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I miss the old palo alto!

Original post made by Andrea , another community, on Dec 2, 2012

I was born and raised in PA. I, like so many others, grew up in our nice little safe neighborhood where the kids all played together and everyone knew one another. We all went to the same schools from K-12th. We were our own little community and because of that we are all still very close 20-30 years later. I realize that the world has changed but PA has, I'm sad to say, not changed for the better. For one, I see the huge lack of community now. Kids don't all go to school together. They go to schools all over town and that just isn't the same because when they get older they will have to go to the schools in their part of town and friendships get split up. Neighbors aren't as friendly and helpful as they once were. I think after 40 years on my street I had maybe 2-3 people I would trust with a key to my house or a safe place for my child to go to. Riding your bike, especially for kids has become hazardous. I rarely let my daughter ride across El Camino to school and I took a lot of flack for it but when I see drivers as reckless as they are, I just can't see it being safe. Especially with the lack of bike lane on Stanford Ave. My daughter was almost hit several times when she was older near Jordan. There is far too much new housing allowed. The traffic has become ridiculous. I can get to PA from Los Gatos in 15 min but it takes me another 15 minutes just to get downtown! Don't get me started on trying to park anywhere at anytime. No wonder I was so stressed out living there. The schools have lost their focus and the kids are paying for it. Pulling my child out of PA schools, the same schools I went to, was the best thing I could of done. No longer does she have headaches and stomachaches from the stress. No more hours and hours of homework. No more bullying that is just tolerated but so many in the school system. She is happier, healthier, and getting straight A's now. Her teachers are young, positive and enthusiastic. I wish I could say the same about the majority of her middle school teachers at Jordan. I know so many feel that PA schools are the best around but if you take a step outside of the PA bubble you will see that there is a world outside of there that is so much healthier and balanced. PA is so dysfunctional and has been for some time. They seem too focused on image and money and not on what really matters. Stop building more housing! PA is crowded enough! The schools are crowded and need help as they are. Don't add more until you fix whats broken. PA has gotten too big for its britches. Big ego with huge rents & attitudes. Its dirty, homeless everywhere, and crime is up. I don't feel safe there like I used to and I certainly don't feel its safe for my kids. Its not just me. Many many other people have also moved away for the same reasons. We miss the mom and pop stores. California Ave used to be a place where you could get everything you could possibly need. It had a market, hardware store, music store, pharmacy, bakery, restaurants, deli, pet store, bank, hair salon, and more. My grandparents and parents didn't have to go anywhere else for the most part. Now you have to drive across town to find a hardware store, or to get dog food, or to find a music store. Dont even get me started on the Calif Ave fountain which sits empty and dead. Just fix it already! We miss our fountain that we all grew up with! Put up the holiday lights on the trees behind it and make California Ave the place it used to be! At the rate things are going PA will be ruined before we know it. I know all the new residents don't understand my rant but most locals probably do. We're sad to see what its become and thats why as much as it pains us, many of us have left our childhood home to raise our families in places that remind us of what PA used to be.

Comments (55)

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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Unfortunately, what you describe is not unique to Palo Alto.

Indeed, those negative changes are the norm for the USA now, and the places where you can escape to communities having the values that made this once a great nation are becoming fewer and fewer.

You are not alone. Many others share your concerns and that is reflected in our reduced reproduction rate which now (for the first time) is less what is needed to sustain our numbers.

Perhaps we should go extinct. Perhaps we deserve it.






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Posted by Paly Alum, 1980
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2012 at 2:46 am

A shame the orginal poster grew up in PAUSD, yet writes without paragraphs. All the alums I keep in touch with write flawlessly. PAUSD was known for churning out students who wrote well. Today, most English teachers are too lazy to correct, return papers, or teach HOW to write. Some even have peer corrections or ask parents to correct their child's papers! This is how Palo Alto has gone downhill.

As far as the other concerns of OP, the City Council and School Board allow themselves to be bullied by the squeaky wheels. It's quite pathetic that we cannot remove the homeless from a town with residents who pay high taxes and mortgages and homes which are worth at least $1 million. Or that our schools are overcrowded and the City Council still allows more building which will bring in more children.

The amount of students who still ride their bikes to PAUSD middle schools and high schools is impressive, probably unseen in other communities.

And I agree that choice schools should be eliminated as well at the Tinsley program. Those are both programs of the past and our schools must evolve.

Regarding safety, in elementary school, I biked or skateboarded all over town or took the bus to Mayfield Mall back in the day, returning home at dark at times. America is a different place now and we cannot expect it to be safe anywhere as it was in the past.

