Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - August 2, 2013

Letters to the editor

Tribute to Mr. Tanner

Editor,

I read your obituary notice about my former teacher:

I think of no teacher more often than my English teacher, Mr. Tanner. I can still hear his booming voice ranting at the chalkboard about our punctuation mistakes, ensuring we'd never forget his lessons. Each week he gave a short story-writing assignment, and almost every week it was mine that he chose to read aloud to the class. In doing so, Mr. Tanner was the first and only male teacher to encourage my talents.

Laurie Claire

Anderson Drive, Los Altos

Missing big picture

Editor,

What your story on Buena Vista misses is the bigger picture. There are two competing sets of rights and interests here among owners, with very different outcomes foreseen for each. The Buena Vista landowner wants to sell (likely going from merely rich to "wow" rich), while the homeowners lose everything — homes, jobs, schools, community, friends, and for many, family, if they are forced from the area. The required compensation to residents will never make up for the loss and misery (though it must come close as possible).

But wait — there is a sensible way out — the landowner, re-developer, Buena Vista homeowners and affordable housing experts can cooperate to build replacement housing as part of the redevelopment as has been done before in Palo Alto, and very successfully for all. The rich would still get richer, but the low-income Buena Vista residents would remain, perhaps losing home ownership, but keeping everything else.

In the meantime, let's not blame Buena Vista residents for the shortcomings of the landowner's paperwork. There are effective and ineffective ways to gather information. Here the landowner apparently thinks if residents are just told what to do and when to assist with their own demise, they will line up compliantly to do as ordered. If unreasonable methods are used in the guise of the reasonable, it seems the owner hopes his effort will be legally sufficient. He can do better. There is a reasonable resolution to this dilemma.

Winter Dellenbach,

La Para Avenue, Palo Alto

A visitor's suggestion

Editor,

I am visiting family here from Connecticut and have followed the Maybell discussion. My regular walks in the area have given me a good sense of the difficult issues Palo Alto has to deal with.

Indeed the city has to provide affordable housing to its seniors!

Indeed the city has the responsibility to safeguard its children going to three schools in that very neighborhood!

The choice is between two right things.

Should the Maybell-Clemo land be utilized only for senior or any other housing?

The great and affluent town of Palo Alto has a golden opportunity to extend the wonderful Juana Briones Park across Clemo, which in any case is a street blocked to through traffic. A small reading room or some other public facility could be included creatively in this space. These will add to the beauty and quality of life of this wonderful town. Just a suggestion from a visitor.

Akram Piracha

Stawberry Hill Court

Stamford, Conn.

Please ban this ban

Editor,

How do we define ourselves as citizens of Palo Alto? How does the Palo Alto Process affect the poorest of our residents?

The proposed ban on car sleeping may increase segregation in mostly white Palo Alto. Because many disabled residents live in cars, evicting them may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, at least in spirit.

Is this who we are?

Is this how we treat the weak?

Please ban this ban!

Margaret Fruth

Ventura neighborhood, Palo Alto

We ask for a vote

Editor,

Opinion letters to Palo Alto newspapers lead one to think that the residents of Barron Park and Green Acres (BP-GA) are opposed to low-income housing for seniors. This perception would be totally false.

We are not opposed to low-income housing, especially for seniors. The Buena Vista trailer park has been a part of the neighborhood for many years. Many are quite upset that Mr. Jisser has decided to evict the trailer park residents so that the property can be developed for more lucrative purposes.

When I first moved to BP, it was not part of the city of Palo Alto. We negotiated many times to maintain the relaxed, semi-rural atmosphere before voting to join the city. This struggle continues.

The purpose of the petitions is to inform the city that changes in the Comprehensive Plan and/or zoning regulations (CP-Z) are very important to the residents and we should be able to vote on them. The petitions address this change in CP-Z for the property to allow a high density development by fiat instead of vote.

This represents a huge change in the character of the neighborhood. The area immediately abuts a city park and an R1 neighborhood. Nearby traffic is impossible morning and afternoon whenever schools are in session.

The petitions do not oppose senior housing. They oppose the CP-Z change by fiat. Changes on Arastradero Road have impacted our traffic problems significantly. Cut-through speedsters are far too common.

Be careful, your neighborhood could be next. Our petitions only seek a vote of the residents of Palo Alto regarding changes to the Comprehensive Plan and zoning. We ask for a vote.

Jean Wren

Matadero Avenue, Palo Alto

On parking permits

Editor,

A couple of points about the business petition against residential permit parking: I have to give them credit for chutzpa — they say, "The problem is that residents have more cars than the property was designed for." What about the uses occupying commercial buildings that have no parking — building once used for low-intensity uses, now filled with 20 to 30 high-tech workers? They are causing the problems, not us.

Most of the owners signing the petition were service businesses who should be joining with the neighbors to fight the city who is granting exceptions, violating the zoning rules, ignoring environmental processes and approving uses and projects that do not have parking — like the latest proposal at 240 Hamilton.

Get real, the residents, your customers, didn't cause this problem — your friends the commercial property owners (who also escalate your rents) and the city that allows too much development without adequate support — they are the problem. You already have two-hour restricted parking for customers (enforced free by the city); you just want a free place for your employees to park, that you want us to subsidize with the livability and safety of our homes. Really?

Ken Alsman

Ramona Street, Palo Alto

Unhoused refugees

Editor,

When I woke up this a.m., safe in my own warm bed with a bathroom close by, it occurred to me that the 7,000-plus unhoused people in Santa Clara County are actually refugees.

The unhoused are refugees caught in a political and economic system that does not properly do what government should do: take care of its people. The U.S. does not come up to the same standard as other developed countries in providing healthcare, housing or education. Most European countries and Canada are way ahead of us.

We are very quick to respond and rush in to crises in other countries. What about our own refugees? Don't they need a place to be safe, and tents, food and medical care? They were only asking for a place to park and bathrooms; but a church representative said, "We wanted to have the unhoused at our church, but the city of Palo Alto said our bathrooms had to be staffed all night by a security guard, and we couldn't afford it."

What is wrong with this picture?

Dana M. St. George

Campesino Avenue, Palo Alto

Fresh Market fail

Editor,

I own a home two blocks from this eagerly anticipated new market. I am sad to say that this market is doomed to failure. I hoped it would replace Piazza or Whole Foods on my shopping trips. However, it can't. Whoever did the research for this market site was way off base. Its produce is not good. Its selections are limited. I still have to drive to the aforementioned markets to get what I need to cook a dinner. Very sad.

Lynne Myers

Channing Avenue, Palo Alto

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