News

Palantir's plan for Cubberley party riles neighbors

Data giant takes over half of soccer field at Cubberley for annual worker event

Palo Alto's famously secretive data-mining giant Palantir entered the spotlight this week when its event organizers installed a gigantic white tent on the soccer field at Cubberley Community Center to house its upcoming employee party.

The event, which is expected to bring more than 1,500 employees from all over the world to Palo Alto, will include two events at Cubberley, one on May 3 and another on May 5. But because of the logistics associated with installing the 35-foot-high tent at the Cubberley, the portion of the field reserved for the celebration is off limits to the public between this week and May 10, according to a flyer distributed to neighbors by Blue Flame, the company organizing the event for Palantir.

Not everyone is thrilled about having Palantir, one of the city's largest employers, take over a community playing field for an extended period of time. Dozens of residents took to Facebook to express outrage over the city allowing commercial use of a site that, under the city's policies, should be dedicated for athletic, cultural or educational uses.

Several also attended the Tuesday night meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission to voice their discontent about the city's agreement with Palantir. Edith Groner, a resident of Greenmeadow, said she and her neighbors are "shocked and disturbed to see the field used for a commercial enterprise." And Rebecca White, a resident of Greenmeadow, said the company does not reflect the city's values and said she and her neighbors plan to picket the event.

"Our neighborhood is super stressed about this," White told the commission. "So, in the future it would be better if you engaged us and asked us whether or not we thought a commercial event is appropriate for our community, particularly a company like Palantir."

The concern isn't limited to the area just outside Cubberley. With Palantir recently making headlines for its role in building an intelligence system that could be used by the federal government to track immigrants (according to The Intercept, an investigative reporting site, Immigration and Customs Enforcement had awarded Palantir a $41-million contract in 2014 for the system), some have argued that the city's decision to assist the company clashes with its purported belief in inclusion and diversity.

Winter Dellenbach, a community activist who lives in Barron Park, noted that the council recently passed a resolution opposing attempts to undermine the security and rights of Palo Alto residents, regardless of immigration status.

"The resolution states that City staff and departments are to promote resident's safety and security, leading by example through equitable treatment of all," Dellenbach said. "Yet City staff has gone out of its way here to accommodate Palantir by granting its exclusive use of half a field for 17 days. This is a clear contravention of our resolution and should never have happened."

Others argued that while renting out public space can be appropriate, the city's arrangement with Palantir goes too far. Resident Bill Bucy said he believes people would be less upset if the facility was used for just a few days.

"You want to accommodate people's needs, but two weeks? That's kind of arrogant and over-the-top," Bucy said.

Palantir declined several requests for comment, but city officials said that in approving Palantir's request, they were simply trying to accommodate a local company's needs. City Manager James Keene alerted the City Council in an email this week that Palantir had planned an all-employee event in the city but was unable to find a space of adequate size. The company then reached out to the city "desperate for a solution and hopeful the City might be able to help."

"After careful consideration, to minimize potential impacts to residents, Cubberley user groups and neighbors with reasonable support and accommodations for a local business in an unfortunate predicament, the City has agreed to allow Palantir the use of half of the field for two all-employee events,” Keene wrote.

Rob de Geus, director of the Community Services Department, told the Weekly that the company reached out about two weeks ago and expressed an interest in holding their annual event in Palo Alto.

"We suggested other places, including bigger venues not in Palo Alto that may be better suited for big events like this," de Geus said. "They very much wanted to be here in their hometown. I can appreciate that.”

De Geus said the company will pay the city $41,000 for field use, along with other fees relating to permits and security. The company had also pledged to contribute $10,000 to each of the two groups that were scheduled to use the field: Stanford Soccer Club and Palo Alto Soccer Club.

Charlie Williams, board president of the Stanford Soccer Club, said there was some "hassle" and "pushback" about the sudden change of plans from some of his group's members, but he said the city has been good about helping his group find a temporary place to practice. Williams said he had no direct conversations with Palantir, though he confirmed that he was contacted by Blue Flame and was treated “very fairly.”

On Thursday afternoon, Williams was still dealing with the logistical challenge, which was made more complex by the fact that there is a citywide soccer tournament happening this weekend. Even so, he said the city has been very considerate about assisting the group.

"Toil and trouble is what we're going through," Williams told the Weekly. "It's a hassle but worse things can happen."

But some residents, who just learned about the event from a letter, remain concerned about the agreement between the city and Palantir. White noted that the letter, signed by Blue Flame co-founded Treva Cooke, doesn't even mention Palantir. Rather, Cooke wrote to Cubberley neighbors that Blue Flame is organizing a "private event" and warned residents that they should expect some additional bus traffic to accommodate guests to the event.

"In order to ensure public safety is maintained and disruption is minimized, we are working with the City of Palo Alto and the staff at Cubberley to ensure that the event results in the least amount of inconvenience to the community both at Cubberley and in the surrounding vicinity," Cooke wrote.

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Comments

38 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 27, 2017 at 6:02 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

Palo Alto has always been a company town, used to be Stanford, now it is Palantir.


37 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 27, 2017 at 6:03 pm

They wanted it in their home town? But they are coming from all over the world? The city has discretion about renting to for-profits, so it should have said no [portion removed.]


59 people like this
Posted by the price is right
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 27, 2017 at 6:08 pm

$41,000 plus $20,000 to non-profits? This seems like a win-win to me, especially if we can use the $41,000 for Cubberley.


85 people like this
Posted by Fed Up
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 27, 2017 at 6:16 pm

I fail to understand the outrage against this. Palantir is compensating the city for use of the public facility, worked with the city to coordinate the event, and is making donations to the soccer clubs inconvenienced by the event. Palantir was free to take its business to another city, but chose to host its event in its hometown. Citizens of Palo Alto are free to disagree with Palantir's business and federal contracts, but the company is a taxpayer of this city and should be afforded the right to use the city's public space.

The article notes that "some have argued that the city's decision to assist the company clashes with its purported belief in inclusion and diversity." Do these same individuals believe that the city should also deny residents use of public space if such residents support Trump's policies? If a pro-Trump group wanted to rent facilities at Cubberley to plan political activities in support Trump's immigration policies, should the city deny the group access to the facilities, too? Or what if that group wanted to rent facilities for a party? The alt-left has forgotten that "inclusion and diversity" also means inclusion of diverse political beliefs that are not compatible with your own.


27 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 27, 2017 at 6:17 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

This story and the attitudes of the cubberly neighbors perversely engenders sympathy for Palantir.


79 people like this
Posted by Fed Up
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 27, 2017 at 6:28 pm

When Bernie Sanders held his rally at Cubberley during the California primaries, I don't recall the Cubberley residents complaining of the inconvenience arising from street closures, heavy traffic and the loss of use of the track and soccer fields. There is selective outrage here.


21 people like this
Posted by Nothing to see here
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 27, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Another " let's stir the pot to generate readership for the weekly" story. They got the okay from the city. They are compensating the city. Looks,like the weekly to get " comments" from the usual people. The quote from winter dellanbach is especially hilarious, given that it is totally irrelevant to the issue at hand. So, bottom line, move along. Nothing to see here


20 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm

I attended the enthusiastic Bernie Sanders rally at that exact location last June.
I suspect our citizenry would not tolerate Mr Trump anywhere near the place.


7 people like this
Posted by Rabble rouser
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 27, 2017 at 7:10 pm

[Post removed.]


57 people like this
Posted by Chump Change
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 27, 2017 at 7:17 pm

So Palantir is paying a total of $51,000 in fees and donations to flood our streets and parks with their employees while displacing US??

That's absolute chump change given they've taken over 21 buildings in downtown and control -- or have controlled -- the TMA, the Planning & Transportation Commission and who knows what else!

How much has/will the city be making from the parking permits, parking meters, commuter paybacks, etc. that WE the residents are being charged to accommodate Palantir? And that revenue keeps on rising each and every year while our quality of life tanks.


24 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 27, 2017 at 7:23 pm

"bring more than 1,500 employees from all over the world "

Think of the greenhouse gases. Oh, the humanity!


36 people like this
Posted by nothing to see here
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 27, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Chump change- typical bogus rantings about palantir, palantir has not " taken over" any buildings downtown. Palantir is renting these buildings from private owners. They are paying rent to these owners based on an agreed upon lease. So no take over.
They have never controlled the TMA, P&T commission or any other city body.
This continued demonization of palantir is getting old and cannot be taken seriously since there are no facts to back up these claims.


33 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 27, 2017 at 7:34 pm

So Palantir pays the same amount the city charges soccer teams, despite this is a clear violation of policy. The secretness is a sign of guilt, for an indefensible decision. Who is De Geus responsible to?

If the plan is to rent public facilities for corporate use, let's be up front about it....right now, the appearance this is a pure political play, with suspicions of someone benefiting personally.


48 people like this
Posted by 5th Generation
a resident of Mayfield
on Apr 27, 2017 at 7:45 pm

There's no denying that Palantir is getting away with what no other company has ever been allowed to get away with in regards to occupying office space downtown. Facebook and Google never could have gotten away with it. Even Palo Alto's golden child Hewlett-Packard, in its hay day, never would have been able to have even a small percentage of the footprint Palantir has stomped down on us. It is not normal. It is not acceptable. Sorry to break the news.


32 people like this
Posted by Nothing to see here
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 27, 2017 at 7:52 pm

5th generation- sorry to break the news to you, but palantir entered into leases with landlords who own the property they are renting. Everything perfectly legal, normal and acceptable. Not really any of your business, to be honest. Time to move on from the demonization of palantir.
Also I believe HP, sun and other companies occupied a greater square footage in Palo alto


27 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 27, 2017 at 7:58 pm

The comments above are unbelievable. We spend a lot of time arguing about what is suppose to happen to Cubberly and rent out space to all kinds of organizations and everyone is happy that the facility and grounds are put to good use. So what are you all complaining about? If people are willing to pay to use the facilities for a day then that is to the good. That money can be used to upgrade the signage and other items that people complain about. Does everything in this city need to be "political" - and is everyone's pants on fire when something they don't like happens?


