News

East Palo Alto celebrates National Night Out

Neighborhood unity, cooperation with police emphasized during annual event

A barricaded East Palo Alto street was not the scene of a police action Tuesday night, Aug. 7, but a celebration to increase neighborhood unity and cooperation with police.

City officials met with residents in seven neighborhoods for National Night Out, the annual nationwide community-safety event.

Residents grilled hot dogs and mingled with police, and East Palo Alto officials paid for bounce houses where children played. A grinning City Councilman Ruben Abrica took photos.

Newell Road resident Peter Hernandez said he moved to the Woodland Apartments complex in 1994 from San Jose.

He thought the sound wall on the west side of U.S. Highway 101 was a barrier of safety from East Palo Alto's crime.

"I looked at that wall and I told the property manager, 'Thank God I don't live in East Palo Alto.' And she said, 'I have bad news for you. You do,'" Hernandez, an Army veteran and retired VA Palo Alto Healthcare System employee, said.

Now he said security at the apartments and neighborhood cooperation with police makes residents feel comfortable.

Sebastian Gutierrez, 8, helped turn the cooking hot dogs.

"I just met Sebastian today," Hernandez said, noting that one benefit of National Night Out is strengthening neighborhood ties.

He gazed around the street full of gathering residents and laughing children.

"I think of it as family," he said.

Comments

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Posted by Adams
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2012 at 10:54 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 8, 2012 at 11:25 am

I find it pretty horrendous and insensitive to open this article the way it did, "A barricaded East Palo Alto street was not the scene of a police action Tuesday night, Aug. 7, but a celebration to increase neighborhood unity and cooperation with police."

Why not keep an article positive throughout? This kind of thing keeps perpetuating the idea that only negative activities occur within our community, and I would appreciate attention being paid in future article publishings.

Thank you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Adams
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2012 at 11:59 am

The perception is created by reality and facts. Don't concern yourself with image and impressions Concerned Resident from EPA, take action to change the conditions that create these tragic realities. You cast blame at a newspaper publication for putting an innocent but ironic slant on a story, as if that is ever going to change anything. You'd be better off spending your time and energy putting pressure on your city and police department to combat the elements in your crime ridden city. When the crime, gangs, and drug dealing cease to exist, then so will the negative impressions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I do not cast sole blame on the article, what I wrote was a suggestion on what future writers on articles like this could apply. Any public conversation is a piece of the broader puzzle for the way in which a community is viewed/labeled/etc. As for the other actions you called on myself to do, I already do them.

Issues of perception can perpetuate with articles that begin the way this one did, again, it is merely my suggestion. As for the crimes in East Palo Alto, it takes more than just interacting with the police department and city officials to combat the greater social issues that create environments where crime persist. This is why I try to address the issue on several fronts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Adams
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

A news article has little or no impact on the perceptions that perpetuate the problems in your city Concerned. It's the violent crime, gangs, and drug dealing that perpetuate the perceptions. That and nothing else. Like I said, when those problems cease to exist then so will the negative perceptions. The image portrayed by a small market publication has nothing to do with it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Adams
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Seriously, enough of concerning ourselves with symbolism over substance. We become so worried about how others portray and perceive a community experiencing problems like EPA, as if the thoughts and impressions of those people are the cause of the problem. If EPA wants to change their community image, then develop, change, and stop being a haven for crime, gangs, and drug dealing. That's the only thing that will ever change anyone's mind.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm

So who is Adams and why did they just start popping up in comments about E. Palo Alto, acting like they know all that happens in the town? Some of their comments have been already removed, which is never a good sign.

I agree with Concerned Resident - the opening of the article is sensationalistic and insensitive and shouldn't have been published as such.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Adams
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2012 at 1:09 am

Adams is someone who has as much right to post a comment on this forum as anyone else. Who are you to decide or suggest that I shouldn't do so. Unbelievable. It doesn't take an expert to state that EPA has much more than its share of problems when it comes to dealing with violent crime, gangs, and drug dealing. How is this fact, and those choosing to ignore it, somehow less critical than a comment in a news publication. That's the point I was trying to make. Just more symbolism over substance.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Adams - what makes you so interested in commenting about East Palo Alto, instead of the multitude of other subjects posted here?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Adams
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2012 at 10:25 pm

In many ways these regional issues make a significant impact on our region. It's an issue that effects us all. I see no reason why I should have to justify my commentary. You yourself live outside of the EPA community apparently and yet you have no hesitation in weighing in. Unlike you however, I will not question or attempt to validate your ability to do so.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Currently living outside the community doesn't mean I always have nor does it mean that I don't work within the community. You also don't know if I live or work, or both, at Stanford. Pretty obvious that you have hostility toward the community of East Palo Alto, so that makes me suspect your motives for writing. Defending the opening sentence is also suspect.

The opening sentence of the article was INSULTING and should be changed. You criticized those critical of the opening paragraph, as one couldn't both help fix DECADES of issues as well as criticize insulting, insensitive reporting.

Of course regional issues overlap - that's inherent in the term. If it weren't for "regional issues" in the first place, East Palo Alto wouldn't have as many problems as it has had, historically and currently.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Adams
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm

No hostility at all. Not in the least. My thoughts have everything to do with encouraging people to focus on the root problems and realities that exist in EPA, and not jumping all over a journalistic comment that has zero impact on the issues at hand. Why cling to what little symbolic impact that comment could have? You act as though impressions and commentary like that are the sole reason why EPA is plagued with blight, violence, gangs, and drug dealing. With so many real problems and issues, how could anyone even think about being put off or offended by a media intro that was obviously meant as an ironic twist.

Significant progress in EPA will not be made until the parents, families, citizens, community leaders, and critics begin to take responsibility for their actions and stop shifting the blame for the situation they're in to everybody else but themselves. It's not the local government's fault, or the police department's fault, or the school system's fault, and certainly not the fault of a news story. They and they alone are ultimately responsibility for the vast majority of the violent crime, gang activity, and drug dealing that takes place in their city. To spend even a second taking offense to this news story is the ultimate example of the proverbial looking at the speck in the eye of another, while ignoring the board in your own.

I respect your opinion and right to express it. We'll just agree to disagree. Good luck.


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