I would bet a lot of money that the profiling is done based on the type of car you drive and intended to keep people from Redwood City out of Atherton.
I drive an older Civic and my girlfriend drives a really beat up old Civic. We would get followed home down El Camino and Fair Oaks basically every day. To the point that the police learned that our Civics actually belonged in that Atherton block and then stopped following us after a few months. I had friends come over in expensive cars and hang out and not a single one was followed. I asked them specifically to keep an eye on if they were followed because the profiling was so blatant with me. The expensive cars were never followed.
For what it's worth, I think that's what a lot people in Atherton pay their local government for. They don't want people there who don't live in Atherton. You go to Atherton to get away from people, e.g. lots are massive because you don't want to see your neighbors, and there aren't sidewalks or street lights in most of Atherton because they don't want people walking around at night. Because if you're rich and don't want to see your neighbors, why would you walk around at night? Funnily, the train station is right there too and the Caltrain only stops in Atherton on the weekends because they don't want the poor commuters being able to get in or out of Atherton during the week. So it's not surprising that the data shows the community police force is doing exactly what the community pays them to do - keep people who don't live in Atherton out of the city.
FWIW Atherton was one of the least used stations on the Caltrain line, and the nearby Menlo Park and Redwood City stations get very good service. So eliminating service made a good deal of sense. I can't explain why they still stop there on weekends, though...
So I would once a week drag a giant box filled with something expensive into the garage, and some guy would come by later and load it into a truck and carry it off. The guy who owned the house could then live in Tahoe or Hawaii or Florida in his other mansions, with the peace of mind of knowing he could pay his tax bills with 0 effort on his part.
In return, I got to live in a 6 bedroom house with a pool, basketball court, 2 gardens...for the cost of the utilities. In case you're curious, I found this guy on Craigslist when he was trying to rent the mansion at the bottom of the real estate bust and he just liked me, so we set up this special arrangement.
If you can keep your neighbors in check, I think $10k/mo mansions make awesome startup offices, too. That's what everyone does in the Middle East/Caribbean/etc., and works well enough in the Bay Area, too, until you hit a lot of employees.
many times the actual home owner lives in a much cheaper place. maybe in an apartment in the city, maybe in a bigger house in south carolina where they have servants and a fleet of classic cars. who knows.
it's how rent vs. mortgage is supposed to work.
When I moved out to California, it was really depressing to see the rows and rows of townhomes on postage-stamp lots. A family friend would show me around Cupertino, where typical houses are on about 1/4 acre, and he'd say that the land alone is worth $1M as a teardown. Looking through some real estate listings, I found that if I wanted an acre lot, basically the only option in Silicon Valley is Atherton (or Portola/Woodside/Saratoga). And it'll cost around $5M.
My parents spent $60K on their home - granted, it was a while ago, but it's still not worth close to $1M. My friends' houses in Central Mass were maybe $150-200K. There are downsides to living where everybody is rich.
Never move to the UK
(There's plenty of other racism in society, and maybe in Atherton, but I don't think their traffic stop stats necessarily show it.)
Otherwise, it seems like a pretty amazing place to live. A little far from SF, perhaps, so there's a point in Hillsborough's favor, but if I could afford it, I'd be in Atherton or Hillsborough for sure. Maybe Woodside as an outside choice.
if the initial infraction isn't worth citing, no big deal
Well, no. The whole objection to profiling, whether Hispanic drivers in Atherton or black kids in NYC, is that the cops have no good reason to be stopping them in the first place.
This report provides no data on how many red-light running/speeding/drunk white drivers were not pulled over, or were let go and told to "be more careful next time."
While I'm sure that being very wealthy is amazing, I've never heard "amazing" used to describe Atherton.
Source: I live two blocks away.
Strawman: 'Well these people all drive crappy cars with stuff wrong with them'
Teardown: Where's all the traffic violations for poor white people? Poor black people? Further, what about all the other kinds of traffic violation (drunk driving etc.)? Are Hispanics the only people who ever do anything wrong on the road?
It seems like poor people are actually more segregated than rich people here -- aside from the general shortage of rich black people in general, the rich people I see in PA/Piedmont/etc. are a pretty representative mix of white/asian/hispanic/etc.
