News

No longer exclusive, Foothills Park welcomes residents from outside Palo Alto for the first time

Visitors from the city and elsewhere enjoy hiking, picnicking at nature preserve

An inviting park bench at the large field near the interpretive center at Foothills Park in Palo Alto. Photo by Kate Bradshaw.

A park that for decades has had what might be the highest "entry fee" in the country — that is, the price of a Palo Alto home address — opened its doors to residents outside of the city on Thursday for the first time since 1965.

Previously, the park was off-limits to people who live outside of Palo Alto unless visitors were accompanied by a city resident — although it was an open secret that the entrance was not guarded on most weekdays. On Thursday, Dec. 17, the sign at the entrance listing the prohibition was gone as residents from other cities were finally invited to explore the park's many offerings.

The gates opened Thursday in accordance with the Palo Alto City Council's action to open the 1,400-acre park on Nov. 2 — and after a referendum petition launched to halt the opening failed to collected about 2,600 signatures needed by the Dec. 16 deadline.

Near the Foothills Park Nature Interpretive Center, a trio of cousins from Redwood City gathered on the enormous grassy field at the bottom of the hill in the early afternoon to enjoy a picnic lunch. Alejandra Alcala said it was their first time visiting the park.

"It's really nice and open," she said. "There are not that many people here."

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Near the Wild Horse Valley trails, a couple from Mountain View who had previously lived in Palo Alto were back for the first time in about eight years, visiting familiar trails with their dog Caspian.

Out on the Sunrise Trail, San Francisco couple Amy and David Leblanc were excited to explore the beautiful views of the park after learning about it in the news. Amy Leblanc marveled at the sights and her husband was struck by the backstory behind the open space.

The park's opening came after much discussion and a lawsuit this year. In August, the Palo Alto City Council agreed to a pilot program to open Foothills Park to residents outside of Palo Alto that would allow up to 50 nonresident permits per day, and indicated that it planned to send the issue to the voters in 2022.

Cousins from the Alcala family gather in a socially-distanced manner to enjoy a picnic at Foothills Park on Dec. 17. Photo by Kate Bradshaw.

Then came a lawsuit in September from a coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and residents from Palo Alto and neighboring cities.

The lawsuit alleged that Palo Alto's 1965 law banning nonresidents, "traces its roots to an era when racial discrimination in and around the City was open and notorious," and violates nonresidents' right to free speech by preventing them from expressing their opposition to the ordinance in the park. It also violates their constitutionally protected right of freedom to assemble, the suit alleged.

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The city settled the lawsuit by repealing the residents-only requirement and on Nov. 16 they officially approved the settlement.

Despite fears voiced by some Palo Alto residents who were afraid of what might happen if the park were opened to people from other cities, it was not overrun with visitors, at least on the afternoon of opening day.

Boronda Lake at Palo Alto's Foothills Park drew new visitors eager to fish and sit on the docks when it opened to the public on Dec. 17. Photo by Kate Bradshaw.

Christopher Sundita of Sunnyvale said he's been exploring local parks during the pandemic and had been following the news stories about the park's reopening before deciding to explore it on Thursday. "It's beautiful and peaceful," he said, noting the great views from Vista Hill. At Boronda Lake, Jen Edson, who lives outside of Palo Alto, said she'd seen on the fishing app Fishbrain that Boronda Lake was a good place to fish, and just happened to visit on the first day the park was open to people who live outside of Palo Alto. Meanwhile, Menlo-Atherton High School seniors Dylan Wang and Violet Taylor sat on the dock at the lake celebrating the completion of their last finals for the semester just earlier that morning.

However, not everyone was excited to see the park open to the public. Hiker Steve Rutledge, who said he first visited the park in the 1970s, said he opposed opening it to everyone because he wanted to ensure the natural environment is protected. He said he worried about the impacts to wildlife if the park were to be overrun with human visitors.

"I've had a lot of beautiful nature experiences here almost by myself. I don't want to see it change," he said.

Toward the trails near Wild Horse Valley, two Palo Alto residents, who declined to provide their names, said they opposed opening the park to nonresidents on the grounds that the city's residents are the ones who pay the taxes for the park's maintenance and that it isn't fair for everyone else to use the space without paying.

Several other park visitors from Palo Alto didn't express opposition to the park going public as much as apprehension about sharing a beloved place with newcomers.

Verdant moss-covered trees await hikers on the Steep Hollow Trail at Foothills Park. Photo by Kate Bradshaw.

As they hiked toward the Los Trancos trail loop, Lynette Philippe and Sue Nicholls of Palo Alto said they had come to the park to see how busy it would be on opening day. They were supportive of opening the park to the public, but added that they'd be willing to pay a $5 to $10 entry fee to ensure the park's maintenance.

Another said she'd been coming to the park since she was a child and just wants to see the park preserved and taken care of. If that means having to pay an entry fee, such as those charged at the nearby trails at Hidden Villa, she would be OK with it.

Not everyone from Palo Alto was opposed to newcomers from outside city limits, though.

Drew Harwell, a longtime Palo Alto resident who offers outdoor after-school and preschool programs for children about the outdoors, said he felt opening the park was "long overdue" and that he'd always been "a bit embarrassed" about the policy banning nonresidents. The outdoors education program he teaches travels to a number of local parks and he had always been able to provide lessons at Foothills Parks. But when his students who live outside of Palo Alto wanted to visit the same park on their own on weekends, they weren't able to — until now.

Hiker Cheyenne Pico of Palo Alto also saw the benefits of expanding access to the preserve.

"This is a great opportunity for the greater community to take advantage of nearby parks, especially with all of the lockdowns," she said.

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Palo Alto Weekly Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner contributed to this report.

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No longer exclusive, Foothills Park welcomes residents from outside Palo Alto for the first time

Visitors from the city and elsewhere enjoy hiking, picnicking at nature preserve

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 9:27 am

A park that for decades has had what might be the highest "entry fee" in the country — that is, the price of a Palo Alto home address — opened its doors to residents outside of the city on Thursday for the first time since 1965.

Previously, the park was off-limits to people who live outside of Palo Alto unless visitors were accompanied by a city resident — although it was an open secret that the entrance was not guarded on most weekdays. On Thursday, Dec. 17, the sign at the entrance listing the prohibition was gone as residents from other cities were finally invited to explore the park's many offerings.

The gates opened Thursday in accordance with the Palo Alto City Council's action to open the 1,400-acre park on Nov. 2 — and after a referendum petition launched to halt the opening failed to collected about 2,600 signatures needed by the Dec. 16 deadline.

Near the Foothills Park Nature Interpretive Center, a trio of cousins from Redwood City gathered on the enormous grassy field at the bottom of the hill in the early afternoon to enjoy a picnic lunch. Alejandra Alcala said it was their first time visiting the park.

"It's really nice and open," she said. "There are not that many people here."

Near the Wild Horse Valley trails, a couple from Mountain View who had previously lived in Palo Alto were back for the first time in about eight years, visiting familiar trails with their dog Caspian.

Out on the Sunrise Trail, San Francisco couple Amy and David Leblanc were excited to explore the beautiful views of the park after learning about it in the news. Amy Leblanc marveled at the sights and her husband was struck by the backstory behind the open space.

The park's opening came after much discussion and a lawsuit this year. In August, the Palo Alto City Council agreed to a pilot program to open Foothills Park to residents outside of Palo Alto that would allow up to 50 nonresident permits per day, and indicated that it planned to send the issue to the voters in 2022.

Then came a lawsuit in September from a coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and residents from Palo Alto and neighboring cities.

The lawsuit alleged that Palo Alto's 1965 law banning nonresidents, "traces its roots to an era when racial discrimination in and around the City was open and notorious," and violates nonresidents' right to free speech by preventing them from expressing their opposition to the ordinance in the park. It also violates their constitutionally protected right of freedom to assemble, the suit alleged.

The city settled the lawsuit by repealing the residents-only requirement and on Nov. 16 they officially approved the settlement.

Despite fears voiced by some Palo Alto residents who were afraid of what might happen if the park were opened to people from other cities, it was not overrun with visitors, at least on the afternoon of opening day.

Christopher Sundita of Sunnyvale said he's been exploring local parks during the pandemic and had been following the news stories about the park's reopening before deciding to explore it on Thursday. "It's beautiful and peaceful," he said, noting the great views from Vista Hill. At Boronda Lake, Jen Edson, who lives outside of Palo Alto, said she'd seen on the fishing app Fishbrain that Boronda Lake was a good place to fish, and just happened to visit on the first day the park was open to people who live outside of Palo Alto. Meanwhile, Menlo-Atherton High School seniors Dylan Wang and Violet Taylor sat on the dock at the lake celebrating the completion of their last finals for the semester just earlier that morning.

However, not everyone was excited to see the park open to the public. Hiker Steve Rutledge, who said he first visited the park in the 1970s, said he opposed opening it to everyone because he wanted to ensure the natural environment is protected. He said he worried about the impacts to wildlife if the park were to be overrun with human visitors.

"I've had a lot of beautiful nature experiences here almost by myself. I don't want to see it change," he said.

Toward the trails near Wild Horse Valley, two Palo Alto residents, who declined to provide their names, said they opposed opening the park to nonresidents on the grounds that the city's residents are the ones who pay the taxes for the park's maintenance and that it isn't fair for everyone else to use the space without paying.

Several other park visitors from Palo Alto didn't express opposition to the park going public as much as apprehension about sharing a beloved place with newcomers.

As they hiked toward the Los Trancos trail loop, Lynette Philippe and Sue Nicholls of Palo Alto said they had come to the park to see how busy it would be on opening day. They were supportive of opening the park to the public, but added that they'd be willing to pay a $5 to $10 entry fee to ensure the park's maintenance.

