In Trump-inspired resolution, Palo Alto pledges to reject bigotry 'in all its forms' | News | Palo Alto Online |


In Trump-inspired resolution, Palo Alto pledges to reject bigotry 'in all its forms'

City Council set to adopt on Monday a resolution reaffirming the city's commitment to diversity

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Responding to community anxieties about the recent presidential election, Palo Alto officials plan to pass on Monday night a resolution pledging the city's commitment to diversity and unity and vowing to oppose "any attempts to undermine the safety, security and rights of members of our community."

The resolution, which the City Council will consider in its final meeting of the year, was prompted by a memo from Mayor Pat Burt and council members Karen Holman, Liz Kniss and Cory Wolbach. Every person, the resolution states, is "naturally entitled to live a life unmolested by harassment, discrimination, persecution, or assault, whether perpetrated by individuals, groups, businesses or government."

It also points to a "significant and growing concern in our community based upon recent national and regional incidents of hate crimes, discrimination, sexual harassment and assault, and fear of a rend toward more of these crimes in the future."

"There also exists considerable concern in our community of risks to marginalized communities of persecution, deportation, denial of constitutional and human rights, and relaxation of national law protecting people from discrimination, harassment and assault," the memo states.

While vowing to reject bigotry "in all its forms" and opposing any attempts to undermine residents' safety, the resolution also states that the City of Palo Alto "recognizes, values and will proactively work to ensure the rights and privileges of everyone in Palo Alto, regardless of religion, ancestry, country of birth, immigration status, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity."

"The City of Palo Alto will promote actual safety, a sense of security, and equal protection of constitutional and human rights, leading by example through equitable treatment of all by City officials and departments," the resolution states.

Wolbach told the Weekly that he floated the idea of adopting such a resolution during this year's bitter presidential campaign. The proposal picked up traction after Donald Trump won the election, prompting peaceful demonstrations by high school students in Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

Wolbach noted that the while the tone of the national election inspired the resolution, so did the actual criminal incidents of hate and discrimination that were reported after the election in the Bay Area and in other parts of the nation. He also pointed to a recent decision by a group of student dancers from Palo Alto's sister city, Oaxaca, Mexico, to cancel a trip the group was planning to make to Palo Alto next spring.

"We have a very diverse community, and I think a lot of people are worried for themselves, their families and their friends," Wolbach said. "This is an opportunity to re-enforce our values and say that no matter what happens at the national level, Palo Alto is still in favor of diversity and inclusion."

The memo does not, however, offer specific policy changes. It does not, for instance, propose that Palo Alto become a "sanctuary city" like East Palo Alto, San Francisco and Seattle. Sanctuary cities have a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants and of not cooperating with federal immigration-enforcement officials. Wolbach said that after speaking to key city staff, including top staff from the Police Department and the Office of the City Attorney, he was pleased with the city's existing policies on this topic. Even so, he called the prospect of Palo Alto become a sanctuary city an "open question."

"One of our hopes is that this can be -- not the final word on matter but -- a first step," Wolbach said. "We're opening up the door to future actions by the council and staff and others in the community. And, speaking to staff, I got the sense that this would provide them with the backing they need to do the right thing."


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29 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 10, 2016 at 10:40 pm

The "ALT RIGHT" is a hate group and needs to be treated as such

13 people like this
Posted by Dems should plant pear seeds
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2016 at 11:03 pm

One of the most troubling things is the way Trump bullies people who are less powerful (and like any bully, complains about how unfair things are if they aren't going his way). Is the council prepared to defend people who may be bullied or slandered? I'm thinking about how no one even stood up for Hillary Clinton against all kinds of slanders by the Republicans. What about ordinary people? That union leader from Carrier who contradicted Trump's numbers got caught in the same hatefulness Megan Kelly described after she tangled with Trump. The difference us that Kelly has some recourse and power herself. Most people don't. The abuse of power is terrifying. We fought a revolution for the rights of ordinary people to be protected by laws and not to be arbitrarily terrorized by their government. It's only a matter of time before someone is killed or kills themselves.

The news is covering how Russia may have interfered with the election for Trump, but my question is, did they interfere with the primary, too? Could there have been interference in Iowa that gave wind to the candidacy, or hurt Jeb Bush, or the other most qualified and rational of the GOP candidates?

I'm not sure I can see our locals standing up for actual people when push comes to shove, literally. Bullies know how to dicide and conquer. But, send 'em some pear seeds, maybe someone here on the left will finally grow a pear...