What I find disappointing is the lack of social skills of most of the children in PAUSD. There are so many geeks that my children cannot find children with normal social skills.


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Posted by Tea
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 3, 2012 at 9:56 am

These occasional rants from some posters here remind me of the plaintive cry heard at certain political rallies in recent years: "Give us our country back!"


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

I appreciate the opinion - but I find some of the statements to be extreme and a little bit of a stretch.

For example - there is plenty of parking in downtown PA. Just go to the garages instead of driving around the blocks looking for a space. There are *always* empty spots in the garage.

School choice is a family choice as some families want their kids to learn Spanish or Mandarin. Not our choice, but why that be an issue - as long as it is a family's choice?

Traffic and bike safety - it's bad everywhere. You can't pin that on just PA.

Bullying was far worse back in the 70's and 80's that it is now. The difference is that we're all more aware of it and have stood up to declare our fight against it. Back in the 70's bullying went on without anyone daring to fight against it.

Homeless everywhere! Really? Outside of the obvious attraction of downtown, where do you see homeless in PA? Opportunity Center perhaps. Maybe on Cal Ave now and then. Everywhere? Please.

Who's fault is it that the stores you enjoyed don't exist any more? Blame it on PA? How about the national trend towards big box stores (Home Depot for example), large grocery stores like the MP Safeway (all in one shopping). Mom and Pop stores have disappeared in every town - this is not just PA evolution. So why is PA the only bad city in this regard?

I have lived here all my life. My grandfather went to Paly.

Change happens. And certainly you don't have to like it. But to say that PA is the problem and to imply that these issues of change are not happening anywhere else is silly.

End of my rant.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

I agree, fix the frickin' California Ave. fountain ... how long has it been now ... 20 years or more?


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Posted by Change
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I've lived in Palo Alto for "only" 22 years but I have seen the change that Andrea describes. Twenty years ago, the neighborhood kids still knew each other and played outside together until dark. Neighbors were more outgoing also.

Traffic has become worse, not so much the quantity of it maybe, as the incivility of drivers, not stopping at stop signs, running red lights, being dangerous. They were much more disciplined when we first moved here.

Schools have changed too and we are happy to be almost done with them in all honesty.

Stores too have changed. I still knew the Woolworth at Stanford shopping mall and the department store in Midtown. We still have our wonderful hardware store in Midtown however. It's a gem.

I think other posters are right when they point out that some of these changes have happened in other affluent communities as well, unfortunately.

We are considering leaving Palo Alto in a couple of years and moving to a lower key, friendlier community.


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Posted by Not such a great place
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm

When we first moved here, it was safe for kids to play in the front yard or street, to bikeride downtown, to walk to school. Neighbors knew each other, too.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The traffic is heavier than ever and drivers are multitasking as they drive, making roads dangerous for kids. Drivers ignore stop signs on residential streets, and the police refuse to stake out these spots.

This is not such a great place to live anymore.


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Posted by Chinese American, 3rd Generation
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

To your question, "Don't they want to become Amerricans?" Immigrants from everywhere see America as a land of opportunity for their families. People find comfort in their own ethnicities. But this is also true of Caucasians. I grew up with Caucasians but I find that as an adult, while Caucasians are cordial to me, I am still not one of them and they prefer to party with their own, for the most part. So they can't blame other ethnicities for wanting to group together also.


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Posted by Not such a great place
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I am a first generation American, daughter of German immigrants. My parents and other immigrant parents I grew up with (French, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Japanese) made it very clear that they were very happy to be here in this country. They did everything they could to help their children assimilate and become good Americans, including inviting American children over for dinner, sleepovers, etc, and letting their own children go to American homes for the same. ALL of them became citizens of the US, and were anxious to mingle with born Americans. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Recent Asian immigrants don't know the culture we grew up in. They only what it is now. Indeed a mere 15 minute exposure to prime-time TV would be enough to put anyone off to Americans. Forever.

That's what we need to fix, and until we do, don't expect others to socialize or assimilate.


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Posted by some people enjoy bashing Asians
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Surprised the editor had allowed this thread to turn into a forum for bashing Asians.not sure where " not such a great place" is getting his data from but he sure knows how to disparage a while group based on his " experiences"


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Posted by Chinese-American, 3rd Generation
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I wouldn't call it Asian-bashing; it's learning about another culture so people will understand the behavior.

Again, in regards to the experiences of "Not a great place", not all Asians behave so rudely; it's a shame that it's been ingrained into your mind.

