News


Man dies from injuries sustained in brawl

One punch, too many drinks, radically changes three young men's lives

He was a young, athletic tennis instructor at Kim Grant Tennis Academy. His wife of two years said he was a peaceful person who only went out once every few weeks, according to a police report.

But on Friday morning, Oleg Talamai was pronounced dead after more than two weeks on life support at Stanford Hospital. The Palo Alto resident succumbed to injuries that he suffered during a Dec. 21 brawl outside a downtown Palo Alto bar.

Talamai was reportedly was out for a good time with a friend at The Patio bar on Emerson Street when their lives intersected with four other young men's outside the establishment. An altercation ensued. Then a single punch to the head -- so loud it was heard from 75 feet away, according to police who were patrolling the area near Lytton Plaza -- knocked him to the ground. When the officers ran to him, he was flat on the pavement, his eyes unresponsive. He never woke up.

"I was just drunk," the alleged assailant, Neil Brian Rotroff, also known as Neil Brian Alamban, told police regarding why he didn't just walk away.

Rotroff, a 28-year-old father who lives with his mother and fiance in Cupertino, initially faced a charge of assault with a deadly weapon for punching Talamai. On Friday, after Talamai was pronounced dead, the District Attorney changed the charge to involuntary manslaughter.

A 21-year-old Sunnyvale resident* faces charges of assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon for allegedly nearly striking two officers with his vehicle as he, Rotroff and two friends fled the scene. The Sunnyvale man now also faces a felony count of being an accessory to involuntary manslaughter for his role as a getaway driver.

"I was hella scared," Rotroff told police, after he saw Talamai lying unconscious. He just wanted to go back to his kids, he said.

A police report reveals the details of the incident. Too much alcohol, an argument -- no one knows about what -- and perhaps young male pride led to the events that changed the lives of the three young men.

Rotroff and his three friends had started their evening at a Cupertino billiard hall or bowling alley -- described alternately in police reports -- on Dec. 20 to celebrate the recent return of one of the men from serving in the U.S. Army, they told police. They each had two or three beers, with the Sunnyvale man, the driver, having one. At about midnight, they went to The Patio and had a few more strong drinks.

Talamai and a friend, both Belarus immigrants, were also there drinking, according to police reports.

As the bar neared closing time one of the men from Rotroff's group, a Ukrainian immigrant, asked to bum a cigarette from the pair. The initial contact was amicable and conducted in Russian, according to the report. But Talamai apparently got into an argument with three men from the group. No one recalls or will say what the argument was about. According to Rotroff and his friends, Talamai allegedly slapped one of Rotroff's friends on the head. Rotroff and Talamai had heated words.

Palo Alto police who were nearby intervened, according to the report. The friends on both sides kept the two apart. Separately, they told police they were going to go home.

As Rotroff and his friends crossed Emerson to leave in the Sunnyvale man's white Honda, Talamai and his friend walked south toward the parking lot near the Aquarius Theater. The two were allegedly hollering insults toward Rotroff and his friends, so the four men walked back to confront them.

At that point "the fight is inevitable," the Sunnyvale man told police. Rotroff said they probably returned to "earn back our pride or something."

Versions of what happened next vary. As the exchange became more heated, one of Rotroff's friends told police he tried to diffuse the situation. He said he pushed Talamai's friend away by the shoulder because he was allegedly making things worse.

But the victim's friend told police that he was struck, which the Sunnyvale man confirmed in his statement to the police. Rotroff, who was probably bumped during this altercation, fell to the ground, the Sunnyvale man said.

When Rotroff got knocked down, the Sunnyvale man said he knew the confrontation was going to escalate.

"Neil is not going to just let that go," he told police.

Rotroff, who is 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighs 250 pounds, stood up and handed his cigarette to a friend. Talamai, 24, a tall and lanky man, was squaring up with him and allegedly punching him, according to the police report.

The blows did not hurt, Rotroff said, but he felt he needed to act in self defense. He delivered a blow that a witness described as a "right cross" to the victim's head, sending Talamai to the pavement.

Talamai sustained a fractured skull and bleeding in his brain, and he underwent brain surgery, according to the police report.

Talamai's family has not returned requests for comment, but his employer, Kim Grant, described him as "an amazing person and coach, and he touched a lot of lives."