51 people like this
Posted by Sweet deal
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 27, 2017 at 8:01 pm

$61k is a sweet deal. That much space, for 2 weeks, would have cost over $200k anywhere else.


40 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 27, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Geez, only two weeks notice. Either Palantir has no talent in its planning section, or everybody else on the planet turned 'em down. Why does Palo Alto's city hall being the starry-eyed pushover?


14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2017 at 9:17 pm

I have another take on this. All these employees from all over the World, where are they staying? Is there a special deal with a particular hotel and possibly how much in hotel tax would be made from these? I suppose that they could be put in hotels elsewhere, but it seems quite possible that there is a little more leverage for these fields than what we are being told.


72 people like this
Posted by Palantir is not well liked by Palo Altans
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 27, 2017 at 9:32 pm

I'd guess that one of the main reasons for the unhappiness is that Palantir is just not well liked among Palo Altans (employees and their family members notwithstanding). They have acted aggressively regarding their position in the City, on city committees, on Palo Alto "Forward", and on these very message boards. It's like a hostile takeover. As a result, nearly anything they do is viewed by suspicion by many of us. Purchasing our City park is just another feather in their hostile cap.


18 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 27, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Rooms at Four Seasons Silicon Valley (a.k.a. East Palo Alto) are available Monday night, $745 to $1265 (rates for their 27 luxury suites not provided online). All 200 rooms appear to be booked solid Tuesday through the remainder of the week.


77 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 27, 2017 at 10:04 pm

Marie is a registered user.

Another outrageous concession to Palantir. Many downtown spaces that used to be retail are now used by Palantir, despite zoning restrictions. For example, what used to be Jungle Copy is now a Palantir cafeteria.

Renting community fields to Palantir at a below-market rate for two weeks, especially when it removes soccer fields that otherwise would have been available for a local tournament is outrageous, as is the secrecy surrounding this decision. It will flood the area with additional traffic. Notification to neighbors is too late for any meaningful protests of a bad decision.

Another really bad decision by city staff who once again put the interests of commercial interests over the residents and taxpayers of Palo Alto.

Comparing HP to Palantir is a joke. HP was a good corporate citizen which provided sufficient parking and whose buildings did not forceout retail and small professionals as Palantir has done. It is time for them to move to an office park, and stop trying to turn downtown Palo Alto into a corporate campus, driving out all retail and other small professional offices except for those that provide services to Palantir. And it is time to replace city administrators who are more interested in serving corporate interests than Palo Alto residents and taxpayers.


45 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 27, 2017 at 10:09 pm

@Nothing to see here says ". Palantir is renting these buildings from private owners. They are paying rent to these owners based on an agreed upon lease. So no take over."

This IS Silicon Valley where once upon a time tiny cash-strapped start=ups like Apple paid "rent" to landlords in equity, compensated their pr firms in stock instead of cash and granted friends of family stock where it would do them the most good.

Fast forward 30+ years we're now talking about a sophisticated MULTI-BILLION dollar company Beltway Bandit like Palantir that's experienced in dealing with governments at all levels. One can only imagine its compensation models.

[Portion removed.]

Mayor Burt was right that they priced starving startups out of Palo Alto while taking over the downtown and the key government commissions.


10 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:02 am

Back in the day when SSL was Ford Aerospace & Communications there was a huge community of people who had baseball tournaments competing against other companies, golf tournaments, and coached and supported the Little League and AYSO organizations. And the Little League teams all had local company sponsors with the names of the companies on their shirts. All of this activity put money in the bank for the city and for the sports organizations for the children. Those companies were not non-profits. They were the plumbing and other services companies. Times have changed, the economy has changed, and local residents have changed. The city has provided extensive sports locations - Greer Park, Baylands when the golf course is finished - if ever. And El Camino Park which is always in use. The hostility displayed here is a new characteristic for the city and not a good one. I have watched commercial businesses open and close in the downtown area on a regular basis so it is up to the commercial business to succeed - not the cities job. People buy their stuff on-line and get it delivered. I am happy that the city has some businesses that contribute back to the city. Check out Mountain View - they are filled with successful companies that are on the stock exchange and help provide better parks and services. Hopefully the money raised for the use of Cubberley will go back to fix identified problems instead of the cities general fund and get spent for some useless endeavor.


14 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:12 am

I want to add that when Mitchell Park opened I attended a meeting put on by the city regarding use of the updated property. Some fuzzy-haired young lady was vehement about it only being rented to non-profits. I cannot get my head around that kind of attitude - the city is a place to live for everyone - it is not suppose to be a political statement against the world. And yes money is required to keep the facilities up-to-date, the grounds re-planted each season, and equipment for people to use. We do not live in a non-profit world - non-profits do not pay taxes.


18 people like this
Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:35 am

Fed Up, you aren't on our community email list so you wouldn't know that many in Greenmeadow were outraged and vocal about the Bernie Sanders event as well. I was one of them.


38 people like this
Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:38 am

Resident, your perspective is not what made this town so wonderful to live in. Having grown up here and living here now, I can say this with authority and within context. People want to live here because of the community, not because of the companies who rent office space here. Nobody cares about which businesses are here--just that they don't have overt influence over our town.

But that's irrelevant anyway. There are clear rules. They were broken by city management.


46 people like this
Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:50 am

Fed Up, it's a little hard to understand what's unclear about the concern/outrage.

Corporations and other for-profit enterprises are not welcome to 'rent' Palo Alto fields because the fields are not 'for rent.' The rules state very clearly that city parks and fields are to be used for athletics and other community activities, and are reserved for these audiences only: (1) youth residents and (2) adult residents, then by (3) youth non-residents and (4) adult non-residents...in that order of priority. Unlike you, I attended the Parks & Recreation Committee meeting and learned from the source that they broke their own rules, and had no reasonable excuse for doing so.

I don't know about you, but my family pays extreme property tax to live here, and I will demand that we continue our very long history of being a community focused on kids, health and meaningful experience.



53 people like this
Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:56 am

The Price is Right...ha! If only that were true.

The price for renting a sizable venue on the Peninsula, with major union activity, heavy moving equipment and significant crowds, would cost well in excess of $100,000. Blue Flame knows this very clearly, as does the marketing department at Palantir.

Palo Alto gave Palantir a sweetheart deal and we need to know why so that we can prevent it from happening in the future.


30 people like this
Posted by Parks & Booze
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2017 at 7:46 am

Is alcohol even allowed on public parks/sports fields? If not, will it be a "dry" party?


11 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 28, 2017 at 7:49 am

There is a reason why for-profit companies leave this city and move to Mountain View,Redwood City, Sunnyvale, San Mateo. Those places are flourishing with new buildings and new businesses. And the cities are looking good. Why any company would want to start-up in PA is beyond me. The reason why you have high property taxes is because non-profits do not pay taxes. And on University restaurants are leaving and our section of El Camino looks like a third world place between Oregon and Charleston. Only the hotels save it. Every other city is upgrading and adding more festivities for the residents and companies. Palantir is where it is because it is next to the Caltrain tracks. That was a stated goal of the city.


66 people like this
Posted by It is ILLEGAL
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 28, 2017 at 7:54 am

Here's what city policy says, as adopted in 2008 by a unanimous City Council vote:

The City of Palo Alto (the “City”) Field Use Policy (and the procedures adopted hereunder) has been established to ensure that City-owned, maintained and –managed park and athletic field facilities, including the fields owned by the Palo Alto Unified School District (the “District”) are utilized for recreational, athletic, cultural, educational, social and community service functions that meet the needs and interests of the community ...

Private commercial activities are NOT listed and thus not allowed. City staff has violated this by allowing Palantir to rent the field. No matter how many Palantir employees on this thread argue it's OK, it is not.

Remember 27 University? We were promised no more backroom deals with private groups. Keene broke that promise.


8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:17 am

Cubberley has been on various threads where the city is trying to figure out what to do with this property - the city school system is ignoring it and at this point I am not sure that they even have any say over it. The buildings are falling apart and desperately need some cash infusion to upgrade the property. It is not one of the city park properties - it is a property in limbo and could end up being torn down. If it is torn down you will end up with a four story apartment complex looming over your neighborhood with all of the associated traffic. Your property taxes are going no where concerning this property - your property taxes have gone to Mitchel Park and the various overruns and engineering debacles associated with that property. The mismanagement of property upgrades in this city are a crime in process with the regular suspect construction companies that are looting the city. Maybe you can form a neighborhood team to help fix the place up instead of raging on the city for something they have no intention of doing which is coming to a decision to upgrade the property on your dime. Bottom line is that property needs a cash infusion it is not getting now - the city has focused on other priorities. I am in agreement with the decision to rent this property out for company occasions and profit vs non-profit is a totally different topic. I am not a Palantir employee. We do have parking on our street for Oshman festivities which occur on a regular basis - and they do rent their facilities out to other organizations for large events - like the Commonwealth Club.


46 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:19 am

Info for this event is somewhat hard to find on the city website.

The rules easily found on the city website for field rentals do not appear to have a price for "for profit" entities. But there is apparently an update ( i've been told but could not find )to the rules that allows for 'for profits" and leaves that decision to staffs discretion.

The maximum price online i can find is $138.00 per hour at 24 hours for 17 days that is $56,000.00 and some change.
An event for 1500 people plus what ever caterers security valets etc... they might need, charges much more than that;
think Mosconni center , the Cow Palace, sports arenas etc...

17 days is an extremely long time to deprive the public of a public facility. From the article it doesn't sound like the two soccer groups know where they will be holding their events, From what i can tell from the website playing fields are scheduled way in advance, as they are a limited resource.

A decision this big should have gone through a public process and should not have been made behind closed doors by Community services staff and the city Manager.

If Palantir was located in a proper campus say, the research park or elsewhere, as other large software companies do they could have accommodated this international crowd on their own turf instead of co-opting for such a large time for so little $$$ public/community resource. To say they are a "local technology company" as the city's FAQ report suggests ( Web Link) is absurd. they are a huge international company that has not community relationship with Palo alto.

This is another chink in the thin wall of democracy in palo alto.


