Opinion: Save on downtown parking


Daily Post Editor

If you want to avoid paying the $806 annual fee to park in the downtown Palo Alto parking garages, here’s a tip. Dress up your car as a homeless encampment, with a tent, barbecue and maybe a sleeping bag. Then you can park in any of the city’s downtown garages for free.

Another parking garage tip: If you just want to park for a few hours, get a mechanic to add a fake electric vehicle recharging socket to your car. Then pull up to those spaces reserved for electric cars and plug into the recharger. The spaces seem to be empty most of the time. Besides getting a free parking space when you want it, you get the sense of moral superiority that comes with an electric vehicle.

ON LANGUAGE: Remember that column I had a few weeks ago in which I gave examples of how “woke” our vocabulary has become? I’ve got another example that came over the Associated Press wire on Thursday night. Here’s the first sentence:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers on Thursday approved the first state-funded guaranteed income plan in the U.S., $35 million for monthly cash payments to qualifying pregnant people and young adults who recently left foster care with no restrictions on how they spend it.

“Pregnant people”? I thought only women could become pregnant. I guess the term “pregnant people” covers women who get pregnant and during their pregnancy decide that it’s better to be a man. Certainly men don’t have to go through pregnancy, and their wives always remind them of that.

PRESS RELEASES: Newsrooms are flooded with press releases, some more accurate than others. The PR person’s goal is to catch the eye of the editor with the first sentence, in the hopes that the release evolves into a story. On June 29, I got a release that began: “Hi Dave, with the growing excitement for Jeff Bezos’ upcoming suborbital mission on July 20, and several more high-profile space missions scheduled through 2023, many children are dreaming of space travel and focusing on coding and math skills to improve their knowledge base, so they can participate in a future space mission.”

Kids have been thinking about going into space since I was a kid and everybody was excited about Apollo 11. The idea that kids’ excitement is growing because Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos is becoming an astronaut is a little far-fetched. I can’t see a kid saying, “I was thinking about becoming a fireman, but now that Bezos is going into space, that changes everything for me.”

This press release would be more believable if, say, Ariana Grande or Justin Bieber were going into space. Or maybe Britney Spears, so she could get away from her father.

NEW JOB DESCRIPTION: The Menlo Park Fire Protection District board is about halfway through its search for a new chief to replace Harold Schapelhouman, who retired. The board hired a consultant who put out an ad for applicants. So now the board is changing the job description for the next chief — halfway into the search. I’m not kidding. It’s on the agenda for the board’s Tuesday night meeting.

Imagine the job applicant who thought the job was one thing, and then discovers it’s something else.

The proposed new job description says that the chief has to meet the physical standards set for other firefighters. That’s kind of odd since chiefs don’t pull hoses and climb ladders; it’s more of a desk job.

And ironically Schapelhouman wouldn’t be able to qualify for his old job since he’s been confined to a wheelchair because of a 2013 accident when he fell off a ladder while trimming trees at his home.

Of course Schapelhouman isn’t going to apply. But you’ve got to wonder if there are other excellent applicants who have suffered disabling accidents and therefore would be disqualified from the job.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the elected members of this board should explain to the community why they’re changing the job description in the middle of the search, and do they really expect the new chief to fight fires and go out on medical calls.

Editor Dave Price’s column appears on Mondays. His email address is [email protected].


  1. I’m starting to think the fire board wanted Harold to leave, and was in such a hurry, they didn’t really have a succession plan.

  2. No Dave, the team that drafted the income plan were being scientifically correct. Men have given birth as far back as 2008. Thomas Beatie is a transgender man that became pregnant and gave birth. You would save yourself a lot of emotional anguish if you just did your research.

  3. OK, I’m disabled, but I want to apply for the FC job. I can’t? Fine, I’ll sue!!! This is discrimination on the basis of nothing relevant to the job of FC! Gimmee MONEYYYYYYYYYY.

  4. Prior to last year’s devastating PAPD budget cuts, the Department had a 4 person SET (Special Enforcement Team) made up of veteran officers working with the City’s homeless population. Unfortunately, that team is now gone and, as was mentioned in today’s editorial, not all homeless want help. Right now, it’s only two from the PAPD command staff issuing notices (stay for 48 hours, but no permanent structures allowed) and Public Works removing any left behind trash and garbage twice a week.

    Starting in September, thanks to Captain Perron’s 5 year effort, the PERT program will pair a county behavioral health clinician with an PAPD officer. That should help add more outreach to our City’s homeless population. Also, Anna Eshoo’s grant will add a CAHOOTS-type program to Palo Alto, Los Altos and Mountain View. This program will be completely independent of law enforcement.

    All in all, a pretty good start considering the PAPD went from a headcount of 150 to 100 in the last 18 months.

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