As coordinator of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce Palo Alto Business Goes Green (PABGG) program, I have the opportunity to work closely with city staff as we develop plans to inform and motivate the business community about climate protection.
I am especially impressed by the environmental information and programs that the city already has and the community needs to know more about, such as energy-efficiency publications, the school outreach program, RightLightsPaloAlto and extensive green building resources. To learn more, citizens can visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/environment/default.asp.
I applaud proceeding with the sustainability team work plan as a preliminary step to hiring the sustainability coordinator. As the city implements the 166 specific recommendations from the mayor's Green Ribbon Task Force for Climate Protection (GRTF), it is important to know exactly what resources the city already has and what it needs to develop.
Residents can read the full work plan at www.cityofpaloalto.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=8608.
Palo Alto is lucky to have such a dedicated, knowledgeable, visionary city staff. For example, one staff member spent countless volunteer hours assisting the GRTF to delineate the final 166 recommendations. Up-to-date information about the GRTF is available at
I urge the public to read the plan and be ready to step up as we proceed to take action on some of the most critical issues we are facing today.
Melville Avenue, Palo Alto
Shelter deserves better
Thank you for Becky Trout's piece on the Palo Alto Animal Shelter woes (Weekly, Aug. 8).
It is shameful that the deplorable conditions were not addressed years ago. Why were improvements or expansion not a city priority? Bravo to the shelter employees who are coping so admirably. They -- and their four-footed charges -- deserve better from a city of Palo Alto's means.
Allardice Way, Stanford
It's disgusting that a town as well-to-do as Palo Alto can't maintain its animal shelter in habitable condition. Unless some large donor appears first, the Holiday Fund ought to collect and distribute some funds for emergency repairs, such as heating the clinic and blocking the leaks.
El Camino Real, Menlo Park
New market welcome
At great expense and inconvenient delay, a local merchant has actually met a major, acute need in South Palo Alto.
Hassan Bordbari and his family have converted part of his flower shop into a "walkable, bikeable" neighborhood store full of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as daily grocery items.
Best wishes to Barron Park Market.
Magnolia Drive, Palo Alto
In Europe it is customary in towns of average size to close the main street from 6 to 10 p.m. for people to "corso" -- to stroll, talk, socialize, eat in restaurants and drink at the street cafes. It is conducive to community building. It is a great idea and I wish it would live on.
I did not understand fully the reasoning for closing University Avenue at 4 p.m., when most people are still at work or using it to reach 101 during rush hour. Closing the street at 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. seems like a better option for families to gather and get out for a Friday and Saturday night in our lovely town. Let's make it permanent.
Margarita Avenue, Palo Alto
Fire department disgrace
I am writing regarding the issue concerning Palo Alto firefighters' official representation at the funeral of the Contra Costa County firefighters and the flying of flags at half staff for those who died in Contra Costa, and in South Carolina as well.
It is an absolute disgrace that the Palo Alto did not support its firefighters in honoring their fallen comrades in the same manner most other agencies found appropriate.
Why is it other agencies were able to send firefighters to backfill Contra Costa stations or an engine to participate in the procession? I believe this was accomplished because, regardless of official policies, rules and political correctness, it was the right thing to do. These firefighters eat, sleep and train together for a common purpose: to protect the lives and property of those they serve. Is it asking too much to allow these hardworking civil servants to properly honor their fallen comrades?
Palo Alto prides itself on being on the "cutting edge" of new innovation, global responsibility and caring for the disadvantaged. So what happened here? How could this have happened? I can only imagine how low the morale is for the men and women of the Palo Alto Fire Department.
Newberry Court, Palo Alto
Association of Bay Area Governments wants Palo Alto to build 3,505 new "housing units in the city over the next seven years." (Weekly, July 25).
Every year we come closer to living like packed sardines. Isn't it time to contribute to the reduction of the ever-expanding population through "prevention"? Why not have one or two children and then those couples who want and can afford more children reach out to those who are already here and need extra love and support?
