News

Survey shows Palo Alto falls short on diversity

Latest National Citizen Survey also indicates attitudes vary by neighborhood

Protesters walk up the University Avenue U.S. Highway 101 northbound exit in Palo Alto on June 1, 2020. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Despite Palo Alto's recent efforts to promote social justice, the percentage of residents who believe the city is doing a good job in welcoming people with diverse backgrounds is at its lowest point in nearly two decades, a newly released survey shows.

The downward trend was among the findings in the National Citizens Survey, an annual measurement of residents' feelings about city government, community services and their overall satisfaction with life in Palo Alto. The city has conducted the annual survey in partnership with a national polling firm since 2003, though City Manager Ed Shikada is proposing in his new budget a switch to a biennial schedule.

In many areas, Palo Alto continued to receive high marks from residents, who took the survey by Polco/National Research Center between late December and early February. According to the survey, many residents think Palo Alto is an enjoyable place to visit (70% gave the city a "good" or "excellent" mark in this category), a pretty good place to work (82%), a great place to live (88%) and a more-or-less-decent place to retire (52%). And much like in prior years, most respondents gave their immediate environs stellar marks, with 89% calling their particular neighborhood "good" or "excellent."

There was some variation, however, among different parts of the city. Whereas residents in downtown and Old Palo Alto were almost unanimous in praising their neighborhood, with 97% giving it top ratings, the number dipped to 85% in Midtown and 83% in Barron Park and Ventura. Overall, 93% of respondents from north Palo Alto gave their neighborhoods top ratings, compared to 85% of those in south Palo Alto.

Yet the survey — coming at the end of a year in which residents took to the streets to protest racial injustice after the May 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer — also pointed to growing concerns among residents about the city's record on diversity and inclusion. When respondents were asked about Palo Alto's "openness and acceptance of the community toward people of diverse backgrounds," 59% gave the city "good" or "excellent" marks, down from 72% who did so in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The proportion who thought the city did well in this category was in fact the lowest since the city began the annual survey in 2003.

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Police services continue to receive generally positive ratings from residents, but the number of residents who rated them as "good" or "excellent" dipped, going from 93% in 2017 and 89% in 2018 to 78% last year, according to the survey.

The survey was conducted just as the council was advancing a broad "race and equity" initiative that includes the revision of police policies, review of City Hall hiring practices and the facilitation of community conversations about race. Since the June protests, the council has commissioned public art to support the Black Lives Matter movement, worked with the Police Department to revise its use-of-force policies and asked its Human Relations Commission to create a history of Black and brown residents in Palo Alto.

Osei Johnson, 9, kneels with other protesers during a moment of silence in front of Palo Alto City Hall on June 1, 2020. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The city's record on police accountability, however, has been spotty over the last several years. Since December 2019, the council had reduced the scope of the independent police auditor to exclude probes of internal complaints — a move that kept the auditor from releasing a report pertaining to a racist comment that a white police supervisor made to a Black officer in 2014. (Since the survey was conducted, council members agreed to expand the auditor's scope to include more types of use-of-force incidents. They are now also considering restoring the auditor's power to review internal complaints).

The city has also faced three lawsuits over the past two years over use of force by police officers, one of which it had settled in November 2019 for $572,500.

And in another blow to transparency and accountability, the Police Department abruptly switched in January its police radio transmission to an encrypted frequency, effectively barring the public, including the media, from using scanners to monitor police activity.

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Earlier this year, the council signaled its commitment to continuing its efforts on racial equality and police accountability when it named "social justice" as one of its official priorities for 2021.

"We moved the needle a bit in 2020 thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, but we can't forget that those problems continue to exist and we can't forget that we need to continue to reevaluate our changes and look at best practices going forward to see if we can continue to move that needle forward," council member Greer Stone said at the priority-setting retreat.

More crimes in certain neighborhoods

A bicyclist rides past cars lined parked near Nevada Avenue and High Street in Palo Alto. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Much like in the past, the vast majority of residents surveyed reported that they feel safe in Palo Alto, with 86% giving the city either an "excellent" or "good" rating in this category.

Despite respondents' general feeling of safety, however, residents were also more likely in 2020 than in years past to have reported a crime to the police department, according to the survey. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents said they had not reported a crime in the prior 12 months, while in the prior five years, the percentage ranged from 85% to 87%. (The survey did not speculate about how the pandemic had affected the level of crime in the city, although some respondents claimed that it was increasing.)

The feelings of safety also varied by neighborhood. According to the survey's geographic breakdown, the proportion of those who had reported a crime in the preceding 12 months was markedly higher in Midtown (26%) and in the survey area that includes College Terrace and Evergreen Park (24%) neighborhoods than in Crescent Park and Duveneck/St. Francis (13%).

The survey also indicated that most residents aren't particularly optimistic about the "overall direction Palo Alto is taking," with only 4% giving the city "excellent" marks and 30% rating it as "good," while 34% said "fair" and 17% marked "poor." On this question, Palo Alto's ranked 293rd out of the 332 jurisdictions that were surveyed across the nation.

