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Palo Alto man arrested for burglary, fighting

Original post made on Aug 11, 2007

An Opportunity Center resident was arrested Friday afternoon after he punched through a glass window at Town and Country Village Shopping Center, stole an item and returned bleeding to the El Camino Real low-income apartments and homeless drop-in center.

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Comments (22)

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Posted by mi
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 11, 2007 at 5:11 pm

always remember when reading police ''reports''. not everyone who is charged with a particular offense actually did what police say. if you are african american or latino , a white person can accuse you of something even after they may have assaulted YOU!! police in palo alto cannot be trusted!!

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2007 at 11:09 am

The behavior displayed by the Oppportunity Center resident has nothing to do with his race or with misbehavior on the part of the police. It has everything to do with his own bad behavior, which in turn provides another valid reason for requiring drug testing at the homeless center. The big question now is what those in charge of the Opportunity Center are going to do about it?? Will Miller be allowed to just rejoin the homeless community there at the Opportunity Center or is better behavior required in order to maintain your place at the center? This is a good test to determine whether we have responsible adults at the Center or just adults who make excuses for bad behavior. Another question I'd like to have answered is whether Miller is a long time resident of Palo Alto or whether he was attracted to our community by the presence of the homeless shelter?

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Posted by chong
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 12, 2007 at 11:19 am

wow this guy punched through a window? that kicks ass!

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Posted by Brian
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 13, 2007 at 8:45 am

The opportunity center is a great place to help those in desperate need. Please dont think as an example for what this place represents. Its done nothing but give back to the community and shelter the people who despereatly need help. Thank you employees and management of the oportunity center and the PA police depo.

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Posted by Carly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2007 at 8:56 am

Why should anyone be surprised by this kind of thing, which we have seen more and more of since the opening of the "Opportunity Center".

The unfortunates which this project was designed to attract to our city (and that's what it was designed to do despite the denials of its supporters), are largely mentally ill people who have trouble interacting rationally and productively with the larger community.

And now we have more of them right in the midst of town. So we have the many merchant complaints about pan-handlers downtown. We have disheveled inebriates sleeping on benches in Old Palo Alto, near Castillo school. And we have petty crime like that described in the article.

Who's surprised? Who doesn't think we'll have more of this?

The people who pushed for the Opportunity Center are civic minded, well-meaning people, but they were and are dead wrong about the appropriateness of this institution in this location. It's likely too late to do anything to correct this....and that's too bad for the homeless and for us all.

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Posted by GSB
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 13, 2007 at 11:20 am

There have been others crimes recently in PA. It's not just the poor/transients/etc that commit them.

C'mon people!

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Posted by Carly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2007 at 12:50 pm

GSB, you live in Mt. View. How about this....Let's move the "Opportunity Center" to Castro St, maybe somewhere near your new spiffy Performing Arts Center. Then see what your merchants say when the "poor/transients/etc." congregate in their doorways harassing customers. Let's see how your library patrons feel when the they go into the restrooms and see "poor/transients" bathing and brushing their teeth in the sinks. Let's see what your police think when they have to chase after a few "poor/transients" who've just broken a store window to do some easy shoplifting.

These poor/transients are mentally ill. That's not their fault and we should have compassion for them, but it is our fault for thinking that we can locate a magnet for them in a complicated urban environment and not expect the kinds of problems we're seeing in Palo Alto. And it's anything but compassionate to use these poor souls to demonstrate our own sense of moral superiority and self righteousness.

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Posted by Don
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2007 at 1:27 pm

I have seen the drunks wandering around by Castilleja (Girl's High School) also. It's just a matter of time before something tragic happens there or somewhere else in town from the presence of these Opportunity Center clients.

When are we going to wake up?

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Posted by Brian
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 13, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Your last sentance Carly, has been demonstrated in your past 2 comments. And shows what this terrible world has come to.

If you need to rant, call KGO810 or something, but this is a news outlet.

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Posted by GSB
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 13, 2007 at 1:43 pm


The point of my brief yet (i thought) to-the-point comment is that not all crime in PA is committed by "the less fortunate", though the reporting on this particular incident seems to elude to that...which is a shame.

Would the crime be more or less significant if it had been committed by a PA pre-teen or teenager as a couple of recent PA crimes have been (i.e. the fire at the Dish)?

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Posted by Dewey
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 13, 2007 at 1:58 pm

"[T]his is a news outlet." ?!?

And I thought we were supposed to be offering opinions and discussion here, (which Carly's comments clearly do.)

Seems to me that Brian has a fundamental misunderstanding of what a discussion forum is all about (in addition to not having a spell check on his browser.)

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Posted by Carly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2007 at 2:15 pm

GSB, your comment was quite clear, but not "to the point" at all. It ought to be obvious that reporting on a particular incident or crime does not require a recitation of the sources of all other incidents or crimes in order to provide useful information.

The fact is that the problems - criminal and otherwise - attributable to the homeless in Palo Alto have been steadily growing of late. It does not seem unreasonable to attempt to address these problems, even if we recognize that we can't prevent every other problem in town.

Nobody said all crime in Palo Alto is committed by the less fortunate. Nobody even suggested that all crime in Palo Alto is committed by the less fortunate. Your post addresses an issue that apparently exists only in your own imagination. Why are you raising this straw man here?

If you disagree with those who think the homeless are a problem, why don't you say so and explain your reasons for disagreeing. If you want to start a thread about teenage crime, it's easy to do.

