News

East Palo Alto residents march against gentrification

Solidarity will give community a greater voice in planning their future, organizers say

In a show of solidarity and to build a greater coalition of families throughout East Palo Alto, residents marched to City Hall on Saturday, April 11, to prevent displacement of the city's low-income residents by gentrification.

The rally, which was billed as Stand Up EPA, brought together residents of all ages, races and ethnicities to develop a coalition around common positive goals. The coalition seeks to galvanize the community to design its own future, organizers said. East Palo Alto residents face gentrification pressures from the exponential rise in housing costs that is affecting the Bay Area, driven locally, in part, by young tech workers.

Students from Cesar Chavez Elementary School stenciled T-shirts with unification messages and helped create banners used throughout the march.

The march was a "visible symbol of the beauty and power of East Palo Alto," organizers said. The event was organized by the nonprofit Live in Peace. The organization works to empower the city's youth and to build a community through classes, job training, creative endeavors and peer support. The march was followed by entertainment by East Palo Alto residents in Bell Street Park.

Comments

54 people like this
Posted by Downtown Worker
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 13, 2015 at 10:53 am

EPA residents are being displaced by young tech workers, who can't afford homes because... Cities up and down the Peninsula refuse to permit condos and apartments to be built to accommodate the Bay Area's growing population. Once all the suburbs within an hour's commute of jobs have single-family homes, you can't just declare "Game Over, gates are shut!"

But that's what the Bay Area has been doing for decades.

Four-story, medium-density buildings are not going to destroy anyone's downtown. But in Menlo Park it took a city-wide referendum to let them be built. In Palo Alto, it seems many people oppose four-story buildings on University Ave! (Right across from another four-story building!)

If you want the residents of EPA to keep their apartments, we have to permit more new homes in moderate density buildings within an hour's commute of jobs. And that means Palo Alto and Menlo Park and Mountain View.


62 people like this
Posted by Raymond
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Apr 13, 2015 at 10:55 am

I have lived in the Woodland Park area for 6 yrs. gentrification may help reduce the number of killings in EPA. I'm all for it.


48 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:11 am

Black, Brown and Poly Power? Why leave out the Asians and Caucasians that live in EPA? Don't they count?


22 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:18 am

@38 year resident

Because EPA has traditionally been a "black and brown" city due to exclusionary zoning policies in Palo Alto and nearby communities.


37 people like this
Posted by No handouts
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:19 am

Let the market work. Get a free CA education and get a job so you can afford to live in the city of your choice. No handouts! No rent control.


42 people like this
Posted by Let the gentrification continue
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:21 am

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:25 am

@ downtown worker: what you're missing in your analysis of PA and University Ave is that all of the proposed buildings are office buildings, not apartments or condos. Yes, some projects propose a single floor of living space (2-4 condos/apts), but the bulk (pun intended) of these projects are for offices...that are under-parked among other issues.

Downtown PA has a 50ft height limit.

And Measure M had nothing to do with housing...it was all about Stanford's proposal to build office space on the abandoned car lots on ECR.

Redwood City is building all over the place. Though it appears to be offices. Mountain View CC just flipped and is now considering housing on the Moffet side of 101.

Anytime MP wants to permit 50ft high buildings on Santa Cruz Ave, go right ahead.


48 people like this
Posted by self-reliance
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:26 am

Having served on a few EPA nonprofit boards, this march highlights one of the problems with the EPA community. People seem to think that if they complain enough, someone else will fix it. Instead of picking up their socks and getting to work, they depend on the government or social services to ensure that they have the quality of life they prefer.

Many longtime residents of Palo Alto have been forced out of the city by rising housing costs. It happens. We're in a period of rapid development and growth, and some people in EPA are going to have to move to less expensive neighborhoods, just as their counterparts in PA have done. If you want to stay in EPA, then take advantage of free educational opportunities, start a business, get a job at Facebook, set your sights higher. [Portion removed.]


30 people like this
Posted by woodland area
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:43 am

The post above ("Self-reliance") advises EPA residents to move to "less expensive neighborhoods." Does he or she mean in Kansas?


10 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:47 am

@Robert....can you give me an example of Palo Alto's and nearby communities exclusionary zoning policies? please be specific. Thank you.


14 people like this
Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm

muttiallen is a registered user.

Palo Alto's exclusionary zoning? That's easy. No high rise apartment buildings near the railroad tracks or Stanford Industrial Park, voting out 70 units of senior housing in favor of a few big houses in Barron Park. For year and years they insisted on keeping the "residential" homes on Page Mill between ECR and Alma -- now it's going to be offices and some housing. Buena Vista trailer park could be zoned for low-income housing only. Then any new development would have to replace the low-income units being removed. Our current "residentialist" City Council is only in favor of residents who already live here.

Maybe that needs to be the new rule! Currently you can only go to Palo Alto Schools if you live in Palo Alto (and parts of Los Altos Hills.) Let's make it so you can only buy/rent in Palo Alto if you already have a job here. Stanford does it for all its on-campus housing. We'd still have more jobs than houses, but it would help with the traffic a lot.


15 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2015 at 12:23 pm

@38 year resident

Are you asking for the actual "whites only" language in the Palo Alto property deeds? I know its not exactly a topic that people are hot to discuss, but I've never heard of anyone attempting to deny that it existed...


11 people like this
Posted by Online News
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 13, 2015 at 12:29 pm

People need to drive down El Camino and Middlefield and San Antonia and High Street and many other streets if they think there are no apartments and condos in Palo Alto.

Some of those condos cost way more than $2,500,000.


19 people like this
Posted by Midtown Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2015 at 1:03 pm

@Downtown Worker: re Palo Alto not allowing condos, what about the condos where the Hyatt Rickey's used to be? And the condos at various locations along Alma downtown and Midtown? And in the meantime there is no corresponding growth in infrastructure to support this growth: no new schools, no corresponding growth in parking spaces, no expanded roads so traffic is worse, etc.


15 people like this
Posted by Reality
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Downtown worker -

What you miss in your flawed assumption is that building more will only increase average rents as only those who afford it move in for the luxury units. We have a couple of older apartment buildings in our area that always have vacancies, even while everyone is crying about needing more high density housing.

Building more in a desirable area doesn't produce affordability, just ask Manhattan, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.

