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Private funds may help solve public-safety dilemma

Original post made on Jun 14, 2012

Palo Alto's long and winding voyage to replace its cramped police headquarters took a new turn Wednesday night when city officials unveiled a proposal by a commercial developer to help build a new facility as part of a bid to construct an office building on Page Mill Road.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 10:14 PM

Comments (17)

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Posted by Decentralized-Works-Too
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 7:41 am

> "The intent is to design and develop a true public-safety building that
> capitalizes on the efficiencies and synergies of having the police and
> fire administrations, 911 dispatch, the Office of Emergency Services
> and our EOC (Emergency Operations Center) under one roof," Burns said.

This seems to be the mantra of the Public Safety people—but is it really true? Have these people even remotely considered the use of video conferencing using the City's Fiber Optic system? If you visit City Hall, you typically find police/fire people talking to each other—which is kind of not the same thing as doing work.

You get the sense that the people who end up in these occupations have no imagination, and are more of a liability than an asset, when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of Public Safety in this town.


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Posted by Judith
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

If I am having an emergency, I do not want a videoconference response, I want a person. Probably you would, too , if you thought about it.

I think many of the people having knee-jerk reactions are not aware of the seismic requirements for a public safety building, nor the state legal requirements for such things as storing evidence and having private interviews with victims, witnesses or suspects.


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Posted by "Civic Engagement!"
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2012 at 11:04 am

Has it finally been defined! Picture this:

Police can send out the accountants across the hall to respond to emergencies, then blame those accountants when things go wrong! The public won't know the difference. Police responding/Accountants doing the police work. It's six of one, half-dozen of the other.

That way saves council the money they can use for the Retired police officers account. Sounds good to me. Wait a minute, hasn't that kind of public/private "Civic Engagement" already been done?

Where are the leaders in this community? Get real.


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Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

Is it really better to have everything all in one place. What if that one place gets wiped out in an earthquake or other disaster?


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Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm

rem is a registered user.

NO - NO - NO - NO - NO !!!!

Look at Jay Paul's record in the area...


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Posted by Decentralized-Works-Too
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

> If I am having an emergency, I do not want a videoconference
> response, I want a person.

And what makes you think that the suggestion about use of video conferencing to reduce the capital costs of providing public service? The suggestion had to do with the probably false claim that there is a lot of "synergy" having the police police department, the fire department and the dog catchers all in the same building.

About half of the police departments salary base is "civilian". These are people who will not likely ever respond to a request for service in the field. These are people who are doing "god only knows what" at City Hall.

> if you thought about it.

Right back at'cha. Never hurts to take a deep breath, and re-read a posting you might not agree with a second time before hitting that "send" button.



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Posted by Decentralized-Works-Too
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm

> Look at Jay Paul's record in the area...

Not helpful. Can you provide links to articles about Jay Paul projects that have proven to be unsafe, or failed to complete because of financing problems? Or even articles about these building projects being architecturally inappropriate, or failing to deliver basic functionality to the tenets of the buildings built by Jay Paul?



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Posted by jm
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Why is Jay Paul offering to do this? Is it to get a zoning waiver for his property to build a larger building than allowed? Or not to have to include housing?

In any case, on the face of it sounds like a better deal for the city than the Lytton Plaza building.

Does anyone know which other buildings Jay Paul has constructed in Palo Alto, or surrounding communities. I would be interested to know more about other Jay Paul projects.


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Posted by Decentralized-Works-Too
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Sorry .. dropped a couple of words in the first sentence ..

And what makes you think that the suggestion about use of video conferencing to reduce the capital costs of providing public service would reduce the quality of public service delivered to the community?


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Posted by Decentralized-Works-Too
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

The following is a link to the Jay Paul Web-site:

Web Link


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Posted by who cares
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jun 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

...another failed idea put forth by an inept city manager and equally clueless city council. Lets sell out all our city integrity to the highest bidder. Makes one wonder what the current city manager will sell to keep his $500,000+ salary and benefit package in place. Where are today's leaders on city council? What a pity.


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Posted by Careful what you wishfor
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Problem with private partnerships is that when the privateers get a commitment from the city, the cost goes way up. (surprise!) Thats what happened at Lytton Plaza.


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Posted by dave
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Most posters haven't a clue as to the problems with the present location of the Police services and dispatch center. Read the 2006 Blue Ribbon Committee's report on the legal and physical deficiencies of the City Hall Bldg.

A large number of the residents would vote against anything to do with police services at the previous estimate for a new building of $45 Million. Here is an opportunity to save scarce City funds. If this is not done, the State may come in and mandate compliance with the codes that are not being enforced in the present structure. Cost? At least $45 Million. Read the BRC report before throwing stones.

Burt's comment about looking at other alternatives is off the mark. Klein has it right - there are no other alternatives and haven't been for many years.


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Posted by Jon
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I surely can't even guess what makes sense based on the article and the comments. Maybe we could limp along for another decade. But having a developer come up with a solution out of the blue sounds a little like Jack and the Beanstalk.


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Posted by Decentralized-Works-Too
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm

> Klein has it right - there are no other alternatives and haven't
> been for many years.

Not true. We can merge our police with that of another city, such as Mountain View, or Menlo Park, and then consider the police station in another city. There is no reason for the 911 center to be in Palo Alto, nor the EOC, for that matter.

The idea that we have to do what the imagination-limited Infrastructure Commissions is simply not true. We can rethink the police function, and begin to think in a more regional fashion.


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Posted by Merge with others?
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2012 at 11:18 am

If any other community is considered for a merger with Palo Alto, Menlo Park would be the best. From what I read, their council seems as clueless as are your nine members.

But please leave communities that are working well alone. Isolate the dysfunction. We moved from PA, to get away from the lack of leadership.


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Posted by Employee and Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm

To repeat a prior post..."Lets sell out all our city integrity to the highest bidder."

At what point will the public consider the conflict of indebtedness to a private interest? Is Joe Schmoe in the apartment conmplex going to get a piece of the action?...they pay taxes too.

Face it - public enterprises are the new "natural resource" for the exploitation by private companies and contractors...and some of those contractors being retired management employees.


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