On the other hand, I have been coldly ignored by the sports team moms because I am not a WASP, although I am clearly Americanized. Didn't feel good, but there's nothing I can do about it; I'll never be a WASP.


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Posted by James
a resident of Woodside
on Dec 4, 2012 at 11:24 am

PA used to be a community of PA citizens. Now its a community of solo acts out for themselves. It was this realization that helped us pass on the house we almost bought. Dodged a bullet for sure.

The attitudes of the drivers on the road is mirrored by far too many in daily PA life. Its the "Me first", "Get outta my way" attitude. Now, polish up that Mercedes and hit the road...just don't drive it into my community, unless you're ready to be a part of the community.


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Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2012 at 11:43 am

This thread is missing "...and get off my lawn, you darn kids."


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Posted by ndnorth
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 4, 2012 at 11:49 am

One sentence in the topic's author silly ranting is glaring to me :"Its dirty, homeless everywhere....." You really need to have a lot of imagination to see homeless everywhere.
The rest of the post is an equally distorted view of the PA (midtown) I came more than 30 years ago.
Sorry things are not as they were. Part of being an adult is understanding that.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I understand the sentiments of the OP, but I agree more along the lines of Crescent Park Dad. But I agree that the traffic is a joykiller, especially when you have kids.

We all need to vent sometimes, especially about changes beyond our control, that seem to be unnecessary and erode our quality of life.

What I've found to be useful, after the venting, is either regroup & figure out how I can restructure my life a bit to include or recreate what I feel has been lost, which takes some effort. Or, call it quits, accept that the change is permanent & if it impacts me that deeply, decide what to do about it.

As for the issues in downtown PA, I've observed that downtown Menlo isn't as harsh to deal with. Midtown & Calif Ave are pretty cool, too. They're not as villagelike as one might want, but it can be a bit of a respite compared to downtown PA. If one can tolerate the traffic at T&C, some of the merchants there are cool, too.

The thing is, Palo Alto has cultivated its somewhat smug, striving, self-absorbed attitude, which attracts those like-minded, to work and/or live there. There's been a tipping point where the prestige of living and/or working in PA isn't a quieter thing the way it used to be. PA also used to have working class folks who owned homes, so it really was a more blended demographic. As the wealth increases, so do the number of parasites & criminals. Overall, Palo Alto seems to be more affected negatively than other local communities.

OP - re the school stress - it was that way years ago when I was in school. Girls w/eating disorders abounded, purging their lunches in the school restrooms. I knew of a slew of suicides & attempts amongst kids a few years behind me. Back then I referred to it as a plastic bubble, so it's been going on for quite some time.

OP, it sounds like you have moved? Are you happier now? Best of luck to you & yours, wherever you now reside.


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Posted by eddie
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm

High tech ruined the peninsula. People slaving inside all day for a shot at at a lifestyle not as good as we had when the neighbors were plumbers and mechanics. Acres of orchards paved over for cheesy offices and parking lots. But hey I can type a comment using my phone now! Totally worth it.


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Posted by Friend
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm

A friend of mine grew up in Palo Alto in the 70s and 80s and graduated from Paly in the mid-80s. She's a third-generation Chinese American (I'm second generation). When I've told her how much I enjoy living in Palo Alto with my young family, she's given me mixed reviews of her own experience. She grew up north of Oregon Expressway, but on a street close to 101 with decidedly modest houses, and tells me that back then, many people from the more prosperous nearby neighborhoods barely hid their disdain, sometimes not even wanting their kids to visit her house.

She also tells me how Paly was much less ethnically diverse in those days, and she was definitely made to feel different. She ended up hanging out with many international students.

So when a lot of you talk about how great things were in the good ole days, before all the Asian immigrants moved in, just remember that things were not as idyllic for those who were not affluent and not white. Snobbery certainly existed in Palo Alto 30 years ago, and although some here have almost depicted themselves as victims of Asian immigrants' insular attitudes, just remember that the nearly all-white Palo Alto of years gone by could often be unwelcoming to those who were different.

As an Asian American who grew up in the US, I do share your frustration with some recent immigrants who so stereotypically push their kids into violin, math, etc. at the expense of everything else. At the same time, some of the ranting about this makes me uncomfortable when it seems like people are just bashing all Asians and painting them all with the same brush.

Some immigrant families fit the stereotype, some do not. Some immigrant parents might be hardcore Confucian types but their kids will still end up as American as you in their attitudes and outlook. I see plenty of children of Asian immigrants playing soccer, baseball, etc. along with everyone else. And there are plenty of Asian parents like me who have lived our whole lives in the US.

