News

Alma Plaza construction gets underway

Contentious project receives building permits, work begins on grocery store

Alma Plaza, a south Palo Alto development that earned the City Council's approval more than two years ago, hit a milestone this week when the city issued building permits that will allow construction to begin.

The permits are a major step forward for the contentious project, which was approved in January 2009 after dozens of hearings and vocal opposition from a group of area residents. The development by John McNellis will ultimately include a grocery store, 37 homes, 15 units of affordable housing, a small park and a community room. The grocery store will be a particularly coveted amenity for a plaza that has been without one since Albertsons closed in 2005.

This week, construction is set to begin on the centerpiece of the plaza -- a mixed-use building featuring the grocery store. McNellis said the permits will allow workers to start digging out an underground garage at the site.

Though McNellis is still searching for a grocer, he said there's been some progress on that front. He has been in talks with an independent grocer to run the new 20,000 square foot store, though nothing has been signed to date.

"We believe we're close to a deal with a market for the whole 20,000 square feet -- the first floor and the basement," McNellis said.

As part of the city's approval, McNellis is required to sign a lease for the new grocery store before he can start selling the first half of the new homes. The remaining homes could start getting sold once the store opens,

McNellis has yet to find a builder for the new homes (the original homebuilder, Greenbriar Homes, pulled out and launched a lawsuit against McNellis, which has since been settled), but he doesn't expect the search to be a problem. The new homes would have to be built exactly to the specifications approved by the council in 2009, he said.

He said he is just now starting to talk to homebuilders and expects to have one in place in the next 30 to 45 days.

Meanwhile, construction of the building that will include the new grocery store is scheduled to be completed in June 2012, he said.

According to Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie, who emailed a progress report on Alma Plaza to the council Tuesday, there could be some "site vibration during this phase and footings for the foundation are installed."

Comments

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Posted by mini market
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2011 at 10:06 am

Are these mini-markets really going to work? Palo Alto's tastes in foods are becoming increasingly diverse. These small food markets cannot possibly provide what everyone wants, forcing residents to drive to Mountain View or Cupertino for their shopping.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 15, 2011 at 11:06 am

Mini market--you can thank the NIMBYists in the city for the grocery store situation. We could have had a neighborhood shopping center (dedicated to shopping only) with a very nice sized grocery store. Unfortunately, these "neighborhood activists" kept on complaining that the store was too big (so much for walkable neighborhoods). We also had another "neighborhood activist" convince the council to put a building moratorium on Alma Plaza as part of the Charleston Road traffic study. Given that the council was afraid of upsetting these people, they did whatever they said (how high should we jump they asked). With all that the original grocer (which had gone fromLucky to Albertsons) said not thanks and left town.
Now when the new plan was proposed, the same "neighborhood activists" (this time led by a new person so that it would not seem that the group was anti-everything) complained that the grocery store proposed was too small. BTW, this group called themselves "the Friends of Alma Plaza"--talk about an oxymoron!!! And on and on it went, year after year,until approval was finally given. Of course there are some people who are predicting doom and gloom :

Web Link
"Moss said he still views the plaza's redevelopment as a "disaster."
"The project, if it ever gets built, is going to be a blight on the neighborhood," he said. "It's going to be far less retail than it should be, far too much housing. The traffic's going to be a god-awful mess and the parking's going to spill over into the neighborhood.""

And i say to that--too bad. If it is a disaster, it is a self inflicted wound. We could have had a shopping center with a large grocery store. Instead the council kowtowed to a small vocal group with an obvious agenda, to the detriment to the city at large.


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Posted by 35 years in south PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2011 at 11:26 am

*According to Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie, who emailed a progress report on Alma Plaza to the council Tuesday, there could be some "site vibration during this phase and footings for the foundation are installed."*

I'll be sure not to have any dental appointments scheduled at my cherished dental office that is adjacent.
What a disaster this has been! What was wrong with having the plaza remain a retail center? I love having Charleston Center within walking distance and would have been very upset to have the market and associated retail turn into yet more shoebox housing. (despite how the Charleston traffic calming has made auto access to the stores worse)
The old Lucky store was convenient for anyone who worked or lived in Palo Alto, easy access, good parking, in and out quickly so you could shop on your lunch hour or en route to pick up or drop off kids at school. A mini mart won't cut it. Was it the addition of housing into the mix that made the NIMBYs upset? If so, I certainly understand THAT.
Our developer-friendly city government has set out to pack as many bodies into Palo Alto as they can, to generate more revenues to plump up unsustainable employee benefit programs. Job security for the planning department! (but let's close fire stations, overcrowd the playing fields, and put kids into portables at schools)


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Posted by mini market
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2011 at 11:42 am

The Charleston Shopping Center was killed by NIMBYs. Lucky wanted to upgrade the store to meet the growing needs of the community. NIMBYs refused, forcing Lucky to abandon the store and the whole shopping center essentially became a ghetto for many years. The city needs to learn to stand up to the NIMBYs and develop what the large majority of the city's residents really need, regardless of whining from a few loud NIMBYs.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 15, 2011 at 11:46 am

35 years in south PA--you can read at the link below about the history of Alma Plaza. I think the original plan was to keep it all retail--the neighbors objected and the rest is history. As I said, an entirely self-inflicted wound.

Web Link
"Similarly, in 1997, Lucky's proposed rebuilding their antiquated 13,000-square-foot grocery store at Alma Plaza near Meadow Drive. They felt their store could not compete with larger markets in Menlo Park and Mountain View. Originally, Lucky's proposed restructuring their store at 50,000 square feet, but neighbors had major objections. Lucky's later asked for 44,777 square feet and then just 37,489. By 1999, Lucky's
was no more, but the new store, Albertsons took up the reverse bidding at 29,000 square feet, plus an umbrella-covered outdoor gathering area to get around the size ban. The plan was approved by the Planning and Transportation Commission, and support from the public (77% in a Palo Alto Weekly poll), but just as it was about to become reality it was held up by traffic concerns. Albertsons, by then in dire financial shape,
bailed out, closed the store and sold the property."


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Posted by 35 years in south PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2011 at 11:48 am

"The Charleston Shopping Center was killed by NIMBYs. Lucky wanted to upgrade the store to meet the growing needs of the community. NIMBYs refused, forcing Lucky to abandon the store and the whole shopping center essentially became a ghetto for many years. The city needs to learn to stand up to the NIMBYs and develop what the large majority of the city's residents really need, regardless of whining from a few loud NIMBYs."

Really? CHARLESTON? I will assume you mean ALMA Plaza? There was never a Luckys at Charleston Center, although Safeway had a small store there the current Piazza's.


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Posted by South PA Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 15, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Mini-market says: "The Charleston Shopping Center was killed by NIMBYs." The Charleston Shopping Center is located at East Charleston and Middlefield and never ever had a Lucky Store. Get your facts and location correct before being so critical.


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Posted by South PA Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Sadly, this proposed new mini-market on Alma will probably fail because a huge 65,000 sq. ft. Safeway is about to be built where Sears is on San Antonio Road right now.

Alma Plaza is mid-block, difficult to get into and out of. I disagree with Bob Moss, that site should have been zoned entirely residential.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm

"Sadly, this proposed new mini-market on Alma will probably fail because a huge 65,000 sq. ft. Safeway is about to be built where Sears is on San Antonio Road right now."
Actually good news.
We will have large Safeways on either side of PA--one in Menlo Park and one in Mountain View. Couple that with the Mi Pueblo in EPA, the Ranch 99 in Mountain View and no one needs to waste their time grocery shopping in Palo Alto. I have not shopped in Palo Alto for years. The size rule for grocery stores, made to protect JJ&F from competition and to appease College Terrace, has been a detriment to the city as a whole. People love to talk about walkable neighborhoods, but do little to ensure the survival of local shopping areas, instead kowtowing to the selfish desires of NIMBYists and "neighborhood activists".


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 15, 2011 at 1:49 pm

The article says the grocery store will be 20,000 sq. ft. but McNellis qualifies that by saying it includes a basement as part of the store.

I would guess the basement would be used for storage of products and merchandise. So the rest of an Alma Plaza store must be display space at ground level. I wonder how this display space will compare in size with that of the 20,000 sq. ft. Midtown Safeway and 20,000 sq. ft. Piazza's, both of which have display and storage space albeit at ground level only. My point is the Alma store display area may not be significantly smaller than its nearest competitors.

Having said that, the parking and entry and exit will be terrible no matter the store size.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm

We don't need any more boutique supermarkets, we do need a full service retail area. Midtown Safeway is too small and the others are too limited and too expensive. This site would have been an excellent choice for a sensible retail area with gas station. Instead it looks like we will still be driving out of town for groceries and reasonably priced everyday needs.


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Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm

"Midtown Safeway is too small"--too small for what? Its prices are no higher than prices at other Safeway stores.

Alma Plaza's store won't be that much smaller than Midtown Safeway, and it will be in walking distance for many people. And it's on a major schoolkids' bicycle route.

That's what this part of Palo Alto needs.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Please ease off the silly "NIMBY" slur. I imagine that many of you would be "NIMBYs" if the city approved a large government housing project or high speed train next door to your house.

Of course, this isn't the same. For the record, I support this construction project. However, it is silly to use the term "NIMBY" as if it were some slur.


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Posted by mini market
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm

The midtown Safeway is too small because the selection of products there is terrible, especially fresh meats and poultry, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs and spices, fresh bakery goods, and any kind of ethnic foods. A larger supermarket would have the room to expand their selection.