Muttiallen,

If you care about the actual problem rather than pontificating along simplistic ideological lines, you would realize many of the neighbors at Maybell wanted to redirect the efforts and funds to work at BV. Many of them asked that the City invest as much in the housing at Maybell as at 801 Alma so that ONLY the senior housing could be built at that site and create the housing while also fitting into the neighborhood. (There were public suggestions to the Council, please build JUST the senior housing, rather than upzoning for the benefit of what would have been a majority for-profit venture about which the public was given very little information.) The vote was not a vote on the senior housing, that was a cynical ploy by the City Attorney and was even deemed illegal electioneering by an elections firm. If people had stopped pontificating and accusing, and really talked and worked with their neighbors, the energy and funds at Maybell could have been directed then to help at BV. The current public funds available at BV are the funds that were applied at Maybell and finally now committed at BV - it's too bad they weren't made available when the residents have the $14.5 million from other sources - let's hope it's not too little too late. You are also conveniently ignoring the fact that Prometheus would never have pulled out at BV if not for the "residentialist" movement at Maybell that you scorn. The saddest thing of all to me is how so many good people who otherwise support the retention of the low-income housing at BV are reluctant to get involved because of having been called names and treated so viciously for YEARS now, because of others who couldn't be bothered to get to know them or what was really going on.

And just a reminder: "inclusionary" housing also means for the disabled, who continue to be all but shut out of housing in Silicon Valley which is geared to meet developers profits using "affordable housing" as cover (when they are both driving up prices and not really creating affordable housing, while displacing existing low-income residents). That kind of housing tends to outright exclude the disabled, who couldn't even visit much less live there. Throwing the disabled an occasional bone of "accessibility" in a town that is almost completely inaccessible is not the same thing as being inclusionary. (Ironically, that completely inaccessible for-profit housing at Maybell was to go right across the street from a school for disabled children.)


28 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2015 at 2:33 pm

> Does he or she mean in Kansas?

And what is wrong with Kansas? There is a lot of room, and the unemployment rate is a little over 1 percent less than the national average.

The idea that everyone in the world can live on this Peninsula is beyond delusional. Moreover, for people with low skills/no skills--this is the worst place in the world for them to be.

So, yes--moving to anyplace where the cost of living is lower, and there might be a chance for a job, is great advice.


11 people like this
Posted by Margaret
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 13, 2015 at 3:06 pm

One of the reasons East Palo Alto was a low-rent area was because it's very low and right in the flood..... but then we go and build these killer conduits of cement (in the 1980s) and suddenly preppies think it's good to live where marshes belong

Everything we do has a hundred different side effects.... this is one of them


9 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2015 at 3:24 pm

@Robert.....perhaps no one denies it exists, because it doesn't. And if this happened 50 years ago or longer, it's pretty irrelevant today.


17 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2015 at 3:51 pm

I know there's absolutely no point is posting this, as you seem very insistent on keeping your head buried in the sand, but despite the fact that those restrictions were deemed unconstitutional in the late 40's, redlining and discriminatory lending practices occurred well into the 80s and 90s:

Web Link


15 people like this
Posted by pa_newb
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm

I still don't understand how older homeowners paying 1/100th of the property taxes the new homeowners are paying are being "forced out". That is while they are enjoying the same roads, parks and city services made possible by gentrification and the massive property taxes levied on new homeowners.


29 people like this
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 13, 2015 at 5:19 pm

"Because EPA has traditionally been a "black and brown" city due to exclusionary zoning policies in Palo Alto and nearby communities."

Nope. Learn your history. EPA was a largely white community until it was the target of a huge blockbusting assault by area Realtors in the early 1960s. By placing black families in strategically-located houses, they created a white-flight selling panic that generated lots and lots of sales commissions and made some well-placed pillars of the surrounding communities filthy rich.


4 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2015 at 5:29 pm

The exclusionary clauses on property covenants (not the deeds) existed in PA and just about every other town around here. So it was not just a PA issue...or even just "neighboring cities" either. It was just about everywhere.

Redlining and other illegal loan (and insurance) screening practices were also well-beyond PA.

How those illegal practices have anything to do with the banners over the weekend is a reach at best. Honestly, IMHO it was just a demonstrated act of unity and I really didn't see any harm in it.

Mountain meet molehill.


4 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2015 at 5:56 pm

> I still don't understand how older homeowners paying 1/100th of the
> property taxes the new homeowners are paying are being "forced out".

Older homeowners are paying, on average, about 10% to 15% of the property taxes that the newest homeowners are paying--depending on how much the newest homes are assessed. Some of the homes over in Los Altos Hills have been sold (we are told) for as much as $30M--so homes in Palo Alto assessed at $150K, or less, will not be paying much, compared to the people owning these mansions.

There really is no way to know how many seniors are leaving because of rising taxes, and how many are leaving because this is becoming a less desirable place to live than it was when they moved in 50+ years ago.


2 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2015 at 6:01 pm

> The exclusionary clauses on property covenants (not the deeds) existed in
> PA and just about every other town around here

Way back at the time when Timothy Hopkins began to sell properties in his newly created University Park (1892) he did incude a covenent for property owners not to sell, or manufacture, alcohol on the property. But what evidence is there that any properties here in PA were sold with "exclusionary" clauses? And please, tell us who, or what, was being excluded in these property deeds?


5 people like this
Posted by Wondering
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 13, 2015 at 6:10 pm

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by self-reliance
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 13, 2015 at 6:22 pm

For all you deriding Kansas -- I lived there for a number of years. It's not some vast wasteland, and you can still get a beautiful home in some of the best parts of the metro areas for under a million. See, for example, Web Link

I do think about moving out of this area, especially given how unpleasant it's become, but I have a house and my kids are happy in the schools. Anyone who thinks that leaving the PA area is akin to getting evicted from paradise hasn't seen enough of this country. Plenty of places to live where the quality of life is phenomenal, people are still friendly (Palo Alto thirty years ago) and the prices are affordable.

The march itself was harmless, and if it gave residents a desire to contribute to their community, so much the better.


18 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of University South
on Apr 13, 2015 at 6:25 pm

An FYI to all the people with their economic arguments above. Market rules do not apply to this situation. The market is not racist or discriminatory, but biased people are. Racism is antithetical to the free market economy.

1) The residents of EPA are victims of predatory lending, exclusionary zoning and biases throughout our society. They're NOT victims of the market, they're victims of bad people who hide behind phony economic arguments.

2) For the anti-rent control person above. According to John Locke, rental properties don't contribute to the overall production of an economy. And if fact, they create waste. For example, when a person gives half his/her money to a landlord, that is money that is essentially diverted from the economy. Think about it.


2 people like this
Posted by Counterclockwise
a resident of University South
on Apr 13, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Palo Alto had three African-American neighborhoods. One was on and near the 800 block Ramona, where the AME Zion church building stands today. Another was near the North County courthouse, and the third was anchored by Five Avenue in Crescent Park, "Palo Walt's most restricted neighborhood."

