News

Webcast: Who are the RV dwellers?

Reporters share their experiences of interviewing people living in controversial vehicles

Weekly journalists discuss the diverse community of people living in recreational vehicles along El Camino Real and the various circumstances that brought them there.

Watch the webcast here or listen to the podcast version of the episode here.

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Webcasts are posted every Friday afternoon on PaloAltoOnline.com, as well as on Palo Alto Online's YouTube channel, youtube.com/paweekly.

Check out previous weeks' episodes in the "Behind the Headlines" archive.

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Comments

23 people like this
Posted by Joyce
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 13, 2019 at 3:20 pm

Hello,

It's dangerous for these campers, trailers, etc. to be parked on El Camino Real in Palo Alto.

VTA oversized/double-sized and Stanford Marguerite buses, UPS trucks, cement trucks, dirt hauler trucks (due to all the construction), cars, etc., need to drive in TWO LANES TO GET PAST THE CAMPERS/TRAILERS PARKED ON EL CAMINO.

Today, I was almost run off of El Camino, as a VTA bus needed to drive in two lanes to get past a huge blue bus and trailer, both of which have been parked in the same location on El Camino Real

Since July 2, 2019 a huge blue school bus, with broken windows has been parked on El Camino near Maybell Ave, License # 6VMJ483, and a trailer was dumped in this same location, on July 9, 2019, License # HH6595. Kids are attending camps at the pre-schools, elementary, middle and high schools in this area.

These vehicles have been parked for more than 72 hours, and yet, they are still parked in this same location.

On this stretch of El Camino Real, bicyclists riding on El Camino, are squeezed between the campers parked on El Camino and vehicles traveling on this road. It's a dangerous stretch of road.




12 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 14, 2019 at 8:08 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I think the journalist for the Weekly should start at the top of the issue instead of working up from the bottom of the issue. When journalist interview individual people in these situations you are making them the spokesperson for the issue. In most cases the issues are more complicated then any one person that is interviewed. And those individuals are not the spokespersons for the issue.

I would like the journalist to start with city hall and interview who ever is fronting the allowance of this problem and what the decision making process is for that person who is in charge. What is the police chief planning on doing? What is the mayor planning on doing? What are the laws on the books for PA at this time? Focus on how the problem is being navigated by the people who are responsible and in charge. Then we know who to go after. We want names for these people and city departments that are allowing this. And if there are organizations which are influencing city hall then who are they? What is SU's take on this matter? What is their official position?
The people being interviewed have any number of issues which we the citizens have no control over. And the city has no control over.
Deal with what we do have control over and that is misuse of property that is dedicated to the public at large. And the public does not agree with the approach the city is allowing at this time. And I am not interested in any one churches position on this issue - they are not solving any problems.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 14, 2019 at 11:29 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I was in Redwood City over the weekend and on a side street next to a shopping center on El Camino the police were there getting ready to haul off a truck filled with someone's stuff. The owner was there getting cited. Other cities do not fool around with any suspicious activity. And the looks of the person and the stuff in the truck was very suspicious. Some cities are on top of suspicious activity and make it clear what is - and what is not tolerated. Shape up or ship out. Loud and Clear.


15 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 15, 2019 at 12:53 am

eileen is a registered user.

After watching, "Behind the Headlines", I was extremely turned off by the TIMID and BIASED (toward RV dwellers),
approach these journalists took toward this sensitive issue. Not to mention they only interviewed a small fraction of RV dwellers! They made it seem like all our concerns were answered. This is NOT GOOD journalism!!
There are a TON's of Palo Alto residents who are TOTALLY fed up with RV's lining up and down
El Camino and other side streets! Please address their concerns too!! And, allowing 10 people to live in an RV
with small children is not right!! Social services, the city, or a church group, should be helping these people transition into housing.
This is a family who lost their housing in San Jose and is now living in a trailer with small children
on the streets of Palo Alto. Yes, the males now have some kind of work but It's not right to have young children living (cramped) in an RV!! And don't start talking about the lack of affordable housing... Yes, you are right, but allowing people to live in unsanitary conditions on the streets is NOT OK. Create an RV park with facilities (Oh, we have one) OK, another one, where there are showers and toilets!!


4 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2019 at 11:49 am

I agree with others that the city, county, or possibly churches should help create new permanent and affordable housing for these persons now living in all types of vehicles. A new RV Park with full bathroom facilities and cooking facilities would be important for kids and adults. Many of us are just that “one paycheck away”....also. As we should as a nation, we are providing shelter, food, full bathroom facilities and sleeping facilities for persons wanting to entire the USA. Some in Congress complain that it is substandard. However! Many homeless or vehicle-living citizens are not being provided even the same as these hopeful-to-be new immigrants. We should at least provide the same for our tens of thousands of citizens in need.


10 people like this
Posted by Stanford's juristiction
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that policing the Stanford side of ECR (where most of the RVs are parked) is under the juristiction of Stanford's PD, not PAPD. Since a number of the RV dwellers appear to be commuters who do construction work at Stanford during the week, this might explain why there has been no effort to clear the RVs except on Stanford football week-ends.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 15, 2019 at 4:16 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I think it is time that the Palo Alto City take a position and do something rather than the citizens objecting and the "journalist" trying to generate sympathy. Your not going to get it. I drove by on El Camino one morning and saw a person get out of his RV in business attire with briefcase and get into his car that was in front of the RV. He does not need to be parked on El Camino. He could be parked in a location that allows RV's - presumably near his work.
Come on City of Palo Alto - step up to the plate here and quit ducking around the "sympathy" play. We have a new city manager - but he comes from San Jose. Are we getting pressured by other cities? Are we getting pressured by the county?