"(He) is the warmest, most sincere person. He brings sunshine into every life he touches. (He) loves life, tennis, people and is such a positive person! We all admire his amazing spirit, joyful energy and generous heart! Even though I am his mentor, he has taught me much through his wonderful spirit," she wrote in an email.

Rotroff told police he is sorry for his actions. He admitted that he has been in some other fights, even being punched unconscious, according to the police report. But he said he had never knocked anyone else out before.

He said he understands that he should have been a bigger man, but he felt he was being bullied. He also was upset that Talamai and his friend were insulting Rotroff's friend who had just returned from service in the Army. If anything, he told police, they should be respecting him.

Rotroff and the Sunnyvale man, who posted bail after their initial arrests on Dec. 21, are presently out of custody, according to police. They are due in court on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the Palo Alto Police Department's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

Related content:

Downtown Palo Alto assault leaves man in critical condition

*Editor's note: The name of the Sunnyvale resident/driver has been removed from this article because the original charge of felony assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon was dismissed and the misdemeanor conviction for being an accessory after the fact was dismissed for constitutional reasons in the interests of justice, pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1385, on Oct. 27, 2016.

Comments

30 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 9, 2015 at 9:12 am

If everyone was drunk, and the police were around, why were they all headed to their cars to drive home drunk?


9 people like this
Posted by Dont get no respect
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 9, 2015 at 10:59 am

These young men's idea of having a good time is to go out and get drunk.
And they want "respect"?


5 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 9, 2015 at 11:22 am

Agree with Sam...Why did the police allow this guys to drive home? Why didn't the police walk with them to their cars?


Like this comment
Posted by Raymond
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Jan 9, 2015 at 11:33 am

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 9, 2015 at 11:33 am

I used to work a late shift and find myself driving down University at times around or after midnight to get groceries or food. I never was much for going to bars or clubs myself.

Every night there were police cars and crowds outside the bars, and occasionally people acting stupid or fighting, often at the Alma end of University. I did not really get a good understanding or look at what was going on, but why should we all be paying to police what is a chronic mess in our city that serves no purpose other than providing income to bars or nightclubs?

Why do these particular businesses get to push their costs of doing business onto the whole city and it never gets talked about or reviewed?

Did concentrating people in this area reduce crime or incidents in other areas of the city by chance?


Like this comment
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 9, 2015 at 12:03 pm

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by party
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm

If you are wondering about the actions of the police, head downtown at 2a.m. There are hundreds of intoxicated people crammed in a small few block area. I doubt the police can keep track of where one small group is headed, there of plenty of idiots to watch out there. Go ask the pizza my heart workers.

My two cents, if you have time to hand your cigarette to a friend before a fight, the whole self defense thing doesnt hold much weight. But I wasn't there.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 9, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Wow. Thanks to the journalist who reported this story. I can understand what happened. By learning about the perspectives of the men involved in this situation, particularly Neil's, I get it.

So, maybe, as we know decision-making and behavior are influenced by alcohol, personality, testosterone levels, being taught to fight in the Army, peer influence, etc....Maybe, we can help these men to not get into fights, using the best methods psychology (or other programs) have to offer, rather than criminalizing their behavior. And maybe we can all learn how understand each other better, and how to forgive.


2 people like this
Posted by Unfortunate incident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm

My condolences to the man on life support, who had been drinking, and also to the two men who's drinking clouded their judgement.

All of this could of been prevented if the police, upon his first encounter of the potential brawl, would have sent one party home while allowing another party to cool off before both groups found each other again within 10 minutes (according to another PA Weekly article published).

Most of the incidents are settled without making headlines, but the very few cases that make it on the news is troublesome. There is a much bigger public health problem here, and I am glad more funding is being geared to limiting binge drinking across all age groups, specifically in CA.

Reference: Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by anon
a resident of Monroe Park
on Jan 9, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Sadly, the victim died this morning.

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Tragic
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 9, 2015 at 1:31 pm

"I was just drunk" said the perp. Are you kidding me? No, you were drunk and you assaulted someone, and now you are going to have a criminal record. Let this be a lesson to drunken thugs who think they can use their fists just because they can. Learn a lesson!


8 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm

@Unfortunate incident - you are really giving sympathy to two killers, and complaining about the police?


6 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 9, 2015 at 2:04 pm

What are the operating restrictions imposed on The Patio's State of California Alcoholic Beverage Control Board license (State ABC License Number 512974; it's a Type 47 license)? Will the State now amend such license to include specific conditions targeted towards the reduction of over-serving of alcohol? If not, why not? Finally, when will the City of Palo Alto revise all regulations governing alcohol-serving establishments to better ensure incidents like the one described above do not happen again? In particular, when will the City establish a fee to better offset the police costs and expenses associated with these types of businesses?


