Many are the ways to take stock of a year. Photographs can sum up powerful moments of raw emotion, while words reveal people’s perspectives and their attempts to shape public policy.
This year, as issues of unrelenting traffic congestion, the woeful inaffordability of housing and missteps in the Palo Alto Unified School District made the headlines, city leaders and residents alike weighed in.
To help you think over what happened this past year and what it all meant, here’s a playback of some of the comments that were selected as the Palo Alto Weekly’s Quote of the Week that touched on development, homelessness, schools, traffic and other topics.
A selection of Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid marijuana buds, also known as “flowers” for sale at The Guild, a medicinal marijuana dispensary in San Jose. Photo by Veronica Weber.
It’s the Wild West. Let’s figure out what’s going on.” – Ed Lauing, member of the Planning and Transportation Commission, on banning marijuana dispensaries
Cars parked in the blue zone along University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto. Photo by Veronica Weber.
“While we’re not catching you most of the time, when we do catch you, you’re dead.” -Greg Tanaka, Palo Alto councilman, on new parking regulations
La Comida, a nonprofit that runs a popular nutrition program, reached an agreement to move into Stevenson House after its lease with Avenidas expired on Aug. 30, 2017. Photo by Veronica Weber.
If we wait until the wrecking ball starts … there’s no turning back.” – Jan Holiday, a La Comida board member, on moving La Comida’s program back to Avenidas
A groundbreaking ceremony was held May 24, 2017 for a new sludge dewatering and load-out facility at the Palo Alto Baylands, which will allow the city to decommission its two incinerators. Photo by Sarah Mason.
“ What the city does with its waste is more important than where it does it.” -Phil Bobel, assistant director of Public Works, on scaling down the city’s planned waste facility
A home on Waverley Street in the University South neighborhood. Photo by Veronica Weber.
We will never be able to house everyone who wants to live here.” – Elaine Meyer, University South neighborhood resident, on the council’s revised Comprehensive Plan
The Bryant Street Parking Garage is one of the downtown lots with many levels of parking. Photo by Veronica Weber.
“We don’t know what we’re zoning for.” -Tom DuBois, Palo Alto councilman, on proposed parking garage
Traffic is lined up heading east and west on University Avenue in East Palo Alto during the rush hour. Photo by Veronica Weber.
We are no longer the ’90s.” – Larry Moody, East Palo Alto mayor, on the state of the city
A long line of RVs and trailers parked along El Camino Real stretching from Galvez Street down to Stanford Avenue. Photo by Ben Hacker.
I’m not lazy. I don’t want handouts or anything.” – Mike Becker, RV dweller, on whether the city should allow people to live in parked RVs
An empty lot at Chestnut Avenue and Ash Street, adjacent to Boulware Park. Photo by Veronica Weber.
People are concerned that a restroom brings more people and allows them to stay longer.” – Liz Kniss, Palo Alto vice mayor, on adding public restrooms to city parks
Signs placed by the city of East Palo Alto warn RV dwellers that their vehicles must be moved by Nov. 15, 2017 due to public health concerns and anticipated flooding as a storm nears. Photo by Veronica Weber.
Most times my biggest complaint is stepping on human feces on the Bay Trail.” -Mark Dinan, East Palo Alto resident, on the unregulated presence of portable dwellings
The Palo Alto School Board, from left, board members Todd Collins, Jennifer Dibrienza, Melissa Baten Caswell, Ken Dauber, Board President Terry Godfrey, Superintendent Max McGee, and student representatives Advait Arun and Richy Islas, talk during a board meeting on Sept. 13, 2017. Photo by Veronica Weber.
While I would encourage parents to come hold feet to the fire, we have no one to blame but ourselves.” – Todd Collins, Palo Alto school board member, on weighted grades for freshmen
A Palo Alto High School student raised $2,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to purchase 2,600 wristbands in the wake of news reports that a male Paly junior had been accused of multiple sexual assaults, including an on-campus incident, and remained on campus until May 16, 2017. Photo by Veronica Weber.
My hope is that this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” – Laura Prentiss, a Paly parent, on how the school district handles reports of sexual assault
The exterior of Castilleja School on Bryant Street in Palo Alto. Photo by Veronica Weber.