So, be a bit more thoughtful before complaining about the incoming immigrant hordes and waxing nostalgic about a perfect Palo Alto that really did not exist. Remember, only Tea Party types are myopic enough to think that America was a better place 50 years ago.


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Posted by newcomer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I am a fairly recent non-white transplant into Palo Alto. And I love it. I went to high school in a blue collar town where ignorance and racism was rampant. Schools here are simply heaven compared to where I came from. I can be pretty sure my kids' friends' parents are well educated and for the most part share my values. I like the fact that my kids will have classmates with manifold talents. I say hello to almost everyone I meet as I walk around my neighborhood with kids. We have only gotten to know a single neighbor thus far but over time we will get to know more. The OP needs to look at the good in PA, not dwell on its real or imagined shortcomings.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I think it's fairly common, during the holidays, to lament or at least revisit times past that had idyllic aspects to them.

I recall some racism at Paly that was so obvious, so cruel, it would make headlines today. It was directed at Latino males - & not all of the racists were white.

I was a pretty straight kid, so I was somewhat shocked to note the amount of cocaine used at high school parties, espec among the popular kids. Raging, drunken parties where rude, overly entitled kids ruled the night w/violent games, meanness & testosterone - & the girls who went along w/it all. It was waaaaay more cliqueish than the other school I attended. Oh, & the teachers were a mixed, bag, too. What saved it all was that there were so many nice kids mixed in - mature, thoughtful, bright, warmly friendly kids who had varied interests that made them well-rounded. It's important that these students find each other so that there are alternatives to whatever is the current parallel of the coke-sniffing popular teens I recall.


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Posted by Not just Asians...
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Regarding @Friend's comment, snobbery wasn't directed as just Asians who were living on the "wrong side of the Palo Alto tracks."

I have a friend (she is white) who also grew up in Palo Alto and went to Paly about 20 years ago. She also lived in a modest home, and she was also looked down upon, simply because of where she lived. She memories of Paly are not very happy ones.


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Posted by What can I do?
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm

As a 2nd generation Asian-American, I am saddened by these comments.

It is so scarty to think that people have to hide under the guise of an anonymous posting to express how they really feel. This makes me wonder what my wonderful neighbors really think of me. What about the parents at my daughter's school? What about the mail carrier? The person standing in front of me in the checkout aisle?

I work very hard to be a good person, do the right things, and get along with everyone. I mind my manners, volunteer, donate to charitable causes, smile at passersby, and go out of my way to help someone in need. I also stress the importance of these characteristics to my kids.

Yet, I am feel like I am being judged simply by the features that I was genetically born with.

What can I do to change how you think and feel about me?


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Posted by Gramps McKinley
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm

...the kids today, with their hip and hop music, and always fiddling on their walky-talkies, when I was their age all I had to play with was a stick!


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Here is my 2 cents worth of views. My Dad owned a business in Palo Alto, we use to get the Palo Alto Times, we knew people and had family living in Palo Alto.

I remember fondly the businesses that were to be found in Palo Alto, going to the movies, Fine Arts, Varsity, Palo Alto Square or the drive in. Donuts, cheese and milk, deli, bagels, Alfred's, Kirk's which use to be at California and El Camino, Ming's or one of the many find eating places. The little department store in Midtown, Midtown market, the list can go on. Norney's, Rapp's, or my fave University Art Store.

As Silicon Valley has become more global, so does the amount of people moving here, who do we blame for coming here, hard to really blame, the jobs and more jobs. We keep adding jobs but yet the housing has kept up, I am talking Bay Area wide. I was born in 1964, didn't get involved in tech, but want to make a point here. How many of kids that were born in Palo Alto or came here at a young age can affored to buy a home, open a businesses or buy an older business with the intent to keep old Palo Alto going.


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Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm

As soon as they fix the fountain on Cal Ave. I'm dumping some Mr. Bubble in it for old time sake. That's how I get down!


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Some people definitely feel they have the upper hand here. The experience I did not like was when my daughter, who had friends of all ethnicities, was forced to be excluded when others spoke in Mandarin - all these girls were born in the U.S., incidentally. This was a very painful and rude experience that happened multiple times. Making fun of Caucasians learning Mandarin is not very nice, either, and I have seen that, too


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Bad manners & snootiness are not owned by any one ethnic or cultural group.

One of the surprisingly positive things about living in EPA is that we learn to "profile" based on behavior, not race or ethnicity. Rude exclusion comes across in any language.