29 people like this
Posted by Meeting Rooms
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:29 am

We also had a very hard time getting a meeting room at Mitchell Park -- for a neighborhood meeting. Maybe if we were a business we would have more clout.


34 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:41 am

With any large scale function, it affects a lot of local disruption. Whether it be a football game at Stanford or a large popular concert at Shoreline (the two nearest large function facilities I can think of), it causes traffic disruptions before, during and after. With a Presidential visit, the shenanigans of police and security, causes problems.

It seems to me that the City does not and perhaps did not quite understand how onerous this function would be to those who use the Cubberley fields or to those who live nearby. There is a big difference between a small function for a local small business who might want to have a company picnic in a local park to a company that wants a catered event for over 1500 people. Since most of these 1500 people are most likely not Palo Alto residents it is unfair to those of us who are Palo Alto residents that their disruptions to our daily lives should be taking place at somewhere like Stanford or Shoreline which at least have the experience of large scale events.

Since we don't really know how the actual event will be handled when it comes to parking, policing and other security aspects, apart from all the catering, etc. that will need access to the venue, this is only something that will get worse on the actual day as well as the clean up for days afterwards.

Palo Alto cannot do this type of thing again, but I suspect they will.


50 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:44 am

Two weeks on the grass will destroy it. Either the playing fields will be compromised or the City will spend more restoring the fields and roping them off from use for much longer. This was a bad deal for the City.

"Palantir had planned an all-employee event in the city but was unable to find a space of adequate size"

Palantir has outgrown Palo Alto and needs to bite the bullet like Facebook did and find a space where it can really grow -- Newark? Concord and San Jose are inviting the growth. The council needs to grow a spine and stop the favoritism.


7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 28, 2017 at 9:04 am

The city needs to grow a spine and come to a decision on this property. Tear is down and build a 4 story apartment building. Or make it into a conference center that is for use by anyone who can provide the funds - not part of Parks and Recreation management. The fields are rented out to numerous organizations including adult teams - women and men's teams - I have played on those teams. The teams chew up the fields at the same rate as anyone else who is using them. If anyone is making the argument "for the children" then ask Parks and Rec how many adult teams are using our fields big time. This is not sacred ground for children. I am voting for a Conference Center that is not subject to the Parks and Rec rules.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 28, 2017 at 9:33 am

Do you all recall the big pants on fire event for the golf course in which many people demanded that it be torn up and soccer fields put in? How many years ago was that? Do you see any soccer fields? Do you see a completed golf course? The city has to work on priorities and the Parks and Rec has only so much money - and only so much expertise on management of same. If the golf course had been finished it could be used for this event - but it is not finished. And all of those soccer moms were never going to come across the freeway with their kids to play soccer - the only people would be the adult teams. So lack of budget drives the upgrades and improvements in the city and arguing over "principle" is not generating any money. Your property taxes are going elsewhere - maybe garages downtown.


19 people like this
Posted by Hugo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 28, 2017 at 10:20 am

It's not an unreasonable arrangement except for the part where the field is cut off for two weeks. That seems excessive. I don't think you will get any large events space in this region for two full weeks for $60,000. If they truly needed the events space for that period of time, the city should've squeezed more out -- perhaps some cash to upgrade the Cubberly complex itself. Otherwise, 3-4 days might have been a better solution for all.


33 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 28, 2017 at 10:40 am

Our playing fields are already oversubscribed. This event might be OK if it closed the fields for a weekend. But this is too long and actually represents a significant chunk of the Spring season, not to mention closing off a popular and heavily used exercise space for the community. We didn't get notice of our practice location change until day-of, and tons of people were pulling up there on Wednesday confused as to what was going on. If this was such a good idea, why wasn't there a notice on the chain linked fence telling us this was Palantir's doing?


6 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 28, 2017 at 10:58 am

Two weeks does seem like a long time to take over the field. However, they are paying for it and this city council needs all the help they can get to "balance" a budget.

By the way, where was all the protest when Bernie used the field?


2 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 28, 2017 at 11:04 am

[Post removed.]


44 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2017 at 11:12 am

Surprising that Liberal Progressive Palo Alto would allow 'Big Brother' Palantir to host an event on public property. Palantir should be renting space at a convention center or some other property suited to a corporate event. In addition, 41K is a ridiculously low amount, and 20K to non-profits? Not even a drop in the bucket, how much would it cost for Palantir to host thie event at the Santa Clara Convention Center? Whoever negotiated this deal with Palantir did a lousy job. Palantir is valued at 20B with IPO in the near future, if PA is going to permit this, they should have charged far more.

I don't even live in PA and I am upset!


6 people like this
Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 28, 2017 at 11:17 am

True fact -- whoever has big bucks can do anything at anytime!! Just live with it, or move to a less populated area. . .


35 people like this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 28, 2017 at 11:25 am

Citizens have been successfully fragmented.

Leaders must focus on 2-3 ways to reconcile this issue and create better process....otherwise the "system" will successfully divide and conquer Palo Alto's finest qualities.

Our unwavering goal must quality of life, in particular in residential neighborhoods ...city staff and council in this case are promoting commerce at the expense of residential neighborhoods. This value statement is in the current comp plan and apparently has been dropped in the upcoming draft.

Everyone has an opinion...here are my three issues to be resolved sooner than later.
1. The attendance for the events is too large for the venue.
2. The almost 2-week timeline is too long and disruptive.
3. City staff seemingly encouraged and approved this event with inadequate due process and without respect to adjacent neighborhoods and the general public.

Individual citizens can make a difference but thoughtful group action must coalesce and stay united.


9 people like this
Posted by Rolling Eyes, Laughing Mouth
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 28, 2017 at 11:34 am

Its a friggin' tent for a party that will last only a matter of hours...on a FIELD. My god Palo Altans, lighten up.

What will you sniffle and snuffle about when the party is over and it becomes clear your fears were over-blown?


36 people like this
Posted by Help from the inside
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 11:54 am

to pull something like this off they had help from the inside, our tax dollars at work

If the city will be promoting commerce at the expense of neighborhoods, at least don't underprice us.

Cheap Palantir does well with their connections at City Hall.

Why would Palantir want to grow out of Palo Alto? They have it nice here, like an Italian mama we will have them well past their whiskers.


16 people like this
Posted by help from the inside
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 11:57 am

Can someone explain to Rolling what a "FIELD" means in Palo Alto?


1 person likes this
Posted by Arnold Dublair
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 28, 2017 at 12:04 pm

This seems to fall in line with Ellwood Cubberley's life's work: to bring friends together in service to the public. Am I missing the point?


25 people like this
Posted by MyOpinon
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2017 at 12:06 pm

@Rolling Eyes...clearly you did not read the details. The field is off-limits through "MAY 10th". Hardly a few hours. How did you come to that conclusion? The point is that public space is called that for a reason, it's for the PUBLIC...

"because of the logistics associated with installing the 35-foot-high tent at the Cubberley, the portion of the field reserved for the celebration is off limits to the public between this week and May 10"


4 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm

[Post removed.]


51 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Try reserving any outdoor area of similar size in the Bay Area for two weeks. The price will START at 10x what Palantir is paying. Closer to 50x to reserve the Shoreline Amphitheatre, for comparison. Who negotiated this deal, and what dirt does Palantir have on them?


64 people like this
Posted by Yes. You are missing the point.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Correction: The tent will be there and the field will be closed to public use from April 24-May 10. That is 17 days.

A private company outbid and displaced families and kids from our public field space. Even so...They got it a bargain basement price for that type of use. Yes. You really are missing the point. Staff granted an exception to POLICY without running it by Council. This was a bad call and a bad precedent.




40 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Just got back from the sight in fact the east half of the field will be closed for 17 days in addition:

The west half will be closed for 3 days, May third, fourth and fifth

Part of the parking lot is cordoned off for two giant (smoke belching) generators Why couldn't they be sited n the rented portion?)

Trucks are entering from the neighborhood via Nelson, the street on the west boarder of Cubberly and driving down a pedestrian walkway

Trucks were parking on the sport field near the pedestrian entrance on Nelson

There are many trucks staging on Middlefield just north of Montrose Southern entrance to cubberly, waiting to get to the site

It is very disappointing that the city staff violated the trust that we place in them to always have the residents best interest at heart.


55 people like this
Posted by Inside influence
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2017 at 1:44 pm

@Help from the inside is right. Keene has been supporting Palantir employees participation inside city government.

Some examples:
Mehdi Alhassani, Human Relations Commission, works for Palantir
Eric Rosenblum on Planning Commission, works for Palantir
Mila Zelkha now on the Public Art Commission, works for Palantir (was on the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee)
Will Griffin on the RPP Stakeholder Group works for Palantir (replaced Brett Somers)
Bob McGrew on Traffic Management Committee, vice-Chair of the Palo Alto TMA (Transportation Management Assoc); Palantir employee
Kate Vershov Downing resigned from PTC in 2016, husband Steve Downing longtime Palantir employee
Maybe there are more?


62 people like this
Posted by Palantir is Disliked for a Reason
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 28, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Palantir is basically a spy company, that enables the government and the NSA to better spy on people, both public and private citizens, as well as residents of other nations.

My question is, since most of the Palo Alto populace objects to what they do, [portion removed] plus the fact that this is not the first time they have overstepped their bounds with their parties ( remember all the streets they blocked off, without permission, a couple of years ago)-- can't we have s vote to throw them out of Palo Alto??

I mean, the citizens of Cupertino voted Sandhill Properties
out of their city ( another thing we should do) for Sandhill's egregious behavior!

[Portion removed.]


34 people like this
Posted by 6Djockey
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 28, 2017 at 1:50 pm

So there are no facts to back up the claim that Palantir has infiltrated our local government? Just two weeks ago at the City Council, Fine made an contentous proposal for SUDs that he claimed were his own ideas. Seems someone found the same ideas in a Palantir memo. Coincidence? I don't think so.


5 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm

I wonder if the elitists posting here would be willing to pay the city $41,000 for the lost revenue, plus donate $20,000 to the soccer clubs.

I'm glad the city is looking for ways to offset its costs.

Paid parking can't come too soon.

