News

Facing backlash over civil rights, Palo Alto ends curfew

Curfew was intended to protect commercial districts and neighborhoods, city manager says

A crew installs wooden boards at the Bloomingdale's department store at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto on June 3. Photo by Gennady Sheyner.

Palo Alto City Manager Ed Shikada on Thursday lifted the curfew that the city imposed on Tuesday, which prohibited residents from being in public spaces between 8:30 p.m. at 5 a.m., and which the city had initially planned to keep in place until June 11.

The curfew, which Shikada announced on Tuesday afternoon, was implemented as a way to protect businesses in commercial areas from potential damage stemming from recent protests. But after major backlash from residents and civil rights organizations, as well as the apparent de-escalation of conditions that had led to the curfew in the first place, city officials agreed on Thursday morning to end it immediately.

Shikada told this news organization that the police had not made any arrests related to residents violating the curfew, which he said was imposed to ensure public safety. The decision to institute the curfew was driven by incidents around Stanford Shopping Center, where police reportedly observed between 50 and 100 cars circling the mall on Sunday.

The city was one of many jurisdictions around the Bay Area that had instituted curfews this week relating to protests demanding racial equality and justice after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. But while other cities and counties limited its curfews to a few days (the San Mateo County curfew expired Thursday morning after two nights) or left their curfew orders open-ended (San Francisco ordered a new curfew for a few days until Wednesday night, when it announced that curfews would be lifted Thursday), Palo Alto's was an outlier because of its duration.

"We thought it would be better to place an end date and be conservatively long and not have to extend it," Shikada said. "Certainly, the public reaction was the opposite."

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"In hindsight, it was not the right decision."

The imposition of the curfew attracted a quick backlash from civil rights advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which requested in a June 3 letter that Shikada immediately rescind it. Mayor Adrian Fine and Vice Mayor Tom DuBois had also expressed concern about the long duration, with DuBois saying he would like the council to schedule a special meeting to modify the curfew order.

Others questioned Shikada's power to declare the curfew, pointing to the fact that the city's "state of emergency" declaration was based on the COVID-19 pandemic and not on the recent spread of protests against police violence. Shikada said the order was made after consultation with the Office of the City Attorney and that it felt like "one continuous emergency, in terms of our ability to react and deploy our resources in ways that maintain our highest priority for public safety."

"We certainly did not take the action of implementing the curfew lightly," Shikada said. "It was certainly a difficult decision for us."

While Shikada said that he had consulted the council about his decisions, in the case of the curfew the consultation was "not sufficient."

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"I will not claim to have taken every step perfectly," Shikada said. "At the same time, I believe our team has really acted with the full and complete best interest of the Palo Alto community at every step along the way and will continue to do so."

He also said that he and Police Chief Robert Jonsen had both determined that the conditions that had warranted the curfew no longer apply.

"We're both comfortable that the events have gone in the right direction and we are not having further incidents or concerns that justified the original establishment (of the curfew)," he said.

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Facing backlash over civil rights, Palo Alto ends curfew

Curfew was intended to protect commercial districts and neighborhoods, city manager says

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Jun 4, 2020, 11:15 am

Palo Alto City Manager Ed Shikada on Thursday lifted the curfew that the city imposed on Tuesday, which prohibited residents from being in public spaces between 8:30 p.m. at 5 a.m., and which the city had initially planned to keep in place until June 11.

The curfew, which Shikada announced on Tuesday afternoon, was implemented as a way to protect businesses in commercial areas from potential damage stemming from recent protests. But after major backlash from residents and civil rights organizations, as well as the apparent de-escalation of conditions that had led to the curfew in the first place, city officials agreed on Thursday morning to end it immediately.

Shikada told this news organization that the police had not made any arrests related to residents violating the curfew, which he said was imposed to ensure public safety. The decision to institute the curfew was driven by incidents around Stanford Shopping Center, where police reportedly observed between 50 and 100 cars circling the mall on Sunday.

The city was one of many jurisdictions around the Bay Area that had instituted curfews this week relating to protests demanding racial equality and justice after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. But while other cities and counties limited its curfews to a few days (the San Mateo County curfew expired Thursday morning after two nights) or left their curfew orders open-ended (San Francisco ordered a new curfew for a few days until Wednesday night, when it announced that curfews would be lifted Thursday), Palo Alto's was an outlier because of its duration.

"We thought it would be better to place an end date and be conservatively long and not have to extend it," Shikada said. "Certainly, the public reaction was the opposite."

"In hindsight, it was not the right decision."

The imposition of the curfew attracted a quick backlash from civil rights advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which requested in a June 3 letter that Shikada immediately rescind it. Mayor Adrian Fine and Vice Mayor Tom DuBois had also expressed concern about the long duration, with DuBois saying he would like the council to schedule a special meeting to modify the curfew order.

Others questioned Shikada's power to declare the curfew, pointing to the fact that the city's "state of emergency" declaration was based on the COVID-19 pandemic and not on the recent spread of protests against police violence. Shikada said the order was made after consultation with the Office of the City Attorney and that it felt like "one continuous emergency, in terms of our ability to react and deploy our resources in ways that maintain our highest priority for public safety."

"We certainly did not take the action of implementing the curfew lightly," Shikada said. "It was certainly a difficult decision for us."

While Shikada said that he had consulted the council about his decisions, in the case of the curfew the consultation was "not sufficient."

"I will not claim to have taken every step perfectly," Shikada said. "At the same time, I believe our team has really acted with the full and complete best interest of the Palo Alto community at every step along the way and will continue to do so."

