Are police systematically killing the mentally ill

Statistically, when it’s comes to police protecting and serving citizens this recent report, suggests law enforcement personnel are finding themselves having to confront the ever rising tide of community mental health issues often with fatal consequences.

The mentally impared represents a very small segment of our policing society and yet shockingly over 1/4 of the US population killed by police involved the mentally ill at some level.

Unfortunately, many policing agencies are ill equipped for handling emergencies dealing with emotional meltdowns on our streets and in our own living rooms.

The aftermath in far too many cases often results in heartbreaking news and the tragic loss of human life as was the case recently at a Palo Alto mental health facility.

And all to familiar, another man who was shot and killed was known to the San Mateo sheriffs department as a person suffering from schizophrenia.

The vast majority of police shootings are found to be justifies. Why? Officers fearing for their lives and in most cases, cleared of any criminal wronging doing a common outcome.

One of the most egregious cases of police abuse

was Kelly Thomas beaten to death by Fullerton police officers. Kelly Thomas also suffered from schizophrenia.

Kelly Thomas
Kelly Thomas

Few policing agencies are prepared to deal with the mental health issues encounter on our streets and despite the limited CIT [crisis intervention training] received by many local policing agencys including the San Mateo police, fatalities continue which suggests a broken training program.

Our National Mental Health System has gone beyond critical mass when it comes to policing the mentally impared. This is made evident by the continued stories of police responding to calls from distressed family members only to have their family member shot and killed by police or beaten to death.

This is exactly what occurred to a man in Pacifica, California, whose family members called police requesting assistance in calming down their distraught son.  The police responded, handcuffed the son, tazering him, and he subsequently died.

No one has all the answers as to whether or not the limited training class received by the for San Mateo police was enough training to handle these crisis situation but from all outward appearence this was not the case.

However, statistically, the continued increase in fatal police interventions of our mentally impaired citizens should give rise to, and dictate, a greater focus on the needs of the most vulnerable of our population, the mentally impaired.

One major policing agency making inroads into this growing national problems is the Memphis, Tennessee, Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team which has become nationally recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice, as being a first to establish an elite group of police officers and mental health professionals specializing in mental health crisis situations with phenomenal success.

We’re not sure if the outcome would have been any different in Fullerton, Pacifica or in San Mateo, but it’s time to address our policing of this minority group head-on with properly trained Crisis–Intervention-Teams. And the time is now!

Related stories: Hold Your Fire

Editor’s note: Tazers continue to be hotly debated as an effect compliance tool in dealing with those suffering from a mental crisis.


It’s All About The Shizit

An Open Letter to Ms. Liz Kniss

Liz KnissMs. Kniss:

On Saturday (9/14/12) you really hit the s**t at the League of Women Voters’ candidates’ debate. (But you are no Mrs. Robinson. I saw The Graduate 29 times and you are no Mrs. Robinson.)

But you sure did hit the shizit. You found the fecal, Friend. It’s all out there now. Talk about putting your business in the street! It’s on now! Yes, it is out, Scout.

Seriously, you performed a great service. You identified what may well be the essence of support for the Vehicle Habitation Ordinance (VHO) for at least some part of the commuity. You seem to speak for—to use your phrase—“The Personal Business Faction.”

One of the proper functions of a leader is to highlight and communicate the essence of an issue–what really matters—for members of the public.

As I understand you, you are saying that for those opposed to allowing people to be free to live in/out of vehicles the main, motivating concern is where/how/when vehicle campers toilet themselves.

Is there some reason to think that houseless people forget their toilet training? Or that we are not able to figure out where bathrooms are? Don’t people using parks or just doing their jobs or chores or out running errands have the same challenge?

It can be messy, but it’s much better to get it out rather than hold it in. If it’s about the s**t, I say let it ALL hang out! I praise you for calling it what it is. So it’s about people’s personal business. I think you hit the mother lode.

