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Around Town: Sister-city relationship grows stronger with $100K gift for student exchange program

Original post made on Feb 21, 2021

In the latest Around Town column, news about a donation to support bonds between youth in Palo Alto and Japan, new leaders for local nonprofits and a famous director serving as grand marshal for a well-known Chinese New Year event.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, February 21, 2021, 7:44 AM

Comments (23)

Posted by A. Yamashita
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2021 at 11:49 am

A. Yamashita is a registered user.

This is a noteworthy goodwill gesture between our city and Palo Alto but I am wondering...given the pervasive racist attitudes of Palo Alto currently being described in the press, wouldn't it also be worthwhile for Palo Alto to consider establishing a sister city in Africa?


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2021 at 5:21 pm

felix is a registered user.

It would be great to expand Palo Alto Sister City relationships to more continents such as Africa and Australia.

As to pervasive racism, anyone can say or write stuff to promote their personal agenda du jour, but that doesn’t make it true.


Posted by Tom DuBois
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 21, 2021 at 6:02 pm

Tom DuBois is a registered user.

The Sister City donation is great news and thank you to Keiko Nakajima,and Yasuo Kishimoto. You did something very special that will be appreciated by chidren and families in both cities. In a place as diverse and multi-cultural as Palo Alto, these types of exchanges are highly valued.

To commentor "A. Yamashita", you are sadly misinformed.


Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 22, 2021 at 9:13 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

If people are trying to initiate an new event based on a very generous action by others using a negative expression - A. Yamashita - racism - then you have not learned anything about how to continue generous actions by others. People are getting very tired of using the "racism" theme in this city because the intended result by people using that theme are looking for major financial and structural changes in how city governments work. They are looking for a financial payout of some type.


Posted by Michio Hiragami
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2021 at 9:13 am

Michio Hiragami is a registered user.

A. Yamashita wrote...

"...given the pervasive racist attitudes of Palo Alto currently being described in the press, wouldn't it also be worthwhile for Palo Alto to consider establishing a sister city in Africa?"

And Mayor Tom DuBois responded...

"To commentor "A. Yamashita", you are sadly misinformed."

felix was also quoted as saying...

"It would be great to expand Palo Alto Sister City relationships to more continents such as Africa..."

^ Would it not be beneficial for Palo Alto to openly welcome and sponsor a sizeable number of foreign exchange students from Africa and to reciprocate by sending some of its white high school students to study over there?

Since Palo Alto lauds itself as a global and humanitarian community, this educational and cultural measure could further enrich its role as such.


Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 22, 2021 at 9:19 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Palo Alto is a global community due to Stanford university. SU has foreign students from Africa who qualify with educational experience that is going to ensure that their stay here is successful. If nothing else let SU carry their weight in the foreign student endeavor.


Posted by Del Collins
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2021 at 9:29 am

Del Collins is a registered user.

I wouldn't go so far as to consider Palo Alto a racist community but the residents are a tad picky about who they choose to let in, given the city's past discriminatory real estate practices, the recent Foothills Park debate (aka objections to outside visitors), and overall resistance towards encouraging affordable housing developments to accommodate lower income people of color who actually work in their city.

Lastly and in response to Mr/Ms Hiragami...most Palo Alto parents would never even consider sending their children to study abroad in Africa.


Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 22, 2021 at 9:58 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Another contributor from "Another community", commenting on PA residents and racism. What city does Mr. Collins live in? People who use PA as a symbol of racism are practicing a form of extortion. I am sure that the city of others if divulged would display the same overall city requirements.

The governance of a city is a financial and management function regarding structural upkeep for water, sanitation, transportation, economic stability in the city regarding schools, health. People are spending their time going to meetings on those topics. That is a time consuming activity. Give credit to the city members who are working to maintain their homes and schools. And going to work to feed their families.


Posted by A. Washington
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 22, 2021 at 11:34 am

A. Washington is a registered user.

Palo Altans are not going to send their privileged white children to Africa for schooling or further cultural enlightenment.

Heck, they don't even want their kids venturing into East Palo Alto.

