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Reparations and SB 50 -Palo Alto Weekly March 22, 2019 by Aram James

From: domainremoved <Aram>
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2020 17:39:44 -0800

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HI Mayor Fine,

I do hope you continue to forcefully support SB 50. As I mentioned at the Tuesday January 21, 2020 city counsel meeting...I’m down for SB 50 in a big way. Don’t let the anti-low income and anti-more affordable housing crowd intimidate you.

 As a former career line public defender ....who frequently took unpopular positions.... I learned that I could ill afford to be late to court, misquote the law, or act in anyway that appeared to undercut my credibility with the court...or my own office ...or there would be hell to pay.... re my professional reputation....my clients’ right to a fair hearing or trial etc. Yes, sadly, judges do take out their angry with a lawyer on the lawyer’s clients.

In any event... you get my point. We must always cross all our T’s... and dot all our I’s... if we are to have any chance of prevailing on unpopular causes.

As I also mentioned at Tuesday’s meeting.. I did write a piece in support of SB 50.... published in the PA Weekly back in March of 2019. The article also included my position ...that we must also discuss reparations for African Americans here in Palo Alto.... who have been victimized by racial discrimination in housing for generations. I look forward to continuing a principled conversation with you on these issues.


Aram James

 P.S. see a copy of my letter on SB 50 & reparation below.

P.S. In fact... the Daily Post also printed a letter I wrote in support of SB 50. I will make an effort to locate it....and send it your way.
Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - March 22, 2019

Letters to the editor

Reparations and SB 50


Although at first blush I find myself strongly supporting SB 50, I appreciate the scope of the questions raised in Greer Stone and Pat Burt's guest opinion in the March 15 issue of the Weekly ("SB 50 undermines single-family neighborhoods and diversity").

In the past, I was part of a group in Palo Alto called Stop The Ban (STB), which fought to overturn/forestall Palo Alto's then-proposed ban on vehicle dwellers.

STB worked tirelessly for several years to convince the City Council and faith groups to support a Safe Parking Program or what Stone and Burt's article refers to as, "managed location for RV dwellers." The resistance to the program was overwhelming.We organized a panel discussion on the topic at a local church that was attended by about 100 folks, including former City Council member Karen Holman. Our keynote speaker was a counselor from a very successful Safe Parking Program in Santa Barbara. Still, we had no success in getting the powers that be in Palo Alto to consider such a program.

I'm wondering if the answer is not a total refusal to support SB 50's call for more and dense housing, but rather, making certain that the bill includes provisions for a very large percentage of the dense housing, envisioned by SB 50, to be set aside, in perpetuity, for low- and very low-income individuals, including seniors, people of color, the disabled, the formerly unhoused, etc.

In addition, we could begin a discussion of mandating housing for the victims, and their families, of housing segregation going back generations in Palo Alto. Yes, a big-time discussion of providing permanently free or very low rent housing as a form of reparations for the wrongs Palo Alto visited and continues to visit on our African-American brothers and sisters. SB 50 could include language that would require a principled discussion of reparations statewide.

Aram James

Park Street, Redwood City
Received on Thu Jan 23 2020 - 18:13:02 PST

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