1 person likes this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 9, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Hulkamania is a registered user.

Every night is amateur night in downtown Palo Alto.

My daughter worked the late shift at Pizza My Heart years ago. She came home with lots of stories. Most started with, "Another drunk came in..."


4 people like this
Posted by Midtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 9, 2015 at 2:38 pm

As the city council and planning department do their best to transform Palo Alto into an urban center, then too all the problems of urban centers will come to Palo Alto. But of course the city and the developers are not responsible for it.
[that's all sardonicism, just to make sure all readers understand]


2 people like this
Posted by samTran
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 9, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Je Suis Charlie.....Why does this paper feel the need to not practice what it preaches and sensor comments IT doesn't agree with?


9 people like this
Posted by party
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 9, 2015 at 2:55 pm

It's not the bar's fault, the city council's fault, abc's fault, the police's fault, alcohol's fault. Fault lies with the person. He is the one who chose to act in that manner. 5-10/250 with face tatoos, doubt he was in the army, ain't their fault either. Stop making complicated solutions to simple problems.

I am sending my prayers to the family, what a horrible tragedy.


3 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 9, 2015 at 3:04 pm

@party: personal responsibility seems to be out of favor.


9 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 9, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Downtown is full of drunk young men, and some women at night. Downtown becomes a creepy and dangerous place at night, and it isn't very pleasant during the day, despite the outrageously expensive boutique stores abound. This is one of the outcomes of "vibrancy" and urbanization the pro development champions are so proud of.


1 person likes this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2015 at 3:15 pm

What is that mark under the killer's left eye?

In addition to their their serious crimes, was the smoking in public legal?

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


9 people like this
Posted by wow
a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 9, 2015 at 4:57 pm

This is so disgusting. Although I was initially shocked to see Brian Alamban's mugshot plastered all over the news, I quickly remembered that he is one of the biggest troublemakers I have ever met. He was notorious for his antics and immature behavior in jr. high and high school. Sad that his immaturity had to kill another man.


2 people like this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2015 at 5:29 pm

The cops may have blown it in this case. It may be time for the victim's family to consult an attorney.


2 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jan 9, 2015 at 7:52 pm

If there was truly an enlisted army soldier home on leave he may have just ended his military career. Involvement in this situation may be grounds for dishonorable discharge. They are held to a standard no matter whether on duty or not. Respect is earned not abandoned in a drunken evening.


4 people like this
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 9, 2015 at 8:00 pm

This is just an awful event. I'm certainly not the demographic that hangs in bars downtown late at night, but others should have the right to do so without fear. Some of the usual suspects, of course, feel compelled to blame this on the Palo Alto police. There's not a city official who escapes the rancor of some posters here. I agree with the person who said that it would be impossible to be everywhere there is a drinking establishment downtown and head off fights. Let's just be very sorry this happened in our town, or any town. The perpetrator has taken another's life and ruined his own as well.


5 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 9, 2015 at 8:23 pm

No doubt individuals hold the key to prevention of another similar occurrence. But, other municipalities -- notably Oakland; Walnut Creek; Hayward -- have recently adopted comprehensive regulations governing establishments serving alcoholic beverages. And, in enacting same, each city has done a great job at encouraging and supporting thriving businesses operating in compliance with State law. So, there's ample reason to believe the City of Palo Alto could follow in their footsteps and enact prudent regulation here, too. If Hayward can do it (they just adopted the regs in late 2013 and just recently re-visited same in a one-year review), Palo Alto can too. When the costs of police service are spread amongst all citizens, and yet the service calls are from just a handful of businesses, equity demands such costs be paid by such firms.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2015 at 1:51 am

Sparty is a registered user.

I'm guessing he'll plead out or at least waive a jury trial. A smart prosecutor will be sure to have a huge print of that mugshot to show the jury


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 10, 2015 at 4:16 am

I don't have data on how much taxes these saloon establishments pay. Maybe they already more than compensate for the services they consume. Seems though I hear more dispatch calls to help round up shoplifters at the Stanford Shopping Center, but I haven't really been keeping track. Then there's all the resources police spend dealing with, uh, mental issues. That's life...


7 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2015 at 9:43 am

Sad and stupid.