I'd rather not make a joke about playing w/sticks :-) but the Mr. Bubble sounds fun, for old & new times' sake! Then we can take pictures of it w/our walkie talkies.


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Posted by Agree with neighbor
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm

@neighbor...

I totally feel for your daughter.

My son is a 3rd generation Asian-American (I speak very limited Cantonese) and he also gets teased about his broken and very basic Mandarin. He can only say his colors, but his accent is painfully "off." ;o)

I figure, what won't tear him down will only make him stronger. I also look at it as a teachable moment, telling him that that teasing others isn't nice, that different people are good/better at different things, and that he is much nicer than those "meanies," which is what is most important.

Regardless, it's hurtful, and I am sorry that your daughter is going through that.


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Posted by Not such a great place
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm

We do have a Mercedes, but we also have a hybrid and a van. Lately, the van gets ticketed for being parked on the street. It is a clean, well-kept and fairly new Ford van. Apparently because it is not a Mercedes or BMW or Volvo, it offends the neighbors and they call it in to the cops.

On my way home tonight, a pedestrian walking his dog was nearly hit when he stepped off the curb.....by a driver running a stop sign to make a right turn.

Two more things I hate about the new Palo Alto.


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Posted by Immigrant
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by immigrant
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm

To asians that feel people are judging you by your appearance- nothing could be further than the truth. Just look around you and see how friendly recent arrivals from asia are. They dont seem to want to know their non-asian neighbors at all. As a dark-skinned immigrant I never felt unwelcome in palo alto and have close friendships with my immediate neigubors.


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Posted by Jan tenny hutch
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Not such a great place-really, your van gets ticketed after being parked legally on the street? Because the neighbors don't like it? Really?
I was also wondering how these people who are bashing Asians know which Asians are immigrants and which are not.
I once was on a plane and was talking to the former CEO of a major local company and he said that some people in Palo alto are very nasty and out is quite apparent from some of the comments here


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2012 at 9:36 pm

If you don't like Palo Alto move somewhere else. You will save a lot of money.


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Posted by MIdtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm

>If you don't like Palo Alto move somewhere else. You will save a lot of money.

Do you realize what a meaningless statement that is?

That can be the answer to every complaint.

Crime getting too high? People assaulted on the streets? Solution - Move

People ignoring speed limits and stop signs and killing pedestrians? dont complain Just move.

Politicians taking bribes? Dont worry, just move.

your kids are dropping out of school and doing drugs? move.


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Posted by Easy Solution!
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2012 at 10:20 pm

> We do have a Mercedes, but we also have a hybrid and a van. Lately, the van gets ticketed for being parked on the street. It is a clean, well-kept and fairly new Ford van. Apparently because it is not a Mercedes or BMW or Volvo, it offends the neighbors and they call it in to the cops.

@Not such a great place, here's an easy solution... park your Mercedes on the street and your hybrid van in your driveway. That way, your neighbors won't call the cops on you because the car that is parked on the street is a Mercedes.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Uh, how come the police ticket your van but not the decrepit vans around town & vehicles people live in & vehicles parked the wrong way? Do they ticket you for being parked in one place too long? Lame, really lame.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm

People driving like that happens everywhere, slow down, enjoy the area. If you go to other towns and cities, please obey stop signs, red lights and people walking and also riding their bikes.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 4, 2012 at 11:32 pm

There are some unwritten parking rules in neighborhoods...

1. Park in front of your own house. Lots of folks out there get annoyed at their neighbors who don't park in front of their own houses - especially if you leave your car/van there for more than a day.

2. If you're parking in front of someone's house and it's been 3 days - that person can call it in. PA police will note it and give it 3 days more on their watch. After that it is ticket time and/or towing time.

3. Neighbors get PO'd if you park your car (even if in front of your own home) in place where they think you're blocking their ability to see oncoming traffic. An example would be near a corner.

Not saying any of this is right or wrong - just what I have experienced over time.


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Posted by Chinese-American, 3rd Generation
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 5, 2012 at 1:06 am

Re statements about Palo Altans being "smug" and having "self-absorbed attitudes", that is Old Palo Alto, and perhaps some of Professorville. The rest of PA are quite modest houses. But yes, I do know some very nice people who live in Old Palo Alto, so it's a stereotype, only sometimes true. I think more of the snooty ones live in Atherton and Woodside.

I grew up here and graduated in the early 80s and was accepted as a white because I was totally assimilated - there were only about 6 Asians (Chinese and Japanese) per grade level. I dated Caucasians and it was accepted. It seems the unassimilated Chinese immigrants are changing the attitudes of others and I feel more racism now than I did back then because I get clumped into the Asian immigrant stereotypes.