He also said that he and Police Chief Robert Jonsen had both determined that the conditions that had warranted the curfew no longer apply.

"We're both comfortable that the events have gone in the right direction and we are not having further incidents or concerns that justified the original establishment (of the curfew)," he said.

Comments

Outraged
Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:25 am
Outraged, Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:25 am
125 people like this

The incompetence in our City Hall is beyond belief.

Our Mayor, City Attorney, and City Manager can no longer be trusted to follow the law. They violate our civil rights, lose lawsuit after lawsuit, and have created a terrible environment for many residents.

It's time for a big, big change in City Hal.


Resident
Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:25 am
Resident, Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:25 am
74 people like this

Glad to hear that the voices of Palo Alto are being heard and this curfew was been normalized with our neighbor cities.

We must always demand that the freedom of assembly isn't obstructed by unreasonable orders.


Just another pissed off resident
Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:42 am
Just another pissed off resident, Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:42 am
105 people like this

Ed Shikada needs to go. Forcing 66,000 residents to go on lockdown under a legally dubious justification is not a trivial mistake. It’s a power grab.

Fire him and look for a replacement. With. $400K salary, finding qualified candidates should be trivial.


Resident
Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:46 am
Resident, Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:46 am
106 people like this

In an environment where people are already anxious about aggressive and abusive use of police power, the City Council and the City Manager seem to have missed the point entirely: limited duration, time, geography and scope on a proper cufew -- not the entire city, at the dinner hour and for ten days. It's amazing how callous they have been with resident rights. And while offering no explanation beyond potential looting. The fact that they don't even think they need to provide the public with a compelling justification is alarming.


Rick
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:53 am
Rick, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:53 am
81 people like this

Skikada does need to go. For a salary approaching half a million dollars a year we deserve a competent administrator who will serve the community as a whole, not special interests who consume out infrastructure while giving nothing back. We also need someone who can stand up to the people in Law enforcement who want to play soldier than protect and serve.


Kevin B
Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:56 am
Kevin B, Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:56 am
44 people like this

Still no sufficient answers about the justification for this ill-advised curfew. Why did the alleged Sunday activity at the shopping mall warrant a response on Tuesday night, and not Sunday or Monday? And where were Palo Alto police during the nights of the curfew? Were they in our city protecting businesses from this vague “credible threat,” or were they on mutual aid assignments in other parts of the bay as Mayor Fine has suggested? Have Palo Alto police been involved in the violent crackdowns on peaceful protestors we’ve been seeing in our neighboring communities?


Bill
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:02 pm
Bill , Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:02 pm
4 people like this

[Post removed.]


Upset Resident
Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:02 pm
Upset Resident, Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:02 pm
79 people like this

Please understand that, in addition to the highly dubious and likely illegal overreach of their groundless ten day curfew, a key point here is that the Council and the City Manager didn't think they needed to even bother with an explanation or rationale to the public for such an unprecedented measure.

Fine said he disagreed and had been offered no explanation but went ahead with it anyway. Shikada offered no explanation except the vague looting reason and the Daily Post noted neither the City Manager nor Police Chief bothered to return their request for an answer as to the justification.

Apparently those who run our city assume residents will go along with whatever they decide, without input, discussion or consideration of the negative impacts. This has to change!


Downtown business owner
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:04 pm
Downtown business owner, Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:04 pm
69 people like this

If you were in the City Manager's position, there is no decision that you could make despite the available information that would be popular. If the downtown were looted and there was no curfew declared; there would be even more people up in arms. Please have sympathy for leaders making difficult decision and innocent business that are targets of threats.


Member
Professorville
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:04 pm
Member, Professorville
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:04 pm
68 people like this

We still need protection and safety. Glad the curfew is over but we need to educate our residents to support anti-racism and not BLM. BLM is now a defund the police movement. This is dangerous. The LA mayor just jumped on board. We need our public safety heroes, the vast majority of which are heroes. We don't want lawlessness. Web Link


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:05 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:05 pm
62 people like this

Yes, he needs to go. The press release cancelling the curfew was laughable.

Good for Shikada that he managed to negotiate an EXTRA year's salary and vesting benefits if he gets fired but not so hot for the taxpayers.

The mismanagement and waste here is staggering. Try calling / emailing the Community Outreach Service the city keeps touting in their daily alerts with a simple question like I did yesterday: they have no information or training. Yet "management" fires librarians who cost much less and actually know their jobs! Shameful.


Mike
Monroe Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:19 pm
Mike, Monroe Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:19 pm
24 people like this

Hey Bill, I couldn't agree more with you. The park you spoke of is Foothills Park. It is a shame that Palo Alto still disciminating people on that. I'v been living in Palo Alto since 1980 and it is ridiculous to only allow one race to enter. I say race, cause most of Palo Alto residents are Caucasian or they are people with hight income. And regarding Palo Alto Police, I remembered that issue about stopping and questioning black and brown people. I was still studying at Stanford University and I had friends from Africa and Latin America that didn't feel comfortable walking in downtown PA. I am a son of swedish immigrants and I didn't have no issue at all walking in PA anytime of day or night. I don't know the city manager but if he thinks Palo Alto is diverse city he has lost his mind.


Bill
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:23 pm
Bill, Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:23 pm
15 people like this

That's how the city works. When you tell the truth they remove your comments. Thanks Mike, you know what I am talking about. Thanks PA Online for not publishing the truth.


Annette
College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:26 pm
Annette, College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:26 pm
46 people like this

@Downtown Business Owner: this is not an easy time to lead, but imposing a 10-day curfew was a huge over-reach and I understand it was not done correctly in the first place. Even San Francisco didn't go that far. Given the justification - potential looting - why not properly issue a limited order for commercial areas?


