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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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Are we losing our common sense?

Uploaded: Apr 20, 2020
In our collective concern about coronavirus, some decisions are being made that defy common sense.

Our roads are emptier the past couple of weeks, since everyone is staying at home under a lockdown because of COVID-19. But officials in our area are coming up with some perplexing (unique?) solutions to solving some perceived problems.

For example, three Palo Alto City Council members have complained that because the roads are emptier, some motorists speed by their house, as, Councilmember Alison Cormack said -- and before she can even raise her arm to get them to slow down. Mayor Adrian Fine and Councilmember Liz Kniss echoed these concerns. So last week Chief Transportation Official Philip Kamhl came up with a solution: Close down all these streets where drivers speed, so people and bicyclists can walk and ride in the middle of them.

Close down the roads. What a simple solution to a problem! Why didn’t I think of it? Maybe because the streets are so empty now it didn’t dawn on me that we had a new problem?

It got me to thinking: This simplistic strategy can be applied to lots of other problems we have:
• Too much traffic in town? Ban cars from entering Palo Alto. Problem solved.
• City budget deficits? Forget about providing services like libraries and parks, and that will easily balance a budget.
• Fear of coronavirus settling on library books when returned? Burn the books!
• Too much airplane noise? Prohibit planes flying over Palo Alto into SFO or SJC. The feds will understand during these coronavirus crisis times.
• No available face masks? You don’t have to wear one if you never take a step outside your doorway.

Such simple solutions to so many prior problems, I facetiously suggest.

But one Mountain View man who sent a letter-to-the-editor at the Palo Alto Post complained that solving grade-crossing problems when more electric trains are coming is taking much too long. The easier and inexpensive way, he said, is just to put big concrete barriers in front of the crossings, so motorists would have to find an underpass to get to the other side of the tracks. Only problem? There aren’t many underpasses around. But at least the big crossing issue got answered.

And it wasn’t too long ago that to solve one of the grade crossing problem areas – Churchill Avenue – the Palo Alto council was seriously considering closing down Churchill, which is the street kids use daily to get to Paly High School.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

On another subject, Santa Clara County has recently banned gardeners from working at private residences, declaring these “non-essential” jobs.

My gardener, who comes every two weeks, recently was given a warning twice by the city, and told that if he gets a third warning, both he and I will be fined. Ah, yes, our police department hard at work. But some of these same gardeners have been using gas-driven leaf blowers, which are noisy, but the police didn’t have time to handle that problem.

I don’t understand the ban on gardeners. The two of them come, work outside the whole time, never see me, wear masks, and don’t talk to anyone. How can that be a coronavirus concern?

But both men have families, one with a disabled child, and both have no other income. Now they are afraid to come – they don’t want to be fined. How does this ban help them? Or me? How can the one dad pay for needed medical care for his kid? How can their families pay for groceries? What kind of common sense approach is this to a problem?

And while I am talking about gardening and essential services, Summer Winds is open for pick-up only and you have to place an order in advance. Evidently they are swamped – I called 24 times and the line was always busy. I put my name on a call-back list, but never got a response. I tried to send an email but the Internet wouldn’t let me do it.

Summer Winds and other small local nurseries are declared non-essential businesses, and therefore no customers are allowed inside Yet if this forces Sumer Winds to shut down, as has been rumored, where do we get our garden plants? What happens to the people employed there for years?

Frustratingly, as Weekly blogger Doug Moran mentioned the other day, two local big box stores – Home Depot in East Palo Alto and Ace Hardware in Mountain View – have nurseries (and lots of other hardware things). The county (or whatever authority) declared these stores’ nurseries “essential to business.” Neither store is going to shut down because they don’t sell flowers. But our locally operated nurseries could.

Where is the common sense in this official decision?

••••••••••••••

BTW, late last week, Palo Alto City Manager Ed Shikada said he is presenting a 2020-21 budget to the council. People have complained about the number of employees the city has. So in his budget he has a proposed employee reduction of ONE person – to 1,034 full-time employees for our 65,000 residents.