@Jan tenny hutch, who ignorantly asked how to tell an immigrant from a non-immigrant Asian: listen for an accent! Look at their hairstyle and how they dress.

Palo Alto has many kind-hearted Asian immigrants who are nice, semi-assimilated, and are my friends. I wish people would realize that not all Asian immigrants are rude. And it may surprise you, but they do not want Palo Alto taken over by Asian immigrants - they chose to live in Palo Alto for more diversity than Cupertino.

I suppose everyone also can't tell the difference between Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin), Koreans, Taiwanese, Vietnamese. There is a hierarchy amongst those.

Re Crescent Park's statement: "Bullying was far worse back in the 70's and 80's that it is now. The difference is that we're all more aware of it and have stood up to declare our fight against it. Back in the 70's bullying went on without anyone daring to fight against it." I totally agree. I recall watching a girl get beaten up and no one went to report it. We seemed to have harder shells back in the day.





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Posted by Jan Tenny Hutch
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 5, 2012 at 5:50 am

Chinese-American, 3rd Generation--

You rudely state:
"@Jan tenny hutch, who ignorantly asked how to tell an immigrant from a non-immigrant Asian: listen for an accent! Look at their hairstyle and how they dress."

Where to begin about your statement???
There are plenty of non-immigrants who have accents. You can tell an immigrant from the hairstyle and dress?
SOunds to me like someone is engaging in stereotyping and profiling.

Bottom line, how many asians live in Palo Alto? 10K, 20K?? So some people like not such a nice place had a "bad"encounter with a few Asians--so she feels the need to paint a whole class of people with a negative brush.
Maybe the problem was with her and not the Asians she interacted with.

Anyway, I am not sure why this thread has turned into discussion on the belief by a few that Asians are not "frinedly" enough for them.


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Posted by susan
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 5, 2012 at 6:21 am

We are in the process of finding another place to live. We're totally done with Palo Alto for all of the reasons listed above. Our kids are finished with school here and we can get a fortune for our old house that still needs lots of repairs. We have checked out Oregon, Arizona and Nevada. So many of our friends have left and we are following. The communities we have looked at are friendly, small, inexpensive (compared to here) and have great medical care. I'm packing my bags now!!!


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Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 5, 2012 at 7:10 am

Palo Alto maybe not be as personal as it used to be, but it's because the entire world is growing increasingly interpersonal. I have lived in many cities in America and throughout the world and for all of its defects, no city has rivaled Palo Alto.

e.g. What other cities in California have beautiful parks like ours, great schools, a vibrant downtown, clean streets AND educated, progressive residents? (According to city-data.com Palo Alto residents are by far the most educated of any city in the city. ) I can think of only a few, but they are all far more conservative and even impersonal: big houses on big lots, far apart from each other.

I also find the OP's accusations that Palo Alto is shallow laughable. Palo Alto is certainly affluent. But in what other city in the country do you have billionaires — I think we have 7? —
"blending in" so well? In LA, even the most insignificant celebrity is tailed by the paparazzi. In cities like Atherton, the rich live holed up behind gates. Palo Alto is home to the CEOs of some of the most important companies in the world — Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, etc. — and I've often seen them on walks around town. If you think it's bad in Palo Alto, you haven't been to any other demographically-similar, similarly-sized city.

Palo Alto is a difficult, but ultimately successful balancing act. Berkeley is more down-to-earth, but it has an enormous homeless/nomadic youth population, far worse traffic, and a dirty downtown. Atherton, Woodside, Hillsborough, Los Altos Hills may be cleaner, quieter, and may have less traffic, but they have no downtowns and much less community, and their populations are much more old/conservative. Los Altos, Los Gatos are also quieter and have communities, but they are very sleepy, less progressive, have little shopping, few restaurants, and fewer municipal resources (e.g. Foothills or Tilden Park, Baylands, etc.) than Palo Alto or Berkeley. You may prefer to live one of cities and if you do, should consider moving there. Live is only so long and if a place makes you unhappy, it's not worth staying there.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2012 at 7:26 am

When I read things like this it saddens me. It is all about blaming "them" or "others", never looking at what "I" am doing to improve things or can do to make things better.

Instead of blaming everyone else, start looking at what you are doing.