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Posted by Svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm

NIMBY is not being used as a slur. It perfectly describes the people that opposed any and all sized grocery stores at alma plaza and in doing so made sure that the area would remain derelict and vacant. How better to ensure that there will be no noise or traffic


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm

If you move close to an airport, rail tracks, shopping plaza, school, park, library, etc. etc. you know they are there and you know that they will produce noise/traffic/parking and the likelihood is that as the area gets more populated these airports/rail tracks/shopping plazas/schools/parks/libraries, etc. will get bigger/busier/updated producing more noise/traffic/libraries.

If you move into such an area and then complain about such amenity in close proximity to your home then you are a NIMBY. These amenities were there before the NIMBYs moved into their homes. They should not stop progress (because for the rest of us that is what it is). I find it beyond reproach that those who live close to an amenity refuse improvements for the rest of us who live locally.

Mountain View, Menlo Park, Redwood City and Sunnyvale, all appear to be able to update their City facilities. Palo Alto does not. We are living in last century amenities to a large extent because of NIMBYs.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I used to live right near this project, off of Charleston. The whole debate has gone on for so long that I lost interest in the final decision. It does sound like the NIMBYs painted themselves into a corner that will result in increased traffic- not due to the market, but due to the housing, in an area where there is some close by dense housing already.

I really understand people that are willing to buy into such high density housing for PA's amenities & schools & perhaps they'll keep the market in business. Thus far, though, it doesn't sound like a place that would be convenient for us to patronize when we're in that area, unlike Charleston Center. I can imagine many who live even closer might feel the same way. Maybe, though, as a smaller market, it'll attract shoppers on foot or bike needing just a few things. It also sounds like the high density housing can create a nice community & w/a shop onsite, that's pretty convenient. Of course, I'm in an optimistic mood right now ;-)

I am sorry that this has been such a trying development for so many. Sometimes those most vocal get the reward & other pay the price.


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Posted by laura
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 4:37 am

I watched this fiasco go on and on over the years and can only say that I am disgusted. Mountain View seems to do it right every time, as well as Menlo Park, for the most part, yet Palo Alto drags its feet on issue after issue. We are supposed to be an educated, progressive city but look how it operates. A total mess.........


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 8:48 am

@ svatoid:

Oh, there is no doubt that many Palo Alto residents have taken the word "NIMBY" and use it as a slur. For one, no one has literally said, "Not in my backyard." It is a poor attempt to stereotype the views of people who don't agree with your views of "progress."

Like I said, I support this development on Alma St. Why? I live in an apartment on Alma Street and understand the need for such a development. It isn't going to be a huge development anyway and could serve to potentially increase property values.

At the same time, I am strongly against the HSR. I have pointed out my reasons previously, and it is silly that some people still attempted to slur me with the "NIMBY" label. I was even accused of being an "old fogey" (but my husband and I are quite young and earn much less than the Bay Area average).

It is sad to see people base their defense of various projects by using the "NIMBY" slur. No one here is a "NIMBY."

I am not from Palo Alto originally. However, I certainly understand the idea of safeguarding this city from going in directions that I think are not in the best interest of my family or community. I suspect that many people would feel the same way if they were personally impacted by a decision of a small group of elected politicians.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 8:53 am

BTW...

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to compare Palo Alto with cities in the surrounding area. When my husband and I moved to this area, we visited many of the surrounding towns. We realized that Palo Alto is a MUCH better place to live!

Something have obviously been done right to prevent this town from going in the same direction as Redwood City, Mountain View or even Menlo Park.

Besides, those people that are often slurred as "NIMBYs" have just as much of a right to share their thoughts and concerns as the loud and angry people who favor some notion of "progress" at all cost.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2011 at 9:01 am

Nayeli--this dicsussion is not about HSR. I think it is pretty clear, to me, that the people that opposed Alma Plaza developement had an agenda. Nothing that was proposed satisfied them and they managed to drive away a nice sized grocery store and destroy a neighborhood shopping center.

"Something have obviously been done right to prevent this town from going in the same direction as Redwood City, Mountain View or even Menlo Park."
You mean progress, decent shopping--especially for groceries? Yes, we have not gone the same direction as other cities. We have chosen to maintain the status quo--drag things out with the Palo Alto process and let a few vocal people stop progress.
If you will note, the same scenario that occurred with Alma Plaza is happening with Edgewood Plaza.
We also drove out a nice tax source when the hotel at the corner of El Camino and Charleston left town after having enough of the "neighborhood activists" and the PA Process. We now have a giant housing complex that people complain about--another self-inflicted wound


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 10:36 am

@ svatoid:

I didn't say that it was about the HSR. Rather, I stated that I am tired of people using the "NIMBY" acronym as a slur directed at people who oppose a particular project.

Like I said, I support this particular project on Alma St. However, I am disappointed that some choose to slur concerned residents with a "NIMBY" label that only serves to lump together concerned citizens into one misleading stereotype.

As for the agenda: EVERYTHING is an agenda. It took an agenda to even want to BUILD on Alma. And, so what? Who cares whether or not they had an "agenda" to oppose construction? As far as I am concerned, the people who will be most directly impacted by a project of this magnitude are the ones who we should listen to first.

I also imagine that many residents would be upset if CalTrans announced a new highway would be built right next to their property. I suppose that they might be even more vocal if they discovered that their property values would be potentially effected by such a project. Should we use an slur (like "NIMBY") to describe them simply because they aren't sure that it would be the best thing for their families or community?

I urge people on every side of such discussions to share their concerns. However, I just wish that they could refrain from using that silly "NIMBY" slur. It is offensive and highly inaccurate as it pigeonholes all people who have concerns and labels them with a word that represents some preconceived obstinate prejudice. After all, the many people who oppose something may do so for many different reasons.

As for the surrounding communities: I wasn't just talking about shopping centers. I don't think that anyone would argue that we don't want shopping centers in this community. In fact, several already exist (often at the expense of others). However, I was not speaking about shopping centers. We aren't talking about the motivation to build a series of Wal-Mart and Target Supercenters along El Camino Real, University Blvd. and Page Mill Rd. in order to provide inexpensive alternatives for low income residents (like our family). We aren't talking about residents who oppose ALL forms of shopping in Palo Alto either. Why attempt to lump everyone together.

When I mentioned the other surrounding cities, I meant to provoke the question about WHY we would want to be like them anyway. We looked at Redwood City, Menlo Park, Mountain View and Sunnyvale. I sometimes shop in those areas (especially because we can still do monthly shopping with reusable plastic bags). However, those towns are plagued with crime and a general "feeling" that is different than what is found here in Palo Alto. I don't know if I can quite place my finger on what it is.

BTW, I do know that the crime rates in most of the surrounding communities is much higher than Palo Alto. In addition, much of the crime inside of Palo Alto comes from perps who live in surrounding communties too.

Again, I am not opposed to this shopping center complex. I think that the good outweighs the bad (but, of course, I speak from the position of someone who does NOT own property here). I am just opposed to the use of the word "NIMBY" as a slur to label everyone who may hold concerns or reservations about the approved building projects of certain politicians.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2011 at 11:28 am

"BTW, I do know that the crime rates in most of the surrounding communities is much higher than Palo Alto."

Sorry to burst your bubble, Nayeli, but according to this link it is not so:

Web Link

Based on 2009 statistics, Palo Alto has a higher crime rate than Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Santa Clara and even San Jose!!! So besides doing shopping right, our neighbors have less crime.

" I am just opposed to the use of the word "NIMBY" as a slur to label everyone who may hold concerns or reservations about the approved building projects of certain politicians."
There is a difference between expressing reservations about a project and organizing into a group (i.e. Friends of alma Plaza") to oppose any and all grocery stores at Alma Plaza. That is NIMBYism. HSR and new highways are not related to the topic of this thread


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2011 at 11:37 am

Unfortunately, PA has historically a lot of NIMBYness that has led to delays, confusion, waste of $$, frustration & frankly, public debacles similar to Alma Plaza. Surrounding towns make fun of the "PA Process" as do residents. The PA Process doesn't work. When someone has a good idea, someone else overthinks it & then it spirals & escalates from there.

Nayeli, you may not be aware of this history, but those who've been in the area for years, or former residents like me, know it's common & frustrating.

I truly don't believe it's the better place to live, but to each his own. I think most of the residents deserve more than the "PA Process"- that is, the residents who don't foment these problems. I'm an outsider as a resident, but when I lived there, I was unfortunately exposed to it time & again, & having worked there for years, I also saw it from the perspective of a hiring manager & employee. Yuck!

It has nothing to do w/education & intelligence, imo (although that's often the case in *my* town), but rather, too many cooks in the kitchen & most of them wanna have their own cooking show.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm

@ svatoid:

1. Like I said (but you failed to mention), most of our crimes are committed by individuals who do NOT live in Palo Alto. Moreover, our crime late is lower than MOST of the surrounding communities. More importantly, if you take away the THEFT from these statistics (that are, once again, perpetrated mostly by people from OUTSIDE of our town), the crime statistics in Palo Alto are remarkably low.

2. There is NO JUSTIFICATION for a select group of posters to audaciously prance around the PaloAltoOnline comment sections and label people as "NIMBYs." There is just no reason to use such a silly slur. So what if people don't agree with expansion in areas where they live? That doesn't justify a group of people to stereotype them with such a broad and misguided label.