I'm glad Palo Alto has long-time residents, but some take a sense of unearned entitlement from their longevity.


31 people like this
Posted by Inside Influence Indeed
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Thanks for the list of the Palantir employees on the PA commissions dictating policies that require we the citizens to pay for parking etc. that permits them to grow at our expense.

I would dearly love to know how much they contribute to Palo Alto Forward which actively solicits corporate sponsorship while actively supporting various City Council members who in turn spew out Palantir's policies.

$61,000 for 2 weeks rental = $4066 a day -- WAY less than other comparable rentals. What a shame they're selling us out so cheaply! Remember than when next you vote.


29 people like this
Posted by help from the inside
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Chris,

City is to run a charity for Palantir by giving away special favors to Palantir, with the excuse that the Palantir money helps defer City costs?

Sounds like Palantir's entitlement logic.


16 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 28, 2017 at 3:07 pm

agree with the previous poster from Barron park, but really the city only got 40k.

10 k went to each of the soccer leagues that had been scheduled and were bumped......wonder if they found a new venue for their competitions?

Shows where city managements priorities are.


9 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm

Quoting from the article on PA's new budget increase, there is no way that $61,000 even comes close to the $9,700,000 in tax receipts that Mr. Keene expects from US the taxpayers support the commuting population!

Web Link

Citywide, the budget calls for spending $139 million on capital improvements, a figure that is somewhat below the current year's budgeted amount of $188 million, but far above the $62.4 million and the $51.8 million that the city had spent in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

In addition to moving ahead with the design work on the new garages, Keene is proposing to raise the cost of parking permits for existing parking facilities. The budget calls for raising parking-permit revenues between 25 percent and 75 percent by increasing the price of parking permits and using these revenues to implement a "comprehensive parking management plan." The funds would be used to streamline the city's permit system, install parking meters and other paid-parking technology and support transportation initiatives that steer drivers to other modes of transportation.

In presenting the new budget, Keene wrote in his transmittal letter that the document "reflects a strong local economy that has led to stable revenues which support the wide array of programs and initiatives" that the city provides to its residents. It would maintain competitive wages for employees and a high level of services for the community, while providing funding for top council priorities, he wrote.

To pay for the rising expenditures, the budget relies on a combination of rising tax revenues (the budget projects a growth of 8 percent, or about $9.7 million, in major tax revenue receipts) and a $3.2 million withdrawal from the city's budget-stabilization reserve. The one-time withdrawal, Keene wrote, would still leave the reserve with $39.1 million, just above the council's threshold of having at least 18.5 percent of the budget in the reserve


8 people like this
Posted by PA resident
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2017 at 3:16 pm

I remember when Palo Altans were against Facebook occupying office space in Palo Alto, and I remember the constant whining about the related traffic. And the day FB announced that it is leaving PA, conversation turned upside down; people started whining about the loss of city revenue and loss of a famous technology company leaving PA.

Palantir is yet another technology company in PA, paying its dues. We should not pick and choose which company can rent office space or fields. Extreme to this is interviewing people using the fields, and then maybe also building a wall around Palo Alto...


26 people like this
Posted by What a Laugh
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Apr 28, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Nobody likes them
Everybody hates them
They're going down back to eat worms!

If everyone hated me half as much as everyone hates Palantir, I would certainly leave!!

Why don't they go back to their home state? California is isn't it!


25 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 28, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Palantir and Facebook are totally different types of companies with vastly different pull with city hall and the city council

Palantir controls our city commissions and the PAF-endorsed members of the city council; the same city council denied Zuckerberg permission to buy up 2 adjoining lots while letting others expand even more, including into Foothill Park!


3 people like this
Posted by Nothing to see here
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 28, 2017 at 3:29 pm

Inside influence-- and what is the point of the list of palantir employees? It is called public service. The positions they hold are open to all people no matter where they work. They were vetted and found to be qualified for the position.
This constant whining about palantir has gotten really old, really fast. You know the story about the little boy that cried wolf? Well, that describes many of the posters that take every opportunity to vilify palantir.
And PA weekly, you did a good job of,stirring up the usual suspects with your hysterical headline and story. I wonder if this will increase traffic to your website and more importantly lead to more donations to your coffers. Anything for a buck


23 people like this
Posted by help from the inside
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 3:36 pm


A tent on a Palo Alto soccer field?

It's a favor Palantir got on the cheap,

commerce is not a club with "dues," if the city is selling stuff, at least check the market prices.


16 people like this
Posted by Inside Influence Indeed
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2017 at 4:12 pm

@Nothing to See Here -- obviously the point of citing all the Palantir employees on PA commissions is to show their influence as they devise policies that effect our pocketbooks and quality-of-life.

A real simple example: When Mr. McGrew, head of the TMA, devises a policy that pays each carpool into and out of PA $1 per trip and all of the public transit costs for commuters coming from SF and Gilroy, etc. it's important to know who's raising the residents' share of those costs while cutting the share paid by the business community -- including his employer.

The only thing "green" about this is the money flying out of my wallet.

At least Google pays for its own buses; other companies pay for their public transit expenses. Trust me, those companies have more money than I do!


1 person likes this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 28, 2017 at 4:36 pm

People who hate Palantir being in Palo Alto have the choice of leaving Palo Alto.

I agree that if Palo ALto is going to rent out the Cubberley playing fields, it should post a schedule of the available dates and prices so other Palo Alto organizations have the same opportunity. If too many companies are interested at $61,000, jack up the price and make more money for the city.


7 people like this
Posted by Trump's Tax Proposals
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 28, 2017 at 4:45 pm

@Chris, not to worry. When Palantir's boy Trump enacts his tax proposals which include eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes, everyone will want to leave Palo Alto, California and all the high-tax educated states.

At least Nixon's "love it or leave it" didn't discriminate.


7 people like this
Posted by help from the inside
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 4:54 pm

Chris,

This one is on the City, there will be many Palantir entitled types

Palantir does seems very "needy" of Palo Alto...hmm and whoever suggested this should not be covered by the weekly - what else is going on that isn't making the papers?


30 people like this
Posted by mj
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:01 pm

How nice to hear how sympathetic Mr. Keen is to the predicament Palantir found itself in and his desire to help them out. But is our city manager's willingness to evict the youth organizations, who had previously and legitimately booked the fields, in favor of Palantir an indication of our city manager's priorities? It might appear they are to play favorites on behalf of a commercial company at the expense of the citizen organizations? Oh yes, the teams are being paid off with $10,000 each, but were they asked if they had a choice? Or was it a fait accompli? Did our city manager unilaterally decide to ignore the city rules about who may rent our playing fields and set a precedent that allows commercial companies to pre-empt our local citizen run volunteer organizations?


15 people like this
Posted by mj
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:09 pm

I also thought it was very inappropriate for the city to allow Cubberley to be used by a political party. And that local residents have such a low priority in the city's eyes that the impact of these kinds of uses at Cubberley are ignored. Is Cubberley to be considered a convention center from now on?


2 people like this
Posted by help from the inside
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:46 pm


how did this work that the volunteer organizations sub-let to a commercial organization?

and what's going to happen in terms of alcohol consumption and that sort of thing?

clean up?


21 people like this
Posted by Dudley
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 28, 2017 at 7:11 pm

besides the fact that it seems sneaky how Cubberly went from fields that were not to rent to companies no matter what or who the company is - to being rented out over night. at 41k for 17 days is beyond a bargain it's a steal. assuming we are being generous here and just charging 12 hours a day - for the day light hours the park is actually open - that comes to about 200$ an hour. a bargain for any venue for this sort of thing.

i sure hope Cubberly will see some of that money? new track perhaps around the field? replace those death trap they call bleachers?


10 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 28, 2017 at 7:28 pm

@PA Resident, you remark on "...the loss of city revenue..." from Facebook? You say Palo Altans complained when they moved to Menlo Park.
Did they pay any revenue like sales tax to the city of Palo Alto? I would think not. Isn't it like Google which does not pay sales tax to the city of Mountain View yet greatly impacts that local area with traffic, while not eating out in MV restaurants....
We have a right to ask questions. I don't know the policy about renting out school/community center fields to huge private tech companies. I prioritize school and youth organizations. What about noise to neighbors behind the field where the multi-day corporate event is being held? I don't live there, but wish equal neighborhood policies about usage, noise, traffic to be consistent and fair. I don't want this at the school near me. We expect school/youth events at school/community centers, nit conventions with out of state corporate visitors.


41 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:00 pm

This isn't just a bad deal, it's a give-away.

By the time this is over the city will probably spend $410K servicing this contract. The $41K the city is getting from Palantir probably doesn't even cover the time and money city staff already has in this deal.

Think about the staff meetings to plan this out and coordinate with the various departments. The negotiations with the soccer teams. The negotiations with Palantir. The City Attorney negotiating and hammering out the contract. There is probably at least one city staff person on this full time at Palantir's beck and call. Additional police and emergency services. Public works and fire department inspections. Insurance. Clean-up. Damages, and probably more negotiations.

The $41K is just a fig leaf camouflaging a gift.


33 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:15 pm

"City Manager James Keene alerted the City Council in an email this week that Palantir had planned an all-employee event in the city but was unable to find a space of adequate size. . . ."

The above is what I find troubling b/c it simply isn't credible that an event of this magnitude only comes to CC's attention THIS WEEK. Talk about something not passing the smell test! Once again City Hall - be it the CM, Staff, or Council - is following a process that departs radically from what used to be normal. This is exactly the sort of thing that erodes trust and raises suspicions. Flying people in from all over the world, renting tents and generators, arranging hotels, and planning a conference all take time. And securing a venue is nearly always at the top of the "to do" list.

Palantir and the City Manager are asking the community to believe that an event that has a 3 week life for setup, event time, and tear down surfaced just this week? Not possible. Even in iconic Palo Alto.


4 people like this
Posted by help from the inside
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:34 pm



bet they will have people sleeping there too

best is the city pay off the soccer teams and cancels this nonsense.

Palantir does not need to hold this in Palo Alto and if they do, don't they have their own buildings?


8 people like this
Posted by wrong
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 28, 2017 at 9:38 pm

what the???