Apparently our "restrictions" weren't very effective. Gentrification ultimately won, tho.


43 people like this
Posted by EPA_Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Some of the comments here are just unnecessary. How can anyone disagree with this march. The Banner says "Stand up EPA". Not wealthy tax payers stand up for us. Not government aid make a change. Not somebody please come save the poor people of color. It says Stand up EPA! Meaning if YOU don't like where you see the city going, YOU do something about it. Meaning if YOU want to see your community thrive then take a part in it. Really, this was something positive put on by the youth. Youth organized and youth ran because our youth do have a different vision for the city and they have the power to shape and change it.

For the "self-reliance" commenter did you read the entire article? That's exactly what Live in Peace is doing. We have to create systemic change it can't happen overnight. LIP has a music academy that captures students at a young age to funnel them through their high school orchestra. These students are the channeled into the college Program that supports the students not just to college but through it. They also have Street Code Academy, created to teach children in EPA coding and hopefully start them on a path to eventually become part of the tech industry. Which is important because if you're up with the news you'd know that people of color and more importantly women are far too underrepresented in the tech industry, so that go get a job at Facebook comment, well I won't tell you what you can do with that. Even Facebook has acknowledged this underrepresentation with both people of color and women so that comment was just dumb, period.

Stand Up East Palo Alto because you can not succeed in life by laying down. No one has ever achieved anything by sitting on their butts. That's what the youth wanted it's city to know. Stand up!


18 people like this
Posted by XDM
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2015 at 7:10 pm

Gentrification is the only thing that will make EPA safer and better. I'm all for it.


7 people like this
Posted by Sarita
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Our public leaders need to stand up! City Council, Board of Supervisors, School Board, Assemblymember, Senator, Congress. We need more affordable housing for low and moderate income families in EPA. College graduates born and raised in EPA cannot afford to rent or buy homes here. When will our public leaders start spending our tax dollars on building affordable housing? No more wasting tax dollars on paying police officers overtime to supervise a march.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by shmEPA
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 13, 2015 at 7:39 pm

PLEASE WAIT - do not gentrificate soo fast!!!

I need to buy couple more houses there !!!


6 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 13, 2015 at 7:44 pm

First, what is Poly Power?

Second, what does "Stand Up for EPA" mean? Does that call for specific policy change somewhere in EPA? And why drag PA into the debate? This is about East Palo Alto, nothing to do with Palo Alto.

Gentrification is a tough topic, if you are a renter you may really be forced out if as rents rise. Same thing happening in San Francisco. But overall for the community, I thought it is a good thing.

[Portion removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by XDM
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Poly power means Polynesia power (Tongan Samoan).

I remember the Cooley apartments. Where Home Depot now sits. That what a hell hole, riddled with crime and filth. I do not want low income housing that will become crime ridden and be like the projects.


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 13, 2015 at 8:58 pm

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of University South
on Apr 13, 2015 at 10:52 pm

I can't believe how many people are making things up in these comments, just to support their heavily biased opinions. For the "Curmudgeon". EPA was NOT a historically white community in the 60s. This is from Wikipedia, which is not perfect, but in this case, not nearly as wrong as you.

"In the 1940s, East Palo Alto was a farming community with many Japanese residents. During the war, the Japanese were forced out, many to relocation centers, and did not return after the war. In the 1950s the farms were built over with cheap housing and many African-American families moved in. During the civil rights movement of the 1960s there was a renewed interest in African history, one expression of which was a fad for Swahili. The city was almost renamed Nairobi, center of the Swahili-speaking area in 1968 to reflect the population's African roots."

Web Link


16 people like this
Posted by Former Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm

I moved to EPA in 1958, left in 1985. Listen to Robert. Redlining and other discriminatory practices have existed for decades ... ever since "white flight", which left EPA predominantly Black. I can't imagine those practices have ceased. They were the primary reason I moved ... insurance rates for homeowners, life, and car were proportionally disparate; as were loan fees, etc. I saw it for myself at one time when applying for a refinance loan, the loan officer pulled out a map of the 94303 zip code to ask where I lived. My loan APR and fees were based on the 94303 area I lived in. Unless it is a brand new development, pricing of homes in a community are typically based on the "mean" prices of the existing homes. It did not make sense to build newer homes in the very midst of many older homes ... homes that date as far back as the 1920's, 1930' ... and then slapping outrageous prices on them; those newer homes should never have been priced so far over and above the "mean" market of any EPA development. To do so was an intentional and very deliberate message to the long-time EPA residents. It seems many in this discussion thread do not understand that there is a difference between land value, and the value of the structure. Thus, those who had/have issues with property taxes of the long-time EPA residents vs. the newer, recent residents need to gain a better understanding of how property taxes are assessed. "STAND UP EPA" is just as "EPA_RESIDENT" states ... to stand up for itself. EPA is not looking for hand-outs. But moreso, is attempting to put a halt to profiteer$ and other undermining individual$ to continue to exact forces at a community which is trying rebuild itself. The March was intended to bring the community together as one - as it once was - in mind, heart, and body in the 60's - 80's; to regroup and rebuild ... to develop, design, and implement self-sustaining strategies to collectively embrace a "movement", if you will, for the rebuilding of a more effective government which will be ... "of the people, by the people, for the people" ... of EPA.


7 people like this
Posted by Buster
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:24 pm

Real-estate developers make money on turnover, so they are always busting a neighborhood (see curmudgeon's comment), or gentrifying a neighborhood... doesn't really matter, anything that forces people out of their homes, will work.


9 people like this
Posted by Thirsty
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:32 pm

Based on tree ring data, California experienced two megadroughts in the middle ages; the first one in the year 850 that lasted for 240 years and the second in 1090 that lasted for 180 years. If we're currently in another megadrought, water will become so scarce and expensive that we'll all have to move!

Maybe Kansas isn't such a bad idea after all.


3 people like this
Posted by Buster
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2015 at 11:40 pm

Thirsty,

What was happening in Kansas when California was in drought?


1 person likes this
Posted by Thirsty
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 12:19 am

Buster: I googled climate history in Kansas and apparently there were also droughts in Kansas 1,000 years ago that lasted for several decades. Maybe Washington and Oregon are better options.


7 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 14, 2015 at 12:25 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

@ Former Resident - you left in 1985 but I assume you know how much EPA has improved the last 30 years. Gentrification has been a blessing for EPA, and the longtime property owners have reaped the benefit, and I doubt they'd want a rollback to the bad old days. The fundamental issue is that things can't get nicer without getting more expensive.