Those people aren't opposing EVERYTHING that happens in their "back yards." Rather, as residents and property owners, they have a RIGHT to voice concerns about select projects that could affect them personally. But, that doesn't make them a "NIMBY." Many of these people who have been slurred with this ridiculous term obviously support businesses and business growth in this community. They merely share their personal concerns about specific projects.

The acronym "NIMBY" is just a silly slur and rhetorical fallacy akin to broadly dismissing dissenters -- rather than their specific concerns -- as closed or narrow-minded resident who "just don't get it." It strays from the issue and tries to paint any dissenters as having a preexisting closed-mindedness when it comes to ANYTHING happen in Palo Alto. Such a notion is just silly. It almost sounds like a "talking point" term used during political campaigns.

Like I said, I agree with this particular project on Alma. However, my support for this project only came after listening to all sides of the issue and drawing my own well-thought conclusion. Yet I also understand that there are some people with legitimate concerns. It would be disingenuous to slur those people as "NIMBYs" simply because they don't share my views on this matter.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

"1. Like I said (but you failed to mention), most of our crimes are committed by individuals who do NOT live in Palo Alto. Moreover, our crime late is lower than MOST of the surrounding communities. More importantly, if you take away the THEFT from these statistics (that are, once again, perpetrated mostly by people from OUTSIDE of our town), the crime statistics in Palo Alto are remarkably low."

Boy talk about trying to spin a previous comment. First of all the crime is not higher in neighboring communities--I provided the data. The point about crimes being committed by outsiders is irrelevant--first of all you do not provide any proof for your claim and second, you mentioned crime--not who perpetrated the crime and where they are from. As for your theft comment, that is irrelevant for two reasons--you, as previously noted, talked about crime--now you are saying we should take out certain crimes!!! Second, no proof for your claims. Sorry, Nayeli.

"2. There is NO JUSTIFICATION for a select group of posters to audaciously prance around the PaloAltoOnline comment sections and label people as "NIMBYs." There is just no reason to use such a silly slur. So what if people don't agree with expansion in areas where they live? That doesn't justify a group of people to stereotype them with such a broad and misguided label."
How about the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech?????? You call it a slur--fine that is your right. I say that in this case the label is justified and I have provided my reason for that claim.

"Those people aren't opposing EVERYTHING that happens in their "back yards." Rather, as residents and property owners, they have a RIGHT to voice concerns about select projects that could affect them personally. But, that doesn't make them a "NIMBY." "
They opposed every and all plans for Alma Plaza--first playing the "grocery store is too big" game and then playing "the grocery store is too small" game.
As someone else pointed out if you move next door to a shopping center, you should expect what comes with that.

"The acronym "NIMBY" is just a silly slur and rhetorical fallacy akin to broadly dismissing dissenters -- rather than their specific concerns -- as closed or narrow-minded resident who "just don't get it.""
You are entitled to your opinion on this matter. I have given reasons why I consider the organized group opposed to any and all renovation of Alma Plaza as NIMBYs. I would never say that they do not "get it". They knew what they wanted, they had an agenda, they knew how to work the system and the city council and they got about 10 years of peace and quite with no shopping center in their area. I bet you also, many of these people are proponents of the "walkable neighborhoods" concept!!!


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

@ svatoid:

BTW, those statistics that you linked were compiled by one man from the Campbell police department. I don't have the stats by which he created this, but I compiled one using the Palo Alto Police Department's own statistics:

Web Link

In 2010, there were 1,485 crimes in Palo Alto. Our population sits at approximately 60,000 residents. As a result, our crime rate would be 2,079 per 100,000 residents. That is remarkably LOWER than the 3,275 rate claimed by that one guy from Campbell. It is also quite a bit lower than the rates from surrounding communities.

Moreover, Palo Alto had approximately 113 crimes that were violent in nature (murders, assaults (including sexual crimes), and robberies). According to a police officer that I spoke with, the majority of these crimes were committed by people who do not live in Palo Alto.

Now, we didn't need to "see" the statistics when we first moved here. We toured the surrounding area before settling on Palo Alto. The atmosphere in Palo Alto, although "stuck up," appeared to be a much quieter and more desirable place to live.

Now, I am not trying to equate commercial building projects with crime. I am just saying that Palo Alto isn't nearly as "bad" as some seem intent to make it out to be. After all, I lived in Texas most of my life. We initially found many of the people of California to be much more rude and unfeeling than the friendly atmosphere that still pervades in many towns throughout Texas. I am sure that this wasn't always the case...it just seemed that way to us. It was a matter of perspective.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Nayeli, I don't know why you're always so insistent that crime in PA comes from outsiders. Truly, that's incorrect. Some of it does, some of it doesn't. I am not sure how long you've resided in PA & it's wonderful that you see its upside & love it so much. But there are many problems & the PA Process is a huge part of it. I could be wrong - please folks, tell me if I am - but I recall that the Walgreen's on Middlefield, where the Co-op used to be, was problematic. How about the Co-op on Calif Ave being turned into a Mollie Stone's? For some reason, I think that may have gone smoother, am I recalling correctly? Are there any other development/redevelopment projects around PA that have gone off w/out big PA Process issues?

But take the PA library, for example. When I've taken newbies there, they are appalled at it in comparison w/other area libraries. It's an example of City offerings that are not up to snuff, as Resident mentioned.

Nayeli, it's not that PA should be like surrounding cities, nor should they be all like each other. In fact, they're not. MP, LA & MV are quite different. Atherton, of course, isn't like any of the towns. EPA is of course the most different, for reasons good & bad. I don't think it's about being like the other cities, but there's a good clue here: they, espec. MV, seem to have smoother processes for dev/redev & PA is laughed at & referred to w/derision about it's horrendous "process". That's a serious flaw in these hard times. You can honestly love your city AND acknowledge this very serious flaw, as others here have.

Look at it this way: your denial of the NIMBYs & PA Process problems is akin to me denying the unemployment & economic issues in EPA. It doesn't mean we don't love our towns & work to make them better places to live, but it does mean we may need to open our minds about the problems.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm

@ svatoid:

* You wrote: ---> "How about the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech?????? You call it a slur--fine that is your right. I say that in this case the label is justified and I have provided my reason for that claim." <---

I suppose that you are just as protected to use such a slur as anyone would be "free" enough to use any other inaccurate or vulgar slur. It just isn't truthful to use a stereotype like that just to paint those who disagree with you with such a broad brush.

Again, I read many of those concerns and understood the rationale behind them. However, I disagreed with them too.

Then again, I wouldn't mind if a Wal-Mart Supercenter was built in Palo Alto (*excuse me as I duck any impending stones). I am weary from paying shockingly high prices for groceries at Safeway and other grocery stores in Palo Alto.

However, I would be pliable enough to listen to concerns about when, where and how to build such a thing that would take many things into consideration (traffic, home values, impact on local businesses, etc...).

Again, I am not even a homeowner. My husband and I are just starting out in this life after grad school, so we don't have any motivation to side with longtime residents who oppose certain building projects. However, I think that any conversation would be much more harmonious if we avoided rhetoric that can be construed as a slur.

I don't think that anyone is so audacious to truly believes that those people who oppose certain projects in Palo Alto are just "old fogies." I think that we are all looking out for what we feel to be our best interests and considering the interests of the community and trying to find the proper balance between the two.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm

@ Hmmm:

I am not insisting that ALL crime that happens here comes from outside of Palo Alto. Rather, I am saying that quite a bit of it does.

I have been told by a police officer that the majority of crimes in this community comes from individuals who live outside of our borders. It also seems that every article about burglaries, robberies, rapes, assaults typically involve suspects that lived elsewhere.

Our city's public sex offender list contains 14 registered offenders. Mountain View has 45 registered sex offenders. East Palo Alto has 30. Redwood City has over 100!

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that Palo Alto is perfect. It is far from it. I am just playing the "devil's advocate" with those who want to paint the current status quo of Palo Alto as a terrible place to live. Every guest that has visited our home has commented about how Palo Alto is a lovely community. Oddly enough, I don't think that we have had anyone tell us the same when we visited some of the surrounding communities. There may be a reason for it.

Now, I enjoy shopping at Target in Sunnyvale and visiting the Murphy Ave/Castro Street shops and restaurants. Hopefully, that is what San Antonio shopping center will resemble when it is completed. However, I just urge caution when we dismiss the views of others as coming from preexisting "NIMBYism" or under the notion that our community is somehow worse off than Mountain View, Sunnyvale or Redwood City.

Palo Alto SHOULD build (or redevelop) certain areas. I think that Alma project is one of them. However, there are some things that just don't need to change (or, at least, the change that is proposed).

Make sense?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

The term "NIMBY" is not a slur. It stands for "not in my back yard". People who are all for progress in business,or more housing, or for any other type of improvements as long as they are not anywhere near where they live are NIMBYs. It is not a slur. A slur is calling someone a name which is not acceptable due to the color of their skin, ethnicity or religion, where they live or a host of other things which they cannot change. A NIMBY is someone who chose to live in a certain place then refuses to allow change near them, hoping that the changes will take place so that they can benefit from them, but not willing to have the change close to them.

You may not be a NIMBY when it comes to Alma Plaza as long as it is small and doesn't attract many people from outside the neighborhood. But if it is too big for your liking and you want it to be close but not too close, then you are a NIMBY. It is not a slur, it is just describing your outlook. You don't want it in your back yard. It is not a derogatory term.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm

"I suppose that you are just as protected to use such a slur as anyone would be "free" enough to use any other inaccurate or vulgar slur. It just isn't truthful to use a stereotype like that just to paint those who disagree with you with such a broad brush."