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:30 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:30 pm
19 people like this

Echoing Mike and Bill. A white friend born and raised here married a black guy and they lived downtown. Both respectable middle-aged lawyers who got tired of the husband being constantly hassled by the PA police whenever some black guy was accused of a crime, often by the SAME PA policeman who should have known the difference between a teen suspect and a middle-aged guy in a suit with a briefcase walking home from the train.

They moved to LA abut 4 years ago so their 2 biracial sons wouldn't encounter the same harassment.


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:55 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:55 pm
56 people like this

Mayor Fine is ultimately the last person where the buck should stop. He was informed. He could have held an emergency meeting. He could have figured out other options. Instead he went along for the ride. There is a lot of pushing off of responsibility by Mayor Fine.
If he is too "young" (aka code word for "inexperienced") and he is too green at being Mayor of a city with 66,000 people, he should resign now. He keeps shifting the resonsibility instead passing it completely and unfairly 100% to City Manager Ed Shakida.

Did Shakida operate in a bubble alone? Who was Mayor who had the final say? Who was the PAPD chief who supported this? This is a 3 way responsibility and all 3 needs to step down for their incompetence.

So 20-30 cars were cirlcing Stanford mall. The whole city goes under lockdown?
Isn't Stanford Mall a private business? When did the city of Palo Alto and PAPD and Mayor Fine go into the business of protecting one single business in our city?
[Portion removed.]

Apparently the residents of Palo Alto live here to pay taxes to pay for PAPD and City Manager to protect one single business. How is that fair to the small businesses scattered throughout the city?

Mayor Adrian Fine needs to take responsibility for his gaffes instead of always assuming we should consider him "young Mayor Fine". If he is too green to be Mayor he shouldn't be in that position as Mayor.


Called Chief for a Reason
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:59 pm
Called Chief for a Reason, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 12:59 pm
27 people like this

Chief Jonsen started all this - insisting and persisting that the barbarians were possibly, maybe, sometime going to breach the gates and plunder and pillage the Stanford Shopping Center or Downtown. Consequently RESIDENTS must be locked-up at the same time as 5-year olds are put to bed.

This would make no sense unless we understand the curfew Declarations timing was designed to end the after-work peaceful Black (and Brown) Lives Matter demonstrations. All plazas and parks were made off limits under the curfew. Queston - how many SUV's, trucks, etc. of the supposed Mauraders would be parking on Lytton or City Hall Plazas, our two free speech sites.

This curfew was needless, cynical, and it played on some peoples fears. In the end it hurt businesses, not help them.

Jonsen's terrible record was recently mentioned about Brown men being brutalized by the PAPD. About his reducing transparency about internal complaints, and delaying release of police audits and camera video of use of force arrests. He needs to be held accountable now and not hide behind Shikada.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:06 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:06 pm
37 people like this

I don't think any Palo Alto resident wanted anything to happen to Stanford shopping center or T & C, or anywhere else. I think if we the residents were told to stay away from certain areas, we would have done so. That type of instruction, made to us in a reasonable manner, would have been appropriate. I mean, don't we all stay away from ECR/T&C for Stanford football games unless we are going there, we have common sense and staying away from a busy area during a football game makes sense. This would have been equally sensible.

However, making the whole City stay at home from 8.30 pm on a summer evening was not a sensible precaution. Someone walking their dog, walking with their family for exercise to the local park and home again, were no threat to our shopping districts and did not prevent the police from patrolling any threatened areas. Instead what it did was to cause distress, confusion and unnecessary fear in the minds of ordinary people. As ordinary people, we are already stressed out about being confined to our homes for nearly 3 months. It is not likely to cause any kind of harmony when we are faced with even more restrictions on top of what the lockdown has already placed on us.

I am pleased the curfew has been lifted. I think we are due thanks and a heartfelt apology, probably a lot more if only I could think of what more could be offered.


mjh
College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:12 pm
mjh, College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:12 pm
26 people like this

"A mall that doesn't even pay commercial tax."

The Stanford shopping center is in Palo Alto and we receive mega sales tax bucks from those businesses.


Another Giveaway
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:13 pm
Another Giveaway, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:13 pm
37 people like this

Fine should have never been mayor. Fine is too inexperienced and has always been too narrowly focused on social justice issues that are mostly beyond the scope of a small town city councilor or the city of Palo Alto.

Liz Kniss was the experienced political hand that shepherded Fine's rise through Palo Alto politics. Perhaps Kniss thought with an inexperienced mayor she would be the power behind the throne.


Juan B
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:35 pm
Juan B, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:35 pm
37 people like this

This curfew was one of the most bizarre and misinformed decisions I have ever experienced. I would completely sanction and support the firing the City Manager and whoever else was responsible for the decision. I will be voting all of them out next election. Considering the very narrow scope of the problem (potential looting in a small number of isolated areas), the solution was totally blown out of proportion. The residents of Palo Alto are hard working and deserve for health reasons freedom to leave their houses at night when it's cooler to exercise.


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:40 pm
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 1:40 pm
39 people like this

So the folks responsible for this 10 day lockdown measure appears to be
1. Mayor Adrian Fine
2. City Manager Shakida
3. Chief of PAPD Jonsen
4. City Attorney Molly Stump

So far the only person who has stepped up and taken responsibility is City Manager Shakida. There is no statement from PAPD Jonsen and Mayor Adrian Fine is passing the buck and absolving himself of all blame to City Manager.

