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on May 15, 2013
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Cubberly is not a public campground, pass the ordinance to ban campers at Cubberly. Having transient residents there is a bad cocktail a mix of kids, library services, childcare and now transients requiring police services. Many activities occur at the evening having transient campers there and the public circulating in the evening feels as though proper safety measures are not in place.
The police need an ordinance in order to enforce, help them out and support an ordinance to keep Cubberly a community center and not a campground.
Banning car camping in Palo Alto. It creates unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
>Klein suggested that the absence of a vehicle-habitation ban may have contributed to making Palo Alto a magnet for homeless dwellers
Now you're getting it, Larry.
Once again the Palo Alto Online forums shine through as a beacon of hope and compassion for those less fortunate. /sarcasm
Yeah, right. Let's just get rid of all those homeless people and pretend they don't exist. After all, they don't have civil rights, amirite?
The bigger problem is that these people will not disappear when and if a ban is invoked.
These people will have to move and go somewhere, their problem is where.
As with all homeless, they need to be somewhere and just telling them to move on is not going to solve the problem for them, just those they move away from.
Many charities work with these people, but the bigger problem is that they exist at all. Some are willing to get back into normal, productive life patterns. Many are not.
The old adage, "give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day, but teach him to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime" is true in this scenario here in USA as well as in third world countries.
Getting those who can back to productive lives where they are self sufficient has to be one goal. Getting those who cannot through illness or desire into situations where they can be helped in the manner they need is another. Unfortunately, mental illness help is not an option and letting them do as they like is turning their problems into a problem for society as a whole. The Opportunity Centre does a lot of good work, but as a result also creates more problems than it perhaps solves.
Society (not necessarily government) needs to work out how to help people who are unable or unwilling to help themselves. A caring, compassionate population should be a sign of a great nation. Are we?
@Yeah, right. Exactly. Palo Alto is not a city for the less fortunate, with homes starting at $1 million. We worked hard to be able to afford living in Palo Alto. Oil and water don't mix. Homeless people accept their situation. Clearly, their families have given up on them too.
Decades ago, I read a "My Turn" article in Newsweek about someone who tried for years to help homeless people, finding them jobs, etc. but at the end of the article, concluded that the majority were helpless. They would show up to jobs but eventually get fired for unreliability or other.
Trying to make residents feel guilty is just wrong. It is not safe that anyone can park in front of your house and stay there for 72 hours before having to move down the street. Pass the ban. Then, try to figure out ways to help the homeless. But allowing anyone to camp out in front of your house without your permission is WRONG!
Stop letting people live in RV's on El Camino. There are at least 3-4 between Vista and Maybell and they just park there and let their kids go to Palo Alto schools with PA residents picking up the bill. Don't the schools ever check the real residences of students that attend schools. I believe also many of the children going to PA schools that use Buena Vista Trailer Park are just giving their addresses to friends so they can send their chilren to Palo Alto schools. We taxpayers are sick of it and the city should stop allowing this to go on endlessly.
>Yeah, right. Let's just get rid of all those homeless people and pretend they don't exist. After all, they don't have civil rights,
Uh, they have the same civil rights as anybody else. However, once the car camper ban is passed, they will no longer will have the right to sleep in their cars on our public streets/properties. Our neighboring cities ban car camping, and I don't hear many people claiming that they are violating civil rights.
I am immune to the bleeding hearts, but I do find it interesting that they don't step up to the plate and take in homeless, and pay for their keep.
What happened to all the compassionate people who expressed support for the homeless in this old thread (worth re-reading the comments):
It seems, as I predicted, that when it comes to putting the homeless in their own backyard, you get the expected NIMBY reaction.
Folks, you can't have it both ways.
I refuse to buy into the "Palo Altans have no compassion" argument. Between San Francisco and San Jose, no other city provides as much homeless support as PA. In fact, our direct neighbors north and south do little if nothing. Further, *all* of our neighboring cities ban overnight camping, including Menlo Park which bans overnight parking altogether.
PA is a magnet for problems due to the camping and the programs available.
