Letters | May 6, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - May 6, 2011


Library pride


I disagree with Mr. Harrington's April 29th letter, "Measure N drawbacks."

1) Paper books can be savored, opened at random, read and reread.

2) Libraries lead to browsing what is there on the same or nearby shelves.

3) The cost of library books is shared by the community.

4) For new or old books, libraries provide a resource to all at a minimal cost.

5) Your Kindle approach is elitist in form and substance and does not replace the library's books, which may be out of copyright. Who pays the bills for the e-books you think should be downloaded, the maintenance of the Kindle, the electricity to run the Kindle, the replacement of the Kindle when it dies, as it shall, no doubt.

6) The library bond provides new community facilities and services, corrects earthquake faults and upgrades existing buildings.

Palo Alto should be proud of its efforts to update and retain its libraries.

Alice Schaffer Smith

Los Palos Circle

Palo Alto

Rebuttal to Hays


Walt Hays' April 29 response to Emily Renzel's letter twists and omits important facts.

Signatures were collected to undedicate 10 acres (eight football fields) of Byxbee Park for an anaerobic digester (AD). Potential signators were given unverified information and a fantasy depiction of an industrial AD project hidden by a green roof.

The initiative will be on the November ballot even though promoters promised not to submit the signatures if the project was not feasible. It will cost from $97 million to $167 million for AD, which is the antithesis of national environmental organizations' policies to stop construction on conservation land. Is that feasible?

Ms Renzel is correct that the cost of this AD study is not only $250,000, but also the $1,600,000 in lost tipping fees during the study. Putting the initiative on the ballot is $300,000. That totals $2,150,000, paid by Palo Alto rate payers.

AD'ers said the AD would save 20,000 tons of carbon. The study projects 11,533 tons including biosolids from the Regional Sewage Plant. Without the biosolids, this number drops to 5,855 tons. That's 42.3 percent less to 70.7 percent less of carbon avoided than AD'ers touted. This result is a huge expense for a very small result.

The public should not rely on numbers manipulated by the AD'ers. The city's professional consultant is still crunching the numbers.

Hays states that the initiative limits the uses. The initiative only asks whether or not to undedicate park land. Once undedicated, it can be used for any purpose the council determines.

Enid Pearson

Forest Court

Palo Alto

Cell phones and health


The impact on human health of radiofrequency fields from cell phones and towers will not be known for decades.

The industry claims towers and phones are safe. The tobacco companies told us there was no connection between smoking and lung cancer. The electronics industry said "clean-room" solvents were safe. Chemical manufacturers claimed DDT and Dursban were safe. So, until the science on cell phones is reliable, it pays to be cautious.

Dr. Lenhart Hardell, University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden, has led the world in identifying the environmental causes of cancer. He concludes the highest risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma is for those using a cell phone exclusively on one side of the head. Couple that with reports that radiation penetration from a cell phone is 25 percent for an adult skull, but as high as 75 percent for a young child and that children absorb twice as much radiation as adults. As a result, several European countries are advising parents to not let their children use cell phones.

Parents will continue to provide cell phones to children for communication and safety. I would encourage parents to minimize their child's lifetime total RF exposure because we don't know if it is additive, cumulative or synergistic. Brains are delicate and it would appear that texting is probably safer than calling and that call use should be closely monitored and minimized.

Richard Alexander

Santa Rita Avenue

Palo Alto


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