I think resident summed up the issue of the use of the term "NIMBY" quite well. You mistakenly call it slur and react to it as such. I have explained numerous times how, IMHO, it applies to the people that have helped destroy Alma Plaza

"I have been told by a police officer that the majority of crimes in this community comes from individuals who live outside of our borders. It also seems that every article about burglaries, robberies, rapes, assaults typically involve suspects that lived elsewhere."
This is anecdotal evidence from a class of individuals that is not known for being truthful. I would prefer statistics issued by a reliable source.

What retailers have learned is to build near the borders of PA--Ikea, Home Depot, Best buy in EPA--Whole Foods in Los Altos--Safeway, Best Buy, REI in MV--Safeway in Menlo PArk etc. That way you do not have to deal with the PA Process and you still will get the PA shoppers.
Honestly, if we can not save two neighborhood shopping centers, do you really think we will ever get large retail in town??


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm

@ Resident:

I know what NIMBY is an acronym for. However, it is used as a slur by people who attempt to paint anyone who opposes certain projects (commercial buildings, apartments, HSR, etc...) as being prejudiced against it.

It is used as a wide way to paint dissent (much like the "You Just Don't Get It" fallacy).

However, if we use it in the connotation that you described, then all of us are "NIMBYs." After all, we would all oppose something if it personally affected us or our families detrimentally.

But, I still believe that it is being used as a slur that unfairly and inaccurately labels those who are simply sharing a disagreement over a certain project.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm

@ svatoid:

In one of my previous comments, I provided the link to the Palo Alto Police Department regarding crimes committed here.

If you do the math with those stats, you will find a much lower crime rate than the one that you linked to (from a guy in Campbell). Moreover, the actual rate would be lower than all but a few smaller highly affluent local communities.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Nayeli--Bottom line both EPA and Menlo Park have a lower crime rate than Palo Alto and there is disagreement about MV. So, your claim ("BTW, I do know that the crime rates in most of the surrounding communities is much higher than Palo Alto.") is bogus.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

@ svatoid:

Bad at math, are you?

I provided you a link with the REAL crime statistics from the PAPD. If you do the math, you will come up with a much lower crime rate than the one presented by the man in the link that you provided. It isn't rocket science.

If you REALLY believe that East Palo Alto has less crime than Palo Alto, then I invite you to walk down the street holding a laptop, iPod and purse at 11PM.

Of course, as I said, it would also prove that the crime rate here is much lower than the crime rates in most surrounding communities.

When you take into consideration that much of the crime committed here is perpetrated by visitors from outside of Palo Alto...and also that the daytime population of Palo Alto is roughly 2.5 times larger than the number of official residents...then you might be a bit slower than to take one flawed and unsubstantiated set of statistics and paint this community as more crime infested than East Palo Alto.

The point?

Palo Alto isn't nearly as "horrible" a place as some would paint it to be. We aren't in desperate need for "change" anyway. Some change is good...but some change can be horrible.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm

BTW, if you want to compare crime statistics between different towns and cities, why not use AreaConnect? They rely upon FBI crime statistics to draw comparisons. You can compare any two towns in the United States.

Unfortunately, the latest FBI statistics provided are from 2006. Nevertheless, it may be worth noting.

Web Link


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Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm

The article states that
" .... Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie, who emailed a progress report on Alma Plaza to the council Tuesday, ...."

I do not see the progress report included in the packet of letters released by the city yesterday afternoon. Could PA Online provide a link?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm

The point is, not what we call the people who prevent progress, that there are some people who are preventing progress. Progress may be something different to different people, but outdated shopping facilities for everyday items is the opposite of progress to me.

You may not like it, but I want my sales tax dollars to go to Palo Alto rather than Mountain View or Menlo Park. I know that groceries tend not to be big producers of sales tax, but when you include toiletries, cleaning products and other taxable items on the shelves of supermarkets, there is money being lost by Palo Alto every time I go to a decent sized Safeway in Mountain View instead of here in Palo Alto. Also, think of the gas I have to use to drive out of town instead of locally, as well as the traffic I cause.

This is just groceries, but every time we buy household items, kids' clothes, and just about everything else at affordable prices in Mountain View or elsewhere, that is a lot of money we are donating to the coffers of Mountain View.

The point is that people are standing in the way of my sales tax dollars getting into my city. It doesn't matter what you call them, they are doing it.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

"Bad at math, are you?"

Nayeli--I went to this link (Web Link) which was a link on the page you provided.
So I see, for example in 2010 1329 crimes in EPA, 807 in Menlo Park, 1633 in MV and 1485 in PA--seems to me that there is less crime in EPA and MP and slightly more in PA--the caveat being this was done by a local entity. The link I provided was by a county entity.
So you were saying about math???

Anyway, we are getting way off topic--this is about Alma Plaza and the NIMBYs who, IMHO, destroyed the shopping center. Crime is another issue. Stick to the topic


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm

"When you take into consideration that much of the crime committed here is perpetrated by visitors from outside of Palo Alto...and also that the daytime population of Palo Alto is roughly 2.5 times larger than the number of official residents...then you might be a bit slower than to take one flawed and unsubstantiated set of statistics and paint this community as more crime infested than East Palo Alto."
BTW, Nayeli, you have yet to provide any proof for this claim that you repeat over and over, because a local police officer (yeah they tell the truth, don;t they) said it was so. I am using your statistics to show that there is more crime in Palo Alto than EPA (1485 is still greater than 1329) and never have I made the claim that this city was crime infested. You made the claim the YOU KNOW that crime is lower in PA and I have provided two sets of proof, one from your link, that it is not.
So let the issue lay, Nayeli./


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm

@ svatoid:

First of all, you need to DOUBLE your stats on that chart, because East Palo Alto is more than TWICE the size of Palo Alto -- and that chart is not "per capita" or "per 100,000 residents" either. Look at CRIME RATE comparisons, such as the link that I provided that uses FBI crime stats. So, yes, your math skills might need some sharpening.

Secondly, I mentioned the stats from the PAPD because they are in stark contrast to the murky stats listed by the guy from Campbell in the link that you originally provided. In fact, your stat somehow ranked Palo Alto as one of the most crime infested cities in the area. When we looked at the REAL stats, the crime rate was all but lower than a few highly affluent (and smaller) towns.

Next, these stats are somewhat misleading in that Palo Alto is much larger during the day than our 60,000 resident population indicates. According to the city, the population increases about 2.5x during the day as people come to work. So, we could easily take our stats and compare those crimes (that are from an entire day) with the much larger daily population of Palo Alto.

Finally, my underlying point is that Palo Alto is not nearly the hole that you are trying to make it out to be. Some people seem intent on painting this town as something other than what it is. Does crime happen here? Yes...and much of it comes from perps who live outside our city. Is Palo Alto "stuck up?" Undoubtedly, there are some people who aren't exactly friendly with others. Are there people who are afraid that Palo Alto will lose its "old time" charm? I wouldn't bet against it.

However, Palo Alto is a nice place to live. I would argue that many people find it much nicer and safer than living in Redwood City, East Palo Alto or Mountain View. It is hardly the stink hole that some are painting it out to be.

As for the topic: Yes, please refrain from using that silly, asinine SLUR directed at people who are simply sharing or acting out of concern for their neighborhood and community. It is ridiculous to use such a broad and mean-spirited mis-characterization of people who simply disagree with your views. I don't agree with those who opposed the Alma Plaza redevelopment, but I am not going to selfishly resort to name calling either.

So, that is how I "stuck" to the topic. :-)


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm

@ svatoid: (*sigh)

You wrote: ---> "BTW, Nayeli, you have yet to provide any proof for this claim that you repeat over and over, because a local police officer (yeah they tell the truth, don;t they) said it was so. I am using your statistics to show that there is more crime in Palo Alto than EPA (1485 is still greater than 1329) and never have I made the claim that this city was crime infested. You made the claim the YOU KNOW that crime is lower in PA and I have provided two sets of proof, one from your link, that it is not.

So let the issue lay, Nayeli./" <-------

First of all, I simply mentioned that a police officer told me this. I didn't claim to have statistics -- but it is certainly as credible as that unsubstantiated link ("proof?" LOL!) that you provided.

Again, Palo Alto is more than TWICE the size of East Palo Alto -- and this is not even counting the much larger workday population here in Palo Alto! So, if there was the same number of crimes in Palo Alto as East Palo Alto, the crime RATE in East Palo Alto would also be more than TWICE as high as Palo Alto. Make sense?

Moreover, I provided two REAL set of stats that demonstrate a comparison of crime in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. You can use that same link -- that uses the FBI's stats -- to compare our city with others in the area. It is quite telling.

But, why am I even saying this?

I am pointing out that Palo Alto is a nice place to live. Sure, it may be old fashioned. However, it is hardly the stink hole that you are trying to make it out to be.

Moreover, there may be people who are concerned that Palo Alto will change into something that they don't want it to become. I imagine that the people of Venice don't want a floating Wal-Mart Supercenter built atop their canals. I imagine that residents of San Francisco or Saucelito don't want a Crazy Eddie's Discount Supercenter built at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. While there is arguably nothing wrong with those corporate establishments, it might not "fit" with the current trend of development (or non-development) in a city.

We shouldn't label someone with a word used as a slur simply because they oppose one or more proposals for development. As far as democracy is concerned, your vote is as good as any other -- including those people that you so freely label as "NIMBYs." And, like you said, this is a free country. They have every right to support or oppose a project even if they are going to be mocked with some politically correct acronym of scorn.