And Molly Stump who should have vetted this extraordinary 10 day curfew - not a peep. She is innocent because she is flying under the radar. Look up her salary. It's all public knowledge. It's close to Ed Shakida's salary and PAPD's Chief Jonsen's salary. All 3 have have the same ball park figure. It's all public information. Google it.


N/A
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 2:40 pm
N/A, Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 2:40 pm
22 people like this

I was shocked to see how easily and carelessly mayor have decided to do a curfew and lock down thousands of people, of course, locking everyone down is the easiest thing to do, but how about work it out? do the right thing and not the easiest thing? in times like this we need a real leadership, not a clown, who freaks out the second sh** hits the fan.
Truly disappointed resident


cheese guy
Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2020 at 2:43 pm
cheese guy, Palo Verde
on Jun 4, 2020 at 2:43 pm
29 people like this

Gads, the Palo Alto McLaren dealer just spent a small fortune boarding up the entire building, an impressive task since the windows are about 30 feet high and cover the whole building. It looks like something that was done in honor of Christo who died this week. A car dealer selling toys for the 1% wrapped in cheap plywood, the perfect art project for the times.


Back in The Neighborhood
Professorville
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:30 pm
Back in The Neighborhood, Professorville
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:30 pm
25 people like this

Recently moved back to Palo Alto (where I grew up) with my own family after spending 14 years in SF. This was the epitome of spineless, pass the buck “leadership”. It wasn’t well conceived, it wasn’t well considered, it was barely deliberated, it was poorly executed and horribly communicated. All involved should start getting prepared for their successors to take over.


Hulkamania
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:36 pm
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:36 pm
15 people like this

Lots of complaints but not one person volunteering to do any of the jobs that have to make tough decisions. Same as it ever was.


Nate
Menlo Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:38 pm
Nate, Menlo Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:38 pm
18 people like this

I was born and raised in Menlo Park. Menlo is in a bad budget situation now. However, not like PA is. My brother knows Ed and according to my brother Ed is a good man with good intentions. Now, as a Menlo Park resident I am proud to say one thing, Thank the Lord Jesus that Jonsen has left Menlo Park Police. That man is so bad in what he does that was so shame to have him as a chief of police. He was putting Menlo Park PD as one of the most racist PD in the California. Thanks Palo Altans for taking him. I am coming from a long line of Republican tradition and some folks think by being Republican I am racist, however Jonsen makes me look like a liberal. Now you can have an idea.


Resident
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:39 pm
Resident, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:39 pm
12 people like this

Thank you. The original decision was at least understandable given circumstances and the small but alarming information we had a few days ago. But now things are clearer, including residents' opinions (strongly against curfew on the whole city to protect the shopping center) and the magnitude of the threat (looks a lot smaller today). It takes courage to update a decision.


Another Giveaway
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:43 pm
Another Giveaway, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:43 pm
26 people like this

@Cheese Guy,

I am sorry you don't own a McLaren. I don't own a McLaren either, but maybe the plywood covering the McLaren dealership wasn't an art project?

Maybe they were desperately trying to protect their business, livelihoods, and the jobs of everyone who works there?

It was pretty obvious the Palo Alto city manager and mayor were going to shut the whole city down so they could divert the Palo Alto police force to protect University Avenue and Stanford Mall real-estate assets.

Honorary C+ in ART101 for and your ability to cite Christo's work.


ASR
College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:49 pm
ASR , College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:49 pm
14 people like this


Tough decisions were made two days back. Businesses and people were saved.

It is time to restore peace and tranquility that is desired in South Bay and here.


Garcia
Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:54 pm
Garcia, Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:54 pm
16 people like this

Thanks Nate for your input. I met Chief Jonsen few months back. As a Hispanic man I didn't have a vibe about chief Jonsen. Hispanics decedentes are having issue with some officers. I have contacted one of the captains few times but did not get any response. Later I found out that one of PA police captain has been under investigation for illegal use force and for not reporting his officers' misconduct. Too bad but somethings never change. PAPD has a history of racism and will never change.


Mary Newton
another community
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:57 pm
Mary Newton, another community
on Jun 4, 2020 at 3:57 pm
7 people like this

Back when I was younger ( & better at walking ) all the protests were during the day.
{ Lots of anti Vietnam war rallies During the Day }
I'm totally on board with BLM but do Not get the current obsession with night protests .
I would want the authorities on the Day shift to Hear the issues , Not the graveyard .


FX
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 4:09 pm
FX, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 4:09 pm
7 people like this

Kudos for the courage to admit one's own mistake and correct it as soon as realizing it! On that point, the city leaders are so much better than most politicians.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 4:12 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 4:12 pm
12 people like this

Peace and tranquility are not going to happen when we have now determined that we have total incompetents leading this city. We need to figure out how much the other cities are paying their city mayor and staffs. We are paying the mayor more than the governor. However we got into the position of throwing money at people needs to be analyzed and arrive at a more balanced level of pay for these jobs. And if you fire him he is not entitled to a huge payout.

This is a government job. It is not a commercial business. And PA at this point in time cannot say "how special" they are. Just not so. But MV is not so special either. It is being consumed. It is location, location, location. We are in a place that is limited in habitual space by the bay and the hills. We are not San Jose that is spreading all over the place with no boundaries.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 4, 2020 at 4:49 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 4, 2020 at 4:49 pm
12 people like this

@Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, excellent post but I think you mean the city manager, not the mayor, who negotiated with the CC an extra year's salary and benefits vesting if he gets fired and which I'd call a "huge payout."