8 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 14, 2015 at 7:42 am

For people who want to understand the context for the march and the reasons why there are so many impassioned comments, writer Kim-Mai Cutler has written the definitive piece on East Palo Alto and its complex relationship with the region. The article appeared in January in TechCrunch and is entitled"East of Palo Alto's Eden: Race and the Formation of Silicon Valley." It can be seen at this link: Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Gentrifier
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2015 at 8:27 am

I'm appalled that Palo Alto Online would glorify a blatantly racist banner (Black Power/Brown Power/Poly Power). It's great if the marchers are encouraging people to stand up for themselves, but there's no need to invoke race and exclude certain races. Why not simply "People Power" or "Local Power"?


5 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 14, 2015 at 9:03 am

The Ravenswood Education Foundation provides this demographic breakdown for students in the Ravenswood City School District serving East Palo Alto:
78% Hispanic
10% African American
10% Pacific Islander

Hence I don't think banner for "Black Power, Brown Power and Poly Power" carried by East Palo Alto youth could fairly be called "racist."


2 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:01 am

Who needs diversity anyway?

Let social Darwinism reign!

This tech dystopia is turning into quite a scary place. A SEVERE lack of community. I bet most of these techies wouldn't even care if their family members were displaced. Just me me ME!!!


5 people like this
Posted by I need help hating
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:42 am

@Bob, please define "Techie" so I know which group of people I should stereotype and be bigoted against. It was easier when it was all racially based, but it's getting more challenging to hate groups of people if I have to look at something other than skin color.
You sound like a pillar of the "Community" you speak about.


2 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:57 am

Not so much about hating, rather changing the deeply rooted mindset of the techie culture. No hate, just love for others.

Techies should practice more empathy. There is more to life than young money and google searches.


4 people like this
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:16 am

"For the "Curmudgeon". EPA was NOT a historically white community in the 60s. This is from Wikipedia, which is not perfect, but in this case, not nearly as wrong as you. ... In the 1950s the farms were built over with cheap housing and many African-American families moved in."

Quite a gloss-over of a shameful social engineering scam for greed and profit.

You're right, Wikipedia is not perfect. Especially not with politically sensitive topics. But in this case they're only fooling the casual reader.


4 people like this
Posted by Former Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:42 am

@ "SLOW DOWN" ... I have been 'HOME' (to EPA) many times. "Bad Old Days"??? PLEASE DEFINE. am appalled at your reference to EPA's recent (20th century) history as such. You must not have been around to know how good life was in EPA from the 50's - 80's. I still come down about 1X/month or so to visit relatives and patronize my favorite mom&pop shops that are still there. Gentrification ... beautification/improvements, new growth and development ... for anything to become "nicer" does not require making something more expensive, overbuilding and out-pricing; "nicer" should not come at the expense of involuntary displacement of longtime residents, and dismantling the culture of a community. It should be based on sound strategic planning, total transparency to allow those longtime residents - as well as new residents - to be well-informed to make sound decisions, provide input/feedback that will directly affect both their personal and community-based lifestyles ... the VOTED support and approval of those very residents. On my visits, I have seen some improvements in some areas ... as well as some unimproved and/or areas of blight that did not exist while I lived there. I am in constant contact on FB with many (former and current) longtime EPA residents. It is good to know that a Health Center has been re-introduced to EPA. I am curious to know just how much City of EPA is benefiting from taxes from the new hotel, IKEA, and the other new big, retail businesses. I am a member of a group of former "original" residents who grew up in EPA. We are in regular contact, and we share our many good times of growing up in what eventually evolved into a very economically sound and thriving community during our childhood-to-young adult years. I thoroughly enjoyed being raised in EPA, as did my own 2 children. It is people like you who label and stereotype EPA - that EPA can do without.

Again, I ask you ... PLEASE DEFINE "BAD OLD DAYS".


5 people like this
Posted by Former Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2015 at 12:06 pm

P.S. ,,, @ "SLOW DOWN" ... the longtime EPA homeowners and residents should very well reap any benefits of any beautification/improvements, growth & development. That is their just due. They have earned those benefits. That is what "home equity" and stability is all about ... reaping the benefits of permanence and stability ... the same as homeowners and residents of any community throughout these United States. Any NEW homeowners/residents will have to earn theirs.

@ "MICHAEL" ... I have read that article. There is an innumerable many that do not know that the workforce of the electronics industry stemmed from a pool of students in career-building work program started at EPA's (former) Ravenswood High School, which contracted with the local electronics companies (H-P, W-J, Varian's, IBM, Beckman, Syntex, et al)... and blossomed into what we now know as "Silicon Valley". H-P was the biggest and longest contractor in that program. Those students either stayed on full-time after high school and retired at those companies - or - went on to college. I have retired family members who were a part of that original workforce. A book is being written on this very topic.


18 people like this
Posted by Kim-Mai Cutler
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2015 at 1:37 pm

The sheer amount of racism in the comments here is appalling. I'm ashamed that one of the most educated and wealthy communities in California is displaying this level of ignorance.

East Palo Alto residents have spent decades organizing against crime and violence. The murder rate hasn't been anything near where it was in two decades.

The community exists as a low-income pocket because of the legacy of post-war housing discrimination in California that prevented African-Americans from buying homes in other parts of the Bay Area. These neighborhoods were left with substandard schools and public services for literally decades, until desegregation laws mitigated some -- but not all -- of their effects. When immigration laws changed in 1965, a wave of Latino migrants started to arrive, filling a structurally necessary and required part of the local economy in low-wage service work. The price differentials left by a legacy of discriminatory housing practices made East Palo Alto affordable to them.

Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Gentrifier
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2015 at 1:46 pm

@Michael: Statistics are irrelevant to whether a statement is inherently racist. That banner advocates power to 3 specific races and excludes others - the epitome of racism.

Imagine you're a kid in a family just immigrated from Viet Nam. You show up for school at Ravenswood and see nobody else of your race, and further perhaps that banner has been brought back to school and hung up, and you see the majority race promoting power for their race over yours. Quite hostile and not welcoming. That is so obviously racist and odious. That kind of race-based exclusion should have no place in the US, or anywhere.