Suggestion: Allow overnight parking at the Baylands parking lot. Put a bunch of port-potties out there. Hire a security firm or perhaps churches can ban together to set up a volunteer program, that posts a security guard out there from sundown until 8am. Campers have to register with the guard each night and have to agree to behavior rules (no drinking, drugs, etc.). Campers must leave by 8am each day. Allow the Red Cross or some other program to set up a trailer out there for evening services.
Cost to the city is very low. Provides a good alternative with supervision and outreach.
A piece of information that is missing from this conversation is that cities around us have banned car dwelling. That is why we have become a magnet. If the other cities were also trying to create a safe place for homeless, the car dwellers would be more spread out and the impact on Palo Alto would be less intense. Really, a county-wide solution is needed.
These folks need a safe place to be. The place for all of them should not be ONE city that has (despite what a previous poster said) more compassion and has held out because we were looking for a more compassionate solution.
It is a frustrating situation. I'm sorry to say I think a compassionate solution for Palo Alto isn't possible until other nearby cities take some responsibility for collaboratively solving this shared problem instead of exporting it.
Unfortunately, this article does not mention that most of the opposition to the Friends Meeting proposed lot is that it sits between an elementary school and a preschool. The conversation was that there were many other more ideal locations that should be considered FIRST. It came through "loud and clear" at the meeting.
There are some that camp on alma in downtown close to alma/elcamino exit. One lives in a U-haul truck and then the other has a 45 ft rv. Then we have campers beside them that hang their laundry so an obvious place that people are camping. But again no one does anything about this group. It is crazy. Tired of it. We have the opportunity center why can't people stay there and camp there. Seems like a good place. It has bathrooms/showers
Crescent Park Dad has an idea worth pursuing. It's the first one I've read that addresses most of the complaints and problems described above. But it still requires a group or organization to take responsibility for operating and maintaining such a system. Who is going to volunteer?
The money now going into dealing with homeless problems can be used to partially offset the cost of the program.
Not only Cubberly has problems. So dothe Eleanor and Rinconada Parks areas and the Main Library. One homeless person disconnected the exterior lights at Main because it disturbed his sleep!! And it is well known that the San Francisco homeless come to the Peninsula, especially Palo Alto. The word gets around. It's warmer here. Just drive through downtown Palo Alto late at night and to see for yourself. Count how many people are sleeping in doorways and parks. Palo Alto has gone out of its way to feed and care for the homeless....and is being overrun. As for the Baylands, forget it. It's tinder dry out there in the summer and fall....a grass fire would be horrendous. It's a nature preserve!!That won't "pass muster" or common sense.
"Frustrating" makes a very good point. There should be a solution that the county and cities can get behind. Creating an overnight camping center (supervised, etc.) would go a long ways towards solving the problem.
Baylands Park; Shoreline Park; etc.
Answer - don't allow campfires or wood/charcoal BBQ's. It can work.
Criminalizing the Homeless will cost the taxpayers more in the long run. Also, while I'm sure Homeowners love PAPD, you can't solve civil disputes with Law Enforcement. There are still going to be homeless people no matter how many laws you pass.
FIX THE PROBLEM! Don't just bury it.
Craig Lughton, once the city takes my car away I will be forced to throw my sleeping bag down in front of your house every night in plain view instead of being shielded by metal and glass of a VW bus which provides a barrier now.
Mary Klein, Have you opened your home to a homeless person?
>Creating an overnight camping center (supervised, etc.) would go a long ways towards solving the problem.
How about the ten acres that were dedicated as park land for the anaerobic digestion fiasco? Maybe Actera can get behind this. What do you think, Peter?
Why should so many homeless end up at Cubberley. It's time north Palo Alto took their share. Why isn't the parking lot at Lucie Stern opened up to the homeless and car dwellers, because it's in North Palo Alto.
Most Council members live in North Palo Alto, and they look after themselves and dump the homeless at Cubberley because it's in south Palo Alto.
>Craig Lughton, once the city takes my car away I will be forced to throw my sleeping bag down in front of your house every night
If you do, be warned that I might just bring out my sleeping bag and throw down next to you. Note: I am a loud snorer, and I watch
tv all night long. You might be better off by finding a bleeding heart that would welcome you in front of their house. Better yet, they could offer you a room.
Crescent Park Dad, St Anthony's Dining Room is in Menlo & they do more than feed the hungry. Even EPA has a lot of homeless services for a small city.