Another said she'd been coming to the park since she was a child and just wants to see the park preserved and taken care of. If that means having to pay an entry fee, such as those charged at the nearby trails at Hidden Villa, she would be OK with it.

Not everyone from Palo Alto was opposed to newcomers from outside city limits, though.

Drew Harwell, a longtime Palo Alto resident who offers outdoor after-school and preschool programs for children about the outdoors, said he felt opening the park was "long overdue" and that he'd always been "a bit embarrassed" about the policy banning nonresidents. The outdoors education program he teaches travels to a number of local parks and he had always been able to provide lessons at Foothills Parks. But when his students who live outside of Palo Alto wanted to visit the same park on their own on weekends, they weren't able to — until now.

Hiker Cheyenne Pico of Palo Alto also saw the benefits of expanding access to the preserve.

"This is a great opportunity for the greater community to take advantage of nearby parks, especially with all of the lockdowns," she said.

Palo Alto Weekly Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner contributed to this report.

Comments

GeoffPaulsen
Registered user
another community
on Dec 18, 2020 at 10:22 am
GeoffPaulsen, another community
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 10:22 am
68 people like this

I was one of the plaintiffs in the above-mentioned lawsuit; here’s why: I spoke yesterday with my 95-year old aunt Betty Lee, and she affirmed what I already knew - that when my grandparents offered most of their ranch to the City as open space, it was never their intention that the land would be off limits to anyone.

That being said, we do have a problem: a growing population and a growing interest in outdoor recreation, with open space parking lots are often full. In addition to depriving thousands of an open space experience, this frustrates would-be users who will then be less likely to support taxes for open space.

“I hate parking lots,” Karen Holman (former Palo Alto Mayor and current Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board member) replied to me when I mentioned this. As a former park ranger, I hate parking lots, too. But it’s more than just parking lots. The world is changing, and just as my grandmother Dorothy Lee’s refusal to sell her half of their land for development sparked the local public open space movement, so now we need to think ahead to providing more of the kinds of recreation that Foothills Park provides - picnic areas, boating, and camping.

City of San Francisco, who keeps your Crystal Springs reservoir fenced off, are you listening? Midpeninsula, Regional Open Space Districts, with your hidden preserves with tiny parking lots, are you listening? Portola Valley and Los Altos Hills, with your network of trails, are you listening? I hope we can all listen - and work together to better meet a growing need for a variety of local recreation experiences.


Mark
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Dec 18, 2020 at 10:58 am
Mark, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 10:58 am
18 people like this

I listening. We'll see how that works out for us.


panative
Registered user
Midtown
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:05 am
panative, Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:05 am
29 people like this

I've lived in Palo Alto most of my life and I'm thrilled to see the park open. I am up there all the time and hiked there on Opening Day. It was the same as it always is: lovely. And all the more so because I knew some of my fellow park visitors were getting to enjoy Foothills for the first time.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:06 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:06 am
43 people like this

>"...we do have a problem: a growing population and a growing interest in outdoor recreation, with open space parking lots are often full. In addition to depriving thousands of an open space experience, this frustrates would-be users who will then be less likely to support taxes for for open space."

^ A possible solution...limit open access park/preserve entrance to pre-reservations & create a shuttle service to & from the respective recreational areas.

This in turn would limit what vistors are able to take into these parks including what later amounts to garbage.

In other words...if you can't carry it on your person (or on your back), the stuff stays home.


What Will They Do Next
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:14 am
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:14 am
98 people like this

Too bad there weren't enough signatures for the referendum petition to change the action taken by a weak council who acted without a consensus or vote of Palo Alto residents. It's a shame that the threat of a frivolous lawsuit resulted in them caving to demands that were based on untruths and that used the race card ploy to accomplish their objectives and further their social justice agenda.

Fees should reflect what it will cost to maintain the park now that there will be increased usage. $20 per non- resident vehicle sounds reasonable to me.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:21 am
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:21 am
19 people like this

Part of the settlement is that non-residents can't be treated differently from residents. So a fee for non-residents will have to apply to residents.


CC
Registered user
University South
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:38 am
CC, University South
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:38 am
27 people like this

I’m ok with the park being open to everyone.

But I sure hope our local tax dollars are not being used for maintenance to the park!!! If they are, there needs to be a change.

We should not have to pay for a park open to everyone.

A entrance fee for everyone would solve this, and stop using our tax dollars.

If I’m wrong that we Palo Altans don’t pay, then I stand down on my suggestion.


Nancy Ng
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:44 am
Nancy Ng, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:44 am
10 people like this

[Post removed.]


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:55 am
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:55 am
29 people like this

The big question will be, after all the dust has settled will there be a big difference in the number of park visitors? However, if the number increases and begins to impact the fragile nature of the park and the infrastructure, what then? What will it then cost the city to maintain the park as the nature preserve it is? How will that cost stack up against other city priorities with city services already cut to the bone and the dramatic drop in city revenues not likely to improve anytime soon?


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:59 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:59 am
26 people like this

[Post removed.]


Jerry Underdal
Registered user
Barron Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 12:13 pm
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 12:13 pm
30 people like this

This is a welcome outcome, sort of an early Solstice Day present. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make the case for change. But thanks are due, too, to all those who care deeply about Foothills Park and worry that open access will cause harm, but did not sign the petition because of the risks pointed out by Council Members Filseth and Dubois.

An underlying objection to the non-resident exclusion, which was not ostensibly race-related, was the perception of elitism and exclusivism. These are not, as @Geoffpaulson points out, values that animated creation of this wonderful environmental resource. Numerous attempts to challenge the policy on the grounds that it was an offense to community values failed. It took the energy behind the movement for racial justice to break the impasse and finally allow us to manage Foothills Park responsibly, without the distraction of a discriminatory entrance policy. For me, the opening of Foothills Park is a vindication of traditional Palo Alto values, not a defeat but an opportunity.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 18, 2020 at 12:21 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 12:21 pm
10 people like this

Yesterday evening the local CBS news channel featured the opening of Foothill Park to the general public, and in the last few days this has also been advertised on other local tv stations. I wonder if this will generate more visitors.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 18, 2020 at 12:23 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 12:23 pm
47 people like this

Too bad all the other local cities refused to help foot the cost of purchasing and running Foothill Park leaving Palo Altons with all the costs.


Jennifer Landesmann
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 1:05 pm
Jennifer Landesmann, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 1:05 pm
49 people like this

@GeoffPaulsen
from another community

.."I spoke yesterday with my 95-year old aunt Betty Lee, and she affirmed what I already knew - that when my grandparents offered most of their ranch to the City as open space, it was never their intention that the land would be off limits to anyone."

OK but once she sold the property to the City, it did not include that her grandson would have to be dictating what the new owners should do. Your lawsuit with the ACLU has exposed the mess we have about all the outside influences that tell PACC what to do.

I am in favor of responsible access to preserves because of educational opportunities (especially for youth) and also health benefits, not so much to picnic or tourism (think all the places wrecked by tourists in countries which did not know or care to manage responsibly). So I would support educational programs and Yoga hour, not BBQs.

Anyway, now you have the opportunity to help raise funding to do anything with Foothill, starting with the environmental impact study- a transparent process inclusive of the residents and neighbors of Foothill which should happen first.

The residents of Palo Alto never voted for a ban based on residency, did not have a say on the bully lawsuit, it's on us that we have sages at PACC instead of folks who seek to represent us. I trust that if residents are listened to and given a chance, all will work out fine.


vizslamadness
Registered user
Barron Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 1:11 pm
vizslamadness, Barron Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 1:11 pm
32 people like this

If all people want to be included in this park then everyone must somehow pay a fee for usage. The citizens of Palo Alto pay taxes for the use just like they pay taxes for all the other parks. It costs money to staff and monitor the parks and non-palo altans should pay a fee. That should take care of it.

It would be nice if Palo Alto did a study about who uses the parks. I would guess it is people from another city as we have really nice parks. I just wish the City would take better care of the regular parks. Rinconada is in need of a lot of care. It looks terrible.


Crescent Park Mom
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Crescent Park Mom, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 2:00 pm
51 people like this

Why is it ok for Clarkstown, NY to only allow use of ALL their parks by residents (except 2) but it’s not ok for Palo Alto to only allow use of ONE park by residents? Why is Clarkstown not getting sued? You can Google other cities that operate this way, too.


Clare
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 18, 2020 at 2:49 pm
Clare, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 2:49 pm
95 people like this

I get the good-natured intention behind this article, but the headline is so sensational and misleading it made me do a double take. For the "first time"?? Really? That is a flat out lie.

On weekdays, including Thursdays, ANYONE can come into the park and enjoy it all day - there is literally NO ONE at the gate, let alone checking IDs. No parking fee, no hassle - everyone is welcome.

So, the headline could very well read "Non-residents enjoy Foothills Park on a weekday, just like they've been doing all along." But, you know, that wouldn't make for appealing journalism, because people want to read about how "exclusive" Palo Alto is, that's what gets attention and gets clicks while perpetuating the idea that we're all a bunch of backwards racists who just can't wait to subjugate and exclude anyone who doesn't live within our city limits.

If you're going to advocate for social justice, great, just try to base it on fact instead of some twisted caricature of who actually lives in our city.


Me 2
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2020 at 3:21 pm
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 3:21 pm
53 people like this

@GeoffPaulsen

Gee thanks. What's your address so we can send you the bill for extra costs incurred by the City of Palo Alto?

And are you up for paying for that bigger parking lot too?

Are you one of those folks that think that money grows on trees?


