Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 30, 2010

'End vehicle dwelling,' College Terrace petition asks

Residents ask city to ban living in or storing vehicles in neighborhoods

by Sue Dremann

Two years go Palo Alto city officials said they planned to craft a new ordinance to prohibit sleeping in cars overnight.

But a cat-and-mouse game of vehicle shifting on city streets continues to frustrate residents and businesses.

And some College Terrace residents are tired of waiting. The residents are circulating a petition to demand that city officials enact and enforce such an ordinance.

College Terrace residents and business owners, who must look at dozens of stored and aging cars and vans in front of their homes and shops some with people living in them say they are frustrated that the problem still exists.

Palo Alto is the only city in the area without a no-dwelling code in its vehicle ordinance, according to Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin. Mountain View, Redwood City, Sunnyvale and Menlo Park have ordinances that forbid living in vehicles on city streets.

Palo Alto does have an ordinance that limits parking in one spot to 72 hours. But that does not deter vehicle dwellers and persons who use city streets to store vehicles, according to police Community Services Officer Stacy Henderson.

At least two vehicle collectors, who do not live in the neighborhoods, have as many as 10 or more vans and autos that they shift from one parking spot location to another, she said.

In November 2008 Larkin told the Weekly he expected the City Council would decide by the end of that year if it wanted to go forward with an ordinance.

But Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie said last week the topic has not been discussed for some time.

Larkin said there is still interest by staff in creating the law but it is still in the discussion stages.

The problem is not restricted to College Terrace, Henderson said.

"It's near Greer Park, downtown, behind the California Avenue Caltrain station you name it, it's all over," she said of the overnight parking situation.

Henderson said she marks and checks between 25 to 50 vehicles per week. People who leave the cars are not from the area and are looking for a place to put the vehicles, she said.

"It's the same cars over and over, all the time. It's crazy."

Doria Summa of the College Terrace Residents Association is helping circulate the petition.

She said she sympathizes with the vehicle dwellers, but the collection of cars and vans has at times attracted transients who drink and get into loud arguments. Without basic amenities such as toilets and showers, people dwelling in vehicles can pose a health issue. she said.

Some neighborhood residents, especially those with small children, don't feel safe, she said.

Summa pointed to two mini-vans that have been parked in the same place for three weeks.

"One man has so many vehicles that early in the morning I've seen him out there with a notepad. He will wear a light on his head and mark down (the time and day and where he has parked the vehicles)," she said.

Things have improved since the College Terrace residential permit-parking program began in November 2009, she said. The program allows only two-hour parking on neighborhood streets unless one has a permit on streets that have opted in.

Sunil Kulkarni and Sujath Patel agreed the permit program has improved their neighborhood's quality of life. For 1.5 years, people regularly lived in campers on Yale and adjacent streets until permit parking was in place.

But that hasn't eliminated the issue for everyone, they said.

"The problem is fixed here but it's shoved down to other areas," Patel said, pointing north toward Oxford Avenue and Staunton Court. "It's an abuse of the parking. It shouldn't be there," she said.

The vehicles also impact small businesses, according to Dennis Garcia, co-owner of JJ&F Food Store at 520 College Ave.

The family-run grocery is situated between Staunton Court and El Camino Real. The vehicles are an ongoing concern and take up street parking that serves customers, he said.

"It would be beneficial if they put a time restraint on parking in the vicinity of the store," Garcia said.

Liz Anderson, senior account manager at World Centric on Staunton Court, said the company has not been affected. "There have been no issues. The people have been very nice and helpful and clean around the area. There are no issues of disorderly conduct," she said.

Vinh Luu, manager of The Futon Shop at El Camino and Oxford Avenue, said he feels sorry for people who are less fortunate and he has been tolerant. But he is beginning to worry about the presence of shopping carts filled with belongings at a property adjacent to his store.

This summer many more homeless persons are in the area, he said.

"I don't want them here forever. People are going to say they don't want to come here because there are bums," he said.

Another local shop manager voiced similar concerns.

"I've had people come into the store and they won't use the side entrance because of the vans," the manager said on condition of anonymity.

"There's a perceived safety concern. It's not good for the city either. If customers drive down to Los Altos or up to Menlo Park, the sales tax goes to those cities and leaves Palo Alto," he said.

Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at sdremann@paweekly.com.

Comments

Posted by James, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2010 at 10:34 am

This is simple. Update the ordinance, stop the game playing of moving cars around, and the small dedicated group of people who are manipulating the law will move on. The law must be resolved before any help can be extended to the people who are called out by the College Terrace residents and business proprietors.


Posted by Concerned Citizens, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2010 at 10:35 am

This is a issue in the University South, Crescent Park and Downtown North neighborhoods as well. There are people from outside the neighborhoods with fleets of cars which they move from space to space to avoid the 72 hour rule. The best move the city could make is to require permits for all street parking and use the available ample resources from the neighborhood residents associations who are already monitoring the problem.


Posted by FB, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2010 at 10:46 am

When Facebook finally IPOs in a couple of years, all those kids will finally be able to afford their own houses.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2010 at 10:47 am

And at the same time, there is very little 4 or 5 hour parking near downtown. During the World Cup, for example, people wanted to spend more time downtown than parking would allow. Yes, it is possible to go into city hall, etc. etc. but for a visitor, or someone not familiar with the system, trying to find parking for more than 3 hours in downtown is horrendous even if they are willing to pay. Therefore there is no alternative for them than to find street parking.

Find a system whereby someone can pay to park for 4 or 5 hours downtown which is easy for anyone to use and some of the parking problems in residential streets near downtown could be relieved.


Posted by Every City Around, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2010 at 10:51 am

How is it that every city around Palo Alto has a 'no dwell' ordinance that works, yet Palo Alto can't seem to come up with one?

Anyone ever hear of cut and paste?

Maybe the October retirement of City Attorney Gary Baum will help move this law forward to benefit every Palo Alto neighborhood.


Posted by resident, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 10:56 am

I think we have two different problems mixed together.

One is people having more cars than they can park in their driveway or in their parking spot if they live in an apartment complex. People should be encouraged to sell their extra vehicles or put them in a lowcost storage.

The other problem is homeless. If people have no housing and no shelter, then their car is the last place where they can spend the night. Would you rather have them sleep on the curb? Unfortunately with the problems of the economy, everyone can lose their job, their safety net and their house or apartment.

As a very first step, maybe each driver could be assigned ONLY ONE low cost permit to park in the street? A second permit would be extremely expensive and there will be no third one.


Posted by Suzette, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:02 am

The people in their cars and vans do not pose a health hazard. Nor are they any drunker or louder than my neighbors (Stanford people) who have parties in the evening. Move them on if they are blocking your driveway or interfering with commercial parking spaces, but please don't accuse people of being subhuman because they don't live in a home.


Posted by Train Neighbor, a resident of Ventura
on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:02 am

The code only requires a vehicle to be moved "at least five tenths of a mile" every 72 hours. So it can be reparked in the exact same place it just left!

The problem is the code can not be enforced. New vehicles don't display the odometer when parked, and many old vehicles have a broken odometer.