Do you know your neighbors, have coffee with them, grill burgers together? Do you volunteer in schools,libraries, hospitals, social gatherings, or your kids' activities? Do you get to know their friends, invite their friends' families over for pizza and a movie? Do you walk around your neighborhood, saying hi to the people you meet? Do you offer to help elderly neighbors move their trash cans out, or offer to rake their leaves when you do yours? Do you walk to your neighborhood park to sit with a sandwich and read or just enjoy watching others and perhaps start a conversation? Do you use the libraries and other community venues? Do you ride your bike legally, obeying all the rules? Do you walk and cross streets looking before you cross and free from cell phones or ipods making you distracted to traffic or unable to spot a familiar face?

Perhaps you are the one who doesn't have time to be a good neighbor, or the inclination?

If you think Palo Alto (or anywhere else) has gone downhill, then ask if it is you rather than others that can make a difference?


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Posted by Newbie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm

The orignal post sounds like it is talking about my hometown, 3000 miles away on the East Coast. This is not a Palo Alto phenomenon. It's called urban sprawl and it has transformed countless "Mayberrys" across America into cold, lifeless communities centered around a mall, a movieplex, an Applebees and an Olive Garden. Big businesses moved into the fruit orchards of this Valley and the population grew. (This has many positive aspects too - some of the brightest and most talented people in the world live here).

As far as isolation goes, the internet plays a part too. It may have opened communucations worldwide but it also shut people away from each other at computers in their offices and homes.

Modern life is also very busy. We are working longer hours. Kids don't play or hang out as much after school but are engaged in organized activites like sports, dance or tutoring. I agree with the posts that say community still exists but you have to get out there and actively join in. It doesn't just knock on your door holding a cherry pie anymore.


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Posted by I love Palo Alto
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I am sorry that those of you complaining about the city have not had a good experience here. I have to say mine has been nothing but positive. Sure, there is traffic across town, but is not much worse than other places (unless you move into a rural or small town in a non-metropolitan area). We live in a very diverse (culturally, racially, economically) and educated area that is hard to find elsewhere. Our public schools are top-notch and better than most private schools out there. Our kids are growing up with diverse friends (not true of most private schools) and will be able to fly on their own when they grow up. This is a great community and I love every part of it. The bashing needs to stop. Feedback needs to be constructive so we can make this town an even better place. I feel privileged to live here, and if you are well traveled, you should too.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Dec 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm

People in Palo Alto have it really good, you have great schools, with a world class university, in a really good area for jobs that are either in Palo Alto or outside. You have excellent parks and open space, your weather is great.

Any city has problems, but who doesn't, your city council has some issues but who doesn't. You have PACT, Art Center, etc.

People chose to move to a place that has benefits, it seems Palo Alto with its little problems, still means something to a lot of people.

Past, Present and Future.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Your comments re "statements about Palo Altans being "smug" and having "self-absorbed attitudes", that is Old Palo Alto, and perhaps some of Professorville. The rest of PA are quite modest houses. But yes, I do know some very nice people who live in Old Palo Alto, so it's a stereotype, only sometimes true. I think more of the snooty ones live in Atherton and Woodside." No, really, I mean all OVER Palo Alto, not just old Palo Alto. A lot of the people who specifically moved into Palo Alto in the past couple of decades did so for its status & their attitudes reflect that. It's not that there's no smugness or self-absorption in Woodside or Atherton, it's that I was referring specifically to your town.

One of the aspects I like in Menlo & PA are the merchants of the smaller businesses - many of them really help create a sense of community.


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Posted by Immigrant
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm

>Do you know your neighbors, have coffee with them, grill burgers >together? Do you volunteer in schools,libraries, hospitals, social >gatherings, or your kids' activities? Do you get to know their >friends, invite their friends' families over for pizza and a movie? >Do you walk around your neighborhood, saying hi to the people you >meet? Do you offer to help elderly neighbors move their trash cans >out, or offer to rake their leaves when you do yours? Do you walk to >your neighborhood park to sit with a sandwich and read or just enjoy >watching others and perhaps start a conversation? Do you use the >libraries and other community venues? Do you ride your bike legally, >obeying all the rules? Do you walk and cross streets looking before >you cross and free from cell phones or ipods making you distracted to >traffic or unable to spot a familiar face?