16 people like this
Posted by Buffalo Bill
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 11, 2016 at 12:15 am

"...but my question is, did they interfere with the primary, too?"

It has been documented that the Primary was rigged as well, but maybe not by the Russians. The DNC rigged the Democratic primary for Clinton to win, and Sen. Sanders to lose. The media heavily influenced positive coverage of Trump in the Republican primary, so that he would go on to the general and lose to Clinton. If the DNC had run a fair Dem primary, Sanders would have beaten Clinton and then gone on to beat Trump. Maybe the Russians also paid the DNC to rig the primary so Clinton would win instead of Sanders, and then lose to Trump?

5 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2016 at 12:23 am

This resolution could easy apply to the PAUSD school district administration and their treatment of special education students, and the case bought by the US Government Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

I don't see why it took a national election for the city to pass this resolution, when they should have passed the resolution when the OCR complaint was issued against the school district.

5 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 11, 2016 at 4:15 am

Good act.

This sets a good example to us and to the world.

We all deserve a chance in life and the less bigots we are, the world is a lot better.

I understand the US Military is very well integrated. Lets learn from them. We need to extend equal opportunity to women just as we focus on skin color and foreign born people.


94 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of University South
on Dec 11, 2016 at 7:08 am

We already reject bigotry. You are overreacting to small news bits in the media and blowing it out of proportion.

Its really just a hateful pile-on on one man (with a big mouth) who blew your minds by actually winning the election.

What you are really saying is: "Palo Alto pledges to reject Trump and his supporters".

Stop with the overreaction towards PHANTOM "discrimination"

We are in a DEMOCRACY and Trump got voted in, he won fair and square and Palo Alto needs to accept DONALD J. TRUMP as our new President.

When a PRESIDENT wins and election, the country CONCEDES and gets behind him to SUPPORT and do what's best for all of us!

Palo Alto is irresponsibly encouraging division and continued strife with this "resolution".

Irresponsibly conflating Trump and all he stands for with "bigotry".

Instead of continually dividing us along racial lines, can't we all simply be called Palo Altans? Can't we simply be called Americans?

42 people like this
Posted by Mark Twain
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 11, 2016 at 7:25 am

What a bunch of horse pucky

71 people like this
Posted by Love and Kisses
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 11, 2016 at 7:47 am

We seem to be living in two worlds.

Many in Palo Alto think that we're in a reenactment of 1930s Germany -- with the worst parts yet to come.

Meanwhile in the larger world, markets have charged forth to historic highs since the election. That represents people betting with their money that things are going to significantly improve. Indices measuring both consumer and business optimism are at their highest in over a decade.

I hope those in the former group keep their miserable outlook to themselves.

16 people like this
Posted by ...pear seeds
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2016 at 8:03 am

Actually, Trump hasn't won. The Electoral College decides who wins. Trump has won the electoral college by razor thin margins in just a handfull of states. He opposed a check of the vote and kept them from checking in at least one, possibly two of those states, so we don't know if he won fair and square. He himself has said things are rigged. He did not win a majority of votes, and he lost the popular vote by almost three million votes as of today.

The Atlantis published this in November:
Web Link
The Electoral College was Meant to Stop Men Like Trump From Being President

Your bitterness is overruling what should be your greater concern for our form of government which is under threat. If Bernie had been the nominee, he would have been sunk, too. The Republicans have been so intent on the permanent Republican majority for so long and power at all costs (ironically, of course, since they are the least inclibed to let their ideas be subjected to truth and the marketplace of ideas and openness) that most of the Republicans don't even see the threat to their own participation in the system in the future if they push this Presidency. I have seen a movement to ask the electoral college, if they won't choose Clinton, to choose another more qualified Republican. I think a lot of people on both sides of the aisle support this, which is completely Constitutional and exactly what the Electoral College exists for. Trump only leads the EC tally but is still subject to their discretion over whether he is qualified and they can, fair and square decide not. If a foreign power has been shown to have seriously meddled in getting Trump elected, that's a really serious disqualifying problem. Trump did openly invite Russia to meddle, but that was already after they were probably meddling reportedly according to the CIA.

That leads naturally to the question of which Republicans got the most support and whether their primary was influenced, too. If the electoral college decides to choose another Republican, like Jeb Bush, there would be criticism that he didn't get enough primary votes, but there is the question of whether that was influenced by foreign powers, too, since he and any of the other most rational Republicans would have been seen as the biggest threats to a Tp primary win seeming legit.

You can criticize, Bil, when we see the what Russia hacked from the Republican National Committee, because the Russians reportedly hacked them, too, but never released what they found. So much for any claim that it wasn't one-sided.