I agree with the Alma Plaza development, but there is no need to resort to name calling because they disagree with me.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm

@ Resident:

I agree...and your point is taken!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm

PS on crime statistics.

94303 area code is in Palo Alto and in East Palo Alto. 94303 is in San Mateo County as well as Santa Clara County.

This may have something to do with your crime statistics.


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Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm

SteveU is a registered user.

There was a rear Gate at the Alma Lucky's.
The NIMBY's closed it to All traffic (I would have restricted it to business hours and CARS: Exit only).

That would have been a far better solution than trying to jump traffic to make a Left on Alma.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Resident, I am not sure you are correct about the zip code in EPA correlating to the crime stats. PA is twice the size in pop as EPA, plus has a lot of industry & other businesses, so it makes sense that the crimes are higher, imo, although EPA is pretty close to PA. PA has a lot of property crimes, plus also has the oppty for financial crimes that we lack do to our lack of businesses.

Everyone has an opinion on the good or bad of where they live, as they're entitled to. I think many of us posting here who have had many, many more years than Nayeli of living in, dealing with or working in PA know the bad effects of NIMBYness. Her experience is much less, & quite restricted, lacking the knowledge that others here have. But the results of NIMBY in PA are evident, they are cause for derision from residents & non-residents alike & slow down progress w/out securing better results. Cutting off the nose to spite the face & all of that.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Hmm

I am not correlating the crime statistics with the fact that there is more crime in the Palo Alto 94303 area, but that records are often kept by zip code. For example, looking at car insurance, for a resident of 94303 zip code it is lumped together regardless of whether an address is in EPA or PA. Crime statistics may be collected by zip codes by one agency and by county by another. This may mean that depending on how the statistics are collated, a different number of crimes may be presented.


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Posted by Svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Nayeli-, you seem to be focusing on two ridiculous points-the crime issue which is irrelevant to this discussion (you seem to be petty uptight about the issue since you introduced out and I showed that your claims are wrong). Now you trying to spin the issue with claims of put of town perps and a larger daytime population. Jeez, give it a rest alreadyyour second hang up seems typo be about the use of the term NIMBY. O have stated my reasoning for using this term to describe the anti-alma plaza group. You cannot seen to let go off this issue and falsely claim I have no right to use this term. Just because you claim it is a slur does not make it a slur. You seem to have lost the argument and are now nitpicking a single issue since you have run out of ammo. Give it a rest. NIMBYs destroyed alma plaza,IMHO. End of story.


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm



Nayeli makes a compelling case and provides FBI derived evidence to support her position.

Well done Nayeli, we need more evidence based arguments like yours rather than the hype/spin that we see all to often on these threads


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Yes, Resident, I understand what you mean. That's not the case, however. I dimly recall learning how these stats are gathered & compiled & it's by agency, not zip code. I say dimly because I don't remember if this was from asking at community/cop meetings or the citizens' academy. I did ask a former EPA PD cop today this question & he said it's not by zip code. When I told him what the info was for, he looked at this article & commented that EPA needs more NIMBYs & PA less! I gotta agree w/that.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Makes a compelling case using FBI info for what, Sharon? The use of NIMBY really is a slur? Sheesh.

People, how much traffic do you think this will add, since it includes housing? Can the schools deal with additional students by the time these homes are populated?


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Posted by Svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Svatoid, were you surprised at the stats being higher in PA than EPA?

I think people might be surprised - not to mention refuse to accept - the fat that a good amount of crime in EPA is also from non-residents, crimes ranging from drugs buys/sales to dumping garbage (a huge problem). What's not unusual is to have a fair amount of crime be from non-residents, in many small to medium-sized cities.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm

If you've ever tried to accomplish anything in this town, or seen the palo alto process grind on up close, you will also be aware that we do have numerous individuals here in town who are nimbys. I'm sorry but it's simply true. It doesn't matter how many times you try and argue against the term, it is simply a shorthand way of referring to people who do not think in terms of the community as a whole, as in, what might be best for the most in town, but instead, only assume that anything that might benefit others is automatically going to harm their own prospects and therefore must be stopped. Alternately, they are involved with projects which they see as a benefit to themselves, but don't care about the damage it will do to others. We have lots of these in our midst, to our continual detriment, as a community and as people. Unfortunately, this sort of behavior is contagious. If you don't care about me, why should I care about you? Well I always try and consider the welfare of the group, even when it might not be the best thing for me. I said I try, but I don't always succeed. The wasteland on Alma that could have been an attractive benefit to the entire city has put us to shame long enough.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm

@ Svatoid:

No, I am not "hung up" with the fact that you are using an acronym (like others have done) to "slur" those who disagree with your supposed support for development in Palo Alto.

The term connotes a reject-development-at-all-cost mentality in the people that you label "NIMBYs." Since you cannot possibly know the motives of those individuals, you shouldn't use such a silly term that lumps people together under a common, misguided acronym.

After all, people oppose certain projects for a variety of reasons. Some might oppose the idea of a development project because the price of their property could decrease. Others might oppose the traffic that it could create on an already busy thoroughfare. Still others might oppose development because it competes with a nearby business that they own. And, still others may oppose it because it adds commercial business properties on an otherwise residential neighborhood.

Regardless, it would be improper to label such individuals as "NIMBYs" because many of the individuals who oppose this development might otherwise welcome a development elsewhere...or in areas of Palo Alto that they think are better suited for commercial retail development.

As for the crime statistics: I don't know how to make it any clearer that the "statistics" that you provided are in error. I even did the math for you. Yes, there were a few more crimes in Palo Alto from the chart that you provided. However, those are not crime RATES. Those are total numbers of reported crimes.

Your pointing this out doesn't take into account the fact that Palo Alto is more than TWICE the size of East Palo Alto. IT doesn't take into account that most of the individuals who perpetrated those crimes in Palo Alto came from ELSEWHERE. In fact, look up the different crimes on front page of the Palo Alto Online website. Where were the suspects from? In most cases, they came from OUTSIDE of Palo Alto.

The comparison website for which I provided a link to earlier takes FBI crime statistics and allows you to compare any two towns. I did that comparison with Palo Alto and Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and other towns. In most instances, Palo Alto had the lowest overall crime rates and the lowest in all categories except for cases of theft and burglary. Give the high average income of the people of Palo Alto, I suppose that is somewhat expected.

Web Link

Moreover, our city's state registered sex offender list contains 14 registered offenders. Mountain View has 45 registered sex offenders. East Palo Alto has 30. Redwood City has over 100!

WHY AM I SAYING THIS?

It seems like individuals often paint a negative image of Palo Alto as some sort of rationale for development. It is as if they assume that we NEED (or WANT) to be like other cities.

It reminds me of the Judaic story of asking for a king. The people demanded a king and Samuel asked why. The people replied, "So that we will be like other nations." Even though Samuel explained, "But you are not like other nations," the people still insisted on a king to rule over them.

To argue that we need every form of development is akin to saying buying every new cell phone, MP3 player or tablet PC when it comes out. After a while, you may have a drawer full of gadgets that never get used to their potential.

Palo Alto is unique. That uniqueness can easily be lost in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Have you ever driven through the length of the Peninsula on El Camino Real? From Redwood City to Daly City and from Mountain View to San Jose, it becomes a blur. Sure, there are some distinct places that set areas apart. Yet, for the most part, it seems like one giant, nameless urban sprawl. It seems like some cities have just lost their character.

Palo Alto still has a distinction that sets it apart from other places in the Bay Area. Remarkably, it has retained a small town feel in the heart of the Silicon Valley.

Sure, the city has its problems. One thing that we can't seem to stand is the frantic rush that so many workers in Palo Alto engage in each morning and evening. Some times, it helps to leave for work a little earlier so you don't have to get worked up in a frenzy and flip off elderly drivers who drive the speed limit (imagine their audacity!).

Yet Palo Alto is still a wonderful place to live. IMHO, it is probably the crowning jewel of the Peninsula for having maintained its quaintness. Remember: This perspective is coming from a young Latina who was raised in rural Texas and performed migrant farm work throughout midwest and south. We have had several guests stay with us from California and elsewhere who truly enjoyed staying in Palo Alto! Several of them remarked about its "charm."

After my husband and I toured the East Bay and other areas along the Peninsula, we knew that this was the best place for us. We had traveled from Texas for interviews in the East Bay, Oakland (holy cow!), Richmand (double holy cow!) and congested downtown San Francisco. We came to visit Stanford because this was where my sister would attend school. As we exited 101 (during a weekday) following four nonstop days of interviews and noise, we were surprised at the difference that we noticed in Palo Alto. It seemed like an "escape" from the clutter of the SF Bay Area.

So, Palo Alto might not NEED a major change. Yes, it would be nice to have some limited development here (so that residents don't take their business elsewhere). However, I have to question the need for some of those things too. Do we need a Costco when we have two within a five mile radius? Do we need a Walmart when we have one almost across the street from Palo Alto? Sure, it would be nice to have cheaper groceries and a better selection than what is offered locally. However, the big Menlo Park Safeway isn't too bad (although they could use a healthy dose of competition)...and the Sunnyvale Target is just eight miles away.

Again, I am saying this to contrast to any claim that Palo Alto is a bad place to live...or in desperate need of development. Things just aren't that bad. Moreover, some of the problems associated with development/redevelopment can often be worse than the status quo. And, I don't think that anyone should be embarrassed or called a "NIMBY" (as some petty slur) for opposing a development project for whatever reason that the individual feels is important.