The percentage of people who raved about the "quality of services" that the city provides has also dipped, with 73% giving Palo Alto high marks, down from 86% in 2017 and 82% in 2018. At the same time, residents gave the city a higher grade than in past years when asked about traffic enforcement, street repair and street cleaning. And when asked about traffic signal timing, the percentage of residents who gave Palo Alto a high ranking jumped from 45% in 2018 to 59% in 2021.

Housing, a perennial area of concern for residents and city leaders alike, remained so in 2020, according to the survey. The percentage of respondents who gave the city positive reviews in the category of "variety of housing options" went up from 13% in 2018 to 27%. However, just 9% of those surveyed gave Palo Alto high marks in the perennially problematic category "availability of affordable quality housing."

And when residents were asked to name one change that the city could make that would make them happier, housing topped the list for 19% of the respondents, with many urging the city in open-ended responses to "build more housing," while others called for more "affordable housing" and still other suggested that the city limit development ("Stop allowing for mega homes to invade neighborhoods").

An apartment complex under construction at the intersection of Page Mill Road and El Camion Real in Palo Alto on April 14, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Residents also indicated that they aren't particularly thrilled about the quality of new developments, with only 38% giving the city positive reviews in this category last year, down from 50% in 2018.

When it comes to the "built environment," a category that includes buildings, parks and transportation facilities, attitudes diverged across the neighborhoods. While 83% of the respondents from downtown and Old Palo Alto gave the city the top grades in this category, only 67% of those from Barron Park and Ventura did so, a percentage that may reflect Ventura's status as the city's nucleus of construction over the past three years.

After housing, the most popular topics of concern raised by residents were traffic and general government operations, which garnered 11% and 7% of the responses, respectively. Some residents urged the city to coordinate traffic signals or improve street conditions. Others requested better fiscal responsibility, shorter council meetings and speedier action on crucial decisions.

The council is scheduled to discuss the survey results on May 17.

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Survey shows Palo Alto falls short on diversity

Latest National Citizen Survey also indicates attitudes vary by neighborhood

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, May 14, 2021, 6:59 am

Despite Palo Alto's recent efforts to promote social justice, the percentage of residents who believe the city is doing a good job in welcoming people with diverse backgrounds is at its lowest point in nearly two decades, a newly released survey shows.

The downward trend was among the findings in the National Citizens Survey, an annual measurement of residents' feelings about city government, community services and their overall satisfaction with life in Palo Alto. The city has conducted the annual survey in partnership with a national polling firm since 2003, though City Manager Ed Shikada is proposing in his new budget a switch to a biennial schedule.

In many areas, Palo Alto continued to receive high marks from residents, who took the survey by Polco/National Research Center between late December and early February. According to the survey, many residents think Palo Alto is an enjoyable place to visit (70% gave the city a "good" or "excellent" mark in this category), a pretty good place to work (82%), a great place to live (88%) and a more-or-less-decent place to retire (52%). And much like in prior years, most respondents gave their immediate environs stellar marks, with 89% calling their particular neighborhood "good" or "excellent."

There was some variation, however, among different parts of the city. Whereas residents in downtown and Old Palo Alto were almost unanimous in praising their neighborhood, with 97% giving it top ratings, the number dipped to 85% in Midtown and 83% in Barron Park and Ventura. Overall, 93% of respondents from north Palo Alto gave their neighborhoods top ratings, compared to 85% of those in south Palo Alto.

Yet the survey — coming at the end of a year in which residents took to the streets to protest racial injustice after the May 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer — also pointed to growing concerns among residents about the city's record on diversity and inclusion. When respondents were asked about Palo Alto's "openness and acceptance of the community toward people of diverse backgrounds," 59% gave the city "good" or "excellent" marks, down from 72% who did so in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The proportion who thought the city did well in this category was in fact the lowest since the city began the annual survey in 2003.

Police services continue to receive generally positive ratings from residents, but the number of residents who rated them as "good" or "excellent" dipped, going from 93% in 2017 and 89% in 2018 to 78% last year, according to the survey.

The survey was conducted just as the council was advancing a broad "race and equity" initiative that includes the revision of police policies, review of City Hall hiring practices and the facilitation of community conversations about race. Since the June protests, the council has commissioned public art to support the Black Lives Matter movement, worked with the Police Department to revise its use-of-force policies and asked its Human Relations Commission to create a history of Black and brown residents in Palo Alto.

The city's record on police accountability, however, has been spotty over the last several years. Since December 2019, the council had reduced the scope of the independent police auditor to exclude probes of internal complaints — a move that kept the auditor from releasing a report pertaining to a racist comment that a white police supervisor made to a Black officer in 2014. (Since the survey was conducted, council members agreed to expand the auditor's scope to include more types of use-of-force incidents. They are now also considering restoring the auditor's power to review internal complaints).

The city has also faced three lawsuits over the past two years over use of force by police officers, one of which it had settled in November 2019 for $572,500.

And in another blow to transparency and accountability, the Police Department abruptly switched in January its police radio transmission to an encrypted frequency, effectively barring the public, including the media, from using scanners to monitor police activity.

Earlier this year, the council signaled its commitment to continuing its efforts on racial equality and police accountability when it named "social justice" as one of its official priorities for 2021.

"We moved the needle a bit in 2020 thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, but we can't forget that those problems continue to exist and we can't forget that we need to continue to reevaluate our changes and look at best practices going forward to see if we can continue to move that needle forward," council member Greer Stone said at the priority-setting retreat.