John
Professorville
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:04 pm
John , Professorville
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:04 pm
29 people like this

People need to calm down with the incessant outrage. It's not productive and not helping.

The City was nervous. They made a decision, with good intentions, and it turned out to be a bad one. No one got hurt, no one was arrested wrongfully, and everyone still got to take their dogs out for walks. And the City quickly owned up to the mistake, which is more than most government officials would ever do.

We are lucky to live in such a wonderful, sheltered place. Running civil servants out of town over misguided but well-intentioned decisions is childish and counterproductive -- and will make it even harder to hire competent officials in the future.

Be careful what you wish for people!


resident
University South
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:24 pm
resident, University South
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:24 pm
15 people like this

I'm glad that Shakida owned up to the poor decision. I wrote to the mayor, vice mayor, and city council about this and, for the most part, they were responsive. There is always a balance in difficult times between over and under reaching. If Town and Country or Stanford shopping center had burned to the ground, we would be having a very different conversation. Fortunately, we only have to debate if they were over reaching (which I believe they were) and not if they under reached.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:47 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:47 pm
9 people like this

Today I approached a total stranger at the neighborhood park and chatted him up, learned his name, touched elbows and resumed my walk.
Then I took a selfie with a new mural downtown.
What did y’all do besides posting online?

It’s ok if Ed Shikada made a mistake. It’s good that he admitted a mistake. Here’s to him soon on behalf of We The People doing something great.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:58 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 4, 2020 at 5:58 pm
8 people like this

You are right - I meant City Manager. However the mayor is suspect of wreaking havoc on maintaining this city as a place where families can live. The problem here is that some of these people do not have families. They have cloned onto Mr. Weiner as their family. No children. No property for children to play in THEIR backyard.


Richard
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Richard, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2020 at 6:00 pm
21 people like this

Great decision tactically. Thieves don’t like to work. They pass on hard targets. There are other stores boarded up on El Camino. It was the smart thing to do. The thieves went elsewhere. Very smart. Kudos to the City leadership.


Adam Brand
Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 6:17 pm
Adam Brand, Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 6:17 pm
20 people like this

I'm glad the curfew was eliminated. It was in force yesterday on June 3, the day of high school graduation. It was bad enough that graduation was postponed due to the pandemic, and the community had a wonderful turnout for the car parade. Still it was quite insensitive that the city leaders hit us with a curfew on graduation night. We had to rush home from the parade and order food from a local favorite restaurant before the restaurant closed early. Then we were trapped in our house on a night which should have been an expression of freedom for my graduating daughters. Our leaders who wield these emergency powers need to think of the benefit and the cost before implementing drastic policies.


Resident
Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 9:11 pm
Resident, Midtown
on Jun 4, 2020 at 9:11 pm
31 people like this

What if a mob, armed with bricks, stones, and molotov cocktails was approaching your place of business or your home? And there was nothing you could do about it. Just last Sunday, a group of organized criminals ransacked, looted, and burned a Dodge dealership in San Leandro, they fled with over 74 high end vehicles. Just imagine if it was your flower shop, mom and pop cafe or a yoga studio. Or, how about your home, with your kids inside.

We do not have a "Stand your ground" law in California. Which means basically, you can not defend your property. Shakida did the right move.


Larry
Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 9:23 pm
Larry, Downtown North
on Jun 4, 2020 at 9:23 pm
8 people like this

Seems most missed the best part about Shikada and what he said. "At the same time, I believe our team has really acted with the full and complete best interest of the Palo Alto community at every step along the way"
So Shikada is holding a mirror in front of our faces, reminding us that we are really not comfortable with black people protesting for justice in our white backyard, or perhaps that we're just not comfortable with black people in our white backyard - period.

And as the privileged and probably white @John said above "We are lucky to live in such a wonderful, sheltered place." Means none of us should be surprised if the new two-lane 'Newell bridge' Shikada is planning for John and us ends up being a draw-bridge, just in case ...

Time to get past the systemic racism in Minneapolis and Palo Alto.


Concerned Palo Alto Resident
Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:28 pm
Concerned Palo Alto Resident, Barron Park
on Jun 4, 2020 at 10:28 pm
12 people like this

This curfew was really ridiculous. Let’s all recognize our immense privilege of living in one of the most affluent regions in the world. I hope to see our local leaders and government make better decisions in the future. Turns out, many residents are watching very closely.


Alvin
Professorville
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:16 pm
Alvin, Professorville
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:16 pm
4 people like this

Props to Shikada for admitting curfew was a mistake. How often do you hear that from government?

Now end the stupid lock downs and mask laws.


SavetheSafe
College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:17 pm
SavetheSafe, College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2020 at 11:17 pm
16 people like this

It’s was as impulsive as it was was wrong to set a curfew. It was reactionary as Trump. My 14 Year-old son was fearful he would get stopped if he was out at 8:01pm.

There was a curfew because cars were driving around Stanford Mall ? ? Let’s be real. The police’s power was abused by setting a curfew because EPA is less than a mile away. If there was to be unrest here on our streets, our residents would be snugged at home by curfew. Then surely blame could be placed on the poor, disenfranchised neighboring Cities coming into “loot” the wealth here. PA’s City Manager, instead of leading out of empathy and solidarity, acted out of cowardess and fear, running to his own bunker. Exactly what our City and country does not need. Stand up and be counted. Power lives where black lives matter now and forever!

Besides I thought the Stanford Mall had thier own private, white robotic security force that runs into people if you get to close to it, don’t buy anything or when you try to use it as a trash bin.


