PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — A neighborhood in Palo Alto bitterly divided over the expansion of a private school has people on both sides accusing the other of stealing or vandalizing yard signs.
And the accusers have the video to prove it.
One video posted to YouTube shows several incidents of stealing or vandalizing yard signs over the past few years.
It shows yard signs with the message “Stop Castilleja Expansion” being removed and thrown into the street. The videos have been collected since 2017, but are only being released now.
“I wanted to show there are two sides of the story,” said Nelson Ng, a neighbor who uploaded the videos taken from surveillance cameras.
Ng says he posted the videos after Castilleja school officials took out a restraining order on one of his neighbors, accusing the man of vandalizing and removing signs supporting Castilleja’s expansion plans.
“Things have gotten a little weird,” said Andy Protter who commutes by bicycle through the neighborhood.
Castilleja is a private all-girls school that is over 100 years old. School officials want to modernize the six-acre campus and expand the student body by 100 students over four years.
“We think it is now more important than ever to offer the opportunity to more young women. We have far more demand than we have spots,” said school spokesperson Lorraine Brown.
But neighbors are concerned about parking and traffic becoming worse. Many are especially concerned about the impact of a planned underground parking garage.
“We would like for them to remain within the confines of their user permit, which they have not historically done. So we’re standing up for our rights,” said neighbor Andie Reed.
The issue has seemingly divided the neighborhood with dueling signs and accusations of mischief on both sides.
“You could see we have ‘We Support Castilleja’ signs. Our signs have been stolen or thrown in the street 12 to 15 times,” said neighbor Mathew McIntyre, who lives down the street from the school.
Palo Alto’s draft environmental impact report on the expansion plan is due to be made public in the next few weeks.
The issue will eventually be voted on by the Palo Alto City Council.