Much like in the past, the vast majority of residents surveyed reported that they feel safe in Palo Alto, with 86% giving the city either an "excellent" or "good" rating in this category.

Despite respondents' general feeling of safety, however, residents were also more likely in 2020 than in years past to have reported a crime to the police department, according to the survey. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents said they had not reported a crime in the prior 12 months, while in the prior five years, the percentage ranged from 85% to 87%. (The survey did not speculate about how the pandemic had affected the level of crime in the city, although some respondents claimed that it was increasing.)

The feelings of safety also varied by neighborhood. According to the survey's geographic breakdown, the proportion of those who had reported a crime in the preceding 12 months was markedly higher in Midtown (26%) and in the survey area that includes College Terrace and Evergreen Park (24%) neighborhoods than in Crescent Park and Duveneck/St. Francis (13%).

The survey also indicated that most residents aren't particularly optimistic about the "overall direction Palo Alto is taking," with only 4% giving the city "excellent" marks and 30% rating it as "good," while 34% said "fair" and 17% marked "poor." On this question, Palo Alto's ranked 293rd out of the 332 jurisdictions that were surveyed across the nation.

The percentage of people who raved about the "quality of services" that the city provides has also dipped, with 73% giving Palo Alto high marks, down from 86% in 2017 and 82% in 2018. At the same time, residents gave the city a higher grade than in past years when asked about traffic enforcement, street repair and street cleaning. And when asked about traffic signal timing, the percentage of residents who gave Palo Alto a high ranking jumped from 45% in 2018 to 59% in 2021.

Housing, a perennial area of concern for residents and city leaders alike, remained so in 2020, according to the survey. The percentage of respondents who gave the city positive reviews in the category of "variety of housing options" went up from 13% in 2018 to 27%. However, just 9% of those surveyed gave Palo Alto high marks in the perennially problematic category "availability of affordable quality housing."

And when residents were asked to name one change that the city could make that would make them happier, housing topped the list for 19% of the respondents, with many urging the city in open-ended responses to "build more housing," while others called for more "affordable housing" and still other suggested that the city limit development ("Stop allowing for mega homes to invade neighborhoods").

Residents also indicated that they aren't particularly thrilled about the quality of new developments, with only 38% giving the city positive reviews in this category last year, down from 50% in 2018.

When it comes to the "built environment," a category that includes buildings, parks and transportation facilities, attitudes diverged across the neighborhoods. While 83% of the respondents from downtown and Old Palo Alto gave the city the top grades in this category, only 67% of those from Barron Park and Ventura did so, a percentage that may reflect Ventura's status as the city's nucleus of construction over the past three years.

After housing, the most popular topics of concern raised by residents were traffic and general government operations, which garnered 11% and 7% of the responses, respectively. Some residents urged the city to coordinate traffic signals or improve street conditions. Others requested better fiscal responsibility, shorter council meetings and speedier action on crucial decisions.

The council is scheduled to discuss the survey results on May 17.

Comments

Open Range
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 14, 2021 at 9:54 am
Open Range, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 9:54 am

The 83% (south PA) to 93% (north) spread in Palo Alto opinions is most likely attributable to education, affluence and political leanings.

Though debatable, Barron Park has always struck me as more conservative than say Old Palo Alto and Professorville.

Crescent Park also has its share of conservative white Republican mindsets but it is also a far wealthier neighborhood than Barron Park and Ventura which are comparatively lower on the sicio-economic Palo Alto scale.

Again this observation is debatable due to the overpriced and overvalued residential properties in ALL of Palo Alto as paying $2M+ for a rundown home south of Page Mill Road or Oregon Expressway borders on the absurd.

Apparently there are many who would rather pay for and live in a lesser quality home and neighborhood purely for the sake of having a Palo Alto zip code and the local RE agents milk this allure to the bone.


Eric Filseth
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 14, 2021 at 10:23 am
Eric Filseth, Downtown North
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 10:23 am

Here’s reference data for Palo Alto as a whole, as of 2019, per Bay Area Census and the US Census Bureau:

2019 population of Palo Alto was 65,364, broken down as 54.9% white, 32.4% AAPI, 5.6% Hispanic/Latin, 1.8% Black, 5.3% Other /Mixed.

Trend data for Palo Alto over the last 19 years (2000-2019) is:

White -8,506 (avg -1.1%/yr)
AAPI +11,088 (avg +4.0%/yr)
Hispanic/Latin +938 (avg +1.6%/yr)
Black -7 (avg 0%/yr)
Other/Mixed +3,253 (avg +15.9%/yr)
Overall +6,766 (avg +0.6%/yr)

Sources:
Web Link
Web Link


Eric Filseth
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 14, 2021 at 10:29 am
Eric Filseth, Downtown North
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 10:29 am

Oops that's 20 years not 19


valorie25
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2021 at 10:44 am
valorie25, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 10:44 am
M. Zhiang
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 14, 2021 at 11:33 am
M. Zhiang, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 11:33 am
Hinrich
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on May 14, 2021 at 11:36 am
Hinrich, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 11:36 am

[Portion removed.] There are some things of concern in the crime data that might lead this story but overall it's great to see folks positive about the city. PA has challenges and will always have challenges but still a great place to be. Palo Altans are not racists and it becomes tiresome to see this race-based activism infesting so much of the school curriculums and public discourse. After what has been a tough time for many during this shutdown, people - and our media - should be focused on coming together to help everyone's success and put an end to dividing people by skin color.


