In this week's Around Town column, catch up on the State of the County address delivered by Joe Simitian, a former Palo Alto mayor and current Board of Supervisors president, and Stanford University breaking ties with the city over parking enforcement at its medical facilities.
RESIST AND PERSIST ... It's been a busy past year for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, which has split its time between resisting President Donald Trump, building "all-inclusive" playgrounds and managing a $6.5 billion enterprise known as county government. On Tuesday, the board's newly elected President Joe Simitian, a former Palo Alto mayor, delivered a "State of the County" speech, which recapped recent accomplishments and focused on the theme of "partnerships and progress." Simitian emphasized the need to partner with cities, schools, nonprofits and "all the good people of this county, whoever they are, whatever they look like and wherever they came from." As an example, he cited Buena Vista Mobile Home Park in Palo Alto, which was on the verge of shuttering but was saved thanks to a collaboration between the city, the county, school leaders, the park's residents association, the community group Friends of Buena Vista, the Housing Authority of Santa Clara County, Caritas and various other nonprofits. "Now, I highlight Buena Vista today not as a history lesson — but as a lesson for the future — that partnerships are key to the progress we must make." Alluding to Trump's immigration policies, Simitian also rejected any characterization of foreign-born residents as "other." "I have to tell you, I look out in our chambers today and I see no 'other,'" he said. "I see only partners — past, present, and most importantly, partners for the future, partners in progress for the coming year, and in all the years ahead."
THE BIG SWITCH ... Breaking with decades of tradition, the Palo Alto Police Department will no longer patrol parking facilities around Stanford University Medical Center or collect revenues from parking tickets at the university's lots and garages, according to an agreement that the City Council approved Monday night. The agreement, which was requested by Stanford, calls on the city to relinquish its authority over the private parking facilities at the university's medical facilities. A report from the Police Department states that Stanford will now be "responsible for the costs of staffing, vehicles and parking citation hardware and software." The reason for the switch mostly has to do with technology. Stanford Parking and Transportation Services has just switched to a new permit system that uses "virtual permits." The system requires new enforcement technology, such as automated license plate readers, which the Police Department does not use. The agreement pertains to five off-street facilities near the hospital at 217 Quarry Road, Sweet Olive Way, 215 Quarry Road, 800 Welch Road and 780 Welch Road. Stanford will process all parking invoices and retain revenues from parking citations, according to the report. With Stanford lots no longer in its purview, Palo Alto police plan to enhance their enforcement of abandoned vehicles, parking violations around California Avenue and other areas that the Police Department has been "unable to consistently enforce," according the report. City officials cannot say at this time what impact this re-appropriation of resources will have on the bottom line, the report states.