We had a gang-graffiti marked VW van parked for over 15 years in our neighborhood. It wasn't operable so the owner would move it a few feet by pushing it whenever the police tagged it. I don't see why they can't tow such an eyesore after so many years of complaints.

There are many vehicle dwellers parking on Park Blvd., near the CAL Ave. train station and around Boulware Park.


Posted by jb, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:16 am

Years ago car appeared at the curb in view of our dining room . I didn't know about complaining, bucause parking is public on the street. For three weeks we watched it gather dust and made up stories about why it was there. When we finally thought of the stolen-car-dumped theory we wondered about calling the police.

The very next day, while we were at breakfast, a car drove up driven by a young man. His passenger, another young man, got out with a dufffle and a tennis racket and drove the parked car away.

Voila, a vacation for two with airport parking for one shared between the two boys. The out-of-towner just left his car at my curb for three weeks.


Posted by Frank, a resident of Ventura
on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:32 am

Suzette said: "The people in their cars and vans do not pose a health hazard"

I'm not sure I agree - in my neighborhood we have several vans and RV's - never in good repair. These often run generators (noise and air pollution) and the vehicles themselves sometimes leak and smoke. Those living in them sometimes cook on barbecues on the sidewalk or street. While that might not seem any worse than cooking in your back yard consider if your a bicycle or pedestrian trying to get past.

But I am sympathetic to the homeless - I have quite mixed feelings on what to do. To let folks live semi-permanintly in these RV's does impact the neighborhood. To pass a no dwelling law pushes the problem somewhere else.

We have a low income housing program here in Palo Alto with a waiting list that's many years long. Besides that, "low" income for that program is probably much higher that what the folks living in these RV's make.


Posted by m kane, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:40 am

There are many homeless people trying to and unable to find jobs who are saved by living out of their cars. I have worked with sevral of them doing pro-bono work in couseling with them. What should they do and where should they go? If it's truly a problem in your residences then can a solution be offered? I hope that we don't keep moving in the direction of becoming heartless about those who barely are surving.


Posted by resident, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:45 am

It is time we deal with this problem. Enough manipulation of the system by a handful of individuals. PASS THE ORDINANCE!


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:47 am

A proposed use for the pending Bixxby Park - provide overnight vehicle camping for "credentialed" low income individuals/families. In other words, not a campground for anyone but a overnight place for qualified individuals. Create a volunteer organization to staff/check IDs and maintain safety. Provide a bathroom with showers - patrol bathrooms to prevent drug abuse, etc.

We can determine the specifics on what makes a qualified person (such as PA address and/or sponsorship via a PA charity/county program) eligible for overnight camping.

In a sense it's a shelter for those who have their vehicles. Check-in and check-out hours must be rigidly enforced...no day use/permanent camping. Put a limit on the number of nights a person can stay---provide extensions for those who enroll in the appropriate county programs for health/welfare/etc.

Just an idea.


Posted by Concerned Retiree, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2010 at 11:54 am

This is also an issue in Midtown and South Palo Alto. There are many vehicles which shift from street to street every 72 hours to comply with this law. Prohibiting overnight parking with an ordinace similar to Menlo Park's would make our neighborhoods not only look better, but be safer as well. And residents who have an excessive number of cars might also have to rethink why they need four cars for two drivers.


Posted by Former PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Palo Alto has always welcomed the homeless and others, like Victor Frost, who enjoys a studio apartment in Redwood City, compliments of Inn Vision.

Victor has to endure the insult of the 'unhealthy food' served at your Opportunity Center, so please don't make it any rougher for him by taking away access to telephone poles where he parks his car.

First, a Palo Alto adddress is necessary to run for City Council. Secondly, Victor and others must be close to their 'perch', in order to panhandle the shoppers in Palo Alto business districts.

Creating an ordinance against the long-standing tradition of welcoming car-dwellers would perhaps send these cars to OTHER communities (like mine), places where city councils addressed this issue years ago.

Please allow street car-dwellings to remain in Palo Alto, where the occupants are not only welcomed by the majority of your residents, but encouraged and supported by them too. Having car-dwellers in your front yard is charming - it's so "Palo Alto".

It is because of this (and other issues) that our family moved OUT of Palo Alto. So please, please let it be!


Posted by Sympathetic Neighbor, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Very simply with cutbacks in the Police Department the 72 hour limit on parking in one spot is not being enforced. Code enforcement officers and meter maids for parking enforcement have left and not been replaced due to budget cuts.

So long as Palo Alto is forced to retain 29 firefighters on call 24/7 Palo Alto is not going to have the money for law enforcement, let alone policing the 72 hour parking limit.

I agree a new law, similar to surrounding cities; which does not allow auto dweller to park on our streets to sleep, should be enacted ASAP.

Unfortunately, we now have a new City Council whose philosophy follows the Palo Alto process. Any hope of getting such a code change passed by Council will require a Blue Ribbon Task Force to study the problem, months of meetings, recommendations to be studied by the Police Department and lastly money found in the budget to follow through with any proposals that might be made. Don't hold your breath - it will take forever!!


Posted by Koa, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Did Mr. Luu really just refer to homeless people as "bums"? That's like dropping a racial slur.


Posted by what a hoot!, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Gotta love College Terrace folks!


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm

@ Former PA Resident: funny guy.

I grew up in Menlo Park - the no overnight parking rule (while some hate it) does make a big difference.

Problem is that most PA families have converted their garages to storage space and don't have room for their cars. So if they own more than 2 cars, they are bit out of luck. But maybe the rule change would force those folks to finally face the music and get rid of (donate) their junk!


Posted by Observer, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm

The problem in CT appears to be particular to a man who owns most of these campers and cars and has been renting them out to others to live in for years. Does anyone know how much money he makes from this little enterprise which he has been expanding over the years?


Posted by Observer, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm

PS These CT streets in question (Cambridge, Oxford, Staunton) are not covered by the 72 hour rule. There is absolutely no limit on how long vehicles can park. The police can not require anyone parked in these locations to move.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm

@ hoot: the overnight parking issue is everywhere. Check out Alma (near the train station and El Palo Alto), Homer or Channing (near downtown) --- there's always someone camping there. And as stated above, Cal Ave train station. You'll find it going on in the parking lot by Stanford Stadium.

And it's always great fun to stumble across the occasional "outdoor" restroom just across from your home.

You wouldn't be laughing if this was going on in your neighborhood.

BTW - I have had a car towed from in front of our house - the car was clearly in an inoperable state (been in an accident). I called the city and they said that they have to document the 3 days parking --- they did that and then put a notice on the car after the first 3 days. The notice gave 3 more days before towing. At the 6 day mark I called PAPD and they towed the car. All in all it was 9 days before removal --- which is more than reasonable.


Posted by what a hoot!, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

CP Dad, you obviously missed this thread: Web Link
And hot on the heals of that blockbuster, we get this petition from an area without a real homeless problem.
Seriously, gotta love 'em!


Posted by zuck, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Is it just my imagination, or is College Terrace the most whiny neighborhood in Palo Alto?


Posted by bill, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm

The problem is not enforcing the 72 hour limit. It's people living, cooking, and using nearby bushes for a restroom days on end. I would not like that in front of my house.

