Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - July 8, 2011

Letters

Petition is misleading

Editor,

I would like to send this message out to other Palo Alto residents about the marijuana petition. Some of the people representing the initiative are trying to trick residents to sign the petition when they may be opposed to it. These people are going door-to-door or standing outside local grocery stores.

I felt that the man who knocked on my door was misrepresenting his cause. He stated that he was "neutral" on the matter and that I needed to sign the petition in order to vote. He urged that even if I was against the initiative, that I should sign the petition. And if I did not sign the petition, then people who were in favor of the initiative would have more signatures and the initiative would pass. He was not upfront in stating that signing the petition would help put the initiative on the ballot in the first place.

I eventually sensed what he was saying was rather fishy. However, I am sure that there are others who did get misled. Many of the signatures on the petition likely came from people who do not want the initiative to go to ballot and do not realize that they were actually helping the initiative. I think some of the people working for this initiative are using fraudulent methods of misrepresentation.

It is important for Palo Alto residents to know what they are actually signing. And if enough people come forward and state that they were tricked into signing something that was misrepresented to them, the entire petition should be considered invalid.

Lynn Huang

Cowper Street

Palo Alto

Don't sell to Foothill

Editor,

Selling the Cubberley land to Foothill would be nuts if most of the classrooms that might ever be needed by the school district passed out of PA-PAUSD hands.

Also, the whole site serves many purposes, most of which require some parking. An expanded Foothill presence could easily compromise parking area and make the other uses difficult. Control of parking at the college campuses is community un-friendly.

Raymond R. White

Whitney Drive

Mountain View

Waste-to-Resources or Resources-to-Waste?

Editor,

As Palo Altans consider whether to shut down their incinerator and rededicate 10 acres of capped landfill to make room for a sustainable, waste-to-resource energy facility, they need not discuss the proposal in abstract terms — they can simply observe the tremendous success enjoyed by municipalities using the same technology.

For almost 30 years, the East Bay Municipal Utility District has been using anaerobic digestion to transform its sewage into methane gas. This "biogas" is functionally identical to natural gas; it can generate heat, electricity, and transportation fuel. Today, with the addition of local food waste, EBMUD's plant produces enough biogas to cover nearly all of its own energy costs. Last year this translated into nearly $3 million in ratepayer savings, while dramatically reducing waste and greenhouse-gas emissions.

EBMUD is not the only utility employing this technology. Across the country others are achieving similar cost-savings via biogas. This proves anaerobic digestion is not only a superior form of waste management and clean-energy generation; it is also the most cost-effective option available.

Meanwhile, Palo Alto residents are spending tens of millions of dollars to incinerate what their neighbors recognize as a source of revenue and renewable energy. The term "incinerator" is little more than an inelegant euphemism for what the device actually is: a pollution-manufacturing apparatus. Why is the home of Stanford University subsidizing pollution when it can earn a return on locally produced clean energy?

Residents have the opportunity to transform one of Palo Alto's worst environmental liabilities into a profitable model of sustainable development. Isn't this a worthwhile exchange for 10 acres of landfilled "parkland"?

Alex Digiorgio

Cortland Avenue

San Francisco

Sales-tax bill

Editor,

For too long, the state of California allowed the online competitors of brick and mortar stores to maintain a tax-free advantage. This has been a big problem for stores like mine and anyone who sells retail items that can be found online. Fortunately, during the budget negotiations, the concept of a sales tax instead of use tax for online shoppers was put into one of the budget bills.

Competition in the market place is a basic and essential element to surviving as a small business. This is a huge relief for stores in downtown areas such as Palo Alto and business owners across the state. Thank you to our legislators and Governor Brown for passing and signing this important policy.

Faith Bell

Bell's Books

Emerson Street

Palo Alto

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