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Posted by Brian
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 13, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Dewey, i dnot hvae tmie too agru whith youe, ih'm sowryy

Carly, You do bring very good points i appreciate your passion on this subject and have brought something to my attention i didnt realize.

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Posted by Curious Observer
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 13, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Curious Observer is a registered user.

If the gentleman in question had a Hispanic name, I'm sure people would be screaming to deport the undocumented individual...and how many of you are wondering if he came from East Palo Alto??? Because surely, a true resident of Palo Alto would never end up living in a place like the Opportunity Center.

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Posted by Kirk
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 13, 2007 at 6:08 pm

Curious Observer, you are not very observant. The guy fisted a window, then went head on with the cops at the Opportunity Center. This is not a gentleman. He is either a thug or a bum or both. He may, or may not, also be mentally unbalanced, in which case he should be instituionalized against his will.

You claim to be from Mt. View. If so, you must be aware that cops in MV run bums, especially on Castro St.. In fact, they get the hell out of there, get on a bus, and come to Palo Alto, because it is a magnet for them. PA used to have a couple of bicycle cops, downtown, whose main job was to run bums. They were effective. No more. Now we just welcome them all, and bleed for the least of these. In case you have not noticed, they (bums, homeless, thugs) are expanding their turf in PA. The guy who has taken over the bench at the corner of Bryant and Churchill is just the beginning... just wait until they start to colonize the sidewalk in front of a councilmember who supports the OC...the hypocracy will be something worthy of youtube!

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Posted by David Taylor
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 13, 2007 at 11:39 pm

It is a fact that Palo Alto welcomes "thugs".

Palo Alto police rookies Michael Kan and Craig Lee, labeled as "thugs" by assistant district attorney Peter Waite (during their 2005 trial for brutally beating 59-year-old Albert Hopkins while he sat in his car and committed no crime in July 2003), pleaded no-contest to public brawling while on duty. To this day, they have not offered the public ANY apology for that crime. Instead, they publicly blamed their senior officers for initiating the criminal investigation! Police chief Lynne Johnson agreed with the rookies, claiming the veteran officers were wrong, and publicly questioned the wisdom of the district attorney's office and the judge that sent the case to trial. The "thugs" Kan and Lee are now back on the Palo Alto streets (they never loss a day of pay during the investigation, arrest, or trial), and must feel assured that they can brutalize with impunity.

In accord with the logic that has been presented in this thread, it's clear that it's time to shut down the Palo Alto police department - a haven for criminal "thugs" - and say goodbye to the police chief that is endangering Palo Alto.

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Posted by John W
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 14, 2007 at 12:06 am

So what are you suggesting, David Taylor? Some kind of eviction contest between police thugs and homeless thugs?

Or (more likely) a moral spitting contest between supporters of homeless thugs and those who don't want them around?

If we have some police officers who got out of line, does that mean we can't do anything about the homeless problem in town?

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Posted by C me around
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 14, 2007 at 8:10 am

How about someone suggesting alternatives here...? Lots of "not in my backyard" talk, which is NOT going to solve any problems....

Basically, since the closure of the Agnews facility in Santa Clara years ago, the people who really need help were cut loose into "half way" houses and left to fin for themselves. Those who needed medication and/or medical care were left without supervision. Most all the land was sold and divided up, leaving barely a palm tree on what was once a beautiful lush green garden setting for the Mentally challenged. Today, most that have health issues are still unable to function fully and have ended up in the "last chance" housing that Palo Alto has provided for them.
Today, Mental health continues to be a challenged subject, both in the homeless population and I also suspect a sprinkling of the same in the police department, though not as noticeable.

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Posted by John W
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 14, 2007 at 9:06 am

C is mostly right in his diagnosis of the problem: they're largely mentally ill people who can't function unaided in "normal" civic society. They deserve our compassion.

However the "last chance" they receive in Palo Alto hardly does them any favors in the long run. What happens to the few who recover enough social function to be able to exist on their own? A once homeless person who finds a job is extremely unlikely to earn enough to afford an apartment or even a room in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. And how easily will a low functioning ex-homeless person fit into a local economy based largely on technology and professional jobs?

C is right that "not in my backyard" isn't going to solve the homeless problems, but when applied to an "Opportunity Center" located next to an expensive shopping center, near a high school, and within sight of neighborhoods where homes average upwards of $1.5 million, a "not in my backyard" attitude might have prevented a bad problem from becoming worse - which clearly it has.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 14, 2007 at 2:28 pm

Judging by the lack of reponse to my initial post, I don't think anyone in charge at the Opportunity Center is going to be responsible and address the many valid concerns on this thread posted by residents of Palo Alto. Perhaps the only way that those managing and profiting from the Opportunity Center will respond openly and honestly to the local community is when a lawsuit is finally brought to address the growing issues and absurd behavior by many of the homeless who have been attracted to Palo Alto by the Opportunity Center. Let's not forget that we can thank City Council for another fiasco.

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Posted by Peter
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 14, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Resident, if you want a response from the Opportunity Center, it might be best to call them or send them a letter. Since this site allows anonymous postings, people have been known to usurp the identities of other people. If I were in an official position, I would think long and hard before engaging, knowing that someone could pose as me, and purport to speak for the organization.

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Posted by WORD
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2007 at 8:49 pm

I still think San Francisco's recent sweep of homeless people was handled best...they offered one way Grey Hound tickets to their (the homeless person's) home city. If we keep giving to homeless people their population will increase.

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