http://paloaltoonline.com/print/story/print/2014/01/31/letters-to-the-editor


Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - January 31, 2014

Letters to the editor

What about St. Michael's Alley?

Editor,

Interesting article about P.A. restaurants ("Palo Alto's dining renaissance"). I'm surprised you didn't mention St. Michael's Alley. It has been here since 1959 — and is a single proprietor business. It has been a favorite of your staff members for decades. Let's patronize our home-grown people!

P.S. Carol Blitzer did a nice piece when Vernon Gates died in 2011. He started St. Michael's Alley.

Lynn Robinson

Cowper Street, Palo Alto

Overnight parking

Editor,

A case can be made for the requirement of permits to park overnight on city streets in residential areas. While a fee charged to non-residents is justifiable, it is definitely not justifiable to charge tax-paying homeowners a fee for parking on the street directly in front of their own home. Homeowners parking their own cars in front of their own homes is not a problem and never has been. Don't penalize homeowners for a problem caused by others who do not live in the neighborhood where they park.

John Paul Hanna

Crescent Drive, Palo Alto

Palo Alto food scene

Editor,

Given the Weekly's office is adjacent to California Avenue, one would have expected mention of nearby dining opportunities in its article, "A Dining Renaissance." Perhaps a follow-up article is planned to include venues south of Embarcadero?

By focusing on the changing and expanding food scene in Palo Alto, the article misses what I think is part of the genesis of this restaurant boom — the influx of younger workers looking for a nearby, tasty, relatively fast and affordable lunch. This results in more cuisines offered (good) but less variety in the types of dining experiences (bad). The proliferation of venues stressing take-out, while offering small plates, fancy-pants burgers, hot dogs and chi-chi ice-cream now makes it harder to find a restaurant where one wants to bother making a reservation, to meet up with friends and linger over good food while sitting in a comfortable chair.

I love having new food options, but also appreciate dining that includes factors other than fast, cheap, and convenient. Here are three places worth experiencing in town, south of Embarcadero. Baume, the only place in town with two Michelin stars and hence expensive, offers molecular gastronomy in a complimentary contemporary setting with fine service and fabulous food. This is a place for celebration. Palo Alto Sol, also on California Avenue, has the best homemade moles and sauces — good Mexican food. Fuki-Sushi on El Camino near El Camino Way is an attractive, family-owned restaurant with the best, freshest sushi around. Bon appetit.

Winter Dellenbach

La Para, Palo Alto

Affordable for whom?

Editor,

I would love to see genuinely affordable housing in our communities for people with modest incomes. However, while it may sound good at first, the "affordable housing" we're being coerced into adopting misses the mark. As many have pointed out, teachers, police and firemen earn far too much to qualify for it, and very low-income workers earn far too little to afford it. It's essentially a bizarre quota system created to provide a certain number of ill-defined subsidized housing units for who-knows-whom to live in brand new, ultra-expensive units at a bargain rent-controlled price.

Hmmmmm... Here are some BMR "affordable" unit rents in Dublin: studios — $1,595; one bedrooms — $1,735; two bedrooms — $2,300. That should help the sales clerks at Walgreens. Consider: The maximum income cutoffs for BMR (Below Market Rate) housing purchases in San Mateo County are 110 percent of the median income. That's 10 percent higher than the median! For one person, the cut-off is $79,310; for two people it's $82,400; for three it's $101,970 ($111,240 if first-time homebuyers) — hardly the incomes of the working poor.

And why are housing costs skyrocketing? Because recent changes in land-use policy restrict new development to narrow downtown areas near public transit, thus skewing the real-estate market and driving prices up mercilessly. Another downside: "affordable housing units" bring less revenue to the city than market-rate counterparts, due to the artificially lowered price of the property and its taxes. "Affordable housing" projects also often have an unintended effect on other people's property, i.e., lowering surrounding property values. Thus, like most utopian socialist schemes, they are a lose-lose proposition in the end.

Cherie Zaslawsky

Oak Lane, Menlo Park

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