Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - May 31, 2013

Letters to the editor

Have a heart

Editor,

I acknowledge that car sleeping can detract from the ambiance of our otherwise perfect neighborhoods, but these folks don't have the luxury of owning or renting a dwelling. When night falls, what do you expect them to do, disappear? My father was homeless during the Great Depression. He was rousted and even beaten by police for sleeping in public places. We can do better than that here in Palo Alto. Please don't add to the difficulties and stigma that poor people face every day. Have a heart, people.

Mark Meltzer

Byron Street, Palo Alto

Empathy not wrath

Editor,

I am appalled that some members of the Palo Alto City Council are considering banning poor people from sleeping in their own cars. We are in an economic crisis in this regressive economy. If any of you had the misfortune to lose your jobs, and then your apartment or house, can you think of where you might sleep at night?

Please consider people who are less fortunate than you. Building walls, based on socio-economic and racial lines around this city, is not a solution. We can do much better.

I urge the City government members and the editor of the Palo Alto Weekly to reconsider your position. If we look at the solutions that San Francisco has initiated, including acknowledging the basic right of people to have access to a place to sleep in their city, we could do likewise. This city is becoming too exclusive; we have done nothing to limit the exorbitant rent increases that have been skyrocketing out of control. The vacancy rate for low-cost housing is .0 percent. What kind of city do we want Palo Alto to become?

We need more community consensus before the city takes such drastic actions.

Roberta Ahlquist

Webster Street, Palo Alto

'Know Your Rights' meeting

Editor,

Many thanks to all of the concerned parent groups for joining "We Can Do Better Palo Alto" in sponsoring the presentation "Know Your Rights" presented by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The purpose of the May 16 gathering was twofold: to inform parents and other community members about the civil rights law relevant to bullying and harassment at school, and to inform parents about their rights (including how to file a complaint).

As a member, I am proud to say that WCDBPA birthed this event. We were able to follow through on this exceptional parent-education gathering in spite of a last-minute withdrawal of support by the district office. The sponsors had hoped to receive interest from the PTA. Their members seemed conspicuously absent.

I was disappointed to see Superintendent Skelly and a board member sitting in the rear of the room. I fear that their presence may have prevented some parents from asking questions they wanted to ask. Fear of retaliation has been reported to our group and it is real.

Ken Dauber, WCDBPA co-founder, served as moderator for Q&A and paid for the babysitter himself so that all parents in the community could attend. Thanks for your generosity, Ken!

Thanks also to Ohlone School's staff for hosting and setting up for the standing-room-only crowd!

Thanks again to OCR, Ken Dauber, WCDBPA, PASS, SEAN and CAC!

Barbara Slone

Barbara Drive, Palo Alto

Tennis, tutoring aces

Editor,

One of the pleasures of being employed at Stanford was watching the tennis teams, my preferred sport.

Over almost 30 years, I had the pleasure of meeting many of the team members, one of whom was Jeff Arons. Unquestionably, he ranked first in my books because of his dedication to public service in East Palo Alto, through this interlocking program of tennis and tutoring. Also noteworthy is the inspiration and sustained institutional support Jeff received through Emeritus Coach Dick Gould, whom I have had the honor of knowing since my first year at Stanford in 1968.

I thank the Weekly for recognizing these gentlemen and their service. Indeed, they are two distinguished "aces."

Henry Organ

Euclid Avenue, Palo Alto

Isn't Palo Alto progressive?

Editor,

Palo Alto has the chance of either being helpful or harmful on a societal problem. Shelter and hygiene are some basic, human rights not some privileges to be doled out as a reward or to make them difficult to obtain. I was raised that two wrongs don't make a right, and it seems wrong to deprive anyone of shelter or hygiene since other cities have made any kind of car camping illegal.

Isn't Palo Alto progressive in its treatment of "the homeless" or do we follow someone else's bad example? If they make car camping illegal at Cubberley just where should people go? It's already illegal to use the streets and parks so where does someone less fortunate sleep and bathe?

Hardly anyone offered or even showed up when Palo Alto tried to address this issue before. We, the citizens of Palo Alto, have the opportunity to help not harm others not as fortunate as most of us.

Lorin Krogh

Encina Avenue, Palo Alto

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