BTW, I hope that you aren't taking anything that I write personally. Like I said, there are some good development projects that I would support. I support the Alma Place project...but only after fully considering the pros and cons. In this case, I feel that the pros outweigh the cons -- both personally and for the city as a whole. However, I will applaud anyone who thinks enough of this city to voice our concerns. After all, I believe that our government of the people and for the people should be done BY the people. This sort of "groupthink" sharing of ideas and concerns can make some projects come about quite slowly. However, the consideration of the costs and benefits is better than hastily jumping in over our heads.

Anyway, it is getting late. I won't read over this, so please excuse me for any typos, run-on sentences, incomplete thoughts or grammatical errors. English is my second language and I usually double check my words. However, I am just tired. :-P

Have a great night!


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 16, 2011 at 10:46 pm

The use of the term NIMBY is quite appropriate as the main opposition to the larger Lucky store was led by two individuals who lived very close to Alma Plaza and were opposed to anything that might have brought back the kind of traffic and patronage that had existed there when Lucky had been a thriving market (back in the late 70's when we first started shopping there). They were supported by a protectionist element that thought they could save the Co-op and JJF by limiting the size of supermarkets in Palo Alto (I think Piazzas also supported the anti-Lucky petition, even though they have a larger branch in San Mateo). Of course limiting the size and type of markets in Palo Alto has done nothing to stop smaller markets from closing (besides the Co-op, remember Midtown market, John's Town and Country, and All American?). The main consequence has been increased traffic as people drive to Menlo Park and Mt View to shop.

As others have pointed out, the discussion about crime rates is irrelevant. Having a few large stores (e.g. at Stanford Shopping Center or Frys) doesn't lead to more crime and does provide property tax to support city services such as the police force. Going back to the term "NIMBY," I don't think it is used for people opposing all development, but more often for people who oppose something that is close to them--in their backyard. There are plenty of people who think big supermarkets are fine, as long as they are in someone else's neighborhood.


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Posted by Long-Time-Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2011 at 5:53 am

> Palo Alto is unique.

Right .. so unique that it has ignored its fiduciary responsibilities to the City's infrastructure, to provide "amenities" to people who don't live here .. so that Palo Alto can be seen as one of the "grand dames" of wealth redistribution. While it has spent aue lot of time worrying about trees, its infrastructure has decayed to the point that the property owners are going to be sent a $500-$1B (read $1B to $2B with finance charges included) bill one of these days .. while the Marie Antoinette crowd will continue to "let them eat cake", and not see the massive failures of the City Government to manage our public infrastructure, or its/our public finances.

Fraud and corruption seep out of every pore at City Hall. But as long as the special interests that continue to claim "Palo Alto is unique" get their share, the improper use of public funds will continue.

In addition to NIMBY, there is another "N" word that we need to trot out about now--"Newbies" ... people with a lot of enthusiasm, but not much actual knowledge of this town. Well, we can only hope that one of these days they actually have their eyes opened, and get the word.




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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 6:35 am

"No, I am not "hung up" with the fact that you are using an acronym (like others have done) to "slur" those who disagree with your supposed support for development in Palo Alto."

Apparently you are, Nayeli. Myself and others have explained why the use of this term is appropriate for the people that destroyed Alma Plaza as a viable shopping center. End of story.

"As for the crime statistics: I don't know how to make it any clearer that the "statistics" that you provided are in error. I even did the math for you. Yes, there were a few more crimes in Palo Alto from the chart that you provided. However, those are not crime RATES. Those are total numbers of reported crimes."
In one case I used the numbers that you provided. In the other I provided data from Santa Clara county on a per 100,000 people. Spina ll you want, but the topic is about Alma Plaza, not crime. End of story.

"BTW, I hope that you aren't taking anything that I write personally."
Not to worry. I am not taking this personally.

Phil and long-time-resident are correct in their analysis.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:02 am

@ svatoid:

You wrote: ---> "Apparently you are, Nayeli. Myself and others have explained why the use of this term is appropriate for the people that destroyed Alma Plaza as a viable shopping center. End of story." <---

"End of story?" Not quite. I don't know how to better explain that your use of the word "NIMBY" is grafted with your opinion that people "destroyed" Alma Plaza. In their eyes, they didn't attempt to "destroy" the area, but tried to safeguard it. Thus, the term is infused with a notion that you (and those who agree with you) are right and anyone and everyone else is wrong.

By the way, I am offended by the term and I actually think that the development of Alma Plaza is a GOOD thing. I just don't think that it is helpful to a discussion to use a term with such a derogatory connotation that you are subtly attaching to it.

"For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all; all honourable men." - Mark Anthony in Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESAR

Even if you are right and these people are just against ANY development near their homes (but I can't imagine that you could even possibly know something like this), it doesn't necessitate the use of a label. Sometimes, even "honorable" words can have a negative connotation attached to them. It reminds me of the pundits who use terms like "liberal" and "neocon" as slurs. While those terms accurately reflect a surface-level of identity, they are often used negatively and inaccurately as a whole.

During the discussions of the HSR (which I oppose), I was labeled as a "NIMBY" by a few loud posters. It couldn't be further than the truth -- even though the same small group of people said it over and over again. I was even accused of being an old woman who has lived in Palo Alto all my life because I opposed a high speed train. Go figure. The reason that I bring it up is because it is the same label and it was meant to slur me. I am concerned that others may feel the weight of that same label incorrectly applied to themselves as well.

You wrote: ---> "In one case I used the numbers that you provided. In the other I provided data from Santa Clara county on a per 100,000 people. Spina ll you want, but the topic is about Alma Plaza, not crime. End of story." <---

"End of story?" I thought you tried to end it last time. LOL!

First of all, you didn't provide data from Santa Clara County. You provided a link to a web page that included some figures that were compiled by one man. I demonstrated that the math for those figures (in regard to Palo Alto) didn't "add up." So, I went to Palo Alto's own police website and gathered the list of crime statistics. These figures were validated by the FBI's own crime statistics. They painted a much lower RATE of crime.

"Spin?" I am not the one relying on silly labels that slur others. :-)

Besides, I looked at those statistics to validate YOUR claim that Palo Alto has a higher rate of crime than East Palo Alto. Ultimately, your premise proved to be incorrect. While Palo Alto had a few more instances of criminal activity, the population of Palo Alto is more than TWICE as large as East Palo Alto (not even counting for workday population growth). Thus, the crime RATE for East Palo Alto is about TWICE AS HIGH as the crime RATE of Palo Alto. If we were to count for workday population growth, that rate would climb to about 4.5-5x a larger rate for E. Palo Alto over Palo Alto. Moreover, much of the crime in Palo Alto is perpetrated by individuals who do not live in this community...and this is not reflected in the statistics.

To provide scale: Palo Alto has 14 state registered sex offenders. East Palo Alto has 30. However, since the population of Palo Alto is about twice that of East Palo Alto (not counting for workday population growth), the equivalent rate for East Palo Alto would be twice as large as the figure indicates.

I provided you a link that takes the FBI crime statistics and allows you to compare any two cities.

Web Link

Do you see the differences between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto in crime RATES?

The point -- and reason -- that I brought this up is to highlight that Palo Alto just isn't nearly as "bad" as some people would have us believe. Palo Alto is a great place to live. If it were like East Palo Alto...or Redwood City...or even Mountain View...many of us wouldn't choose to live here. After all, the weather is nearly the same and it is less expensive to live elsewhere. Yet we still chose to live in this community over the others.

Really, it isn't that bad. Even if Palo Alto were to remain relatively the same for another 30 years, I still think that this would be the best place to live in the Peninsula. OF course, I am not a longtime Palo Alto resident.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:28 am

Nayeli--
""End of story?" Not quite."

As far as I am concerned it is.

""End of story?" I thought you tried to end it last time. LOL!"
Laugh all you want.

"First of all, you didn't provide data from Santa Clara County."
the link I provided (Web Link) was from the Santa Clara police department and provides comparitive data per 100,000 people for the cities in the county. The results are clear
But let's look at your FBI link and look at Mountain View. Murder, rape, burglary and theft are higher in PA vs MV Murder, burglary and theft are higher in Palo Alto vs Menlo Park. This is from your source. So your original comment (BTW, I do know that the crime rates in most of the surrounding communities is much higher than Palo Alto.) is completely bogus and without any proof.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm

@ svatoid:

I wrote: "'End of story?' Not quite."

You replied: "As far as I am concerned it is."

Its okay. Early ending can be a common problem. ;-P

You wrote: ---> "Out and out lies should be addressed. the link I provided (Web Link) was from the Santa Clara police department and provides comparitive data per 100,000 people for the cities in the county. The results are clear."

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The link that you provided has a FOOTNOTE that says the information was compiled by a single guy, Kelly Terrones, from the Campbell Police Department. The actual statistics aren't even cited. So, I went to the Palo Alto Police Department and found the REAL crime statistics that are the same as found from the FBI website on crime statistics.

I took those statistics and even performed the Math for you! The crime rate PER 100,000 PEOPLE is much LOWER than the number that Kelly Terrones came up with. Maybe he forgot to carry the one? Still, I presented you the REAL statistics from Palo Alto AND a link to a website that utilizes the 2006 FBI crime statistics from Palo Alto (an unusually high crime year) for comparative purposes.

