Peninsula Residents Formally Appeal Planned Parenthood Permit

A group of South San Mateo County residents argue against the clinic on zoning and moral grounds.

A Southern California law firm representing over 40 clients has appealed the city’s to establish a clinic at 2980 El Camino Real. City Attorney Pamela Thompson will review the appeal's validity, then ultimately submit the appeal to the city council for final decision.

The Planned Parenthood permit has faced controversy since it first filed for a location on the busy street. have congregated around the site, citing moral reasons for their demonstrations. City staff approved the permit Friday, May 20, and gave the public seven days to file a written appeal along with a $270 appeal fee.

The appellant, Palmieri, Tyler, Wiener, Wilhelm & Waldron, LLP, claimed that there are several holes in the city’s designation of the project as exempt from certain California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) provisions.

Because the former land use was a financial institution, the transition to a medical clinic does not fall under “categorical exemption," according to appeal writer Gregory Weiler.

Weiler also rebuked Zoning Administrator Blake Lyon's statement that “the proposed medical clinic providing abortion services will not… be detrimental to the public health, safety, peace, morals, comfort or welfare of persons residing or working in the neighborhood.” Weiler wrote that several protests could cause unusual disruption in the area. This would require more staffing from the Police Department, a concern raised by the department itself.

Lastly, there is some dispute over the sufficient provision of parking. The appellant writes that there is a shortage of on-site parking and no off-site parking. However, Lyon approved Planned Parenthood’s permit on its ability to provide enough parking, on-site and off-site.

Redwood City resident Ezia B. Villegas wrote, "The opening of this clinic is a step backward for our community... it will bring division and hostility into our community."

Another Redwood City resident, Clinton Ward, who lives one block from the proposed site wrote, "This particular location recently went from being a quiet area housing a bank and then a quiet vacant building, to a storm of activity and noise which is not well-suited to this area."

Lyon said he could not comment specifically on the appeal’s statements, which is now the city attorney’s jurisdiction, but he will help prepare a staff report to present to the city council.

The city attorney needs to analyze the appeal in greater detail and submit a report in advance of a city council meeting. Lyon said the council date hasn’t been set and will be determined by available space on future agendas as well as the appellant’s time. The report will need to be submitted by the Thursday before the Monday city council meeting.

