We are down, but we are not yet out.
Today, I had a meeting with Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espioza. Unfortunately, at this point the city cannot do anything. Mayor Espinoza expressed his sympathy, and understands the institutional discrimination aspect of the case. He is bound by a developer-friendly status quo; a status quo that, as this issue proves, can easily discriminate against particular groups of people; in this case the disabled, the group already discriminated againstt the most. By far. Even moreso than the poor.
And when I brought this up, the mayor nodded his head in agreement.
I did express our frustration and anger towards the city; in making us believe that the last hearing was a chance to preserve the bowl, and that our view of government is one of corruption and an un-caring attitude toward disabled people. And while the Palo Alto City Council has done things in support of underrepresented groups, all the heavy criticism towards council is valid; simply because the various administrations have never made any real effort to establish trust between them and the community. From the CA Avenue trees travesty to this Palo Alto Bowl case, and everytthing in between, the city council has done a terrible job of PR. Beyond terrible.
Does this mean that we are over? Finished? Totally screwed? Without any options? Hardly. It looks extremely bleak, yes, but hear me out: after numerous e-mails and calls, not a soul at Barry Swenson Builder has contacted me; for a company, this just makes them look bad. I have e-mailed them my note about violating both ADA code and US code, and hopefully I can get through to them next week; pehaps eventually going to their office and scheduling a meeting with Barry Swenson. I have also left messages for our our Asssemblyman, Mr. Rich Gordon. Rich is a very cool guy, and I wouldn't be surprised if he had some suggestions. And I also have a couple of other options.
Discrimination is discrimination. And I will not stand by while parts of a code meant to protect the rights of disabled individuals is broken. For many disabled people in and around this area, Palo Alto Bowl is the best -- and often times only -- real form of recreation. I know that for myself growing up, and for all other current and former special ed students, Palo Alto Bowl provided special opportunities to socialize; to grow. To help make us into who we would ultimately become. Most of us were very shy; most of us are still very shy; and Palo Alto Bowl was, and Palo Alto Bowl is, a truly unique, and a truly special, extension of the classroom. To put a price on this place; to demolish it; to rob people of its role in the community; to bulldoze over millions of past and present hopes and dreams, and to rip into the human heart: it is nothing short of cruel. In fact, it is beyond cruel. Palo Bowl is a place like no other; it is a bowling alley like no other. And rich developers want to destroy it. And destroy us. And I for one have not given up. And I truly truly truly hope that you won't, either.
Contact informantion for Barry Swenson Builder is here: Web Link
Connect with awesome Assemblyman Rich Gordon; scroll down to see the telephone number for his local office:
Thanks so much for all you do.
Campaign Facebook Group: Web Link
Phone: 650 387-9367