14 people like this
Posted by Former Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2015 at 2:23 pm

"CURMUDGEON", I can appreciate your comments/recommendations for others to get a better understanding of the history of EPA. You are partially correct on WHITE FLIGHT, as well as "RESIDENT" being spot on, on the history/background on the evolvement of EPA, recognizing the large EPA population that existed in EPA by mid-20th century. At that time, EPA was predominantly Asian and White - and very rural. EPA was known for its beautiful nurseries, which were run by the Asian families, suppliers of nursery and agricultural products up and down the peninsula. The mid-50's is also about the time of a massive migration of African-Americans from the South (pre-busing & pre-civil rights) - to escape Jim Crow and seek meaningful employment and housing for their families. Many of the families first landed in San Francisco, then continued to migrate down the peninsula - landing in rural EPA. Relatives of those families followed. My parents were a part of that mass migration from the South. My father rotated out of the Navy in SF Hunter's Point and did not return to the South. As a young teen, my mother migrated with her family to SF from Louisiana via Houston. My parents met in SF. We lived in San Rafael when I was born. I started kindergarten in '58 in SF. I believe that was the year Ravenswood High School had just opened in EPA. Busing and de-segregation was in effect by the time I entered 4th grade. In 4th grade (1962) I was bused to O'Connor School in West Menlo Park; it was not an option for my parents. By the time of my 5th grade return to EPA schools (1963), EPA had become very diverse. EPA began to see an influx of more African-Americans as relatives from the South also began to make their way down the peninsula ... around the mid-60's. That is around the time realtors began to steer ALL new African-Americans homeowners and migratory Hispanics to EPA. "White Flight" had begun. New African-American homeowners were not welcome in communities such as Mt. View, Palo Alto (mid-town, Barron Park, north & south) ... and neither the north peninsula (San Carlos, Belmont, etc.). By the time I graduated jr. hi (1967), my graduation class was predominantly African-American and Hispanic-American. There were still a good percentage of Asian-Americans in EPA. At the time of my graduation from Ravenswood High School (1971), EPA and my graduating class was predominantly Black, with a few remaining White and Asian families (and classmates). It is good to know and see that Ernie and his son, Don, still have Cooley Avenue Market. Ernie and Syd were great friends with my Mom. Ernie turned the store over to Don, and I understand he still comes in on something of a weekly basis to help out. Don married my cousin.

Quite ironically ... as a number of those in this discussion thread are (nationally) on par with wanting to "paint" African-Americans as dangerous, lazy, unemployed, beggars living for hand-outs ... SORRY TO SPOIL YOUR 'HATER' & 'STEREOTYPING' PARTY! Please know that some of us "original" (former) residents are planning a 2016 reunion cruise ... spearheaded by a simply outstanding, very personable former White resident and '64 Ravenswood grad. We are all excited! TOO BAD FOR YOU!!!!


6 people like this
Posted by Former Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:05 pm

@ "KIM-MAI CUTLER" ... Thank You for your comments. You are so right on. You know your EPA history!


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Posted by Boo hoo
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:06 pm

@ Sarita- unlike EPA_Resident, you are advocating for a handout- looking for others to solve your problems "government officials need to provide more affordable housing...", "college graduates born and raised in EPA can't afford to buy or rent here". Boo hoo...

My kids, also college graduates, born and raised in Palo Alto, can't afford to buy or rent here either. Therefore they are relocating to more affordable areas. Not asking for handouts- they're solving their own problems. If the born and raised EPA folks are college graduates why can't they get jobs and homes in more affordable areas? Should the taxpayers really be subsidizing their housing so they don't have to relocate?


2 people like this
Posted by Missed the Party
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:21 pm

@ Former Resident- I've read all the comments and I don't see where anyone is "painting" blacks as dangerous, lazy, unemployed beggars living for handouts. [Portion removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Lots of well written postings here.

This marching to stay reminds me of the trailer park residents claiming they have a right to continue to live there.

I attended my 30th Paly reunion recently and only a few can afford to live in Palo Alto and Silicon Valley. Many of those who are living elsewhere grew up in huge, Old Palo Alto and Crescent Park houses, some that sold for up to $10 million. No, they never marched in the streets with banners.


2 people like this
Posted by Entitled?
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@former resident - I think your agenda is distorting your memory. It was 23 years ago that EPA had the highest murder rate in the country. But yay, rents were low so it was the good old days?

The EPA residents who stuck it out and improved the city over the last quarter century are reaping the benefits. There are more jobs, their property has appreciated dramatically, the schools are better, and most importantly, crime has been decimated. And what's the cost? Higher rents? Sounds like a good trade off.

Also, EPA is has gotten more diverse, not less. More latinos, more asians. The white population declined between 2000 and 2010.

From the LA Times in 1993:
--
E. Palo Alto Murder Rate Worst in U.S.; Drug Wars Blamed
January 05, 1993|JENIFER WARREN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN FRANCISCO — Cursed by a flourishing drug trade and violent gang wars, the small Bay Area city of East Palo Alto recorded the highest murder rate in the nation during 1992.

Outpacing such perennial homicide leaders as Oakland and Washington, D.C., the city of 24,000 near Stanford University had 42 murders last year--about twice the number logged in 1991.

"It's not a shock, but it's very disappointing," homicide Detective Tom Alipio said Monday. "We'd certainly rather be known for something other than murder."

East Palo Alto's 42 killings are the equivalent of 175 slayings for every 100,000 residents. By comparison, Oakland had a record-setting 174 murders in 1992, but they amounted to a lower rate of 46 deaths per 100,000 residents. Washington, D.C.--which led the nation in murder rate in 1991--recorded 448 homicides last year, or 75 slayings per 100,000.

The city of Compton has held the title of murder-rate capital in the past, but 1992 brought a welcome decline in homicides there. Police said the city of 80,000 people ended the year with 63 murders, for a rate of 79 per 100,000.

full article:
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:52 pm

I have time and time again about just moving to East Palo Alto because of cheaper housing and that is just like people in San Francisco saying "There is Oakland" for cheaper. It is fine but we are just pushing out residents to farther and farther places.


10 people like this
Posted by EPA_Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:55 pm

I see the comments aren't getting any prettier. "gentrifier" you my friend are a troll and as soon as a "Vietnamese immigrant" arrives at Ravenswood, because that's the Asian that ends up in EPA right? Viatnamese immigrant, not Japanese or Chinese because they immigrate, or should I say assimilate into Palo Alto just fine. As soon as a Vietnamese immigrant arrives at ravenswood we will be sure to add Viatnamese power to the banner.

The banner has those three races on it because we want to draw unity between them. The banner has those races because when the youth that organized this March look around their classrooms that's what they see. Black, Mexican, and Polynesian youth Stand Up! This is your city, how will you shape it?