14 people like this
Posted by Alice Schaffer Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 28, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Citizen Jane is playing in SF at the Opera Plaza (next to Max's Cafe Van Ness Avenue). I commend it to all of you.

You need to stop misuse of city assets and protest the ruination of a soccer field. An injunction may be in order.

I am not sympathetic to a company whose carbon footprint not only is extending to the ruination of our soccer fields, the polluting of the neighborhood. $41k will hardly repay the broken sprinkers, if any, the loss of grass under a tent (I had one up for my 60th birthday party in England and it made a real impact and that was only for a few days.).

I think if you are interested you should demand a Freedom of Information Act and review the rental agreement. What damage does it specify from the use of the tent?

What hours will this party be? Must they leave the area by 10.00pm? Will the police be monitoring DUIs? Will there be an enforced no smoking on the park grounds. Is that written into the lease.

Jane Jacobs took on NYC and saved (Soho and Washington Park) after the ruination of the Bronx and parts of the city. The ignoring of the real values of neighborhoods by planners and builders mostly driven by greed and self-importance has contributed to minority communities being ghettoized because the business powers bullied the cities, ignoring the community values. Don't let it happen here. SEE THIS MOVIE. It should be shown in every architectural class and social studies class in California. Every city council person and city planner should see it too.



22 people like this
Posted by Inside influence
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2017 at 10:15 pm

We need to find out how this happened, who did all the city work, which staff was used to make the arrangements. Or did the city manager do it himself.

More sunshine needed on this deal.


10 people like this
Posted by Inside influence
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Let's picket! We can rain on their parade!
We need some suggestions for what the signs should say.

Can't find a rhyme for Palantir, just found these:
pal's, palace, palaces, palacio, paladino, palais, palance, palardy, palash, palatability

One suggestion: Palantir, Palantir, go away. Don't come round another day.


1 person likes this
Posted by Lance Witherston
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 28, 2017 at 10:47 pm

The city should have seen this one coming a mile away - so many international people flying in, of course they'd pick the soccer field. A savvier person would have booked it before they did.


5 people like this
Posted by Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 28, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Inside Influence: No. I think we should be gracious but make sure that they know that they are guests in a local neighborhood and that noise and drunken behavior won't be tolerated. They must not create a nuisance. Neighbors might go over to Palatir and ask them not to hold this event.



Frankly, I think they need a conditional use permit and they may already have abused their existing permit


4 people like this
Posted by Its turf
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2017 at 11:46 pm

For those who are complaining about the damage to the grass & sprinklers, the tent is set up on Cubberly's TURF field, so no sprinklers or grass to worry about. And before complaining about damage to the turf there is an elevated floor setup above the turf so the party guests will not be on the actual turf.


15 people like this
Posted by Wayfinding Systems
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 29, 2017 at 12:19 am

Maybe Mr. Keene's multi-million dollar "wayfinding" system could have directed Palantir the the Hornblower Yachts or Moscone or San Jose where other companies hold their events.

Doesn't say much for Palantir's planning that they can't find their way to any of the usual venues.


24 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 29, 2017 at 12:54 am

Perhaps next time Palantir can contact Sandhill Properties and ask to arrange to sublet the empty store for their parties.
Easy on/off freeway access, and shouldn't bother the neighbors around a city owned park.

Palantir employees:
Here is the contact for Sandhill Properties for your next company party:
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 29, 2017 at 6:57 am

To the person who suggested picketing with signs that is totally counterproductive. If international people are coming in then we do not want our city to look foolish and boorish. Those people will be in our hotels, restaurants, and any other store that looks interesting - like Stanford Shopping Center. Always a city should be putting it's best foot forward so that the visiting people will want to come back for another visit on their own time. The city needs to be selling itself - not scarring people away. I am sure that the restaurants on University and California will benefit from the visitors.
As to people with signs - the SF tourist trade is dropping because the place is a total mess and all types of sign holders with their "causes" are running around. People go on vacation to avoid that type of mess - they do not go on vacation to encounter a bigger mess.


28 people like this
Posted by Lives here
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 29, 2017 at 7:44 am

Last week the city council basically changed residential zoning rules across town because some people asked for ADUs. Now we learn Palantir managed to get a waiver on rules to rent out Cubberly, even though that field was already rented out to other organizations. We also know that Castilleja has been violating its agreed-upon enrollment cap for years. In these cases (and many more) the city lets one group of people change the rules that were known and established, and previously agreed to by all parties, to favor another group of people. These actions make a joke of Palo Alto ordinances and contracts.


18 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 29, 2017 at 8:06 am

This is just another example to add to the long list of times Jim Keene and City Hall have favored private commercial interests over the citizens of Palo Alto.


23 people like this
Posted by Soccer mom
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 29, 2017 at 8:26 am

This is crazy. Palantir is displacing lots of soccer playing kids from their practice locations in the middle of our Spring Season. They could have waited until the season is over to host their party. Field use is at a premium in Palo Alto and their action affects lots of families who now must drive their kids to another practice somewhere else and likely at another time that is not convenient. I doubt that Palatinr has any soccer parents on its staff given how young their workforce is, so whoever planned this event had no idea what they were disrupting. They certainly do not need another bad PR event to tarnish their image further. I say wait till the season is over and host your party as you wish. Displacing kids from their practice fields in favor of a corporate bash is NOT OK.


1 person likes this
Posted by Supply & Demand
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 29, 2017 at 8:36 am

Why not!

With noise and other ordinances in place who is afraid of who!

Is this a public gathering place? We attended many events in Cubberley in the past.

Don't use excuses for special interests!

Go Palantir!


14 people like this
Posted by Follow The Money
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 29, 2017 at 8:53 am

To the person above who said the city needs to be selling itself to avoid looking bad: Hello. The city's already been sold to the highest bidders and we the taxpayers are paying for it every day in real dollars for new "creative" increased fees, ridiculous salaries benefits, cushy consulting contracts, etc.

What do we get? Increased inconvenience and time-consuming traffic jams.


16 people like this
Posted by Paloantir
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 29, 2017 at 9:02 am

This is nothing but sour grapes by residents who think community interests are more important than the private interests of companies with the financial resources and influence to get what they want. In just a few years, Palantir has succeeded in populating boards and commissions with their employees, added community leaders to their payroll, circumvented downtown zoning regulations, bankrolled the leading pro development political organization and had their slate prevail in the recent city council election.
To the victors go the spoils. This unprecedented Cubberly deal is a small compensation by the city for such a powerful organization whose business model is clearly focused on the common good over their private gain.
Word is that they have even offered their branding team to help update our city moniker. We will soon be known to the world as Paloantir.


12 people like this
Posted by help from the inside
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2017 at 9:30 am

Supply

what corporate event have you attended at Cubberley?

only palantir could need a handout like this on "short notice" and like a parent succumbing to a child palo alto jumps to do the weirdest deal, squirrely contracts with volunteer groups and all.

either have palantir pay even near market prices for this or cancel

city has no business "selling" unless they know how to price, and doing charity for palantir is dumb



Like this comment
Posted by Paloantir
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 29, 2017 at 9:42 am

They won, you lost, get used to it, get over it.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 29, 2017 at 9:50 am

Gee soccer mom- are you one of the people who spoke up to take down the golf course so that more soccer fields could be put in? Why aren't you complaining about the fact that there are no soccer fields there and the golf course is a mess? I was on the board for AYSO and also played on the adult teams. Since that time Greer Park has been set up as well as El Camino Park. And if you have been on an adult team you already know that many fields are rented to adult teams that play all over the bay area. Soccer Moms are one of those "special interest" groups that try to drive the city programs - I was once one. Using part of the Cubberley fields is not a big game changer and I am not even sure if all of the soccer fields would be used. As to other complaints by the city I am in agreement but most of the items mentioned are permanent fixes that cannot be undone. I am also tired of the continual manipulation of the city resources by a small bunch of loud people.


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 29, 2017 at 9:53 am

The Commonwealth Club has used the auditorium on occasion - they are a corporation. There are a number of religious groups that have signs out there on Sunday. Are we being selective as to who can be at that location?


6 people like this
Posted by the price is right
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 29, 2017 at 10:02 am

resident -
The Commonwealth Club is a corporation, a NON-PROFIT corporation. Churches- also non-profit.

No issue with rental of city park picnic places, meeting rooms to private companies for events per se. The problem is allowing them to kick out groups who already had reservations- and the multi-week move-in for event not open to the public.


18 people like this
Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2017 at 10:04 am

Paloantir! Funny.
Paloantir Forward.
Remember that palantir provides the info that ICE needs to pick up, detain and deport immigrants all over the U.S. Including in Palo Alto. City Council passed a Resolution guaranteeing as much as possible a secure city for immigrant residents, safe from deportation.
The city field rental policies allow staff to refuse to rent to for- profit groups.
Palantir violates this Resolution and should not have been rented to.
Here's a final irony - in the use agreement, it promises us "a random act of kindness". I am sure a mom or dad or Dreamer will appreciate that when they are taken from their family and community and deported.


3 people like this
Posted by Paloantir
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 29, 2017 at 10:17 am

Thank you in advance to Palantir for your upcoming random act of kindness. Your benevolence is overwhelming. Rarely are we treated so kindly by our patriarchs.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 29, 2017 at 10:18 am

I still do not get why people are so invested in non-profits vs for-profit organizations. Go next door to Mountain View - all of those companies are for-profit and they actually get to pay taxes for that privilege. And Mountain View is booming. San Mateo is booming as is Redwood City - most new buildings are for profit ventures. So you all sit around and complain about what Palo Alto is doing yet you rail against any for-profit venture that pays taxes. So you all must be Bernie fans and are socialist - let the state take all of your money and give you free stuff. Sorry - that approach makes no sense.
Get over the socialist approach - the city is doing you no favors - it is taking your money but giving you little in return. Do you see a walking/bike bridge over 101? Do you see BART coming down the west side of the city? Every other city surrounding us is out pacing us on upgrades to their cities.