As far as I can tell, there are ~no poor people living in Atherton, Palo Alto, or most of Menlo Park, unless you count startup founders, retirees who live on low retirement incomes in $5mm present-value homes, and the like. There are poor people living in RWC (sort of), who are almost exclusively Hispanic (at least from the neighborhoods I saw; I was looking at houses in North Fair Oaks and RWC at one point.) Even the poor people in RWC didn't seem that poor, more like working class or middle class (which is poor by comparison to Atherton.)
There are poor people in EPA and Belle Haven (Menlo Park east of 101). They would be very unlikely to take ECR through Atherton, though, since 101 is closer. (they used to be almost exclusively black, now it's partially black and partially hispanic and partially pacific islander). And even there, real estate is now becoming absurdly expensive again.
There are weird poor (white, and other) people living in the inaccessible parts of Portola, but they seemed really old, or rarely left their homes, and they probably weren't actually poor, just "people who live in the middle of the woods and are kind of weird."
Are you saying that they get pulled over for something else, and it so happens that they are also unlicensed?
In that case, why is it only Hispanic drivers being pulled over? Are Hispanics the only ethnic group in the areas north and south that commit traffic infractions?
There may be profiling in pulling over "old/cheap" cars more for the same violations, but I have a hard time telling if someone is white/hispanic/whatever in another car, particularly from behind. I can identify black vs. white from sides/front in a car, but doing so from behind is quite hard, too. So I am less likely to believe there's racial profiling in who is stopped; the greatest potential for racial discrimination would be in cite vs. not cite on specific violations committed (like, letting white people have a pass on speeding, while citing nonwhite people) after the car is already stopped. I don't think most police would let anyone have a pass on unlicensed/suspended, though, regardless of race (or, in some cities where immigration status prevents being licensed statewide, but the city/local people support undocumented/illegal people, maybe they'd be more likely to give an unlicensed driver who was otherwise not at fault a pass if stopped for something really not his fault like being in a non-at-fault accident.)
> I don't think most police would let anyone have a pass on unlicensed/suspended
is a direct contradiction to:
> Even if someone were unlicensed and caught, if you didn't have the cause to stop him for something else, he'd walk on the unlicensed driver charge.
Which you posted above.
[edited to fix bad c+p]
However, most unlicensed people are that way due to immigration status, which is almost entirely Hispanic people (since our illegal immigrants are essentially all Mexican or Guatemalan). Suspended license people are often DUI or other things like that, which I'd assume is much more universal. I don't know the breakdown between unlicensed and suspended; generally I think suspended/revoked are punished more harshly than unlicensed, partially because you have to be a fuckup to get your license suspended in the first place, and it's a bit more willful to continue driving at that point. If there were no legal way to get a license, it's a lot more morally defensible to drive anyway (although, insurance...); fortunately CA seems to make it possible to get a license anyway, so failing to do so is an affirmatively lame action.
2) No -- I meant if you wanted to prosecute someone for the unlicensed, but your PC to stop him originally was bad (i.e. you claimed he ran a red light, but it turns out he didn't), the court would let him walk (rather, it'd never go to trial).
If a cop had legitimate PC to stop, and then stopped and found suspended license, the cop would almost certainly cite/arrest/whatever for the suspended license.
Those are two entirely different cases. (It's pretty easy to generate legitimate PC to pull ~anyone over, though, due to how the vehicle code is written and how people actually drive.)
(Another unanswered question is "is there a variation in vehicle maintenance or driving rule compliance in different race/ethnicity drivers?" -- I tend to think there isn't. Even if you wanted to go by rich/poor, I've even seen plenty of expensive cars with maintenance issues, and obnoxious rich people with huge numbers of bikes on bike racks obscuring license plates, unsecured loads, etc. The only real distinction I've seen is that pickup truck drivers, in general, are the cause of almost all object-in-road problems.)
It seems that in California, at least, there is a legal distinction between a 'revoked' license and being 'unlicensed'.
In Australia, AFAIK there's no distinction; if you commit an offence serious enough to have your license revoked, then you no longer have a license and are unlicensed; i.e. it's the license that gives you the right to drive, and if your license is revoked then you don't have a license any more.
It's the same deal for suspensions - in Australia, if your license is suspended, then you're by definition unlicensed for the period.
So there may be a semantic mismatch where I misunderstood you.
It would seem that in California, pretty much the only way you could get a 12500(a) is if you'd never held a license at all; in this case, it fits your assertion that Hispanics are the only _unlicensed_ drivers.
