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Alcohol restrictions proposed for two PA parks

Original post made on Aug 25, 2008

Gang members from East Palo Alto have been going to Eleanor Pardee Park in Palo Alto to drink alcohol late at night, making enough noise to keep neighbors awake in the otherwise peaceful neighborhood at Channing Avenue and Center Drive.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 25, 2008, 5:02 PM

Comments (43)

Posted by JA3+, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 25, 2008 at 5:49 pm

A wise idea.

A question: what is the definition of 'late at night'?

In much of Crescent Park, certain City noise restrictions commence at 8 pm. Offhand, it seems wise to tie any alcohol restriction to other restrictions, perhaps including, but not limited to, those governing noise.

Posted by ng, a resident of Hoover School
on Aug 25, 2008 at 6:08 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Mr. BBQ, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 25, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Why not close the parks at sunset?

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 25, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Half hour after sunset would be reasonable.

Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Another case of "treat the symptom, not the disease" Ng has the right idea!

Sacrificing any rights is not acceptable when there is an existing solution.

Posted by Yellow Journalism, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Aug 25, 2008 at 7:08 pm

East Palo Alto is filled with all kinds of good people. Eleanor Park has been a "party park" for decades. The Halloween 1969 riot there that resulted from a police raid on a keg party put officers in the hospital (slashed with razors) and two cop cars turned upside down and set on fire was all done by the nice white bread Palo Alto punks. What a biased piece of crap this story is. Exactly what evidence is there that our neighbors are responsible instead of us? Gangs are alive and thriving in the teenagers of both East Palo Alto and Palo Alto. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by George Michael, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 25, 2008 at 7:16 pm

I find it scary that if indeed they come here so as not to be harassed, then what happens when their rival gangs decide to harass Those paintballs are going to to become 9mm rounds.
I know meeting the department's goal of 93 (I think) officers won't mean "a cop on every streetcorner," but it seems like it should be a TOP priority. We must not become complacent in keeping our town as safe as it can be.

Posted by Gus L., a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 25, 2008 at 7:57 pm

All parks should have a no alcohol policy. unless they pay for a permit.
I agree with the 1/2 hour before sunset policy.
Lets take our city back for Palo Alto.
East Palo Alto has parks, They can go there or any other park in San Mateo County.

Posted by Working by day, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 25, 2008 at 8:32 pm

A fair number of our parks have lighting for nighttime use. The tennis courts at Mitchell Park come to mind in particular.

A general closure of parks at sunset strikes me as a waste of resources, and a good way to deny ordinary residents access to the facilities that our tax dollars pay for.

Posted by South PA Resident, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 25, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Again, this is another North Palo Alto perk. Alcohol restrictions should be extended to all parks in both North and South Palo Alto. Mitchell Park is crowded on weekends with groups partying till late in the evening. Many of these party goers may have permits to BBQ and party but they come from outside the City, and they leave their garbage behind including many empty bottles.

Posted by J, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 25, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Are you sure it's only gang members? We drank there at night a lot in high school. I guess I was in the north PA gang. Maybe they should take the name Pardee out of the title. It's false advertising. realize I am joking...although we did drink in that park quite a bit. It really stinks if it is a gang hang out. That is very disturbing.

Posted by comeon, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 25, 2008 at 9:04 pm

By East Palo Alto Gang Members do they mean Jordan Middle School and Palo Alto High School students who are residents of these communities?

I agree with Yellow Journalism that Eleanor Pardee Park has been a "party park" for quite a long time.

I'll admit that I have drank alcohol in Pardee park on numerous occassions and its always been with Palo Alto residents.... and the others I have encountered at the park have either been other youths from nearby palo alto neighborhoods or WHITE crackheads (yes crackheads -although they have been spotted during the daytime, not night). The only east palo altans I see frequenting the park are the families who gather for picnincs, playing on the playground, or playing soccer on the field. They usually, if not always, use the park in an amicable manner and do clean up after themselves.... cause just like you, when they come back to the park next weekend, they dont want it to be dirty.

Finally, all the above is not to say that we should not take proactive measures to reducing obnoxious noise levels in an otherwise peaceful neighborhood.

Posted by sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 25, 2008 at 10:38 pm

stiff fines and identity checks will depress this activity

Posted by kevin R, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 26, 2008 at 3:37 am

This article seems to be a weak version of a similar story in the Daily Post yesterday. The Weekly should stop plagiarizing other papers in the area. I'm disappointed.

Posted by "Greenie", a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 26, 2008 at 9:20 am

How many of these "gang" members have been arrested? What is the name of these "gangs"? Certainly "gang" members are likely to have outstanding warrants--have the police managed to arrest any of these people for this reason?

Something is fishy here .. the papers are not doing their jobs by digging into these topics in a more comprehensive manner.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2008 at 9:35 am

There should be alcohol restrictions on all parks, but only after dark. It seems a shame to restrict family use during the day for the many who like to barbeque with family and friends and enjoy wine or beer with their burgers. But after dark would seem a reasonable compromise. Closing the parks after sunset would also seem reasonable with exceptions for the lighted areas where people use the parks for late night exercise or walking home after dark, particularly schoolchildren in winter. The tennis courts being lit would also be exceptions. Perhaps it should just be the picnic areas which should be closed after dark.