Is not this also an element to the solution of global warming? Overpopulation is an issue that affects each and every one of us worldwide, and needs to be addressed now.
Walnut Avenue, Atherton
Chief Justice John Roberts' recent seizure highlights the potential stigma everyone with a seizure disorder endures and how little the public still understands epilepsy. By definition, anyone who has had more than one seizure of unknown cause (idiopathic) has epilepsy.
In most cases, medication is prescribed to prevent seizures, but unfortunately seizures can still occur and be disturbing to watch. That's why I'm writing this to share what an effective response should be and how to give appropriate first aid.
First, determine if the person has epilepsy. Look for a Medic-Alert bracelet or necklace. If they have epilepsy, then it's simple: Allow the person to have the seizure. Do not restrain them. If possible, get them low to the ground to prevent head injury from a fall (the most common injury from seizures).
Then, time the seizure. The seizure has to last at least five minutes to be considered dangerous. Seek medical help only if the seizure lasts more than five minutes or if you are still unsure about whether the person has epilepsy or not.
It is normal for the person to be disoriented, tired and have difficulty speaking, for some time afterwards or to even possibly have superficial cuts/abrasions or bleeding from their mouth. Assist them in getting safely to a place to recuperate. Otherwise, they do not need medical help.
Learn more at www.epilepsyfoundation.org.
Area Board VII, co-chair State Council on Developmental Disabilities
Stelling Drive, Palo Alto
Recent reader comments ("Keep park limited use" and "Selling out", Weekly, July 20) suggest that opening Foothills Park to anyone other than Palo Alto residents will substantially degrade its ecology. Fortunately, a natural experiment of sorts exists to test this claim.
It is possible to walk through Foothills Park into any one of several adjacent preserves that are open to the general public (such as Los Trancos OSP and Coal Mine Ridge). As an extensive user of these trail systems, I see no difference in the ecological health of the land or trails based on whether access is limited to Palo Altans.
Have ecological disasters been documented in adjacent preserves where access is open to all?
Harker Avenue, Palo Alto
Palo Altans only
The City Council and other interested citizens should read what it says on the dedicatory plaque on Vista Hill in Foothills Park. It sounds very official and maybe even legally binding.
"It is our purpose in establishing this park to conserve the natural features and scenic values within its boundaries, to protect and maintain the ecology of this area; to provide for the use and enjoyment of the resources found here, consistent with their preservation; to emphasize beauty, simplicity and serenity; and to provide opportunities for the interpretation of natural history and our local heritage. This policy shall be pursued and perfected, always with sensitive regard for the greatest benefit to the people of Palo Alto, today and in the future."
Roger J. Leibrand
El Dorado Avenue, Palo Alto
Bigger not better
In the July 25 issue of the Weekly (in the article about bus route 88), Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto was quoted as saying, "It's not that we want to put city resources into shuttles. VTA is our transit agency."
That's true but unfortunate because operation of Palo Alto shuttles is probably cheaper than operation of VTA buses. Why? Because the shuttles are small and cheap, they don't have the fancy gadgets VTA buses have, drivers of the shuttles get paid much less than VTA drivers and, unlike VTA, PCA -- the company that operates Palo Alto shuttles and many other Caltrain shuttles -- has very few office people.
In addition, PCA's bus yard is in East Palo Alto, much closer to Palo Alto than the nearest VTA bus yard.
So for the money VTA spends to run one bus (a 40-foot dinosaur, once a half an hour), more small buses or vans (10-25 seats) could be run every 15 minutes.
In many cities in the world a big part of public transportation is small buses and minibuses, running frequently and everywhere.
Plus, small buses are easy to steer on narrow streets and are much quieter than big American "transit buses".
VTA "community buses" are a step in the right direction, but far more things at VTA must be simpler and cheaper to help avoid service cuts and, hopefully, even expand the service.
Curtner Avenue, Palo Alto