You wrote: ---> "But let's look at your FBI link and look at Mountain View. Murder, rape, burglary and theft are higher in PA vs MV Murder, burglary and theft are higher in Palo Alto vs Menlo Park. This is from your source. So your original comment (BTW, I do know that the crime rates in most of the surrounding communities is much higher than Palo Alto.) is completely bogus and without any proof." <---

You obviously have a problem with numbers. Before you judge Palo Alto and other towns, look at the actual NUMBERS. I think that you just looked at the charts.

You are claiming that Palo Alto had a higher rate of murder than Mountain View (from this website)? How is 0 murders in Palo Alto in 2006 HIGHER than 0 murders in Mountain View? Hmmm. I think that you not only looked at the charts (and only the charts), but you conveniently forgot to read the footnotes about how the charts were formulated.

As I said before, the only statistic that shows a higher level of crime in Palo Alto is in burglary and theft. And, also as I said before, this is expected given the much higher per capita income in Palo Alto.

You wrote: ---> "You consider the term NIMBY a silly label and a slur. FIne, continue to hold on to that belief. Myself and others have explained over and over and over again why we are using the term and , in our opinions, it is a justified claim."

I couldn't care less that YOU and a few other "NIMBY"-spewing posters think about the term. You are obviously using it in a derogatory manner. I am beginning to think that the longtime residents have had a tough time with people like you who think that you are so right that you spew such insults so "freely." You can use the slur "NIMBY" to your heart's content, but most residents know that it is meant to invoke your own opinion about the motives of people who disagree with your views.

You wrote: ---> "You seem to be nitpicking and trying to spin your comments. Get over it. move on, Nayeli."

So, who made you the Chief Justice of the free speech posse? BTW, I feel sorry for you if you think that I was the one "spinning" comments, MR. NIMBY accuser. It isn't nitpicking to question the rationale of your argument -- that Palo Alto is a horrible place if we don't develop projects that YOU approve of. It also isn't nitpicking to question the wisdom of using a derogatory term directed at those who simply disagree with your opinions about a development project.

You wrote: ---> "try to stick to the topic--Alma Plaza--and not crime statistics, HSR, super Wal_mart, Caltrain Superhighways and other distractions that you write long winded discussions about."

And you might want to try to stick to the topic without broadly and audaciously painting Palo Alto as a terribly backward place to live or as a crime-infested city filled with people who oppose construction out of some mindless desire to stop progress.

As for "long-winded:" I apologize if my words are too long. Like I said, English isn't my first language. Thus, I try to make myself clear for people who have difficult times understand basic logic, primary level mathematics or norms regarding civility.

I have to go now. Of course, I suspect you will throw in yet another parting insult directed at me for simply asking for caution before using the "N" word ("NIMBY") directed at people who just don't agree with your arguments. The funniest thing in all of this is that I actually AGREE with the Alma Plaza development -- just not the rude manner by which you dismiss those who do not.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm

BTW, just for kicks, I ran the PAPD's statistics for 2009 regarding Palo Alto's crime rate.

Using the PAPD's actual data (which corresponds to the data from the FBI), the crime rate for Palo Alto in 2009 was 2522 per 100,000.

This is a stark contrast with the figure of 3275 per 100,000 from the link that you provided that was conducted by Kelly Terrones. Maybe Mr. Terrones erroneously combined Palo Alto and East Palo Alto? Regardless, his math was bad.

In fact, the REAL figure derived from the PAPD/FBI stats would place Palo Alto with the third LOWEST crime rate for cities over 40,000 in population...just slightly lower than Sunnyvale, Cupertino and Morgan Hill.

Gotta run. Have a great weekend!


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm

*fourth lowest for cities over 40,000 in population


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm

"BTW, just for kicks, I ran the PAPD's statistics for 2009 regarding Palo Alto's crime rate.
Using the PAPD's actual data (which corresponds to the data from the FBI), the crime rate for Palo Alto in 2009 was 2522 per 100,000.'

Not really. If we go to the website you provided (Web Link) and take the number of crimes for 2009 which is 1802. the population reported on that page for PA is 61,200. Divide 1802 by 61,200 then multiply the result by 100,000 and you get 2944 crimes/ 100,000 people.

"This is a stark contrast with the figure of 3275 per 100,000 from the link that you provided that was conducted by Kelly Terrones. Maybe Mr. Terrones erroneously combined Palo Alto and East Palo Alto? Regardless, his math was bad."

Why do you assume that his math was bad and not theirs??


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm

@ svatoid:

I used a different population figure for my results. I didn't find a population total in the PAPD link that I provided.

Still, the rate of 2944 per 100,000 is still lower than the one stated by Kelly Terrones.

Moreover, this still doesn't take into account that Palo Alto's workday population is 2.5x larger than its number of residents...or that much of the crime is perpetrated by individuals OUTSIDE of Palo Alto...or that our violent crime rate is much lower either.

Most importantly, it demonstrates that Palo Alto is NOT the center for criminal activity that some would paint it out to be.

Yes, it is true that Palo Alto has criminal activity. However, it is still a much slower-paced place to live when compared to some of the surrounding communities. Some people just don't want that to change. It isn't because they are motivated by mindless and stereotyped "NIMBY" old fogeyism. Rather, many people simply realize that some change can be worse than the status quo.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm

BTW, Palo Alto's crime rate decreased dramatically in 2010.

Using your population figure (unadjusted for the workday population), Palo Alto's crime rate was just 2426 per 100,000 in 2012.

Not too shabby, huh?


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Nayeli--from your link
Web Link
"In 2009, the population of Palo Alto was approximately 61,200 "

"Still, the rate of 2944 per 100,000 is still lower than the one stated by Kelly Terrones."
Maybe the PA numbers are wrong.

"Moreover, this still doesn't take into account that Palo Alto's workday population is 2.5x larger than its number of residents...or that much of the crime is perpetrated by individuals OUTSIDE of Palo Alto...or that our violent crime rate is much lower either."
Irrelevant. You would then have to go and do the calculations for other cities using those criteria. BTW, where do you come up with 2.5X the population and most crime is by out of city perps? I did not see any links for those claims

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

"And you might want to try to stick to the topic without broadly and audaciously painting Palo Alto as a terribly backward place to live or as a crime-infested city filled with people who oppose construction out of some mindless desire to stop progress."

Who introduced the issue of crime? I think you did. (Posted by Nayeli, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 16, 2011 at 10:36 am
BTW, I do know that the crime rates in most of the surrounding communities is much higher than Palo Alto. In addition, much of the crime inside of Palo Alto comes from perps who live in surrounding communties too.)
You made a sweeping, general statement, which has been shown to be false both by mine and your numbers.


This discussion was about ALma Plaza and how a group of people delayed construction for years. If you want to extrapolate and claim that my comments apply to the whole city, then feel free to do it.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Possible facts
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I apologize for offering a relevant bit of information.
I have read that when McNELLIS bought the property from ALBERTSON'S part of their agreement was that the future market would not be full size.
Also, there is no rule about 20,000 square foot limit, in fact several markets in town are larger.
Look it up svatoid and please don't rant at me, I won't respond. You remind me of Mike's never ending rants.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm

@ svatoid:

You wrote: ---> "Maybe the PA numbers are wrong."

That is quite a claim! So, the PAPD and FBI are releasing bogus crime statistics? Upon WHAT exactly are you basing such a possibility? What makes you think that towns like East Palo Alto wouldn't do the same?

To be perfectly clear: I feel much safer walking down the streets of Palo Alto than East Palo Alto, Redwood City or even Mountain View -- and I am a Hispanic woman!

You wrote: ---> "Irrelevant. You would then have to go and do the calculations for other cities using those criteria. BTW, where do you come up with 2.5X the population and most crime is by out of city perps? I did not see any links for those claims"

It isn't irrelevant. After all, YOU were the one who initially and erroneously claimed that East Palo Alto has a lower crime rate than Palo Alto. As for the workday population of Palo Alto, I found this before we moved here from Texas.

A quick Google search found these links:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Those indicate a daytime population roughly 2x larger than the number of residents. However, they don't include the population of Stanford in those stats (generally regarded as a part of Palo Alto).

You wrote: ---> "As I said, out and out lies need to be addressed. You stated earlier ("First of all, you didn't provide data from Santa Clara County."), when I have provided a link to Santa Clara County data compiled by a Campbell police officer (Web Link)."

First of all, it is RIDICULOUS of you to consider it a "lie." The link that you provided was NOT "data from Santa Clara County." It was a single claim from one police officer from Campbell who didn't cite his sources at all. I might give SCPD or Campbell PD a call and find out just WHAT figures that Kelly based his claims upon. Still, those uncited figures weren't accurate by either the PAPD or FBI crime figures.

Moreover, you provided a link...and not the real stats.

You wrote: ---> "Fine with me. However you seem to be coming back to this matter over and over and over and over again. I suggest you stew on it for the weekend. I intend to continue to use this term for this discussion."

Despite your instructions to "get over it" or allow your erroneous claims to be the "end of discussion," I find it humorous that you are the one who keeps bringing a rebuttal in defense of your use of a derogatory term used by you and those like you to describe those who disagree with you. "NIMBY" is used as the epitome of the definition for "slur." Maybe you should "stew" on the thought of how you would feel if someone labeled you with a similar slur? Maybe someone could call you a "BIROTOM?" I admit: I found it online...and it means "Build It Right On Top Of Me." hehe Of course, I wouldn't stoop so low as to use such a ridiculous term to erroneously stereotype your attitude based upon your position on a few matters.