There are also people who have non-valid licenses by being in-state for a long time with another state license, or perhaps a foreign license (i.e. they had a UK license, came to the US for a long time, failed to correctly get a CA license when they were able to do so.)
But those are all in the statistical noise, I think, vs. undocumented immigrants who either can't get licenses (most states) or don't (because they're afraid CA DMV will turn their records over to DHS ICE, I guess?)
Hispanics are statistically far more likely to be illegals and thus unlicensed or uninsured. The problem is, most people of hispanics are 100% legal. Some have ancestors that have been in California since before it was a US territory.
Nonetheless, it is an infraction type that will disproportionately target illegal immigrants since they can't get driver's licenses. If the author wanted to show racism, he'd need to pick something like speeding and show that hispanic names show up more than their presence in the area.
What's shown on the report is every single traffic ticket, not just a small selection.
In the daytime, workers motor towards the money to toil in the plutocrats' homes and gardens. A lot of them are illegal immigrants driving marginal toyota pickups overloaded with tools and co-workers.
Nighttime brings-out the drunkards and the criminals. The police ward off the latter and move the former back into RWC.
These folks are just like you coming to Sand Hill to pitch your startup: they want money & this is where it's at. They're the same in that some will toil & some will grift. They're different in that the deviant poor are more likely to turn to violence and theft, while the psychopathic want-to-be-rich become consultants at Accenture or KPMG.
The rich & the poor look & behave differently. A battered PU stands-out as much as an Athertonian's Fisker just 2 miles down the street the "wrong" way.
They need to be protected from one another. Atherton is way too nice to be real, yet it exists, so it has to be buffered. That requires vigilance. Bay Aryans have delicate sensibilities around inegalitarianism; i.e., you need good police who will go about the business w/o putting it on display.
Same thing in Palo Alto. It has a stark socio-economic border with East Palo alto that requires sophisticated social policing. As a Palo Alto resident (or high-tech gastarbeiter) you feel safe and secure in a shared culture of prosperity. Yet (underreported) property crime and (unreported) deportations tell a different story: safety isn't a given, it's provided by vigilant, sophisticated police & enabled by a populace willingly suspending disbelief.
Catch a glimpse by spending your lunch at the transit center or your evening smoking in any alley off of University. People-watching at the PA Caltrain socio-economic nexus radically changed my "feel" of PA.
It's hard to overstate the difference between (poor parts of) RWC & Atherton, EPA & PA, or Belle Haven/Ravenswood & Menlo Park. If you're local, it's well worth driving (or better biking) from one to another to get the sense: incredibly, unbelievably nice on the one hand; fucking shit awful on the other. My gut says: there's something really wrong with this. But my head can't figure-out what to do about it.
However, since we live in such hyper-partisan times where news outlets toe the political line and play to the cheap seats, this story will never be picked up by the national media.
I'd be astounded if (or especially) a Krystal Ball or Tamron Hall or Chris Matthews gave this even a passing glance or the sundry treatment in one of their segments.
Why? Because this is Northern California. Scratch that. This is the Bay Area. The No-Daily-Limit ATM for the DNC.
Facts unchanged, if this were to have happened in a wealthy exurb in Florida or Texas, then any news producer who stumbled on this would have just struck prime-time Nielsen gold.
Every two-bit Latino Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow coalition would be all over the story.
Since this happens to be in a hyper-affluent town, the residents of which bundle and bestow generously to all sorts of progressive causes, both political and societal, they make an exception.
I'm certain this sort of thing happens in the toniest parts of Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and other liberal bastions in the Northeast as well.
It is precisely for those like the residents of Atherton who presumably demand tough law enforcement within the city limits, for everyone besides them (and yes this is largely a presumption since there are no facts to suggest that the residents have any say in this selective enforcement), the terms limousine liberal and champagne socialist were coined.
This is why I heavily loathe all forms of partisanship and frown on extreme positions to both the left and right of the center.
Have you paused to consider the geography of these cities, their respectful populations, commute profiles or other socio-economic data? Of course not - you're a busy person just like all of us and we all rely on others to provide digestible, bite-size chunks of information arranged "just so" to help us come to the same conclusion as the author.
But I digress. Please look at the above replies and consider that few things are as black-and-white as people want us to believe.
Conversely, all the statistics gleaned from incarceration surveys and law enforcement records cannot indubitably absolve a police department of clear racism.
