in Federal Taxes?

That’s the first number he threw out to justify legalization.  So using back of the envelope math, if, as President Obama assures us, there are 10 million illegals in the US and if we assume that they ALL live in California, that would mean that every single illegal man, woman and child would be paying $3,000  per year in Federal Taxes.

Ridiculous.  First, though it may sometimes seem like it, not all 10 million illegals live in California.  Second, even if they did, that would mean that even children would be earning something like  $ 25,000 per year.  How many babies and kids make that kind of money? And if we assume these 10 million are families of 3-5, then the parents must be earning north of $100,000 per year.

And we know that kind of earning power is reserved for our Public Serpents, Police and Firemen with a few handfuls of Google and Facebook (FakeBook) millionaire Techies thrown in. The median U.S. family income was $48,000 in 2012.

So how does Elias get $ 30 Billion Bucks out of California’s illegals? Easy. He quotes some prestigious sounding organizations that are dedicated to the illegal cause, like the Immigration Policy Center  -‘ To Justify Illegal Immigration at Any Cost,’ and the Selig Center for Economic – ‘Propaganda.’

And expects us to buy their baloney. Let’s face it, there’s an Institute, Center, Foundation for every phony cause that bends the truth. The mere mention of a Front Group, Think Tank, Stink Tank, is your first Tip Off that a lie is soon to follow.

Take the Clinton Chastity Center, what do you think their stated goals and outcomes might be. Or think of my own organization, I run the Freedom from Freedom Union, FFU, and according to US census data 95% of our members believe that ‘ignorance is strength.‘ Join the majority, it’s the smart thing to do. You can’t justify illegal immigration economically, at least not with Tom Elias numbers. The numbers don’t add up.

See: Daily Post Opinion August 7, 2013 – Myths may shape immigration debate