This area late at night has lots of problems that have extended
over decades. You can see if it you just drive by at certain times
or look back in the news. It should be closed down or
the occupancy number halved, but still the police and thus all
of us Palo Alto residents end up paying for it and a few of us
run the risk or getting caught up in something.

For some reason the "ethos" these days seems to always push
every moment into some kind of extreme situation so we end
up with stuff like this.

Every day many many times a day on TV and in the Movies we
see people getting punched, shot, stabbed, fall off buildings,
get hit by cars and they get up and are fine, so people somehow
think a punch to the head is nothing, Well, it can kill you.
There is no place for this kind of behavior and whenever people
see it it becomes more of the norm and more accepted.

I never liked this kind of macho bullying BS in Jr. High, High
School and by college most people are mature and civilized
enough to behave decently in public, but somehow certain
places are a magnet for this kind of behavior. Shut it down.

I'm not real sympathetic to either side of this particular conflict,
but one thing I don't like is that this kind of behavior tends to
take over the town as people see it and the more civilized
people just don't go downtown late night and the other side
fill the vacuum until before long it is a place like this and no one
really sees it or thinks about it.

Every night there is some kind of violent flare-up and it spills
out all over town. Walking home from movie one night around
Hamilton a guy crossing the street slammed his fist on a car
that he thought did not stop far enough back for him. The
driver jumped out and they went at it for a few seconds.

No police every were called, no record of this, but I see
it or something like it every time I am in downtown Palo
Alto late night. It's no fun to be with a group and see
drunken people hanging out who can ruin your whole
evening if they decide to mess with people. It is not fun
to have to make a stand, or to have to back off.

Shut this place down and limit the occupancy of all the
others. Let San Jose deal with this kind of nonsense if
they want.


1 person likes this
Posted by Bruce
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 10, 2015 at 10:23 am

Mr. Talamai has passed away. Rotroff, IF convicted, will spend a long time thinking about his actions and hopefully make amends to our community for taking Mr. Talamai from his wife, family and Palo Altans.


4 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 10, 2015 at 11:10 am

Rotroff may want to add a few more tattooed tears to his face because his behavior will saddened him for the rest of his life. I can't imagine having to carry the burden of killing someone. Very sad situation


4 people like this
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 10, 2015 at 1:52 pm

It's a shame that we can't get reliable data from the police/911 operations about how many calls for service are received by the downtown area, and Stanford Shopping Center, so that a clear picture of what is really going on can be ascertained.

Such data would include: 1) calls to police dealing with drunks, 2) calls because of street crime, calls because of break-ins/robberies, calls because of homeless people, calls because of traffic accidents, and so on.

This data would want to be broken down by hour (or possibly aggrigated into 6-hour blocks), and then collected by day/week/month. Race, sex and home-of-residence and nationality would want to be in this data. Additionally, some sort of call disposition information would want to be in this data, also.

While all of the posters on this thread are doubtless adding to the collective picture of what a "vibrant downtown" really means--the societal costs are not well understood from the current lack of data.

Suggestions that some sort of "fee" for additional police support might make sense if there were enough information to make such a case. At the moment, all we have is a fairly useless police blotter, and some yearly stats reported to the DoJ.

The Palo Alto Police could do a lot better documenting their activities in the downtown area. This is the Silicon Valley, after all.


2 people like this
Posted by Sara
a resident of University South
on Jan 10, 2015 at 7:29 pm

The city council has built this place up so much that we are now feeling the pains that go along with it. Crime, traffic, pollution, dirty streets, homeless, and the list goes on. So many outsiders its hard to feel safe anymore.


9 people like this
Posted by Phil
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 10, 2015 at 7:48 pm

This should make every young testosterone filled youth think about the consequences of throwing a punch.

Actually, Mr. Rotroff is getting off with a light charge as the DA could just easily charge him with 2nd degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon, his fist as the DA has done before.

I remember a man during a December 4, 2008 hearing sentenced to 12 years in prison by Judge Thang Barrett for getting into a fight with another man at a club. The man was sent to prison for 12 years because he cut the other man in the face and left a scar as a result of hitting him with his beer glass in a sudden response to an altercation. Keep in mind this was the man's plea deal, he could have been sent away for much longer had the case gone to trial.

Now you have Rotroff and Talamai essentially engaged in mutual combat in which Talamai lost. If Talamai did not want to put his life in danger he should have left the area, he should have moved away from the dead tree that fell on him.

