Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - September 2, 2011

Letters

Call for compassion

Editor,

Thank you for the in-depth article on people living in cars. It was especially important that individuals were pictured and their stories told.

There should be a place where vehicle dwellers can park, be safe and have bathroom facilities and showers. I think of all the dozens or even hundreds of parking lots and other areas in this city that could be made available.

I would be willing to pledge a small portion of my income to help pay for such a project and probably others would too.

How can our society rationalize more attacks on the poor, the weak, the elderly and the unemployed? It has been said that a city or nation should not be judged on how it treats the rich and the famous but on how it cares for its weakest and poorest members.

Dana St. George

Campesino Avenue

Palo Alto

Online-sales tax

Editor,

Your editorial on the issue of applying sales taxes to online purchases offers up a flat misstatement of fact in the very first paragraph when it says Amazon's proposed ballot measure would give it and other e-tailers "an exemption from paying a tax on sales" conducted in California.

The truth is no retailer "pays" sales taxes. They merely collect the tax from consumers and pass it on to the state.

This is not rhetorical hairsplitting. Misstatements such as yours address the very heart of the issue. Saying a multi-billion-dollar corporation isn't paying its fair share of taxes is far more damning than saying it doesn't carry the same accounting burden as brick-and-mortar stores.

Eventually, your editorial gets to the real issues: competition and tax revenue. An automatic 8.25 percent price break can be an important competitive advantage, particularly in these economically tenuous times. And state and local governments are quite ready to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes should the current law stand.

Unfair competition and the need for government revenue are legitimate arguments to make in opposition to Amazon's effort to repeal the online sales tax law. But deliberately false statements — even in editorials — only coarsen the debate.

Bill Bucy

La Selva Drive

Palo Alto

Coach Parks remembered

Editor,

In 2010, in response to teen suicides in our city, I joined the Palo Alto Youth Collaborative, which includes representatives from the local public sector and private citizens interested in closely interacting with our teens.

This past May, teens asked the Collaborative to bring adults from specific fields together with them, in an event at Foothill. I invited collegiate and professional athletes to meet with teens, and answer their questions on sports beyond high school.

Three athletes gave up a Saturday to spend with about 80 teens:

Doug Baldwin, wide receiver for Stanford's football team; Melanie Murphy, point guard for Stanford's women's basketball team; and Coach Parks.

When I called Coach Parks, and explained this was a chance to engage teens who had been through a tough period, losing classmates and handling many stresses he said, "Well, I was booked to do something else but you know I have to be there."

These three athletes sat on a panel; answering questions and inspiring with stories of challenges, expectations, disappointments and resilience.

Coach Parks arrived by car, and came into the gym slowly, with walker.

He left the students with his most important advice. "The life in front of you is full of promise, so please think of those around you — what you can do to make a difference. Your life will take profound shape if you do. You can't do that if you don't care of yourself first."

"And take care of yourself — Because you matter."

That was Coach Parks.

Carolyn Digovich

Simkins Court

Palo Alto

Momentum nonprofit

Editor,

We have many talented people living, working and studying in this area. To me this place is so wonderful is because of all the kind, caring and lovable residents. Look at all the

non-profit organizations in this area, most of the time there are more volunteers than they are needed.

I like to point out a very unique place call Momentum, a safe haven for people with mental illnesses. They care, they cure and they build success in this community. Happiness is not about what kind of car you drive, it comes from helping people in need. Salute to all the volunteers and staff working in all the nonprofit organizations in Palo Alto. God bless.

Ingrid Lai

Harvard Street

Palo Alto

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