Links to the videos below
BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
As years of tension over Castilleja School’s plan to expand its Palo Alto campus continue to simmer, disgruntled neighbors have released four security videos showing people knocking over or stealing their signs that oppose expansion of the school.
Rob Levitsky, a member of the group Protect Neighborhood Quality of Life, said he and Nelson Ng decided to release the 2017 videos after the private girls’ school announced to parents that they would be pursuing a restraining order against a neighbor who had vandalized and stolen their “We Support Castilleja” signs.
Ng’s home security footage shows that the sign warfare has gone both ways: Castilleja supporters have knocked down the anti-expansion signs, too, Levitsky said.
“My comment would be, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” Levitsky said.
The Post sent the videos to Castilleja, but school leaders declined to comment on them.
The videos were captured on a Nest camera outside Ng’s house on the 1200 block of Emerson Street, across the street from Castilleja, between March and August of 2017.
Some of the anti-expansion signs say “Stop Castilleja expansion: Protect Palo Alto neighborhoods” while newer signs read “Castilleja, put your project on hold. Work with residents to find a solution.”
What the videos show
The first video, captured at 1:58 a.m. on March 18, 2017, shows a person walking over from across the street, pulling up a sign from the corner and walking back across the street with it.
The second, captured 21 hours later, shows someone walking across the street, pulling up a sign in the same location, then walking away with the sign in another direction.
The third video, which was taken at 10:02 p.m. on July 20, 2017, shows a person walking along the sidewalk, snatching the sign from outside the front gate, then walking into the street and running away.
The fourth, which was taken at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 16, 2017, shows a man running past an anti-expansion sign without touching it, crossing the street and then grabbing another anti-expansion sign at a neighbor’s house and running away with it.
A fifth video, which Ng showed to the Post but did not provide a copy of because it depicts minors, shows three Castilleja girls appearing to take photos or video of each other kicking the sign.
The girls then went inside a house across the street that’s owned by Castilleja.
The sign was left intact and wasn’t knocked over or removed.
Ng said he didn’t want to focus on the petty actions of sign theft and vandalism, but on the threat that he feels the expansion poses to the Old Palo Alto neighborhood.
The school is seeking to tear down and replace five buildings with one, remove trees and add an underground parking garage. The $44,000-a-year school is seeking to increase its enrollment from 434 to 540.
Police spokeswoman Janine de la Vega said that four cases of petty theft and two cases of vandalism were reported at Castilleja last year and one case of “suspicious circumstances” was reported at Castilleja this year, but that case remains an active investigation.
Editor’s note: Rob Levitsky is of no relation to the author.