It’s not about po’ folk having the nerve to live out of vehicles–when everyone knows the NORMAL thing to do would be living out of over priced housing like most everyone else in sunny Palo Alto—it’s this big unknown, nagging question, “Where do these people s**t?”

(I keep wondering if the people who seem to want to take away our vehicles have thought through where they want us to go after we lose those vehicles. Their lawns? Downtown sidewalks? The low-cost and below-market-rate housing that the Association of Bay Area Governments is “shoving down our throats”? Oh, that’s right, such housing is heavily resisted and avoided whenever possible.)

And a very white-bread, middle-class concern this is—the defecation location question. And don’t white-bread, middle-class concerns have a right to be represented and heard?

Where/how/when do houseless people s**t? Let me first say to all people so concerned—and I speak on behalf of a wide swath of hoboes, houseless, and transients when I say it–“Thank you, for making our fecal matters the focus of your concern. Who knew you even cared?”

Let me assure you all that we all take care of our toileting issues much the way you all do, with just a little less convenience.  Maybe. For all I know, my bathroom issues may be less burdensome than yours.

You’d have to ask others who sleep in cars and on the ground to get a fuller picture, but it seems to me you just figure out somewhere you can use a toilet before you go to bed and go use it before you go to bed.

Thanks to the generosity of private Palo Alto residents, there are a number of bathrooms available 24/7 in the City, even though the City itself has a policy against allowing bathrooms in parks to be available at night. Sometimes the City builds parks purposely without bathrooms. Sometimes it just closes them at night. That’s another but related matter.

I’ve been houseless here in Palo Alto for three years this past July.  I slept in the tilt-back front seat of my car in the alley behind Happy Donuts for the first year.  I just went in Happy Donuts and used the bathroom there whenever I needed to.  There is also a bathroom Jim Davis is kind enough to leave open 24/7 in his Valero station on the corner of Los Robles and El Camino Real, just down the street from Happy Donuts.

And there’s another always-open bathroom in the Safeway on Middlefield that’s open all night.  That’s not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.  There ARE bathrooms available.  There should be MORE bathrooms available–for us, for parents and grandparents who have to take their kids home from parks because there’s no bathroom there, for shoppers, bicyclists, walkers, seniors–just folks who might need one.

After my year in the front seat of my car in the alley behind Happy Donuts, I developed swollen lower legs. I slept out on the ground in a couple of secluded spots.

Then I went into the shelter in the Armory in Sunnyvale the following winter.  That is a fine program. I was reluctant at first. But after one night, I never left. Being able to sleep safe on a mattress on a flat floor was much better for my legs—much better than when they weren’t supported in my front seat.

After the Armory closed at the end of March, I slept outside again, but it was still kind of chilly. I’d get up in the middle of the night and go to the Coin Wash next to Happy Donuts and sleep on the folding table in the back. Almost no one washed clothes there after two a.m.

Eventually I applied and got into the Hotel de Zink where you rotate from one church to another for three months.  It’s also a fine shelter program.  Both the Armory and the Hotel de Zink had bathrooms, warmth, safety, and you could stretch out flat. Plus you got a meal every night and breakfast in the morning. In the Hotel de Zink you got lunch-making materials also.

Now I’m back sleeping in my car. I lost a bunch of weight and learned from a very tall unsheltered friend who asked if she could sleep on the front seat of my car one night that I could curl up on the back seat. At least my legs are on the same level with my heart, which the doctor says is mad important for heart health. I park near Happy Donuts and have the use of their bathroom again.

Others spend the night parked in their cars nearby. Happy Donuts is one of the great houseless resources on the Peninsula. It has drawn unhoused folks from San Jose to San Francisco who need a place to spend the night.  When you’re tired of riding the “Hotel 22″ (Number 22 VTA bus), you stumble in to Happy Donuts and spend the rest of the night with your head down on the table in front of you or hanging back over your chair or nodding. Or you stay up and watch movies or play games or do school work or read or research or have interesting conversations or write or work on projects for work or for your own startup or email or browse the web for whatever you’re interested in.