debbie moore May 28, 2011 at 04:12 PM
I don't think people really understand how much support and resources Planned Parenthood gives to the underprivileged. They are much more than an abortion clinic. I am glad they are opening up one here strictly because there is a SERIOUS NEED for services. I feel sorry for these Moralists who can only think of the abortion issue. Work to change the lives of the children our earth already has and make a better society if you care that much for children. I do. In a perfect world, we wouldn't need abortion. Until that happens, safe abortion for our citizens needs to exist.
J May 28, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Seconded! And besides, there was previously a Planned Parenthood clinic on Hopkins & Birch for years and years that didn't create any undue disruption or strain on community resources. I went there for my first couple of prenatal visits before I found a private OB/Gyn that I liked... BECAUSE I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE EMPLOYER-BASED INSURANCE. Many women aren't that fortunate (even more so now than back then).
GD May 28, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Thirded - if there is such. I have gone to Planned Parenthood on a couple of occasions when it was on Hopkins. And I drive past it very often on Hopkins. It is always very quiet. When I did not have health insurance, it was great to be able to go there. Now more than ever, when somehting like less than half the women have access to health care, we should make sure that Planned Parenthood provides its wide range of help and advice for women - and men, too.
Sharon Levin May 28, 2011 at 08:18 PM
Planned Parenthood was my resource for physicals and birth control back when I was a poor, uninsured, college student. They are a wonderful resource to have and to try to shut them down is just criminal.
Jean Forstner May 28, 2011 at 09:31 PM
Planned Parenthood provides family planning services, as well as health screenings for cancer and STD's including HIV. Only 3% of their services involve abortion. At a time when so many have lost jobs, and therefore health insurance, it's vital that access to these important health services remain available. It sounds like Planned Parenthood has operated in Redwood City in the past without any of the problems this lawsuit mentions.
Sharon Levin May 28, 2011 at 10:28 PM
Very well said.
James V. Lee May 29, 2011 at 05:01 AM
It's kind of ironic that the people who are protesting the clinic are also saying that the clinic shouldn't be there because of the disruption caused by their protests. Presumably if they win the clinic will have to be located somewhere that's much harder to reach for the people who rely on it for health care, including the 97% of services that don't involve abortion. One hates to think that people without health insurance might lose access to these services because of these tactics. I hope the appeal is rejected.
Annie May 29, 2011 at 05:10 AM
I went to Planned Parenthood for health care, not an abortion, when I didn't have health insurance, it was a lifesaver. Maybe they need to change the name to women's health care to get the bible thumpers without a life, to let women be able to have female heath care when it is so hard to get insurance and pay for it in this economy. Who is funding the lawsuits, these folks need to spend the money to take care of women, not spend money to have more women in the emergency room for unnecessary procedures that can be caught if you have the proper care.
laurel ericksen May 29, 2011 at 05:49 AM
I feel sick for the babies who are being thrown away as garbage, but as long as only 3% of services "involve" abortion, I guess that makes it okay. I wonder if the children in the 3% category had a choice, what would they choose.
J May 29, 2011 at 06:43 AM
Laurel: first of all, no one who has to make the difficult choice to have an abortion thinks of her embryo as garbage. Second, you clearly think the women who utilize the 97% of non-abortion health services are garbage. Shame on you.
Marisuita May 29, 2011 at 07:15 PM
Laurel, Shame on you, indeed, for even thinking of embroyos as garbage. What makes you so sure? One wonders. No one can be so judgmental about those whose shoes s/he does not walk in. Think of the agonizing choices they had to make, live with and pray about- for the rest of their lives. And be thankful that someone was there- for them -at their time of such need.
Shana Levy McCracken May 30, 2011 at 01:31 AM
I just want to go on record as another RWC resident who supports Planned Parenthood. Nothing more to add to the discussion at this point, other than to say how glad I am to see I'm not alone.
Stephanie May 30, 2011 at 02:14 AM
This makes me so mad! My husband is a Physician Assistant who works at Planned Parenthood in Santa Cruz during his down time, and I wonder what these people would do without these services! These clinics help men, women and children who are in the lowest income bracket. I've lived in Redwood City for almost 15 years and it's obvious to me that there is an enormous need for such services. Yes, PP is pro-choice, but they are all about PREVENTING unwanted pregnancies in the first place. If everyone followed their advice, there would be no need for abortion. Count me and my entire family in on the Redwood City residents who fully support Planned Parenthood.
Stephanie May 30, 2011 at 02:14 AM
So true!!!
patsy gonzalez May 31, 2011 at 04:56 AM
What PP doesn't reveal is how many women are hurt by abortions---and contraception. I personally know of 2 women who hemorrhaged after the abortion pill and had to go to emergency rooms before they bled to death. Encouraging promiscuity in young people by dispensing condoms and contraceptive pills like candy only makes them more vulnerable to abortions and sexually transmitted diseases. If they are so good at preventing pregnancies, how is that there are 1.5 million abortions every year? They are a blight to communities that attempt to create a wholesome atmosphere for their residents.
Stephanie May 31, 2011 at 05:09 AM
Pulllleasssseeee!!! Statistically speaking, contraception (and even abortion) is way safer than actually giving birth! Not that I advocate abortion - I am absolutely pro-choice, but what I advocate is preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place, and that's what PP is all about, not to mention preventing sexually transmitted diseases, HPV, etc. They do not encourage girls to be promiscuous - they counsel against that over and over again, and anyone who's been to a PP will confirm this. They also perform a plethora of other services to men, women and children. And I resent comments stating that they are a blight to communities attempting to create wholesome atmospheres. I am a wife and mother of three, I have multiple degrees, I am a successful business person and entrepreneur, and furthermore, I am a tax payer. Speaking as an active and productive member of this community, GO PLANNED PARENTHOOD! P.S. if you're still questioning the need for a PP in our neighborhood, walk down the street and take a look at the multitudes of teenage moms pushing strollers (for which my hard-earned taxes are paying). Um, hello! Time to educate these kids, not stick our heads in the sand!