At most the DA should be charging Rotroff with fighting in public for he had no intent beyond that and the consequences of the fight also fall on Talamai who could have just as easily killed Rotroff should Rotroff had slip and falled to the ground after being struck.

And don't give anything b.s. about height and wight, there are many 5'8" 160lb martial arts experts who can dismantle bigger men, thus you don't need to be large to cause a great degree of damage to another person.

"Mens rea" is the intent. Anything beyond intent is just an accident otherwise thousands of government officials and police officers would be charged with crimes for results of their own negligence which results in the deaths and damage to hundreds of thousands of people every year.

Keep in mind, I am not defending Rotroff in any way, I am exposing the fickle nature of the justice system which does not go by any concrete standard but a fluctuating one determined by the person in charge and not the "Rule of Law."

I remember that there was a huge hue & cry to remove the homeless from Cubberley Center as result of an assault and the extra expense of police presence to monitor Cubberley area:

Where is the hue and cry to rid the city of "The Patio" and the other skanky clubs that draw these types of unsavory people to Palo Alto?

If the city were to shut down the Patio and two other clubs in town it would probably save the city $250,000 a year in policing costs.

Well maybe these three clubs bring in over a $1 million in tax revenue, so I guess according to city staff the cost of people's lives is worth a few hundred thousand dollars in revenue.


9 people like this
Posted by Tim
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 10, 2015 at 9:00 pm

I love how some people here want to blame the city, the bar, the police, etc., while not placing primary responsibility on the drunken idiot who killed this poor man.

Anyone who has been to downtown Palo Alto on a weekend has likely seen there are literally hundreds of intoxicated persons around. I don't know know how many cops work at night downtown, but suffice it to say the cops are greatly outnumbered by the masses. I'm sure they have their hands full breaking up fights and rescuing people who get drunk and fall into planter boxes (I have seen this). Officer Amadeo had to pull this guy out of the bushes! We cannot expect a few city officials to babysit grown adults who are completely irresponsible. Oh, and mind you, when the police tried to break up this attack, the thugs tried to run them over in a car!! Wow. Let me just say I am thrilled these guys were arrested because they are a menace to society. Ironically, I know a lot of the apologists who attempt to justify these thugs behavior, would be the first to demand justice if they themselves were the victims in this brazen, drunken attack.

I am happy these guys will have to face the music for their irresponsible, dangerous, criminal activity. I am happy the police are safe and managed to professionally track these guys down and arrest them. Well done and thank you for keeping us safe.

To family of the victim, sorry for your loss and may he rest in peace.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 10, 2015 at 10:05 pm

Call it hearsay but I've heard people say, they come to Palo Alto to drink because they feel generally safer here. And most who get irresponsibly intoxicated will have a responsible friend along. It's kind of endearing to watch them take care of each other. Looks like most are enjoying themselves, and judging from the age distribution I'd say most grow out of this phase. Taxicabs and Uber and Lyft and TCP-permit towncars get busy near closing time for those who misplaced their designated driver. Sure we could shut these places down and expect all the customers to stay home and watch TV or study for their college classes, but heaven knows what they'd actually end up doing.

As for how the police spend their time, there are report logs at -- Web Link -- the PAPD webpage, but that's a limited picture, mostly vehicle break-ins, citations for driving on suspended license, DUIs, and the occasional vandalism, accident minor injury, or misdemeanor hit & run. More can be filled in by listening to the appropriate frequencies, though much of the clear FM radio traffic has transitioned to digital channels. Plenty of the calls end up UTL -- unable to locate.

Bottom line I'd guess less than 1 percent of the population is responsible for greater than 99 percent of police activity in any given year.


1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 11, 2015 at 12:01 am

> by Tim a resident of Downtown North
> I love how some people here want to blame the city, the bar, the police, etc., while not placing primary responsibility on the drunken idiot who killed this poor man.

How do you get that?

No one is blaming the City, they are trying to figure out what configurations in our city cause problems and discuss fixing it if possible. That is a real straw argument you made there.


6 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 11, 2015 at 6:16 am

mauricio is a registered user.

The societal costs of a "vibrant" downtown are immense, all negative and far outnumber the revenues some seedy bars bring in. We needed, and had, a wonderful downtown, we have lost it and now we have one that is creepy at night, dangerous, and sometime deadly. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to state that we have sold our soul to the devil, and cheaply at that.