The Coin Wash next door is open 24/7 like Happy Donuts and you can watch TV there, do a laundry, read, or just sit. Sleeping there can get you awakened by some interesting people at all times of the night and early morning. After being chased out a half dozen times, I began to think I wasn’t welcome and just didn’t come back anymore.

But I digress from the focus on feces.

I looked into the issues bothering the Greenmeadow Neighborhood Association (GNA) about the people camping in cars and on the ground at Cubberley.  The GNA folks also said they were quite concerned about “defecating and urination” by the people there.

One night when I was sleeping there (on a rectangular table on the plaza behind the library), I found the Foothill College men’s room was open instead of locked as usual. It was a weekend night and there was a sign on the inside of the door saying that the bathroom was open on weekend nights.

Some checking with other car campers there revealed that the bathrooms WERE actually open on SOME weekend nights.  They were SUPPOSED to be open on ALL weekend nights (why not weekday nights also?), but when the weekend custodian was the one who didn’t like houseless folks, the bathrooms were NOT open.  On the weekends when the custodian who WAS a houseless “car camper” at Cubberley was working, he left the bathrooms unlocked.

But even though the bathrooms are usually locked, there’s still always a port-a-potty at the edge of parking lot where it meets the playing fields.

So, here was my proposal to the GNA, through their very friendly, very reasonable president Zachi Baharav:  Let’s work together on getting those bathrooms open EVERY night and then your concerns are answered AND those who live there can live a little more easily—more like YOU’D like to be able to if you found that your best option was to live in your vehicle parked in some semi-friendly location.

That was at least semi-reasonable, right? Would you believe Zachi was not able to find anyone who had toilet concerns who was also willing to meet, to discuss, or even correspond on the subject? I was quite amazed.

So, that’s why my hat is off to you, Ms. Kniss.  You popped the cork, opened the floodgates, called it what it is. I do thank you for making something that wasn’t so clear a lot clearer—just how basic this concern is.  And that it must be dealt with—it can’t be ignored just because it’s icky. You have shown the way.

My statement is:  we unsheltered take care of our s**t.  We (in general) use toilets whenever available and clean up after ourselves when they are not.  We take precautions and figure out where we can go when we need to go.

There really is not as great a problem here as you might think from hearing the concerns expressed.  I’ve smelled a lot worse streets in most other places I’ve lived. Also, there are certain sights and sounds that one experiences in any and every urban location–and in most places it’s getting more like that all the time. However, in Palo Alto the houseless population—at least at Cubberley– is not increasing.

For those caught in the jaws of the economic trap often referred to as the “greatest transfer of wealth from poor and working people to the wealthy in the history of this country,” there are certain dislocations in more than just regular housing. Convenient toilet access is not the only problem.

Decisions were made, countries were invaded, dead and dying are still multiplying.  Private enrichment at public expense has run riot and still rages on barely abated.  Wars–very, very expensive wars–were waged and not paid for.  Tax cuts were lavished on the populace and not paid for. Liar loans by investment banks (well, almost) were approved.

Wouldn’t it be awfully strange if those who’ve borne the brunt of the transfer of wealth didn’t show a sign or two of despair, poverty, and deprivation? Losing jobs, homes, vehicles (from lots of causes, not just anti-vehicle habitation ordinances)–all these lead to many dislocations—some physical, some psychological. Houseless people—poor people– have many pressures, worries, fears, and things to think about—where to use a toilet is only one of those concerns.

What are we going to do, Palo Alto?  Continue with the policy of “No Potties For the Poor” (So They Can Be Further Marginalized For Public Defecation?) like the mean custodian at Cubberley?  Or are you going to be like the good custodian at Cubberley and try to solve a “problem,” instead of exacerbate it?

Don’t be an exacerbater.  Open up the bathrooms. Cleanliness for all!

I ask you, Ms. Kniss, to take up this challenge. You’ve identified the issue, clarified the issue–now bring porcelain to the poor!  Help clean up this problem.  You were the first to call it by name.  Lead the crusade. Let a thousand toilets  flush!