To the rest of you: One of the problems in your town is that it's a bit of a bubble & people say ignorant things such as your town does the most for homeless, or that other towns should share the burden. Uninformed & shortsighted because most of you *really* dibt jnow ehst MV & Menlo offer. Btw, Menlo is 1/2 your size & ensured no car campers tears ago. You all are just mad that your leadsership un this area is shoddy!
If a local town banned car camping decades ago & your town was too stupid to do so why is that the other town's problem? It's not. Don't try to blame other towns for your town's lame leadership on this issue through the years.
Trying to make this a social justice issue thst everyone should deal with is also wrong. You can't force people to become engaged w/a societal problem. You can legislate how to handle the problems - so do it, for pity's sake.
If I tried to waste time & energy trying to force others to accept my agenda of social justice causes, I'd get nothing done. I don't know what's happening in PA to enact a ban but you have to get & stay organized. Have some viable solutions to present. Try to get organizations that deal w/the problem to back the viable solutions. Find a lawyer (half of you are lawyers, no?). Has CT organized w/other neighborhoods?
The pro-car campers are influential & this has to be dealt with effectively.
Question: Does anyone have any stats about car campers with & without drug & alcohol problems? How many are employed? How many disabled? How many are registered sex offenders? If tiure a car camper are you cinaidered homeless? (The few people I've personally known who've car camped were substance abusers so my pov is subjective).
Craig, when they take away my RV and all my possessions I to will bring a sleeping bag and camp out at your place. I have ear plugs so
your snoring won't bother me. Are you still in touch with Craig Nelson.
You and I knew each other years ago. I've lived and worked in Palo Alto over 30 years and now that I'm old and out of work I'm apparently going to be criminalized. To those who think the Opportunity Center can help you are very wrong. Also to those who say we homeless have mental problems and are drug users you also also are wrong (yes a few do but many of us don't).
I'm pledging $1000 contribution to the re-election campaign of every council member who supports the ban, and will give $1000 to any challenger next election if the council doesn't pass it.
This isn't a compassion issue, it is a public safety issue.
Can't have it both ways, PA. All the bleeding hearts for the plight of car dwellers either need to step up and offer their driveway, and toilet to a camper, (Adopt-a-homeless person & vehicle) OR they should allow a common sense ordinance prohibiting overnight camping/car dwelling.
The problem has gotten even worse since the last round of proposed bans. The Ventura /So of CA Ave neighborhood is so overrun with campers, I do not feel it is safe to walk at night. The large vehicles block my view of oncoming traffic and make navigating narrow streets difficult for bikes and cars. It's just hazardous in so many ways to have these vehicles parking day and night--sometimes not moving for months. And just because a business district has empty parking lots or street parking at night doesn't mean that nearby families who pay taxes and rent or mortgages should have to deal with the noise, refuse, unsightly views and diminished sense of safety brought on by a street or lot lined with vehicles housing the homeless.
The bad idea of making a homeless campground is just going to draw more and more from all over the region. The problem is TOO BIG for Palo Alto to take care of every down-and-out soul who can get their vehicle into city limits.
It's time to ban sleeping overnight in a vehicle AND parking RVs overnight on any city street or lot without a permit. Permits should be given only to homeowners, renters, and their guests, parking in front of their own home, or in their building's lot. Why would that be so hard to enforce? If every citizen complaint registered with the PD thus far had moved a vehicle on, we wouldn't be overrun with vehicles today. The biggest frustration has been calling the PD only to have them say there is no law being violated.
Yeah, fancy Palo Alto! Look at the disgusting junky vehicles on Park Boulevard, Chestnut Ave near the park, and other parks. It's totally embarassing.
some people had great paying jobs but they now have an incurable disease! something not at all their fault. they had great health habits. misfortune happens. social services are largely useless. PEOPLE NEED MONEY, not ''applications''. money for basic survival.. their PLANET EARTH birthright. no one should ''own'' property. free world for all, as long as you dont reproduce children. people who do reproduce should be held accountable. but there are those who will never reproduce but even they dont have access to TRUE RESOURCES. not 200 dollars worth of food stamps or other such nonsense. free the public coffers for the poor. but do not reproduce any more kids, folks. we got enough problems as it is . poor and not so poor alike. you dont need kids.