Crescent Park Dad: Your idea has some merit. That is essentially what some cities do for the homeless who don't have cars, e.g. San Francisco.

Resident: What has 4 or 5 hour parking got to do with the World cup? That was in 1994! Perhaps the more recent Senior Games or Bicycle Tour might be a proper case(s) in point. Of course both cost more General Fund money to support than they brought in.

I'm surprised that Mr. Wallis hasn't weighed in with one of his supercilious, off the point comments.


Posted by resident, a resident of Escondido School
on Jul 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm

give them a legal place to go


Posted by Big Al, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2010 at 3:17 pm

As for Wally Wallis, here is currently being detained for
disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Otherwise he would love
to share some pithy conversation with all of you.
He should be released soon, once his attorney is through with his lunch. Have a lovely weekend.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm

The World Cup was a month ago. The games were played weekday mornings our time and the games were being broadcast at sports bars, restaurants, etc.and not on many home tvs. This meant that those who wanted to watch the games needed to park for a minimum of 2 1/2 hours to get there before the kickoff time and as some games went into extra time, 3 hours was not enough.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Does anyone know if the big blue van that is next to the Jack-in-the-Box off of El Camino Real near California is a "home" to someone?

That old van blocks sooooo much traffic! It changes from one side of the street to another periodically, but it often blocks the view of people who are leaving those restaurants on the street.

Maybe the police could politely enforce a code...but kindly instruct those individuals regarding the help that is available to them so that they don't have to live in a car.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Search this site for caravansaries, bill. As usual, I was and still am way ahead of the curve on this topic. See also hostels.
And, Big Al, my conduct is never disorderly because I know that the 33rd word is "peaceably".


Posted by Ruth, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 7:24 pm

It is plainly apparent this is a common issue all over Palo Alto, in the University South, Crescent Park and Downtown North neighborhoods as well. Why the resistance to passing a ordinance that covers this? Our neighboring cities have it. Why should Palo Alto allow this?

The article says this:
"In November 2008 Larkin told the Weekly he expected the City Council would decide by the end of that year if it wanted to go forward with an ordinance. But Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie said last week the topic has not been discussed for some time."


Posted by alice wilder hall, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Hey Zuck.

Yeah, them College Terrace residents are absolutely the most whiney. And thqt's why they have resident parking now. They know how to do it. Kudos to them.

We in Professorville?? Not so much. Last week I found NOT a bloody t shirt in my recycle bin but a BLOOD SOAKED t shirt. Anything goes here, now. On any weekday, by 8 am there is not a space on my street and they have also deposited their trash wherever they like it. Today a couple of beer cans on my verge. A neighbor of mine saw a guy park in front of her house, get out of the car and deposit his trash into her recycle bin. It included used hypodermic needles.

Need I remind you that this is Professorville - a National Historic Place. So dignified.!! So tasteful!! Well, 'cept for the beer cans and abandoned pickups with tequila bottles in the back. If you don't believe me just go to the corner of Lincoln and Emerson right now and you will be able to observe first hand the beast in the flesh.

On my block there are 16 houses and 3 driveways. You do the math. Where are we supposed to park? Where are our plumbers, gardeners, workmen supposed to park?

The intruder parkers who park in my neighborhood have made LITERALLY thousands of dollars of damage to my car. Tore off the front fender (my daughter called out when she heard the crash and asked them to return to deal with it, but to no avail. ) Many broken lights and missing pieces. Back lights shattered on a regular basis.

Now the folks from DM Motors and auto places on High street have taken to just storing their overflow on my street. We do not have driveways here. We were built before cars -- ergo no driveways.

It is a pity. And the city just does not seem to give a flying doo-dah. Criminal.





Posted by Pele, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Celebrate the diversity and rich culture of the bums, Palo Alto! Don't you all want to be like Berkeley. You are all sounding so intolerant and conservative. I live in one of these cars.


Posted by BaaBaaRaa, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm

WOW! I like to know this is being discussed in Palo Alto... I want this to be something we get passionate about. I am tired of Pallid Alto.... I don't know whose side to take... I have slept in my car when not wanting to return home from Santa Cruz... yet I would hate someone taking up residence in front of my house and being disrespectful. I think it all comes down to respect. I'm gone by sunrise... maybe others aren't.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

If you live in a car you need to be near sanitary facilities. If only Palo Alto knew that, sometimes, a perfect answer is the enemy of good enough.
Incidentally, for College Terrace my solution has always been to barricade ALL automotive in and e gress.


Posted by Curb side squatter, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2010 at 9:59 pm

You haven't lived until you've had to live in your car. I know that's a rare thought for all of the trust babies of Palo Alto.


Posted by Danielle, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Hi Pele! Where do you pee?


Posted by withonlyyourselftoblame, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2010 at 1:28 am

PA liberalism comes back to roost, Fight for rights! Protest the system! Support the cause, JUST NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD, hope your visitors increase tenfold, won't need to hope they are already on there way.


Posted by withonlyyourselftoblame, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2010 at 1:30 am

PA liberalism comes back to roost, Fight for rights! Protest the system! Support the cause, JUST NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD, hope your visitors increase tenfold, won't need to hope they are already on there way.


Posted by Eric, a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 31, 2010 at 8:43 am

The problem is the rules that apply to vehicles parked overnight with people sleeping in them will have to apply to vehicles just parked overnight. You can't single out a vehicle for removal just because someone is sleeping in it.

Therefore, all vehicles would have to be removed from the street. Residents will have to clean out their garages and actually use them to park their cars.

A couple of years ago the Police did attempt to roust out a person sleeping in their camper which had been parked in the same place more than 72 hours.

The whole incident ended badly, the guy was high on drugs, the cops were forced to use a taser. The guy got a whole lot of press and it ended badly for the cops. I think that incident slowed down any attempt to move vehicle dwellers. How do cops know if they are high on drugs?


Posted by Sympathetic and Sanitarywise, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 31, 2010 at 9:15 am

I think we humans need to be considerate and also pay close attention to sanitary situation near those vehicle dwellings.

There are two separate issues here.

1. vehicle dwelling
2. Person with multiple (more than 2) vehicles parking on CT or other areas in PA

For #1 Create a fenced(trees) RV park /with an access code, have dumping station for emptying sanitary waste, charge some money and provide electricity and clean water. They will be out of residents and business' site and at the same time they have their own privacy to cook, eat and live freely.

For #2: Create a parking space, tow the long parked vehicles without PA address to that lot and make them pay $10/day. See if that works.

If we humans are the problem then we should have a decent solution as well. Let have a heart and deal with situation with bit more decency. If I were a resident of that neighborhood I would be unhappy too only to an extent.

The city where I live is a beautiful place and hidden are those RV parks nobody every notices as there are tall plants outside the fence. When they come out they live normal and happy life. Nobody chases them and curses them. The property value stayed the same in $1 - 2 millions and above. So we found a win/win situation, everybody is happy :-).

Live and let others live. FIND A SOLUTION THAT WORKS BEST FOR EVERY ONE!!!!


