Palo Alto current resolution to increase entry to Foothills Park The admission of non-residents to the unique nature reserve is dealing with the problem of a gaggle of residents who hope to reverse this by way of a referendum.
If the referendum is profitable, the town council must cancel its plan to open Foothills Park to non-residents on December seventeenth authorized motion in opposition to the town by a coalition to which the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and residents of Palo Alto and neighboring cities belong, due to the unique nature of the 1,400 hectare nature reserve, by which entry is at the moment open to residents of Palo Alto and their friends is proscribed.
In difficult the 1965 regulation proscribing entry to Foothills Park, the coalition of plaintiffs argued that it violated a number of elementary rights of non-residents, together with the appropriate to journey, freedom of expression and freedom of meeting. The September 15 lawsuit additionally argues that the regulation “has its roots in a time when racial discrimination was open and infamous in and across the metropolis,” spearheading the proliferation of blockbusting, redlining and racially restrictive agreements in home deeds .
“The regulation continues this historic exclusion and violates the constitutional rights of people who find themselves not residents of Palo Alto,” the lawsuit stated. “It prevents non-residents from coming into a public park that takes up practically 10% of the land in Palo Alto. And it turns this huge house right into a reservation for the fortunate few: for individuals who haven’t been systematically denied their rights to Palo Alto to dwell metropolis in instances of whole racial exclusion and folks so wealthy they’ll afford to maneuver to metropolis at the moment because it has develop into one of many prime 5 most costly locations to dwell in the US. “
The council was getting ready to step by step increase entry to the reserve even earlier than the lawsuit, though council members deliberate to take action on a restricted and gradual foundation. In August the council authorized a pilot program This could permit non-residents to buy as much as 50 permits per day to go to Foothills Park. The council additionally acknowledged on the time that it supposed to ship the non-resident entry concern to voters in November 2022.
In mild of the lawsuit, the town council voted 5-2 on November 2 to take recommendation from Metropolis Administrator Ed Shikada and District Legal professional Molly Stump to take away the ban on non-residents from municipal regulation. The council additionally agreed to restrict entry to the park to 750 guests every for the primary 90 days (after which the restrict can be reset to the present degree of 1,000 guests). Councilors Lydia Kou and Greg Tanaka each disagreed, and Kou argued that the lawsuit “bypasses the democratic course of”.
Now Kou helps the efforts of the residents to repeal the motion of the council majority. On November twenty sixth, she despatched out a mass e-mail informing her supporters in regards to the referendum and urging them to get entangled.
Very like Kou argued on the November 2 assembly, proponents of the referendum declare that the council ought to droop coverage change till a public vote, because the council made its resolution to settle in a closed session.
Irina Beylin gathering Signatures for the referendum, instructed this information group that they don’t seem to be against opening Foothills Park to non-residents – they simply need it to be executed by way of a clear public course of. She stated she supported the council’s unique proposal for a one-year pilot program with restricted non-resident permits and a cautious evaluation of the affect on the character reserve.
Nevertheless, it strongly opposed the Council’s resolution of November 2 to abolish the supply on the idea of a lawsuit. This creates a “slippery slope” by which different exterior teams can press lawsuits into the town to overthrow the insurance policies favored by the general public.
She famous that even when the signature-collecting efforts are profitable, that does not imply the town must wait till November 2022 to welcome non-residents. The Council may merely use the pilot program that the Council initially authorized by way of a public course of.
“We’ve to make it open and clear. Nothing behind closed doorways,” Beylin stated of this publication.
The referendum petition summarizes the subject in the same method as a transparency.
“The democratic course of must be pursued,” says the referendum petition. “The present amendments to the Foothills Park Ordinance have been authorized behind closed doorways by the town council with no public enter. The measure to open Foothills Park to most people must be placed on the poll and particulars must be overtly mentioned with constituents.”
By Monday afternoon, supporters of the referendum had already collected “just a few hundred” signatures, Beylin stated. You need to get greater than 2,500 by December 16 to pressure a referendum. With the pandemic throughout the nation and Santa Clara County lately added new restrictions To curb the current surge in COVID-19 circumstances, she is aware of that signature assortment efforts proceed to be uphill, particularly as native legal guidelines require all signatures to be collected by hand. Nevertheless, she believes that if the council abandons its November 2nd coverage and as a substitute pursues a extra gradual pilot program, it is going to have the additional benefit of securing extra residents buy-in.
“If individuals see the pilot program working, I am certain that the overwhelming majority of Palo Alto residents will help it to open the park below sure circumstances,” Beylin stated.