Curious Parent
Registered user
Community Center
on Dec 18, 2020 at 4:07 pm
Curious Parent, Community Center
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 4:07 pm
21 people like this

I'm wondering what the motivation is for Palo Alto to continue to own and run this park. Wouldn't it make sense for Palo Alto to donate Foothills park to Los Altos Hills since the park is very far away from the majority of Palo Alto residents, but is much closer to Los Altos Hills residents?


Irina Beylin
Registered user
Midtown
on Dec 18, 2020 at 4:29 pm
Irina Beylin, Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 4:29 pm
48 people like this

It is my first experience in politics, and challenging indeed. In spite of negativity as "we were setting the city up for an expensive lawsuit that the city can't win", we've met a lot of people who clearly understand the situation and consequence if we are acquiescent to govern Palo Alto by lawsuits. As per link Web Link city lawyer Molly Stump and mayor Adrian Fine are complicit in letting the lawsuit to be filed and settled on unfavorable terms for Palo Altans. The settlement requires, if entrance or parking fee is introduced (which is a must to upkeep and monitor the preserve) charge residents at least 75% of non-resident cost. The pilot program required only non-resident fees, as residents are already paying for Foothills maintenance by property and other taxes and purchased Foothills by issuing the bond. The program was not timely voted for TO PREVENT THE LAWSUIT because mayor Fine didn't put it on agenda in August and allowed a lawsuit to be filed in September. Instead, he participated in "Desegregate" Foothills preserve demonstration where Fine repeated his "You don't vote on human rights" remark of Aug 2. City lawyer Molly Stump knew that the Foothills preserve must be opened to non-residents based on the First Amendment and was warned by case plaintiff Judge LaDoris Cordell about the precedent Web Link and renegaded her duty by not clearly and openly explaining to City Council and Palo Alto residents the legal side of the issue.
Our city mayor, lawyer, council members allowed the lawsuit that besmirched Palo Alto reputation and imposed additional costs on the residents.
The 1,400 acres preserve has at least $4B value, and the lawsuit cost to protect Palo Alto reputation and fair access to Foothills for residents could be recuperated.
We hope the next City Council will value the public's right to be informed timely and vote towards greater transparency in the decision making process. We have organized and will keep City Council and management accountable to the residents.


What Will They Do Next
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2020 at 4:58 pm
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 4:58 pm
29 people like this

@ Clare .... so right. The headline fits the agenda of the social justice crowd.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:15 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:15 pm
57 people like this

Perhaps we should change the name of Foothill Park to Mayor Fine Park since Adrian, as mayor appears to have manipulated council's agenda so the timing of the lawsuit would be a fait accompli. He must be very proud of himself.


What Will They Do Next
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:29 pm
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:29 pm
16 people like this

@ jc .... you are so right.


What Will They Do Next
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:31 pm
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:31 pm
12 people like this

@ Curious Parent .... surely, you are joking. Have you no idea what this land is worth ???


ndn
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:32 pm
ndn, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:32 pm
46 people like this

There are some good arguments for opening the park to all and there are some good ones too for restriction to residents and some good ones for a fee.
But I don't see any good arguments for increasing the park's maximum daily attendance to 1000 people.

My reading of this is that some want to seek higher office and therefore the " come y'all" will be very handy for political purposes of widening someone's political base. And that for me is "transparent" enough.


What Will They Do Next
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:52 pm
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:52 pm
18 people like this

ndn ... I think you nailed it.


Curious Parent
Registered user
Community Center
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:57 pm
Curious Parent, Community Center
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 5:57 pm
8 people like this

@What Will They Do Next wrote: "@ Curious Parent .... surely, you are joking. Have you no idea what this land is worth ???"

No, I actually don't understand how this land is worth anything. If it could be turned into townhouses, you could put a value on it of $X Billion. But, we can't...and obviously shouldn't.
Palo Alto residents will receive the same value from the land regardless of who owns the land. Doesn't it make more sense for the community who most benefits from the park to pay for it, and in this case isn't the closest community Los Altos Hills? Why does it make sense for one city to own and maintain a park in another city?


Name hidden
Downtown North

Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 6:20 pm
Name hidden, Downtown North

Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 6:20 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Jerry Underdal
Registered user
Barron Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 6:53 pm
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 6:53 pm
11 people like this

"Non-residents enjoy Foothills Park on a weekday, just like they've been doing all along."

Yes, they've been able to "sneak In" but not allowed in as legitimate visitors if unaccompanied by a resident. Until now such forbearance could always be revoked if Palo Alto voters decided it was inconvenient. No longer. The same rules and regulations now apply to everyone. What's "sneaking in" for one is "sneaking in" for all. I think that's good policy.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 7:04 pm
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 7:04 pm
62 people like this

To circumvent further ACLU intervention and potential PACC deliberations, will the restroom facilities at Foothills Park be reconfigured to accomodate LGBTQ sensitivities & sensibilities?

Since the park will now be open to everyone, all constitutionality issues should be fully addressed to avoid any further conflicts & debate.



Rose
Registered user
Mayfield
on Dec 18, 2020 at 7:28 pm
Rose, Mayfield
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 7:28 pm
48 people like this

It might be time to sell Foothills Park to the Peninsula Open Space District and let it be managed by professionals in preserving open space. That should certainly be our first priority -- to protect the health and biodiversity of the park. By the way, to all those who accused Palo Alto of being racist -- ALL RACES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN WELCOME. We have African American, Asians, Latinx and Indians living in Palo Alto. They have always been welcome. I resent being called racist because I favor restricting the park to Palo Alto residents. We aren't racist.


Name hidden
Downtown North

Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 8:11 pm
Name hidden, Downtown North

Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 8:11 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 10:31 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 10:31 pm
64 people like this

My husband just hiked in Foothills Park this morning and said it was the most crowded he had ever seen it since we started hiking there about 40 years ago. I fear greatly for the wildlife in the park, who have been protected from overcrowding for years by Palo Alto residents, who paid for the park and its upkeep. We already let anybody use Rinconada park and pool, Mitchell Park, and Arastradero Preserve. Why did Molly Stump, Adrian Fine, and the plaintiffs allow this precious PRESERVE, not PUBLIC PARK, be impacted this way? I can only hope that many of the new visitors decide it's too hard to get to or get into, not as good as the many other parks in the area like Montebello that are already open to the public, or too crowded to enjoy (ah, the sad irony!). We are not a city of racists, and we care deeply about this preserve. Will there be a time when I can visit now without fear of being run off the Chamise trail by a bike (this happened to me about 3 months ago) or forced to flatten myself against a tree when a new visitor goes the wrong way on a one-way trail (this has happened to me several times lately). There should be large signs at trail entrances, saying no bikes allowed. I support the Black Lives Matter movement and have given to ACLU and NAACP regularly, but this was a frivolous lawsuit that dovetailed on the Black Lives Matter movement. If the park is harmed by overcrowding or making new parking lots, I will never forgive the people who forced this lawsuit upon the citizens of Palo Alto. By the way, about 45% of us are renters (including me). We are not rich, the stereotype of Palo Alto by outsiders. This park has been the only place nearby where I could escape the busy, traffic-ridden city to enjoy relative solitude on the trails, smelling the dirt and foliage and flowers and enjoying the large groups of turkeys and deer that regularly wander through the park. I can only hope that those days are not gone. For the media outlets that advertised the opening of the park, shame on you. I even read that some guy used a fishing app to find the park. I don't think I've ever seen more than 3 or 4 people fishing in Boronda Lake at one time. Will that change, too. I am fearful and angry.


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 10:39 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 10:39 pm
20 people like this

Why did the plaintiffs not let the park be opened on a trial basis in 2021, as already decided by city council a few months ago? I'm fine with having people from East Palo Alto use the park since they have been marginalized in the past and don't have a quiet place like Foothills Park to enjoy. I'm sure that schoolkids would enjoy exploring nature. What we don't need is a BBQ and picnic park open to all. What an unnecessary mess this is!


What Will They Do Next
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2020 at 10:44 pm
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 10:44 pm
14 people like this

@ JB .... how have East Palo Altans been marginalized in the past? Please be specific and factual.


What Will They Do Next
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:05 pm
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 11:05 pm
11 people like this

@ Curious Parent ... really? Not worth anything? No benefit to Palo Altans? Wow !!!


Jennifer Landesmann
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2020 at 7:39 am
Jennifer Landesmann, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 7:39 am
21 people like this

@Irina Baylin,

“We hope the next City Council will value the public's right to be informed timely and vote towards greater transparency in the decision making process. We have organized and will keep City Council and management accountable to the residents.”

To keep track of City and PACC transparency, I suggest that we need to change the way Staff and the Mayor set the agendas which is a black box - to make sure that leadership can be effective not just during this council but future ones.

The game of setting up residents to have to be the ones in charge of keeping Councils held to task on issues issues large and small has blown up in our face. Elections alone are not the answer, look how that’s worked so far. Something has to change about the City’s Agenda setting process - starting with an explanation of how they are put together every week.

Since there is no “How PACC agendas get set every week 101” my observation is that they are defined like the closed session for Foothill, by staff advisors and whatever individual PACC members are swayed by. PACC has no credible method to set priorities. Commissions are not the public agenda (where all 7 council members see everything and meant for public engagement) otherwise imagine if all residents had to follow commissions too. PACC priorities are tiring political maneuvering shows, citizen voices become irrelevant. You could have a disaster in the making and PACC is clueless and either staff or a Mayor often outright ignore issues.

While it’s fine and nice to elect people to get to know them personally, I am not interested in their personal agendas and we need a better way to set our public agendas.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2020 at 8:12 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 8:12 am
45 people like this

>"The big question will be, after all the dust has settled will there be a big difference in the number of park visitors? However, if the number increases and begins to impact the fragile nature of the park and the infrastructure, what then?"

