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on Jan 12, 2010
Malcolm X - Plaza. Excellent idea.....and so the inscription plaque should read:
"...in my opinion, the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you're living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there's got to be a change. People in power have misused it and now there has to be a change and a better world has to be built and the only way it's going to be built is with extreme methods. And I, for one, will join in with anyone, I don't care what color you are, as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth."
-Malcolm X, Oxford Union Debate, 1964
Our new city council received the developers marching orders and it promptly obeyed. Good start, people.
Cesar Chavez - Plaza. Excellent idea as well.....and so the inscription plaque should read:
"The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111
[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
This whole thing strikes me as a bit weird. Why is everyone bending over backward to kiss up to the Thoits Family. So they own a bunch of buildings and have owned prominent businesses in downtown over many years. Does that really earn them naming rights on a corner park in Palo Alto?
Perhaps we should name Lytton Plaza after a hero, or a set of heros of that lived in Palo Alto and had a historical impact on the city. Perhaps we should name it in honor of all the great entrepreneurs of the city and area. Let's call it Entrepreneurs Plaza. We can even make the Thoits the first name on the the plaque in order to follow through on the idea to honor the Thoits. Perhaps Mr. Lytton can be on the plaque as well.
Perhaps I missed a history lesson here, but since when did Vietnam war protesters in Palo Alto have some historical affect on policy. Give me a break.
The park is named Lytton Plaza. Mr. Lytton's bank bought the land. The bank failed and the land sold at auction. The city was slow on the draw so they used eminent domain to "steal" it from the rightful owner for a price of $150K.
Yes, please, let some things with even a little bit of historical relevance keep the same name. And, frankly, from a strictly aesthetic point of view, "Lytton Plaza" is an nice sounding name and easy to pronounce - "Thoits Plaza" sounds like an advertisement for a sore throat remedy.
Even if the city renames it Thoits plaza, no one is going to call it that.
How about Google Plaza? It's just a matter of time.
When the city council has time to worry about changing a perfectly good name instead of working to make the city more liveable, city government more efficient, and Palo Alto more environmentally sustainable - it's time to vote them out. There is too much construction in Palo Alto and too much growth. The term "sustainable growth" is an oxymoron. I agree with BM: Leave it alone.
who are the thoits's?
I totally agree with the council action last night to refer the renaming of Lytton Plaza to the Park and Recreation Commission. Roger Smith and Duncan Matteson were especially eloquent in their remarks. For more information about Warren Thoits, please check out Web Link
Green gigabytes of gratitude to the dedicated citizens who recreated this community asset!
Having the Park and Rec Commission handle issues such as naming rights seems appropriate. Hopefully, the Commission would generate a policy so all naming issues are handled consistently.
In addition, the policy would hopefully include a time limit on names (20 or more years) so that the future community is given the opportunity to honor those who are more relevant to the times.
Whatever they call it, it is still stark, cold, dull, and garish. If this went through the ARB, it is another 'star' in its tarnished crown. This is beautiful? This has "ambiance"? This is even
pretty? And why bother to protest? The Palo Alto big names "400" has given it its seal of approval. THAT is civic engagement. And evidently once again we have a council that hasn't the guts to say "NO". Leave it alone.
If the Thoits contributed most of the money for the refurbishment of the park, then fine. The park was redesigned to keep "undesirables" out, and paying consumers in.
Does anyone besides me find it inappropriate that a member of the Park and Rec commission should speak as a member of the public to the City Council on wether the matter should be decided by a commission she sits on !
She is entitled to her opinion but her comments were inappropriate and should not have been allowed.
If someone would like to honor the Thoits family let them do so, But i do not see the need to "UN" honor someone else. There is a great value in history and continuity which i
believe should always be respected for the entire community.
sorry but Thoits doesn't sound nearly as nice as Lytton.
Will there be a plaque on-site to provide a pronunciation guide for the new name? Maybe with a button you could push to get an audio of the correct way to say the name.
Anna Eshoo/SEIU/Acorn Plaza
And so, gentlemen, "Developer's Plaza" it is. Nice to see that Palo Alto has finally gotten over that silly "residentialist" business and is letting power slip back into the hands of those able and willing to seize it and wield it.
How about False Arrest Plaza? It would be named for the night the PAPD rounded up everyone in sight including an Air Force general. They all eventually got set free but the story even made Time Magazine.
Maybe Black Eye Plaza would be better.
Why don't we have a honest City Council that will honestly say "Developer (Contractors) Lobbyists , Developer (Contractors), donate to us and we will approve!!!!"
