Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - December 19, 2007

Letters

Table tennis in town

Editor,

The 2007 World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Palo Alto. One should think that it would be a pretty big deal to have this event here. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. The situation is an embarrassment for the city, for its tourist industry, for the local media, for the Palo Alto Table Tennis Club (official host and organizer), for Stanford University (the venue for the games) and for many others.

I did not see a single sign anywhere announcing, welcoming or celebrating these championship games and the participants. Nor any mention, directions or guidance at the entrances to Stanford or on campus; not even a simple poster outside Maples Pavilion, where the four main tables were set up.

No festive banners nor any row of national flags recognizing the players' home countries.

Inside the hall, there were no greeters, no information booth, no game explanations, no fliers, no brochures and many other voids. The various media have largely also ignored the event. Just 5,000 copies were printed of the special WJTTC magazine for the occasion. (The edition did, fortunately, contain team and player rosters and the game schedule — the only place where this information was available.)

Table tennis is not a big sport in the United States. Still, an estimated 14 million people play the game. In many other world regions, notably Europe and Asia, it is vastly more popular; with some 300 million registered players worldwide.

What a pity that the powers that be failed to take advantage of this unique championship to introduce and promote this wonderful sport to a wide public audience.

Nevertheless, I want to thank the organizers for bringing the championships to town. I enjoyed watching these amazing athletes display their physical skills and mental acumen.

Leif Schaumann

Elmdale Court

Palo Alto

Iran resolution

Editor,

Thank you for the article "City Council opposes 'preemptive action' in Iran" (Dec. 12). The Weekly gave the issue the attention it deserves.

Several members of our church were at the council meeting and were impressed by the courage and articulateness of the Iranian Americans who spoke in favor of the resolution, and of their fear that the current surge toward military action against Iran could have repercussions against innocent Iranian Americans as happened against local Japanese Americans during WW II. They also spoke ardently of their desire to keep Iran from suffering devastating tragedies of war.

We deeply appreciate those Iranian American neighbors and council members who advocated so persuasively for the resolution, especially Judy Kleinberg, LaDoris Cordell and Peter Drekmeier. Kleinberg passionately expressed the need for all concerned citizens to speak out against an imminent military action by the United States against Iran. She stated that a war, any war, affects our local community.

Billions of dollars are being spent for the war in Iraq, taking away funds much needed to maintain and enhance the lives of local citizens. Also, members of families in our city are dying in the war in Iraq, and that affects all of us.

We strongly support this Iran resolution.

We agree with your quote of Dena Mossar, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing." Now let's all work and pray to make "peace on Earth and good will to all" a reality.

Matt Evans, Chair, and the rest of the Committee

Social Justice Ministry

Cowper Street

Palo Alto

Taser torture

Editor,

I have noticed from reading newspapers and watching television that so many of the people who are Tasered actually have committed no crime and were not charged or accused of one.

They were Tasered because they were upset, were not calm enough to deal with police instructions and demands, or were simply walking away from police.

Since some of these people die as a result of being Tasered, this means that police are handing out death sentences to people not even accused of any crime, let alone been convicted of a capital offense. It seems to me that the pain alone could cause death to some vulnerable people. It is known that victims of torture do sometime die as a result of the torture.

Those who survive a Taser attack attest to excruciating pain. The U.N. Committee on Torture has recently stated that Tasers are instruments of torture and violate the Geneva Conventions.

Isn't it time for Palo Alto to reconsider allowing our officers to carry Tasers?

Natalie Fisher

Ellsworth Place

Palo Alto

Cheer for Ace

Editor,

Have you ever met anyone as congenial and knowledgeable as the people at Ace Hardware?

There must be 5,000 or 10,000 items in the store and every employee knows where it is and whether or not it's the right one for the customer.

Herewith a deep bow and a loud cheer for all of them.

Harry Press

Escobita Avenue

Palo Alto

No Nutcrackers?

Editor,

A number of years ago Palo Alto gave up its own Cable Co-op TV to what has become through acquisitions Comcast Cable.

The communities of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, East Palo Alto and Stanford were promised at the time that the art and culture-oriented channels, including Ovation, would be continued. Ovation was first moved to a separate, higher-priced tier and now Comcast has discontinued it.

A few days ago the New York Times (Nov 26) reported that the Ovation channel, in keeping with the Christmas season, would be showing across the country over the next week and the entire month four leading interpretations of the most widely watched ballet, Tchaikovsky's, "The Nutcracker."

They will include the Bolshoi Ballet, Ballenchine's interpretation, staged by Peter Martin, Matthew Bourne's interpretation and Mark Morris' reinterpretation called "The Hard Nut," created in 1991 based on the original story and performed annually in Berkeley.

So what now Palo Alto? Are you and the communities you represented willing to be left out?

Marvin and Alison Lee

Harker Avenue

Palo Alto

Autumn right here

Editor,

Please send a "thank you" to whoever is responsible for the wonderfully colorful street trees.

Being born and raised on the East Coast, I have missed the autumns.

These last two years I've been delighted to enjoy the beautiful autumn colors in our city.

Lost Altos and Mountain View are also part of this gift of ours: having an autumn right here.

To whoever is in charge: Thank you.

Annabelle Woodard

Ferne Avenue

Palo Alto

Comments

Posted by Dave Dockter, City of Palo Alto, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 21, 2007 at 5:15 pm

To Annabelle who wrote a wonderfel 'thank you' to the city tree stewards of yesteryear for this 2007 fall color wonderland--well said! For the horticultural record, this has been the most outstanding fall color season of 15 seasons straight in the San Francisco Bay Area! A truly Chamber of Commerce year.

I know your thanks were generally to those persons responsible, which are several. But yes, there is probably the ONE who did more to affect this city and many other communities with fall color trees. It was none other than long term city of Palo Alto parks employee George Hood, who took over reigns from his father. Together with Sunset, his legacy inspired city arborists Gary Namman, Dave Sandage and now Eric Krebs, and adjoining cities, to try new and diverse species (yes--love 'm' or hate 'm').

It is a facinating story to how his 1950's curiosity of and for fall color germinated, then took hold with key persons and literally changed the face of municipalities in the state of california, where fall color was reletively non-existant as a street tree amenity. The details of this would be best told in a real Weekly story, however.

But, your vocal appreciation for this years show of color is 'spot on' and great to hear, and I suspect will prompt more residents and city tree stewards to keep planting the 'best of the best', to live with a wonderful diverse urban forest of sunlight, color, shade and benefits. Thanks Annabelle.


Posted by Jim, a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 21, 2007 at 6:36 pm

Dave,

Yes, the colors are nice, even if not indigenous to the area. However I like oaks and redwoods. Can we please try to save these native trees, by taking them OFF the protectd list? Nobody will plant them anymore. What rational property owner would?


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