^ In that event, perhaps the PACC will decide to have a narrow gauge railroad installed to accommodate the guest overflow, providing them with a vast & enjoyable open-air view of the park while enabling the city to charge a reasonable entrance fee to maintain the premises.

In addition...actors dressed indigenous peoples, Spanish explorers & pre-Stanford era settlers from the east could wander about the grounds providing park guests with a historical perspective of early Palo Alto.

>"I even read that some guy used a fishing app to find the park. I don't think I've ever seen more than 3 or 4 people fishing in Boronda Lake at one time. Will that change, too. I am fearful and angry."

^ That could change...especially if large mouth bass were planted in Boronda Lake. Not only more fishing apps but maybe even a partial provision to allow for aluminum boats (with electric motors) to accommodate periodic pro fishing derbies & community-sponsored 'fish-offs'.

Now that Foothills Park is open to all, the possibilities are endless as a viable revenue stream to cover added park maintanence & security may need to be addressed by the PACC.


GeoffPaulsen
Registered user
another community
on Dec 19, 2020 at 9:53 am
GeoffPaulsen, another community
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 9:53 am
7 people like this

“What will they do next” - Regarding past discrimination, please see Web Link


Jerry Underdal
Registered user
Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2020 at 10:54 am
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 10:54 am
7 people like this

@GeoffPaulsen

Thank you so much for the Palo Alto History. Org link. I was unaware of this excellent account of Palo Alto's history regarding race and learned a great deal from it.


What Will They Do Next
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2020 at 11:03 am
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 11:03 am
5 people like this

@ Geoff Paulsen ... thank you for the link. It answered my question with facts, not rhetoric.


merry
Registered user
Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 19, 2020 at 11:14 am
merry, Palo Alto Hills
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 11:14 am
20 people like this

Well, it did not take long.
Huge increase of hikers on trail.
Wonder if it organized?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 19, 2020 at 11:44 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 11:44 am
11 people like this

Why do people keep talking about Los Altos Hills? Go to their web page - they have parks. They did not buy this park. Palo Alto did. It is not in the city of Los Altos Hills. It is in an Open Space Preserve. Does Curious Parent have relatives that live in Los Altos Hills? Well - now everyone can go. Every city has parks - go to their web page and google their parks.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2020 at 11:46 am
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 11:46 am
21 people like this

@Jennifer Landesmann

"staff advisors and whatever individual PACC members are swayed by."

Setting council meeting agendas in consultation with the city manager is a perk of being elected mayor. In other words Adrian Fine, as mayor this past year, shaped the council agendas. While other council members may make a request, they have no say. This is the real "behind the scenes" power of being elected mayor.

If several council members want a particular issue discussed by the council, they can write a "colleagues memo" to the mayor requesting a council discussion. The "colleagues memo" can then be placed on a future council agenda for discussion and vote as to whether the majority of council members wish to do so. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

Votes for Adrian Fine for mayor were cast by council members Alison Cormack, Liz Kniss, Greg Tanaka, and Adrian Fine. If Cormack should run for a second council term and you agreed with the way Adrian Fine shaped council agendas this year, you can vote for her reelection. If not, you won't.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2020 at 11:58 am
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 11:58 am
24 people like this

"Why do people keep talking about Los Altos Hills?"

Perhaps because from all reports it appears that it was a young high school resident of Los Altos, who who could not visit Foothill Park, who was one of the original organizers and very active in the drive to open Foothill Park to non-residents. Also perhaps because Los Altos refused to either help buy or help maintain Foothill Park, but because of proximity will likely be the primary beneficiaries of opening the park to non-residents.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2020 at 12:10 pm
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 12:10 pm
31 people like this

>"I was unaware of this excellent account of Palo Alto's history regarding race and learned a great deal from it."

>" It answered my question with facts, not rhetoric."

^ Comparing EPA real estate practices to those of Palo Alto 'back in the day' is like comparing apples to oranges as they were two entirely different communities.

In Palo Alto, residency options were primarily based on affordability considerations & not inherent racism although prior to the Rumford Fair Housing Act, sellers did have an option of selecting their buyers.

Of note...there were also countless white families who could not afford to reside in Old Palo Alto, Crescent Park, Professorville, Palo Alto Hills etc. so they opted for other more affordable residencies in PA neighborhoods such as Evergreen, Ventura, Barron Park et al.

It's similar to the PA housing issue today except that ALL residencies in PA are now expensive.


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Dec 19, 2020 at 12:33 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 12:33 pm
11 people like this

Dear "What Will They Do Next", I referred to the marginalization of East Palo Alto out of over 40 years of experience living here. It was not rhetoric. I didn't know that I had to relate a history of East Palo Alto in my comments. I figured you and others newer to the area could look it up yourselves. When we moved to Palo Alto in 1980, we had a very nice African American family living across the street from us in the Evergreen Park neighborhood. East Palo Alto was not a city then, and it was a majority black population. As I recall, they had no high school. Please correct me, anyone, if I am wrong about this. Some East Palo Alto kids were bused to Menlo Atherton High School. A good friend of ours (now deceased, sadly) went to that high school. As the tech industry boomed, housing prices went up, up, up in Palo Alto. Where the fancy Four Seasons Hotel is now and long before Ikea arrived, there was a commercial block called Whiskey Gulch. As you can tell by the name, it had several liquor stores and was not a very nice neighborhood. However, African American families depended upon these businesses for their income. With the development of the Four Seasons Hotel and Ikea and the outrageous Palo Alto home prices (we never have been able to afford a home here), the house prices rose in East Palo Alto, causing many of the African American population to move away. Many Latinx families moved in to take their place. Now that Palo Alto house prices are so ridiculous, some white people are moving to East Palo Alto, where the housing prices are cheaper than in Palo Alto. Other people on this forum who have lived here many years are welcome to tell their stories, too.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2020 at 2:04 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 2:04 pm
11 people like this

Would you call being able to attend Menlo Atherton, an excellent high school, being marginalized?


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2020 at 4:18 pm
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 4:18 pm
21 people like this

>"Would you call being able to attend Menlo Atherton, an excellent high school, being marginalized?"

^ marginalize - verb...To relegate or confine to a lower or outer limit or edge, as of social standing.

source: New Heritage Dictionary of the English Language/5th edition

That said...we are all marginalized to a certain extent as social class is something one is born into regardless of inherent skin color or money.

Read the Great Gatsby.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2020 at 4:22 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 4:22 pm
13 people like this

Adrian Fine's tweet imbedded in the NBC report that his dogs were chasing birds in Foothill Park!

Web Link


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2020 at 4:25 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 4:25 pm
10 people like this

Correction, Adrian's dogs were "after the birds" but could have been on leash.


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Dec 19, 2020 at 5:39 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 5:39 pm
7 people like this

jc, East Palo Alto was marginalized for several reasons. Yes, Menlo Atherton may have been a fine high school in the 1980's or 1990's, but the kids in East Palo Alto were marginalized since they didn't even have their own high school. As I recall, they didn't have their own supermarket back then. It was a big deal when a medical clinic (I'm sorry I don't remember the name of it) opened up in East Palo Alto. Sadly, there was gang violence back in the 1980's, and East Palo Alto for a time was called "the murder capital of the US", a terrible thing for the people in East Palo Alto to have to endure. An emergency was called, and several local police departments helped the police of East Palo Alto in reducing the murder rate. This has not been a problem for many years now. East Palo Alto was a poor area back then, and poverty can lead to poor schools (or no high schools), lack of job opportunity, and gang violence. Why are you picking on me for saying that the citizens of East Palo Alto were marginalized? This used to be called "the other side of the tracks" way back when. It's always a sad situation, no matter which group is located on the poor side of the tracks. When we first arrived in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto was considered so dangerous that we were told not to go there by a friend. This was not a racist comment (our friend was not racist; he was one of the kindest, most giving people ever) but a concern for our safety. I don't know what more to tell you. As I said above, I welcome any other comments from people who lived here 40 years ago. They may have some different memories than I do.


Jerry Underdal
Registered user
Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2020 at 7:34 pm
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 7:34 pm
9 people like this

@JB

Ravenswood High School served both East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park east of 101 until 1976. It was part of Sequoia Union High School District in San Mateo County. Check Wikipedia. Students from EPA were divided up among Carlmont, Woodside and M-A. Most required busing services to attend their new school. It's an interesting, complicated history with lots of related issues that the Weekly and Almanac have reported on over the years.


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Dec 19, 2020 at 8:10 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 8:10 pm
5 people like this

Thank you, Jerry, for your information. I have read about Ravenswood High School for many years but didn't know that it closed 4 years before we moved here. I just looked at Wikipedia, as you suggested, and found out that the high school was demolished. I didn't know that white flight from East Palo Alto led to a larger population of African Americans and that several mothers in East Palo Alto wanted their children to get better education at schools like Menlo-Atherton High School. I'm not sure if Wikipedia has completely accurate information (for all topics), but it was interesting to read their article on Ravenswood High School. Thanks for your help.


eileen
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2020 at 9:32 pm
eileen , College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 9:32 pm
7 people like this

Clair from College Terrace, thank you for speaking the TRUTH! I totally agree with everything you said in your post above!


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2020 at 10:20 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2020 at 10:20 pm
9 people like this

As part of the Tinsley Program some of the children from East Palo Alto are also enrolled in Palo Alto schools,


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 20, 2020 at 8:06 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Dec 20, 2020 at 8:06 am
15 people like this

The pictures being painted here. Back in the day we produced actual Products. Ford Aerospace was producing satellites as well as Lockheed Martin. And they had suppliers who were producing parts for those products. That employed every range possible - supply rooms, hard metal manufacturing, etc. And everyone had teams for softball, golf. Parents had pictures of their children on little league teams, soccer teams.