Chuck Jagoda, Houseless Advocate

Civil Disobedience and the Necessity Defense Vehicle Habitation Legal Fund

And why the need for a Necessity Defense Vehicle Habitation Legal Fund?

By some estimates millions of Californians still find themselves unemployed or underemployed despite a reported uptick in our economy.

As it stands, over 1 million Californians have lost all unemployment benefits and it may in fact be years before we see the light of day on any real job recovery on a state or national level.

Never-the-less, our present day economy has forced many families to live on streets across America in their vehicles and the city of Palo Alto is no exception.

This has given rise to some in the community of Palo Alto to voice their concerns of vehicles parked overnight in their neighborhoods prompting city officials to consider an outright ban on overnight vehicle habitation.

Over the past two years, the city of Palo Alto in a shared community outreach effort has engaged all city vehicle habitation dwellers and their major stake holders to come up with a plan or ordinance which satisfies the needs of all concerned.

Palo Alto’s police Chief Dennis Burns recently presented questionable data on the actual number of vehicle dweller complaints, but failed in presenting any comparable data on the number of calls for service on unruly bar patron’s or for that mater any other calls for service.

This fact alone has many vehicle dwellers claiming fool play to the existence of any real problems at all.  They feel it’s the affluent vs. disenfranchised or “not in my neighborhood” mentality and reminiscent of racial segregation calls of the 60’s .

Some have even gone as far as to believe that Chief Dennis Burns presented the equivalent of “filing a false police report” to the Policy and Services Committee claiming by his personal appearance alone, “Stacked the Deck” against the vehicle dwellers.

They also claim city attorney Molly Stump in collaboration with the chief, ordered members of the press banned from covering public discussion on city government property.

All designed some further contend, without the benefit of any real transparency and open government to quietly enact a new city ordinance designed to purge the disenfranchised off the streets of Palo Alto prompting one civic watchdog and civil rights attorney Aram James to release the following statement:

“I don’t want the city jamming this draconian ordinance down the throats of the unsheltered community–and at this point this is how they are using the Eugene Ordinance–as a threat i.e., either develop and take responsibility for a Eugene like program–or we will be forced to oppose  this oppressive ordinance.

Given my limited time and particular skill set –I will continue to focus my energies on educating CCT members (community cooperation team)–and others in the unsheltered Community–on possible legal strategies to consider–necessity, nullification–and maybe constitutional challenges.”

The history of America is enshrined in acts of civil disobedience.  From the civil rights movement of the 60’s to the modern day Occupy Movement that has taken the U.S. by storm by highlighting the many social injustices impacting the working class.

For this reason we have decided to launch and establish a Necessity Defense Vehicle Habitation Legal Fund designed to defend vehicle dwellers against the city of Palo Alto through legal representation should the city of Palo Alto enact a specially designed ordinance to rid its’ disenfranchised vehicle dweller off the city streets of Palo Alto.

“Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?. . . . . . If the injustice [of the machine of government] has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.” -Henry David Thoreau-

If you wish, you may contribute to the Necessity Defense Vehicle Habitation Legal Fund any amount will be welcomed by utilizing the “Donate” feature located on the front page of Palo Alto Free Press allowing your contributions to civilly stop this seemingly unjust city planned ordnance.  You will receive an email acknowledgement of your contribution in addition to a quarterly statement of all monies held in trust.

To assist our readers to understand why the need for “Necessity Defense” and it’s history, the following is being provided……..

A Brief Case Look at necessity defense.

‘Freedom of expression in a free society includes freewheeling public dissent on controversial political issues of the day. Civil disobedience is a form of protest that, while usually peaceful, involves violating the law—usually by trespassing on government property, blocking access to buildings, or engaging in disorderly conduct.

Civil disobedience has been called “the deliberate violation of law for a vital social purpose.”1 In their day in court, civil disobedients have at times sought to interpose the necessity defense to justify their conduct.