It would be great if the City Council and all the other "Councils" and "Work Shops" learned a new word NO or new phase DISAPPROVED….
There is no sane reason for this RENAMING except MONEY, MONEY, MONEY and not caring about the people of Palo Alto or ANY of the other communities..
Sound to me like DEVELOPMENT, DEVELOPMENT, DEVELOPMENT !!!! Gee, the CITY has messed up "University Avenue.", West Charleston Road & El Camino Real, butcher San Antonio Road and let's not forget San Antonio and East Charleston Road.
Like I said ABOVE - There is no sane reason for this RENAMING except MONEY, MONEY, MONEY and not caring about the people of Palo Alto or ANY of the other communities …..
Paul Losch from the Parks and Recreation Commission here.
I am up for re-appointment later this month, and I hope Council re-appoints me. It does have some bearing in this Plaza matter, from a timing standpoint.
This topic is one that leads to pot shots and differing points of view that cannot be reconciled.
There are guidelines in Palo Alto law about the naming or re-naming of a public space. The Parks and Recreation Commission must adhere to these guidelines as it deliberates on the possible re-naming of Lytton Plaza and what it recommends to City Council, the ultimate deciding body.
There can be varied opinions about what name a certain public space should carry, as is the case in this instance. It is not a trivial mattter, although it is easy for folks to come up with suggestions that give it that appearance.
The Thoits family has a rich legacy here in town, Lytton Bank was in the right place at the right time, from a naming standpoint. Honestly, it makes no difference where the Parks Commission comes down on this matter and what it recommends to Council. There will be critics either way. Such is public life, even for someone like me who does this as a volunteer and has no aspirations beyond the seart I have held since 2004.
Are they going to rename Lytton Avenue and Lytton Gardens too?
Waste and time and waste of money. There are much more pressing needs for the council to be spending their time on.
Thanks Paul for all you do for parks and rec.
While they're at it, they might as well re-name all the schools again, since they're in control of these things at the moment.
I thought it was Lytton Plaza back in the 60s when the peoples park was a place that people actually gathered and were involved? Now its just a place that some banker can buy to say he has a plaza?
HELLO!!! everyone,...."every city needs an attraction for tourism,revenue,partiotism and even patrionization for all the local businesses. On the otherhand "Lytton Plaza" is named after a pioneer whom at one point earned his position. Dispite of himself and the person who slandered his name at the council meeting was not a supporter of Mr. Lytton. He could not defend himself due to his expiration. A negative statement like that coming from someone whos in cohorts with the "Thoits" says a lot about the messenger himself.* WAS THAT A TRUE REMARK OR IS WAS IT SUPPORT FOR THE THOIT FAMILY?????? I am 48 years of age. Lytton PLaza is a landmark to me. By the way all the people from around the world Germany,...Australia,...Japan,...Africa,..Europe,and more importantly sport celebs,famous musicians, politicians etc...,. All these figures have pictures in thier hearts and photos in thier albums. I am also a chauffer. I transport these people daily. The "Thoit family" I do respect they got it I don't.,.... They are blessed. I am blessed with this opinion,"The Thoit Family can create a fixture dedicated to "PALO ALTO" in the form of a great statue in the "Lytton Plaza",...or even better on its own lot as another added attraction to downtown. I also do tours to "GOLDEN GATE PARK" in San Francisco I'd love to see some of those statues in Palo Alto instead of driving way toward the deep end of SAN FRANCISCO. Although, "Stanford is beautiful". Lets build our city like S.F. or New York another city with big statues.
This re-naming idea by a small group of well-connected people sets a bad precedent. Since when does any Palo Alto 'turf' belong to whomever decides the name should be changed ? Where does Le Levy, who doesn't even live here anymore and some of the other non-residents or any small group with so-called 'civic power' get the right to rename a public space or any other landmark. (The renaming of Civic Center Plaza after Martin Luther KIng and his wife who reportedly never set foot into Palo Alto) was another bad idea.) These are the same people responsible for the disastrous facelift of Lytton Plaza. There are sixty-thousand plus residents in this town. Don't their opinions count for anything? We had hoped we had elected a new council with common sense and some guts. Looks like business as usual. The "400 elite" roll again. Hi, ho Silver!!