It's just the nature of the beast.
Even if you were to be able to prove it, there will always be concern-trolls who argue,quite convincingly, that preventing police departments from aggressively enforcing the law (even with provisions such as Stop and Frisk in NYC) is in itself an injustice to the poor and vulnerable (many of whom might in fact be of the inflicted race, themselves).
Barney Frank argues in favor of more policing of black neighborhoods as not doing so would be a disservice to the law abiding (black) residents who are also themselves victims of crime albeit from gang members who might be black,themselves. So STOP and FRISK is in essence justified, one could imply from Frank's rationale. This from an openly gay and progressive Democrat.
General perception has always been the scale used to judge whether a party is at the receiving end of overt or covert racism.
Statistics have always been a sideshow. A sweetener, if you will, to seal the argument but not the primary means of smelling that something's awry in the way people are treated.
Whether it is community policing or non-discriminatory housing.
Justice Potter Stewart's thumb rule for ascertaining whether something fits the definition of hardcore pornography applies here: "I know it when I see it."
Whether Atherton is the most fitting poster child for the kind of limousine liberalism that I described, is another matter altogether.
I wouldn't be one bit surprised if this happened in any of the most educated and virulently liberal nooks of the country.
The fact is it does exist and yes it is a thing.
It has been called the "Oh, don't give me any of that racist crap! My Husband and I gave money to Colin Powell!" strain of racism.
To remove the last remnants of niggling doubt from those who genuinely suspect that such a pattern of behavior actually exists
among the most gifted, accomplished and refined, while wealthy, members of our society, I give you this memorable exchange from the movie Cruel Intentions:
This has always been there and given the current mores of our society, is likely to persist unless we shed our partisan coats and overhaul our approaches to solving societal problems in a wholesale way.
Next up - Cupertino police profiling Asian drivers.
I think it's sad that the author felt compelled to include that.
First, I applaud Kent Brewster's compilation of the data and I believe his suggestion of racial profiling was done with good intentions. Racial profiling is a terrible thing and it should be pointed out if it exists.
Having said that, racial profiling is not the reason that 175 of 182 people cited for driving without a license (DWOL) were Hispanic. I do agree that being cited for misdemeanors instead of citations is wrong. That's something that either needs to be stopped or perhaps has an explanation.
Anyone living in the Peninsula or South Bay knows that a lot of gardening, moving, and repair work is done by Hispanic people. These are the people being pulled over by the cops. They aren't local residents being pulled over.
It shouldn't be surprising that many of these workers are illegal immigrants. With the exception of some loopholes, it's not possible for illegal immigrants to have a driver's license. One California State Assemblyman estimates there are one million illegal immigrants DWOL in California (see http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2013/01/...)
Since the Trayvon Martin ruling happened recently, I can understand that people's awareness of racial profiling is much greater. But in this case, it's really about illegal immigration and that these workers aren't allowed to have driver's licenses. Remember, they aren't being cited for drunk driving, speeding, or illegal U-turns. They're being cited for not having a license, which they don't have.
By the way, I've been pulled over in Atherton (my home town) three times for speeding. And I'm not Hispanic.
In an expensive car. At the time, I owned a property there too, and my license had that address. Got a ticket. Went to court. Judge agreed that it wasn't illegal turn.
On a happier note, she drives a brand new luxury SUV. I don't think I've even seen a cop drive near us.
That wasn't Atherton, that was Redwood City. I know, on the peninsula it kind of all blurs together...
They do make really good bread.
Learn to baylife.
EDIT (and environs):
"Although there are excellent tacos to be had all over Redwood City, any first-time pilgrim should focus on "Little Michoacan," the unofficial appellation for all the neighborhoods bounded by Highway 101, El Camino Real, Woodside Road and Willow Road. (It includes the North Fair Oaks neighborhood that lies just outside Redwood City proper.) The area is home to thousands of families with ties to the Mexican state of Michoacan. Thus, the roster of taquerias and other businesses along Middlefield Road reads like a roadmap of the Mexican state's municipalities -- Morelia, Uruapan, Arteaga, Apatzingan."
To illustrate my point, you have no data points for infraction offenses (speeding, equipment violations, etc). Your data is only for misdemeanor licensing violations.
Given that one can't obtain a California license without a valid social security number, doesn't it make sense that the large Hispanic undocumented population would be well represented for these violations?