City could delay new police HQ | January 29, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 29, 2021

City could delay new police HQ

Squeezed by shutdown, Palo Alto council's rethinks city's priorities

by Gennady Sheyner

Facing plummeting revenues and continued uncertainty about the pandemic's trajectory, the Palo Alto City Council is preparing to reshuffle its list of infrastructure priorities and potentially delay its most ambitious project, a new police headquarters.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Jan 26, 2021 at 9:26 am

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


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Jan 26, 2021 at 9:27 am

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


Posted by Resident8
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 26, 2021 at 10:05 am

Resident8 is a registered user.

The current facility is not earthquake safe or usable after an earthquake as well as being functionally obsolete. If we delay the PSB it will end up costing tax payers more. The PSB is primarily debt financed and with low interest rates and lower construction costs 2021 is the best deal and lowest cost the city will get.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 26, 2021 at 10:44 am

Online Name is a registered user.

I don't get why the city is paying for fiber expansion. The city has failed miserably at it for decades. Let the city respond to the "pleading emails" with a list of the many service providers already providing that service. Why does Ms. Cormack think it should be a PA priority to compete with all the big corporate providers??

"The plan also includes upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at City Hall and other public facilities to improve indoor air quality;....."

Just say no to this one. Cut that instead of cutting resident-serving services like the library, arts, etc. There's enough hot air there already.

By the way, when are we getting our refunds for PAU's "over-charges"? You want to help the economy, start there! The city attorney knows how to slow-walk what SHE wants to delay while rushing things like the Foothill Park lawsuit, protecting violent police officers from getting THEIR pensions/retirement reduced.


Posted by Duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 26, 2021 at 11:41 am

Duveneck is a registered user.

In terms of budgetary concerns: since recent administrative and usage changes for Foothills Park, what now is the necessary budget to keep it operating responsibly and safely? How much did this necessary expenditure increase as a result of the recent changes?


Posted by Michele Dauber
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 26, 2021 at 11:48 am

Michele Dauber is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] The last thing we should spend money on is a police palace. We need city services, including increased activities and mental health supports for youth and seniors who are unable to connect with their friends and are suffering from social isolation during the pandemic.

PAPD has engaged in repeated alleged serious misconduct repeatedly over the last several years with little oversight or accountability. Ed Shikada is worse than worthless, doing nothing about it. They should not be rewarded for this abuse of the public trust with a new palatial headquarters while teens and seniors and the rest of the public can go eat cake I guess.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

I think police buildings should look "intimidating." Sending a quit committing crimes message to the community.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 26, 2021 at 12:23 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

So PA should "intimidate" innocent citizens and taxpayers just walking by? PA has better ways to spend our money.


Posted by commonsense
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 26, 2021 at 12:51 pm

commonsense is a registered user.

Wow! Wasn't the original budget $50 million? Now it's doubled? The existing building could be gutted and retrofitted to be earthquake safe saving the city tens of millions. $100,000,000 for a new police building is ridiculous at any time and especially now.


Posted by Resident8
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 26, 2021 at 2:34 pm

Resident8 is a registered user.

@commonsense. The current police department is housed in the basement of city hall, which is not seismically resilient and would not be usable after a major earthquake. It would require tearing down city hall and rebuilding it, which is 7 stories above ground.


Posted by commonsense
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 26, 2021 at 2:57 pm

commonsense is a registered user.

Not true. It's in an adjacent building with its own garage. It can be repaired and it's done all the time for the reason mentioned above - it's far less expensive than building new. New would be a much more beautiful building, not something a police department needs and not something the city can afford. Tackle the pension problem instead of kicking that down the road another decade and you can have a new police building every couple of years.


Posted by Resident8
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 26, 2021 at 4:48 pm

Resident8 is a registered user.

@commonsense all feasible sites for the police station were evaluated and I don't believe the existing site was considered feasible. Not sure where you were during those years but what may seem easy and feasible often is not.


Posted by CT resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 26, 2021 at 5:02 pm

CT resident is a registered user.

It's great that we keep talking about closing libraries but are willing to spend $100 million on the police for basically no reason. Especially when the police keep costing the city millions by needlessly brutalizing people.


Posted by Dick D.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 26, 2021 at 10:18 pm

Dick D. is a registered user.

Two items – fiber. Why the city when there are very good commercial offerings NOW. If the issue is cost of the current services why not a cost sharing for those who can't afford the commercial services. As someone else remarked our city government is incapable of operating such a system, keeping it competitive in this ever changing technical activity. How is the city possibly going to get staff comparable to th likes of ATT !?

The second item is police facilities. For any one who has visited the current facility, aside from building safety, you'd have to see and hear the operational constraints due to the cramped space and lack of flexibility as the organization appropriately evolves. "Rehabilitating" the current facility may take care of building safety problems, but it would still leave it as it is insofar as space and ability to keep up with changing needs and organizational changes. If we're serious about our police department doing ever more and change what and how it is doing things, it ain't gonna happen where they are now. With interest rates so low, now seems the right time to get some bonds out there to finance this.


