Raven Malone | October 2, 2020 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - October 2, 2020

Raven Malone

SEEKING SOCIAL JUSTICE

Raven Malone is relatively new to Palo Alto, having moved here in the beginning of this year, but her campaign has struck a chord with those who believe the city is lagging on addressing its housing crisis.

Malone, an electrical engineer who lives in an accessory dwelling unit in the Triple El neighborhood, says she wants to see more such units built but argues that the city should go further. She'd like the city to have more duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes, Malone said at the Weekly's Sept. 24 City Council candidates' debate.

"I know there are people who don't want, for example, four-plexes next to their single-family homes," Malone said. "It makes sense, I respect that and I acknowledge that. But where would we be OK with building them? These units need to happen. There is a housing crisis."

Malone also said she supported the recent Senate Bill 1120, which would have allowed property owners to subdivide their parcels and build duplexes. (The bill failed to advance on the frantic final day of the Legislative session.)

Malone is philosophically aligned with those who believe the city should loosen zoning rules in downtown and commercial areas to facilitate more housing construction. Mayor Adrian Fine, who is concluding his term this year, and former Councilwoman Gail Price, who is now board president at Palo Alto Forward, have both endorsed her candidacy.

Malone said in an interview that she wants to end "exclusionary zoning," referring to R-1 or single-family zoning. In that sense, she differs from candidates like Pat Burt, who at the Weekly debate rejected the term and argued that because of new laws that ease restrictions on accessory-dwelling units and junior ADUs, allowing one of each per property, Palo Alto no longer has true single-family zoning.

She also believes that Palo Alto should try to strike racial exclusion clauses from old deeds, which prohibited Black and Asian people from owning homes in the city. While these deeds haven't been legally enforceable for decades, Malone noted on her campaign platform that "they are a painful reminder of the ways Palo Alto has not always welcomed diversity."

Like Fine, she also believes that Palo Alto should repeal a long-standing policy that restricts access to Foothills Park only to residents and their guests. The city is now facing a lawsuit from a coalition that includes the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP San Jose/Silicon Valley over that policy.

"We should have opened it a while ago," Malone said at the Weekly debate. "We're neglecting other kids who live in other places whose cities weren't even well established when Foothills Park was opened in Palo Alto," Malone said.

A native of Mobile, Alabama, Malone spent two years in San Jose before moving to Palo Alto with her fiance. They had long set their hearts on Palo Alto, she said, where they would come for the restaurants and farmers markets.

"Unfortunately, we had a hard time finding something we can afford in our budget," Malone said.

Now, she says she is committed to helping those who support change and who believe the city needs bolder actions. This includes easing regulations for residential developers, moving faster with implementing bike improvements and making real progress with Fiber to the Home, the city's decades-long effort to expand its dark fiber network and make high-speed internet more broadly available to the public.

The shelter-in-place order has only underscored the critical importance of access to high-speed internet, she said.

"I got to the point where I felt like the people who wanted change were outnumbered by people who didn't," Malone said. "And if not me to go out there and help try to create this change that is long overdue, then who? And if not now, then when?"

Malone said she envisions a safer and more welcoming Palo Alto. In forums and interviews, she's talked about the need to encourage denser new housing developments and improve accountability within the Police Department, positions she shares with candidate Steven Lee.

The two diverged, however, when asked at the Weekly debate whether Palo Alto should allow a cannabis dispensary. While Lee, who strongly supported the city's ban on vaping products, said he wouldn't want to see the city "waste its time" on discussing the topic, Malone noted that regulations on operating dispensaries are already very strict and that banning dispensaries is not keeping cannabis out of the community.

"Why not make it a source of revenue?" she asked. "Especially now, during COVID. We need more sources of revenue."

(For the record, candidates Pat Burt and Ajit Varma suggested that a dispensary could be allowed in the city's industrial area, while the rest said they would oppose a dispensary.)

A supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, Malone declared her council candidacy at a June rally in downtown Palo Alto. She said she wants to see trained civilians, rather than armed officers, respond to calls for issues like homelessness and mental health emergencies. Police officers, she said, should be asked to focus on serious criminal incidents, a strategy on which the other council candidates generally agree.