I do most, not all of these. My comments were meant to be honest feedback. Recently I and a neighbor and my son went door-to-door asking if people had seen a lost puppy. Most people were friendly and concerned. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Bike Rider
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I really appreciate the many points of view here, even the ones that are not so politically correct. Having only lived in Palo Alto for about twelve years, I'm a relative newcomer, and I've learned to appreciate so many things about this unique community, despite my initial dismay. One thing that is a great quality here, but that has become a challenge is that we try to be inclusive, tolerant, supportive of all kinds of people. But with the sheer numbers of the long term influx of new people, living up to these ideals becomes more challenging. I hope we will continue to bring the attitude of welcome to the situation, while also being willing to admit how difficult it can be to stay open minded while beset by the enormous changes we're all living through. It is only through honest discussions like the above that we'll have a chance of working our way toward a better experience as a community, which we're all working so hard to keep building.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 6, 2012 at 3:37 am

Another PA native here. Always interesting to read others' take on the evolution of our town and society in general. As usual there are mixed opinions and finger-pointing. Some kids in the sixties were just certain the world would be a better place when we finally took charge. Well, here we are. I'm wishing best of luck to the current teenagers who will be running things mid-century.

What will future memories of growing up in current Palo Alto be? Anyone still here will be a self-selected sample, so there is always a strong bias toward nostalgia. A look-back 50 years can be read at Web Link . It's friends and teachers and freedoms and places long-gone. The thread has been active since 2006 so don't expect to get through it in one sitting.


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Posted by Andrea
a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2012 at 8:22 am

To respond to the many comments...for one ..I do know how to write - thank you- and was a straight A english student at Paly. You try typing while holding a wiggly baby.

PARAGRAPH>>

Re the homeless...maybe you aren't aware of them as I am. I see them at the parks, on and near Cal Ave, at the Starbucks, panhandling, downtown and around. Hidden and tucked away in corners and hallways.

Re parking...there is NO Parking at times on or near Cal Ave. There is nothing in the garages or anywhere. I lived in the neighborhood and couldn't even park in front of my own house if I wanted to. I don't even go downtown unless I have to.

Re moving..Yes we did move away to a smaller, quieter, safer town where the schools are just as good and my jr high child is a thousand times happier and less stressed. I am less stressed not sitting in traffic just to go anywhere. People are friendly and not just out for themselves. AND they obey traffic laws ! Yes a stop sign means STOP. No you shouldn't dart across Cal Ave to get that spot on the other side of the street and then park all crooked..and be so busy on your phone that you blow through all the stop signs.

PA was a good place to grow up , but that was then and it is not the same place today.


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Posted by Jan Tenny Hutch
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 6, 2012 at 8:42 am

Andrea--your original post and your follow up post, IMHO, are filled with exaggerations and inaccuracies.

You claim to have moved to a "smaller, quieter, safer town", yet you make statements about what you claim is going on in Palo Alto now--do you come here every day to check up on the situation??

"I see them at the parks, on and near Cal Ave, at the Starbucks, panhandling, downtown and around. Hidden and tucked away in corners and hallways."
You are still talking about limited areas. Yet if you do not live in Palo Alto, how do you see them everywhere, all the time?????

"there is NO Parking at times on or near Cal Ave. There is nothing in the garages or anywhere. I lived in the neighborhood and couldn't even park in front of my own house if I wanted to. "
What are you talking about? There are no "homes" in the shopping area of California Avenue. And there is no guarantee of parking in front of your home on a public street anywhere

"I don't even go downtown unless I have to."
If you live in a "Smaller, quieter, safer town" why would you come to downtown Palo Alto to begin with????

Y"I am less stressed not sitting in traffic just to go anywhere."
Where in Palo Alto do you sit in traffic to go somewhere.Sure there are times when traffic moves a bit slower, but your comments are a gross exaggeration.

"People are friendly and not just out for themselves."
An insult to the residents of Palo Alto. Yes, I am sure some people in PA are not friendly and are out for themselves, but most are friendly and good.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Immigrant
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Delete @Immigrant's Postings
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm

To the PaloAltoOnline Staff - Please continue deleting @Immigrant's offensive comments. Contrary to what s/he is saying, expressing hostility against a specific ethnic group IS considered racist and does not add to the discussion. Thank you.


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Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Evan is a registered user.

Has Palo Alto changed, or have you changed? Sure, there are a few more people here than that used to be, but your home is also worth a hell of a lot more than it used to be, and that doesn't come without some disadvantages, like more people wanting to live here. I graduated Paly less than 10 years ago, and I still am incredibly close with many of Palo Alto friends. I see some of them on a weekly basis still, and live with one fellow Paly alum.

Times will change. Palo Alto will change. The Palo Alto you remember was not the Palo Alto remembered by those who grew up here a generation before you, and the Palo Alto of 2025 surely will be different than today. How about we work together to make Palo Alto a better, friendlier, more walkable, happier place to be, rather than resisting any change?


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