Posted by R. Cavendish
a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2021 at 8:47 am

R. Cavendish is a registered user.

quote: "The last thing we should spend money on is a police palace."

∆ architecturely speaking, it does not look palatial in design.

quote: "I think police buildings should look "intimidating."

∆ as in a penitentiary?

quotes: "The existing building could be gutted and retrofitted to be earthquake safe saving the city tens of millions."

"The current police department is housed in the basement of city hall, which is not seismically resilient and would not be usable after a major earthquake."

∆ the current PAPD facility survived the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. how much more seismic stability is actually required?

using the 'non-seismic resilliant' rationale, then the entire section of the former PD facility + underground garage should be cordoned off and not used to house or accommodate any additional municipal offices or departments. fat chance.

quote: "...willing to spend $100 million on the police for basically no reason. Especially when the police keep costing the city millions by needlessly brutalizing people.

∆ this is a separate issue altogether. the police-related brutality you speak of is a national pandemic of its own.

personal opinion > the current and existing PAPD facility suffices + having this building on California Avenue destroys the 'small town' atmosphere of the shopping and dining district.

and being so close to the courthouse, there will be absolutely no excuse for a PAPD officer not appearing when a traffic-related citation is being contested.





Posted by Resident8
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 27, 2021 at 9:22 am

Resident8 is a registered user.

The Loma Prieta Earthquake epicenter was in Santa Cruz on the other side of the Santa Cruz mountains. The next major Bay Area earthquake will likely be in the Bay Area, either on the Hayward or San Andreas fault. The shaking will be much larger and more intense. For example, if on the Hayward fault its estimated to do at least $160 billion in damage vs. $6 billion for the Loma Prieta earthquake.


Posted by mjh
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 27, 2021 at 2:18 pm

mjh is a registered user.

In the past it wasn't considered feasible to safely retrofit the current police headquarters to be earthquake proof. At least compared to the cost of a new police building which at the time I seem to remember was anticipated to cost $30 million.

However, with the vastly increased cost of constructing a new police headquarters, although the city has already sunk considerable cost into the new plans, perhaps it is time to revisit the original decision just to make sure that a new building is less expensive than a safe retrofit of the existing headquarters.


Posted by Dick D.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 29, 2021 at 7:02 pm

Dick D. is a registered user.

Which makes more sense, a fancier Council Chambers or spending to meet the needs of the changing but growing list of things we're asking of the PAPD . . . I make reference to the list of lower priority items such as spending money on nicer chambers and such things – for the community - that are really not of as high a priority. I have previously noted the current facility can not accommodate the increasing tasks the community is asking of PAPD along with accommodating a new crew of mental health workers to deal with situations where force and use of weapons is the wrong way to go. If anyone would find the present facilities suitable for the critical activity of PAPD they are neither able to see or hear - have you been there? Somewhere along the way we've put up the money for upgraded fire stations so they can be more effective . . . don't we want the same thing for the community with a greatly improved facility for greater effectiveness our PAPD?

The issue of the structural integrity of the current building by making reference to a nasty but hardly big time 'quake of some years ago is not realistic, looking forward. We had Loma Priete and of course the 8.3 a bit more than a century ago.

We are rather limply working on adding housing - which means more people. Does that not take more police to protect all of us . . . sure ss blue blazes not in the current facility.


Posted by R. Cavendish
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2021 at 8:20 am

R. Cavendish is a registered user.

quote: "...a greatly improved facility for greater effectiveness our PAPD?"

∆ with PD de-funding/budgetary cut-backs a major national and municipal topic these days, a costly and larger police facility sends out the wrong message.

if crime prevention and local arrests remain the primary priority, then use the monetary resources to hire more officers instead of spending limited resources on another building.

and as far as cramped spaces go, consider implementing smaller cubicles or trimming unnecessary clerical staff.

over the years, many traditional police duties have been relegated to various non-sworn coordinators and administrative staff, adding to the increasingly cramped quarters.

given the struggling economy and limited municipal budgets, the PD needs to make some sacrifices as well and adding to creature comforts is not a sound use of city finances.


Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 1, 2021 at 11:58 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Looking at Nash Bridges reruns on TV they are on an anchored ship in the SF harbor. That adds color. In Baltimore they had their police department on a Pier that is now a hotel run by Mr. Under Armour who is trying to build a tech center near the pier. I have been to that new hotel - very fashionable. We don't have a pier or a facility lacking current usage. We do have a neighbor in SU which has an abundance of unused property in which we could share responsibility for the safety of the general area.
And make no mistake - the city of Oakland is experiencing a steep rise in violent gun deaths. This city is experiencing a rise in strange illegal activity - some perpetuated by very young people escaping in stolen cars. Time for PA and SU to combine forces.


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