The necessity defense asserts that breaking the law was justified in order to avert a greater harm that would occur as a result of the government policy the offender was protesting. Protestors will seek to invoke the necessity defense not so much to gain acquittal from the relatively minor charges, but to advance the more important objective of publicly airing the moral and political issues that inspired their act of civil disobedience.

There is the hope of gaining notoriety for a cause by discussing it in court, and “educating” the jury about political grievances or other social harms. The strategy is meant to appeal to a higher principle than the law being violated—the necessity of stopping objectionable government policies—and to let the jury have an opportunity to weigh their technically illegal actions on the scales of justice.

Acquittal is of course hoped for in the end but may be quite low on the protestors’ list of priorities. The necessity defense is attractive to reformers who practice civil disobedience because it allows them to deny guilt without renouncing their socially driven acts. It offers a means to discuss political issues in the courtroom, a forum in which reformers can demand equal time and, perhaps, respect. Moreover, its elements allow civil disobedients to describe their political motivations. In proving the imminence of the harm, they can demonstrate the urgency of the social problem.

In showing the relative severity of the harms, they can show the seriousness of the social evil they seek to avert. In establishing the lack of reasonable alternatives, they can assault the unresponsiveness of those in power in dealing with the problem and prod them to action. And in presenting evidence of a causal relationship, they can argue the importance of individual action in reforming society. Thus, the elements of the necessity defense provide an excellent structure for publicizing and debating political issues in the judicial forum.

The goal of describing their political motivations to the jury, and implicitly to the media, is subject to numerous hurdles inherent in the necessity defense. In most instances, as we will see, courts will rule as a matter of law that the actors have failed in the offer of proof regarding the elements of the necessity defense so that the jury rarely is given the chance to weigh in on the matter.

On the other hand, if the defense is allowed, the jury is called upon to weigh controversial political issues and to function as the “conscience of the community.” “Reflected in the jury’s decision is a judgment of whether, under all the circumstances of the event and in the light of all known about the defendant, the prohibited act, if committed, deserves condemnation by the law.”

In cases where judges have been persuaded to allow the necessity defense, juries have, often enough, delivered not guilty verdicts. This article will first examine the nature of civil disobedience, and distinguish between direct and indirect civil disobedience. Part II highlights some historical examples of civil disobedience.

Part IV then examines the principles of the necessity defense, analyzing each of the elements that make up the defense, illustrated with cases on point. Next, Part V will turn to an analysis of several abortion-protest cases that raise issues different from other types of civil disobedience cases. Part VI then will examine Viet Nam era civil disobedience cases. Following that, Part VIII will explore a unique defense known as the Nuremberg Principles defense.’

Civil Disobedience and the Necessity Defense

Draconian Pending City Ordinance

Implementation of the necessity defense in case of criminalization of homelessness

Necessary Defense from ending the threat of nuclear war

Why a fundamental understanding of jury nullification is so critical to taking back our criminal justice system

Article up-dated:

KKK Criminalizes Palo Alto Homeless

During last nights Policy and Services Committee meeting Council members Liz Kniss, Larry Klein and city manager James Keene have resurrected the segregated south by officially recommending that the City of Palo Alto make it illegal for homeless people to possess and or own a vehicle.

“Injustice fights with two weapons, force and fraud..  A common form of injustice is chicanery, that is, an over-subtle, in fact a fraudulent construction of the law.”    Cicero – On Moral Duties

“The law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”     Thomas Jefferson

The Vehicle Habitation Ordinance last night was first brought to City Council almost two years ago but shelved after dozens of residents stated that an ordinance was not necessary and was a cruel and merit-less tactic to push the homeless out of Palo Alto into neighboring communities.


In response the City created a “Working Group” to discuss alternatives to an ordinance.  Contrary to Curtis Williams’ assertion last night that only one alternative was presented during the Working Group’s meetings, there were several other options placed on the table that he, the City Attorney and Police Chief have refused to consider or bring to City Council’s attention.