Posted by Inconvenient, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2010 at 10:03 am

Would you guys suggest, something as dumb as an ordinance that perhaps requires a drunk driver to operate their vehicle, even though they are trying not to drive drunk?


Posted by Sam, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2010 at 10:31 am

The bums know that Palo Alto is an easy mark, and will not move them on. Until PA grows a pair, this problem will only get worse.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2010 at 10:52 am

Get rid of the airport and use some of the land as a parking area for low income/no income vehicle owners. Charge them based on income. Those who can't afford the parking fees can pay them off by doing cleaning and maintenance chores in the parking area. Once this is done, there will be no excuse for long term street parking/living out of vehicles on city streets. Residents who own too many cars which they can't park in their own garages or driveways must be forced to get rid of them-problem solved.


Posted by Anne, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 31, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Palo Alto neighborhoods long have been becoming more and more trashy due to vehicles parked on the streets, with or without occupants therein. Quality of life and environment has been significantly eroded. Action needs to be taken to reverse this ever worsening deterioration.

1) The ordinance needs to be reinstated forbidding overnight street parking for any reason. (This did exist in PA.)

2) Occupants should be required to clean out their garages, carports, and driveways as needed, to provide appropriate parking space for their vehicles on the property where they reside.

3) Only in exceptional cases, like where no driveways/garages exist, should on going permits be considered. Temporary permits could be considered for occasional overnight guests.

4) The ordinance needs to be reinstated forbidding occupancy of a residence by more than four unrelated persons. (This also existed in PA.)

5) A place for overnight parking, along with sanitary facilities, should be provided for those who must live in their vehicles.

Let's get on with returning Palo Alto to being the desirable community for all that it once was.


Posted by use your garage, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2010 at 12:38 pm

"1) The ordinance needs to be reinstated forbidding overnight street parking for any reason. (This did exist in PA.)"

I would vote for this.
Wander around Menlo Park and see how pleasant it is there in the evening when all the cars have been removed from the streets. It would also stop everyone from Menlo Park driving across Chaucer to park in Palo Alto streets over night.


Posted by use your garage, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2010 at 12:42 pm

By the way, this approach is much more sensible than raising a petition to target one man.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2010 at 2:37 pm

@ Eric - actually you can single out vehicles for overnight camping. Every city has a municipal code that has specific parking rules. Many cities (including Santa Cruz) have anti-camping ordinances. You can amend the municipal code to prohibit parking for a specific purpose - in this case, overnight camping.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2010 at 4:37 pm

The parking problem made the 11:00 o'clock news last night and ended with a quote by an unnamed city councilperson. "It's not a high priority right now". Oh, really?? For whom? Where does he/she live? Council: MAKE IT A PRIORITY. OTHER CITIES HAVE LAWS AGAINST THIS.


Posted by use your garage, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Bob, you should move here. You'd fit right in!


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2010 at 6:45 pm

An ordinance should require residents to park their vehicles in their garages or driveways. Special permits to park on the street should be issued only to residents who don't have a garage or driveway. Otherwise, vehicles parked on the street over the time limit specified the ordinance should be towed away at the owners expense.


Posted by Hmmm - To Observer, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Observer, do you happen to know if the same person you mentioned owns the van always parked across the street from Jack in the Box, on the side street, & behind the Chinese restaurant? Sheesh, that van never moves!


Posted by Eric, a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 31, 2010 at 7:19 pm

daniel says: "Special permits to park on the street should be issued only to residents who don't have a garage or driveway." I suppose you want Code Enforcement Officers to issue tickets to those who park on the street at night throughout the City.

This won't happen because it will cost tens of thousands of dollars to provide enforcement.

Item 10 at Monday nights Council meeting calls for the approval of $97,134 just to add new fees for the Residential Parking Permit Program in College Terrace for one year - 2011.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I call vehicles in as potentially stolen when they're on the street for awhile & none of us recognize them. As a result, stolen vehicles have been recovered, people camping have had to move on & any of the Uncle Pervies squatting in their vehicles learned that the cops actually enforce the law. Oh, yes, & we had ammo (laws enforced) to deal appropriately w/the illegally parked ginormous milk truck.

The most amusing result from calling in vehicles as potentially stolen was when one of the local car collectors & his buddies were ordered to sit down on the curb (he was changing license plates on the vehicles & I honestly thought he'd stolen it). He jumped up & began yelling that he wasn't Mexican, as if that was relevant. The cop, who also adroitly handled the milk truck incident, yelled back "I don't care WHAT you are, sit down!" Yes, I'm cynical. That's what happens when you live in a somewhat transient neighborhood.

That car collector quit parking all of his vehicles on our block.


Posted by Mike, a resident of University South
on Jul 31, 2010 at 9:04 pm

"1) The ordinance needs to be reinstated forbidding overnight street parking for any reason. (This did exist in PA.)"

Why was this removed?

OTOH I think 72 hours is reasonable. If a car is sitting in front of your house for more than 72 hours, call (650) 329-2258 to report it.


Posted by Anne, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 31, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Mike, I don't know when the ordinance against overnight parking was removed, or if it was removed. For all I know, it is just not enforced.

A vihicle can sit for 72 hours, or for months for that matter, unmoved. Then, if you call and report it, a warning is put on it saying that it will be towed if not moved in (another) 72 hours. All the owner then has to do is drive it 0.5 mile and then he can return it back to the same place. There seems to be no limit on the number of warnings.

Again, I say that there should be NO overnight parking allowed in residential neighborhoods, except in special circumstances. Vehicles on the street trash the neighborhood.


Posted by danny, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2010 at 11:16 pm

In the news photo above, the 3 vans belong to Steve, the van collector. They are not occupied by homeless people.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 1, 2010 at 3:14 am

Convert the palo alto airport into a homeless/campground with facilities ;-)


Posted by Lois, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 1, 2010 at 4:51 am

There is a problems with insisting residents take their cars off the street at night; many families have four cars and a couple of trucks parked on the street.

The only way they can take them off the street is to pave over the whole of their front yard. I have two houses in my neighborhood who've done this and park both cars and trucks on paved over front yards.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 1, 2010 at 5:17 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The overnight parking ban was dropped because of the hassle of getting temporary permits for overnight guests and the staffing required to patrol every street.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 1, 2010 at 7:08 am

There are many apartment buildings in Palo Alto that don't have enough parking space for the cars people have to use. Husband and wife, for example, commuting in different directions have two cars but only one parking space. This is not an exception in most of midtown apartment buildings. The pseudo solutions people present for the problem(if it exists) are absurd considering the needs of residents. Wouldn't it be better to institute a ban on overnight parking (typically from 1:00 am to 5:00am) except for residents'parking with permits. The city would make some money and residents would be assured their parking and if an area of the city could be set aside for other vehicles we all would gain.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 1, 2010 at 9:35 am

But of course, the most obvious solution will never be even discussed by the city government:close down the airport and convert some of the land into a low cost parking area for homeless people. Those unable to afford the fees could pay them off by cleaning and maintaining the lot.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 1, 2010 at 10:53 am

Why should we sacrifice our airport for the bums? Why not put them up in Foothills park, it's empty most of the time, certainly at night time?