27 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2016 at 8:05 am

Remember, the definition of a bigot is someone who refuses to listen to someone else's point of view.

I hope we all remain open to listening to everyone rather than calling names without hearing what is being said.

It is not a competition to who shouts the loudest, but an opportunity to discuss things openly with respect that is the sign of a civil community.

40 people like this
Posted by Mixed Race Mom
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Mixed Race Mom is a registered user.

I am German, French and Native American. My husband is Scottish, Swiss and Native American.

Due to discrimination and even hate crimes in middle school here in Palo Alto, we had to bite the bullet and put our daughter in a private school!

One boy, the son of wealthy immigrants, would follow our daughter from class to class at Jordan to harass her about her coloring ( auburn hair, green eyes, skin the color of an Asian). She tried ignoring him, but it got worse; he had friends join him in calling her a wetback, a "happa", love child of a n****r lover, and worse.

We took the problem to her counselor, who took it to the principal, but because these boys' parents are wealthier than us, and donate money twice a year ( so did we, but obviously not as much), and are minorities ( not really a minority in Palo Alto any longer), we were told that the school was powerless to do anything. It probably didn't help that my husband and I are lighter-skinned than our daughter; people often think we adopted her off the Rez!

So, what about the rights of mixed race minorities when being harassed by wealthy minorities from another country? We are citizens of the USA; this boy and his friends and their collective parents are NOT! Doesn't THAT fact count for anything?

56 people like this
Posted by BlatherBuss
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2016 at 9:05 pm

BlatherBuss is a registered user.

How about passing a resolution not to mismanage the city finances to create a budget deficit, not to repeatedly provide themselves unmerited pay increases, not to raise taxes to fund pet projects, not to sell out neighborhood quality of life for developer zoning exceptions and instead to focus on fixing our real housing, traffic, environmental and education problems.

I wonder if their notion of diversity and inclusion also accepts the viewpoints of people who believe in sovereign borders and following federal immigration laws? Seems like just more dog whistle words for reverse discrimination and bigotry against Trump supporters.

This is fear mongering and pandering at its worst. Shame on the city council. They have better things to do given the status of local issues.

P.S. Enough already on the electoral college. Trump won and will be president. The electoral college is there for a good reason and we should thank the founders for their wisdom.

P.S.S. The fact is the security was sooooo bad that dozens of nefarious countries and hackers likely compromised the DNC and HRC email systems. I guess the 500,000 Yahoo Mail accounts were also hacked recently by the "Russians"? Besides, if they cared so much about national security, why did Hillary put all of her work email on a unauthorized home brew server and alleged pervert's laptop?

They got what they deserved on that one and it is fortunate that we got a window into such evil souls before election time.

9 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 11, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"The DNC rigged the Democratic primary for Clinton to win, and Sen. Sanders to lose."

Nonsense. More voters voted for Clinton than for Sanders. The DNC did not/cannot rig the popular vote. It's that simple.

"What a bunch of horse pucky"

Yeah, but the election is over and we're stuck with its outcome for the next four years.

"What you are really saying is: "Palo Alto pledges to reject Trump and his supporters"."

No, we are rejecting Trump's main campaign message and the mindset of the supporters who voted for him believing it. But no worry, Trump wasted no time dumping his chumps. The poor saps won't even get to Lock Her Up.

53 people like this
Posted by Scotty
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 11, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Scotty is a registered user.

That horrible feeling you are experiencing is called "losing". There is a good chance you will experience it again at some point in your life. Your attempt to legislate your feelings away because you don't like an outcome is embarrassing.

12 people like this
Posted by idealist
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2016 at 9:36 pm

idealist is a registered user.

I support this resolution, but I wish we could do even better.

I think the danger of this political moment is not that either people on the left or on the right will fail to stand up for what they believe in, but that neither side will reach out to the other.

The need is urgent, since each side is increasingly forming an entirely different world view, based in entirely different media.

I think we need to be seriously concerned that so many of our fellow Americans are sinking into a belief in various hoaxes--that climate change isn't real, that Obama isn't a citizen, that unemployment has gone up I(not down) in the past five years, that millions of votes in the election were illegitimate, that the mainstream media are "fake news" (as a Fox commentator has now declared), that evolution is a lie.

These views are sincerely, dearly held by many on the far right, and they represent a psychic break, and separation from reality that we would find sad and disturbing in any individual with a broken mind, and we would reach out to that individual.