Lucious Jackson
Registered user
Ventura
on May 14, 2021 at 12:45 pm
Lucious Jackson, Ventura
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 12:45 pm

@data for Palo Alto over the last 19 years (2000-2019) is:

White -8,506 (avg -1.1%/yr)
AAPI +11,088 (avg +4.0%/yr)
Hispanic/Latin +938 (avg +1.6%/yr)
Black -7 (avg 0%/yr)
Other/Mixed +3,253 (avg +15.9%/yr)
Overall +6,766 (avg +0.6%/yr)

Only when the white population in Palo Alto falls to the combined %s of the AAPI, Hispanic-Latin, Black, and Other/Mixed will there be true equality in this city and many are looking forward to that day.

Until then, various priorities will either be ignored or disregarded by the predominantly white governing body.

Though there are two Asians in the PACC, they are neither outspoken advocates nor noteworthy earthmovers towards social and economic equality in Palo Alto.

And neither are the other white council members who seem happy just to on a city council. It is almost high-schoolish.

This is to expected as preserving the status quo in Palo Alto is very important to the plethora of old school NIMBY's and closet racists.

Perhaps the newly-arrived, wealthy Palo Alto residents from China will eventually turn the tide.

A 40% white PA population is just about right in order to ensure that everyone's best interests are fully acknowledged.

Until then, it's petty concerns about parking, the junior museum, a projected history museum, broadband services, and who is allowed to enter Foothills Park.

All white priorities.



Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2021 at 1:30 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 1:30 pm

The schools tell us that there are over 20 different languages spoken in the homes of PAUSD students. 20 different languages probably shows quite a diverse student body. I think Palo Alto is extremely diverse when it comes to ethnic backgrounds and probably also economic backgrounds.

Where the diversity seems to be lacking is diversity of thought. I'm not talking about diversity of politics, but diversity of independent thought.

Interesting.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 14, 2021 at 2:01 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 2:01 pm

Bystander's right about the number of languages taught in PA which is also shown by the diversity of the PA library holdings -- bestsellers in about 20 languages as well as works in non-English languages for specific groups. Just take a look at the choice of languages on the checkout machine buttons when the libraries reopen --Russian, Spanish, 5 or 6 Asian languages.


Eric Filseth
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 14, 2021 at 4:14 pm
Eric Filseth, Downtown North
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 4:14 pm

“A 40% white PA population is just about right in order to ensure that everyone's best interests are fully acknowledged.”


I think that day is not far away. The Santa Clara County overall is already well beyond that; it looks like this:

AAPI 36.6%
White 31.5%
Hispanic/Latin 25.5%
Black 2.3%
Other/Mixed 4.1%

Web Link

Some on past city councils have worried that Palo Alto might become a “white retirement community,” but Palo Alto’s white population has been falling continuously since the 1970’s in both absolute numbers and percentage. I think it’s much more likely that Palo Alto’s demographics are driven by professional families from the Silicon Valley moving North, attracted by our public schools, services and general suburban vibe; and that as Palo Alto’s (and indeed the Peninsula’s) older population continues to age out, it’s replaced by this newer Silicon Valley one. If that notion is right, and the trend data somewhat suggests it, then you’d expect Palo Alto’s population to look more and more like the County’s over time.


ferris young
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 14, 2021 at 4:26 pm
ferris young, Downtown North
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 4:26 pm

I may be mistaken but despite the % breakdown, Palo Alto does not seem to have the race-related strife or diversity problems that other American and various international cities are experiencing.

A lot has to do with acceptance and assimilation on the part of established residents and newcomers.

In other cities, socio-economic imbalances and injustices based on racism and prejudice causes a lot of inherent problems.

Palo Alto regardless of its ethnic breakdown, is somewhat static from the standpoint of common affordability factors required to live here.

[Portion removed.]


eileen
Registered user
College Terrace
on May 14, 2021 at 4:33 pm
eileen , College Terrace
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 4:33 pm

Lucious Jackson, since you live in Ventura, what are the priorities you would propose for Palo Alto? Thanks in advance.


YP
Registered user
Crescent Park
on May 14, 2021 at 7:58 pm
YP, Crescent Park
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 7:58 pm
Gail
Registered user
Palo Verde
on May 14, 2021 at 8:45 pm
Gail, Palo Verde
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 8:45 pm

There may be some diversity in the schools, but feeling accepted as a person of color is a different matter. My adult daughter is Latina young woman and just last week on California Avenue some older, white man honked his horn at her while she walked down the street and when she looked at him he stared at her and then yelled at her to go back to Mexico....this is a regular occurrence all over town.