We do not owe any compassion or liberal guilt to the bums. We needs to kick them out. I didn't buy my house in PA with the implicit understanding that it comes with an obligation to be compassionate about a bum(s) camping in front of my house. For those who want to help them, invite them into your homes and take care of them.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 1, 2010 at 11:00 am

I dislike the eyesore of parked vehicles with "for sale" signs - sometimes they have been parked in my neighborhood by outsiders.
Also, it is hilarious and particularly Palo Alto to claim to be "green" yet have four vehicles for fewer than four family members (and therefore park perpetually on the street, of course).
It isn't sanitary for ANY of us to have people living in their cars; I can't believe Palo Alto can't get with the program and have laws enforced consistently commensurate with neighboring communities and their standards. We DO have the Opportunity Center and other resources; people in need should be directed to them.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2010 at 11:09 am

What's not working in PA about the 72 hour rule? I once had my friend's car parked on my street in PA, in front of my house, for a week. A neighbor called it in & I had to move it. Neighbor didn't realize I was using the car, but since I rode my bike most of the time, I didn't use the car that much, just for night classes.

The 72 hour rule sure worked then! Is it that the people w/the cars move them so little & play the game so well? It seems so, according to the article.

As annoying elitist as PA often is, I think residents should come first - before the car collectors, vehicle dwellers & homeless.


Posted by it's not that much, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 1, 2010 at 12:10 pm

"Item 10 at Monday nights Council meeting calls for the approval of $97,134 just to add new fees for the Residential Parking Permit Program in College Terrace for one year - 2011."

Eric, you're misrepresenting the facts. The RPPP is with the adjustments to reduce enforcement by 50% will be running at a $54,000 loss for next year. They are asking the 700 residents with permits to increase the cost from $15 to $40 a year to offset part of this amongst other additional costs. They are only asking the city to fund the $27,000 balance.
You might argue that a "revenue-neutral" program should mean zero cost to the rest of Palo Alto taxpayers but that's never the case for any program. Having the rest of Palo Alto pay $27,000 for this program is minimal and perfectly reasonable.


Posted by Anne, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 1, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Re Hmmm above,

In answer to the question about what's not working about the 72 hour rule, here is basically what that rule is:

A vehicle can sit for 72 hours, or for months for that matter, unmoved and unreported. Then, if it is reported, a warning is put on it saying that it will be towed if not moved in (another) 72 hours. To comply, all the owner then has to do is drive it 0.5 mile and then return it back to the same place. There seems to be no limit on the number of warnings allowed.

Here is a specific situation in my neighborhood. There is a house that has 10 vehicles, 5 of which basically never move, 1 that moves every few weeks or so, and 4 that are used daily. The 5 that never move sit on the driveway and another patch of pavers on the yard. It is fruitless to report the 1 on the street that seldom moves, because all they do is take the warning off of it, and possibly drive it 0.5 mile and return it to the same area. So 5 cars are parked on the street most of the day and all night. This isn't even considering all the "friends" that arrive with their cars. Sometimes there are 15 cars connected with that house.

Now, if an ordinance prohibiting overnight parking were in place they could still have 5 cars (the 4 that are actually used and the 1 that is seldom used) which could all be parked upon the property. But to do this, they would have to dispose of the 5 that don't get driven. (This still leaves too many cars, but at least they would not be perpetually on the street.)

In addition, it is not the presence of vehicles at the 73rd hour that is trashing our neighborhoods, but the persistence of their presence, which, it seems could only be solved by a reactivation of the ordinance prohibiting overnight parking.


Posted by Mike, a resident of University South
on Aug 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm

FWIW I have a car that I park on the street simply to take my son to school since he did not get into our neighborhood school.

My wife parks her car in our one and only off-street spot. I will park my car on the street and I will not pay for a permit. PAUSD can send my son to our neighborhood school.


Posted by Mike, a resident of University South
on Aug 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

If resident permits were required to park on Palo Alto streets, where will downtown workers park all day?


Posted by dtn, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 1, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Mike, there are spots allocated at all the downtown parking garages. Of course, as with Standford, a lot of workers prefer not to pay and park on the residential streets.


Posted by a long time resident, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 1, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Liz Anderson, senior account manager at World Centric on Staunton Court, said the company has not been affected. "There have been no issues. The people have been very nice and helpful and clean around the area. There are no issues of disorderly conduct," she said.

Oh guess I would say the same thing if I was that close to the parked vans too. I sure wouldn't want to upset them by saying what you truely felt about the situation.


Posted by gosamgo, a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Sam said it all, the whole bay area need more like Sam.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2010 at 8:51 am

Why is street parking free? A Palo Alto private parking space rents for $100 / month. The City charges $120 / month ($6 / day) for all-day parking on California Street.

Free parking invites abuse like car storage and camping.

I'd support a citywide $6 / day or $120 / month street parking fee for over three hours. Applies to everyone and easy to enforce.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 2, 2010 at 9:09 am

"why should we sacrifice our airport for the bums?"
Because this airport, a major air and noise pollution source, as well as a safety hazard to the two nearby cities, AND a tax payers handout to a few, should have been closed down years ago. Once it is closed down, we can use some of the land for a parking area for the "bums" you so dislike. That way you won't have to see them every day and get so upset.


Posted by Jenny, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 2, 2010 at 10:00 am

Its not that much says:

"Having the rest of Palo Alto pay $27,000 for this program is minimal and perfectly reasonable."

Why should Palo Alto taxpayers fork out $27,000 for College Terrace to have their own parking permit program. Now they're getting greedy they want the rest of the City to pay to remove vehicles where people may or may not be sleeping.

College Terrace wants the buses going into and out of Facebook re-routed because they make too much noise.

Do you see a pattern here? CT residents wants the rest of Palo Alto to pay for their perceived traffic problems.

Why not remove the illegally parked trucks and campers from my neighborhood too. Many of them are overflow from the Cubberley Community Centers parking lot.


Posted by Yale-y, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 2, 2010 at 10:11 am

As a long time CT resident on Yale Street our problems with car and van campers have been numerous. I have found plastic bottles of urine tossed in my bushes, piles of excrement in the bushes, bikes leaned up against the apartment wall breaking off big chunks of planted bushes, glass bottles tossed up against the wall late at night when a car camper has been entertaining, campers opening their car door in the morning, sticking out a hand with a large plastic bottle and dumping the night's urine out on to the street and sidewalk. Some of these vehicles are so tall that they have broken many branches out of the small trees that are trying to line the street. Stop on by and take a look at the scars in these small trees. One van was trying to pull away from the curb with a tree caught in it's side view mirrow and almost yanked the tree out of the ground - my pounding on the side of his van and yelling at him to stop prevented that from happening. Permit parking has been a great way to keep these folks off of Yale but as others have said, they have been pushed to other streets and neighborhoods. It is time that Palo Alto passed an ordinance to prevent overnight car camping and if there is such a dire need, provide a place for them to stay at night, leave during the day and give them a porta-potty. For those of you who make comments who do not live in Palo Alto (or in one of these affected areas) I would like to suggest that you butt out. If you don't live in Palo Alto then you most likely live in a community that already has an ordinance like this. Enjoy it.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2010 at 11:35 am

If we can put aside the neighborhood bickering for a moment...