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:07 am
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:07 am
22 people like this

Palo Altans need to take a closer look at the salaries and union contracts our Mayor Adrian Fine signed off on and approved and refuse to re-negotiate during time of crisis and deficit.
Web Link

The salaries are all public and online from last year onwards.
If you consider City Manager + City Attorney + Chief PAPD Jonsen + City Manager's assistant (1st one) + Chief Assistant City attorney .. the total sum salaries are:

$569,799.60 + $460,604.29 + $417,065.24 + $359,819.05 + $341,829.79 = $2,149,117.97

So the people (not including Mayor Fine's salary) reaches over $2,000,000 dollars of tax payer's money.
Yet we had likely the LONGEST curfew in America with least amount of damage. All "potential threats" and now admission of mistake.
With ACLU threatening to sue over our civil liberties

5 people at City of Palo Alto responsible all responsible for this gaffe made a total yearly salary of over 2 million dollars and couldn't even do a half decent job like the surrounding cities (Mountain View, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Atherton, or RWC)

Mayor Adrian Fine says we can not renegotiate with unions over deficit. We need to cut libraries and now various libraries that serve a community of 66,000 people have only 3 days open out of 7.

Web Link

Follow the money. We're being taken for a ride.

LAST YEAR:
City manager earned $569,799.60

City Attorney earned $460,604.29 (did she do her job with 10 day curfew that we all loved?)

Battalion Chief made $457,648.08 including OVERTIME PAY of $112,965.28
Police Sarg. made $454,780.86 including OVERTIME PAY of $145,745.68
Police Agent made $449,623.23 including OVERTIME PAY of $164,175.73
Police CHIEF JONSEN made $417,065.24
Fire Chief made 406,942.06
Police Captain made $403,020.36
Police Captain made $399,666.65
Police Sarg. made $391,021.05 including OVERTIME PAY of $50,461.27
Battalion Chief made $390,814.87 including OVERTIME PAY of $85,838.40
Police Sarg. made $380,594.01 including OVERTIME PAY of $33,927.78
Police Lieut. made $379,682.31
Utilities Director made $379,360.70
Police Agent made $378,232.17 including OVERTIME PAY of $79,975.23
Deputy Chief Fire Marshall made $375,850.65
Police Lieut. made $373,788.52
EMT made $372,534.76 including OVERTIME PAY of $106,408.73
Police Sarg. made $371,889.54 including OVERTIME PAY of $46,840.40
Fire Inspector/EMT made $371,038.09 including OVERTIME PAY of $78,579.18
Fire Captain/EMT made $364,537.28 including OVERTIME PAY of $78,070.25
Battalion Chief made $364,203.82 including OVERTIME PAY of $3,189.12
Police Lieut made $363,180.45
Police Sarg made $361,349.34 including OVERTIME PAY of $26,760.76
Police Sarg made $359,941.40 including OVERTIME PAY of $39,183.51

Assistant CITY Manager made $359,819.05
Fire Captain made $356,305.92 including OVERTIME PAY of $68,896.37
Police Sarg made $354,694.14 including OVERTIME PAY of $31,700.15

Director PLANNING made $353,083.18

Utility System Operator made $352,383.20 incl. OVERTIME PAY of $110,723.44

Police Sarg made $352,032.89 including OVERTIME PAY of $36,229.71
Fire Captain made $348,988.54 including OVERTIME PAY of $71,929.88

DIRECTOR of HR made $347,843.99
Fire Captain made $347,788.46 including OVERTIME PAY of $60,378.95
Police Lieut made $347,618.80
Battalion Chief made $347,259.32 including OVERTIME PAY of $33,638.05

CHIEF assistant CITY Attorney made $341,829.79 (did THIS Person look at the 10 day curfew that City Attorney apparently didn't look at???!!)

Attorney + Chief assistant City attorney salaries combined together are
460K + 340K = over $700,000 yet we had a 10 day curfew put in and none of these Attorneys did a once over of the 10 day curfew?!

This speaks to the level of spending and non-accountability of tax payer funds.

Go to this website and check out the city employee salaries.
Then consider who is blasting Diana for writing up a city employee perk.
Follow the money.

the salaries continue on for pages for people who made more than $300,000 per year.

Even if every single person took a 5% or 10% pay cut, our deficit likely would disappear given the salaries.

Guess who is not suggesting that. Oh. Our city manager Ed Shakida who was compensated for OVER HALF A MILLION dollars in salary LASST YEAR.

But we tolerate gaffes and incompetence and "inexperience"

Last year


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:14 am
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:14 am
16 people like this

isn't it convenient the one of the first things the City Councilors and City Manager wanted to get rid of and cut was the ONE SINGLE city auditor we have working for our city.

Nice when we don't have an auditor to keep track of following the money. We need more transparency,. More accountability.

We are in a deficit and cutting programs and library hours.

THREE days out of 7 are what some of these hours are.

Are we okay with this?

Meanwhile 6 folks at city hall (including Mayor Adrian Fine) couldn't do their job correctly and passed a curfew lasting 10 days. Their total salaries exceed $2,000,000 by a tremendous amount.

Why wasn't that curfew run through the city attorney or her assistant attorney? Why are we paying them a 3/4 of a million dollars in yearly salary to have such ridiculous curfews being passed?

I'd like to know what Los Altos or Mountain View pays the counterparts of Palo Alto. I'd like to know whether those 2 cities actually have their own city auditor.

Follow the money.