Interestingly most of the discussion during the P&S meeting  revolved around the problems associated with the homeless in general and not about the use of vehicles by the homeless, “Vehicle Dwellers.”

At one point city staff person Minka Van der Zwaag was referring to problems in public showers and bathrooms.  What does a shower inside a building have to do with a person placing his belongings in his vehicle and sleeping there at night?

It became apparent that city staff was mixing apples with oranges to fictionalize a mountain of a problem when there is less than a mole-hill.

Police chief Dennis Burns presented some statistics regarding calls for service specifically related to Vehicle Dwellers isolated to one location in town, Cubberley Center, where as many as 30 homeless sleep at night in addition to 5 to 10 vehicle dwellers.

Chief Burns stated that there were 10 calls for service in 2010, 18 calls for service in 2011, 39 calls for service in 2012 and 9 calls for service for the first four months of 2013.

Chief Burns could not present the number of calls for service at Lytton Plaza or public domain  bar 2outside the local bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants for those same years which is assumed to be well over 300.  The problems at some of these locations are sourinating 2 pervasive that police officers actually station themselves there for hours on end.  I wonder how much the city spends each year on its officers to hang out in front of “The Patio” sports bar and Lytton Plaza?

Is there any reason why the city cannot proactively patrol Cubberley Center in order to head off any problems with the homeless and or Vehicle Dwellers?

Chief Burns neglected to identify the nature of the calls at Cubberley and how many different people they are attributed to or the outcome of those calls.  For instance, was a call for service over a Vehicle Dweller urinating in public or just being there in his/her vehicle?  Was it a legitimate complaint or one fabricated out of a paranoid prejudice against Vehicle Dwellers?

Minka Van der Zwaag presented a case in how the current laws work when enforced by describing how one vehicle dweller was storing belongings in the public parking lot which resulted in that person removing the debris after complaints were made.

Councilman Klein justified his support for an ordinance by relying on the Chief’s unsubstantiated statistics of an increase in Vehicle Dwellers.  What does that have to do with behavior?  In justifying the ordinance based upon the number of Vehicle Dwellers living in Palo Alto Klein empirically reveals that the ordinance is not about disrespectful or unlawful behavior but based upon the economic color of Vehicle Dwellers’ skin.

Perhaps it is Klein who needs medication and not the homeless.   Heart drug, propranolol, may curb subconscious racism:

Council member Kniss asserted over and over that this ordinance does not criminalize the homeless or vehicle dwellers, but is just a tool for the PAPD to deal with those few Vehicle Dwellers who are causing problems and that the ordinance would only be used on a complaint basis.

The problem with this assertion is that Kniss, City Attorney Molly Stump, City Manager James Keene and Police Chief Dennis Burns have not identified what a legitimate complaint is.

Based upon the current ordinance:  John Doe who lives on the 100 block of Addison the new homelesscalls the police to report a person sleeping in his vehicle; the police show up and arrest the person because the person is homeless and has no permanent address and has been contacted by the police before for refusing to leave Palo Alto or avail himself of homeless services despite the fact that this person drives a taxi-cab full time.

This Vehicle Dweller is not violating any nuisance laws, his only offense is his existence in Palo Alto in a vehicle.

Council Member Liz Kniss, Police Chief Dennis Burns, City Attorney Molly Stump and City Manager James Keene state that the ordinance is necessary to punish Vehicle Dwellers for violating current laws such as urinating in public, littering, disturbing the peace, etc… because when Vehicle Dwellers violate current laws the police are never around to catch them in the act.

If that is the true motivation behind the ordinance, then Larry Klein, Liz Kniss, Dennis Burns, Molly Stump and James Keene need to explain to the citizens of Palo Alto how they intend to go after homeless people who do not have vehicles who never get caught urinating and littering etc… in public because the police are never around to catch them?Illegal to carry suitcase

There are a 70 homeless people living in Palo Alto who do not have vehicles whom this ordinance will not affect who will still be urinating and littering when the police are not around to catch them.