I am in favor of banning dwelling in cars.
I am in favor of personal responsibility.
I am in favor of not making Palo Alto attractive to people who come just to sponge off the services paid for by others.
We would benefit much more from banning overnight street parking for all. Those who don't have sufficient parking space would apply for an overnight parking permit with a monthly fee attached to it. residents who use their garages for storage will miraculously discover that they don't need most of the junk they have accumulated.
>We would benefit much more from banning overnight street parking for all. Those who don't have sufficient parking space would apply for an overnight parking permit with a monthly fee attached to it. residents who use their garages for storage will miraculously discover that they don't need most of the junk they have accumulated.
Your idea has some merit, IMO. However, first things first: Ban car camping!
I hear Santa Cruz is open to vehicle dwelling.
Mr tax payer. I paid taxes for over 30 years while when I had a job.
I don't use any public services paid for by anyone other than a parking place on the street. I'm trying to live on my social security.
Craig Laughton, your ban car camping first comment seems like "off with their heads first and then try to solve the problem of why there are so many homeless people who can't find jobs".
I'm 69 just trying to exist on my social security. I'm not an alcoholic or a druggy or mentally ill. Palo Alto claims to be compassionate but these comments sure don't sound compassionate.
To all out there I have over 25 years experience as a software
engineer. If you of you people out there have any software engineering jobs let me know. This great economic recovery that's talked about isn't really so great. But stop complaining that we
homeless won't work.
there are a lot of car campers on or near Park between california and the Fry's entrance. It is a good place to be and not bother any residents. I see them on my way to work and I have yet to see any issues.
fyi, thanks for trying to be helpful but I am one of those there you mention and some residents (probably AOL or the construction company doing work there do call the police and complain.
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@Fred Smith - A large percentage of homeless are addicts and/or mentally ill. When you bring in a large population of homeless mentally ill drug addicts to a city, it brings with it a lot of other problems like drug dealers, crime, litter, public defecation. Where do you think the people who sleep in their cars on Park go to the bathroom? Palo Alto can give generous meaningful support to the needy through programs to help people. It is pretty shallow support to just have people sleep on the street.
Mr. Recycle- hw large a percentage? I assume you have the data to back up your claim?
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*For God's sake, won't somebody PLEASE think about my property value!?! We need to set some priorities here! Maybe an income cut-off limit for people within the city? We could give passes to blue collar workers so they can take care of the dirty work, but after 9pm they've got to go back to wherever they came from.*
>Craig, when they take away my RV and all my possessions
It won't happen, Fred, if you move to an area, probably outside this immediate area, where you can afford to park it in a proper RV/trailer park (Salinas?, Henderson, NV?). Or you sell it and rent a cheap apartment or room somewhere. You have no inherent right to live in a place of your choosing, if you cannot afford it.
This isn't a right/wrong should/shouldn't type of issue. You and other NIMBYs have done such a good job at making Palo Alto unaffordable (which is a different word than "expensive" though I wouldn't expect you to understand) that now some people are forced to live in their cars. Its a fact of life, every other city in the country has to deal with it [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Baylands is NOT suitable as a "campground" [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Palo Alto and all other municipalities have the right to preserve public peace, safety, cleanliness. Homeless are offered services. If they refuse public and/or charitable services, then they cannot just set up camp "anywhere" they choose. They are not entitled to trash our city or make an unsafe environment for the thousands of children who live in this city.
I'm one of the geeks in the AOL building, I doubt people here care that you are there.
Its not like you folks are creating an issue next to us. I do sympathize with someone that would have a large rig parked day in / day out in front of their house, but here in the industrial area only really pedantic sorts with nothing to keep them busy are going to care.
To the poster (who seemed familiar with the subject) who stated the Opportunity Center doesn't work -- why not?
I have been concerned with that facility located so close to Palo Alto High School - there have been incidents at Town & Country and also on the path near the train tracks - it doesn't make sense to me that the Opportunity Center was installed in Palo Alto.
Note to PAPD: DO NOT confuse people temporarily living in an R while their house is untenable due to fumigation, remodeling,,painting, etc, with homeless car campers. And do not treat them as such!! it is not always practicable to stay in a hotel for a couple of weeks at a time, especially with school-age children.