What you have today is employees in their own homes on their computers. All of the elements that employ the whole spectrum of manufacturing products is no longer here. Silicon Valley is just people on computers in their own homes now? And you are designing whole cites that have no diversity because you have moved all of the jobs out of the state?

So now the ACLU is running around helping groups sue their cities because the California Dream is no longer there? Yes - the products we used to build are now built elsewhere. An APP is not an actual product - it is an application of how to use a product.

The soft products - restaurants are getting boxed out now. Food production is getting boxed out now. Clothing production is getting boxed out now. Those are all of the jobs that use to employ everyone in the bay area, including EPA. They went to work in Jobs. Everyone worked together as huge teams building Products.

In SOCAL the entertainment industry was very big. Now it is cheaper to produce products in Georgia. You always see the Big Peach - the Georgia Peach at the end of movies and TV shows.

Time to "reimagine" what goes on here. I see Amazon getting criticized for building a procurement center. That is the type of company that hires all spectrum of people. Walmart also is a big employer of all levels of jobs. they are not bringing people in - they are hiring the people who are already here who want to work. Not everyone is cut out for sitting in their homes on their computers creating APPS.


Name hidden
Downtown North

Registered user
on Dec 20, 2020 at 11:29 am
Name hidden, Downtown North

Registered user
on Dec 20, 2020 at 11:29 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


merry
Registered user
Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 20, 2020 at 12:22 pm
merry, Palo Alto Hills
Registered user
on Dec 20, 2020 at 12:22 pm
41 people like this

Not only are the trails crowded,
But on Sunday, dogs on trail.
So rules are not being followed.
This is not off to a good start!


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 20, 2020 at 1:10 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 20, 2020 at 1:10 pm
34 people like this

Adrian Fine tweeted about his visit to Foothill Park a few days ago and included the following statement,

"My dog was after the birds. Palo Alto is a little bit better today."

For his dog yes, but doubt the birds and wildlife would agree!


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 20, 2020 at 2:19 pm
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 20, 2020 at 2:19 pm
96 people like this

In some respects, the coerced 're-opening' of Foothills Park is indicative of the progressive cancel culture movement decrying past historical events.

In Palo Alto, the focus has been on Junipero Serra, post-war EPA real estate practices, and most recently open access at Foothills Park.

Nothing/no one is exempt from the wrath of millennial-aged revisionist historians of the extreme left as even a statue of Abraham Lincoln was defaced in Spokane, WA.

It's simply a sign of the times & the PACC is running with the concept to a certain extent.

Curious...since Christopher Columbus is also under fire by both historical revisionists & cancel culture types alike, will the PACC eliminate this particular paid/day-off city holiday & assure Palo Alto tax-paying residents of another day's work from our municipal employees?

All in all, everything must be reconsidered or reconfigured to appease our newly revised perspective of American history and perceived past wrongdoings.

As Janice Hough alluded in her LeftCoastBabe sports blog...perhaps even the NY Yankees should be forced to change their team name as it might be considered offensive to die-hard southern sports fans who have had to relinquish team monickers referencing Dixie and Rebels.

Another curiosity...why isn't 'The Fighting Irish' of Notre Dame offensive to people of Irish descent or land plundering monickers like the Vikings & 49ers as all of them are wrongfully stereotypical?

It appears to be a one-way street & the debacle over Foothills Park is apparently reflective of the new millennium.


merry
Registered user
Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 23, 2020 at 6:58 am
merry, Palo Alto Hills
Registered user
on Dec 23, 2020 at 6:58 am
50 people like this

The city council should visit the park now that it’s open to all. It is very crowded with cars, people and dogs. At this rate it will not be a nature preserve and cannot survive.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 23, 2020 at 9:24 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 23, 2020 at 9:24 am
34 people like this

>"So now the ACLU is running around helping groups sue their cities because the California Dream is no longer there?"

>"...now that it’s open to all. It is very crowded with cars, people and dogs. At this rate it will not be a nature preserve and cannot survive."

^ The progressive platform as exemplified by the ACLU/NAACP & BLM movement is to 'share the California Dream' & when push comes to shove, either sue or demonstrate which is OK providing those they are fighting for can successfully adjust/acclimate to their new opportunities & surroundings.

If this is not feasible, then the progressive dreams become a nightmare for all.


relentlesscactus
Registered user
another community
on Dec 24, 2020 at 9:26 am
relentlesscactus, another community
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2020 at 9:26 am
16 people like this

> City of San Francisco, who keeps your Crystal Springs reservoir fenced off,

Um, that's a watershed, not a park. Common practice for watersheds not to be open to the public to protect the water supply.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 24, 2020 at 9:47 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2020 at 9:47 am
5 people like this

A hiker friend was there yesterday and put on FB that the park is now managed by POST? Is there anything on the signage that would suggest a change in ownership?


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 24, 2020 at 9:48 am
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2020 at 9:48 am
52 people like this

I visited yesterday to run a number of trails, and while it was an overcrowded mess, I didn't see a single African American out there. So it seems we were lied to about there being a large demand from blacks to use the park. No, it was the normal demographics of mostly Asians, with a few whites here and there--just in much larger numbers!. And traffic problems galore. I knew things would get bad, but had no idea how instantly the park experience would degenerate. What a shame. I've found a closer side entrance to Rancho San Antonio though, and will have to see if it's any better over there these days. And I will have found memories of how nice Foothills Park once was--because it really was.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 24, 2020 at 10:42 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2020 at 10:42 am
51 people like this

>"I didn't see a single African American out there. So it seems we were lied to about there being a large demand from blacks to use the park. No, it was the normal demographics of mostly Asians, with a few whites here and there--just in much larger numbers!. And traffic problems galore. I knew things would get bad, but had no idea how instantly the park experience would degenerate."

^ Not surprising as recently arrived newcomers from the PRC enjoy leisurely walks in various park-like settings.

The issue now is increased traffic/visitations + the consequential & adverse environmental impacts emanating from those visiting from outside of Palo Alto.


merry
Registered user
Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 24, 2020 at 11:46 am
merry, Palo Alto Hills
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2020 at 11:46 am
11 people like this

Park was closed today!


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 24, 2020 at 11:51 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2020 at 11:51 am
36 people like this

>"Park was closed today!"

^ A good call as even the flora/fauna & park trails at Foothills Park deserve a holiday from the masses of new guests seeking their Patagonia moments.


merry
Registered user
Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 24, 2020 at 11:55 am
merry, Palo Alto Hills
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2020 at 11:55 am
9 people like this

Park at capacity????!!!!


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 24, 2020 at 1:28 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2020 at 1:28 pm
27 people like this

If extensive use continues and Foothill Park's flora and fauna is degraded from overuse that is beyond managing with the current funding, Palo Alto should seriously consider closing the front entrance on Page Mill Road to allow for its recovery.

Closed until such time as there is sufficient economic recovery and the city is in a position to reinstate the $40 million budget shortfall and massive cuts that have been made to all the other city services. After that, if the city finds it has a surplus of funds that can be allocated to properly manage the increased use of the Foothill Park, then it can be opened up again.

Or the county comes up with the funding as it does for other nature preserves that are open to the general public.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 24, 2020 at 2:48 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2020 at 2:48 pm
10 people like this

jc,

"Palo Alto should seriously consider closing the front entrance on Page Mill Road to allow for its recovery."

While I would be more than happy to see the front gate closed (like it was earlier in the year), as I often run in through Arastradero anyway, I do realize that many people aren't physically able to do that. So it's hard to say if I'd support such a plan. I would like it, but I realize long-time users/hiking groups would be negatively impacted.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 24, 2020 at 5:13 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 24, 2020 at 5:13 pm
10 people like this

They would. Myself included, for over forty five years. Fortunately, in the meantime we have Palo Alto's Astradero Nature Preserve, and numerous other Mid Peninsula Open Space District preserves (funded by county money) that are as easy to get to.

When Palo Alto purchased the Foothill Park lands, it was truly a unique opportunity. At that time the only other places to hike were the county and state parks. Even the dish was ranch lands and closed to the public with plenty of barbed wire and cattle to negotiate if you were willing to trespass!

Since the 1980's and MPOSD started purchasing and opening nature preserves to the public, we have become fortunate to be able to enjoy a plethora of other places to hike, including the opening of Edgeware Park, or one of my favorites, the Windy Hill hike from Portola Valley.