Perhaps Kniss and Klein will make it illegal for homeless people to walk around with a sleeping bag and a back-pack full of clothes or even ride a bicycle.

urinating 1Based upon the City’s rational for criminalizing the use of vehicles by the homeless, one has to conclude that the City will pass an ordinance outlawing the use of bicycles and eliminate the bars from downtown.

Who would be more likely to pass a Vehicle Habitation Ordinance; Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. or would Jefferson Davis, Hitler and the Klu Klux Klan be more likely?

“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”  John Wooden

”We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.”         Will Rogers

Klein, Kniss, Keene, Burns and the others will no doubt take umbrage to the above characterization, however instead of contemplating how their own actions are perceived by those whom they will be affecting they hide in denial refusing to allow their position to be challenged from true debate where legitimacy or illegitimacy of any position is revealed.

“Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).” Ayn Rand 


The City of Palo Alto announces the 91st Annual May Fête Children’s Parade


The City of Palo Alto announces the 91st Annual May Fête Children’s Parade on Saturday, May 4, 2013 in downtown Palo Alto. Northern California’s oldest and largest children’s parade begins at 10 a.m. at the corner of Emerson Street and University Avenue.

This year’s theme, “What Will You Discover!” celebrates the finding of that special activity or talent that is a child’s “spark” that unleashes their energy and joy.

While pre-registration for youth groups has passed, individual kids who show up by 9:30a.m. the morning of the parade and march in the Kids on Parade category.

The morning will be filled with spirited entertainment from local high school and junior high school marching bands, decorated hand-pulled floats, and thousands of children marching, skating, cycling, tumbling, and strolling through downtown Palo Alto.

The Palo Alto Weekly judges the float contest, giving out prizes in several categories in this fun-filled friendly competition. Following the parade, join the Palo Alto Recreation Foundation and Palo Alto Kiwanis Club for the May Fete Fair, the annual celebratory fair with food, music and games at Heritage Park immediately following the Parade until 1pm.

For more information please call 650-463-4921 or visit us online at

This exciting event is presented by the City of Palo Alto Recreation Division and is sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly, Palo Alto Recreation Foundation, Hobee’s of California, University Art, Stanford Park Nannies, Insurance by Allied Arts, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Palo Alto Sport Shop & Toy World.

Special-need park project lands $1 million donation

www.magicalbridge.comThe Magical Bridge, a proposed playground in Palo Alto for children with disabilities, took one step closer to reality yesterday when the Peery Foundation announced a $1 million matching grant to build the park.

The first-of-its kind playground will be designed specifically for children and adults with disabilities, including special equipment that will make it easier for people with physical, mental and visual impairments to play.

“The Magical Bridge Project has already received $1.1 million in individual donations towards its $3.1 million goal,” said Jill Asher, a spokeswoman for the project. “The grant, plus the $1 million in matching funds will allow the project to break ground by this fall.”

Olenka Villarreal, who founded the project, said the Silicon Valley is the perfect place for such park.

“It still astounds me that we are building the first place to address the many different play needs of the many different kinds of children who live in our community. “she said.

For more information, visit

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High Release Dance Unveils New Workshop For Established and Aspiring Performers

PALO ALTO, Calif., Monday, April 1, 2013–High Release Dance, an acclaimed modern dance company based here, announced today that for the first time in its 19 year history, it will offer a public workshop whose dancers will be invited to perform in its home
season gala.

High Release, a talented group of more than a dozen seasoned dancers and choreographers, is one of the only dance cooperatives in the San Francisco Bay Area, meaning that many of its members bring to the company their artistic point of view through original movement.

It performs across the Bay Area at a wide variety of venues and showcases, including Choreo Project, Fort Mason, Berkeley’s Works in the Works, Santana Row, Western Ballet and more.

The newly announced workshop offers all levels of dancers a chance to study and perform with the company during its 2013 performance season. High Release will showcase the workshop choreography and dancers in its Cubberly Theatre performance scheduled for May 31 and June 1, 2013.