1 person likes this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2015 at 6:46 am

The overwhelmingly vast number of people that cme to downtown are well behaved and do not cause trouble. Of course there will be incidents some times. Claims that downton is creepy and dangerous is a gross exaggeration not based on any facts and surely not demonstrated by the vast number of people that come downtown. Claims that there are " seedy" bars downtown is also a fantasy. The bar is not to blame for the fact that a couple of people got into a fight after they left the place.
Why dnt e deal with the facts and try to address the negative issus in a non hysterical matter. Palo Alto wants and needs a vibrant downtown.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sara
a resident of University South
on Jan 11, 2015 at 10:03 am

City Council needs to change the slogan and undo this "vibrancy" which has brought about so many negative impacts. We can't even walk down the street these days without thinking that someone is going to come from behind knock us down and steal our belongings, we can't even feel safe in our homes for fear of another intruder or burglary, we can lock up our bikes with multiple chains and yet they are still stolen. The city is dirty, smelly, and the traffic is gridlock contributing to longer commutes just to get across town. Our kids are not safe riding their bikes to school because Palo Alto neighborhood streets have become fast moving thorough fares for cars trying to take short cuts to Middlefield and Alma. Not to mention the rise in air pollution from all of these cars and the low flying planes to SFO.


4 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 11, 2015 at 11:45 am

mauricio is a registered user.

"Agenda", I don't know in which universe you live, but downtown has become seedy, creepy and very dangerous, especially at night. Of course most people who go downtown are not dangerous, but that would be the case in even the most dangerous downtowns in the world. Downtown has attracted enough dangerous and unruly people to make it unsafe. There are now drug deals on streets corners and alleyways, muggings, harassment of females, even in broad daylights. Downtown is now dirty and creepy and isn't made any more pleasant by the ridiculously overpriced boutique stores.

This has been an unsurprising outcome of the unnecessary "vibrancy" desire of some city council people, as if Palo Alto had to become another San Jose or Los Angeles in order to be relevant.


2 people like this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Mauricio-- as I stated earlier, saying that downtown seedy, creepy and very dangerous does not make it so. If downtown was seedy, creepy and by dangerous you would not get the amount of people downtown that you do. And as Wayne Martin stated, the does not appear to be any data available to the public that discusses the amount of crime downtown. If you are privy to,such data, then please present it to us. Otherwise, I do not know how you arrive at the conclusions that you do


2 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 11, 2015 at 2:38 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

@Agenda, I arrive to that conclusion through real life observation. When in downtown, although I try to avoid it, I witness women harassed, drug deals, used needles in alleyways, aggressive drunks and panhandlers, discarded trash on the sidewalks. It's true that nt every downtown drunken brawl results in death, but I don't need to have statistics to know that downtown PA is now a place to avoid.


3 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm

"And as Wayne Martin stated, the [sic] does not appear to be any data available to the public that discusses the amount of crime downtown."

Palo Alto Police Department crime data is available for viewing by the public. See data, for example, at www.spotcrime.com or use the PAPD's new iOS and Android app. Each shows some information for each crime committed in the Downtown Palo Alto area.

Mr. Martin argues, instead, for more detailed data. He's spot on here. It's a problem faced by many police departments. The City of Hayward, in early 2014, began the use of new data gathering techniques in an effort to enhance reporting to the City Council and public.

I'd urge the Palo Alto Police Department to review The Patio's specific operating conditions attached to its State of California Alcoholic Beverage Control license. I'd also suggest the PAPD review prior crime reports in the area of each and every bar in Downtown Palo Alto.

How many deaths will it take to get the City to review its current regulations?


1 person likes this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 11, 2015 at 4:16 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

A statistician whose head is in the oven and feet in a bucket of ice cold water will say that on the average he is comfortable. There is probably more crime in downtown Chicago than in downtown Palo Alto. That doesn't change the fact that downtown PA, especially at night, has become rowdy, seedy and dangerous.


1 person likes this
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2015 at 4:43 pm

As my old science teacher use to say, " it has to be true, it was in the newspaper. Today, with the Internet, downtown Palo Alto must be " seedy, rowdy, dangerous and creepy", since it has appeared on this forum. Don't bother telling all the people that come downtown during the week and especially on weekends. As for myself, I will wait to see the actual numbers regarding crime downtown and not rely on observations made by people who rarely venture downtown


4 people like this
Posted by Richard Placone
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 11, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Hmmmm. Maybe Mrs. Stanford was right after all re alcohol so near the university!!