This issue is not CT vs. the rest of the city. The camping issue (and the health hazard that comes with it) is a city-wide issue, albeit in pockets - but not just CT.

Forget the Facebook bus, parking permits and traffic calming for just a moment please.

We have an issue in our city - that is overnight camping. Can we just get this fixed and then everyone can go back to picking on each other?


Posted by Sympathetic, a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm

To Yale-y,

The biggest problem with the City of Palo Alto is you have nine council members, mostly long-winded people, with an opinion about everything, and none of which have an idea of what's really going on in your city.

From what I've read in the papers, their most often used phrase is "What happened?" -from the High Speed Rail down to issues of lesser importance, in the big picture.

Your council takes credit for good things that happen, and claim ignorance about anything that upsets residents, pointing fingers and blaming anyone else, most often the city "staff".

Of course, staff (City Manager's Office & heads of the departments)claim council is their boss. So it's a vicious circle and a no-win for residents.

Bottom line: your city has no direction, no vision, and no leaders. It is living off a good reputation from times past, and basking in the glory of having Stanford University as its neighbor.

Residents are forced to solve issues in bits & pieces on their own, with the squeakiest wheels being addressed by the City. If College Terrace stops complaining, this camper issue will go away again. It has been on the back burner for 2 yrs., only surfacing, when
'griping' started up again.

Yale-y, what you describe is awful. You should not have to use this forum & the press to draw attention to it. You deserve better, as a resident. You elected people to know this, to forsee issues, and to work towards solving problems for you. You don't have that.

Other communities addressed this issue years ago, SEEING a potential problem getting bigger. This while Palo Alto was welcoming homeless to come to your city, building a state of the art Opportunity Center.

Were the reasons for building the Center realized, in hindsight? Did somehow, the vision get off track? Has our society changed since the idea for the center was implemented? Who's watching the store in Palo Alto?

It appeared to me at that time everyone iu Palo Alto wanted the homeless to come. They came. They keep on coming.

Obviously, some do not want to take advantage of any housing or work.
They'd rather be "on their own", meaning they encroach on your peaceful street. It's a given. Was that projected when the idea of the Opportunity Center was initially supported?

Many of these people are mentally ill - it's not natural for people to live the way they are living. It's not normal to WANT that.

But I think you have to deal first with what you have: a nine-member, long-winded, glory-seeking, hands-off city council that caves to the slighest bit of public pressure and that simply cannot lead. They are supposedly the bosses in Palo Alto.

Communities that more successfully addressed this issue have five active City council members, that know what's going on in their city and who are not afraid of complaints by a handful of people. They work for the greater good. They also have more competent staff to carry out their directions, and they have good interdepartment communications - all of which Palo Alto sadly lacks.

No community is perfect. But at almost every level, Palo Alto must be the most dysfunctional city in the Bay Area, if not in all of California. No one is "watching the store", so it ought not surprise anyone that your life is being made miserable, by a problem that has grown to be out of hand.

I'm sorry for you, Yale-y. Thank you for describing the facts of what's going on in CT about this, & congratulations for speaking up.


Posted by member, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 2, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Time for a change is way overdo in spineless Palo Alto. You know South Dakota has Mount Rushmore but Palo Alto has it's own "Van Rushmore" on Oxford Ave. Those vagabonds don't care if they bother people. They shower in Jack in the Box's bathroom as does every other bum who visits the West Coast. We don't want to be like Berkeley around here. I don't care if its the Liberal thing to do.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm

This thread is unfortunately similar to the one about CT residents complaining of the Facebook buses. It's really easy to poke fun at their complaints until you've lived it, or at least witnessed it firsthand.

If these vehicle dwellers were respectful, not filthy & didn't cause problems, these residents would complain much less about the issue. It's the nasty results of the lack of enforcement and lack of adequate laws that are causing these problems. It would be horrible to deal w/the noise & trash caused by disrespectful vehicle dwellers. I hope that this article helps bring about a working solution. CT residents & those living in similarly affected areas have my sympathy. I've worked hard to try to keep my neighborhood clean & peaceful. It's ongoing, hard to predict when the peace will be disrupted & sometimes the trash is awful.

I once tracked down a horrid stench & discovered a giant dead dog in trash bags. The poor animal control officer who had to deal with that was sickened by it, & residents were as well. Oh yes, & the used condoms left by the local prostitutes who did business in vehicles. Most of us truly didn't care how they made their living, we just wanted them to clean up after themselves! It took some work, but we got them to move on.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm

CT sounds like a terrible place to live. It will be hard to sell a house there.


Posted by Ruth, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 2, 2010 at 5:30 pm

"Sympathetic - resident of another community" in his comments 4 posts above has it EXACTLY right. This is WAY more than a College Terrace issue. It hits across Palo Alto, even in my neighborhood. People who refuse to see that are just being naive.

And were it not for CT residents being (properly) vocal about their issues, these problems would never, ever get addressed by the City of Palo Alto. We need a City Council which is more proactive to improve the community we live in. Are they living up to that standard? No.

I actually applaud College Terrace residents for speaking up and being the "squeaky wheel" on the issues that make lives for all of us Palo Alto residents better. Someone has to lead, and I for one am 100% glad the good folks of College Terrace are in the forefront.

I don't see how anyone can defend people living in vans parked in front of their house and urinating on their lawns! This is way more than a CT issue.... it affects Palo Alto!


Posted by Hmmm - To Ruth, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2010 at 6:41 pm

You said it! As one who's in PA a lot, various neighborhoods & lately CT it's not nice for ANYONE to deal w/the issues they're currently facing. Imagine paying PA prices to combat quality of life issues such as these? It's pretty ridiculous. Anywhere this vehicle dwelling is happening is a problem. If the "residents" of the vehicles were smart enough to keep a lower profile, they wouldn't have such nasty habits. NO ONE wants to deal w/human waste & looking at such ugly vehicles 24/7. It's one thing to drive an old vehicle, like I do, it's another to park it, not move it & rent it out or live in it & make the residents literally deal w/your crapola. My old vehicle has low emissions & is in working order. Moreover, I have a driveway & a garage. I feel for people who have been driven out of their homes for various reasons. But it's not right to let sympathy get in the way of health concerns & viable quality of life issues. When I think I'm being too peevish about noise or a quality of life issue, I stand back & take an honest look at myself, how I live my life & how it impacts others. Do my dogs bark? Yes, but they also provide protection for me & my neighbors. Do they bark unchecked? No. Do I have an old car? Yes. Do I throw bottles of urine into people's yards. Um, never. Do I blast music late at night & allow my guests to be loud outside, then drive after drinking alcohol? No. These vehicle dwellers, like my constantly obnoxious neighbors, may be lower income, but they also have a lousy lifestyle that negatively affects others ongoingly. At least my obnoxious neighbors are renters w/rights - & as renters, they're also vulnerable to being evicted for being a nuisance. What about the vehicle dwellers? Why should they have more rights than the residents who are renters & home owners?

