Town Square

I Wish...

Original post made by Daniel Mart, Mountain View, on Jan 1, 2013

Discrimination against the disabled in Palo Alto is entirely indicative of discrimination in society as a whole.

I really wish I could have done a lot more for the Palo Alto Bowl; I really wish that more people would have cared enough at the time. If you are not already aware, I founded a campaign to preserve Palo Alto Bowl -- a true, authentic and Americana bowling alley from the early 1950s. An alley that was extremely popular, not only with locals but with people the world over. And one that Palo Alto's government demolished, despite overwhelming public support for the hallowed structure. In fact, the fake "hearing" began with the mayor instructing his council to ignore everything that had and would be said/written in support of Palo Alto Bowl. The council as a whole acted very childishly. Rolling their eyes, and acting as if they did not want to be there. And despite the fact that Palo Alto's ice rink -- two years newer than Palo Alto Bowl -- was dubbed a historic landmark, according to the council, landmark status could not be given to the bowling alley. Despite the owner's willingness to do so. Why? A council member is responsible for the skating rink getting preservation status. He fought for it. “While still on the council!” Talk about conflict of interests. Talk about contradiction. Talk about favoring the rich.

I wonder how much of a payoff they received from Barry Swenson?

With the demolition of Palo Alto Bowl, they have set off a huge bomb in the disabled community; at the time, losing what little respect this council may have had and making us feel utterly useless.

I am disabled. Physically disabled, to be exact. Rachel Maddow said something interesting right before accepting the John Steinbeck Award at San Jose State University. She said that if one is, say, disabled, and if one fights for a particular issue, and if that cause is lost, then "that" one -- that person -- is to blame for the outcome. And this is because he or she is a minority (and the disabled being the most discriminated against group in existence today certainly helps). And this unfortunate fact most certainly has hateful repercussions, for all it does is guarantee hardly any public backlash for developers. In this case, perhaps it is the stereotype that all disabled people are naive, lack intelligence, and do not know what they are doing.

Special education in this state is shameful when compared to the level it once saw. We are getting rid of and hurting people -- teachers, aides, therapists -- who saw the intelligence of all disabled people. Who were willing to see the fight and the hurt in their eyes. Facets which, sadly, most people were unwilling, or not able, to see.

And it is sad when a city has a government that ignores not only the historical status of a popular landmark, but also that landmark's crucial significance to a minority community (in the case of Palo Alto Bowl, since the 1970s). And it is sad when we have a rich developer like Barry Swenson who never seemed to give one damn, and who is able to use his wealth to pursue legal action if he does not get his way. And because of all this, Palo Alto is severely lacking in services for the disabled and the youth.

Despite what others might believe, discrimination remains very much alive.

Why even have a city council if they can just be paid off by the 1% and tell us to -- to be frank -- go to hell? If Palo Alto City Hall truly cares about their city, they are not showing it.

El Camino here is extremely pathetic; it is bombarded with hotels and motels. Most of which have a ton of vacancy. And why is a large hotel -- at the bowling alley site -- being constructed across from another large hotel?

I will tell you the reason why: Barry Swenson is filthy rich. Cities can tax hotels, no matter how much -- or how little -- they are filled.

And we, the people, do not matter.

Fortunately, I have not given up. Fortunately, ADA lawyers do exist.

And "fortunately," we have opened numerous eyes over the past few years.

The new, currently-barren CA Avenue. The demolition of Palo Alto Bowl, a long-time recreational staple for the disabled community. The widely-opposed destruction of Lytton Plaza, robbing the once protest-friendly square of any and all character; what was once a great extension of Stanford University is now a pathetic wasteland; a gigantic waste of money. Crap inherited from the Burt administration, and the mayor before him.

Why doesn’t the council actually make a great effort to gather public imput, and to do what the majority of us want? Or that might take too much time... To the council: please, guys. You are here for a reason. You became politicians for a reason. At least, initially. We need leaders who care about people; not so-called politicians who sleep with insanely rich developers and then in turn receive metaphorical kickbacks to destroy Palo Alto.

You have already destroyed so much. No more, guys. Please. Take a stand. Become a government.

As long as I am living on earth, I will never be hesitant to relay anything and everything that you have pulled. To tell stories of how "better" Palo Alto used to be.

BTW, I use a blue walker and wear gold-colored glasses. If you see me around, say hi. I'd love to get to know you.


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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 2, 2013 at 11:29 am

the_punnisher is a registered user.

When I did rehab after each stroke ( 2x ) I used the REACH program originally located at the Cubberley Foothill College site.

To say the building was run down was an understatement. On hot summer days, the A/C was often broken. The room fittings were ancient.

We had several POSTED, PERMITTED RESERVED PARKING SPOTS for the caregivers vehicles that transported the disabled. They were often being used by PALO ALTO RESIDENTS who claimed " I'll only be a minute, I've got to pick up my child attending (xxx) class " while the caregivers had to find another spot often quite a distance away.

The SFBA (including MV and PA ) have PEOPLE WAREHOUSES for dealing with the disabled. My father was in one for rehab ( he got out as soon as possible ) and I lasted only 3 days ( and that was over a weekend when the doctor involved in running the place WOULD NOT MAKE WEEKEND VISITS!!! )

VTA transport was terrible, many of the disabled were late or never got to the REACH classes at all!!

I get much better support and services in CO up in Evergreen. That includes door-to-door transport for medical issues and an Express RTD stop only a few hundred feet away from my residence. ( I can't walk to it yet but I'm working on that ).

The house was refitted for handicapped use with a guardrail and a bathroom with the proper facilities, paid for by my taxes in Jeffco.

My terrible (non) service was paid for my CA taxes,which were a lot more and gave me a lot less.

The bottom line: Other states do much more for the disabled than CA does. You yuppies with your big SUVs and Bumws need to obey ALL the handicapped laws and not break them for " just a minute " while DIAGONALLY PARKING to pick up your offspring.

Dismount and WALK your bike at Cubberley; I've witnessed several collisions and actually had one during my stay at the REACH prgram. The little ( insert your favorite cuss word here ) didn't even apologize for the collision, he behaved with the typical arrogance of youth. Do you see a pattern here?

Stanford has the best docs, REACH was the best rehab program but you can take the rest of stuff as a strong example as how welcome you really are if you are old or disabled in Palo Alto. Remember the saying about how a country treats it's old and disabled.

I won't even get started about how HP and other SFBA companies treat a CO company expansion workforce..The word ARROGANCE comes to mind...

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Posted by Daniel Mart
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Daniel Mart is a registered user.


All I can respond with is...

E-mails are forwarded to all nine council members.