Julian Guiterrez
Registered user
Ventura
on May 14, 2021 at 9:20 pm
Julian Guiterrez, Ventura
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 9:20 pm
TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 14, 2021 at 10:11 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 10:11 pm
Jerry Underdal
Registered user
Barron Park
on May 14, 2021 at 11:04 pm
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
Registered user
on May 14, 2021 at 11:04 pm

Erik Filseth is correct that the % of Palo Alto’s population that identify as White is likely to continue its slide from 54.9% in 2019 towards the county figure of 31.5% that same year until it reaches the 40% figure that Lucious Jackson proposed. A big question is what the demographic breakdown of that 14.9% decline from 54.9 to 40 might be. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which virtually all of the 14.9% drop in the White count is matched by a gain of 14.9% in the AAPI count, moving it from 32.4% to 47.3%.

It’s harder to see how Palo Alto’s demographics could change to more closely match groups other than AAPI in the county. That would take a large increase in the Hispanic/Latin share of Palo Alto’s population (up towards 25.5% from 5.6% ), a much smaller increase in the Black share (up towards 2.3% from 1.8% ), and a small decrease in the Other/Mixed share (down towards 4.1% from 5.3% .)

To see a significant share of the 14.9% drop in White residents picked up by these groups as part of the northern movement of professional families from Silicon Valley in pursuit of better schools and services in a suburban setting would require some mix of better support and greater opportunities for people already in the country who do not identify as White or AAPI and immigration from parts of the world other than Europe and Asia. What could make this happen and how likely is it?


AlexDeLarge
Registered user
Midtown
on May 15, 2021 at 2:13 am
AlexDeLarge, Midtown
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 2:13 am

Hmmm, I live on a small street in PA and I'm also the child of immigrants from northern and southern europe. I'm a PA native, however my life/career lead me to live in such locals as Austin, New York City, Istanbul, Las Vegas, Amsterdam, etc. I speak more than one language and the residents of the 15 house's on the street that I dwell on are from India, Israel, China, Japan, Czech Republic,Turkey and America. 'Seems quite diverse to me.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on May 15, 2021 at 6:50 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 6:50 am

I love all of the comments about the houses in south PA. Get in your car and look. One-story homes are being replaced with new two story homes priced at over $3M. That creates property tax at today's value. South of Oregon is filled with new two story homes. Then look at Crescent Park - who is living in the home they grew up in? Property tax on these homes that have been in the family forever is very low. Meanwhile those who claim to be SU residents only rent, lease or own their homes - that land belongs to SU. Property tax levied in a different calculation. Eichler homes are being refurbished with new flooring, paint, kitchens and going at a very good price. And great new gardens -the RE people bring in crews who can provide a new home and garden, new kitchen, new bathroom - not cheap.

I have been looking at all of the neighborhoods and all are different. Barron Park has a lot of new two-story homes - that is property tax at today's rate. So who is generating property tax for the city? New homes that are going for over $3M and show up on the TV commercials. And those homes in the hills going for big bucks? Think again - now fire danger is the big driver and people are bailing out of there.

If you think all of the people who are paying property tax at today's rate on new two story homes over $3M in value are impressed with you all then think again. And who is living in these homes - international buyers. That is diversity - high end diversity.


Gnar
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on May 15, 2021 at 8:05 am
Gnar, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 8:05 am

But hey, let's keep pumping in hotels to feed our addiction to that sweet, sweet hotel tax for our City pensions...


Mondoman
Registered user
Green Acres
on May 15, 2021 at 8:12 am
Mondoman, Green Acres
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 8:12 am

Since surveys like the one discussed in this article have such a low response rate, they end up being not very useful to determine the actual views of folks in the city. Studies have shown that these days surveys are usually biased by the extreme willingness of activists to respond while most people just ignore the survey requests.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2021 at 8:22 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 8:22 am

The thing about diversity is that noboby can agree what it truly means. Someone who has come from France, or from Germany, or from Poland, or from Russia, can all be put into one category whereas the truth is that they can be very different. They are as different from each other as someone coming from Japan or Australia, regardless of their supposed "race". When someone arrives here from another place where English is not their first language, their diversity shows. It shows in the food they like to eat just as much as in the way they like to spend their free time or the way they think.

Take sport as an example. Who likes to watch/play baseball? Who likes to watch/play Football? Those seem like no brainers. But, who likes to watch cricket? Who likes to watch Premier League soccer? The world cup in rugy is ignored by many, but for others it is the biggest sporting event taking place in the year.

Diversity of thought, is a much more important way to look at our society in Palo Alto. Not just whether we vote red or blue, but the way in which we think and make ideas about certain our opinions on issues which can divide us.


Point Break
Registered user
another community
on May 15, 2021 at 9:16 am
Point Break, another community
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 9:16 am

> You never hear Blacks, Hispanics, or Asians telling white people to go back to England or The Netherlands.

Personally speaking, I haven't either but I imagine that many of the Native Americans held those thoughts.

Manifest Destiny was essentially predicated on stealing land from the Mexicans and Plains Indians.

And then it spread to Hawaii and the Phillipines

> The bottom line is that racism and bigotry in America is perpetrated and perpetuated by white people, not people of color.

The country was founded by white people who had quite a different concept of 'all men being created equal' so this comes as no surprise.


tmp
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 15, 2021 at 9:31 am
tmp, Downtown North
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 9:31 am

People are like sheep. If they hear and read about the homeless that is what they comment on. If they hear and read about needing more homes again that is what they have in their minds.