Really, this vehicle dwelling issue can't hide behind political correctness or budget fears. If the wheel's squeaky enough, it'll get some grease.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2010 at 8:16 pm

The PA councilmembers are imbued with big, world-changing ideas. They don't like the little ideas like fixing the sidewalks and kicking out the bums. Bums don't live outside their houses, just the 'little peoples' houses, which includes most of us here in PA. Why should we blame the PA council, since we elected them, based on the big ideas like global warming and high speed rail and world peace?

Until our votes are given according to the small ideas, we will continue to be captive to the big ideas.


Posted by wally needle, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 2, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Let's just pass a law that no one is allowed in Palo Alto unless they make 100k a year and drive at least a BMW...and all who work for us must take public transportation because we do not want their 2009 or below vehicles parked in front of our property (it's okay for them to park down the street).


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Wally, your attitude indicates a copout. It's not solution-oriented. Of course PA is full of snobs. That doesn't means its residents shouldn't have a high quality of life. PA Hills is the same way, except that there aren't as many public streets or the room to park vehicles for months on end.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2010 at 2:03 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Excellent problem definition. Anyone for solutions that do not incorporate a new Messiah?


Posted by oxymorons'r'us, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 3, 2010 at 8:41 am

"CT residents being (properly) vocal about their issues"

This is College Terrace. *THE* College Terrace.

"Excellent problem definition. Anyone for solutions that do not incorporate a new Messiah?"

Cede College Terrace to Stanford.


Posted by Ruth, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 3, 2010 at 8:44 am

"Walter_E_Wallis" -

Think about it this way. It's not so much about the need to find a "new Messiah" (your words) or the need to boil the ocean. Rather many people in Palo Alto -- including myself -- would like the Palo Alto City Council to simply focus on MORE bread and butter issues that really impact the quality of life in our local community, AS OPPOSED TO spending a disproportionate amount of time on inter-galactic, thematic issues.

Let's focus on more of the "blocking and tackling" issues that are of real concern to our local residents. Or at least let's have some balance in their agenda.

You would think a reasonable City Council would follow the lead of neighboring cities and pass a simple law that prevents the situation of people sleeping in their cars (in residential neighborhoods) and urinating on homeowner's lawns and dropping needles or bloody tee-shirts in their trash. Why should Palo Alto be the sole exception compared to our neighbors?


Posted by Yale-y, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 3, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I like the comment "Why should they have more rights than the renters and homeowners?" Very good question. As a matter of fact I suggested to one "freeloader" that I pay rent (and taxes through that rent) and pay for utilities including garbage pick up and that he didn't so he should go somewhere else with his "house" and his bike and his trash. And because of him and his friends we now pay for parking permits and 2 hour parking enforcement just to have our rights to a clean, attractive streetscape and neighborhood as well as having a place to park that isn't taken up by Stanford or other commercial businesses. One of the key words here is neighborhood. Now we need to pass a no sleeping/camping law so that all of Palo Alto can be free of the freeloaders. As mentioned before, if there is a need for unemployed or underemployed people to use their vehicles to reside in while they get back on their feet, perhaps there is a way to provide that somewhere in Palo Alto - with porta potties. Those who are camper collectors, who choose to live on the street just because, who choose not to rent a dwelling and pay their fair share for the amenities they use (such as a paved street to park on and a street light to party under)need to search elsewhere for a place to squat.

On the contrary Ms/Mr "Neighbor in a another community", CT is not a terrible place to live. We are a great neighborhood because we work hard to keep it that way so that if one has to sell their house they will get what it is worth. Thanks for your concern though, we are glad that you are interested in our well being by making comments about a neighborhood and a city that you aren't a resident of.


Posted by danny, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

There needs to be somewhere to send them other than "away". That where is the problem, and like most problems the correction is a process rather than a single act.


Posted by Denizen, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 3, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Health issues such as sanitation are important and have been mentioned but what about the children that live on Cambridge? How do we know that these are not sex offenders who do not wish to register on the Megan's Law database so they choose to be "homeless" rather than tracked? I had never thought of this but my friend who is a cop says this happens a lot to offenders who do not wish to register.


Posted by his post says it all, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 3, 2010 at 10:35 pm

" if there is a need for unemployed or underemployed people to use their vehicles to reside in while they get back on their feet, perhaps there is a way to provide that somewhere in Palo Alto"

If anyone was looking for a definition of NIMBYism!

"Now we need to pass a no sleeping/camping law so that all of Palo Alto can be free of the freeloaders. "

No, you want to pass this so CT is free of undesirables. You don't care about the rest of Palo Alto.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2010 at 7:01 am

Whoever is pushing for this cleanup in CT should run for the city council. I guarantee she/he will get elected. This is one example of where the CT activism can help the entire city.

Nothing wrong with getting rid of the freeloaders all over town.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2010 at 9:44 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Getting rid of freeloaders? A "Final Solution"?
The "freeloader" choice is limited. Consider what would be a better choice for "freeloaders".
Roseville, for 75 years that I know of, has been passing her "freeloaders" along to Sacramento. Where do we send ours?


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm

"Danielle, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, says:

Hi Pele! Where do you pee?"

I have the answer. Is it the same place people's dogs pee? Not their owners' backyards or houses, but the public street. It smells as awful and it's a disgusting site to see. If dogs have the right, I don't see that we should forbid humans, buy alas I have seen homeless people getting into bathrooms or coffee houses and the like, not on the street.

Since Palo Alto is the height of civilization, the city and its inhabitants seem to think that public facilities that cater for human
private needs are as obsolete as those private needs, let me suggest that instead have bathrooms for dogs. No need to be observed pooping and urinating all over town, including tonier CT. Now, that would be civilized wouldn't it? Nothing for humans and all for dogs and CT's would be happy...But wait, their dogs poop and urine is all over and I have seen CT's happily picking up the results of dogs'defecation...but not the urine (GROSS).As far as urine thrown in the backyard, when I lived in PA I had dogs urinating all over my plants, so why complain about humans?
My three countryside beloved dogs NEVER did offer others the spectacle of their private needs being met...But again they were never inside the house, their bottoms unwashed after pooping and urinating happily sitting on the carpet or on the kitchen floor. And CT's complain about humans?


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Walter,

What is a freeloader? Would someone who pays about $1,000.00/year in property taxes which doesn't cover by any means all their fair share of services and capital expenses they receive qualify?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

narnia, note that I put "freeloader" in quotes.
I would, however, define a freeloader as anyone who has not put their own pink suit at risk for the benefit of the general public. How much would you charge to expose yourself to shot and shell?
You, and everyone else in this forum, beggars the question of a realistic solution to the problem.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 5, 2010 at 3:43 am

And you are right as usual, walter


Posted by Sam, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2010 at 7:26 am

"Where do we send ours?"

OURS? PA has been taking THEIRS ever since we put out the welcome mat. If they can be shown to have been born and raised in PA, then we can take that small share, via private charity.

But I con't care...just get the bums off our streets. Those who feel guilty about doing a Roseville on them should take them into their own homes (if they are truly compassionate).

We can start by demanding the same rules that "narnia" benefits from in Menlo Park, namely no overnight parking on the street. Who is he/she to be lecturing us here in PA?