This camp that is in such fear and denial will only solidify itself unless different-thinking people reach out to them--not in a condescending way but to try to understand the hurt and anger that underlie their flight. I'm not excusing their prejudices and biases (which all people have); I'm just saying we will never help to heal this country if we stand up for ourselves while condemning them and leave it at that.

Many people who voted for president-elect Trump, hearing that Palo Alto has reaffirmed its commitment to fairness and tolerance, will hear it as a tacit accusation that they are bigots, and will hate us all the more. I'm not saying they're right to do so; I'm just saying that that is what they won't be able to stop themselves from feeling.

They'll simply feel even more contempt for us than they already do (I'm talking about people from the far right who have already expressed glee that California will secede, and the people who join Mr. Trump in believing that millions of votes were cast illegally by traitorous Californians, and those who hate what they see as the political correctness of we out here).

I think we should be mindful that, for a certain group of people, predominantly of the working class, we here in Palo Alto are already marked out as the "out of touch" elite--associated with a prestigious university, wealthy, highly educated, well-traveled, and so forth. Even the very language of our resolution will strike them as snobbish and high-falutin'.

(Again, I'm not saying they're right to hold such views; I'm just trying to be realistic.)

And certainly those many working people who have lost, and are losing, their jobs to automation have a legitimate bone to pick with Silicon Valley, where many entrepreneurs are proud to come up with machines that replace humans. (And again, it's not that that is necessarily morally wrong; it's that the inventors of such machines aren't at the same time coming up with initiatives that will help to protect those people they dispossess.)

So, what am I going on about? What's my idea? Well, I wish we in Palo Alto would give some thought to joining hands, as "sister cities," with someplace deep in a red state.

Only if we engage with people with whom we disagree but who are, after all, our fellow Americans, can we hope to change their minds about anything, and thus secure our safety.

A resolution such as this may bolster our own mournful and frightened spirits, and in that way it is good. But it can be only half of the story.

With this country increasingly geographically polarized, due to gerrymandering and people's increasing choice to live in proximity only to their own kind, we here who are on the political left can make all the noise we want, and we can be justifiably proud of many of our values--but where does that leave us?

Our sister-city status with a town in Mexico is wonderful. Wouldn't it be wonderful, and perhaps make the national news, if in all sincerity we were to reach out to a place in Mississippi, or the Appalachia, or South Carolina--crazy as it might at first seem!--to truly be the people of open-mindedness that we say we are?

With a paralyzed national legislature, it's up to cities and towns to stitch together the things that our House and Senate cannot. And as a community that is a major on one the national map, we are especially situated so as to lead the way in bridging our country's terrible divide, before things grow any worse.

17 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 12, 2016 at 12:43 am

john_alderman is a registered user.

@ idealist - Do you consider US News and World Report fake news? If not read this article:

Web Link

While the unemployment rate has decreased, so has the labor participation rate. Which is a better measure of the ability to find work? They both have merits. Trump didn't win because people in Michigan and Pennsylvania read fake news about not having jobs, they voted for him because they have personal experience with the screwed up job market. If your tactic is to deny that reality, you are going to guarantee those states don't come back to Democrats in 2020, or 2024.

21 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 12, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Huh? Weren't we already committed to all that is in this proposed resolution? We should not need for our CC to mandate civility. Council's job is city management; this seems a bit far afield of that to me.

3 people like this
Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2016 at 2:41 pm

rick is a registered user.

Let's make this resolution the preamble to our new Comprehensive Plan!

6 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 12, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Question for Cory W: you are quoted as saying, "And, speaking to staff, I got the sense that this would provide them with the backing they need to do the right thing." WHAT IS WRONG at City Hall that staff feel the need for backing to do the right thing? That should be a given.

2 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 12, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@Resident and Annette

You are both so right. I always assumed PA was already committed to what the resolution is advocating, and that it is not really necessary. If we haven't been, then shame on us. But please, CC, if this is just a feel good measure to formalize what us Palo Altons stand for and have always stood for, and to show our president elect he can't push us PA folks around and change our values, then by all means, go ahead and approve it quickly, and then move on to the real big and more important issues confronting our community. Now that is a prime example of a run-on sentence. I never professed to be an expert grammarian. I'll defer to Jay Thorwaldson on that. Our issues are not trivial and will take up a lot of staff, committees, commissions, and CC's time. So, let's get on with it.

Make sure a copy is sent to president elect Donald Trump. You might get a Twitter response as he is prone to do. You might be surprised if he happily accepts the resolution and that it shows solidarity for what he also values...but don't hold your breaths.