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wow. hot topic. not going to read all posts. I was homeless for about a year, from which 3-4 months lived behind Cuberly. There were also a bunch of people living in the bushes. Reason people stay there is the showers, that city opens to homeless at 5am, and an access to bathroom 24/7. It's also police patrolled for safety. That location is also close to the city churches which rotate in providing a hot meal. Each day the meal was in different church and palo alto volunteers who cook are wonderful . Thank you.
I got housing about 10 weeks ago in another city. Embarrassed to say I now have no $$$ for food, gas, not for anything . But I pay my rent which is $1450 per month plus electric bill. When I reflect back; being homeless is very traumatic and rude comments; for example : ' property values are going down' etc., are not helping to resolve the problem.
While all gymnasiums, all doors each night at Cuberly are locked up and no one is Inside except the security, I often thought would it be possible to allow the vehicle dwellers to sleep inside ; for example at the two huge gymnasiums? One for men and one gym for women. That would be a beginning. Homeless people are just like everyone else, and fellow citizens should reach out, mentor, help, support, try to find the cause and factors that led to the point of homelessness and then have each person to come up with strategic plan; how to move on towards permanent housing. What are the steps for the one who ended up living in the vehicle or worse; with no vehicle. To me it is cruel to criminalize one who is homeless, and force that person to go somewhere: anywhere; when he/she has no place to go! To do that to a vulnerable person, who doesn't have a place to go; is criminal , in my opinion. I hope city council sticks with the plan; leave homeless alone unless there is a choice or choices the homeless have and can make their own decisions about what is needed to move forward, what are the steps he//she needs to take. Unless someone has walked in the shoes of being homeless, it's very unlikely there is any empathic understanding. Being without a place of one's own is a daily struggle. All energy goes into survival mode. When this has become chronic, person has lost all hope except is running on survival mode, more loving, caring support is needed. It is not right to start blaming homeless, because we don't know the reasons for what the person has gone through. First step is to stop trash talk, and start respecting human beings who have less.
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To David Pepperdine: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Martin Luther King, Jr.
To Fred Smith,
You might find housing at a relatively new, well managed senior housing complex in Santa Rosa called "Jennings Court". It is run by the same organization that manages Lytton Gardens, but I think the waiting list isn't as long. Singles can rent one-bedroom apartments that are light-filled and modern. (At Lytton, singles are usually in studio apts.) See Web Link for more info. Rents are based on income.
i found out healing in art. I paint with oils. Portraits of homeless. Emotion, feeling, synchronicity with real life. Soon, I can post them on line for sale, I hope; so I can have $$ for food and to fill my truck with gas to outreach to other homeless vehicle dwellers .
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Homeless people are victims of environmental and cultural issues. We are not criminals. I have dyslexia and say things backwards . It doesn't mean that I should have to suffer because of my disability and that I don't be respected. I do: I work so hard to to have a voice with stuttering and dyslexia and Palo Alto on line giives me that change to talk. Sorry. I just like to say; please leave us alone, we are stuck; no one in this world has time for our individual struggles : the homeless ;we need loving help and support that we are desperately looking for: someone, anyone to hold hands with. Many of us, including myself have a criminal record and we cannot get jobs or housing because of our disability or the criminal records we got because of lack of education or understanding: in ' ' from the normal.
Despite of my disability, I am very good in mathematic 's. I wanted to take a class in advanced statistics in social sciences, but could not find anyone on Stanford campus to sign up and talk to me in person.maybe bc I was homeless with no address? Who knows? I think I was let down. I study conflict in society and want to measure the social services in facts. So I was a vehicle dweller in Palo Alto, but I gave up not because of police but because of the matrix of atmosphere in that town.
To those who believe the homeless create a safety problem, let me offer you another view to consider:
I believe our streets are made safer when more non-criminal people are present.
When there are more people around, there are more people who care and will stop or report significant criminal activity. There are more people looking out for our safety and the safety of our children and belongings.
I cannot understand why the PAPD tolerates the 2 large campers that are continuously parked (one with 2 wheels blocking half the sidewalk) on El Camino Real across the street from PAMF. Isn't there a law against "abandoned" vehicles? The smell of cannabis from one of these campers is also offensive IMO.