Posted by Anne, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 6, 2010 at 10:56 am

No overnight parking on the street similar to what Menlo Park has (and we used to have) would be a city wide, overall solution. There could be free, well screened permitting for truly exceptional cases; also an area set aside for those living in their vehicles.

This would be uniformly fair and could not be claimed to be discriminatory to anyone, thus avoiding lawsuits.

The fees charged for violation could cover some of the cost of enforcement. In any case, it would be money well spent and a step forward toward returning Palo Alto to being a pleasant town in which to reside.


Posted by greg, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm

"The problem is fixed here but it's shoved down to other areas," Patel said, pointing north toward Oxford Avenue and Staunton Court."

Addressing the symptom in one area not only moves the symptom to another area but also leaves the problem itself un-addressed. Why isn't the first move to ask why people are doing this and then try to find a real solution, rather than just make their current solution so inconvenient that 'hopefully they'll go away?'


Posted by Sam, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm

"Why isn't the first move to ask why people are doing this"

I don't care about the psychological, or sociolgoical or moral issues. There is absolutely no reason that we need to put up with bums cluttering our streets. I didn't agree to such a clause when I bought my home here.

As I have said, if you "compassionate" types want to shed crocodile tears, then volunteer to take them into your homes. Just make sure that you are willing to accept the liability of any bad actions that might occur to your neighbors and their kids.

The issue is whether or not Palo Alto has the balls to pass a law, similar to its surrounding cities, to outlaw bums sleeping in their cars on our streets. It's a no-brainer and it ain't rocket science.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2010 at 6:14 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Expand the roadside rest program to provide roadside rests at the entrance of every city.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

This is a response to this problem from the Santa Cruz Sentinel Forum.
Walter E. Wallis



Joined: 12 Jun 2005
Posts: 46
Location: Palo Alto, CA

PostPosted: 10 Aug 2010 12:21 Post subject: Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
As we engineers say, perfection is the enemy of good enough. In an ideal world everyone would have a good job, a rose covered cottage and a white picket fence. Lacking that, ow about a sexual outlet, a dry bed and a warm place to attend to bodily functions.
I read of one community where the homeless were given 95 gallon trash bins to give them a waterproof container for their property that would also give a place to curl up and sleep dry.
Perhaps we could steal a march from the idiots who gave us diamond lanes and require anyone with extra bedrooms to either share them with the homeless or pay a homeless tax to provide hotel rooms for the homeless.
A more rational idea would be the expansion of the roadside rest program to provide camping space with parking and toilets at major entrances to cities.
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Ben Dejo



Joined: 04 Jan 2008
Posts: 3328
Location: Midtown

PostPosted: 10 Aug 2010 19:04 Post subject: Reply with quote
OK. I lied. I do have more.

Great posts.

Walter, as an engineer, what do you think of this and how it was developed?

Web Link

Or this.

Web Link

I posted this here years ago, and thought a situation you describe that is controllable and clean is possible and a good temporary solution to the problem that affects us all in one way or another.

Or this:

Web Link

I'm not sure if the clip is in this link or not, but there is a longtime street person very pleased with it, calling it his "Hobo Condo"......... Couldn't find it but here's a different one.

Web Link

I can't see these being deployed downtown or anything, but, a campground with facilties would get folks off the street, and they'd have a place to sleep that is safe with proper hygiene and minimal services.

It's like mobile camping or something. I like it.

I would like to interject this as an aside. Many are unaware of the level of violence and criminality that goes unreported in the homeless community on a regular basis.

Especially crimes against women who are very vulnerable living outdoors.

Anything that provides a secure environment for something as necessary as a good night's sleep is a good thing, and in a secure environment these EDARs provide that.

To those who have no love lost on the homeless I honestly understand your position. I deal with some very annoying, aggressive, irresponsible, criminal, homeless A-Holes on a recurring basis and you are not wrong that they exist. I do not see them as the norm.

How I get through this unpleasantness, though, is to not judge how anyone came to be in their situation, but, that they are in need of assistance, and may improve their situation with a stable situation, no matter how short or confused their situation.

And, these anti-social folks are not in the majority from my view.

Yeah, it's difficult at times.

So, anybody want to start a project? Maybe buy about 50 of these and find some Gummint land to put 'em on?

Walter....you're from Palo Alto where men light their expensive Cuban Cigars with $100 bills and their hot ladies drink Champagne from a glass slipper. You could probably get the City to finance these in a pilot program?

Web Link

You're a prominent local figure and outspoken social and political awareness guy. Why not start a project? I've got more info for you or anyone else interested in trying something different.

Whattya' think?

With a few donations a few of these could be had. I realize this idea may seem wacky to some, but, the current level of shelter is inadequate.


Posted by Urbane Ministry, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they would work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in "personal hygiene."
Web Link


Posted by CTResident, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 6, 2010 at 4:09 pm

I live in College Terrace and am so tired of the whiney neighbors in this area. They are ridiculous - they should move into gated communities and stop hassling everyone else. I walk all these streets are rarely have I ever noticed anything that would be so bothersome as to create a petition about! Moreover, many of us in College Terrace are NOT happy with the residential parking permit program that was shoved down our throats and have no idea why Palo Alto Online chose only to interview those who are (presumably who live next to Stanford or Facebook). The program is a complete mess - going from $15 to $40 a year an nearly impossible to opt-out of the way it was written. All because of some whiney people, who should just learn to deal - or move.


Posted by Me, a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I work everyweek, try to be frugal, try to save, keep my brakes operational, et...

On a good week I have three hundred dollars saved up.

Have not lived in a house nor had a family for 15 years

Belong to a gym, keep clean, no health insurance, just got the flu shot

Maintain a low profile, stay invisible, never linger long

No felonies, don't smoke, don't drink

Yet you want to make it impossible for me to park anywhere?

Do you have any idea how often I think of suicide?

Make 'that' easy, simple, and legal and your parking problem will go away all by itself

So will I. Then you'll be free to think of some other way to despise your fellow man, some other petty grievance will fill your mind, even to the point where you rewrite history free of those who aren't made in your image.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Here we go again with the crocodile tears. It is the last resort of scoundrels. If you threaten suicide, and I refuse to listen, then go ahead and do what you threaten. I won't lose any sleep over it. Just get off our streets.

If there are those who buy your con job, then let them bring you bums into their own homes.


Posted by Annoyed, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm

This is still a problem in 2012 and nothing has been done about it. Does anybody know anything about this man who owns multiple RV's? What if he is a sex offender?


Posted by Sam, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm

"Maybe we were better off before we started poking around with this problem," Klein said.

No, Larry, it is still a problem. You need to step up to the plate, and own it, since you have denied it, thus far.

I suggest that a lot of car dwellers park and live in front of Klein's home (a matter of public record). Maybe he will then 'get' it.


Posted by Annoyed, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm

This man with multiple RV's seems very sketchy to me and has made remarks that he doesn't plan on finding a job or a house soon. He enjoys living for free. He has also said he doesn't want "them" to know about him. I'm not sure who he was referring to, but I was pretty creeped out by this. I don't feel safe in my own neighborhood. Anybody know anything about this guy?


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