Junior motivating "Occupy Town and Country" movement

Paige Esterly, Author

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In response to the raised rent causing the loss of local businesses, students are rallying together to form their own Occupy movement: Occupy Town and Country, to take place tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. at Town and Country Village, at the corner of El Camino and Embarcadero.

This idea came from Palo Alto High School junior Hillel Zand, who was appalled at the loss of local favorites like Korean Barbeque and Hobees due to the new policies put into place requiring the businesses to purchase more land. (For more information on the closing of these restaurants, see here or here)

“It just was frustrating that Town and Country is once again forcing a local, family-owned business into being shut down,” Zand said of Hobees. “The businesses aren’t even being told ‘Just an FYI, rent is going to be three times as much next year.’ They’re being told, ‘You can only stay at Town and Country if you buy three times as much square footage and pay for it, or else you have to leave.’ That just seems totally unfair, in my opinion.”

This sentiment is echoed by many Paly students who have agreed to attend Zand’s Facebook event “Occupy Town and Country.”

“It sucks to see some of the smaller family businesses having to close down their shops because they can’t afford the rent, since it usually tends to by the cheaper ones that can’t afford it,” said junior Freddy Kellison-Linn.

“I just wanted to get a few people together and hold up a couple of signs this Wednesday,” Zand said of the event.

Although he only expects it to make a small ripple, Zand believes it is the thought that counts.

“I just wanted to get a few people together and hold up a couple of signs this Wednesday,” he said. “Nothing’s going to change, probably, but it’s just to try to show that Town and Country’s executives are being unethical.”

Check back for more coverage on the protest.