Wow!












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Comments

 +   42 people like this
Posted by Former PA resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 2:40 pm

"Santa Clara County has recently banned gardeners from working at private residences, declaring these 'non-essential' jobs."

"Recently?" It's been publicized, and on the County Public-Health advisory website (with slight wording changes) five weeks: Web Link

Excerpt: "Landscaping services for cosmetic purposes or general upkeep have to stop."

"I don't understand the ban on gardeners. . .How can that be a coronavirus concern?'

Many of the technical issues are not clear to everyone, but the county Health Officer's directives are very clear (link above -- which also includes the explanation "the goal of the Order is to maximize the number of people who are staying home").

"But both men have families, one with a disabled child, and both have no other income."

So you do what ost people are doing (including me) -- SURELY you've seen the frequent discussions on this, among neighbors and social media, so I'm surprised to see it omitted above: PAY them anyway (along with other personal services) if you possibly can. Problem (temporarily) solved.


 +   41 people like this
Posted by Rick, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 2:47 pm

We are paying our help to stay home. I can vacuum and sweep myself in the meantime.


 +   41 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 3:09 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> "directive ... includes the explanation "the goal of the Order is to maximize the number of people who are staying home"

This is an example of confusing one of many means to achieve a goal with being the goal itself. The goal is to reduce/minimize the transmission of the disease. The meta-method is having enough separation of people to make transmission unlikely. One method is for people to stay in their house or other confinement vessel (vehicles don't qualify in various jurisdictions).

Question: If you are in your house and the lone gardener is working outside and wearing a mask which will reduce shedding of any virus from his respiratory system, how is he such a bigger threat than maskless pedestrians walking by your house??


 +   39 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 3:18 pm

Tell your two gardeners, that they should get jobs to work for the city and do the exact same work in our parks and other city owned landscaping. It is deemed essential that parks and city own property has gardeners mowing, and blowing.

(Sarcasm)


 +   31 people like this
Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 3:36 pm


Common Sense has been under attack in this country for a very long time:

The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America:
Web Link


 +   28 people like this
Posted by Former PA resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 4:09 pm

"If you are in your house and the lone gardener is working outside and wearing a mask which will reduce shedding of any virus from his respiratory system, how is he such a bigger threat than maskless pedestrians walking by your house??"

Response: That question approaches standing-on-one-foot territory. (Composing abstracted rhetorical questions is easier than examining further realities involved.)

Examples of further realities (inevitably incomplete): Many gardeners (starting with Diana's example above) work in pairs or larger teams, not "lone;" the work brings them closely together. Driving to multiple clients entails additional, out-of-view travels for car fuel, supplies, etc. The "threat" is multidirectional; gardeners who visit multiple households' yards, open their gates, use faucets, etc. (all unlike those passing pedestrians) are both exposed to and potential vectors among multiple households.

More fundamentally, an explicit goal "to maximize the number of people staying home" is served by any reduction in traveling and visiting, "nonessential" or otherwise.


 +   40 people like this
Posted by Love that virus, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 5:41 pm

I can imagine, though they would not dare admit it, that many people in Palo Alto love the coronavirus pandemic- no traffic on the streets, no airplanes overhead, no out of town workers coming into town, This is what they have wanted for years. I imagine many of the current and past city council members also,love the current situation.


 +   30 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 7:50 pm

I think I have managed to maintain my common sense. I think however that the powers that be, have most definitely lost theirs.


 +   17 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 8:11 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@Former PA resident of Mountain View

> "Response: That question approaches standing-on-one-foot territory. ..."

My comment was on the directive in general and it included bans on any number of gardeners, with no exception for a lone gardener.
You have misrepresented my comment in order to portray it as irrelevant or disingenuous.

---
The persistence of the virus in outdoor environments - your "gates, ...faucets, etc" is an unknown. The tests for persistence on various materials in a laboratory setting are stated in terms of "detectable levels", whereas the practical concern is about how long enough persists to provide a viral load that could infect a person.


