Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - March 4, 2011

Letters

Caltrain cuts

Editor,

If Caltrain makes its proposed service changes, specifically the seven station closures and the nighttime service cuts, my household will no longer be able to ride Caltrain. This will not be a temporary change; it will be a life-altering adjustment. We will be forced to buy a second car and we will never have an opportunity to commute to our jobs by public transportation again.

I don't think MTA or the JPB realize the irreparable damage they will cause throughout the Bay Area if they enact these service cuts. These changes will not only kill ridership for Caltrain (easily 2/3 of its customer base will be affected by these cuts), but more seriously, they will disrupt people's lives: lives that Caltrain riders (and their communities) planned specifically for train transportation. I can say with complete confidence and I know the MTA has to admit this itself that if these cuts are made, Caltrain will be forced into bankruptcy, and the service will die there is simply no turning back.

For Caltrain and its vital customer base alike, everything possible must be done to avoid enacting any of the proposed service cuts. The Bay Area cannot afford such a drastic, horrific step backward.

Emily Hunter

Laurel Avenue

Belmont

Student stress

Editor,

As a retired PAUSD teacher, I have previously commented on the issue of academic stress. I noted that for every parent who decries the emphasis on AP classes, there are others who demand more AP and honors classes. The insecurity of parents regarding the college-admission process makes it highly unlikely that district priorities will change unless prestigious colleges and universities stop emphasizing weighted GPAs, or PAUSD parents stop caring.

It might be possible for the PAUSD to limit the number of AP classes per year to two, forcing students to select subjects of greatest interest, and then inform academic institutions of the policy. The quality of instruction in "regular classes" is sufficiently high to meet university standards. What would be the response of these institutions? Has that been researched? Would that at least somewhat mitigate academic stress? Now Dr. Skelly and high school faculties are attempting to meet the academic demands of this community.

Would a change in emphasis be broadly supported? Clearly the schools must do more to work on emotional needs of struggling students whose families choose to live here. The Daubers' column hopefully will begin an honest debate on our community's values and perhaps compel universities to re-examine their own policies which "wag the dog."

Suzan B. Stewart

Middlefield Road

Palo Alto

Dirty little secret

Editor,

Palo Alto has a dirty little secret: We are one of the last two cities in California to incinerate our sewage sludge. Oh my. That sounds bad, doesn't it?

We pride ourselves on being environmental leaders. Palo Alto does have climate goals for specific reductions in energy, water and waste and for renewable energy targets that track California's. That's a good thing.

When it comes to sewage sludge incineration, it turns out we are big-time environmental stragglers. (Our incinerator's emissions equal those of about 1,250 cars.) How would we like that on a billboard on 101?

Meanwhile, there is a lot of back and forth about the merits of repurposing 10 of 126 acres of what is slated to become Byxbee Park for a facility to handle our organic waste, including sewage sludge (a.k.a. "biosolids"); whether the higher use is park vs. waste management; and the pros and cons of various technologies. There is much to study and learn.

But right now, as Palo Alto voters, we need to decide whether we want the opportunity to vote this November to have the option of using up to 10 acres next to the wastewater treatment plant for something other than parkland. That's it. It's about having options.

Bottom line, we need to close the gap between our climate goals and our backward resource systems. By signing the petition before March 15 to allow a vote in November, each of us can take a key step toward closing that gap.

Lisa Van Dusen

Greenwood Avenue

Palo Alto

Comments

Posted by Wrong secret, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Van Duesen's snarky letter is deceptive. The writer pretends that it is about "having options" but it really is preparation for the 10 acre park takeover ("repurposing").
Manipulative use of language is what is dirty.
Some conservationists are like other one-issue political groups. They can only focus on their narrow point of view. Their leader is their guru.
The real secret is why they cant find a location that doesn't take over park land or why they wont cooperate with other cities.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Wrong secret ... if you have a point can you state it instead of merely attacking the tactics and motives of other groups with innuendo? I have not really been following much of this issue, so I'd like to hear some reasoned factual comments.

At least the letter by Van Duesen snarky or not has some facts and a stated goal.

But right in my opinion there is not much informative value from either of your comments.


Posted by Wrong secrret, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm

OK Anon, I'll bow to your self described unfamiliarity with the issue. I just know what I read in the papers and I know whom I trust. I trust the people who have no ulterior motives except for their long standing, unimpeachable, devotion to the community.
The leading advocates for the 10 acre "repurposing" of park land (haha) are longtime development advocates. Yes, you know that if you follow anything in Palo Alto. They often see parks and undeveloped areas as wasteful, when you could be making money off of it.
Mr. Drekmeier, for example, has always advocated more housing in Palo Alto, and voted for it time and again when he was on the city council. Mr Hays also speaks in favor of most developers/development. Now the schools are trying to figure out how to cope with the huge increase in enrollment.
The intricacies of this project are more than I can follow, but I know whom I trust.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

We are talking about a recycling center, correct? Not an apartment building. Not an office complex.


Posted by Wrong secret, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 7, 2011 at 10:37 am

No Dad, not correct. A recycling center is what we have now. What is being discussed is a 10 acre industrial plant to process waste. On a park. Big difference.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:07 am

Yes - you are correct, my bad. But it still isn't "development" and evil developers.

And let's be realistic here --- it would be right next to the existing sewage plant, across the street from the airport, 1-block from the golf course, 1-block from office buildings.

Giving 10 acres of what will probably be less than 10% of total land for a project that will provide huge benefits to the greater good.

My what an awful concept.


Posted by Wrong secret, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:55 am

So, Dad, when you said We are talking about a recycling center, correct?
You were just pretending you didn't know what it was. Actually you know quite a bit and you are in favor of the industrial plant.
Misreresentation and manipulation of public opinion. The greater good? good propaganda there, Dad.
Now you can understand my lack of trust in your side.


Posted by Wrong secret, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 7, 2011 at 11:55 am

So, Dad, when you said We are talking about a recycling center, correct?
You were just pretending you didn't know what it was. Actually you know quite a bit and you are in favor of the industrial plant.
Misreresentation and manipulation of public opinion. The greater good? good propaganda there, Dad.
Now you can understand my lack of trust in your side.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2011 at 11:41 am

Yes the greater good. The whatever you want to call it project would benefit all citizens of Palo Alto on a daily basis. 60,000+.

No offense - but I can't see 60,000 people visiting the park in 10 years, let alone in a single day.


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