"I just want to ensure that everyone is safe," Malone said. "It's hard to do that when you ask someone with a gun to report to a situation that may be unfamiliar territory and that may force them to react in a way that may not have been in their best judgment."

She believes that in addition to highlighting racial injustice, the Black Lives Matter movement has had the positive effect of getting more residents engaged in local issues. Malone wrote in her Palo Alto Neighborhoods questionnaire that she hopes the engagement continues and that her candidate will "inspire others like me to get more involved locally."

"If elected, I want to bring to the table residents who have either felt neglected by local government or felt that (local government) doesn't matter," Malone wrote.

Comments

32 people like this
Posted by Truth
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 4, 2020 at 2:06 am

Truth is a registered user.

Even if every single home had an ADU, there would still be a need for more housing. ADUs result in more cars parked on the streets. Our city with houses valued at $2 million+ will turn into a San Francisco. No. They can live in less expensive, neighboring cities on the peninsula such as San Jose, Redwood City, Mountain View, EPA, San Carlos, San Mateo, Sunnyvale.

Moreover, how can we invite more people to live in Palo Alto, yet call ourselves a community of bikers? Pre-COVID, there was already way too much traffic and students were in accidents quite often with cars cutting through the residential streets recklessly. I am part of the PTA and we know the numbers.

No one (even blacks and Asians) cares about the racial exclusion laws. Anyone who can afford the Palo Alto mortgages can buy a house in Palo Alto no matter what race, ethnicity, religion. The only requirement is being able to pay the mortgage.

BLM is sending representatives to cities to radically change our nation and Raven Malone is here. Don't vote for her. She just moved to Palo Alto and lives in an ADU; she has no idea what Palo Altans need.


8 people like this
Posted by Gunn Papa
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 4, 2020 at 11:04 am

Gunn Papa is a registered user.

Nice of ‘Truth” to speak for Blacks and Asians, and apparently the Palo Alto PTA. Maybe “Truth” and the PTA share the same views. Either way, “Truth” is not the city owner and cannot use soft racism to go after Raven Malone.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 4, 2020 at 6:03 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Raven is well spoken. She said that she moved to PA because she loves it. What she is looking at is neighborhoods that are defined by city propaganda. If she "loves the city" then why is she using the housing issue to rear down existing neighborhoods?


42 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 5, 2020 at 9:50 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"BLM is sending representatives to cities to radically change our nation..."

^ How frightening...are there other 'infiltrators' arriving in our fair city to radically alter the timeless & much beloved 'Palo Alto Way Of Life'?

Inquiring minds are curious...


20 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 5, 2020 at 11:15 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Article today about the city of Alameda which has a housing restriction against apartments in housing areas up for a vote. It is viewed as "racial injustice" that there is a city which plans it's neighborhoods with zones for houses only.

"Racial injustice" is a euphemism for a lot of activities which are not race related. Also "reimagining the police department". Breaking down the norms - reverse of gentrification is part of the game here.

There is no race restriction in Alameda, or PA. City planning is a degree in college. As to PA - there are apartment houses all over the place - I have been checking this out. We lived in an apartment on Webster street when we first moved here to save up for a down payment on a house. From one end of this city to the other end there are apartment houses. For anyone out there to say there is no housing has not got in their car and gone to look at what is out there.

Back to Alameda - what they are running into is developers that want to make great ocean vistas into multi-residential units and are banging away on the city to redevelop areas. Does that sound familiar? We have developers here who want to redevelop the city and are banging away on the city and need a social sensitivity excuse to make that happen.
That works in bigger cities like SF - Mr. Weiner, and Ms. Atkins - San Diego. Major cities have a lot of band width to cover all of the contingencies. We are a suburban city. The biggest city in our county is San Jose. They have the band width to support all contingencies in residential planning. WE are not in that league - we are not a major city. We are a small city on a peninsula that is totally built out. And anyone can live here.


40 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 5, 2020 at 11:31 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"We are a small city on a peninsula that is totally built out. And anyone can live here."

^ Concurring that Palo Alto is 'built out'.

As far as 'anyone can live here', that is another story as plopping down $5M+ for a house or $5K per month towards an apartment is out of the reach for many folks.

The question is...if one cannot afford to reside in Palo Alto, why not simply opt for another locale?

