In response to the news that Palo Alto plans to eliminate one of its two code-enforcement officers (Weekly, May 7), such enforcement is more than complaining about someone's junky yard. Complaints to code enforcement are residents' recourse when, for instance, a developer doesn't perform on their legal agreement with the city to provide certain "public benefits" to residents in exchange for being granted planned-community zoning, allowing bigger, more dense development and vastly bigger profits.
I have found that it is not uncommon for residents to never see their hard-negotiated public benefits, and code enforcement is an avenue for at least some redress.
To have laws without a means or people to enforce them is ridiculous and only hurts Palo Alto residents. We need more, not fewer, code-enforcement officers, and should not be laying off either of the two we now have. They may need to be more effective and efficient, but that can be addressed.
Furthermore, we need serious penalties for a developer who doesn't perform, and a much more careful drafting of Planned Community agreements in the first place - but that is another subject for another time.
If anyone thinks enforcement of our city law doesn't matter, then let's go ahead and lay-off all our police officers and save tons and tons of money. After all, if we are going to shoot ourselves in our foot, why do it right?
La Para Avenue, Palo Alto
Traffic safety for kids
I urge the Palo Alto City Council to preserve funding in the 2011 budget for the Palo Alto Police Department (PAPD) Traffic Team and the adult crossing guards.
Eliminating these crucial safety resources will endanger our children.
Imagine this scenario:
The City Council approves the 2011 budget eliminating all adult crossing guards, saving $345,000, and the entire PAPD Traffic Team, saving $894,000. Total savings: $1,239,000.
Crossing guards and the PAPD Traffic Team disappear. School begins.
A girl walking to Fairmeadow is injured when a car makes a right turn on red without stopping at an intersection that used to be staffed by a crossing guard. She is hospitalized with a concussion and broken leg. This accident would have been prevented by crossing guard.
A boy riding his bike down East Meadow Drive to JLS is hit by speeding car. He is thrown from the bike and killed on impact. If the PAPD Traffic Team had been patrolling, this driver might have been pulled over and ticketed before this tragedy occurred.
Was the boy's life worth the $1.2 million saved? Was the physical and mental harm sustained by the injured girl worth the savings? What about the increased anxiety in the parent/student community?
Do we want to risk our children's safety in order to save $1.2 million?
I say NO.
I urge the council to put our kids' safety first and fully fund the adult crossing guards and PAPD Traffic Team.
Audrey S. Garfield, parent
Tanland Drive, Palo Alto