Posted by Mr BBQ, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 26, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Well my car was broken into last night less than a block from the park. I saw close the park shortly after sunset. There is just no reason to be their when it's dark!

Posted by Mr. BBQ, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 26, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Mr. BBQ is a registered user.

Yes I caught my error, in my post should say I "say" not I "saw"

Posted by Mayfield Child, a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 26, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Hummm. In Mitchell Park, you have to PAY the city for an extension in your reservations to be able to use alcohol in the park. Guess that is for the extra flushing of the toilets (due to all your body fluid build up that has to be relieved). BUT! There ARE no bathrooms in Ellenor Park as I remembered..that is so only local residents can use the park (they can go close to home to use their own bathrooms).
WHERE are all of the late night "gang" members going to relieve themselves? Yucch.
As for the poor neighbors living so close to that park, I would not like the noise, slamming of doors, etc. late at night.
I had a neighbor who was shot in the back at Jack Farrel Park (on Fordham street) in East Palo Alto years ago. At night. He told everyone he was wounded in the sad is that?

Posted by South PA Resident, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2008 at 4:45 pm

You need a permit to picnic in Mitchell Park because by Monday morning the trash is everywhere and it takes a work crew all day to clean the mess up. I'm for increasing the fee on those permits because most of the groups that party using our park facilities are from outside Palo Alto.

Posted by KW, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2008 at 5:11 pm

I have been visting the park in the daytime last couple weeks. I always wonder why a 6' construction steel beam is hidden between the big tree branches next to the small playground along Channing. Sometimes I see a couple of goldgym guys walking around. It's not a particular scary place during the day but I don't live there...

Posted by he, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 26, 2008 at 8:38 pm

keep Palo Alto for Palo Altans, we should treat all parks like Foot Hill Park and keep strangers OUT

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 26, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Stepped-up police patrols would help. Aren't they driving by there (Pardee Park etc.) anyway quite often?

Posted by P.S., a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 27, 2008 at 1:51 am

I agree that Palo Alto parks should be for Palo Altans only. A drive by the parks on weekends, and all you can hear is Spanish.

Rinconada Park pool should also be open to only Palo Altans.

Posted by jeez, a resident of another community
on Aug 27, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Of course no Spanish speaking people could actually live in PA, right?

Posted by Rinconada Park, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 27, 2008 at 1:25 pm


"That is highly improbable Captain Kirk"

Posted by Sure, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 27, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Can't blame 'em. If I lived in a town where I did not feel safe having a family picnic, I'd picnic in a neighboring town too...

Posted by g, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2008 at 7:49 am

I agree with those that have stated that there should be NO alcohol in any public park.
And, agree that parks should close 30 minutes before sunset.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2008 at 8:32 am

I don't think many people are concerned about people picnicing in any park.

Gangs from EPA and Mtn View are tagging, etc at Pardee Park (and maybe shooting paintballs??) a real concern,

Posted by Doris, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2008 at 11:30 am

I too agree with the sunset idea. But if there is a continuing problem with gangs hanging at the park, it seems only out of concern there has to be a reason to why they are hanging. Both communities need to look a little closer as to why this is occuring and try to get a grip on the situation. Which would mean someone taking responsibility to jump right in with the youths/adults and communicate. I truly believe that if we talk directly with the gangs we can quit all the assuming and get the facts straight from the source. I challange you, let's see what all the fuss is really about, and do something to resolve it.

Posted by I dont know, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Walking passed this park passed sunset is part of my walking circuit. I see the partiers and they have always been respectful of me. So don't chase them out, just educate them as to any rules they are violating. They might just comply.

Posted by Leslie, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 28, 2008 at 6:26 pm

This story is not just about drinking in the park. It is about EPA gang members over here in our community that are not welcomed by most people.

Posted by Funny, a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 29, 2008 at 7:32 am

Public facilities are for use by the general public. Not just local residents. These comments about for Palo Altans are ridiculous. What do you want done. Barbed Wire fences along all parks with one entrance and a guard at the entrance to check that only recidents of palo alto enter? Why doesnt Palo Alto just declare its independance from the rest of the world and have thier own Palo Alto border checks and only allow palo altans in. Ridiculous..........

Posted by Gang Members are Everywhere, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 29, 2008 at 9:36 am

You never know who a gang member is, whether it's because they're not wearing colors or you miss the signs. EPA gang members have used Eleanor park as a hang out for a long, long time. I've heard EPA & PA cops talk about it & seen it myself at night. PA needs to get over itself w/their NIMBY attitude of no one else allowed in their parks. Maybe EPA should prevent non-residents from accessing their roads, their IKEA, etc. That's just as ridiculous as barring non-residents from the parks. Already, even though close to PA, I try to spend more of my $$ in San Mateo County & I avoid spending it in PA more than ever - mostly due to the unrealistically elitist attitude of so many of its residents.

