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South Palo Alto residents petition to secede

Original post made on Apr 1, 2014

Citing years of neglect by their elected leaders, south Palo Alto residents have gathered enough signatures to put a referendum to secede and form their own city on the June ballot.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 9:49 AM

Comments (46)

Posted by Getting Smart, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:16 am

Really? Be careful what you wish for.


Posted by Changeman, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:17 am

There are plenty of people in North PA who are also dissatisfied, for different reasons perhaps, with the present council and government. Instead of seceding a better plan would be to muster all the dissatisfaction, kick out/recall many of the current council and elect a council that represents a broader constituency than developers and moneyed interests that have little care of our quality of life.


Posted by no taxation without representation, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:19 am

I am one of the principals behind this petition. We are tired of the city taking our tax money and spending it all in North Palo Alto. How much money have they essentially given away to developers downtown? And now they are doing the same to California Ave. All that tax money just puts money into the hands of the landlords with little benefit to the taxpayers or even the businessowners. Meanwhile, southern Palo Alto is invaded by reckless drivers along residential streets like Alma and Middlefield and the police don't care. Our main community center (Cubberly) is falling apart and the city has no plans to repair it. We are tired of being second class Palo Alto citizens. It is time to start our own city that cares about its residents instead of just downtown landlords.


Posted by Getting Smart, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:21 am

Oh ... I get it now. But as a North PA resident I'm incensed that there's no "Happy Team" roaming around my neighborhood. I obviously need to lighten up!


Posted by this is an april fools joke!, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:21 am

Its April Fools Day - don't take this seriously!


Posted by Susie, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:23 am

"In addition, 35 percent of the respondents in the south reported that they haven't smiled in more than a week, compared to just 6 percent in the north."

Just want to highlight that. Carry on.


Posted by Marie Antoinette, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:25 am

" 'emergency happy teams' to the area to regale residents with magic tricks, balloon animals and free beer and cookies." Why not just let them eat cake?


Posted by LOL, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:37 am

Fool me once, but not twice! Hard to have multiple articles that all spoof!


Posted by TimH, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:41 am

Here we go. Make an extreme and ridiculous demand with the hopes of gaining some attention to the real issues and concerns. Who's next? Why not "bring back Mayfield" and California Avenue can house another city hall? Growing up in that neighborhood, we had plenty of old-timers who were less than happy with "those downtown folks" so what is new here? Palo Alto has always been defined by its school boundaries, and classmates from downtown (or way South, by Gunn) often acted like they were better than everyone else, likely reflecting their parents' remarks. Well, let the voters decide. It's been boring lately, so time for a good political kerfuffle! :)


Posted by Observant, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:43 am

It says Happy April Fools Day under the article!
The article is made up.


Posted by TimH, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:43 am

Too many meetings I think are affecting my perception of reality! You got me good. My remarks stand but I'll back out of the room now. :) Happy 1st, all. :)


Posted by First Smile All Week, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:49 am

Happy April Fool's Day! I sure hope this article is a joke.


Posted by litebug, a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:59 am

Resident 1970-2008. I got suspicious when I got to the smile count. Even if this is an April Fool's joke it's not all that off the mark nor funny. When I moved to P.A. in 1970 one of the first things I was told was how Oregon Expressway, which was pretty new, had so divided the town and that those on the North looked down their noses at the South side. I lived 35 years on Sierra Court which is atypical of North P.A. The triangle between Oregon and Embarcadero, up against the Southbound freeway ramp, East of Greer, was the most heavily flooded in P.A. in 1998 and we learned then the hard way how a low spot had been turned into a sink by surrounding it with berms and little maintenance of what flood prevention there was. We were sitting in 2-3 feet of water without rescue by the city while some resources were busy pumping out the north P.A. basement of a city official. We were abandoned and had to get out to Greer and Oregon any way we could. When we got to the fire truck we weren't even given anything for hypothermia and were sitting around freezing on that truck while they piddled around trying to figure out what they were doing. It took forever to get to Cubberley shelter. All attention was to the whining rich people who had maybe 6 inches of water in their fancy houses while we had 2 ft inside, 3 in the garage, and all the silt that settled in that lowest spot. North has always had more money and the resultant snobs and "I've got mine, screw you" conservatives. So, in a way, this little April Fool's joke was at expense of South and in the spirit of adding insult to injury. Not funny.