Those Emerson neighbors went ballistic. I really can’t blame them.” – Tom Shannon, Kellogg Avenue resident, on Castilleja School’s expansion plans
Gunn High School graduates toss their caps into the air after graduation ends on May 31, 2017. Photo by Veronica Weber.
You don’t have to be a kick-ass student to have a kick-ass career.” – Nicole Naraji, Gunn High School alum, on the value of circuitous routes in life
Barron Park Elementary School kindergarten teacher Athena Foley reads with Yeshua Hernandez Aristeo as fellow students Eli Atayde, center, and Arman Hashemi, top left, read on their own during a full-day kindergarten class in 2016. Photo by Veronica Weber.
We don’t want to end up in a situation again with egg on our face.” – Terry Godfrey, Palo Alto Unified Board of Education president, on the district’s $6 million contractual error
Gunn High School students Chloe Sorensen, left, and Sarah Reich, right, address the school board as well as parents and community members at a board meeting in 2015. Photo by Veronica Weber.
When students speak, they should be heard without the menace of a shortened buzzer.” – Christina Schmidt, former chair of Community Advisory Committee, on shortening public comments at school board meetings
Will Friebel, center, holds up his phone as he times the group of students in his Functional Programming (also known as Intro to Computer Science) class to see how long it takes them to pass a ball completely around the circle of students during a lesson about work efficiency on the first day of school at Palo Alto High School on Aug. 14, 2017. Photo by Veronica Weber.
I feel that this district has paid a lot of lip service to this issue for a long time.” – Laura Bricca, Palo Alto High School special-education teacher on plan for closing the achievement gap
A man crosses Park Boulevard at the intersection near Sherman Avenue, a busy section of the street where accidents have occurred. Photo by Veronica Weber.
“The really disconcerting thing is they know they are doing something wrong, so they do it fast.” – Eileen Wall, Park Boulevard resident, on wrong-way drivers
Newly constructed concrete islands have been built in the center lanes of Loma Verde Avenue and Ross Road to slow traffic. Photo by Veronica Weber.
All I can see is a recipe for drivers getting frustrated and having road rage.” – Maryann Hinden, Palo Verde resident, on Ross Road street redesign
Traffic crawls on eastbound University Avenue toward the U.S. Highway 101. Photo by Veronica Weber.
The exact technologies we use and the tools we use are left to us.” – Jean McCown, Stanford’s assistant vice president and director of community relations, on Stanford’s plan to tackle traffic
The Gunn High School campus. Photo by Veronica Weber.
“Everyone has a right to free speech but not hate speech.” -Denise Hermann, Gunn High principal, on conflicts after MLK Day talk
Gunn High School senior Zhen Ge uses a school-issued Chromebook in the library on Feb. 9, 2017. Photo by Elena Kadvany.
It’s not an overarching monitoring and Big Brother-type thing.” – Derek Moore, Palo Alto school district chief technology officer, on monitoring software for student computers
Firefighters from Engine 66 work the Mendocino Complex Fire that sparked on Oct. 8, 2017. Photo courtesy Palo Alto Fire Department.
It is like a presidential library losing all of its speeches and correspondence.” – Brad Whitworth, former HP international affairs manager, on the loss of HP historical archives in the Tubbs Fire
A crowd gathers at the Mountain View Civic Center for a candlelight vigil in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Sept. 5, 2017. Photo by Michelle Le.
It’s not like a bunch of people from ISIS are trying to storm the gates.” – Matthew Ball, Stanford Law School, on Trump’s immigration ban
Protesters stand at the corner of El Camino Real and Embarcadero Road during a rally hosted by the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center following the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Jan. 20, 2017. Photo by Veronica Weber.
There are certain rights that not even the president can take away.” – Grisel Ruiz, immigration attorney, on Trump’s immigration policies
The First Baptist Church, located at 305 N. California Ave. in Palo Alto. Photo by Veronica Weber.
The city has a very narrow definition of what a religious institution is and what it can provide.” – Randle Mixon, pastor of First Baptist Church, on the city’s crackdown on permitted uses at the church