BTW, I did not vote for Trump and would never hold him up as a role model, but I do accept the fact he will be our next President. Many, and most PA and CA voters will not, and will hound him on daily Facebook posts for his entire first term, even if a lot of progress is made on what he campaigned for. Hillary huggers will never give up.

I respect all the co-authors of the resolution. They are hard working CC members who sacrifice many long hours to try to do the best for our town. I almost slipped and said 'city' but I caught myself in time and still refer to PA as 'my town'. Sounds much better and aligns with my upbringing in a small town in Montana. I also refer to my part of my town, down here in SPA, as 'my village'. Sounds very homey don't you think? lol!

13 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 12, 2016 at 4:54 pm

38 year resident is a registered user.

I wonder how many community members contacted city council expressing their anxiety over the presidential election results and suggested council pass a resolution to allay their fears?

My guess.....none. Or is city council attempting to create some angst for political purposes and show us all what good progressive liberals they are? Wolbach himself said, "I think (emphasis on think) a lot of people are worried." Did he conduct a survey?

What "attempts to undermine the safety, security and rights of members of our community" is council concerned about? What information does council have that leads them to believe that a new administration will threaten Palo Altans from being "naturally entitled to live a life unmolested by harassment, discrimination, persecution, or assault, whether perpetrated by individuals, groups, businesses or government. This is ludicrous.

I have to wonder if council actually crafted this document themselves or were given the resolution by the DNC, who have spread much of the "fake news" against Mr. Trump and continue on a daily basis to deny him his well earned victory?

Hillary Clinton and the democrat party lost this election without the help of anyone. This is undeniable.They thought the election was in the bag and ignored most Americans' concerns and directed their message to the liberal elitists in major metropolitan areas. Senate and Congressional seats, governorships, state legislators and mayoral races in nearly every state voted against the direction the country was headed under the current administration's policies and the continuance of those policies as promised by Mrs. Clinton. The Democrats, and especially California democrats desperately need to get over this. If they truly are the party of "tolerance" as they so often preach, they will stop the nonsense, accept what happened and move on. So will City Council.

16 people like this
Posted by BlatherBuss
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 12, 2016 at 6:20 pm

BlatherBuss is a registered user.

I am glad Palo Alto is being proactive to ensure that Trump supporters will not get intimidated, harassed, beaten or assaulted like the following cases:

In San Jose
Web Link

In Costa Mesa
Web Link

In Hollywood (against a homeless woman)
Web Link

In Chicago
Web Link

Other examples in places like San Diego, Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina are easily accessible on the internet.

Trump supporters can feel better now that the City Council has issued a resolution to stop “any attempts to undermine the safety, security and rights of members of our community.”

11 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 12, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"I am glad Palo Alto is being proactive to ensure that Trump supporters will not get intimidated, harassed, beaten or assaulted"

C'mon, look on the bright side. At least somebody is paying attention to Trump's voters. The Donald has forgotten all about them, like old leaves blowing in the street.

So, what have you got for your vote? Hillary roams freely, Al Gore smiles after meeting with Trump, no deportations or wall in sight, and the Wall Street and Russian elites are in, baby, in.

Like this comment
Posted by Scotty
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 12, 2016 at 7:54 pm

Scotty is a registered user.

Curmudgeon---it's not a lie if you believe it.

6 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 12, 2016 at 9:18 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"Curmudgeon---it's not a lie if you believe it."

Then it's a lie if you don't believe it, right? Well then, I never believe anything The Donald said or tweeted, therefore it is all lies.

5 people like this
Posted by BlatherBuss
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 13, 2016 at 4:36 pm

BlatherBuss is a registered user.

Trump's victory by itself is enough for me because it prevented the [portion removed] Clinton family from getting back into office.

As for the rest, he has not even been sworn in yet. However, if you want to take a look at his 100 day plan and evaluate his administration as it goes along it is readily available on his website.

Web Link

In the meantime, if you are still feeling a little teary from the election loss why don't you sell some stock which has risen about 8% since election day [portion removed.]

4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 13, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"if you want to take a look at his 100 day plan"

Is that like a Trump campaign promise? If so, don't bother: he's forgotten about it already.

"why don't you sell some stock which has risen about 8% since election day"

Naw, it will only go higher as Wall Street, which BTW Trump solemnly promised to clean out of Washington if you voted for him, takes over Washington via Trump's cabinet and opens the national treasury to the elites. The trick is to anticipate the crash and get out in time, before the government has to go deep into debt to bail out Wall Street again.

Funny, I would expect Joe the Plumber to get a cabinet post--you know, Trump's populist thing about draining the swamp and all--but... .

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