In the hope that the City Council and the Parks & Recreation Commission may read our comments, I think this is a topic worth writing about. I'm a native of Palo Alto, gone to school here including university, have 50+ years of history here. I remember Lytton Plaza and People's Plaza, and the important anti-war and other free speech movements in downtown. I believe changing the name to a commercial use is bad policy and just sad. Please, City Council and Parks Commission, please keep this reminder of our activist roots and opportunities for free thinking and free speech. Please don't sell out on this one. Thank you!
[Comment removed by Palo Alto Online staff].
Let's face it. Lytton Plaza is not Lytton Plaza any more. For the sake of civic integrity it should be renamed. But what has the Thoits family done to Palo Alto to deserve having its name attached to this faux urban eyesore?
Paul, can you post a link to the "guidelines in Palo Alto law about the naming or re-naming of a public space"? Just seems odd to randomly choose to rename a public space without public input.
ok, dont' worry, I found this Web Link and this Web Link
The city policy appears to have a pretty high bar:
"City policy discourages the renaming of existing park or recreational facilities, particularly one whose name has regional significance, unless there are extraordinary circumstances, and no other new facility or portion of an existing park or facility can be named."
There's a new library being built along with a new community center. Doesn't that automatically negate renaming Lytton Plaza to Thoit's given the above constraint when there are other new facilities or portion of a facility available for naming?
Thoit doesn't really have a nice ring to it. People will continue to mispronounce and make fun of the name forever, whereas Lytton falls "trippingly off the tongue".
Why not name the plaza Hewlett or Packard? They contributed more to the world wide recognition of Palo Alto than Mr. Thoit.
Out of respect for Mr. Lytton, his name should be removed from this hellishly stark, sterile spot. I suggest "OMG! Plaza" instead.
Which is more than ironic since a major element of this debate is the fact that many reasonable people believe that changing the name of Lytton Plaza impacts the atmosphere of First Amendment freedom of expression and freedom of assembly here: it's disturbing. The point is referenced in several of the above posts, plus was discussed by speakers at Council, and in their story above, by Gennady Sheyner.
At least four comments on this thread were deleted.
Changing the name of Lytton Plaza is like the Chinese government changing the name of Tiananmen Square so as to obfuscate the historical memory of roles that dissidents played there in 1989.
Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello.
--Loverly (a pseudonym)
Turns out when you make a place where people can gather freely outdoors, poors and teenagers start to hang out there. We can't have that downtown, let's turn it into a bare patch of concrete instead of having to ever look at someone who's different from us. Oh and we might as well literally rename it to reward a rich family for already being rich.
Seriously why even bother having parks or libraries? Let's just turn the town into an office park and half a dozen fusion restaurants.
Thanks, Erik of Barron Park, for following my lead here, regarding Lytton Plaza and the First Amendment. My previous messages were deleted by the webmaster or publishers, as was a response by a third party.
I am perfectly willing, in due time, to sign my actual name to my message, to read my words publicly, at Council, at the Rec Commission meeting, even in Lytton Plaza, or to hand out pamphlets. But since these "Town Square" quasi-anonymous forums are popular, I thought I'd join in, in the lingua franca.
I hope many of the above posters will consider callling Council members to share their views in real time with a real person. Numbers are available on City website. Or go to Council or Rec Commission meetings and speak out, while it is still legal.
By the way, this is an interesting link on the topic of web-based community versus the real world. Technology evangelist Jaron Lanier is backing off his pollyana-ism and taking a step towards us Luddittes.
-Loverly (a pseudonym)
I think Lytton Plaza should be renamed Leland Stanford Plaza. Can't think of an individual who had a larger influence in Palo Alto's history than our former Governor.
I think Erik is right. Think of all the space for condos and hotels if we got rid of Greer, Mitchell and Rinconada parks. That land is just worth too much to waste the space on ball fields and libraries. Maybe the city could do some more re-zoning.
We, the ordinary voting residents of Palo Alto don't have any say in this matter. It's the elite movers and shakers of Downtown who've taken over Lytton Plaza and wish to rename it. If you've got money you get to name it after one of your own!!!
these elected members work at the pleasure of the rich people who wine and dine them and grease their palms very frequently to do these kinds of things. these people are shameless and have no ethics. they are basically sycophants and will do anything to be in the good books of the rich and powerful. Mountian view city council is exactly same type and so is sunnyvale. we sure could use a huge earthquake with so many bad people amongst us.
name it PANCHO VILLA or MICHAEL VICK
next time someone wants to redecorate a plaza, we'll know a name change is around the corner
the name doesn't matter, but it's how and why it's being done
There they are now. Let's detain them.
They look stupid. And contagious.