A. Yamashita brought up a valid point as one can see from as far away as Japan that Palo Alto is caught up in its own self-imageries.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2021 at 12:06 pm

Resident is a registered user.

Given Palo Alto’s white population has been falling for 40 years and the city is now a third Asian, and growing, the “race” commentary should be more inclusive.

The obstacle to affordable housing is money, not people. Palo Alto has spent $40 million subsidizing affordable housing in the last five years. Any money you can find for this, send it to Alta Housing.


Posted by R. Cavendish
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2021 at 12:17 pm

R. Cavendish is a registered user.

quote..."Given Palo Alto’s white population has been falling for 40 years and the city is now a third Asian, and growing, the “race” commentary should be more inclusive."

∆ That said and duly noted, I suspect that few recently-arrived Asian parents would be willing to send their kids off to Africa for extended schooling as well.

After all, didn't many of them choose Palo Alto for its excellent public school system?


Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2021 at 12:30 pm

Resident is a registered user.

Parents of all ethnicities chase good schools, you don't have to be Asian to do that, any more than @A. Washington actually thinks anybody named "Yamashita" must live in Japan. You want to fix this the real answer is - send more money to Alta Housing.


Posted by edith hensley
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 22, 2021 at 2:24 pm

edith hensley is a registered user.

as per Resident's previous post:

"Parents of all ethnicities chase good schools, you don't have to be Asian to do that,"

I believe this is true as only the wealthier communities tend to have above average public school systems. Though there are exceptions, more incoming tax revenue generally equates to a larger school district budget and Palo Alto is no exception.

It is difficult to imagine responsible parents in Palo Alto (regardless of their ethnicity or wealth) sending their school-aged children to Africa for a quality education due to its acredation deficiencies, questionable food, hot tropical weather, local diseases, threats of terrorism, and unstable governments.

I would never consider sending my children there and cannot fault Asian parents as well as white parents for having their apprehensions and fears at such a horrible thought.




Posted by Francisco DeLaCruz
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2021 at 4:24 pm

Francisco DeLaCruz is a registered user.

I do not think that Palo Alto parents would want their children attending public schools in Latin America either.

Most would ostensibly cite their children's lack of proficiency in the Spanish language to cloud-cover their bigotry and ethnocentrism.

On the other hand, studying in Spain would be OK to them because upwardly-mobile types are generally caught-up in appearances and bragging rights.

Why else did so many moneyed white parents cheat and bribe to get their unqualified children admitted into fancy, big-name colleges?

Black and Hispanic parents do not resort to such tactics.


Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 22, 2021 at 7:03 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

A. Washington - you are busy creating imageries. Go to high school, go to college, get a job. Haven't you noticed that EPA is in the process of gentrification? Nice new neighborhood behind the shopping center. Charter Schools. A great Target that everyone goes to. A Bay Trail connection. FB is going to create a village on Willow north of 101. Do you even pay attention to what is going on in the city you live in?


Posted by Estelle
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 23, 2021 at 6:39 am

Estelle is a registered user.

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows writes:

Haven't you noticed that EPA is in the process of gentrification?

Do you even pay attention to what is going on in the city you live in?


Yes. East Palo Alto is currently in a redevelopment stage making the community more palatable to white shoppers who will later move into the nicer new residential developments forcing many below-income wage earners and renters out (aka people of color) of their own community.

One does not need a pair of binoculars or to attend high school or college to acknowledge the work of the devil.


Posted by Frank DelPilar
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 23, 2021 at 7:53 am

Frank DelPilar is a registered user.

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

- you are busy creating imageries.

∆ No. You are the one creating imageries Resident 1-Adobe Meadows and it reaks of white privilege and an elitist mindset.

Did you ever visit or shop EPA pre-gentrification?

And your stating (in another post) that wealthy African Americans such as Oprah Winfrey do not need stimulus checks or reparations for historical wrongdoings is missing the point entirely.

It's no wonder that Palo Alto is garnering an even worse reputation for its social insensitivities and ethnocentrism.

If East Palo Alto is striving to model itself after the likes of current Palo Alto then 'Houston, we have a problem'.