 +   30 people like this
Posted by What part of SIP do you not understand, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 9:33 pm


@Diane Diamond @ Douglas Moran -

Thank goodness you both have very little influence in law making. Our governor makes the choices. You two are very misguided souls and seem to like to fill your days arguing with people and complaining.


 +   20 people like this
Posted by paul, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 10:39 pm

All the elected officials are inept at handling the crisis, but they have cornered themselves with the sheltering directive, so they must go on.

For the public workers, their Union leaders will not accept that they should loose union dues. See how willing those same union leaders have been willing to re-negotiate the pensions. Noticed how no-one has even raised the subject of putting the non essential services on hold?


 +   14 people like this
Posted by @paul, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 11:17 pm

First off: Take off your tinfoil hat, it clearly is cutting off the blood supply to your brain.

Second: Your alternative to shelter in place that would deal with the pandemic is...what, exactly? Anything? Anything at all?


 +   11 people like this
Posted by @paul, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 11:17 pm

duplicate post removed


 +   15 people like this
Posted by @@paul, a resident of Martens-Carmelita,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:24 am

"Second: Your alternative to shelter in place that would deal with the pandemic is...what, exactly? Anything? Anything at all?"

Expand the permitted set of business.


 +   19 people like this
Posted by Glenn , a resident of another community,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:43 am

Perfectly written article. Unfortunately the county tax collector is not giving any relief so the cash keeps everyone working who has authority to destroy the livelihood of others, indefinitely. If common sense does not prevail then only mutiny can save the crew from certain death and destruction. Is it sane to let insanity have its way? Today, we see common sense as a dream to have around. Tomorrow, will we be overtaken by insanity?


 +   11 people like this
Posted by Glenn , a resident of another community,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:43 am

duplicate post removed


 +   16 people like this
Posted by @Martens-Carmelita, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 8:52 am

You're not taking this situation seriously, are you?

Georgia is about to do what you're recommending. I predict that within two weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases -- and deaths -- will skyrocket.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Former PA resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 10:28 am

Douglas Moran wrote: "My comment was on the directive in general and it included bans on any number of gardeners, with no exception for a lone gardener. You have misrepresented my comment in order to . . ."

That's completely wrong (twice), but I won't indulge (in turn) in my own projections about motives. What I forthrightly answered above was an expressed scenario ("If you are in your house and the lone gardener is working outside. . ."). The question is a reductive vignette, about a "lone gardener," omitting aspects of gardening services germane to both contagion risk (fun to conjecture on, but we're definitely not health experts) and the County order's explicit core mission "to maximize the number of people staying home" -- both bearing on Diana Diamond's original essay above. Thus my sincere interpretation of the quoted question as rhetorical.

Pose other questions if you like, but don't jump to condemn a serious critique of what you actually wrote.

My own larger context was the blogger's statement "I don't understand the ban on gardeners. . .How can that be a coronavirus concern?" I've addressed both why it may raise "coronavirus concern" in people who do show "common sense" (we can argue details and magnitudes, but it does), and a relevant point her statement touched indirectly: County PH's goal "to maximize people staying home." (Last I heard, "people" includes gardeners.)


 +   27 people like this
Posted by Reality, a resident of North Whisman,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 10:52 am

Well stated.
Remember, we are supposedly sheltering in place to solve for a hospital capacity problem. You aren't stopping the spread-- that is inevitable.
So to put another way, we are driving trillions of dollars of debt and sending millions on to unemployment, instead of building overflow capacity and implementing a testing regime.
I'd wager we could build a lot of capacity with $10 trillion-- a far better investment than killing this country's prosperity and destroying our currency.


 +   30 people like this
Posted by Dave N, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 11:54 am

Agreed. Some sense of balance is required. Jobs like mowing lawns, where interaction with people is nearly zero, should be allowed. Gardeners often wear masks when mowing lawns anyway. This thoughtless all-or-nothing shutdown is overkill. Can we be sensible?


