Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - November 15, 2013

Letters

Beef with Town Square

Editor,

I generally love the Palo Alto Weekly, but I HATE the online Town Square. It's hard to believe there are so many mean-spirited people in our community. My latest beef is with the attacks on seniors after the tragic accident where a 90-year-old driver drove onto a sidewalk pinning two young boys against Walgreens. I agree with the premise that older people should have real driving tests more often.

I know it is a falsehood that if a person has mobility issues, he shouldn't be driving. I also know that many older drivers are doing better driving than many young people and many other people who drive distracted or drunk.

The tone of so many of the comments was extremely hurtful and ignorant. None of us want to see drivers on the road who are incompetent, but I question what good it does to publish these ignorant comments unless it's to see that at least some people countered with more reasonable observations. I know I don't have to read the comments, and generally, I try to avoid them, but sometimes curiosity wins out.

Helen Pier

Webster Street, Palo Alto

Awkward format, Weekly

Editor,

Your new format is reminiscent of papers on poles in libraries. Awkward.

Carolyn Frake

Sand Hill Road, Palo Alto

'Shelter in place'

Editor,

That's what the Palo Alto hotline told us to do today because of the toxic plume from Redwood City that is a Bay Area government's issue. My house is over 100 years old and leaks like a sieve. How does shelter in place help us? The city (Palo Alto) was good enough to send me a phone notice to "shelter in place" on my phone after I had smelled the toxic smoke for over an hour before their call. I correctly identified the source as Sims Metals because I remember their earlier fire in 2007 for which they were levied a substantial fine by the Air Management Board. Not much of a deterrent as now here we are again with a smoke cloud of unknown toxic levels from Sims and we citizens in Santa Clara county have no recourse.

This is a regional issue and I point to the ABAG people to address this situation permanently. ABAG is pushing our city to provide more dense housing under threat of withheld revenue and yet as the regional body, they can't even provide us with clean air to share with all of their proposed additional residents. I'm challenging them to address these toxic plumes that originate in one bay area city and pollute many others. Isn't that what a regional body is chartered to provide?

I'd go to my local Congress person but she has no purview in San Mateo County, which is the source of this toxic cloud.

We need to fix this ugly situation and it may just be a Jerry Brown issue.

Richard Brand

Addison Avenue, Palo Alto

Just a pretense?

Editor,

Fantastic outcome! PAHC threatened that if they lost, they'd sell the Maybell land to a private developer for profit maximization. But they can't really say they lost, not when it was almost a tie. So now we can save the orchard, get twice as many low-income senior units and get back some of our lost tax dollars. California gets back far fewer tax dollars than we send to Washington; poor, backward states get twice as much.

Palo Alto Housing Corporation is one of the agents we have to get back a bit more, which the federal government is willing to give if we ask nicely. We own two acres of land and HUD is willing to give us $21 million for half of it, if we will agree to put 40 low-income senior housing units on it. PAHC wanted to sell the other half to a profit maximizer for $9 million, and that's without even bothering to get the $4 million from the four houses the developer intends to tear down, while four young engineers, pediatricians or teachers look on, houseless and helpless.

Why shouldn't we sell that acre to HUD for $21 million instead? All they ask is that we put low-income housing on it, and I got the impression during the last few months that Palo Alto residents really, really want senior housing — or was that all just a pretense?

Stephanie Munoz

Alma Street, Palo Alto

Measure D lessons learned

Editor,

Pay attention to the input from residents and businesses in the area where changes are contemplated.

Require adequate parking for every resident or employee of every development, business, and project in Palo Alto.

Ensure safe bike paths for children and adults, but not through "traffic calming," which forces more traffic through residential neighborhoods.

Do not make California Avenue narrower. Residents need easy access to those businesses with parking close by.

Palo Alto needs more thoroughfares like Alma and Oregon Expressway to efficiently get across town. Traffic Calming works against the free flow of traffic.

Will our City Council members get the above messages provided by the defeat of Measure D, or will we have to work on defeating the current council members in the next election?

Rich Stiebel

Talisman Drive, Palo Alto

We the people

Editor,

What a joy to see the mighty so humbled in the Maybell Measure D debacle by we the people. The City, brandishing its sovereign power, abetted by the purblind Palo Alto Housing Corp., and supported by the arrogant City Council, attempted to squelch and sweep away all honest opposition to the poorly conceived and ineptly presented zoning caper. They all flopped like a melting snowman looking collectively and individually dazed and gibbering as their defeat came thundering down. Outspent $183,000 to $23,000, the rebels truly exemplified the David-and-Goliath myth. At the July 4 Chili Cook-off there was intrepid, perspiring Bob Moss collecting some of the 4,000 signatures he needed for the referendum. Two local newspapers joined in his support. His triumph over the haughty who rule but not govern and their overbearing hubris is glorious. Whee, the people!

Vic Befera

High Street, Palo Alto

Show me a solution

Editor,

I am very angry at the defeat of Measure D because its primary purpose, senior housing, was shunted aside by the issue of fixing the PC Zoning process. So, fix the PC process, but don't take it out on this issue. In Gennady Sheyner's article last week it was noted that to find another site for senior housing will be almost an impossible task. This project was as close to a correct use of the PC zone process as we may get. I see absolutely no help or guidance from the "Preserve Neighborhood Zoning" people to solve the senior housing problem for the good of the community...just gloating. Get out of your fairy tale world and fix that problem. I don't care how you solve it, but any future city council candidate will have to show me a solution to THAT problem in order to get my vote.

David Moss

Ferne Avenue, Palo Alto

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