You wrote: --->"I will toss that question back at you. You seem to be questioning my right to use the term NIMBY. BTW, you will notice that the editors have not deleted any of those postings."

I haven't reported any of your content. Either way, I have seen plenty of uses of the word NIMBY here previously. I think that most people just roll their eyes when they see the parrots repeating the term in a tired "attack the messenger" fallacy.

You wrote: ---> "Who introduced the issue of crime? I think you did. (Posted by Nayeli, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 16, 2011 at 10:36 am"

I brought it up to dispute your insinuations about the condition of the city. I brought it up to point out that Palo Alto is NOT a bad place to live -- especially when compared with surrounding cities.

You wrote: ---> "You made a sweeping, general statement, which has been shown to be false both by mine and your numbers."

Nonsense. It is difficult to believe that you would even claim such a thing. The statistics from the websites that I provided -- and the evidence contrasted with the link that you provided -- prove that Palo Alto is safer than most of the surrounding cities. In addition, I completely stand by my claim that much of the crime that occurs here comes from perps who live elsewhere and bring their deviant behavior into our town.

You wrote: ---> "This discussion was about ALma Plaza and how a group of people delayed construction for years. If you want to extrapolate and claim that my comments apply to the whole city, then feel free to do it. The only reason I have gone away from the topic is to address your ridiculous, out of place and untruthful claims.

Give it a rest, Nayeli."

I'll tell you what: If you can control yourself and stop using baseless insinuations about how horrible Palo Alto has become...and also refrain from using the term NIMBY as a deragatory term directed at those who might disagree with your goals...then I will "give it a rest." Until then, I don't have to give in to your admonition to remain silent just so you can have your way.

However, I don't have a problem "resting" from this issue anyway. As I said, I have no problem with Alma Plaza. I just have a problem with people who audaciously prance around with words that reflect an underlying notion that their opinions are the only ones that count.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I just wish that we could discuss the condition of Palo Alto and its future without resorting to name calling or labels.

I do see the importance of certain well-considered development projects. However, I have found that hasty development projects can often be much worse than no development at all.

Most importantly, Palo Alto is one very nice place to live! There is an old-fashioned charm in this town. Even though I never visited this area before we moved here, it is almost...nostalgic. I don't think that my husband or I would want to live anywhere else in this area.


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Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 17, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Nayeli and svatoid,
why don't the two of you hash out your differences in person? I'm sure you'll be much more civil when you can't hide behind the safety of a chat forum. Also, this thread is about Alma Plaza, not crime stats.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:25 am

Possible Facts-
"I have read that when McNELLIS bought the property from ALBERTSON'S part of their agreement was that the future market would not be full size.
Also, there is no rule about 20,000 square foot limit, in fact several markets in town are larger."

Yes. That is true. But the clause regarding size came after the sale, while Albertsons was still around. I think they did not want competetion. The original supermarkets proposed for Alma Plaza were to be full size.
The 20K square foot rule may not be written into law,but it is adhered to in Palo Alto. the only store that my be larger is Andornicos.
Here is a link that mentions this rule:
Web Link
"The 20,000 square-foot size limit on supermarkets certainly drives residents to shop in other locales. "


Nayeli--
"I brought it up to dispute your insinuations about the condition of the city. I brought it up to point out that Palo Alto is NOT a bad place to live -- especially when compared with surrounding cities."
One last comment regarding this matter.
I never stated PA was a bad place to live. My comments prior to your crime comment were regarding Alma Plaza and how , IMHO, we do not have decent grocery shopping in town. I also mentioned the Arbor Real complex which replaced a tax generating hotel.

Jim H-
"Also, this thread is about Alma Plaza, not crime stats."
That is what I have been telling Nayeli for many, many, many posts. of course you are right, any more comments form him regarding crime or non-Alma Plaza issues will not be addressed




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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:51 am

Palo Alto is a great place to live. We have some great amenities nearby but unfortunately not always in Palo Alto. Stanford Shopping Centre is great at what it does, but it just doesn't cater for everyday needs for everyday folks. We have some great boutique markets but they don't cater for weekly shopping for a growing family, particularly if you put a couple of teenage boys in the mix.

We go out of town for most of our family and household needs. It is not very far, but we are giving our tax dollars to neighboring cities who use Palo Alto tax dollars to improve their cities but not to improve ours.

I don't think any of us want to see duplicate Costcos, Targets, WalMarts in town when we have them close by, it doesn't make sense. But getting a really good grocery store for one stop comprehensive shopping, would make sense. Unfortunately, some of our own residents are the problem. Alma is one of the main arteries in town and this site could have been used to upgrade our shopping experience for all Palo Altans. With minimal road configuration, Alma is an ideal street for dealing with the traffic and a back entrance for neighborhood use was already available.

The local residents behaved badly rejecting various ideas for which we all suffer. Instead we get a medium sized retail area and more housing which produces more problems, including more students for our schools.

I truly hope we can get some decent sized supermarket in town without someone throwing a wrench in the works.


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 18, 2011 at 11:36 am

In regards to the 20,000 limit, it applied/applies to "neighborhood shopping centers" like Charleston and Midtown (not specifically to Alma). But some people (not I) who lived near Alma wanted it applied there and helped Co-op, JJ&F, and Piazzas to spearhead a petition ("hold the line" or something like that) restricting Lucky to 20,000 sq ft. They eventually got their way, even though the planning commission went along with a medium-sized store (but not a large market like the Whole Foods and planned Safeway in Mt View). I agree with everything Resident said except I would qualify "local residents" as "some local residents." Most of my neighbors (three blocks away), preferred a larger market with additional smaller shops--certainly not the small market and housing we ended up with. But a few loud opponents managed to get a moratorium put on Alma, which killed the plans (Albertsons gave up and pulled out). Ironically, Co-op closed, JJ&F is going away and the small store we will get will compete much more directly with Piazzas than a chain like Albertsons or Raleys, likely hurting their business.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2011 at 12:17 am

@ svatoid:

*Sigh.

First of all, I am not a "him." I thought that the mention of my husband or that I am a Latina woman would suffice to indicate as much.

Secondly, I made it clear that I brought of crime in my first response to you as a means to question the rationale about becoming like some of these neighboring towns. However, you were the one who desperately attempted to drive your rebuttal about crime statistics that were meant to paint Palo Alto in a negative light -- even saying that our crime rate was higher than East Palo Alto (while evidence pointed to the opposite being true).

As I have stated several times before, I was simply trying to show that Palo Alto is not nearly as bad as some would have us believe. You were the one saying that we needed to be aggressive so that we can push development projects like other cities. I pointed out that we are NOT like those other cities (which led to my initial mentioning of crime stats). You seemed to focus on the crime stats and run with it...which was very...weird.

If there is such a need for "change" in Palo Alto, then the burden of proof should be with the individuals pushing for such change. Like I said before, Palo Alto is quaint and has interesting and unique characteristics. I supported the Alma Plaza development, but I can very much understand the desire to safeguard this community from every whim for development. We don't NEED to be like other communities.

And, of course, I pointed out that it can be very condescending when someone uses an acronym like "NIMBY" in a derogatory manner to label those with whom the disagree. I understand that you aren't aware that such a label can easily be taken as a slur or as a condescending use of a misguided stereotype. Let me be clear: It is.

I have spoken with many neighbors here who detest the use of that silly acronym. They feel that it is unfair to characterize someone over and over again with a word that glazes over their actual views and doesn't properly speak to their more specific feelings for each individual development project.

I hope that this will finally "put to rest" any misunderstanding about what my concerns were centered around and I hope that you will be more thoughtful about your use of that term in the future.

:-)


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Posted by freeofspeach
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2011 at 12:34 am

For your imformation,everyone has the freedom to say the opinion about our city, or not to say anything.


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Posted by Svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 19, 2011 at 9:24 am

Thanks, freeofspeech. Well said. I stand by my use of the term NIMBY in the context of alma plaza.


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Posted by Anna
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

I live near Alma Plaza, and I wish we could have decent retail close by. A tiny grocery store will be better than nothing, but I will still have to drive past Alma Plaza ("generating traffic") as I drive to nearby cities which have large grocery stores with enough products. Not very green, for a city which thinks it is green.

The Palo Alto model for too-small grocery stores guarantees that the stores will struggle. They also have to be more expensive, and some people in Palo Alto actually aren't rich, in spite of what the City Council thinks. So the city misses out on the sales tax income (don't we need that?), and generates more traffic and smog as we drive to other places.

Just once I would like the City to ask me what I want. A simple surveyenclosed with the utility bill would reach everybody. It's not hard (for smart people).


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Posted by freeofspeach
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm

We came here for freedom,yes,we are free to speek our own will.


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Posted by Possible facts
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Long time res wrote:
Fraud and corruption seep out of every pore at City Hall. But as long as the special interests that continue to claim "Palo Alto is unique" get their share, the improper use of public funds will continue.
Years ago I would have disagreed with this statement but watching department after department corruption come out, I strongly agree.
Public Works and broken streets and a long history of bad leadership, Utilities increases in rates, Planning Dept phony "citizen" Task Forces filled with developers; and gives away the store to well connected money interests, a Library whose main goal is to entertain children and reduce hours, Upper management that approves chopping down trees, previous Auditor who saw her part of her job to do public relations for the city, a staff that fills the air with long windy statements. And a web site that is a disgrace.
I'm sure others can add more.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jun 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

My friend adopted a dog from Palo Alto -- she named it NIMBY.


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