Posted by Enough!, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 1, 2014 at 11:05 am

This HAS to be a joke. Though I do have to admit when I moved from the 301 to the 306 the attitude toward "SPA's" IS different.


Posted by SPA Resident, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 1, 2014 at 11:16 am

A Happy April Fool to you too!


Posted by Got me, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 1, 2014 at 11:17 am

Good one, Weekly!!!


Posted by It would be so good!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2014 at 11:22 am

Oh, please, please, please let this NOT be an April Fool's joke!


Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 1, 2014 at 11:42 am

Hah! Maybe the petition organizers can move the boundary to University Ave??? At least move it to Embarcadero!

By the way, my $12 storm drain STILL overfloweth.


Posted by jokes on who, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 11:55 am

I thought it was the city council that was not smiling when the Maybell vote came in and they realized that north and south voted together.


Posted by Old-timer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 11:55 am

What we find funny today is often headline news tomorrow. Let's not be surprised should City Council order a study and pay consultants $50K to investigate the possibility of this happening, even finding out what it will take to raise the overall happiness quota in PA.

A Citizen's Commission can be formed, overseeing and leading the way, of course, composed of hand-picked citizens mostly from North Palo Alto and the dreaded developers. Perhaps the "Public Benefit" in the newer projects will be determined by how many people are smiling, when their visions become reality. Note, I said "smiling" and not "laughing". Yes, Happy AFD indeed.
Good work, PA Weekly, for the engaging headlines.


Posted by ChrisC, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 1, 2014 at 12:04 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

Too funny. However, interesting that so many, including me, believed it to be true. Kudos Palo Alto Online ! My forte as a high-school journalist was the April Fools edition.


Posted by Got it in one, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I knew it was an April Fool's joke. But all kidding aside, perhaps secession is really worth exploring.


Posted by just thinkin', a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Wy not split east/west??????


Posted by Enid Pearson, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Ah Yes, another one for April 1st. Although S PA does have some things to gripe about.


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

Palo Altons to Preserve Sustainable Good Vibes was my tip off! Though it has a nice ring to it.....


Posted by JO, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 1, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Sounds to me like an INITIATIVE, not a referendum. A referendum is to revoke an ordinance. The number of signatures required for an initiative petition is greater than for a referendum petition. Just pointing this out to anyone who takes this article seriously or becomes inspired by it .


Posted by Christine, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Apr 1, 2014 at 3:33 pm

PA online, thanks for entertaining us with two April Fool's jokes! You have some creative writers!


Posted by started measure d, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Ha ha, April Fool. Do you know why I logged onto this story? I have seriously been thinking we should do this.

Except not South Palo Alto -- we'd call it Mayfield.

Anyone who thinks we couldn't do it, look at the City of Piedmont.


Posted by fool, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 1, 2014 at 4:26 pm

The North would be gladly to give away the city Manager, Mayor, and others who work for the city including various buildings to the South. That will solve the downtown traffic and parking altogether. A Win-win situation. Thanks South!


Posted by started measure d, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm

@ fool,
We don't want them! The whole point of seceding from Palo Alto would be to leave the BAD with the good!

No, we secede, we choose our own government! Heck, most of the Council all these years has come from the north anyway. The only good one, Greg Schmid, comes from the south.

Greg Schmid for new Mayfield Mayor!


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2014 at 5:03 pm

I certainly hope this is an April Fool's joke.

What's the point of seceding at this point? They've pretty much already destroyed the area, so unless we get to tear down all the monstrosities they approved and allowed to be built, all we'd be is something of an "East Palo Alto" with all the respect going to the northern region.


Posted by AprilFools2, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2014 at 5:37 pm

North is not happy either with all of the grid-lock and over development. Instead of pitting the South against the North, maybe you should call it Palo Alto South against City Council.


Posted by funny, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 1, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Shouldn't this say "North Mountain View" not south Palo Alto?


Posted by J Mason, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 1, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Not to be outdone, we in College Terrace plan to secede as well. We will call our new village "College Terrace". The main impetus is to rename Cornell back to Washington, to right the indignity which was foisted upon us lo, these many years ago, thus ruining the orderly progression of our alphabetacally ordered streets. I still get turned around when trying to find my way home.
And we're getting JJ&F back. Yay!


Posted by My Take, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Ya, not funny.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 6:44 pm

One AFD joke I wish were true.