7 people like this
Posted by help from the inside
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2017 at 10:19 am


Scammy all around,

Not Palantir's fault though, they look like they stoop to anything and will continue

This one is on us, courtesy of our city management


16 people like this
Posted by Eye of Sauron
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 29, 2017 at 10:24 am

I like the idea of protest. Come on Palo Alto let's Occupy. As worthy a target as Wall Street. The impacts on our privacy and civil liberties by data mining companies such as Palintir impact the power structure as much as the money from Wall Street.

Let's get the brainstorming going. Doesn't have to rhyme w Palintir. Think about all the Lord of the Rings References. "Free The Shire". "Move to Mt Doom". "Stop corrupting Palo Alto".

Seriously let's do it.

And Palintir if you're reading this , a $100,000 donation to our Community Services would be a start. Still a bargain.


11 people like this
Posted by Paloantir
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 29, 2017 at 10:26 am

Maybe we could have a civic contest for the naming of their random act of kindness. How about "give us back our shire" or "don't tread on me"?


5 people like this
Posted by Eye of Sauron
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 29, 2017 at 10:43 am

Palo Alto's Airbnb hotels must be loving this. Bet Evergreen Park and Midtown sold out. "Room for rent in quiet suburban neighborhood near park $300 per night"


5 people like this
Posted by HMMM
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 29, 2017 at 10:52 am

@Resident. We have no reason to believe that Palantir pays anything in taxes beyond what they pay in real estate taxes. Read to the end of this quarterly report of sales tax revenue:
Web Link

NB Palantir is not on the list.


15 people like this
Posted by Paloantir
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 29, 2017 at 11:00 am

Word is that the Cubberley field was easier and quicker than knocking out the walls at city hall to accommodate them. We need to start planning now for their bigger venue next year once they have taken over the rest of downtown. Nothing we can do is too good for such a progressive company that we Palo Altans are so proud to have now represent our identity as a community.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2017 at 11:13 am

The underlying tone of this is getting nasty even if the individual posts are not.

The thing is, whether it is kids soccer or adult soccer, the fields were booked and they were bumped. That is not a nice thing to happen to anyone and financial compensation to the organization does not help the inconvenience to the individual players and families.

Palintir may be a city of Palo Alto company, but this is not going to be an event that many Palo Alto residents will be attending as from my understanding the employees are from all over the world as well as more local but not necessarily resident in Palo Alto.

If the company wants to endear itself to those of us who do live here (and I have no idea if that is something they plan to do), this event is not helping them do so.


2 people like this
Posted by You Don't Say
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 29, 2017 at 11:21 am

What doesn't rile the neighbors in Palo Alto?


24 people like this
Posted by Paloantir Forward.
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 29, 2017 at 11:24 am

How much does Palatir contribute to Palo Alto Forward? How much has it contributed to the uber-growth-at-any-cost City Council candidates? Who appointed so many Palantir employees to chair our various commissions and why?
How much did it contribute to Ms. Downing's pr campaign re our fair city?


17 people like this
Posted by Follow The Money
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 29, 2017 at 11:26 am

Palantir doesn't pay any real estate taxes or other local taxes; its landlords do.


26 people like this
Posted by Paloantir
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 29, 2017 at 11:45 am

Following the money is a nice, but outdated idea since the Palo Alto Forward supported candidates appear to have systematically violated FPPC laws by not reporting the occupations of large donors in the final days of the last campaign.
Maybe Palantir could use their data mining prowess to provide greater campaign finance transparency as their upcoming random act of kindness. That would be welcome, but don't put money on it.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 29, 2017 at 11:53 am

Follow the money - If Palantir is paying the lease holder then that cost is baked into the cost of the lease. That is standard.

As to profit and non-profit - If you are a for-profit company you have to have a product or service that people need or want and you have to invest time and energy to market it, sell it, and have the financial records available for audit when you provide a tax return. That may be overwhelming for a lot of people. That skill set is lacking in many people.

In a non-profit your product is elusive and you are typically trying to get a federally funded grant. Or in the case of the Sierra Club and KQED you solicit contributions to support their stated goals but they are actually taking part of that money and floating it to the DNC - or in the Sierra Club's case BLM. There is a huge non-profit pool that everyone gets into and they all donate to each other. And some of the money is coming from federal grants. The goals and ability to reach those goals is a loose and unstructured combination.
If you want to see the value of for-profit companies go next door to Mountain View and visit Shoreline Park, Michael's Restaurant, the golf course, and then wind over to the new athletic fields. And they have a walk/bike underpass to 101 and bridge over Alma.
Then you can go down to our golf course, bay trail with environmental center that is always closed, and bay area that has few redeeming features. We always have these goals and discussions but nothing happens. The business model for MV, RC, SM, etc is far superior.


5 people like this
Posted by Gary B
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 29, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Yeah yeah, but what I want to know (as a person who can see their ginormous tent from my kitchen window) is how to score me some tickets for the after party?

I hear the Illuminati really know how to throw a party.


6 people like this
Posted by Paloantir
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 29, 2017 at 1:06 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Gary B
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 29, 2017 at 1:11 pm

While I seriously want after party tickets instead of a stupid notice that they'd be setting up a tent. Here's what I think would be a fair exchange:

The bleachers at the Cubbeley running field should probably be closed (they already are on one side). We had a couple over for dinner last night and I took their young kids out to see the tent. They immediately climbed up the bleachers and it became clear how dangerous they are. Boards are rotting, some marginal, splinters everywhere, no backing covers so kids can easily fall through under the seats. Come in and block half the field for 17 days, but leave with new bleachers so that there is a material improvement to the site you used (and it's not much more than the price they paid).

Oh, and after party tickets for the neighbors! Sheesh, what is their PR department thinking?


Like this comment
Posted by Nothing to see here
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 29, 2017 at 2:17 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Lots to see here
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 29, 2017 at 3:11 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


14 people like this
Posted by help from the inside
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2017 at 3:11 pm

did the soccer teams sell their spots to Palantir?

field privileges should not for sale by one team

New bleachers
Donation to AYSO
100,000 to community services

ways already mentioned for the billion dollar company to say a proper "thank you" for bailing them out of their total disorganization, how do you not have a place for 1,500 months months in advance?






Like this comment
Posted by Nothing to see here
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 29, 2017 at 3:54 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 29, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Maybe they can fix up the bathrooms while they are at it. If people have great Clothes on then they would like an updated bathroom. The women's room.


9 people like this
Posted by Kenneth M
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 29, 2017 at 4:56 pm

I for one am outraged at the white tent after all we should be respectful of all races and minorities whether or not you are white or brown or oriental

this is our town and it is important we keep to our heritage and force palantir to erect tents of all colors and ethnicities

just my two sense


19 people like this
Posted by Kenneth M
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 29, 2017 at 4:59 pm

yet another reason why i am going to vote AGAINST these fat cat incumbent palantir counselpeople in the upcoming election this fall

i hope everyone follows suit and votes with their VOTES instead of being passive and leading to the fall of our city


12 people like this
Posted by Louise68
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 29, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Why should any city allow any company whose business is based on doing what is legal but should be illegal -- selling every bit of private and personal information to the highest bidder -- to even do business within it borders?

I detest every company that does this. Data-mining is wrong, and should be illegal.

There is no real justification for the City of Palo Alto to allow this horrible company to do anything within its borders, including holding a huge party that will create huge problems for nearby residents and those who want to use the nearby shopping center. There must be a really good reason to put people through all the traffic jams and the noise that party will cause.

Sadly, "legal" does not always mean "moral". I wish it did.

I would give an example, but that example would get the good ol' "[portion removed]" treatment. My entire comment may get the usual "[Post removed.]" treatment. Embarcadero Media is too heavy-handed in its moderation of Comments. Sigh.......


8 people like this
Posted by a CONCERNED citizen
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2017 at 5:50 pm

I have to keep this brief. If they find me, they will make me "disappear" like a CIA AGENT WOULD. I read about this from a trustworthy source on the dark web... some hacker forums that you have to break into the CIA to get access to. Luckily I am a Class 7 British Hacker with tremendous respect and honour in the community.

These people are secretly responsible for trying to undermine the government of the world. I read this on a very reputable hacker tumblr.

They have developed quantum computing capable of tearing interdimensional portals open and transporting in reptoids. What are reptoids you might ask? Well it may seem crazy but it's totally true.

Reptoids are an interdimensional race disguising themselves as human beings which have infiltrated the global power structures to enslave the human race and turn all of us into Reptoid food. Some argue that the only ones capable of seeing Reptoids are psychics although by way of employing tinfoil hats one could conceivably disrupt thought-control beams long enough to sneak a glance at a Reptoid during it's morph-in-time.

Reptoids are known to live in giant underground cave complexes, where they spend government moneys on their extensive furcadia accounts. They have been seen with wings, horns, bumper stickers, and at Trump rallies. They regularly subvert human relationships to create their alien-reptile-human hybrids. The most noteworthy one, I am told, is Dick Cheney.

I don't know how long it will be before I am tracked down or this comment is removed. Our only hope is the quantum vibration I have sent into the past. With any luck, we can stop the reptoid menace.


12 people like this
Posted by Shed LIGHT on the problem
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 29, 2017 at 6:10 pm

This is just another high tech company trying to subvert the small town/rustic feeling of Palo Alto. I've just about had it. I have been in Palo Alto since the 60's and remember the days when I could walk down University Ave without seeing kids with motorized boosted boards and scooters ripping across the sidewalk.

I remember a calmer time when rent was cheap, taxes were low, employment rates were high (they've dropped dramatically since tech started), and we were FINE without the Facebooks and Googles in our backyard.

There is NO benefit to tech. Period. They are greedy, posioning the bay with their electronic waste, jamming up our airwaves, exposing our kids to RAMPANT CONSUMERISM.

Palo Alto is bigger than this. We deserve better. [Portion removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by Altermative Factoids Forward
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 29, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Dear Concerned Citizen, if you're going to subvert all the world's democratic governments and replace them with authoritarian regimes, it's critical to know the players, their associations, their associates, their beliefs and how to sway their opinions.

How else will you eliminate sex ed, birth control, critical thinking, investigative reporting, the EPA etc. while privatizing the national parks, the schools etc.