MyFeelz
Registered user
another community
on Dec 27, 2020 at 5:21 pm
MyFeelz, another community
Registered user
on Dec 27, 2020 at 5:21 pm
7 people like this

This opening of the park has led to some really interesting discussion. I'm moving to Palo Alto next summer, so I was looking for some of the local issues that might impact me. Accessible free or low-cost open space is very important to me. But we are living in weird times. Overtourism is at an all time high when people should be staying home. So, now that this park is opened to everyone, maybe it will take some of the heat off of locations like the Lake Tahoe area. We're seeing huge numbers of visitors this year. Yet, there's almost nothing to do. With social distancing rules and mask protocols (that visitors don't heed -- I guess they're taking a real vacation, and that means a vacation from responsibility to humankind), our city keeps telling us it's up to US to stay home so visitors won't have to. Hey, I'm happy to eat my dinner in a house with central heating. The tourists have to endure outdoor seating and tomorrow or Tuesday I think the high temperature is going to be around 12 degrees. So, enjoy that quaint outdoor meal. Bundle up!! What I'm afraid about in urban settings is, there's so much less open space, and with COVID restrictions it could lead to anarchy. It already has in many locales. "Dont Tread On Me" is the refrain. I worked in Palo Alto in 1980, when Stanford Shopping Center was relatively new. Everybody said, "that'll never get off the ground." My parents looked at homes to buy, saying things like "$75,00! They will never get that price for a two bedroom bungalow!" I played softball at the fields across from the mall and I would look across the street to the parking lot at the mall and wonder, "why such a huge parking lot?"
But just like in Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come."
If you build it and then wait long enough, it will be eventually overrun. Until I move there I have no say in it. If I did, I would say you have to stop overtourism before it starts. And advertising "EVERYBODY COME HERE TO PLAY" is not one of the ways to curb it. One of my suggestions is a gate that counts every person who enters. Not to collect a fee, but to see how many people are really showing up. And then find a negotiated point at which the gates would be closed until a certain number of people leave.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 28, 2020 at 11:11 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Dec 28, 2020 at 11:11 am
10 people like this

Every city has parks. Go to the surrounding cities and google city parks. Then google Mid Peninsula Open Space Trust and POST. There are an unbelievable number of parks in this vicinity to visit and hike at. People need to explore the whole region and not get schooled into thinking that FHP is the only park in this area.

Suggestion - set up a worksheet of parks you have visited and impressions of those parks. You can add checkboxes of animals seen, water features - dams, bridges, etc.
Make a game out of it for you and your family so they can say that they are on the great park adventure. Kid love that. If we cannot go to Tahoe then we can explore our direct neighborhood.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 28, 2020 at 12:11 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 28, 2020 at 12:11 pm
29 people like this

Palo Alto has a total of four nature preserves, all of which have always been entirely funded entirely by Palo Alto, and run on a shoestring with only four rangers staffing all four of our nature preserves.

Palo Alto's three other nature preserves have always been open to, and heavily used, by non-residents. Even Foothill has always been open to non-residents provided they don't enter by car and hike in on trails linking adjacent nature preserves.

So many "off the cuff" suggestions as to how the city can manage all the extra the vehicles and crowds, but no realistic suggestions yet as to where exactly the funding is going to come from. A reasonable entrance fee wouldn't come close to paying for the extra rangers to staff the front gate full time to restrict the total number of cars at any one time, or for the extra restroom maintenance and trash collection. In addition, according to the lawsuit settlement, resident's and non-residents can't be charged substantially different entrance fees.

This year, because of a huge drop in city revenue, Palo Alto has had to cut $40 million from the city's budget with the economic outlook not likely to recover anytime soon. These cuts impact all city serves, including the loss of fire fighters and the "browning out" of one of our fire stations. Foothill is very vulnerable to fire.


pikatomi
Registered user
South of Midtown
on Dec 28, 2020 at 5:52 pm
pikatomi, South of Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 28, 2020 at 5:52 pm
10 people like this

Long time PA resident. Went to FHP midday this Saturday past interested to see the changes in the experience with the new open policy.
Traffic - Granted, it was a weekend day with nice weather. Long line of cars ascending Page Mill Road. Array of traffic cones on approach to the entrance. The impact on local residents seems non-trivial.
Entry - Greeted by pleasant smiles at the entry gate inquiring how many people were in the car. Thought there would be a nominal entry fee.
Parking - Parked cars along much of the length of the road leading up to the split to Vista Hill, Lake Boronda and the meadow.
Trails - Hiked the Fern-Costanoan-Los Trancos one-way loop. Encountered 6 fellow hikers. Most notably, dozens of walkers/hikers/families spread all over the park, many on trails, many off-trail on hillside meadows. The common trailside litter is the omnipresent disposable facemark. Impact of increased park use/attendance, over time, would seem non-trivial.
Covid-19 safety - The occasional walker/hiker were mask-less. Notably, few more joggers were not wearing masks.
Vista Hill - Reminiscent of Twin Peaks Drive in SF on a clear day or night. Double-parked cars waiting for a parking spot. Inevitable litter.
Departure - Initial concerns/first impressions upon entrance were alleviated in the first 5 minutes of the hike disappearing up the hillside trail. Pleased to see, in retrospect, how many people, many new/first-time visitors likely, were enjoying the park. Concern for the future of FHP and its sustainability/health is park/meadow/habitat/trail maintenance and upkeep, crowd control impact. FHP was, is, and hopefully, will continue to be a local "jewel"!


RIP Foothill Park
Registered user
Midtown
on Dec 28, 2020 at 5:59 pm
RIP Foothill Park, Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 28, 2020 at 5:59 pm
47 people like this

Thanks PA City Council for making Foothill Park inaccessible and unusable by the citizens of Palo Alto who pay for its upkeep. We'll never be able to park there again on a weekend.

Drove up PageMill yesterday Sunday 12/27 to take a hike at Foothill Park. It was a TOTAL zoo: both police and park rangers trying to manage the crowds of people/cars that were dangerously backed up on PageMill, the parking lot was full, and people were unsafely walking up and down the side of PageMill road to get to FHP (a windy wooded road with no shoulder and not intended for pedestrians, where were they even parking??? sidestreets down the hill??? feel sorry for the neighbors.).

To anyone who suggests it will be fine/safe after the novelty wears off, the only thing that's going to get worn down is Foothill Park and the neighbors patience putting up with dangerously backed up traffic on PageMill Rd.

The folks who lobbied (more like used extortion) to open the park to non-PA residents based this on the threat of a bogus lawsuit with a BS claim of racism, which was/is an offensive coopting of a term that had nothing to do with why the park was originally open only to PA residents. Anyone who did an iota of research would understand that. A PA resident donated the land (now Foothill Park) that no other town wanted to spend the money to maintain, so PA took it! Now it's unusable by anyone in the name of equity. Great job!

City of PA should've done an Environmental Impact Report, anticipated this mess, and at a minimum charged an entrance fee to non-PA residents to help pay for the upkeep of the park (standard practice in many cities for non-residents, along with limiting parks to residents). In the absense of a fee for outside residents, PA should just donate it to the Open Space Trust, close it to all picnicing/camping/events, and limit it to hiking -- like all the other nearby Open Space Preserves.

RIP Foothill Park.


YP
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 28, 2020 at 7:08 pm
YP, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 28, 2020 at 7:08 pm
43 people like this

Hopefully Palo Alto online will do a followup BALANCED story about the pros and cons following the decision to open Foothills rather than printing their usual biased woke narrative about how wonderful this decision was.


SamFried94303
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Dec 28, 2020 at 10:11 pm
SamFried94303, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Dec 28, 2020 at 10:11 pm
11 people like this

I have lived in Palo Alto for fifty years. In all that time, when the subject of opening Foothills Park came up for discussion, a common justification against opening it to non-Palo Alto residents was that Palo Alto reached out to neighboring communities to share the purchase cost but was rebuffed. With the opening, it has come to light that the county of Santa Clara offered to pay 40% of the purchase price in exchange for the park being open to all but Palo Alto declined the offer.

Therefore the argument that Palo Alto should allow restricted access because no other local government agency was willing to share the cost is intentionally or incidentally a deception.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 28, 2020 at 10:48 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 28, 2020 at 10:48 pm
35 people like this

SamFried,

The argument that access was restricted in order to keep out people of color is also intentionally or incidentally a deception. No, actually, it's an intentional lie not supported by any facts. Lots of that going around these days!


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Dec 29, 2020 at 12:19 am
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Dec 29, 2020 at 12:19 am
33 people like this

My husband went to Foothills Park today but just turned around after he counted 266 parked cars (before the park opened to the general public, we used to see about 20-40 cars in the park on weekdays). He actually felt unsafe there due to the recent terrible covid spike in California. I hope this is a temporary thing and will largely go away when the children return to school or virtual learning after the holidays. Since I can no longer hike on the steep trails to get away from the crowds, I won't go there until I feel safe. This has been my favorite place to experience peaceful solitude for 40 years. I have always loved smelling the vegetation, hearing the birds and frogs, and just being in a quiet place away from the bustle of Palo Alto. If this doesn't improve soon, our beautiful nature preserve and its wildlife will suffer. I hope that they allow much fewer cars into the park and consider a park entrance fee (if they charge more for East Palo residents, they will probably get sued again). By the way, my husband has hiked there several times since it opened to the general public and has only seen African Americans there once (a family of 3 fishing on Boronda Lake). I favor opening the park to people in East Palo Alto, but it appears so far that this is not the audience that is using the park now. This is so sad.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 29, 2020 at 9:17 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 29, 2020 at 9:17 am
10 people like this

[Post removed.]


Palo Alto Mom
Registered user
Midtown
on Dec 29, 2020 at 10:49 am
Palo Alto Mom, Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 29, 2020 at 10:49 am
45 people like this

The park is now open to the public but there is no management! The park is overrun with people, cars, trash, dogs on days when not allowed, dog poop in bags on the ground, people trampling off trail and destroying vegetation, and going the WRONG WAY on trails clearly marked as one-way only. If this park is to be open to the public it must be properly managed!

It used to be a peaceful and quiet environment and now it's the opposite.


tom kearns
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Dec 29, 2020 at 10:56 am
tom kearns, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Dec 29, 2020 at 10:56 am
40 people like this

I was at the park this morning (12/29) at 8:30 AM at it was packed. Extra
Palo Alto community service officers (who's paying them ?) on site to deal
with traffic. Non residents who use Rinconada swimming pool pay extra. Some
one needs to pay for this. The city didn't think this through.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 29, 2020 at 11:54 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Dec 29, 2020 at 11:54 am
38 people like this

Of course the city didn't think this through; some of the politicians were just eager to grab headlines showing how progressive / enlightened / "woke" THEY are while trashing the city.