Posted by anonymous 2, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm

@Elizabeth,
>What's the point of seceding at this point? They've pretty much already destroyed the area, so unless we get to tear down all the monstrosities they approved and allowed to be built, all we'd be is something of an "East Palo Alto" with all the respect going to the northern region.

Well, you're point is very well taken. And you are right on. But, it depends on how we draw the lines. We keep Cal Avenue as our downtown, and we keep Gunn HS and the foothills. If we are careful in how we draw the lines, downtown will have to figure out how to meet the same ABAG mandate, and we can plan a more sane retail area around Fry's that will support the services of the college town sensibility we maintain. And we can always make Alma and Arastradero a toll road for anyone who likes to pass through every day... speaking of traffic calming...

@AprilFools2,
Your point is also well taken. We don't really want to lose our northern neighbors, just the City Council and their policies (which unfortunately, mostly come from the north year after year). Come on you guys, help us find some decent people, like Bill Packard in the old days. Or help us make the Council a paid full-time position so we can dump some of the city staff and the functions of the city employees is more focused and transparent. and accountable. You'll get more balanced makeup of the Council then, if people don't have to essentially have the money or the backing to volunteer as now.


Posted by anonymous 2, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:09 pm

>Shouldn't this say "North Mountain View" not south Palo Alto?

As someone who has to drive by that horrible monstrosity at San Antonio that Mtn View inflicted on us, thats definitely NOT funny.

Los Altos has their own problems now, too.

As I said, go take a little drive around Piedmont the next time you want to see what's possible... And the similarities? Piedmont High and Gunn both in the state top 10....


Posted by resident , a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:40 pm

I looked at the Roster for the city - it shows that 5 City Council seats will be up for vote in November. Then we can really have an April Fool's jolly time.


Posted by john fredrich, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 2, 2014 at 8:54 am

Good Joke...Had to read all the way to the end of the comments to get to the meat of the matter.

Much better to take over the City Council than to become West Alviso, or whatever.
Rehabilitate critically under-informed voters and replace underperforming Council members and managers.
There's no substitute for building from the ground up, with allies in every precinct.
It had to happen after the Oregon Expressway debacle and it probably needs to happen again.

Finding the program that a majority of the polity supports is the hard part...


Posted by Miley Corroleone, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 2, 2014 at 9:51 am

Good we don't see south Palo Alto apart of Palo Alto anyways


Posted by Anonymous 2, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2014 at 10:12 am

This is no joke. Dear Most Well Heeled among us. Since it's unlikely for us to get CC to change this, what about setting up a nonprofit fund to provide grant support for Councilmembers to maintain their salaries during their service? If the grant fund promised to maintain their salary during their service nd wasnt attached to any known entity or commercial strings, wouldnt it be legal? Making a solid commitment to do this as an experiment in local democracy for the next CC term could have tremendous beneficl effects. It must be done soon for it to help, though. Perhaps it would only need to be for a year if the new Council voted to change Council seats to full-time, paid positions.


Posted by oscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2014 at 10:33 am

I have no problem with S Palo Alto seceding even if it's an April 1 prank. My real wish is for California to secede from the USA. We will be one of the leading and wealthiest nations in the world while what's left of the US will become a tea party driven 3rd world country.


Posted by Old-timer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2014 at 11:03 am

Greg Schmidt would be a great Mayor of Mayfield. He is an honorable man that makes good and thoughtful points, representing those of us in the south as well as those in greater Palo Alto when he speaks to issues on council. His vision is broad, not limited, making Schmidt a good regional leader that would get along with leaders in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, and the county people that are taking a more "regional" view. Let's begin the initiative, and let's ask Greg to lead us as an *elected* mayor.

Then the Old Palo Alto City Council would not need 9 sitting members, should their territory decrease. They would not even need 7 members. 5 would do.

If each of those 5 members represented one territory, having to meet with the people they serve, answering to them in Town Hall meetings, as is the norm in San Jose, there would be more communication, more trust, and more would get done, leaving more people with smiles on the faces of the people in North Palo Alto, and being good neighbors to us, in Mayfield.

I will gladly sign the initiative to get the ball rolling on this, no fooling.


Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Can't we at least secede from ABAG??


Posted by OPar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Since when did California Ave. become part of South Palo Alto? It's north of Oregon.

You guys get Midtown and Cubberly. We're keeping California, at least until redevelopment destroys it and its small independent businesses.


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