2 people like this
Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2015 at 5:13 pm

Looking forward to roving DUI checkpoints at each downtown parking lot and a police paddy wagon for all the complete idiots every Friday and Saturday night. I am tired of walking downtown on weekend evenings with the smell of urine everywhere. Enact higher public intoxication fines to pay for such enforcement. Fix the real problem: public drunks. Anything less is just co-dependant enabling of alcoholics.


5 people like this
Posted by Soooopoopo
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 11, 2015 at 5:16 pm

So the young techies and the city council ( and developers) wanted a vibrant downtown like SF. Now we have violent crime in our downtown just like SF's.

Hope the young techies, the city council, and the developers are happy--they got what they wished for. Oh, wait, the developers couldn't care less....


Like this comment
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2015 at 5:20 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 11, 2015 at 6:10 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Agenda
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2015 at 6:19 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by give me a break
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Vibrancy? Give me a break - Downtown has become a hassle. At the same
time it is losing all its character, its ambiance, its appeal,it's choked
in traffic, grotesque overbuilding, sign clutter, painted streets and
there is much more already in the pipleine. This City is being ruined.
It has been hijacked. The new Council will take it back but the damage
is immense and that is an understatement.


5 people like this
Posted by Phil
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 11, 2015 at 10:06 pm

He was a good man. He will be missed. We need more like him in the world.

My deepest and sincere condolences to his family.


Like this comment
Posted by kol
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2015 at 10:43 am

"male egos" ????


1 person likes this
Posted by TimH
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 12, 2015 at 11:00 am

Please pardon my tone, due to frustration. I know that it doesn't fit with the Fine Food/Wine Connoisseur image of Palo Alto bars and restaurants, but nothing will change unless Palo Alto decides to change. If the city decided that 2:00AM closure is too late, that alcohol becomes more difficult to sell in town, and that public drunkenness is a crime of its own, then business (and yes, tax money) will leave for greener pastures. Long ago, Palo Alto moved raunchy business out to Barron Park, which didn't work. In the 1970's kids were warned to stay away from University Avenue at night, too. In this example, the offender is an apparent bully and brawler (and likely not former military) who thought it was just another weekend. For the bigger picture, Palo Alto needs to decide if having two cities, with daytime traffic and evening drunken versions, are acceptable if enough money is flowing in.


1 person likes this
Posted by DT North
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 12, 2015 at 11:25 am

Let's not exaggerate the condition of DT North. There are of course unfortunate incidents as there are most places where there are humans, but generally it is a great place to live and certainly not "seedy" by any stretch. Calling it that just makes one wonder where exactly you have been to, to consider it "seedy" Surprised nobody has brought up the teardrop tattoo which has significance in urban legends anyway. It is doubtful this Brian guy was an upstanding citizen even before this unfortunate incident so sad for Oleg to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time:


"It is a tattoo of a teardrop below one's eye on either side. Originally placed in prison to signify that the bearer was owned by a fellow prisoner. In prison terms "their bitch." The tear drop signifies that pain and humiliation one would feel after being "turned out" in prison. The tattoo is placed on the face to further humiliate the victim and mark them in a place where they could not cover the mark.

Confusion about it's meaning has come from the victims having to explain the tattoo when they get out of prison and have to explain it to family and loved one's. They would often state that they got the tattoo because they killed a man in prison. This statement was not far from the truth since their submissive act of becoming another man's "bitch" could easily be viewed as the death of their manhood.

Problems arose when men on the outside began to get the tattoos and brag that it signified their killing someone or lost a loved one. Unwittingly they had marked themselves as a target for predators if they ever went to prison."


2 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jan 12, 2015 at 11:48 am

Not blaming the police at all but perhaps changing the protocol would help - this sort of thing happens all too often and it seems worse if the police had a chance to prevent it. Obviously the fundamental problem is that groups (packs) of males, testosterone, drinking and egos often lead to confrontation. I would like to see the police detain people every time they see two groups of males throwing punches - it is not enough to simply tell them to go home. No arrest is necessary but at least one person from each group should be handcuffed and detained for a cooling off period - at least 30 to 45 minutes. They could be handcuffed to a tree of a bench and preferably in front of a bar so everyone could see the consequences of bad behavior. The PA bars also should be required to post a picture of Talamai and Rotroff with and explanation of what stupid mutual combat may lead to.