 +   22 people like this
Posted by great article, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 1:27 pm

it's never been about the virus. it's been about the use of the virus to destroy our way of life, shred our freedoms, incapacitate us all financially, and make us deeply suspicious of so much as a single
human breath or single human touch. this is a diabolical plan to destroy our very humanity. we must resist it.


 +   23 people like this
Posted by Cindy Goral, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 2:13 pm

Cindy Goral is a registered user.

How is your gardner going to pay medical? You pay them anyway. If you can afford to pay them to come, you can afford to pay them not to come. That's what we are doing.


 +   15 people like this
Posted by Cindy Goral, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 2:13 pm

Cindy Goral is a registered user.

How is your gardner going to pay medical? You pay them anyway. If you can afford to pay them to come, you can afford to pay them not to come. That's what we are doing.


 +   24 people like this
Posted by Fr0hickey, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 2:37 pm

The solution to dealing with the pandemic is allow people to go back out and go back to work. The ones that are willing to take the chance will do so, same as it was prior to the pandemic. The overwhelmed hospital case never materialized and there have been reports of health care workers being furloughed as well, since the elective procedures that brought in hospital money were stopped.

The ones that know they are in the at-risk category can shelter-in-place, as can others that are anxious about catching the virus. Free country, they are free to shelter-in-place as they want to or not.


 +   22 people like this
Posted by Fr0hickey, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 2:40 pm

@Cindy Goral

Are you taking applications for the gardening position. I am ready to start (and receive payment) for not going to your residence and doing anything. Please let me know when I can expect my first (and perpetual) payments for non-work.

Now, how long can you keep paying someone for not doing a thing? Is it even moral to do so?


 +   19 people like this
Posted by Rick, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 3:12 pm

More support for my contention that "Elite" now simply means "Capable of Critical Thinking" and is used as a pejorative by those who cannot.

Those of us who are continuing to pay our help recognize that there is a basic disparity in wealth here. The least we can do is help them get through this time of social distancing.


 +   30 people like this
Posted by got all the story?, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 4:29 pm

Restricting single gardeners from showing up and mowing lawns and blowing leaves is the height of insanity. Along with taping off benches at Baylands , really when was the last time you saw a crowd sitting at a bench at Baylands vs one or two related individuals. Dumb.

Draconian measures by our Governor but then deal with the consequences, don't go crying to the Feds for more money. You were the one that made the decision to put millions out of work, deal with it. Issue some bonds.

22m unemployed , easy for those of you on this post to pontificate about prolonging keeping people out of work between your zoom conferences.


 +   16 people like this
Posted by @Adobe-Meadow, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 4:34 pm

Gee...were you *this* concerned when your cult leader repeatedly ignored warnings that COVID-19 would cause untold damage to the United States?


 +   22 people like this
Posted by Prof Business Law, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 4:37 pm

What Gardeners?

The individuals who perform these services are Allergy Reduction Specialists (ARS). Their work minimizes natural and artificial allergen disbursals from Palo Alto's natural environment.

They are Green Recycling Specialists (GRS) by collecting organic materials for composting.

They are Environmental Emotional Counselors (EEC) for those individuals and families who cannot/will not deal with the traumatic costs of understanding or actually how to maintain control over their exterior natural environments.

They are Natural Resource Control Officers (NRCO) who ensure that water/pesticide/fertilizer useage are done in compliance with federal/state environmental protection rules for wildlife and the bay.

As I said. What Gardeners?

And if you outlaw Gardeners, only Outlaws will have Gardens.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Dewey Cheatum and Howe, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 4:52 pm

If you and your gardener get a ticket, tell it to the judge. I bet you'd be surprised at the result


 +   15 people like this
Posted by Me, a resident of North Whisman,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 6:07 pm

Wow, there are a whole lot of Monday night quarterbacks posting here ... a whole lot of really, really stupid Monday night quarterbacks.


 +   26 people like this
Posted by Chris Dewees, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:01 pm

Chris Dewees is a registered user.