Elizabeth Muller, the lead choreographer for the workshop, said: “This is the first time in the history of High Release that we have opened up our Home Season to workshop dancers.

We are looking forward to being able to work with our workshop students and showcase their work!” Dancers will be featured in one-of-a-kind choreography to debut during spring home season.

The workshop will run on Thursday evenings from April 18 through May 23. Interested dancers can register by visiting the company’s Web site at

Puff the magic “Commissioner” lives by the Palo Alto courthouse

Commissioner James Madden
Commissioner James Madden

♫ And frolics in the autumn smoke…too pollute you and me…. ♫

It might soon be illegal to smoke cigarettes and medicinal joints in most Palo Alto Parks.

Last night, City Council’s Policy and Services Committee said it wants the full council to consider a law that would ban smoking in all parks under five acres, which includes 22 of the city’s 34 urban Parks.

Protecting public health

“The council is the guardian of public health,” Councilwoman Liz kniss said, before supporting the recommendation, which got on unanimous approval from Kniss, Larry Klein, Karen Holman and Gail Price.

City may outlaw it at most parks

Kniss said the committee isn’t recommending the band because residents have complained about smoking in parks, but rather because second-hand cigarette smoke has been linked to cancer.

The ban would also make it illegal for those with medical marijuana prescriptions to smoke joints in small parks, since the ordinance would outlaw “combustion of any cigar, cigarette, tobacco or any similar article,” according to city attorney Molly stump.

Though the council members all agreed on making smoking illegal in Parks, Holman worried about whether it was right for the committee to expand the ordinance so far beyond the one listed in the agenda, which only proposed a smoking ban in three city parks.

“We’re expanding what was noticed a great deal.  I think the public should have the opportunity to weigh in on something like this,” Holman said.

Still time to fight it

But stump said that because the proposed law would still go before the council twice before it could be officially approved, residents who were against a smoking ban would still have enough time to appear. The committee said it was interested in banning smoking in all city parks and open spaces.

Park smoking ban studied, By Breena Keer Daily Post Staff Writer.  Article powered by Dragon Dictation an ipad App

National Cancer Institute

Don’t spit into the wind or pull on super PAPD cop’s cape

“Driver says he was spit upon in parking spat” as reported Daily Post today.

Finding parking in Palo Alto can be stressful, so much so that one man was cited for misdemeanor battery after allegedly spitting on a driver who blocked two parking spaces.

Police said psychiatrist Peter Lucy, 62 of Los Altos, became upset when a driver blocked two parking spaces with his car on 300 block of California Ave. at 9:25 a.m. Friday, essentially taking up two spaces.

Police cited Lucy for misdemeanor battery after the person he allegedly spat on called police to say he was putting Lucy on citizen’s arrest.

When contacted by the Post, Lucy said he didn’t assault anyone. however, he did not wish to comment on the incident further.

Magic Mike – A movie review 2012

Magic MikeIf you like men’s butts, you’ll get a face full in the film Magic Mike, the story of a Florida band of male strippers. Along with the bump and grind you’ll have some deep pearls of wisdom from the film to ponder such as:

What happens when you don’t like to follow ‘the rules?’

Deal with what you’ve already got or come up with some new sh…….

Remember, you’re not getting any younger.

And you are not your job.  No one is.  Though many people will try to domineer and impress you with their position, don’t fall for it.

Because the big question is about your dream.The American dream, maybe the world dream, which is to own something, to have ‘equity’ in somthing you own, produce and take pride in because ultimately it represents you, your imagination, yourskill, your heart.  Not someone else’s.

You can stay on and work for someone else, but that job, that product, that path is not yours.  Your dream ‘only works if you believe it.   If you have the courage to act on it.’

Steven Soderberg, the director, raised some good points here, but for odd reasons decided to make them with a butt in your face.

My wife liked the butts.  She thought they were beautiful.  And didn’t give a rip about the underlying message. Though she thinks it’s important to note that Matthew McCounaughey probably used a stunt butt.