2 people like this
Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2019 at 11:20 pm

The hate and fear in many of the comments here may reflect the precariousness of the writers, actually.

It's surprising how many name corporations now are 'zombies' that borrow money to operate, to pay dividends, to buyback stock, and to pay 8-9 figures to CEO's. A credit crunch today could easily be broader and more damaging than 2008. It's also true that while our country has to take care of itself, making an enemy of most of the world as Washington is doing adds nothing but risk, especially in Pac Rim California.

Remember that an increasing proportion of US GDP is being routed, bought, by the uppermost income institutions and individuals, squeezing most of the population relentlessly. US productivity has drastically increased since the 1970's while wages have been basically flat. This really signals that Capitalism without some reform is failing. The most basic reform would be to the US Pay-To-Play political system which is slowly ruining us with institutionalized corruption. But now that means an unlikely Constitutional Amendment.

Perhaps people could watch and remember the RV dwellers and how they equip the RV's. Cars too, of course. Another approach for home owners in the worst case would be to subdivide rooms with plywood and rent them by the day or week. If you keep an RV in your garage as well, just make sure it's all paid for. Good luck to everyone.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 16, 2019 at 9:11 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

People keep using "hate and fear" as the rationale for actions which can be viewed as undesirable. I don't think it is hate and fear but wonderment that in this day and age when anyone can access knowledge on their computers that so many people are still in a state of unpreparedness to live life.
Examples -
1. There was a half page story in the NYT about a person growing plants for heroin in Mexico who was now in financial trouble because heroin is being displaced by other drugs. So person in half page story thinks he will now immigrate to the US. Hello? Try growing another plant. Try going to Mexico City for another job. So people sitting there can't think up any alternative except migrating to America. To do what? Grow another plant.
2. Many groups in the area are marching to help the immigrants. Has anyone - specifically the churches or legal groups think it a good idea to go down to one of the countries and organize protests within the countries to get what they want - education, health, jobs. Each of those countries has a president so go after that government. People in China are doing that.

Bottom line is that people are being coached to come here without exercising their rights as citizens of those other countries to get the countries to function on year 2019 standards. Those are the same standards that have been around for centuries. Those countries are all in the UN and other organizations. It is not like people have to think up how a country is suppose to work.


Like this comment
Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2019 at 5:25 pm

@ Resident - That reads like a new subject. No one has suggested that the RV dwellers in PA or Mountain View are border jumpers. Are you saying their labor market is affected?

Not that many people out of metro areas in Mexico are likely to have access to computers/Internet. In such areas the simple cell phone is the big innovation as it allows such an expansion of communications and business. It also gets around the expense of wiring up everything. Someone growing opium poppies (?) is unlikely to be living in an area where the government is actually dominant. Don't know, the NYT is paywalled.

Some on the US Right envy Mexico its hierarchical social order and caste system with Native American speakers at the bottom, I guess outside major cities. They envy its oligarchy. Something like that is the legacy of our core Confederate Culture Area and people still vote for it. It's a country within a country.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

1. There was a half page story in the NYT about a person growing plants for heroin in Mexico who was now in financial trouble because heroin is being displaced by other drugs. So person in half page story thinks he will now immigrate to the US.

Is this the article you are referring to?

Web Link

>> Hello? Try growing another plant. Try going to Mexico City for another job. So people sitting there can't think up any alternative except migrating to America. To do what? Grow another plant.

The brothers described in the article, Ricardo and his brother, are working on another crop. Strawberries. In the US.

"Ricardo and his 17-year-old brother were among them. They now pick strawberries in California. Ricardo asked to be identified by his first name only because he is an undocumented immigrant."

The article describes the situation this way:

"Before the crisis began, there were about 500 residents in San Miguel Amoltepec Viejo, which sits on the edge of a steep valley. Now there are fewer than 300.

"About 20 of those who left have migrated to the United States, mostly younger men, said Celso Santiago Cayetano, a community leader. But at least a third of the cement-block houses now sit empty, their owners having migrated."


You might also be interested in this article, describing Central American refugees from climate change:

Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Pro-Capitalism
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 16, 2019 at 6:13 pm

common sense, REALLY? Socialism has killed countries, it's a proven failure. What about accountability for oneself? It's okay to leech off others? Those who are "one paycheck away" from homelessness need to move elsewhere to a less expensive location or state (basically anywhere but California or NYC, there are 48 other states!) Our governor is going to hit us all up with huge taxes for illegal immigrants' health care, all because he wants their votes, he doesn't care about Californians. It's one thing to be struggling financially for some years while people get back on their feet, but for those who are living paycheck-to-paycheck for a decade? How could they not realize that something is wrong? Why don't they move elsewhere and get an additional job? Pure stubbornness? Everyone should be saving money from every paycheck. You are only young once, someday you'll be too old to work and then what do you do? Quit spending money on Starbuck's, new this, new that. Those items will get you nothing in your old age! Saved money? Yes, that will help you as a senior citizen who is too old and sick to work.


9 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2019 at 9:46 am

@ pro-capitalism
You missed my entire point!
We should be helping our citizens more to get back on their financial feet to revive their pride so they can be contributing to our capitalist economy again. I am guessing you were raised in an environment with comforts and financial stability. Helping other people is based on Humanity! It is not socialism versus capitalism. I truly hope you save enough of your paychecks so your calloused attitude and insensitivity towards your fellow citizens doesn’t find you living in your Tesla or BMW.


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