Here's another dumb one: Police chasing me off the completely empty Jordan track and telling me to run in the streets, which have ever-increasing numbers of pedestrians. A little common sense and flexibility on the part of our local government would be greatly appreciated as we go through this crisis together. Most of us are supportive of the goals and practices of social distancing. Treat us like adults and not children, please.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Chris Dewees, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:01 pm

Chris Dewees is a registered user.

duplicate post removed


 +   26 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:36 pm

Really the problem is that we are being turned from responsible citizens into pawns by the power grabbing PA City authorities. We are no longer able to live our own lives the way we choose and it seems that every day there is something new that forces us to give up a little more of our freedoms.

The fact that so many residents are willing to report their neighbors for having a gardener or going for a walk with a family member who may be of a different race is very problematic. The fact that so many residents are making a big issue of us going for a walk in the park without wearing a mask when the evidence for mask wearing is for those jogging or riding a bike for high octane exercise, working up a sweat, or sneezing or coughing onto a nearby passerby who may be less than the allowable distance.

The fact that the city is considering closing streets to enable pedestrians and bikes ride in the middle of the street is also worrying. The fact that this may hinder an essential worker driving home at the end of a busy shift, or that delivery trucks might not be able to deliver essential medicines or similar is just not considered. Closing the streets to cars is pandering to one segment of the population, namely those bike riders who want to flout traffic laws and ride as fast or as dangerously as they can on residential/city streets. We do not want Tour De France riders taking over the streets.

The fact that we are being encouraged to report others we deem as being disobedient is a dreadful situation. The fact that we are being threatened with fines for disobeying the rules when we don't know the reason why someone may feel their gardener is essential or that being able to return home after a 12 hour shift working in a hospital is unfair or that a mixed race family are playing basketball on their driveway is to say the least Orwellian.

Orwellian. Yes. 1984 was a long time ago, but we are not far from it nowadays.


 +   21 people like this
Posted by Independent, a resident of Esther Clark Park,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:43 pm

Why close a street which then encourages people to walk down it, when they are supposed to be at home?

Why tell a gardener to stay home when he doesn't come in contact and he wears a mask? People walk down my sidewalk though, side by side, with no mask, and no one's telling them to stay home.


 +   23 people like this
Posted by Insane, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 12:42 am

You know what the most worrisome thing is? All the flippant comments here. Can't wait to see what everyone's saying in a couple months if this SIP isn't lifted and we can no longer get groceries, staples,,,,,when we're standing in breadlines with stamps to get our ration of food.

And if you don't think we're headed in this direction you are SO out of touch. How the HELL do you think we're going to keep our food supplies going when everyone's quarantined in their homes????


 +   12 people like this
Posted by Chris, a resident of University South,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 11:32 am

Insane,

The people who are in the food supply chain are essential workers. Food is the main thing we need to get through this crisis.

I'm not sure where you have been the last 2 months, but you appear to be a slow learner.


 +   33 people like this
Posted by Dan, a resident of Professorville,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 12:09 pm

What most bothers me about discussions like the threads above is the lack of respect for dissenting option or even discussion coming from the "Stay at home means stay at home" people.

Rather than being curious about why other people may not agree with all of the current government rules, their response is simply to call people they disagree with idiots, fools or make some other personal insult.

I also see many of the same people are advocating for more and more control over their fellow citizens, using language like "people should be forced to do xxx."

My facebook is so full of this stuff I can't even look at it anymore. People attacking each other instead of trying to understand each other.

So much for civil discourse in our society.


 +   17 people like this
Posted by Insane, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 1:37 pm

Gee Chris, you mean like the Smithfield and now Tyson meat plants that have been shut down? Or our own local SummerWinds nurseries that is only allowed to make deliveries now?

O have been extremely present this past month. I have been helping various food banks and organizations supplying health care workers with meals on almost a daily basis.

The overreach of our politicians is insane and if you haven't started to get concerned then YOU are the one out of touch.


