Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - November 8, 2013

Deaths

LARP: Not a good game

Editor,

I find the idea of Live Action Role Playing Games, and in particular the battle scenes shown in your article of 10/18, distressing. We have gone from the simulation of killing on a computer screen to physically acting it out. What's next? Saying that the games teach about the consequences of actions seems pretty hollow when after the game, the "dead" get up and walk away. Under those circumstances, what's the harm in killing a few people?

I don't believe there is any entertainment value in simulating or acting out the taking of life. People who think there is, and who allow their kids to think so too, should look in the mirror and ask themselves why they feel that way.

Robert Plummer

Greenwood Avenue, Palo Alto

Growing parking woes

Editor,

The parking woes now besetting many cities hereabouts range from hoary old ones from Castilleja School neighborhood, Palo Alto, to the iconic one planned by Apple in Cupertino. We have witnessed the spectacle of Castilleja, the pricey, all-girl prep school in a residential area being fined $300,000 for violating enrollment limits. It was established with 66 students in 1907 in the open outskirts of town when students arrived by horse and buggy. With the advent of automobiles and unchecked enrollment inflated to 448, the school largely uses neighborhood streets for parking, robbing residents of parking spaces and causing huge traffic headaches.

Apple's mammoth "Spaceship" headquarters in residential Cupertino will have 14,200 employees, but only 11,000 parking spaces. Guess where extra motorists and guests will be parking? Industry, office, housing and retail must provide "internalized" parking for every employee and visitor.

Residential streets belong to residents.

Vic Befera

High Street, Palo Alto

Education ... or football?

Editor,

Can anyone doubt that each autumn major universities are operated primarily for the benefit of football: the fans, the team and the money? Today I was told to cancel my evening class on Thursday, Nov. 7 to make room for the ticket revenue and the traffic that will be generated by the Stanford-Oregon game scheduled for 6 p.m. kickoff that evening.

More solid evidence that universities are run for the benefit of their football teams and fans. This is unbelievable, but I will comply.

Hank Riggs

Sand Hill Road, Palo Alto

Racial profiling here

Editor,

I am sorry to say that racial profiling by the Palo Alto Police is alive and (un)well in our town. On Saturday, Oct. 26, I witnessed an incident downtown that made me feel ashamed to be a white Palo Alto resident. Just before a board retreat for a local nonprofit organization, I was letting colleagues in the door when I observed a PAPD police car, lights flashing and siren on, pull over a car driven by one of our board members — a middle-aged African-American woman with her son and nephew in the car. Two more police cars arrived and the officers appeared to be interrogating the driver and her passengers. We watched with disbelief and dismay as the interchange continued for more than a half-hour before she was released.

PAPD officers have been accused of racial profiling before, and in the past I have noticed numerous examples of black and brown drivers being pulled over by local police. I am ashamed of and angry with these representations of my community. Before we began the retreat, we talked about what we had just seen. African-American colleagues understood that we had witnessed a consequence of what is known as DWB (driving while black), an experience that is painfully familiar to our black friends and neighbors but unknown to those of us who are white. These differing points of view and life experiences of people of color and white people confirm that we are by no means living in a post-racial society. When are we ever going to move beyond this shameful reality?

Michael Kass

Cowper Street, Palo Alto

Offended by 'alert'

Editor,

Add my name to the list of those offended by the Pancake Breakfast "alert." Unfortunately, this incident is just the latest example of improper use of the AlertSCC system.

The phone and text messages are quite frequent and often lengthy. Most warnings provide inconsequential information such as non-emergency weather conditions and traffic patterns.

Palo Alto Fire Chief Eric Nickel insists that recipients voluntarily requested this information on the AlertSCC web site. This is not the case; some of us made no active solicitation for these notices.

In any event, the AlertSCC system does not adhere to even the most basic of modern communication standards. The web site provides a way to sign-up but not to opt-out. There is no way for citizens to choose only those topics of personal interest, for example, "True Emergencies" vs. "Weather and Traffic" vs. "Local Events," etc.

While the rest of us live in the heart of the Silicon Valley, local government remains planted in the backwoods of technology.

Jaclyn Schrier

Alma Street, Palo Alto

Parking problems

Editor,

I have never met a downtown employee who does not have difficulty with parking. Employees have to find a different parking zone every two hours and hope that they can re-park within the time allotted for their break. Often they get back to their car with more than one ticket. Most employees (are paid) $9-$10/hour! Why not give them a significant discount for a parking pass and dedicate the High Street parking garage? As the High Street parking garage is the "farthest away," I find that is pretty empty. Employees may be able to write parking passes off their taxes (they will need to verify with the IRS). This way, people who are shopping/using services downtown will have the parking on streets and/or parking garages downtown. San Francisco has an app for real-time information where parking is available. I'm sure that we can as well.

Thea Sewell

Forest Avenue, Palo Alto

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