But all things considered, the demographics of Palo Alto are changing with the added influx of wealthy Asian residents and the cultural and ethnic impacts remain to be seen.


Posted by Robert Megumi
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2021 at 8:45 am

Robert Megumi is a registered user.

A Resident 1-Adobe Meadows quotation:

"Another contributor from "Another community", commenting on PA residents and racism."


I am a former resident and Palo Alto has always been a racist community albeit a subtle one.

I grew up in Palo Alto during the mid 1950s through early 1970s.

Palo Alto always appeared to be a progressive community providing minorities 'kept their place' by not rocking the boat and challenging the various white people in positions of economic power.

My father was a gardner and it pained me to witness him kow-towing to his white employers just to put food on the table and make payments on a modest home in South Palo Alto where minorities were relegated to reside.

African Americans also acquiesced to white Palo Alto residents regardless of whether the whites were wealthy or not.

It was all an illusion of a Leave It to Beaver type community as deep down inside, a majority of Japanese Americans and African Americans of multiple generations did not trust white people given what had transpired in the past (e.g. forced internment during World War Two and slavery).

And some of the younger generations (including myself) still don't trust them.

The African American descendents of slaves should receive government reparations and the recommended $400,000.00 is a mere pittance given what many of their ancestors had to endure at the hands of both the ruthless plantation owners and post Civil War discriminatory practices.

So yes, this a comment from an 'out of towner' who now resides elsewhere but who also spent a considerable portion of his life in Palo Alto.

And countless white people raving about and gorging themselves on sushi and sashimi (as if they themselves invented it) does not erase the pervasive and lingering racism that persists today.


Posted by Alvin Klepper
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2021 at 9:24 am

Alvin Klepper is a registered user.

Perhaps Resident 1 from Adobe Meadows is only viewing the overall picture from one side of the coin.

This is a common practice as many people only believe or see what they choose to.

Governments can legislate laws pertaining to equality but it is impossible to do the same with personal prejudices or one's inherent lack of perspectives.

I think this is the real issue with Palo Alto and it's growing reputation as a racist community.

Thus the NAACP and the ACLU finally had to address this subtle bigotry and bring it to the public's attention with the Foothills Park issue.



Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 23, 2021 at 1:10 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

WE have some people commenting here from the city of Oakland. My son's family lives in Oakland. My DOL works for the county of Alameda in the city of Oakland. My niece works for the Oakland school system. I probably know more about the city of Oakland than the posters who are single focused on their particular agenda vs the overall agenda of the city, school system, fire department, and state and federal services who are doling out money.

The Asian population in that city is getting hit hard - a overt racial situation. During the fires kids were in the hills setting off firecrackers.
I unfortunately know something about what other cities are experiencing. Recognize that some posters have a specific agenda and single minded in expressing that agenda. As though their city has no problems. Throwing stones at glass houses.


Posted by Tristan Thompson
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2021 at 4:21 pm

Tristan Thompson is a registered user.

"...given the pervasive racist attitudes of Palo Alto currently being described in the press, wouldn't it also be worthwhile for Palo Alto to consider establishing a sister city in Africa?"

Why go as far as Africa when there are many African American communities, neighborhoods and districts throughout the United States?

Palo Alto could simply establish ties with one (or more) of them and invite their civic leaders and children into their homes and schools.

Meanwhile white PTA parents in Palo Alto and the PAUSD could create inner-city student exchange programs where they send their children to various black homes and public schools in DC, Watts/Compton, Detroit, Harlem, and South Chicago.


Posted by Avery Sommerville
a resident of Menlo Park
14 hours ago

Avery Sommerville is a registered user.

I suspect that the majority of Palo Alto parents would oppose any inner-city student exchange program.

Given the recent park issue, many still seem to be in denial of their private and personal inner-racisms.


Posted by R. Cavendish
a resident of another community
12 hours ago

R. Cavendish is a registered user.

Amazing how Palo Alto has become the poster child for clandestine systemic racism.

Then again, actions (or lack of) tends to speak louder than words or outraged denial.


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