I wonder how much their headline-grabs depicting us as the deplorable, racist rich contributed to the "commuter crime" incidents attracting criminals from distant communities.

This type of unthinking verbiage is like Mayor Fine supporting Musk and Tesla when Musk was so adamantly protesting the need to protect HIS factory workers who ended up getting sick in record numbers. Bye bye to both of them.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 29, 2020 at 12:20 pm
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 29, 2020 at 12:20 pm
13 people like this

@Palo Alto Mom

"but there is no management! "

Palo Alto has just been forced to cut $40 million from the city budget. This has heavily impacted services including the fire department.

What further cuts do you propose to be able to transfer funding to the Foothill Park budget? We have a total of four park rangers who split their time between Foothill Park and Palo Alto's three other preserves.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 29, 2020 at 12:46 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 29, 2020 at 12:46 pm
41 people like this

Palo Alto Mom,

"It used to be a peaceful and quiet environment and now it's the opposite."

Exactly. Before it was open to everyone, Foothills was, indeed, uniquely quiet and peaceful compared to the other Open Spaces. But now, it's just like all the others, with no unique benefit at all. Plus, it's much harder (and more dangerous) to get to. It's lose-lose.

Except, I guess, members of the City Counsel benefit from that warm, fuzzy, smug, woke feeling. But one day, maybe they will realize how ashamed of themselves they should actually feel.


Eyemax
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2020 at 3:22 am
Eyemax, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 3:22 am
33 people like this

Here are some of the experiences I have had at FHP since it opened. While walking on the Chamise trail, an aggressive bicyclist came up behind me and began shouting for me to get out of his way. When I told him the trails are for hiking only, he screamed that I was a "fucking bitch" and forced me off the trail. On another hike, I watched a man chase a flock of wild turkeys in order to catch one so his son could pet it. While hiking at the park today, I overheard a man tell his son that next time they come to the park, he will bring his gun so they can do some shooting. At this point, I no longer feel safe at the park and believe it should be closed.


JCC
Registered user
Los Altos
on Dec 30, 2020 at 7:58 am
JCC, Los Altos
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 7:58 am
18 people like this

I was there on 12/29 and was shocked at how crowded it was - tons of families with young kids and busy trails. However, I am hoping and expecting that the crowds won't continue. First, the park is newly opened and everyone wants to check it out (as did I). Second, it's the holiday break. Both kids and many parents are off school/work. Third, it was great weather. Once school starts up again and the newness of the park has worn off, I expect that the crowds won't be a problem. If they do continue, then it's time to consider a fee for entry.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 30, 2020 at 8:20 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 8:20 am
57 people like this

Wow...given the preceding commentaries citing the now seemingly adverse atmosphere at Foothills Park, public safety & park maintanance measures may need to be ramped up.

Speeding mountain bikers & hikers sharing the same trail is asking for some serious potential injuries, additional park guests will always equate to an increase in disposable garbage & traffic/parking gridlock + the thought of someone carrying a firearm into the park may warrant a specialized park police/ranger unit to ensure public safety measures.

Hopefully these troubling issues are being immediately addressed by the PACC & upper-tier city management.

Though public parks are generally protected from personal injury lawsuits due to municipal sovereignty, an unchecked & insufficiently managed public setting could lead to further legal problems later down the road.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 30, 2020 at 8:43 am
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 8:43 am
11 people like this

Lee Forest,

"Speeding mountain bikers & hikers sharing the same trail is asking for some serious potential injuries..."

Mountain bikers are allowed on the trails at some of the other parks/open spaces, and the two can get along. The main problem is, bikes (and horses, where they're allowed) dig up the trails, and render them MUCH less enjoyable for hikers and runners.

But a police/ranger unit to enforce rules? That's a good one. People are in no mood to be following or enforcing rules at the park. A park rule is what the ACLU sued over, so we might as well assume any rules enforcement will result in another lawsuit the first time a person of color is told by a white ranger they're doing something wrong. No, better to play it safe and have a hands-off policy. The financial risks are too great!


Observer
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 30, 2020 at 8:54 am
Observer, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 8:54 am
14 people like this

TimR,
Surely you jest. Following the ACLU's senseless lawsuit that the CC caved in to, perhaps due to spineless advice from our city attorney and incited by the personal goals of our mayor, we are supposed to let the ACLU dictate every iota of our behavior from now on? Play it safe with no rule enforcement? Guarantee this would turn the preserve into an absolute zoo. Why not turn it into a mountain bike park and condone campfires to keep the mobs warm.


merry
Registered user
Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 30, 2020 at 9:01 am
merry, Palo Alto Hills
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 9:01 am
36 people like this

Could no one see this coming?
This is a predictable disaster.
Perhaps number of of people allowed access is too high.
Too many cars, too many hikers shoulder to shoulder not enough mask wearing..this once quiet preserve is now more like a freeway.... trash and all.
Hope city council does something quickly before there is irreparable harm to this former treasure.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 30, 2020 at 9:22 am
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 9:22 am
4 people like this

Observer,

"Surely you jest."

Just a bit of gallows humor.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 30, 2020 at 9:51 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 9:51 am
26 people like this

So we appear in the news gain - SJM/BAN 12/30 - Aldo Toledo - "Hundreds flooding into a once-exclusive park". Problems noted but Mayor Fine is taking a victory lap here as is the SJM/BAN which has championed the opening of the park. We again are pictured as an "one of the bay-areas most expensive communities". FHP is having "growing pains".

We are not one of the most expensive communities in the bay area. We are surrounded by the most expensive communities in the bay area. Hyperbole is such a journalistic tool. And a percentage of the population feeds into the hyperbole. Duly noted.


BG
Registered user
South of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2020 at 10:06 am
BG, South of Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 10:06 am
26 people like this

The cities of San Francisco and San Jose both have resident only parks (family camps). Why are they able to maintain resident only areas and yet Palo Alto is not?


Are their City Manager and Legal staff more competent than ours?


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 30, 2020 at 10:45 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 10:45 am
21 people like this

>"Perhaps number of of people allowed access is too high."

^ This appears to be the case & the emerging/existing problem can be rectified before it exacerbates any further.

To maintain 'open access' at Foothills Park, perhaps the City of Palo Alto & other surrounding municipalities should mutually work out some sort of 'guest pass/admittance' program with an established cut-off entrance number for every day the park is ordinarily open to the public.

In other words, a pre-reservation program based on a first-come/first-served registration basis...allowing equal park access to both residents & non-resident a alike.

Either that or maybe Palo Alto should consider getting out of the nature park arena by turning the acreage over to some other land management program.


jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 30, 2020 at 11:00 am
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 11:00 am
17 people like this

Even with registrations, unless the city hires a couple of full time rangers to staff the front entrance from daybreak to sundown, what's to stop anyone from driving in? However, should we prioritize staffing Foothill Park when we have just reduced city services by $40 million?

Before we prioritize and add additional full time rangers at Foothill Park, perhaps we should instead reconsider the budget cuts made to the fire department budget which is going to leave one of the fire station "browned out" (that is closed) during the weekend? With the possibility that if there are too many sick or vacationing or otherwise not working on certain days, the possibility of a another fire station having to be browned out?



jc
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 30, 2020 at 11:08 am
jc, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 11:08 am
8 people like this

The Foothill Park trails are connected and open to mountain bikers using Palo Alto's Astradero Nature Preserve, which have always been open to non-residents. It may be that with all the publicity (non-resident?) mountain bikers using the Astradero trails are now encouraged to enter Foothill Park from Astradero.


Localhiker
Registered user
Midtown
on Dec 30, 2020 at 11:44 am
Localhiker, Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 11:44 am
11 people like this

As a resident of Palo Alto, I have hiked in Foothills Park for more than twenty years. It is one of the many excellent parks and open spaces on the Peninsula and it is one of the closest to me. The crowds at 2 PM on December 29 were astonishingly large and the cars overflowed all of the marked parking spaces. Needless to say, this busyness was a severe downgrade from my usual very quiet walking experience at Foothills.

On the other hand, many of the new visitors were clearly awed by beauty of the park-- sitting around Boronda Lake, looking at the forested mountains toward Skyline Boulevard, watching the wild turkeys, investigating the unusual shapes of bay trees, and viewing the bay from Vista Point. These features were wonderful for a lot of people. When you see them every week, it's easy to start not noticing how nice it all is. Even with the crowds, after hiking up 100 yards along the Los Trancos 1-way trail, there were few people on the trails and it was quiet up on the ridges.

Overall, it felt like there were too many people for the level of management and maintenance of the park. In the past, Foothills Park has been very busy on holiday weekends with overflowing cars, but not like yesterday. Extra money would be needed to monitor activities (no motorized boats, no bicycles on the trails, 1-way traffic on trails, open and clean restrooms, provide a docent at the visitor center). Trail signs need to be upgraded because at every junction that I passed on the trails new hikers were studying phone maps to figure out which way to go. Perhaps add signs about which way to get back to the valley and the elevation change of each trail. Having this park open to the public during this time of Covid seems like a valuable public service, but the city needs to figure out a way to finance better management of it in the future.


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Dec 30, 2020 at 11:50 am
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 11:50 am
31 people like this

Wow, this is madness! I no longer feel safe going to our precious natural preserve, Foothills Park, where I have hiked about weekly for 40 years. Two days ago, my husband entered the park and left after counting over 260 cars. He felt it was a possible coronavirus spreading situation and didn't feel safe leaving his car. So, he just left. I know that this is a holiday period for families, but this has gotten out of control. So far, he has only seen 3 African Americans (a family of 3 hiking at Boronda Lake about one week ago). Since this park opening happened partially due to claims of racism in Palo Alto, it's depressing to see almost no faces of color since the park opened to the public.