I'd prefer to live in Malibu or Pacific Palisades but cannot afford to at present so I am stuck here adjacent to Edgewood Drive in an older home that will require new copper plumbing, some electrical rework & both interior/exterior paint.

If one cannot afford to drive a Mercedes, consider opting for a Toyota...it's as SIMPLE as that.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 5, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Crescent Park is in the high end of the city. Houses on my side of the city are in the $2M range. Check out the apartments on Alma, and on the border with MV. Apartments on East Meadow Circle. Apartments on Park. Apartments in Barron Park. There are apartments everywhere.

RWC has a giant boom going on in it's downtown area. They have a higher height limit. The world is not looking at us - it is looking at the East Bay - lots of reasonable house and apartments across the bay and down south end of the bay. Lots of people in SF are now moving to houses in the East Bay. A lot of housing is priced on what is going on in that area and who is working at those type jobs. More manufacturing.

No - everyone cannot afford to live here. But everyone is in a huge state with major job centers all over. Housing reflects the type of job centers in an area. We don't have manufacturing to any degree here.


5 people like this
Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 5, 2020 at 6:03 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

First of all:
Malone noted on her campaign platform that "they are a painful reminder of the ways Palo Alto has not always welcomed diversity."

Exactly Raven Malone! You are totally right.

Next:
“And if not me to go out there and help try to create this change that is long overdue, then who? And if not now, then when?'

Right again Raven and you are the ONE! Now is the time!


“If elected, I want to bring to the table residents who have either felt neglected by local government or felt that (local government) doesn't matter," Malone wrote.”

Don’t worry Raven! It’s no longer a question of “if elected.” It is now “when elected.” I have thrown my full support behind your candidacy for City Council. Raven has lived here for less than a year and has absolutely no experience. So what? Everyone deserves a chance! Her fight for social justice will obviously give her enough experience to prepare her for a position on our city council. Her fresh ideas and fresh perspective will help change PA for the better. She’s exciting and her vision for improving and changing PA is a fantastic vision of the future! PA is in desperate need of fresh ideas. Raven will easily be on that city council now. Congrats Raven!

This is your new and improved City Council:

Tanaka/Eisenberg/Stone/The GREAT RAVEN MALONE

Followers of TVOPA time to come together and unite our votes! You are all welcome.


11 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 6, 2020 at 8:53 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The economy of any location is driven by the type of business in that area. This location on the peninsula is where technology and the SU educational programs are located. That is who lives here. If we were in RWC they have a huge port that has a commercial, industrial complex - they have a very diverse population working in that environment. Meanwhile MV has the NASA-Ames and Moffatt location which has a diverse population supporting those endeavors along with the newer Google complex. Google is very diverse as it has a lot of H1b visa employees. If you go over to Oakland they have a very diverse population relative to their huge port system.

So you are targeting PA for the type of economic endeavor located in this specific location. And historically that is driven by SU and it's resulting technology related endeavors. That is called "common sense". People live where they work.

Back in the day when we had Ford Aerospace and Communications building satellites we had a very diverse group at all levels of management and engineering. Because that is where the WORK was. Manufacturing efforts have moved out-of-state because the tax benefits for manufacturing are elsewhere. That is a STATE tax issue - not a city issue. Tesla is building his cars in Fremont. Space-X is in SOCAL.

In the political environment we have a governor who addresses issues with euphemisms -grand statements that have no actual facts or relative meaning. All is relative to location, location, location - in real estate jargon. The people who live here have to be grounded in educational training in specific technologies related to the jobs located in this area.

Fresh ideas are more relevant to a bigger city that has a wider economic base with more bandwidth of JOBS. JOBS is what drives the economy of any area. What does the "Voice" do for a living? Sorry "Voice" - euphemisms are not what is needed at this point in time. Talk to the Jobs - that is why people live here - and why they leave after their children have graduated and left home and they are retired.


12 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2020 at 10:18 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"Housing reflects the type of job centers in an area."

>"The people who live here have to be grounded in educational training in specific technologies related to the jobs located in this area."

^ Your concept sounds logical & now a couple of questions...

(1) What (in your estimation) would be a reasonable residency radius and/or commute time for those not grounded in the educational training relative to the specific jobs and technologies situated in this immediate area (i.e. workers employed in lower paid and/or key menial jobs)?