Hello, hello, hello, hello.
Now go. Now, go. Now, go. NOW, GO!
They wear doo-rags, they speak Ingles
They have skateboards. And gold braces.
First Amendment? Don't recall it.
We have billions. And the Council.
Our new plaza, looks so sterile.
But our pizza, makes us virile.
A "Due process"?
It's like sausage!
Hello, hello, hello, hello.
Now, go. Now, go. Now, go. NOW, GO!
"Sketchy people" "Undesirables".
Huddled masses. Civil rights groups.
We hate workers. We hate loudmouths. (and song parodies)
It's hard to bargle nawdle zouss.
People's Plaza is just for Berkeley.
We like crushed rock, not rosy parks stuff.
How low? How low--- how high? (match our $400,000, guys!)
Our "doo" process?
It's just sausage!
Smells Like Thoits Plaza
with apologies to K. Cobain and L. Levy
Wouldn't THAT be loverly?
I'm sorry for the deceased and family but their so-called friends are doing them a disservice. And it's only about the naming because of the context, how they do things here, with our money, and name.
I'd rather put the energy there:
-Loverly (a pseud oh nevermind
What's with Palo Alto and its renaming? Seems this Thoits move is political.
It should be named Jobs Plaza in dedication to our hometown hero who changed the world.
When I grew up here, JLS Middle School was named Wilbur Middle School. I am not sure why they changed the name after I graduated from Paly in the 80s.
When I attended Palo Verde, they decided to close Ortega Elementary in 1976 and I remember them asking us children what we should rename our school because they wanted the Ortega students to feel welcomed by changing the name. We students didn't even give a hoot and could not understand how a name change would even affect the Ortega students. So it was called Sequoiah for some time and then reverted to Palo Verde later.
Should the city ever consider changing the names of the high schools, there would lawsuits flying and arms flailing.
Someone on the Joan Baez forum suggested Pigpen Plaza (after Paly grad and Grateful Dead member Ron McKernan).
Has a nice ring to it. Say it a few times with me now . . .
Could be shortened to P3 or P cubed.
Who's with me on this?
IF, and only IF you will go to the trouble of changing the name
Jobs Plaza, or the Hewlett Packard idea are good
a Plaza should be welcoming and attractive to out of town visitors, so a name that has world appeal makes more sense. Joan Baez Plaza
Repetitively changing it to names that are important to a small group of people is a waste of time.
If I was a Thoit, I'd ask them to please NOT name that boring un-inventive, cheap looking corner after me. I was astounded to see the finished product. The fountain is okay, but a bunch of cheap looking tables and chairs... with a few deciduous trees looks very uninviting. And that egg. ARGH.
Why not name it "Worthless Councilmember Plaza"--that way we could honor our former council members like Nancy Lytle, Jim Burch, Dena Mosser, Larry Klein, Jack Morton, Yoirko Kishimoto and Peter Drekmeier--and also be able to include the incompetents that will surely serve in the future.
Put the big in the middle and call it the Benest Plaza.
The Weekly is running a survey on this topic and after 103 respondees it is polling 8 to 1 against "Thoits Plaza." So if those 80 people send a small note of their will to our newly elected representatives Price, Scharff, Shepherd and Holman those newbie council members can prove to us that they are not merely lobbyists for the real estate interests, that they represent the people.
Their email addresses are on the City Roster page:
I've always called it Burger King plaza. Still do. It won't matter to me who the tenant in the restaurant next door is, or which old white male its real name honors. I think most people are like me and will call it what they've always called it.
My top choices
1. Whatchamacallit Plaza
2. That parking lot with benches and strange egg Plaza
3. Underutilized Real Estate Plaza
4. Frost Plaza
How about, change the name every year based on the highest bidder, instead of every 40 years. This way the city would generate some revenues, and still no one would care or even be aware of what it's called?
Actually, we do live in a gilded world don't we? If the plaza were in East Palo Alto, they'd be deciding how to prevent murders and graffiti. We're arguing about which billionaire to name our hallowed plaza after. We're lucky to have our problems....
I was born in Palo Alto 54 years ago, grew up there and had never heard of the "Thoits" until I read this article. A penny for your Thoits?
Don't name it after Steve Jobs -- his ego is too big already. Google isn't headquartered in Palo Alto. How about Facebook Plaza? Even Fry's Plaza would be more fitting. I'm for leaving it as just Lytton Plaza.
BTW Pigpen McKernan didn't graduate Paly. He and the principal decided he should just leave.
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