Janet Healy June 03, 2011 at 02:11 AM
I thank God for those teenage moms who had the courage and generosity to choose life for their babies. I would rather pay for live children than aborted ones.
Stephanie June 03, 2011 at 03:07 AM
I'd prefer that they didn't have them in the first place. Being the child of an uneducated teen mom is going to be a challenge at best.
Janet Healy June 03, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Who says teenage moms are uneducated. They are educated well enough to know that killing an innocent baby through abortion is murder. That knowledge is worth more than any degree and I hold those girls who have chosen life for their babies in high esteem. I would prefer that teenagers didn’t get pregnant in the first place though and the only way to ensure that is through chastity and abstinence education. I assume that is what you’re referring to when you say we should stop burying our heads in the sand and educate these kids, because the regular sex education that pushes condoms and contraception and the “if it feels right, do it” mentality, has left us with a youth in physical, moral and emotional danger who have no idea that abstinence is a power which frees love from selfishness and aggression. It allows them to avoid life-damaging diseases and attain their dreams and goals. It is a way of living life to its fullest, without regrets. If Planned Parenthood is all about preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases as you say, why don’t they teach abstinence education? Here’ s why: no one makes money on abstinent youth, only on contracepting, condom-using, abortion-procuring youth... and with Planned Parenthood, it’s all about the money.
Janet Healy June 03, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Continued from above to Stephanie Professor Malcolm Potts, Medical Director of International Planned Parenthood 1970 and now professor of Population and Family Planning, Berkeley said: “Abortion and contraception are inextricably intertwined in their use. As the idea of family planning spreads through a community there appears to be a rise in the incidence of induced abortion at the point where the community begins to initiate the use of contraceptives”. It seems strange to me, that since the advent of the pill and all the other contraceptive methods which are readily available to all, even minors behind their parents’ backs, and the over-kill in pushing the most (porno)graphic sex education, we have still racked up over 50 million abortions (again given to minors behind their parents’ backs, though they can’t get a painkiller without written parental consent, yes, really!) and epidemic proportions of sexually transmitted diseases. Perhaps with all your degrees, you could explain to me how that works because it’s not making any sense to me. Also, please show me the statistics that say abortion is safer than childbirth because I am struggling to substantiate that statement. I have found statistics to the contrary. And finally, please don’t say you don’t advocate abortion when you are “pro choice”; the only people who don’t advocate abortions are those who call themselves “pro-life”.
Stephanie June 03, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Abstinence-only education doesn't work. States that have adopted those teachings have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. Google it. Regardless, though, it doesn't matter what stance you take on this issue. Our wonderful Mayor has promised not to look at the appeal in terms of abortion rights, but instead in terms of zoning issues. If it doesn't pass, it won't be because religious zealots like you prevented it. And that makes me sleep a little better at night.
Janet Healy June 03, 2011 at 09:27 PM
Stephanie, I Googled abstinence education as you asked me to do and the results are there for all to see. Saying that these programs don’t work is false. There are currently 10 scientific evaluations that demonstrate the effectiveness of abstinence programs in altering sexual behavior of young people. Here is the link: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2002/04/the-effectiveness-of-abstinence-education-programs And I too sleep a little better at night knowing I am helping get the truth out there. May God Bless and guide Mayor Jeff Ira. There now, I am a religious zealot.
Sharon Levin June 03, 2011 at 09:29 PM
Of COURSE it works!! Just ask Bristol Palin. Oh wait, maybe not
J June 03, 2011 at 09:44 PM
NOTHING that is posted on heritage.org is to believed as a scientific study. Try again.
J June 03, 2011 at 09:45 PM
(not to *be* believed, that is)
Stephanie June 03, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Well Fox News said it, so it must be true. :)
Eggbert June 04, 2011 at 04:42 AM
Ah, the Heritage Foundation, a credible, agenda-free source of unbiased information. Similarly, I rely on McDonald's for nutritional advice. What is not so clear is whether, following a Heritage link, a remark about "getting the truth out there" is delivered tongue-in-cheek, or in sincere innocence.
Janet Healy June 04, 2011 at 02:47 PM
"Ah, the Heritage Foundation, a credible, agenda-free source of unbiased information." Eggbert, sounds like you're talking about Planned Parenthood!
Jules Abraham June 09, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Give me a break about abstinence education! If it worked, we wouldn't have 6 billion people in the world. We are wired biologically to pass on our DNA to another generation and, by God or by Nature, sex and procreation have a profound hold over how our lives unfold. If I think about all the people in my life, the ones who had access to health care and contraceptives avoided unplanned pregnancy, and those who were told that having sex made them bad, or was morally wrong, ended up pregnant because they had insufficient support when it came to making good choices. They were being held to a standard which is an illusion, especially as parents themselves suffer from a 50% failure rate in their marriages (and the majority of them knelt before God and took vows in His name to stay together for the rest of their lives). So, let's get real protesters. Who among you casts the first stone? Have the grace to recognize that you are fallible also, and use your time to pray compassionately for the choices made by others. God gave them free will, and you should too.
Danielle Brekalo June 10, 2011 at 06:35 PM
All your "arguments" fall hopelessly short in view of the fact that that same "wonderful"Planned Parenthood helps kill over 300 thousand of America's most defenseless and helpless children each year.


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