Due to housing availabilities & financial affordabilities, some folks commute from as far away as Stockton/Tracy to the peninsula on a regular basis. Should they simply seek employment in their own areas of residency based on the predominant jobs & specific technologies in those given regions?

(2) Historically, most of Santa Clara Valley (with the possible exception of Palo Alto) was at one time agricultural & 'pioneered' by farmers & ranchers. Over the decades, their offspring (either too lazy or unwilling to carry on these occupations) sold the vast acreages to developers who in turn created a multitude of office complexes, high-tech buildings, & varied housing tracts to accommodate the emergence of of 'Silicon Valley'.

While some of the earlier tech jobs still remain, with the evolution & development of newer technologies & scientific innovations countless others no longer exist and so my subsequent question...if one does not fit the employment 'mold' (or have the financial means), should they not even bother entertaining the notion of residing in places like Palo Alto?

(3) Lastly...can we safely assume that this housing issue/conflict is not based on any racial discriminations but rather...
predicated on one's chosen 'professional' occupation & it's related affordabilities?



7 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 6, 2020 at 11:16 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

WE are talking about the here and now. And what the future prospects are for this area. I am a 4th generation CA and am fully aware of the history of this area and the state. Technology is moving south to the North San Jose complexes where new buildings are going up. And they are moving south where there is more housing. Google is sitting on a flood plane on the tip of the bay - probably this will cost them in the future. This is not a place to invest more buildings and housing for it's employees.

Technology is also locating in the east bay where the housing is cheaper. The east bay puts many commutes on the right side of the bay. Oakland is expanding with PG&E relocating there on Lake Merritt. A lot of technology is now locating in Hayward - lots of industrial space.

This city has just lost two major employers with people who could be attributed to this specific location. Palantir and Tesla - maybe a corporate office but very few people. His operation is now centered in SOCAL.
We have no industrial space and we cannot put any in because the bay is encroaching on the east 101 corridor.

WE are a peninsula and that is not going to change. We are residential space surrounding SU and that is not going to change. SU is increasing it's residential portfolio which puts the strain on this city for the hotels and restaurants. That is not going to change except to increase the demand for those services.

That leaves the venture capitalist, law firms, and Stanford Research Park companies which are sharing their date with SU - their main reason for being there. That is not going to change.
It is what it is. WE are not growing strawberries, we are not building boats or airplanes, we are not doing what is the business operation of other locations. I grew up in "Hollywood" - that location is consumed by all form of production with huge facilities specific to that business operation. That is where "social justice" is a marketable quantity for production work.


8 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2020 at 11:44 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

> "WE are talking about the here and now...That leaves the venture capitalist, law firms, and Stanford Research Park companies which are sharing their date with SU - their main reason for being there. That is not going to change. It is what it is."

^ How pathetically mundane.

So much for any future 'age of enlightenment' in the midpeninsula as the self-serving, shallow and money-grubbing kingdom of yuppiedom has effectively consumed the likes of Palo Alto since the mid 1980s.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 6, 2020 at 12:05 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Just like to add here that the City is not hiring people - it is letting people go. SU runs it's own operations - if you want to be hired by SU then that is where you go. If you want to be hired by Google then that is where you apply. The school system runs it's own show based on it's union requirements - if you want a job with them them that is where you apply. The bottom line is that YOU have to have the marketable skill set that people are hiring for. What ever your vocational goals are you have to put yourself in that location where people are hiring for jobs. The CITY cannot make that happen for YOU. You have to start your engine and go where your job is.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 6, 2020 at 12:19 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Hey Lee - YOU live here. If you work for SU the you probably have a great job. They are always up to the future. If you work for SRI then you have a great job and they are always up to the future. The Venture Capital people are helping to create new companies and new jobs. This is were future science and engineering is imagined and created. But in order to participate you have to have the credentials to get hired in the first place.
WE are not WOODSTOCK - if we want to plunk our guitars then we go to festivals in Golden Gate Park and elsewhere. The age of enlightenment is in Science - and this is where science takes place. The rest of it is in Hollywood where they make stuff up to keep people entertained. But wait - even they are having problems - at the end of every movie you see the big peach - that is the state of Georgia. They have a much better tax rate than Hollywood. So even Hollywood is not retrenching.