Too bad the media doesn't cover overpopulation or the environment or the need for more open space and clean air the way they do these other issues. Many think they are more important but the sheep never hear about them and hence they don't show up in these surveys.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on May 15, 2021 at 9:54 am
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 9:54 am

Activists have a right to be activists -- it's a free country. In life it's all about the approach. The wrong approach will alienate, and your message becomes ineffectual. It will fall on deaf ears. I'm saddened that activists don't understand this.


Rock The Boat
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 15, 2021 at 10:10 am
Rock The Boat, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 10:10 am

The gradual acceptance of diversity often requires outspoken activists.

And activists (as in active) along with their mission are best served by being vociferous.

To use an old cliche, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" and thus, all perceived enemies to a common cause must be exposed.

And this involves 'going big or going home', a strategy successfully implemented by BLM and other advocates for justice and equality.

Sometimes the status quo needs to be
radically altered or eliminated altogether (e.g. police brutality and its inherent racism) and if this means 'taking it to the streets' so be it as the news media will be there to report and document the related incidents.

To passively discuss matters in an erudite classroom environment or on the internet while doing nothing else is utterly pointless in terms of the big picture.

Raise some hell and get noticed because the only ones who will object are the ones you are challenging.


Andrew Boone
Registered user
another community
on May 15, 2021 at 10:30 am
Andrew Boone, another community
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 10:30 am

It’s laughable that 72% of Palo Altans ever thought and 59% still think that the “openness and acceptance of the community toward people of diverse backgrounds” is good or excellent. This is the same community which explicitly banned black people from buying property for decades and still blocks people of color from living in Palo Alto through exclusionary “single family” zoning. The city even banned non-residents from visiting Foothills Park until it was sued by the ACLU and NAACP last year - not exactly “openness to people of diverse backgrounds”.


Hinrich
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on May 15, 2021 at 10:41 am
Hinrich, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 10:41 am

[Pirtion removed.] Civilized people don't '..take it to the street' in the extremes we have witnessed recently, basically tantrum in the street and looting large. Civility is the hard work where people find solutions and build consensus, not a la BLM but in forums like this one.


Rock The Boat
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 15, 2021 at 11:06 am
Rock The Boat, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 11:06 am
Miriam Zhao
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on May 15, 2021 at 12:42 pm
Miriam Zhao, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 12:42 pm

~ activists (as in active) along with their mission are best served by being vociferous.

~ Raise some hell and get noticed because the only ones who will object are the ones you are challenging.

Agreed and today there are countless rallies in major cities decrying the recent hate-crimes towards Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Their voices must be heard.

[Portion removed.]


Seer
Registered user
Monroe Park
on May 15, 2021 at 1:38 pm
Seer, Monroe Park
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 1:38 pm

If I ever leave Palo Alto, I promise to sell to the highest bidder without regard to race or digital coin type.

I've also lived all over the world, and almost everywhere from Africa, to Asia to the Middle East and the American South were far more racist than Palo Alto. Deal with it.


Martha Dogood
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on May 15, 2021 at 1:40 pm
Martha Dogood, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 1:40 pm

[Portion removed.]

To my fellow Americans of Chinese ancestry, who are loyal to USA and not CCP, you are wonderful people just like all my patriotic fellow Americans, of which we are the vast majority. I so love America and all my fellow loyal citizens, whether Ds, Rs or independents. We are such a wonderfully diverse country and we always thrive on healthy respectful debates and political competition for best ideas. This is what will continue to make us great.

Despite all this noisy nonsense of today, it’s a blip just like other periods when the communist activists got all up in arms here. It’s happened many times since late 1880s. The rest of us will move forward positively and ignore the racist garbage spewing from the CCP ginned up propaganda machines. [Portion removed.]


Holy Toledo
Registered user
Professorville
on May 15, 2021 at 2:23 pm
Holy Toledo, Professorville
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 2:23 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on May 15, 2021 at 3:28 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 3:28 pm

The city of Oakland pretends to be the city of diversity. Their city council and mayor are women. The MLB is trying to force the city to build a ball park on the harbor. The pictures they show fail to show the multitude of ships that are anchored in the bay to be offloaded and reloaded. That is a major revenue source for the city and bay area and a major employer of the diverse population. So what do they all not get? They are cutting their own throats due to incompetence of the people they vote for who are only trained in certain skill sets - politics - but not how you generate jobs and revenue.

Seattle - many ship lines are now moving their business to other cities in Washington. Seattle is cutting it's own throat.

Portland - anyone up for a tourist visit in this city which is open for destruction on a regular basis? The other cities in Oregon want to join up with Idaho.

Berkley is consumed by politics and people who light fires on campus buildings. Their student population is coming from out-of-state because in-state is electing other colleges.

When a state, city become embroiled in politics which overrules the job of running a city then people have to wake up that the majority of people just want to go to work, come hone and be with the family, and help their family members get to where they want to be.

We have to vote in the people who understand how to manage a city and state - not people who conform to a political profile but have no business sense.

This city has many residents who are here on H1B visas. That is diversity.


Fritzie Blue
Registered user
Stanford
on May 15, 2021 at 4:09 pm
Fritzie Blue, Stanford
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 4:09 pm

One of the commenters above mentioned the property tax paid by Stanford residents. I assure all that we homeowners pay the same rate as everyone else in Palo Alto. Ours, in fact, has doubled in the 20 years we've lived here, not an easy burden for seniors on a fixed income.