"Missed the Party" did you just want to type something? Firstly, their aren't even enough blacks, as you put it, left in EPA to consider them
The topic when people speak poorly of the city. So just stop it. Secondly, I don't think any of these comments are racist I don't even think that word was thrown out there. Jilted, yes. Unnecessary, off, irrelevant, uninformed, non factual, not empathetic; hell yes! Racist not so much everyone is entitled to their opinion. So share yours or get out of the thread we don't need any race baiters here. The topic is sensitive enough.


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Posted by Missed the Party
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2015 at 4:45 pm

@EPA_Resident- did YOU just want to write something? I responded to Former Residents claims that posters were painting blacks as dangerous, lazy, unemployed beggars living for handouts enjoying a Haters and Stereotyping party. I didn't and still don't see that any of the posts insinuated any of those things. Your ramblings aren't relevant to anything I said and there was nothing racist about my post. So no need to play the race card here...


2 people like this
Posted by Entitled?
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 14, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Wow, I guess we have to be VERY PC so I will attempt to guess what the objection to my last post was and repost when I was responding to Paly Alum:
"Unfortunately we have taught many residents in the US to feel entitled to a better life without working for it..."

Hopefully this passes muster :). And please note that no ethnic group was previously referred to so no racism involved.


5 people like this
Posted by I'm missing something?
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2015 at 5:25 pm

I feel confused after reading Slow Down's comment saying "crime in EPA has been decimated". Am I missing something? Maybe crime in EPA is significantly less than in 1992 but I read about shootings in EPA all the time. It's still a scary place to visit IMO so living there must be really tough. Gentrification is a double edged sword - yes it will push some people out. But without gentrification the neighborhoods will never improve. Landlords don't want to invest in a crime-ridden area and law-abiding people don't want to live in a high crime area. I see gentrification as the lesser of two evils.


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Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 14, 2015 at 7:25 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@I'm missing something? - I am not sure what you are missing, but in 1992 there were 42 murders in EPA. It was down to 5 in 2008 and it has stayed under 10 up until 2013. I don't know the 2013-4 numbers. So while parts of EPA may still be dangerous, it is massively improved.


2 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 14, 2015 at 7:32 pm

By the way, everyone, EPANow, East Palo Alto’s new Youth-run News and Media Hub is about to launch and when it does you are going to get a look at East Palo Alto from the inside unlike anything anyone has ever seen before.

In fact, even just the placeholder material on their site is unlike anything anyone has ever seen before about EPA!

So if you go here not you can see what's about to happen and also sign up to be notified when it does launch, which will be any day now: so try Web Link or epanow.us


2 people like this
Posted by Former Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:14 am

@ "Slow Down" ... do know that there is a difference between "the highest murder rate" ... and ... "the highest murder rate per capita". The only agenda I might have is to to dissuade negative thinking and perceptions of EPA. What I am reading in a number of posts is no different than media spins ... a bunch of hyperbolae and sensationalism. Sensationalism sells. As if taken straight from the media - as some of your info was. Same as "you don't know unless you walk in someone else's shoes" ... you wouldn't know how good life could be in EPA unless you lived there. I am not saying EPA is the #1 place to live on the peninsula, I am just saying that living in EPA can be no different than living in many other towns across the U.S. I can go back to the 70's and cite a number of serious drug busts from Palo Alto into Los Altos Hills ... but ... were they spun the same as a bust in EPA? NO. Thus, I must again say, many in this discussion are going only by what they see and hear in the news. They don't give thought to all that which has (intentionally) not been reported.For the most part, life is what you make it, no matter where you go. Now living in Sacramento County, I lived in the 2nd most exclusive subdivisions for my first 5 years here. All White. I had a 6-figure income, as I have a 6-figure profession. Didn't matter to my pre-civil rights era next door neighbors ... it was all about the color of my skin. I had to fight police and HOA reports of false accusations for the whole 5 years. I survived. Something people of color learn how to do in order to exercise their freedoms. I only moved because I was waiting to for the building of a new development I had been following. I had a new home built and have been in it 9 years now. Very diverse community. I know I could go on-and-on, but, many in this discussion have their heads buried in the sand, intentionally, and want to keep it there. I am NOT surprised to find that so many on this discussion who live outside of EPA - and have never lived there - cast so many unfounded and unsubstantiated opinions & perceptions. It reflects the norm that EPA'ans have always lived with.

@ EPA_Resident ... the word "racism" does not have to be physically spelled out, for racism to come out. It has been more than inferred in a number of posts in this thread, especially by "XDM" in his/her post about the Cooley Ave apartments. Review, re-read the posts.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:30 am

One thing I haven't seen mentioned (although it may have been and I just missed it) is where do these people work at present. If they are working in Palo Alto, how far away will they have to commute to get to their jobs? If they are forced to live more than an hour's commute, will they still be able to keep their jobs?

Now I understand that we are not responsible for that, but at the same time we are getting ourselves into a quandary in that our service workers are going to be priced out of the area. As with the BV trailer park, the area is becoming more and more expensive for service workers to live here.

MacDonalds workers are protesting for higher wages for living expenses.

Our basic cost of living in Palo Alto is going to get higher as we start paying service workers higher wages.

A $10 Happy Meal may soon be a reality.


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Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Former Resident - yes, murder rate per capita is the relevant statistic when judging safety. Otherwise you'd conclude Copenhagen is more dangerous than EPA because they had 47 murders there. Anyway, would you rather bicker with your HOA, or be dead? It is awful you have to deal with racism, but the continuing stream of murder victims in EPA is even worse.


8 people like this
Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Why is it Black/Brown/Poly Lives Matter and not AllLives?

Yes, all lives matter but not all lives have been oppressed, policed, threatened and lost at the same level based on racial identity. When there exist such as thing as racial profiling and black lives are lost every 28 hours this means that our society does not values Black/Brown lives as much as other lives. So the Black/Brown/Poly Lives Matter is to bring awareness to those sort of issues, not to devalue any other racial identities.

Gentrifying improves/beautifies/supports EPA why don't some residents what that?

Yes, gentrification can bring more financial resources into EPA and the residents do want to see their community improve but not at the cost where they are forced to move out of their community. Landlords have evidently manipulated their tenants to find excuses to evict them through renewal housing contracts and new supervisor regulations. When there exist new regulations such as supervisors are no longer allowed to speak Spanish to their residents (when the majority are Spanish only speaking residents) this creates a purposely intended language barrier which makes it difficult for residents to communicate or ask questions such as "When is the rent due?" so that the long term residents miss deadlines or housing requirements which give a landlord an excuse to evict them. This sort of forceful gentrification is what needs to stop.