I watch the city council meeting last night - had to turn it off. Someone who was talking about his ADU was saying that this city was the grate motivator for the state. Laugh - does this person get out much? Don't think so.


14 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2020 at 1:26 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"The bottom line is that YOU have to have the marketable skill set that people are hiring for. What ever your vocational goals are you have to put yourself in that location where people are hiring for jobs. The CITY cannot make that happen for YOU."

^ Concurring with your vocational assessment but somewhat curious...

Then why do so many vocationally unqualified/undereducated/unskilled &
fiscally deficient people (including the homeless) seek residency in Palo Alto as if it were some kind of suburban Mecca?

>">"WE are not WOODSTOCK - if we want to plunk our guitars then we go to festivals in Golden Gate Park and elsewhere."

^ The Woodstock generation went extinct during the 1980s when the majority of them opted to embrace money & transitioned into self-important yuppies.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 6, 2020 at 3:21 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The homeless are in SF and San Jose. I do not see many homeless in PA. I think it is because the bigger cities have navigation centers and more open space. We have one center. We also have a county which is pushing the housing for homeless people in cars and trying to locate them on the fringes. MV just got a grant to build some homes on the border with PA off San Antonio.

We have a governor who has a large guilt concerning Homeless and immigrants. Looking at his background growing up his proclivity in that direction can be seen. He creates benefits for the homeless in the major cities. Larger cities have a backlog of buildings and space that are available for use as temporary living spaces. We do not have a backlog of available buildings that can be used. Larger cities have the clout to get funding for housing - SF, SJX, we do not have space or clout. We are built out to the edges - no creeks or rivers to camp at.


5 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2020 at 8:06 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"The homeless are in SF and San Jose. I do not see many homeless in PA."

^ You are not looking hard enough (in Palo Alto) or simply ignoring the reality.

While the numbers may not be as high as in larger cities (i.e. San Francisco, San Jose) there was an older PA Weekly article from 2019 that cited a 13% increase in PA (about 315 homeless).

Whether that percentage/number has changed is subject to speculation or a new survey.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 7, 2020 at 9:58 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

There were a number of attempts by the County Supervisors to have people who live in cars parked on church lots. I attended that meeting. The church reps were there and the challenge of opening their facilities 24/7 was daunting - they did not have the manpower or desire to expose themselves at that time. That would have required manpower 24/7 and that is not what their congregations signed up for. It was a very bad idea - the residents near those churches did not sign up for having people living in cars on the streets. Note that a church is a "business" and has to have insurance the same as any other facility in the city. And they have a congregation who go there to reduce stress - not increase stress. Reality says that it is the government's job to manage the homeless - not the congregants of churches who have to open their doors 24/7, especially under covid restraints.

The Government managing the homeless - the governor was handing out incentives for people to come here. We are talking open borders, cash payments, all type of euphemism's of how things would develop. WE can see that the developments are not positive. Euphemisms are what you say to the press to portray that you are on top of a situation - but there are no actual, solid plans as to how that is going to happen. What the evolution of the process is.

Mr. Berman was trying to get RV's on the Foothill campus parking lot. Such a bad idea that had no financial backup as to process and program follow through. Worst that it is in a fire zone.

So the chickens have come home to roost - Covid has shut down the church idea, fires have shut down the Foothill Parking lot idea. But there is the plan to put people in cars on Geng Road with security on hand to manage the activity. MV just got a grant to build homeless houses on the MV-PA border near San Antonio. I think that the homeless have moved to locations that are providing the facility space for overnight activity. Lots of buildings in transition over by Moffatt Circle area. If cities are now shut down then they have to go where cities have located centers for overnight sleeping. WE - in this city do not have large empty, manufacturing buildings that can serve that purpose.
We do have one navigation center next to the PAMF. We are not without any services.


12 people like this
Posted by Lee Forrest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2020 at 7:17 pm

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"The Government managing the homeless - the governor was handing out incentives for people to come here. We are talking open borders, cash payments, all type of euphemism's of how things would develop. WE can see that the developments are not positive."

^ Concurring...the CA governor should not be encouraging migratory incentives such as open borders & cash payments at
CA taxpayer expense.


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