Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - September 10, 2010

Letters

Charter school

Editor,

While we at Stanford University are pleased that Chris Kenrick reported on our improved scores at East Palo Alto Academy Elementary School ("East Palo Alto school test results soar — too late," Aug. 23), we want to clarify some important points for your readers.

First, we would like to correct the record regarding the votes of Ravenswood trustees about our charter renewal. Trustees John Bostic and Marcellino Lopez voted to renew the charter initially, and trustees Sharifa Wilson and Larry Moody voted to renew the charter with modifications when it was returned to the board for consideration. We are grateful for their support of this important work.

Second, we want to be clear that the Ravenswood School Board decision in no way dampens our resolve to work cooperatively with the trustees and other organizations to offer high-quality education for the students of East Palo Alto.

We wish we could have had more time to show what we could accomplish with our students in the lower grades. But we are pleased that the district saw gains in its test scores this year, and we are proud to be part of that accomplishment.

EPA students deserve the best possible learning opportunities and Stanford will partner with Ravenswood in whatever way we can to make sure that happens.

Deborah Stipek

Stanford University School of Education

High-speed rail

Editor,

While I'm a strong supporter of public transportation, I enjoyed Mr. Barnby's column on the high-speed rail (Aug.20).

I don't need to see any studies or surveys to see that this project is doomed even before it is being built. If the average American citizen would be willing to take public transportation, they would take it.

We do have an excellent bus system called SamTrans. I do take it occasionally but the few people who exit at the airport seem to be working there; they are not air-passengers. Now, why would a person about to go on a two-day business or pleasure trip to Los Angeles take the plane but not even take the bus to get to the plane?

So then why would the average person switch from hopping on a plane to getting on board the train, especially since ticket-prices are virtually the same?

Even though flying has lost the appeal it once had, it still is the preferred method of many to get around for long distances. It's unrealistic to think, "Let's build the trains, and the passengers will come." It certainly has not happened for the BART extension to the airport.

So, what exactly is the point of this train? As Mr. Barnby points out, much of the labor involved, plus most likely all the material will bring revenue to foreign countries but not to the people this train is supposed to move around.

As I see it, the only reason to build a train is to cut on air-pollution. However, with that much money spent on high tech/ high maintenance project, millions of solar panels could be installed; particularly on the roofs of shopping malls, etc. So even if there might be a 20 percent increase in airplane traffic in the future, pollution in California could be reduced greatly by other energy-projects. The gain for the environment would be gigantic, and the cost minimal.

The train just seems to be a project for dreamers and is not helping anyone.

Dieter Hurni

8th Avenue

Redwood City

Alma Street and rail?

Editor,

The High Speed Rail Authority is trying to scare Palo Alto into accepting the aerial alternative by claiming the trench (Alternative B1) will force closing of two lanes of Alma Street. Poppycock!

I've checked the situation at the Churchill/Alma choke point. There is a perfectly straightforward engineering solution that will allow the trenched rail line and a widened Alma Street to co-exist within the 125-foot available width.

Temporarily close two lanes of Alma Street. while constructing the 80-foot wall-to-wall trench to accommodate four parallel tracks. Then add a shelf about 30 feet wide at the top of the east wall of the trench to support a widened Alma Street, a bike trail and a landscaping strip.

This kind of construction is used for streets and highways all over the world.

William H. Cutler

Park Boulevard

Palo Alto

Dog waste

Editor,

I'd like to begin by saying that I do like dogs. My son has three and we say that I have two grandchildren and three granddogs.

My issue is people putting their dog droppings in my emptied black garbage can on Fridays. This is the pickup day. I leave for work before the garbage is picked up, thus can't bring the can back from the curb area until I return from work in the evening.

Lately, about 50 percent of the time some person doesn't bother to carry his or her dog droppings home to their own garbage can. Instead the smelly parcel is put into mine, where it will become increasingly nasty until next Friday's pickup.

Really, people, if you recognize yourself here, please carry your dog's feces home to your own garbage can.

Sylvia Gartner

Moreno Avenue

Palo Alto

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