The Palo Alto Main Post Office
Image by Denise R on Yelp
DSBE's application for a business license with the City of East Palo Alto raised some challenging questions, as the City's form and regulations presuppose any business to have a physical address.
But in the case of a person who is homeless, but running a business as lawfully as they possibly can, and of a homeless corporation, which is a legal person itself, there is no physical address to say the business is operating out of.
Our CEO's suggestion was to use the same address the County of San Mateo uses for him, both for welfare and voting roll purposes: the County Government Building, which is the City of East Palo Alto Government Center at 2415 University Avenue in East Palo Alto.
For if a physical address were insisted upon, this one has the best arguments in its favor. There should also have been no question as to the building's compliance with the City's and Menlo Park Fire Protection Districts safety codes and regulations, which would preclude any issues there.
It further underscores the truth that the East Palo Alto Library is where the corporation has already conducted most of its business and in which it has primarily been developed, alongside the McDonald's next door at University and Bay.
The City could have reservations about any liability, however. Their suggestion of positing its physical address at the Palo Alto Main Post Office, where the corporation has its mailbox averts those.
In a face-to-face meeting with Edmund Suen, Director of Finance for the City of East Palo Alto, Edmund and David Shaw Bass, DSBE's CEO, were able to discuss the issues. Edmund verbally approved the application, but as a commercial license rather than a home-based business one, and with the U.S. post office box address, despite its being outside the city limits.
The city of East Palo Alto does not have U.S. Post Office boxes. It has always been served by the Palo Alto Main post office with a sub-station at University and Bay which has no boxes. There are no private providers of post office boxes, such as a UPS Store, either within city limits. One of the things which DSBE's CEO did when he was in residence at the Warming Shelter at 1848 Bay Road was to install a mailbox and assure both his and another homeless resident's mail was delivered there (this is done in other shelters; Project WEHope has since removed the mailbox.)
DSBE's check for $122 has yet to clear the bank. Edmund said the application would be "in process." The City's 30th anniversary (which is also months after the 30th anniversary of when DSBE's CEO first lived in East Palo Alto at his in-laws, the Nguyens) is this weekend. Its processing could be slowed down by the workload on Edmund's assistant, Ana Torres's, desk.