Philomena
Registered user
College Terrace
on May 15, 2021 at 4:21 pm
Philomena , College Terrace
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 4:21 pm

"The MLB is trying to force the city to build a ball park on the harbor."

The Oakland A's are simply stating that if a new ballpark cannot be built at the proposed site they will consider relocating to a more favorable city.

Professional sports teams move all the time.

"This city has many residents who are here on H1B visas. That is diversity."

Ethnic diversity based on corporate cost-cutting measures (i.e. a reduction in payroll and benefits expenditures)?

Why not hire Americans to do the same jobs?

Former President Trump emphasized that we buy American-made goods and hire American workers.

There's nothing wrong with that concept.


Sally Ryder
Registered user
Crescent Park
on May 15, 2021 at 5:07 pm
Sally Ryder, Crescent Park
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 5:07 pm

In many ways, increasing the overall diversity of our communities and schools is a good thing BUT is there a point of no return?

It has recently been ruled by the courts that the UC system can no longer use SAT or ACT scores in its freshman admissions process.

[Portion removed due to inaccurate information.]


YP
Registered user
Crescent Park
on May 15, 2021 at 6:42 pm
YP, Crescent Park
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 6:42 pm

interesting how many earlier post was deleted... apparently diversity doesn't apply to diversity of opinions.. More and more with the liberal media that is the case. Liberal cancel culture shuts down debates they don't agree with , scary the left's attack on free speech


Penny Wong
Registered user
Community Center
on May 15, 2021 at 6:59 pm
Penny Wong, Community Center
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 6:59 pm

@"This decision comes on the heels of Kawika Smith vs the Board of Regents..." [Portion removed.]

A bad decision by the courts as many Asian and white high school students have studied diligently to get into the UC campus of their choice based on academic merit...not skin color or ethnicity.

If one's ACT or SAT scores are below standard, why not just go to an accredited junior college and then transfer to the university of one's choice providing the academic standards are met?

[Portion removed.]


YP
Registered user
Crescent Park
on May 15, 2021 at 7:43 pm
YP, Crescent Park
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 7:43 pm

"diversity" code word for "quotas" So it's all about your ethnicity , not about your skills.


Shaquon Davis
Registered user
another community
on May 15, 2021 at 9:08 pm
Shaquon Davis, another community
Registered user
on May 15, 2021 at 9:08 pm

[Portion removed.]

"The plaintiffs in Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California are five individual students and six organizations: College Access Plan, Little Manila Rising, Dolores Huerta Foundation, College Seekers, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and Community Coalition."

Web Link

So let's get real and stop the petty fingerpointing.


Jefferson Daniels
Registered user
Barron Park
on May 16, 2021 at 8:38 am
Jefferson Daniels, Barron Park
Registered user
on May 16, 2021 at 8:38 am

Perhaps GPAs and ACT/SAT test scores should be removed permanently as criteria for freshman college admittance.

Just conduct entrance interviews via ZOOM and have each applicant provide a vitae curricula along with some examples of their community service or vocational apprenticeships.

This would eliminate cheating on entrance exams, application manipulations by wealthy Hollywood parents, and undue parental pressure on kids to succeed in school.

True diversity = equality with no strings attached.


Mei Pao
Registered user
another community
on May 16, 2021 at 3:34 pm
Mei Pao, another community
Registered user
on May 16, 2021 at 3:34 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Scotty
Registered user
Green Acres
on May 16, 2021 at 4:45 pm
Scotty, Green Acres
Registered user
on May 16, 2021 at 4:45 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2021 at 5:06 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on May 17, 2021 at 5:06 am

Andrew Boone is quoting the party line. If Andrew live in Oakland then get over to your city council and make sure that the MLB does not build in the port. That is where the diverse jobs are. Oakland is cutting it's own throat and the throats of the diverse population. It is white-washing revenue generating international business out of the city. The MLB has a coliseum - if they don't like it then tear it down and rebuild in that location.

These are big issues. Yet groups of people are trying to point fingers at other cities with politically manifested story lines which are simply not relevent in today's world. Right now we are talking JOBS. JOBS in PA are high tech. If you qualify then you can get a job. If you are into maritime shipping then get over to Oakland. You have to go where your skill set is actually performed in an income generating business environment.

The defense industry has the most diverse work force in both the government side and the company side. Yet CA has chased this highly diverse segment out of the state. It has closed bases. This is where this state lost big time - due to what ever the politically manifested story line was. It keeps cutting it's own throat.


Melissa Gorman
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on May 17, 2021 at 3:57 pm
Melissa Gorman, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on May 17, 2021 at 3:57 pm

Some undocumented immigrants might lose their jobs as housekeepers if the motels are replaced by new housing developments.

The motels are better served as homeless dwellings. Then any undocumented housekeeper can keep their jobs and continue to provide for their families.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on May 17, 2021 at 8:17 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on May 17, 2021 at 8:17 pm

Those motels are owned by corporations. That is their business line. If any use is designated for the poor than that is a negotiation between the corporation and the state. Those motels are a business.

I think a lot of the housekeepers live in EPA. They are not dependent on motels.