I just wrote to City Council members about this overcrowding. I will list the email addresses below. Please write to them, too, to report your concerns about Foothills Park. I can't believe that somebody was chasing turkeys so that his daughter could pet one. [Portion removed.]

I, too, was chased off the Chamise Trail about 2 months ago by a mountain biker in a section of the trail that is about 2 feet wide. He was not unkind to me, but there should be a large sign at the entrance to the park, stating NO BIKES ON TRAILS. My husband and I have also had to flatten ourselves against trees on the Toyon Trail when people were going the wrong way. This is unsafe due to the pandemic. Again, I would suggest a large sign at the entrance to the park, stating RESPECT ONE-WAY TRAILS. A flyer detailing all of these rules at the park entrance would help, too.

If things don't improve after January 4, I believe we should immediately require an entrance fee or close the park temporarily until the fee amount is determined. This beautiful park is in danger now, after years of being respected and protected by the citizens of Palo Alto. I hope that others reading this forum will email the City Council members below to voice their concerns, too. Thank you.

Lydia Kou [email protected]
Eric Filseth [email protected]
Tom Dubois [email protected]
Greg Tanaka [email protected]



Foothill over capacity already?
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 30, 2020 at 12:37 pm
Foothill over capacity already?, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 12:37 pm
40 people like this

My family went to Foothills Park this morning and was surprised at seeing it far more crowded than I've ever seen it before. I talked to a Ranger on the way out at noon who said they'd already let in 851 people and 350 cars and that they'd turned away a lot more cars. I thought the daily limit was 750 people for the first three months? Also, no signs of the usual turkeys and deer I normally see.


Foothills Park Invader
Registered user
Atherton
on Dec 30, 2020 at 12:37 pm
Foothills Park Invader, Atherton
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 12:37 pm
6 people like this

You absolutely love to see it! Thank you, Palo Alto, for caving in and opening the park up to all of us.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 30, 2020 at 12:49 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 12:49 pm
22 people like this

JB,

"Also, no signs of the usual turkeys and deer I normally see."

I was there this morning as well, and I did see a deer. It was sprinting away from a group of people! And can you blame it?

Gone are the days when you'd walk or run past a deer in the park, they'd look at you, you'd look at them, and both would continue on, equally sharing the park together.


mauricio
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 30, 2020 at 3:25 pm
mauricio, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 3:25 pm
6 people like this

[Post removed.]


Oh well.....
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 30, 2020 at 3:26 pm
Oh well....., Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 30, 2020 at 3:26 pm
8 people like this

All those folks complaining, you could always easily access the park as the city doesn't have park rangers to verify your residency. Just enjoy the views and then go home.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 31, 2020 at 10:43 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 10:43 am
24 people like this

The crowding of the park is really garnering attention. I'd love to hear comments from our city manager, city attorney and our pandering politicians who pushed for this without thinking this through.

It's a shame safety concerns prevented Lydia Kuo's petition drive from making its numbers.


Name hidden
Downtown North

Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 12:12 pm
Name hidden, Downtown North

Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 12:12 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Finite
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2020 at 2:32 pm
Finite, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 2:32 pm
14 people like this

Jerry Underdal wrote:
"An underlying objection to the non-resident exclusion, which was not ostensibly race-related, was the perception of elitism and exclusivism. These are not, as @Geoffpaulson points out, values that animated creation of this wonderful environmental resource. Numerous attempts to challenge the policy on the grounds that it was an offense to community values failed. It took the energy behind the movement for racial justice to break the impasse and finally allow us to manage Foothills Park responsibly, without the distraction of a discriminatory entrance policy. For me, the opening of Foothills Park is a vindication of traditional Palo Alto values, not a defeat but an opportunity."

The legal complaint appears not to have been race-related or social-justice-related either, nor does the outcome seem to have any discernible impact on social justice.

While I am in agreement with JU that the perception of exclusivity was inconsistent with City values, I am deeply offended by his outright admission that using social justice was just a means to an end, a tactic to get his desired outcome (and with it, he cloaks himself in the mantle of social justice for his own benefit). Speaking of how perceptions can damage a cause.

These changes will not make Foothills Park a more welcoming place for traditionally underrepresented minorities, and the improvement in "access" is dubious at best. This is ultimately largely a triumph for mostly rich white people in Los Altos Hills who can now feel smug in that they never paid for the park but have better access to it than anyone else.

Underdal’s statement “Numerous attempts to challenge the policy on the grounds that it was an offense to community values failed. It took the energy behind the movement for racial justice to break the impasse and finally allow us to manage Foothills Park responsibly” is the real affront.

[Portion removed.] I want to share some food for thought, a research article about burnout among black activists caused by well-meaning white liberal activists, and how it hurts antiracism movements.

Web Link
The article describes how white activists who cause burnout among black activists “exploit activists of color either to acquire benefits…or to win validation from activists of color. In either case, nine (50%) participants described how white activists’ habit of taking credit for their work or of exploiting them in other ways contributed to their burnout.”

Just because you could not get what you wanted through one approach, does not mean that it’s okay for you to appropriate the energy and the power of the social justice movement for something so marginally or even arguably not about improving the cause of social justice. It’s not harmless to co-opt the social justice movement for your pettier local non-racial-justice-related ends or to burnish your social justice credentials.

[Portion removed.]





TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 31, 2020 at 3:44 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 3:44 pm
5 people like this

Finite,

"The legal complaint appears not to have been race-related..."

Have you even bothered to read the complaint? Here's a little taste for you, from its very first, introductory paragraph:

"The ban on non-residents traces its roots to an era when racial discrimination in and around the City was open and notorious. It is long past time to relegate this unlawful exclusion to the dustbin of history."

It then goes on to cook up some First Amendment argument, since the discrimination argument is so weak.




Jerry Underdal
Registered user
Barron Park
on Dec 31, 2020 at 4:09 pm
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 4:09 pm
3 people like this

@Finite

"While I am in agreement with JU that the perception of exclusivity was inconsistent with City values, I am deeply offended by his outright admission that using social justice was just a means to an end, a tactic to get his desired outcome (and with it, he cloaks himself in the mantle of social justice for his own benefit). Speaking of how perceptions can damage a cause."

I am taken aback by your interpretation of what I said in my post. I quickly scanned the article you linked to in order to see how it applies to supporting Tom Dubois and Eric Filseth's cautions about the risks involved in scuttling the settlement. I will give it a careful read in hopes that it will help me understand your carefully elaborated, but off the mark, argument.


Finite
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2020 at 6:09 pm
Finite, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 6:09 pm
6 people like this

@ Jerry Underdal,
The article is about how well-meaning white social justice activists cause burnout in black activists, for listed reasons that include co-opting the black social justice movement for the purposes of the white social justice activists or the power/prestige those activists get by coasting on the backs of black activists. They also explain how the lack of self-reflection by said white activists is also at the root of it, and how difficult it can be to get such "allies" to reflect on what they can do to be helpful.

[Portion removed.]


Finite
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2020 at 6:19 pm
Finite, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 6:19 pm
18 people like this

"violates nonresidents' right to free speech by preventing them from expressing their opposition to the ordinance in the park. It also violates their constitutionally protected right of freedom to assemble, the suit alleged."

Sorry, but that's just BS gobbledygook that makes a mockery of very real social justice issues. The outcome in this case doesn't necessarily integrate the use of the park any better than it is now.

This situation is just people trying to leverage the social justice issue to get what they want in a local civic issue that could and should have been handled by discussion and compromise, but there are still too many people who want to get their way and are too divisive in their views of the world and neighbors how they handle things to bring diverse perspectives together to get that compromise. [Portion removed.] Shame on all of you for trying to shoehorn this in as a social justice issue. Both the suit and the referendum were heavy-handed power plays, and piggybacking on the racial justice movement as the power lever was the worst abuse.

When you are ready to consider that the road to hell can be paved with good intentions and willing to engage in some self-reflection then read the article.


Finite
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2020 at 6:24 pm
Finite, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 6:24 pm
18 people like this

The problem of lack of diversity in outdoor spaces is very real.
Web Link

What everyone just did was settle a score over a local controversy that will only enable it to be more dominated by rich white Los Altans and Los Altos Hills residents. And the actual issue of lack of diversity in outdoor spaces took a back seat and got none of that energy.


Finite
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2020 at 6:33 pm
Finite, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 6:33 pm
6 people like this

@ TimR,
Have YOU bothered to read the complaint? A "taste" implies that what follows has anything to do with the tidbit at the beginning. But that wasn't so. As Eric Filseth explained:

"Yet while the historical perspective is important, the legal arguments raised with Foothills Park in a lawsuit brought by ACLU and NAACP are based not on racial equity, but instead on the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment."

[Portion removed.]

I agree that the optics of elitism was bad even if they could have worked out something to make the space more diversity-accessible. I think there are no lack of bad optics of white elitism on all sides here, though.


Jerry Underdal
Registered user
Barron Park
on Dec 31, 2020 at 7:54 pm
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 7:54 pm
3 people like this

[Post removed.]


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 31, 2020 at 8:02 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2020 at 8:02 pm
9 people like this

Finite,
Wouldn't it be easier if you just finally read the thing? It's not that scary and full of "legalize," and you can do it. Pay particular attention to the parts that invoke racism, to wit, paragraphs 6, 7, 8, 9, 30, and 38. Clearly, the ACLU is arguing that the old policy violated the First Amendment rights of people of color. And that's why it's such a weak set of arguments.


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