6 people like this
Posted by Kenneth M
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 29, 2017 at 6:34 pm

that is a good point altermative factoids forward

this is why i refuse to give out my social security number to banks and companies and the government.


8 people like this
Posted by Alternative Factoids Forward
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 29, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Kenneth M, thank you kindly. Re your point about the white tent being discriminatory, you're absolutely right, We should make it green to avoid any tinge of racial and/or ethnic discrimination.

Whether the green is because we're now Tree City -- check out the new signs -- or for the Utilities Schtick where the more you conserve the more you pay while providing more energy to all the new residents/commuters or for the money flowing from us to subsidize uber-development, the choice is yours.

We spin. You decide. It's the Palo Alto Way.


14 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 29, 2017 at 7:05 pm

you all realize that Palanitar is paying for this using your tax payer dollars? After all a majority of the their revenue is from the government.

And they will also claim a deduction for a "charitable contribution" to the youth soccer organizations that they kicked off the field, and a business expense for renting the field..


2 people like this
Posted by Nothing to see here
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 29, 2017 at 7:06 pm

Shed light- LOL. Thanks for a very amusing post. If there is no benefit to tech, why are you using your computer/cell phone/tablet to post on this forum?


17 people like this
Posted by Juicero . $120M
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 30, 2017 at 1:25 am

@Nothing to see here -- maybe poor Shed Light's just perplexed by all the copycat startups and copycat VCs. Check out the articles on Juicero and the $120,000,000 wasted because the the vcs couldn't be bothered to apply the common-sense test or even to user-test their own product. But hey, they thought they had a Keurig-coffee pod cash machine.

Once upon a time, the HP's of the world cared about satisfying consumer needs and being good community citizens. They set up charitable foundations, gave the town a movie theater, a hospital pavilion and didn't wiretap their own boards.

But companies like HP "evolved" and spent $8 BILLION to buy a company like Autonomy without bothering about due diligence or talking to the company's customers to see if the stuff even worked. Cue HP suing Autonomy, the acquired company, for taking their money! (Ironically, Autonomy was in the same field as data mining field as Palantir!)

So give poor Shed Light and the rest of us a break at being, er, bemused at the current state of affairs, being inconvenienced for 3 weeks by a multi-billion dollar, cywondering if WE'RE going to get stuck paying for the Cubberly repairs and wondering how a multi-billion dollar company can't even plan a single corporate event.

Somehow companies like Google that are 10+ times Palantir's size managed to hold holiday parties and corporate events all over the bay area in all sorts of creative places without draining the community. For DECADES.

Too bad neither Mr. Keene nor Palantir thought to call them and avoided this stupid mess. And these are the folks running PA these days!

Unfortunately there's lots to see here -- and it ain't pretty.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm

If you are concerned that Palantirs' money is coming from a government agency - read taxpayer dollars - Palantir is being paid for work done as the request of the government. And as a government contractor they are paying all of the associated payroll taxes which include the FICA contribution and taxes on profit. So they are working a contract funded by taxpayer dollars that also generates tax payments at the county, state, and federal level. That includes most companies on the stock exchange who interact with the government on export issues, etc. HP also works government contracts, as does Oracle. The Government is the biggest contractor out there.

And if you want to point to non-profits most of their efforts are funded by government provided grants - either through the federal government, state government, or federally funded universities -example UC. The UC's laboratories are totally funded by the government - Lawrence Livermore, etc.
I totally do not get what the fascination is with trying to point to taxpayer dollars either generated by for-profit companies that then get shuffled to non-profit companies / universities that use taxpayer dollars and are dependent on the receipt of same.
I am more concerned that your taxpayer dollars at the state and federal level are going to the UC system which is gouging the students, enriching the administrative and upper teaching staff at unheard of amounts, has a band of ninja, black suited terrorist that the UC system does not take responsibility for. Not a peep from the Board of Regents. Governor, Vice Mayor, Napolitano - all of which can control that situation with a word.
Get angry about the right taxpayer issues = you are paying for those black suited ninja terrorists. You are paying for the UC system gouging the students.


19 people like this
Posted by Alternative Factoids Forward
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 30, 2017 at 12:30 pm

@resident, you think we don't know that? You think we admire his vindictiveness in targeting high-tax Blue states like CA and NY by eliminating our deductions of state and local taxes??

You think we forgot Hillary won by 3,000,000 votes even while being trashed by the alt-right crowd spewing lies about her sex ring in a non-existent basement? You think we forgot about the multi-million dollars spent "investigating" Benghazi while the HR Oversight Committee ignores the hijacking of the election and Russia's payments to Flynn and other Trumpsters? You think we don't know who Trump's appointed to his cabinet and which of our rights are at stake?

You think we forgot about the incessant war on facts, the free press, science, all criticism, the EPA, birth control, etc. etc?

I could go on but I assume you get the point.

The hijacking of governments by authoritarians for personal gain ain't pretty whether it's here in Palo Alto, nationally or all over Europe and Turkey.


22 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm

@resident, I object to spending my taxes and my personal funds to subsidize Palantir's growth by paying for parking meters, parking permits, commuters entering and leaving PA as dictated by the Palntir-run TMA. I object to spending my time and money to drive way out of my way to avoid gridlock and their 3-week takeover of Cubberly.

And I really object to Palantir's buddies on the City Council and the commissions who encourage their followers to distort and/or ignore the facts while incessantly attacking critics and telling us to leave if we disagree with them as they give their developer buddies all sorts of breaks.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 30, 2017 at 12:45 pm

If you want to point to companies that receive tax payer dollars for use in snooping in your life then you can look to companies like Microsoft that develop the platforms that facilitate same. All of your so-called commercial snooping companies are sitting over in Mountain View, including Microsoft. In the SJM today Mountain View got best marks for city growth and development which is based on the commercial companies that are over there. Menlo Park is blossoming with Facebook - another major snooping effort. Meanwhile Tesla and Palantir are getting busted for being here and talking to the current administration that is in power to keep their businesses afloat. From where I am sitting they can do much better in San Mateo County. Hey guys - give it a thought - Palo Alto is doing you no favors.


9 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 30, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Taxpayer - I also agree that the City council has gone south on us and we have to watch the suspects very carefully. I have no interests in developers taking over - they are another of the snooping agencies looking for soft spots to exploit. At least we are getting more knowledgeable as to who they are and who they represent. there are snoopers at the personal level - and snoopers at a totally different level that does not concern most people on a daily basis.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 30, 2017 at 12:55 pm

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 30, 2017 at 1:35 pm

I take it you know nothing about Benghazi. We created that problem way back when by providing armaments to the "other side" who then ended up shooting our own people with said armaments. Our people went into try and get those armaments back but ended up dead in a totally horrible manner. And HRC and company told a total lie as to why that happened - even lying to the parents. That is HRC's major flaw - she makes up stories about situations which then forces the entire D party to support - even though they know it is a lie - which then unravels and all liars then become exposed. Please do us all a favor by starting an accusation at the beginning - not the end.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 30, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Back to the topic at hand - I went over to the Cubberley site and all soccer fields are full employed with children playing soccer. The tent is in a fenced off section where the fence always existed. So no soccer fields are being "vandalized" by foreign visitors. From what I could see the tent isolates the section and should not bother the residents. This is on the side of the parking lot in back where the homeless people used to park so be happy that the area has been cleaned up and is fairly presentable.


26 people like this
Posted by Palantir is not well liked by Palo Altans
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 30, 2017 at 8:26 pm

To be clear, the tent is on top of the one large turf field, which is regularly used for games and practices, especially for older and more advanced players. Maybe you couldn't see it because the tent was on top of (half of) it...

In my mind, the issue isn't whether the money paid should be $1000/day or $10,000/day; or whether eliminating the playing field for 2.5 weeks has inconvenienced 150 kids/parents or 1,500 kids/parents. Rather, it is about the policy of selling off our public properties to corporations, especially during their prime use period; whether appropriate process was followed (if there is such a thing in this case); and whether this is (another) indication that corporations and more generally those with deep pockets are getting undue prioritization by our city over residents. There is also significant latent dislike of Palantir that is exacerbating all of this. (Though I appreciate their attempt to use humor on this thread to deflect the acrimony.)


2 people like this
Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 30, 2017 at 9:34 pm

resident: Except, how is the west side of the turf field accessible by anyone? The whole area is fenced off, locked up and patrolled by guards?


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 30, 2017 at 10:20 pm

I don't see how any children today were inconvenienced. The whole place was teaming with children of all ages all playing. So what were you all going to do the week coming up? Did the city give you an alternate place - like Greer Park? That is usually empty during the week. The coaches of your teams should have been given an alternate location during the week. No one has reported if they asked the city .


16 people like this
Posted by Inside influence
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Someone here recalled the backroom deal for 27 University, the Arrillaga-Stanford mega plan. When the public heard about it, it went down with a thud. Those backroom deals and his advocacy for the developer's plan led to the resignation of Assistant City Manager Steve Emslie.
This deal with Palantir is another backroom deal. Seems to be the City Manager's specialty, making backroom deals with billionaires.

P.S.Steve Emslie is back. He is now working for the Castilleja developers, shepherding that project through the city process. Adds an extra bad odor to the plan.
Bad reputations don't seem to matter to aggressive developers. There's money to be made.


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 30, 2017 at 11:36 pm

Can someone define "turf"? Without a qualifier, does that mean natural turf, like grass? Or artificial turf, like toxic materials?


14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2017 at 11:57 pm

Ths brings to mind the vague large technology donations Liz Kniss got, and of course no one has ever asked what perks Palantir has given its employees and spouses to railroad over Palo Alto for its selfish wants. This was an extremely bad deal for Palo Alto, but in keeping with how Palantir has been all take take take and give nothing back. They need to find a new location where they can grow and where their selfish tactics will actually be in keeping with their host town's goal, but they never will so long as they can continue to use Palo Alto like this.

Someone above was touting what other tiwns are doing, but I don't see Palantir planning to move to any of them, do you?