1 person likes this
Posted by GrammarMom
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 12, 2015 at 12:54 pm

To the writer of the article:
"Versions of what happened next vary. As the exchange became more heated, one of Rotroff's friends told police he tried to diffuse the situation..."

From Grammarist: Defuse vs. diffuse

To defuse (something) is to make a threatening or dangerous situation safer. For example, you might defuse a violent argument by calming the people involved, or you might literally defuse a bomb by deactivating its fuse. Diffuse works as both a verb and an adjective. To diffuse something is to disperse it or spread it out. When something is dispersed or spread out, it is diffuse.


Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2015 at 1:54 pm

I like Alphonso's idea, at least it is an attempt at doing something.
People these days often fly way out of control very quickly.
Not sure why or what fuels that but to ignore it is foolish.

I am not sure many would get the message, and some people
just look for an excuse to have a confrontation with police, but
anything is worth a try.

What a useless pointless stupid incident this was, and why
would someone ever feel like it was warranted to hit someone
in the head hard enough to kill them? Oh, maybe they can just
claim they didn't mean to ... who knows?


Like this comment
Posted by Friend of PA
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Sad story indeed, but do we know if Oleg's family at least were able to donate his organs, turning a hopelessly bad situation into at least something hopeful for someone else?


2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2015 at 9:21 pm

>> do we know if Oleg's family at least were able to donate his organs, turning a hopelessly bad situation into at least something hopeful for someone else?

Ah, the relentless pursuit of the irrational positivity and the happy face at the expense of sanity.


5 people like this
Posted by Igor
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2015 at 3:35 pm

If somebody wishes to help Oleg's relatives to bring him home then here is a link: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 15, 2015 at 8:10 pm

>> Oldster - I am tired of walking downtown on weekend evenings with the smell of urine everywhere.

First, change you underwear and see if it makes a difference! ;-)

--

Seriously, I think some of the things that have been said are over the top like the smell
of urine and needles? Personally, I've never seen that, but the alleys do stink because
of all the garbage ... try parking in the structure across from the Sr. Center and walking
the Aquarius and taking that shortcut by former Mandarin Gourmet, phew!

But I do think it is not a safe environment. One person said that there are one or two situations
like this per year with the implication that is acceptable. I think we need a zero tolerance for
violence in Palo Alto for ALL people to feel safe. Not just the young strong people who think
nothing is going to ever happen to them anyway.

I just never think it is a great idea to handle risk by saying just a few will get caught
up in the problem so let's roll the dice and live with it.

That means setting a certain threshold for behavior and an environment that does not
encourage, and in fact discourages, these drunken crowds.

Someone said people go to Palo Alto because they feel they will be safer, and when they
go it amps up the tension and a feedback loop happens where we get the peaceful people
avoiding downtown and then we get inundated with jerks and wonder what happened.

Personally I think it is too much now and think we should have a community discussion
about what controls or levers are available to lower the volume downtown at night.

Have a limit on the number of alcoholic drinks, or people, more police presence, in an
establishment or close it up sooner ... I don't know ... but I bet someone has some good
ideas.

What are people really seeing. About the only thing I see now since I rarely go downtown
late night is when I drive through University underpass area and there are people standing
in the street. That is a telling sign to me. No police there to tell them get the heck out
of the road, and some of them just stand there and look at you.

If someone really needs this kind of environment - go to downtown San Jose, let's not
have it here.


1 person likes this
Posted by Barron Park
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 16, 2015 at 12:13 am

"Seriously, I think some of the things that have been said are over the top like the smell
of urine and needles? Personally, I've never seen that, "
@ CrescentParkAnon.


Oh yes I have frequently seen not only urine and obnoxious drunks but vomit along the University and adjacent street side walks on a Friday or Saturday Night, one time walking the dog and he almost walked right through it!!

It's disgusting and intolerable and has been going on for many years. There are fights and beatings and sometimes a murder like this one. The bars should all be shut down!

Based on all the facts so far I don't buy the killers story and I hope justice sees proper that this guy gets the longest sentence possible, Lex Talionis!

My condolences to the family, I hope they find peace.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

He said – she said – who is lying? Justice Brett Kavanaugh or PA resident Christine Ford
By Diana Diamond | 69 comments | 5,757 views

Let's Talk Internships
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 863 views

Couples: Sex and Connection (Chicken or Egg?)
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 651 views

Zucchini Takeover
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 602 views