Park inhabitants can only get in trouble if they're violating laws, be it public intoxication, violating a noise ordinance, having an illegal weapon, defacing property, etc. ANYONE can commit those violations, so it makes sense for the city to enact a no alcohol ordinance. The repercussions of drinking in a park then driving off after could be huge.

Eleanor park has ALWAYS been used as a party place by youth - including non gang members - that's been a lot more common than the gang members. NO ONE should be drinking a lot at a park, making noise after hours, then driving off.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2008 at 12:49 pm

I don't live near a park with particular problems, but I would like to make one comment

I love to see the hispanic families in our parks having wonderful family parties. They seem to really enjoy the experience, having several generations together, playing together, chatting together and eating together. They tend to show some of us just how simple fun a picnio in the park can be and how important it is too get whole families together. Many of us could learn a lot from this.

Posted by Leslie, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 29, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Palo Alto residents should not be critized for wanting a safe place to live.

Posted by JolieP, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2008 at 2:51 pm

For those of you that do not understand the root of the concern it is the CRIME aspect that people are having an issue with. NOT non-residents using our parks. Put a ban on alcohol in the parks at night and this may lower the probability of a crime related incident.

Posted by Bald Hispanic White Car, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 29, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Gang members congregate where they expect to not be harrased, and/or are claiming new territory. If they are in that park it is because they feel it is comfortable there.Someone they know lives close by, and after a week or two surveillance they have decided to take it over or regard it as a neautral area where they dont have much to worry about. If it really is gang members, than the best deterrant is to call the police everytime they congregate, on a continuous basis. Until the PAPD is sick of getting calls. Having been a former gang member for over 20 Yrs. I would love to offer my help to the PAPD. I just dont think they would go for working with someone with, well lets just call it my appearance. I'm a professional now, and have earned my way into my lifestyle. I just feel bad that other people around this community can't see me in that way. Pro-active police responses and community effort (picking up the phone) is the best way to deter gangs before they settle in permanently.

Vote Bald Hispanic for PAPD gang consultant, lol.

Have a great day. Thanks for reading my comments & suggestions.

Posted by WilliamR, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 29, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Bald Hispanic, This is a naive question, but if I saw a bunch of people at a park, how would I assume they were gang members and should be reported to the police, as opposed to being just a group of local friends having a kegger?

Posted by Someone Else, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 30, 2008 at 5:53 am

What on Earth is there to do in a park AFTER DARK? You don't bring the kids to play on the swings in the dark, you don't have barbecues and keggers in the dark, you don't toss a Frisbee in the dark. You come to the park after dark to drink and hide from your East Palo Alto gang rivals. When your gang rivals find out where your hideout is, watch out Sherman, better dodge that 9mm round coming through the window. Oh, and see all those lovely $1 million+ homes surrounding the park? Bet they have lots of nice, expensive stuff in them which could be yours for the breaking and entering.

The East Palo Alto gang problem should be kept in East Palo Alto and not be allowed to spill over into P.A., I don't care how many years Eleanor Park has been considered a "party park". We didn't have E.P.A. gangs to worry about back in the '60s, but times have changed. There should be an after-dark curfew on ALL P.A. parks (not tennis courts). No way should anyone be allowed to come to the parks and drink and disturb the peace after dark.

Posted by sohill, a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2008 at 1:54 pm

As long as I remember (that goes back a few decades) the park has been a party park for rich, poor and midle class young people both of Palo Alto and surrounding communities. They simply like to go to the park at night (so did my son btw) It's a nice place to party chat and laugh with others no doubt. Some of you are making it a "gang" problem and from where? of course, EPA. How do they know these kids are from EPA? Maybe the complainers would like them to have EPA tattooed on their arms so that they maybe identifiable at a glance... Relax people. Noise at night is not good of course.
However, it isn't as awful as the mean and nasty thought that have been expressed on this forum. If there is a problem it should be the noise not the color of those who are noisy.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm

Based on the tagging (aka graffiti) there are gangs from both EPA and MV who are hanging in the park (claiming it as their own?). If we want the park to continue to be a safe place for non-gang member kids to congregate - wherever they live - we don't want gangs from ANY city.

Posted by Our Neighborhood, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Gangs from out of town in Pardee Park: Likely.
Palo Alto youth partying, littering and vandalizing at night: Definitely.
Why argue about who are the culprits, when it's both?

If we were all brought up well and got along, and picked up our trash after us (including Palo Altans), none of this would be a problem. But that is not the world we live in.

Practical measures that would make Pardee Park and its surroundings a better place:
1) No alcohol, and no alcohol permits (drunkards litter more, they just do). Why do we need alcohol in the park at all?
2) No smoking (second hand smoke is a health hazard, and many smokers litter with their cigarette butts, apologies to the smokers who don't).
3) Close the park an hour after sunset (when it is still light), except for lighted tennis courts.
4) Install clean, maintained restrooms, that self-lock at night (as is the City Parks & Rec policy), so that decent people can use the park decently.
5) ROUTINE police patrols, not just when problems build up, with tickets diligently issued (not warnings) for infractions of all of the rules.

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