 +   12 people like this
Posted by C, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 1:46 pm

> Expand the permitted set of business.

Expand the permitted set of business *safely*. (:

As much as I support the lockdown, curbside pickup and delivery seem to be a reasonable balance between economic and health interests. Most of the exposure to a virus in a public location happens because of closeness to another person, be it customer or staff, or touching surfaces that may be infected. Both a minimized with curbside pickup.

Indirectly, allowing curbside pickup can extend the lockdown, as many protests against it are from fears and concern about unemployment. At least curbside pickup will allow people to work and small companies to remain in business. Certainly, a company that survives lean times is more likely to resume normal operations than one that has closed down.

I'm not sure *which* non-essential businesses should be allowed to open first, but ones which minimize transmission among staff or have a small staff might be a start. Surely staff in a nursery don't have to work that closely together, and gardeners can drive more than one vehicle to a house.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 2:09 pm

Shelter in place is hard for all of us, but you either get it or you don't.


 +   13 people like this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 4:06 pm

Posted by Dan, a resident of Professorville,

I agree with some/many of the posters above that some/many of the new boundaries are not completely rational. Why shouldn't someone run on one of the empty tracks at schools/parks? I don't see a reason, and, I think it is fine to question it. But, I also concede that there might be a non-obvious reason. I'll make one up: you leave an empty field open, and, young people start playing soccer. And, maybe, they intended to play "social-distancing soccer", but, kind of forgot after they got into the game.

A real-life example was when everybody went to the beach the first weekend of social distancing. Regardless of how well people distanced on the beach itself, there was a very real concern expressed by the parks and rec folks about the restrooms being a high-contact risk. Sitting or playing on the beach in your own family unit mostly was not the problem.

>> I also see many of the same people are advocating for more and more control over their fellow citizens, using language like "people should be forced to do xxx."

We need to try hard regarding the "xxx", but, the reality is that we are dealing with strings of RNA, and, they have no self-concept, ethics, or purpose in human terms. They use our cells to replicate and transmit. Unfortunately, their lack of behavioral purpose crosses our human boundaries in unnatural-to-us ways. Why should sharing a salt shaker be fatal?

That is why "public health" has always been a social challenge for us humans, and, always will be. When I was a kid, we were happy to get vaccinated against the much-feared polio. "Public health" was a good thing for a while. But, "public health" will always be in conflict with "personal freedom".

Speaking of polio, you know with all the "good news" some people are touting about asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID-19, it is good to recall that 96% of polio cases also were asymptomatic or mild, and "only" 4% were a problem, and "only" < 1% caused permanent disabilities or death. I don't recall back then anyone saying that was "good news" -- we wanted to avoid being part of the 1% and got the vaccination.



 +   8 people like this
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 4:29 pm

@Anon, thank you for resurfacing the polio example. I took note of those low morbidity statistics while reviewing previous epidemics, remembering the scary sugar cubes we got in third grade.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Dan, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 8:48 am

No ... can't lose something that people never really had (as a group). What we are losing is our freedoms under an ever expanding pile of well-meaning but ill advised laws. We started down this road long ago when serving in government legislative bodies became a full time profession. If your full time job is to make laws, that is what you do... look for perceived problems and try to make a law to "solve" them with the same lack of common sense that has always existed, except now its codified as "law".


 +   15 people like this
Posted by Chris, a resident of University South,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 9:38 am

Public health does not have to be in conflict with democracy..

Taiwan has a strong democracy but they also have a string public health culture. As a result, they have very few COVID-19 cases and only 6 deaths in a country of 24 million.

Unfortunately, the US is populated by a substantial number of “individuals" who are self-centered and place their “rights" above the social good. People raised in a me-me-me culture have a hard time with this concept.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Former PA resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 10:26 am

Thank you, Anon, for raising the point of sound justifications that aren't obvious. It's a pitfall lurking behind these discussions.

"Common sense," even where present, shows limitations when confronting uncommon (or very subtle) new threats.