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:24 am
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:24 am
21 people like this

The top 10 people with largest salaries working in the City were:
City manager earned $569,799.60
City Attorney earned $460,604.29 (did she do her job with 10 day curfew that we all loved?)
Battalion Chief made $457,648.08 including OVERTIME PAY of $112,965.28
Police Sarg. made $454,780.86 including OVERTIME PAY of $145,745.68
Police Agent made $449,623.23 including OVERTIME PAY of $164,175.73
Police CHIEF JONSEN made $417,065.24
Fire Chief made 406,942.06
Police Captain made $403,020.36
Police Captain made $399,666.65
Police Sarg. made $391,021.05 including OVERTIME PAY of $50,461.27

And really, removing the top 2 Fire (Battalion Chief and Fire Chief - by the way Battalion Chief, how do you log $112,965.28 hours worth of overtime pay?)

You are left with City Manager and City Attorney and 6 Police Chief Jonsen, Police Captain, Police Sargent and incredibly one Police Agent.
(By the way, how does a Policeman make $449,623.23 including OVERTIME PAY of $164,175.73? What type of Union Contract do we have Mayor Fine?)

Those folks make up a salary total of over $3,000,000
Ruminate on that. 1 City Manager + 1 City Attorney + 6 Police Staff = more than $3,000,000

At that price, I think they could have protected that one singular business Stanford mall and made a proper decision on the curfew rather than locking every single 66,000 Palo Alto resident up for a 10 day curfew (while cities battered with looting and violence actually had a shorter curfew and was letting it go).

Inexperience? Lack of accountability? Simply sleeping on the job? Incompetence?

Which one is it? Any option for the 10 day curfew gaffe, with a total sum salary of over 3 million dollars a year, there is no justification and explanation that justifies these folks being on staff.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:28 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:28 am
19 people like this

Absolutely outrageous. WHY do such highly paid people get overtime??? It's exactly the opposite in the private sector.

And they have the nerve to brag about how the cut so many poorly paid part-timers who actually do the work and serve the residents. We've got the $5,000.000 staff that can't even do basic outreach and/or train the Community Services folks they keep touting in their boilerplate daily newsletter to answer simple questions.

@Resident, thanks for posting those numbers. Your post would make an excellent guest editorial and letter to the editors for all our local media!


Max
Crescent Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 1:32 am
Max, Crescent Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 1:32 am
21 people like this

Most of the outrage has been directed at Shikada but it was Chief Jonsen's call. Chief Jonsen who was convicted by the U.S.department of justice for employing a policy and practice that violated the constitutional rights of Blacks and hispanics by using excessive force and illegal detainments when Jonsen was the sheriff of the Lancaster (Los Angeles) station.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:11 am
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:11 am
14 people like this

Since moving to Palo Alto in 1986, I never imagined I could be so disappointed in the actions and words of our city leadership, and this article only cements the extent of the problem.

Given that Ed Shikada *still* insists that he "really acted with the full and complete best interest of the Palo Alto community at every step along the way" one wonders if Ed Shikada knows who IS the Palo Alto community, and what exactly it means to be acting in our best interest any step of any way.

In that regard, I hope that Ed Shikada, Mayor Fine, and the rest of our city leaders who supported or enabled Palo Alto's divisive and wrong-sided recent actions, will attend the peaceful protest and march at noon on Saturday. At that March, members and leaders of our community promise to offer their perspectives on how best to serve our community's best interests.

Perhaps, after listening, Ed Shikada will finally start to question whose interests he served a few days ago, and continues to serve today.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:18 am
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:18 am
17 people like this

Given that Max made his post while I still was drafting mine, I just read his good point and should clarify:

These decisions could not have belonged to Ed Shikada alone. Whether the decision was made by the city manager, or the chief of police, or any other individual who is a member of our city staff, the responsibility runs directly up to those who hire and manage those city employees: the City Council. This is particularly clear when our elected officials endorse and support the words and actions of the city leaders, either by defending their choices, or by saying nothing at all.

It is they who are responsible.


ihatenpr
Woodside
on Jun 5, 2020 at 7:29 am
ihatenpr, Woodside
on Jun 5, 2020 at 7:29 am
4 people like this

Palo Alto is just Singapore with lower humidity.

Pretty much synonymous with groupthink.

When I read the announcement at first,I thought it included San Mateo county and was pretty much PO'd,but when it said just Palo Alto,it wasn't a surprise.


Bill Bucy
Barron Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 8:37 am
Bill Bucy, Barron Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 8:37 am
11 people like this

OK. Shikada made a mistake. It had no negative consequences other than to tick off a bunch of crumudgeons (like me) with too much time on their hands and badly controlled anger issues. We should refocus on the vital issues facing our community such as leaf blower noise violations


ihatenpr
Woodside
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:52 am
ihatenpr, Woodside
on Jun 5, 2020 at 9:52 am
12 people like this

no negative consequences ?
Had the law gone into effect.a lot of people would have lost income by having their hours cut.
Businesses having to close at 8:30 are also affected in that their income (which has already been decimated by the Covid SIP) would have lost even more money.


Father of 3
Midtown
on Jun 5, 2020 at 10:47 am
Father of 3, Midtown
on Jun 5, 2020 at 10:47 am
11 people like this

If the curfew was based on 50-100 cars circling Stanford Shopping Center, did they every find out what the cars were doing? And was it 50 or 100 cars? Anyhow, glad nothing happened and it was rescinded quickly.


Noel
Crescent Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:15 am
Noel, Crescent Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 11:15 am
16 people like this

If the intent was to protect PA businesses, then why not just declare a curfew for Stanford Shopping Center (where no one needs to be at night anyway) and a dozen blocks downtown? There was a police car at either end of Zuckerberg's block of Edgewood so no need to also prevent evening walkers on that street. Given the extreme heat and the number of PA folks who go walking or running at day's end, the 8:30 curfew was a real inconvenience.