12 people like this
Posted by heather
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2015 at 5:54 pm

As a long-term member of the community of East Palo Alto, I find this conversation unnerving for many reasons.
1) the conversation has so much anger and misapplied information
2) there is a genuine lack of humanity within the conversation regarding a beloved community--clearly, unknown to many of the "authors" of the comments
3) the perpetual dialogue around the 1991 "murder rate per capita" without context of the war on drugs, the disinvestment of communities, history of last-hired-first-fired, the disbursement of drugs in low-income communities, the many community efforts to uplift brokenness and bring solutions within our community, not to mention the fact that those murdered are/were "brothers, friends, fathers, beloveds" and every mention of that year bring pain to many
4) the lack of willingness to LISTEN and LEARN combined with the INSTANT need to TALK, BLAME, and JUDGE.
5) the fact that the majority of the comments are hurled at a community highlighting that one does not have to claim racism to act racist
6) the systemic racism that allows people to hide their person beliefs and live as a liberal, a moderate, a compassionate conservative --until a place to post anonymously is available.
6) the lack of knowledge and desire for it

I am always humbled by my community and their tenacious spirit to continue on--even while many in the surrounding communities can not stand its existence. EPA STAND UP AND KEEP STANDING! EPA LOVE YOURSELVES! CONTINUE TO LOVE THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO HATE, BE SHINNY, BE BRIGHT, BE CREATIVE and STAND. FOR IN THE END LOVE WINS!

Additionally, if anyone would like an opportunity to dialogue across communities, classes, cultures--I would be willing to host something in my beautiful corner of the world.


3 people like this
Posted by heather
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2015 at 5:55 pm

YES I put 6 twice...don't miss the point:)


3 people like this
Posted by lovley
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:48 pm

Things are skrewed up to benefit the ones who make the rules. The development is a scandal to get people out of there homes. Cost of living is up but the ones benefiting are Facebook and Google companies. Sad a bad take over on the palo Alto- Menlo park residents


1 person likes this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@heather - since you are a long time resident, and bring historical perspective, do you think EPA is a nicer place to live than it was 25 years ago?


3 people like this
Posted by arturo
a resident of Nixon School
on Apr 16, 2015 at 12:11 am

Wow such thoughtful comments from such smart people (mostly white I bet too!) oh so intelligent and solving the world's problems, bit by bit with anger, racism, and classist nonsense.

You keep on keeping on, Palo Alto! Hope when Hillary wins she taxes you all back into the Stone Age!


3 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 16, 2015 at 12:26 pm

By the way what is happening right now at Palo Alto's Buena Vista Mobile Home Park with the threat of eviction looming there shows that this is not some kind of Palo Alto/East Palo Alto issue.

Web Link

This is a much broader issue related to how to manage economic growth so the benefits are more evenly shared not creating classes of winners and losers. since this is Silicon Valley lets get some of the minds so brilliant at developing algorithms thinking about how we can come up with some solutions for this.

I bet if Google and Facebook let their software engineers spend just one day each thinking about this as an economic conundrum to be broken diown and analyzed we could up with something.

SO GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK ARE YOU UP FOR THAT -JUST ONE DAY FOR HACKING GENTRIFICATION HACKATHON????


2 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2015 at 12:59 pm

@Michael, its not we don't know the solution of how to prevent displacement, its just that politically, we have a lot of people putting a whole lot of effort into making the situation worse:

Web Link

You can read it on these forums, folks saying that companies and people should move to Stockton, as if that's going to address the jobs and housing imbalance that already exists, here and now.


1 person likes this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 16, 2015 at 2:46 pm

@Robert, thanks for sharing the link but I still think the problem us even bigger than how much housing cities build or not Ty its a problem in thinking about how to manage economic growth as a whole better, and I would add philanthropy is not a sufficient solution. For instance it's been estimated that East Palo Alto would need to spend $400 million dollars to create a minimum level of permanently affordable housing sufficient to stabilize the community. An insane amount of money, right?

Well, Facebook just purchased a 56-acre parcel literally next door to East Palo Alto and the cost of the purchase was estimated to be $400 million dollars.

But then a single Facebook employee made a $1 million donation to the East Palo Alto agency that organized the anti-gentrification rally, so there is probably even more goodwill at Facebook.

But then Facebook spent something like $19 billion dollars to purchase What's App.

But then the founder of What's App made a donation of a big chunk of that to the regions community foundation.

But then What's App is built on top of an open source protocol (I think Jabber or some technical name for it) that was collectively built by volunteers and from which no one earned a dime.

So that's all to say we are in a very very unusual situation here that requires some very serious thought and I think Facebook and Google letting some of their software engineers ponder this in a day-long hackathon (maybe Google vs Facebook?) would be a good start.

Hello Mr Zuckerberg and Mr Brin and Mr Page, please let your vast mob of genius programmers have a day to ponder the Bay Areas issue with astonishing wealth creation and if there some novel ways to think about how to have fairer social outcomes, OK?

For starters, open source licenses were envisioned when software meant an app to be sold not entire companies worth billions and billions of dollars entirely almost entirely built on open source software? Is it time to possibly rethink how open source licenses work so some tiny percent is socially returned when something like a What's App happens.

See I'm not even a programmer and I had an idea (probably not workable fir many reasons) but please let's apply the regions intellectual capacity to thinking about the situation we are in and if there is some better way to manage it...


7 people like this
Posted by heather
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2015 at 7:23 pm

@slowdown.

Twenty-five years ago, our community was turned upside down. EPA was reeling from an influx of cocaine which was then made into crack, the war on drugs, a lucrative drug market (very often fueled from buyers outside of our community), and a pathileration of guns. Violence, unlike any other time, was impacting everyone in EPA. However we the majority and average community did NOT live in fear...at least for OUR own lives. We were, as I mentioned before, deeply impacted by the beautiful young boys who got involved in this lifestyle and the others that became addicts. However, our community was strong. Many, many people prayed for, hired, begged, educated, prayed, begged, strategized, marched, and mentored anyone and everyone they could. We still had "block-parties" and events at the parks, we chatted in the streets, we mourned our loved ones, we knew everyone--which made the violence that much more sad and complicated. Unfortunately, the media never seems to tell THAT side of the story--the bifurcation of the communities has created a chasm which has bred fear, ignorance and hate.
Today, we do not miss the violence, although there is still some...and any life lost is too many. We have the residual effects of trauma and drugs, but we also have community. This community is suffering too--rents are often 3/4 of income, families live in garages, studios, one bedroom apt or multi-family housing and go to work EVERY day (hard work) and still struggle to make ends meet. Additionally, there was the Sam Zell and Equity Reality are working very hard to evict every EPA resident on the West Side so that there is room for higher income folks. (maybe techies, maybe not).