Some complain about arguments "advocat[ing] for what is essentially blind obedience of orders" while other commenters confuse any rule advocacy with blind advocacy, or look for malicious motives behind what's more likely official clumsiness.

Has everyone already forgotten what happened early in the Bay-Area S-I-P, when beaches and parks were mobbed, perversely ignoring the whole point? Some petty-seeming restrictions since then reacted only to such problems as they emerged.

"Common sense" can exaggerate to the conceit "I don't understand the reasoning behind this rule; therefore, there must be none." (The mirror image, or counter-hubris, of a "rules-are-rules" mind-set). I tried to explore this earlier, answering Diana's "I don't understand the ban on gardeners." The "ban on gardeners" was hardly a goal in itself, but part of a larger and stated public-health approach, "maximize the number of people staying home." The reason behind that approach is that it works. "The basic public health measures being promoted (social distancing, rigorous handwashing and avoiding public places unless absolutely necessary) were established with the "Spanish" flu pandemic in 1918. Whether these measures were aggressively implemented or not determined the extent of the contagion and dramatic differences in mortality rates amongst US cities. As an example, Philadelphia's mortality rate was much higher than St Louis. Why? Philadelphia's Public Health Director refused to cancel a parade to promote the sale of war bonds that was attended by 200,000 people! Only three days later every hospital bed in the city was filled."


 +   7 people like this
Posted by James Thurber, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 11:57 am

James Thurber is a registered user.

I'm the concrete guy you mentioned in your article. Gosh, I feel famous.

The thing about concrete barriers is that they can be taken DOWN as quickly as they can be put up. There's almost no expense involved in creating a few blocked intersections and simply watch what happens.

If all hell breaks loose then take them down. But with so few automobiles on the road who knows, it's a very (very) cost efficient way to shunt traffic.

Just remember that the cost of building over / under crossings for automobiles at the myriad of intersections we have would be mind boggling. Additionally, if we were to build an elevated railway (or underground) the cost would be so high that . . .

. . . and thanks for listening.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Father of 3, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 12:47 pm

"No available face masks? You don't have to wear one if you never take a step outside your doorway." - this actually is a good suggestion. Thanks for thinking. Now I'll stop wearing my mask at home. Ah, the trials and tribulations of the over-privileged.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Old teacher, a resident of Community Center,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 2:14 pm

Old teacher is a registered user.

I'm horrified by some of these comments undermining the "stay in place" order. Do they want to jeopradize all of us, especially the hard working health professionals? This is hard, but the virus is vile and harder.
Also, my solution personally, is to pay the gardeners and cleaners as if they are still working for me, but letting them stay safe and pay their bills. If you live in Palo Alto, you can probably afford that, especially if you hire cleaners and gardeners in the first place.Just pay them!


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Dave, a resident of Rengstorff Park,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 6:59 pm

I for one am so sick of hearing the leaf blower at my apartment complex in Mountain View/Santa Clara county, can't believe anyone tries to justify them, especially when I'm trying to speak in a zoom meeting for my work with 30+ other attendees. Then of course the ban is mentioned in the meeting, followed by where do you live....because it's incredibly loud and all attendees hear it; it sidelines the entire meeting agenda.

By the way the apartment complex has fake grass and palm trees mostly, so its certainly not for fire prevention or a health benefit when I see the subsequent dust cloud flooding into my apartment because of the air gap under the front door.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 8:43 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Thank you, Diana. I wonder what the apologists for government excesses are going to tell their children, grandchildren, etc. when they get the bill for the government's excess spending, which is more than TWICE the defense budget!

"They did it for me because I was old and vulnerable."


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Jetman, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 9:51 pm

Diana,

Prohibiting planes from flying over Palo Alto into SFO or SJC would not prevent planes from accessing SFO or SJC.

There are many routes into SFO and SJC the do not fly over Palo Alto, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, or any other populated area at low altitude. The "over-the-bay" route proposed by Sky Posse would have planes proceed to the southern tip of the Bay at 8-10k feet to begin final approach and then descend into SFO entirely over the Bay.