Lifelong Palo Altan
Crescent Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:17 pm
Lifelong Palo Altan, Crescent Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:17 pm
2 people like this

The curfew was the prudent step to take given the looting that was spreading throughout the region and the conditions that seemed evident to police here. Likewise, easier to proclaim it for a longer period and then lift it when conditions improved, which was the case here, than to continue to reimpose one over and over if conditions did not improve. I believe the step was taken in good faith and designed to prevent criminal activity, not to impede or to discourage lawful peaceful protests. And I have no doubt that our police department would have stopped any peaceful demonstration taking place later than the hours of curfew. In fact, I am certain they would have protested along with them; no one hates bad cops more than good cops. I applaud our city manager and our police chief for taking steps to protect our community during a time in which criminal elements were clearly taking advantage of the justifiable outrage the resulted from the murder of George Floyd to engage in the wanton destruction of businesses and when things were spinning out of control in communities all around us.


PAStalker
another community
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:43 pm
PAStalker, another community
on Jun 5, 2020 at 12:43 pm
6 people like this

Just another example of PA residents never being satisfied with the City/Police Department. If you do too much, they complain; if you don't do enough, they complain. If the City hadn't imposed a curfew and property damage or worse, people/officers injured, you, the residents, would have complained about the City/Police Department not doing enough to protect you and your property. In these situations, it's best to be overly cautious than not cautious enough...stop complaining and be thankful there wasn't any property damage and/or injuries. They rescinded the curfew, now go out and enjoy the outdoors. Please focus on the bigger issue in the world and less focus on your inconvenience. Be happy and move on.


ReallyLiveHere
Fairmeadow
on Jun 5, 2020 at 1:53 pm
ReallyLiveHere, Fairmeadow
on Jun 5, 2020 at 1:53 pm
7 people like this

Come on folks. What was happening was that police were attacking peaceful demonstrations, resulting in anarchy. Not some sort of mysterious infection of looting. All that it takes to keep things peaceful is to keep the cops from attacking citizens. A curfew does nothing to achieve that.


musical
Palo Verde
on Jun 5, 2020 at 1:59 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Jun 5, 2020 at 1:59 pm
3 people like this

Can never tell anymore who here is being facetious.


anon
Evergreen Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:47 pm
anon, Evergreen Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 2:47 pm
15 people like this

OK. Shikada admitted he made a serious mistake. I hope he actually learned from it. He again showed bad judgement as he has done by continuing to push hard for deep cuts to public safety staffing and community services while moving forward with record capital expenses, including for new buildings and monuments.
Fine has made the same mistakes, each time following in lockstep with Shikada rather than showing the leadership we expect from a mayor. Except that Fine makes excuses and deflects blame rather than accepting responsibility.
That pattern sounds familiar. [Portion removed.]


Crescent Parker
Crescent Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 4:04 pm
Crescent Parker, Crescent Park
on Jun 5, 2020 at 4:04 pm
5 people like this

I'm glad that the City acted quickly to perceived threats, asked us to stay home (which we mostly did, I guess), and then they changed plans when info changed and opiniosn were so negative. Pretty agile government I think, with decent communications methods. Better safe than sorry if we look at the scenes from around the country.


Michael
Evergreen Park
on Jun 6, 2020 at 8:15 am
Michael, Evergreen Park
on Jun 6, 2020 at 8:15 am
10 people like this

The explanation for the curfew is remarkably lame.

Cars were circling Stanford Shopping Center. The police didn't know who was driving or what they were doing (or even how many cars there were), but they went on to impose a city-wide curfew. It's difficult, based on the reported justification, to tell whether there was any reason to take action, but the appropriate action would have been limited to the shopping center, not extend across the entire city.

Justifying the curfew by reference to an emergency declaration about the Covid-19 pandemic, saying protests were just part of the same issue, is unreasonable. This is simply an abuse of power. If the City Attorney signed off on this, there seems to be massive incompetence in the city administration.

This appears to be little more than overreaction, with perhaps a bit of hysteria from watching too much TV news. That Mayor Fine was unable (and perhaps unwilling) to push back on this overreach is not surprising. Being in a leadership position in the City means being able to lead, not just keep the agenda at City Council meetings. The leadership which Palo Alto requires involves pushing back on bad decisions proposed by the City Manager and Police Chief.

Some people say Shikada and Jonsen just made a mistake, they fixed it, and there were no consequences. This mistake was completely avoidable, had they acted with reason and moderation, in communication with the City Council and public. The most obvious consequence is a loss of confidence in the City Manager, Police Chief, Mayor, and others who pursued this shortsighted curfew.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 6, 2020 at 9:30 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 6, 2020 at 9:30 am
8 people like this

Absolutely it was lame, Even if potential looters were circling Stanford Shopping Center, how does putting Palo Alto citizens under curfew help?

Did they think that WE -- PA citizens and taxpayers -- were suddenly going to rush out of our homes to Stanford Shopping Center as soon as it got dark start looting?


Another Giveaway
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2020 at 11:50 am
Another Giveaway, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2020 at 11:50 am
12 people like this

This whole story of looters circling the Stanford mall sounds like complete BS.

Seriously. Does this sound like a report that would come in from a police officer or a wealthy commercial landlord sitting at home sipping cocktails while watching the riots in Minneapolis on TV?

We need to know a whole lot more about this report and the decision making process that was used. Was the decision to impose a 10 day curfew made entirely by Shikada, Fine, and Jonson, or were any property owners consulted before issuing the order?


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