See we love our community. We love coming home and knowing our neighbors, we love our history and we love a community that looks similar to ourselves and quite honestly that is not hostile or misinformed, or just mean. As clearly indicated in the above comments, people that surround EPA either 1) don't know or 2) don't care. That makes one weary. That makes one want to hang onto a place that feels safe (yes, safe) that feels like ours.

Finally, I am mentioning this next part as an example rather than a stone....the recent suicides in the PA community is very unfamiliar to us, particularly when we begin to look at financial differences. However, we pray for the youth and families who are impacted, our hearts break, and we feel empathy---I have not heard one word of judgment or mean-spirited word. (we do wish we had the resources offered when our young people explode)

So, to answer your question...East Palo Alto is unknown to most of "authors" on this page, I have loved living here since the day I moved here...I have not like all that has gone on, nor do I like everything today...but I will fight to stay here, I will fight to make it better (that does not mean by replacing current or past residents) I will fight to educated, unify and remind...I will also continue to hope that people with quick mean comments will be quieted--not because they have to, but because they have recognized the community for what it actually is rather than things they perceive, they hear or they fear.


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Posted by Perspective
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2015 at 9:49 am

@ heather- thank you for your comments. I, as other "authors", do not know EPA- I only know what I get through the media and it seems scary to me so it's nice to hear an inside perspective. I applaud your passion for your community.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 18, 2015 at 10:00 am

It's great that the youth are standing up for their city's future, but sadly it will undoubtably change and gentrify due to the fact that it is prime land in Silicon Valley. Techies are moving to EPA now for housing since Palo Alto is becoming maxed out and too expensive.


4 people like this
Posted by Former Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 18, 2015 at 3:59 pm

WOW. I am 62 years old this year. I could take you all back 50+ years, talk (write) endlessly about times in EPA when there was a recreation center which had a very popular swimming pool with lifeguards, many fun and supervised children/teen activites - where the lifeguards and "supervision" provided summertime employment opportunities for youth & young adults; we had a very active little league baseball league with sponsors of the many mom&pop businesses as well as the sheriff's department; we could walk or bike ride to the recreation center, the community parks, school dances, and basketball games - any time of day or night. Well into the 70's and early 80's, EPA was a very thriving, economically sound, and self-sustaining community, offering services to meet all of the community's needs. Most of us were of hard-working, God-fearing, church-going families. Many of our parents owned the successful mom&pop businesses that helped to build the foundation on which EPA now exists. Unfortunately, the media doesn't / rarely ever high-lights the good quality of life in EPA ... not now, not back then. "Heather" picks up about the mid-80's, about the time of the influx of drugs, greedy developers and realtors. Also unfortunate is that the mid-80's is the time which most all in this discussion are familiar with ... and/or ... want to focus on. I am hoping EPA sponsors more marches and community-building activities. Marches are not always protests; but are most often the coming together of like minds, for a common reason, a common goal - with a fruitful outcome, reflective of "the greater good".


3 people like this
Posted by Thomas
a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2015 at 9:19 am

The pro-gentrification argument is an easy one until you've experienced an actual community. Unfortunately, I'm not sure most people even know the joy of calling a place home because of who lives near you rather than how much your property is worth. You know... love thy neighbor.


10 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 31, 2015 at 2:05 pm

These comments are insane. Pretty incredible to see the people of the most prosperous city in the most prosperous country on Earth spit comments filled with racism and the worst elements of American cut-throat capitalism. It's sad that this is to be expected though - after seeing the title of this article, I knew what sort of opinions the comment section of paloaltoonline were going to be filled with. Palo Alto residents need to recognize that those living in East Palo Alto live a life they will never live. As such, Palo Altans need to recognize some of the inherent patronizing, vain, and conceited attitudes that tend to be typical of privileged people talking about underprivileged communities. Check your privilege.


5 people like this
Posted by Maverick Johnson
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 31, 2015 at 2:49 pm

If the gentrification happens, all the rich white people will come in here, buying up our houses and forcing us out so they can make their mansions and all that crazy stuff.

They're gonna make it one of those fancy gated neighborhoods and they gonna make all the stores expensive white people stores. We won't be able to buy food no more!

I say no, because I don't want mah family to starve or be forced out of their homes.
No genifrication! Who's with me?


6 people like this
Posted by Citizen 7
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2015 at 3:29 pm

A lot of real-estate developers in Palo Alto saying EPA needs to be gentrified, because of all of the drugs... but where do the drugs come from?

I'm not talking about the dealers on the street. I'm talking about the banks that make billions laundering the drug money. Would those be the same banks that make money funding the gentrification, and from mortgages on the gentrified properties?


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Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on May 31, 2015 at 4:28 pm

How is a protest supposed to stop gentrification? The day after the protest, nothing changed and the gentrification process continues. Wouldn't it be more productive to demand affordable housing developments be built instead?

@woodland area wrote:

"The post above ("Self-reliance") advises EPA residents to move to "less expensive neighborhoods." Does he or she mean in Kansas?"

Unless high-density housing developments are allowed in EPA, Palo Alto and the surrounding areas, Kansas is an option. If the supply of housing is greatly restricted, then the prices will go up exponentially. I am not saying it is right or wrong, just the consequences of the law of supply and demand. All the protests in the world won't change that. Better to build additional housing units locally and enable people who already live here stay. If they are from here, they have the most right of all to be here.


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Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on May 31, 2015 at 4:56 pm

@John wrote:

"As such, Palo Altans need to recognize some of the inherent patronizing, vain, and conceited attitudes that tend to be typical of privileged people talking about underprivileged communities. Check your privilege."

And that is putting it mildly. To be fair, there are civilized, down to earth, open minded normal people in Palo Alto who hate all that elitist nonsense. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of Palo Altans who are stuck up, paranoid, sissified, racist, crass, and scared of their own shadows. Such abysmal attitudes and behaviors really do need to change. Or maybe these folks will move to Kansas? One can only hope...

@Maverick Johnson wrote:

"No genifrication! Who's with me?"

Tens of millions of California natives. If gentrification is inevitable, then at least isolate it to a small area of EPA near 101. That will minimize the traffic impact in EPA, and also provide an additional tax base with which to build affordable housing so people can remain where they are. But it is better not to have gentrification at all. It is not just an EPA problem. It has already happened in large areas of San Francisco with disastrous consequences.


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