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Activist group calls on city to 'desegregate' Foothills Park

Original post made on Jul 8, 2020

About a dozen activists met under the full moon on Sunday night to paint the message 'Desegregate' along Page Mill Road in front of the Foothills Park entrance.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 1:01 PM

Comments (15)

Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 8, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Vandalism is never okay. How about following the laws and working with officials to produce the desired change?

Posted by never?
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 8, 2020 at 4:06 pm

Come on, Dan, I'm sure you can come up with at least one circumstance where vandalism would be OK. Be a little imaginative.

Posted by Jake O.
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jul 8, 2020 at 4:44 pm

"I wanted white folks to think about it, next time they go to Foothills Park and don't see any Black or brown faces around," Ramanathan said.

I don't know if it was the mother or daughter quoted here but perhaps they are the one judging others by their skin. Assuming there are no "black or brown faces" living in Palo Alto.

Posted by Ron MV
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 8, 2020 at 4:56 pm

There is so much wrong with the statements in this article. Basically it comes down to Ramanathan saying "I think it is racist, but even if it is not based on racist decisions, I have decided it is racist anyway".

Originally the reason was that no other local city wanted to pay for the park, so since Palo Alto was fitting the whole bill, they decided to limit access to their residents. Later it evolved into keeping down crowds . NEVER has it been "Let's keep the black and brown people out". And we don't need to make up imaginary people who show up with picnic baskets only to be turned away. Nor do we need to make mental gymnastics to tie it to "redlining" and "block busting" which the park has never had anything to do with. Foothills Park is essentially private property made available to the residents who's local taxes pay for its upkeep. No one is making use of Levis Stadium's field right now, but they won't let me picnic there either, regardless of my skin color.

I am not even a Palo Alto resident myself (although I have been to the park a few times as a guest). I am also "brown" by Ramanathan's terminology. I don't feel PA is targeting me or anyone else.

Posted by Runner Mark
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 8, 2020 at 5:17 pm

I love Foothills Park. As a Los Altos resident, I used to run up there in high school (our cross country team had a PA resident's driver's license to get us in).
Now, years later, living in Mountain View, it seems strange to have a park open only to city residents. MV allows anyone to use the city parks - including Shoreline Park. I can't imagine excluding residents from other cities just because they didn't help pay for these parks.

Posted by BDBD
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 9, 2020 at 10:17 am

Don't cities all over the bay area acquire land for parks at their own expense? I know Mountain View does. None except Palo Alto check ID at the gate. This is definitely ripe for a lawsuit. And to the commenter above, "It is racist, even if it is not based on racist decisions," is literally the definition of systemic racism - you were so close to recognizing it as such!

Posted by Jay Ess
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2020 at 11:55 am

The argument for saving the pristine environment is a bit hokey since the highly used Rancho SanAntonio open space has many wild turkeys, bobcats, owls and a few mountain lions . I cant buy that for Foothills Park. The only animals I have seen are deer. Most of the park is pretty highly artificial lake and lawn. just don't seem pristine open space.

Posted by gretchen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 9, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Palo Alto racial ethic mix 55.6% White, 31% Asian 5.5 percent Hispanic and 1.2% Black/African American
East Palo Alto racial ethnic mix 6.2% White, 16.7% African American, 3.8% Asian, 7.5% Pacific Islander and 38% other races

While the intention and history may or may not be raciest, today having a park opened to one city and not the other sure looks that way to me.

Posted by Steven
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2020 at 10:24 pm

The plan to allow Palo Alto residents in free, but charge non-residents a nominal fee, sounded like a good plan.

Posted by Steve Kelem
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2020 at 7:14 pm

I live in Los Altos Hills. They won't let me in, unless I'm a guest of a resident. It's Taxism, not racism. I don't pay Palo Alto City taxes. Palo Alto residents do. They don't discriminate on the basis of anything other than whether you're in the tax base that pays for their city land.

Posted by Golden Catamount
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2020 at 2:23 am

Protesting for BLM I understand - it's a matter of life and death. Protesting to have more people trample our natural, rural grounds... completely uncalled for. Especially during a worldwide pandemic!

The wildlife and natural landscape of the area is going to suffer greatly. This is a semi-rural area that should not be considered a city for people to just flock to when they need a little getaway. I live in Los Altos Hills (very close to Foothills Park) and have plenty of areas in my neighborhood to visit.

It seems like no one really cares about the environmental impact this will have on the natural inhabitants of this area. If anything, we should close this park and let the wildlife flourish before they truly have no where else to go. I have seen so many people struggle to drive on Page Mill and I usually am 99% correct in guessing they're going to foothills park.

If this park opens to the rest of the public, a strict rule of how many people are in the park should absolutely be implemented.

Posted by Vigil for Democracy
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2020 at 7:10 am

Steve Kelem, do you know that Palo Alto has renters? What city taxes do they pay?

The residents only policy is unconstitutional and de facto racist. Palo Alto has under 2% Black residents, and that’s by longterm design and practice. Look up Judge LaDoris Cordell - Palo Alto resident, ex-City Council member and advocate for opening the park to the public.

Posted by Vigil for Democracy
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2020 at 7:17 am

Dan Waylonis ... What some call vandalism, activists call free speech, especially when messages are painted in expensive washable paint.

The unconstitutional ordinance has been in effect 55 years. The city council tabled a vote and went on recess, presumably to keep “riffraff” out of the park yet another summer. Following unconstitutional laws and working with protectionist officials gets old after a while.

Posted by xor
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2020 at 2:46 pm

When I lived in Mtn. View in the '70s during the tennis boom Mtn. View invested heavily in courts with the crown jewel being the glorious Cuesta center (this was when it was difficult to get court time). I played and know for a fact that Mtn. View allowed people from other communities to use the courts. There are other examples I could cite. I know other communities didn't chip in when they could have for Foothills park, but it was a long, long time ago. Palo Alto needs to lighten up on this.

Posted by Member
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 12, 2020 at 10:43 pm

Shoreline Golf Links in Shoreline Park charges a higher fee to nonresidents then it does to Mountain View residents. These examples are everywhere and reflect that residents pay taxes that support these areas and should enjoy a different level of access for that cost.

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