Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - October 22, 2010

Letters

Yes on R

Editor,

There is an old adage in law: When you are wrong on the facts, insult your opponent. Sadly, insults have been the favored approach by the opponents and by the Weekly in opposing Measure R.

The opponents claim Measure R is a "Power Grab." This is not true. The opponents know there is language in the existing labor agreement that preserves existing emergency shift staffing levels. Measure R transfers staffing-level decisions to the electorate and away from the firefighters! "Power Grab?" Nonsense. And this is just one obfuscation.

The opponents claim that the firefighters' station-closure concerns are "insulting and disingenuous." Yet, it is indisputable that the city's representatives have repeatedly told the firefighters that they want to reduce emergency-response staffing levels beyond the minimum current levels that have existed for well over a decade. Fire Department overall staffing has already been reduced by more than 20 percent during the last decade.

It is fact, not fiction, that if additional emergency medical and fire-suppression staffing is implemented that a fire station in Palo Alto will have to be closed. Why in Palo Alto and not at Stanford? The two stations at Stanford could not be closed without breaching the agreement at Stanford. Yet 48 percent of the $26 million Fire Department budget is paid for by outside sources, with 33 percent of the budget paid for by Stanford.

The opponents claim that the firefighters are "greedy." The opponents are again misinformed. This year the firefighters have offered to give back their 4 percent salary increase plus a 1 percent retirement contribution with NO salary increases for fiscal years 2010-11 and 2011-12. The savings to the city from the firefighters' offer totals $1.4 million. The city's representatives rejected the firefighters' offer.

It is long past time for Measure R to be considered on its own merits and not with name-calling and insults. Measure R removes emergency medical and fire-suppression response staffing levels from the collective bargaining process and provides the residents with the ultimate authority to approve reductions in emergency-response staffing levels. Measure R should be approved.

Alan C. Davis

St. Michael Drive

Palo Alto

Editor,

As a supervisor of Santa Clara County, a registered nurse, a mother and grandmother, I strongly support Measure A. Our community has already benefited a great deal from the Healthy Kids programs. Not only has Healthy Kids helped more than 37,000 children receive health insurance over the last nine years, it brings $24 million additional state and federal funds and $6 million to $7 million in local school funding to our county each year.

Access to preventive care has kept our children healthier and reduced the amount of missed school days. Thus, children are more prepared for school and have a greater opportunity to succeed in the future.

I am proud to have been part of the development of this first-of-a-kind, universal-health program for children started in our county and duplicated by 27 other California counties.

I support the decision of the Palo Alto and Sunnyvale city councils in their unanimous endorsements of Measure A.

Please help all mothers and fathers provide health care for their children and vote yes on Measure A.

Liz Kniss

Santa Clara County, 5th District

No on R

Editor,

I have lived in Palo Alto since 1974. I am a retired surgeon who, during my career, was chief of the department of surgery, chairman of the operating-room committee, president of the hospital medical staff and a member of the executive committee at the hospital where I worked.

At no time did we ever consider putting to a vote of the public how many ICU beds or emergency-room beds the hospital needed, how many operating rooms we needed, or the staffing pattern of nurses and physicians in the operating room, emergency room or the ICU.

These decisions were best left to the professionals who were hired to make such decisions. For this reason I oppose Measure R. Fire-department staffing is best left to those we hire or elect to make such decisions and not to a public referendum.

Daniel Tuerk

Greenwich Place

Palo Alto

No on T

Editor,

"Opponents" of Menlo Park Measure T are not exaggerating traffic impacts, but our good friend Planning Commissioner Katie Ferrick is denying them.

She's pretending that impacts legally classified as "significant, unmitigated" are insignificant and mitigated. Not true. The terms "significant, unmitigated" are legal terms used in environmental impact reports as required by state law. "Significance" is based on objective community standards.

Opponents have correctly stated EIR findings for traffic: nine "significant", "unmitigated" impacts for delay and volume, one for traffic-related noise on nearby neighborhoods. These impacts are severe enough that state law required Menlo Park to make a special set of legal findings just to approve them. This is the state's way of asking, "Are you sure?"

Ferrick says that "most" project traffic uses 101 and SR 84, causing only a "few seconds" of delay. The few seconds of delay is inflicted on each of tens of thousands of rush hour trips on 101, resulting in hours of total delay.

And project traffic isn't just magically plunked down onto 101 by helicopter. It uses local streets, Marsh and Willow roads, already clogged, to get access to and between Dumbarton (SR84) and 101. Intersections surrounding the project from Marsh at Middlefield to Bayfront south of University, and on two locations on Willow Road will experience delays.

Those among us who know the law and do the math advise Menlo Park not to approve these impacts. Vote No on Measure T.

Charlie Bourne

Martin Engel

Transportation Commissioners

City of Menlo Park

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