With only <5% of the pre-corona traffic flying into SFO, the FAA and SFO have an excellent opportunity to implement Sky Posse's "over-the-bay" approach plan with very little to no safety risk.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by @Jack Hickey, a resident of Mountain View,
on Apr 23, 2020 at 10:11 pm

[portion removed -- claimingI took stands on issues that Never wrote about.]





Just go ahead and admit that you are a hypocrite.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Jane, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 11:58 am

As a senior, I need the help my gardener gives me. I have no lawn to mow, but he takes care of the many other things that I can't manage, such as adjusting the water system. I am lost without this help, and am hopeful this ban will be lifted soon.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Apr 25, 2020 at 9:11 am

Be thankful you live in Palo Alto. Reading some of the comments, I'm ashamed to say I grew up there. The pandemic is hard on all of us, and this isn't about "you." I'm horrified by the undermining of the shelter-in-place orders too. This is separating the selfish from the unselfish, and the intelligent from the ignorant. Nobody likes this, but it's better than the alternative. Spreading the virus... and death. Every death you read about. That could've been you or a loved one, had you not sheltered in place.

The economy will recover, but death is final. Once again, you either get it or you don't.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 27, 2020 at 7:57 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I am reading these comments. Then I am seeing the house in back getting a whole makeover for solar panels. People on the roof. And then down the street I see a whole tree removed from the backyard. People are home and thinking up what they need to do to correct existing home problems then getting some one to fix them. Home Depot is open, as well as Ace Hardware and the Target in EPA. That is my wild adventure - visiting hardware stores. And organizing my drawers and kitchen. So I am getting things done - in the back yard where no one can report me. The front needs some work. It has been a forced opportunity to look at each room and figure out what can I do better with it. And Walmart has organizing stuff - plastic bins.
Problem was okay when it was overcast and cloudy. Now it is sunny. Sorry - a lot of "forced" trips to hardware store in other locations. I call it PEE WEE's wild adventure. RWC - here I come.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 27, 2020 at 8:25 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Have to add here that the airplane overhead activity is increasing. Large airplane trails in the sky. So are we all sitting at home while "other people" are traveling? Something is very Off here - are these people who got trapped in some other location and are now being given a trip home? Are they government employees traveling around to conjure on their next "moves"?

Suspect not as they are very large 4 engine airplanes suggesting overseas travel. While we are here twiddling our thumbs other people are on the move. Some how I think we are being punked to a certain degree - we are sitting at home while "other people" are on the move. Not that there is anything going on when they get there. Every popular country is also shut down - so what is up here? All I know is that as the weather warms up the ability to keep people inside is going to go down hill very fast. And the Gov is going to have to fold to the crowd compulsions to be outside.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Apr 27, 2020 at 9:17 pm

@Res1, if it's 4-engine, it's a freighter. High-altitude activity mostly LAX-Anchorage and onward, or vice-versa.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 27, 2020 at 10:39 pm

There is no common sense in leadership. The lockdowns have been extended for a month with no exit strategy. We've been hearing that there will be a "surge" for the last several months; yet the data show both that "the curve has flattened" (the original rationale for the shutdowns) and that the mortality rate is nowhere near what was originally feared. YES it's a virus. YES it kills some people. NO we are not going to stop its march.

We have become overconfident in our medical technologies to think we can stop this virus, and we are grotesquely inconsistent about risk to accept zero deaths from this particular virus While accepting comparable numbers of deaths from voluntary causes. In the meantime, millions of people's lives have been destroyed by the flamethrower style policies of our decision makers.

Fortunately some people have the courage to protest and to push the boundaries of this authoritarian nonsense. Otherwise we can be sure it will go on thorugh the November election in order to ensure economic wreckage in order to bring down the incumbent president.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 29, 2020 at 7:05 pm

So Common Sense is not as common as we thought.

Do our various officials share anything in common?


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