Letters | October 5, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - October 5, 2012


Full disclosure


I think the Weekly should ask all candidates for city council to disclose whether they live in Palo Alto, and ask all candidates for school board who have school-age children whether their children are enrolled in Palo Alto schools.

It has come to my attention that at least one candidate for the school board has school-aged children who attend (or did attend) private school while the candidate served on the school board. I was shocked to learn this, and I think Palo Alto voters need to know this before they decide how to cast their votes.

Personally, I believe that someone who wants to serve on the school board should believe our schools are good enough for their own children, just as I believe that someone who wants to serve on the city council should choose to live in Palo Alto.

Peggy Kenny

Cowper Street

Palo Alto

A home for TheatreWorks


I support the proposal that will bring TheatreWorks back home.

Palo Alto, my home for 40 years, occupies a unique status in the Bay Area, the U.S., indeed the world. It is home to a great university and the capital of technology innovation worldwide. Its downtown is vibrant, a magnet for the area.

Great cities foster talented and diverse groups of arts institutions, including theater and music. Palo Alto residents have had the unusual opportunity to see the growth of a great theater group, TheatreWorks. Today it is known through the theater world for its innovative, exciting and stimulating productions.

But it's never had its own home. In the early '90s, Mountain View erected a theater, where it has continued, indeed accelerated, its growth as a first-rate company. But, that is not a home theater, unlike Berkeley Rep, ACT and San Jose Rep, each of which has its own dedicated venue.

I served on TheatreWorks' board from '90-'96, and have subscribed for more than 20 years. I live and work in downtown Palo Alto and am as concerned as everyone about the "quality of life" in our city. For me quality of life means more than the density of the population. It means people on the street, seeing productions that entertain and challenge, feeling the beat of life that often follows an interesting and well-produced play or musical.

Whether the City can, or will, contribute to a new theater building for TheatreWorks, the City should not stand in the way of it being built.

The site between El Camino and the tracks is convenient to downtown, its restaurants and public transportation. It is within walking distance for many Palo Alto residents.

The time has come for Palo Alto to have a theater building to house a world-class theater company, TheatreWorks.

Perry Irvine

Bryant Street

Palo Alto

Fight urbanization


The Palo Alto City Council and the Palo Alto Planning Department have obviously decided that massive urbanization is what they want for the city of Palo Alto. It is obvious that the concerns of residents for a peaceful neighborly place to live are of no concern to them. They are pushing for remaking this city into a mini-Manhattan complete with bumper-to-bumper traffic, overcrowded schools, massive noise, air and visual pollution. Remember when the city council used to talk about being green and sustainable? Now it is all about keeping developers happy and destroying the ambiance of the city. We need a referendum on the ballot that limits all buildings to the zoning that is listed in the comprehensive plan: nothing over 50 feet and no more exemptions with planned community zoning without a public vote. We need to elect city council members who are not in the pockets of developers and who will fire planning department employees who are. Interesting how they didn't announce this project until after the slate for the city council election was final.

Tina Peak

Palo Alto Avenue

Palo Alto

Palo Alto under seige


It's the '50s and '60s again! Palo Alto is under siege by developers. After Measure E, we now know that no park is safe from developers.

1. Measure E locks up 10 acres of our Baylands Park for 10 years and will cost millions to figure out if this project is remotely feasible.

2. (John) Arrillaga, a developer, wants to add our 7.7 acres of land adjacent to Foothills Park to his own 44-acre estate. This land was given to us by the Lee family for conservation. We should honor that gift and add it to Foothills Park.

3. Arrillaga also wants to develop the El Camino Real/University Avenue entrance to Palo Alto with four huge high-rise, traffic-generating buildings and usurp part of El Camino Park. Two committees studied this area and recommended an enhanced transportation center above all else. This development does nothing for Palo Alto, only enhances the developer and eliminates future alternatives for our city.

4. The Bike/Pedestrian bridge across 101 near Adobe Creek. This bridge could be good if the east end does not destroy Baylands Park marshes and eliminate a great stand of trees used by Baylands birds. If it does use parkland, it must go to a vote.

The answer to developer Arrillaga is easy. NO. Our parks are not for sale or expendable for private development.

Enid Pearson, former Palo Alto City Council member

Forest Court

Palo Alto

Patron or patron?


The no-brainer is the council's/staff's consideration of John Arrillaga's project. It is an insult to the people of Palo Alto and the physical integrity of this city.

Arrillaga was described as a "patron," which was reflected in "the generosity encompassed in his plan." He may define himself a "patron" and behave as if he is a "patron," but in Spanish the word "patrón" means boss. Arrillaga is not a "patrón" and we are not his employees.

This council was not elected to regale Arrillaga or entertain a development inconsistent with the composition of this city. Arrillaga oversaw the construction of buildings he paid for at Stanford with his "low tolerance of bureaucracy" and "getting his way." Stanford did not always share Arrillaga's designs, but went ahead with the projects. We Palo Altans are not beholden to this man, his development or his arrogance. Palo Alto is not Stanford.

The proposal that Stanford gets a steady "revenue stream" is troubling. Our state colleges and universities need such a "permanent revenue stream." Stanford is not in the financial doldrums.

The project does not appear to benefit anyone except Arrillaga and Stanford. It does not "reflect the character of today's downtown." The lack of respect the council/staff have for Palo Altans is reflected in the report's short four-day notice. Are they trying to ram this monstrosity down our throats?

"Disservice" is a nice word for deceitful maneuvering.

Joni Reid

Embarcadero Road

Palo Alto

Missing Hobee's


I am saddened over the closing of Hobee's in Town and Country Village. Hobee's has been a staple in this location long before I was even born. Despite its further distance from my home, Town and Country was one of my favorite Hobee's because of the exciting buzz of the many surrounding Palo Alto activities and businesses.

It was one of the most relaxing locations to just sit in a sunny spot with a delicious breakfast and read the newspaper or people watch. With their Minnie Mouse pancakes, delicious salad bar and cozy atmosphere, Hobee's was a key part of my childhood dining experience. There is nothing like their piping-hot blueberry coffee cake topped with sugary cinnamon crumbles and melty butter drizzled on top.

Luckily, there are still other locations to visit. But, it will be sad to drive by and see the empty space eventually filled with one of the many newly opening businesses. A piece of history has been removed.

Alyssa Jacobson

Oakhurst Avenue

Los Altos

Corporate influence


Palo Alto's City Council is considering implementing a very bad idea: offering companies the right to place their names on public facilities — bridges, athletic fields and buildings — in return for funding the facilities.

Corporations already have far too much power and influence in America, and that includes the allegedly benign high-tech firms in Silicon Valley. The market economy is increasingly dominating and pushing aside civic virtue. Now it seems as if everything is for sale to the highest bidder. Palo Alto needs to resist this dangerous trend toward the marketizing of public life.

It is one thing to name a public facility after a private individual, especially a person who has demonstrated highly exemplary service to the community. It is a very different to allow a private company public naming rights.

Corporations are not people! Making a profit is their primary objective. Hopefully, another of their goals is being good corporate citizens and giving back to the communities in which they are based. If that is the case, then a company's managers should feel good about donating expertise and money to the community in return for a public thank you and not expect that their firm's name will be emblazoned in perpetuity on a facility.

Let's keep our civic values intact in Palo Alto and not succumb to corrupting pressures of the market economy.

Michael Closson

Boyce Avenue

Palo Alto


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