ECR has a lot of focus now. Go up to RWC - all new apartments on ECR across from the shopping center. Corporations make bottom line decisions - if they are not making money and someone makes an offer than they will probably sell. Homeless tend to treat motel housing poorly so not a great drawing card.


Kyesha Williams
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on May 17, 2021 at 9:25 pm
Kyesha Williams, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 17, 2021 at 9:25 pm

"I think a lot of the housekeepers live in EPA. They are not dependent on motels."

Uh...the poster was referring to the work, not where they reside.

Like how many housekeepers and maids actually live in the hotels where they work?


James Frick
Registered user
Community Center
on May 18, 2021 at 7:07 am
James Frick, Community Center
Registered user
on May 18, 2021 at 7:07 am

We have true diversity in Palo Alto.

It's called the haves and the have nots.


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on May 18, 2021 at 7:39 am
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on May 18, 2021 at 7:39 am

To Filseth: “Oops” is right. Where is Mayfield in this “survey”? An neighborhood area of PA overlooked, underserved, and overshadowed over and again. Less it be forgotten, please include in the data demos of PA quality of life. Then of course there is Stanford too. Lot’s of prime real-estate owed by said faith based, entity.


Fritz Lane
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 18, 2021 at 9:28 am
Fritz Lane, Downtown North
Registered user
on May 18, 2021 at 9:28 am

Speaking of economic diversity...

Charity is a virtue when it comes to assisting those less fortunate or hit by hard times.

I usually accommodate panhandlers in some small way unless I suspect they are professionals (i.e. the Romani aka gypsies).


Davis Pemberton
Registered user
Midtown
on May 18, 2021 at 11:42 am
Davis Pemberton, Midtown
Registered user
on May 18, 2021 at 11:42 am

When Americans (and newly-arrived immigrants) finally realize that the delusional ideals of our founding fathers citing that 'all men are created equal' and endowed by some form of arcane 'creator' that everyone is entitled to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' perhaps we can finally move forward as a nation.

Life offers no guarantees and a true sense of liberty is as nebulous as one's perception of happiness.

And as far as equality goes, it is a balancing act. For every example of equality, there will be one of inequality.

Having once gone to war (Viet Nam) where our exalted leaders cited these abstract ideals, I have come to the conclusion that this is all politically-crafted BS.


Anneke
Registered user
Professorville
on May 19, 2021 at 8:33 am
Anneke, Professorville
Registered user
on May 19, 2021 at 8:33 am

I sincerely love Palo Alto, and especially our neighborhood, Professorville. Is it perfect? No! Is it excellent? Yes!

With regard to diversity, just around us within 500 yards, we have beloved and cherished neighbors from Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, China, Korea, Cameroon, Lithuania, Austria, Iran, and The Netherlands (me.) And, if we go a generation back, we can add the Azores to this wonderful group.

We should feel blessed by this diversity and recognize the enormous value of everyone contributing to it.


Lorraine Gentry
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 19, 2021 at 8:47 am
Lorraine Gentry, Downtown North
Registered user
on May 19, 2021 at 8:47 am

Palo Alto is probably an exception in comparison to the other social environments where the majority of these hate-crime related incidents are being reported in the news.

It is not an inner-city laced with pervasive poverty and long-standing animosities between various ethnic groups.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on May 20, 2021 at 10:33 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on May 20, 2021 at 10:33 am

Yes - it is BS. the bigger problem we have here is that the state is trying to force more building in the cities. The low-cost building is being directed to the manufacturing sections of the cities. The manufacturing sections are where the diverse population is working. When you eliminate the JOBS you then eliminate the diverse population.

ABAG is white-washing the state. That is a legal approach that a city can take given that we have a societal issue on our hands which is jobs for the diverse population in a city and cannot remove the industrial benefits of those jobs.

SF is losing all of it's port activities and Oakland is under assault from a sports team. A sports team is not a "diverse employer" for a majority of people. A port is - it is union.

ABAG is a tool to white-wash cites and where is the wokeness people? they need to go after ABAG as it affects cities and expand the legalities of the concepts being employed. The Weiner is consumed with his own societal issues which are not job producing - but societal management.


Butch Logan
Registered user
Mountain View
on May 20, 2021 at 11:03 am
Butch Logan, Mountain View
Registered user
on May 20, 2021 at 11:03 am

If San Francisco has a port-site ballpark, why can't the A's?

What makes the Giants so special?


L. Brown
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 20, 2021 at 11:35 am
L. Brown, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on May 20, 2021 at 11:35 am

The Giants are not special and their team colors are hideous.

They had to build AT&T park to accommodate a yuppie fanbase.

The Dodgers still play in an old concrete and steel toilet bowl stadium like Candlestick Park and no one in LA is clamoring to have it torn down.

A lousy product needs hyperbole to sell.


Thou Shall Not Steal
Registered user
Barron Park
on May 20, 2021 at 1:29 pm
Thou Shall Not Steal, Barron Park
Registered user
on May 20, 2021 at 1:29 pm
Desert4Wheeler
Registered user
Barron Park
on May 20, 2021 at 2:03 pm
Desert4Wheeler, Barron Park
Registered user
on May 20, 2021 at 2:03 pm

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