4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 1, 2017 at 7:29 am

There is a whole area that is going to be developed in San Mateo County / San Francisco County on empty fields that are now owned by the RR. If you ride Caltrain you can see the expanse of open, unused land that is near the tracks. The next time someone/IBAG tells you to tear down and develop more next to the tracks tell them that there is plenty of land next to the tracks that is owned by the RR or the cities and state. The state can use it's own land to build on. The state is in a land acquisition mode - your land.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 1, 2017 at 7:33 am

The older players are at school on teams that play on the school property. Likewise the younger players are on school property during the week.
The tent is not on the grass fields where kids are playing organized tournaments.


2 people like this
Posted by Alternate Factoids Forward
a resident of College Terrace
on May 1, 2017 at 7:56 am

[Post removed.]


24 people like this
Posted by Paloantir
a resident of Community Center
on May 1, 2017 at 8:06 am

Two main issues need to be answered by the city council and staff. The first is about how city fields, that are supposed to be allocated according to established Community Services policies, suddenly became available for other purposes to a private, for profit company. The second is why long established policies were broken with no public notice to serve the interests of this particular company which has established abnormally strong influence on our elections and our civic bodies.
Does the Weekly or members of the public plan to seek public records about communications between council members or staff about how this came about?


1 person likes this
Posted by Pat Markevitch
a resident of Downtown North
on May 1, 2017 at 9:03 am

Musical: Turf refers to artificial turf. The tent is located on the turf field. The grass fields are located along the back of the Cubberley site along the fence. It can be confusing.


6 people like this
Posted by Bigger Fish to Fry
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on May 1, 2017 at 9:23 am

The principle of renting out space to a company that calls Palo Alto home and brings loads of money to town is fine. Whoever negotiated the rent was asleep and was working far beyond their capabilities...
Plopping it at the end of a playing field and covering the track for 2 weeks was stupid.


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 1, 2017 at 9:38 am

These are my questions and concerns.

1. Was anyone bumped and can someone who was bumped explain what alternatives have been offered?

2. When this agreement was reached and a rental fee was agreed, was this a daily fee, a weekly fee, or a flat fee? I have been part of family or non-profit rentals and we had a time limit of when we could set up and when we had to have cleared up. The rental fee in my opinion should be on a daily basis.

3. What types of other accommodations were made? Liquor license, noise license, come to mind? Were generators part of the deal?

4. Has a precedent now arisen that for profits can now rent public space? If so, what are the arrangements for such rentals. Can they bump other groups? If so that is grossly unfair. Should they stand in line (or camp overnight) for popular group rentals just like any other renter?

5. What would such a precedent mean to other groups such as AYSO, Little League, etc.? Do they now become lower in the pecking order?

6. Should the City devote some particular facility, such as (perhaps) space at places like Foothill Park, the Baylands, the Golf Course, or other facilities that would less likely disrupt sports leagues, etc. that can be occasionally (how often to be debated) rented out to Palo Alto businesses for corporate and/or employee events?

7. Is there going to be a "next time"?


5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 1, 2017 at 1:02 pm

What's the point of having money if you can't out-bid the less well-off?


2 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on May 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Marie is a registered user.

Resident - what great questions! I hope you sent them on to the city council: city.council@cityofpaloalto.org


5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 2, 2017 at 7:31 am

Time for the soccer community to address the supposed soccer fields that are suppose to be in the baylands on the golf course property. If those soccer fields are completed many adult teams can be moved over there freeing up the fields that are more local for children. Righteous indignation is chomping on the bit for soccer fields.


12 people like this
Posted by Priced Out By Palantir 2.0
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 2, 2017 at 11:15 am

Time for the city govt, the city council and the commissioners to start addressing the needs of the residents and neighborhoods for a change.

Moving the soccer fields out to the Baylands will only create more traffic and worsen gridlock.


12 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 2, 2017 at 11:59 am

Wow!!!
This article has over 9,000 views and 160 comments to date! People are obviously very concerned about this topic.
I hope that folks will email the city council ( city.council@cityofpaloalto.org. )or go to speak at city hall in the "Oral Communications" time, which takes place at the beginning of every meeting for Issues that are not on the agenda that evening.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 2, 2017 at 5:37 pm

[Portion removed due to inaccurate information.]

The golf course had other issues so all was suppose to be addressed at the same time. It is a perfect place for the adult teams which pay to use our fields. Yes - many adult leagues pay to use our fields. That is a great place for the adult teams.


25 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 4, 2017 at 2:58 pm

It is great for Palantir to grow but it should be time for them to find a campus and move away from Palo Alto.
They use wifi jammers, armed guards,... If they need so much security, downtown is clearly not where they should be.
I've rarely seen such bad traffic today.....
Palantir should move away and let the startup scene come back downtown our city.


7 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 5, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Above Inside Influence listed all the Palantir employees who sit -- or sat -- on PA's various committes and said a few might have been missed.

Among those is Bob McGrew on Traffic Management Committee, vice-Chair of the Palo Alto TMA (Transportation Management Assoc); Palantir employee

I was surprised to read in the Daily News this morning that he also sits on the Imagine Menlo steering coommitte, "a member-funded business-friendly nonprofit formed after city voters in 2014 backed a measure to restrict office development."

He's going to tackle their parking problems, too!

Who knew! Maybe that explains all the "Available for lease" signs there and my poor personal-services person's recent troubles with her landlord I heard all about earlier this week.


18 people like this
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on May 5, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Our house backs up to the Cubberley track. The tent went up with no notice. We found out later that they would be there for over 2 weeks.

Bernie set up the night before, was gone the day of, and made a lot less noise. The dog agility competitions also set up and left equipment overnight but we're gone the next day and only used a small fraction of field space. Palantir makes us unable to use the track and we only have one of those at the facility.

The $41k is insanely below market for a corporate event. The $20k to soccer teams was a nice token gesture. I understand this was an olive branch from the city since Palantir was in a tough spot but the precedent of taking over city parks for weeks at a time to hold corporate events for below market rates is not a good precedent for our community.


17 people like this
Posted by Resident near Cubberley
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 5, 2017 at 7:50 pm

The word that springs to my mind to describe Palantir's erecting a building atop a recreational facility for more than a week: "obscene." And of course inappropriate, intrusive, offensive.

Avoiding political issues, all sorts of things got trampled by their event. In the decades we have lived here I've seen groups use facilities for an hour, sometimes as much as a weekend, whether soccer, softball, rugby, ultimate frisbee, plenty more.. But I have never seen any group shut down a park 24 hours a day for a week and a half, for any reason whatsoever. It's a park and a recreational facility; it isn't just soccer players who use that. Lots of us try to run or walk that track. That's what parks are for!

Right now it's Friday night, they have trucks parked all around the running track and their music is pounding its way into my living room, drowning out my stereo. Many are the times I have run or walked that track at night, but I certainly can't tonight. The list of offenses is endless. Why did they have to put the building up where it blocks the track as well as the field? If you want to know what's wrong with approving that event, just invite them to put it up on Stanford campus, or on Jordan field or even Mitchell Park next year. You'll get plenty of opinions. It would be good form to listen to those opinions.

Meanwhile I sure hope the noise abates soon...


18 people like this
Posted by 17 days for Palantir
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 5, 2017 at 7:55 pm

@Resident, it's not just a week and a half. It's 17 days. Agree that the City made a big mistake here, and I hope that people recognize that Palantir is a real problem for our City.


6 people like this
Posted by Anagrams for PALANTIR
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 5, 2017 at 10:52 pm

[Post removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by dudley
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 6, 2017 at 7:00 am

okay.
the party is over.
the loud music is done.
it's time for them to go.
there is no reason that the take down of this event should take another five days. i think it would behoove everyone involved if that time line was pushed upon and it happened faster. the sooner that big ugly white monstrousity of a tent is gone the sooner we get back to not caring about it.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident near Cubberley
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 6, 2017 at 7:09 am

Parks are beautiful land owned by all of us, set aside so all can enjoy them. Cubberley is my park, and yours too.

It would be hard to do anything weirder than what Palantir is doing, even still as I write this. The track and field that has bleachers where we sit sometimes in the sun or evening light, the track ringed by redwoods that is peaceful in the mornings and evenings, is locked. The chain-link fences have opaque fabrics hung on them, engines are churning around the clock. When I open the unlocked gate at the back side near the school, a uniformed security guard asks me what I want, and takes exception if I step one step inside to see what hath Palantir wrought. Dude, this is my park, and I want to enjoy it, that's what I want.

As my kids would say, WTF? I don't know how this came about and I don't choose to spend my time looking into it, but I hope someone delivers a biting message to whoever set this up. Foothills Park is also a Palo Alto park, and you cannot point to a bunch of official users, so why not cause a giant corporation to lock that park for two weeks, erect a huge building with a heavy footprint, put up curtains so no one can look inside? Arastradero Park? There are only bird-watchers, hikers, kids and people like that. Nobody uses it, in other words. The opposite of NIMBY is IYBY, so that's what you did to me, dude. I can't type what I think of you because it would cause this post to be deleted. So just: thank you very much!


4 people like this
Posted by PaloAltoResident
a resident of Community Center
on May 6, 2017 at 10:18 am

See Web Link

That document doesn't make any sense in justifying what is clearly a "special deal" to Palantir. The people to blame here start with Kristen O’Kane, Assistant Director, Community Services at 650-463-4908 or Kristen.o’kane@cityofpaloalto.org


2 people like this
Posted by Calm down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 6, 2017 at 11:38 am

The city rents facilities to all sorts below market rates. I once rented a city building for a day for $5 to throw a party. Now if you want to question why city rents out space for cheap, please do, but Palantir as a member of our community is just taking advantage of something that is available to all. Complaining about this specific case is just because people don't like what they think Palantir does.


15 people like this
Posted by Patrick Toland
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 6, 2017 at 8:49 pm

So the soccer clubs get $10,000 while they drive the disruption down to Palo Alto Girls Softball.

Of course, I didn't learn about the situation until this morning when our 14 year olds' playoff softball game was disrupted by soccer moving onto our field. We have been playing at Cubberley for more than 35 years yet no one offered to support our endeavors despite disruption. And frankly the soccer clubs should have taken time off in exchange for the financial support.

Makes me mad.


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