We want to thank everyone who came by the California Avenue Plaza last Sunday to celebrate the 50th birthday of the California Avenue Fountain. It was a lovely day and could only have been better if the fountain was still functioning. Some took the time to document their favorite fountain memory, but sadly many, especially the small children, couldn't remember the fountain ever having water in it. A very refreshing addition to the celebration, however, was the arrival of three awesome city ambassadors, firefighters Debbie Burk, Bill Dale and Jesus Zuniga.
It felt right to pay tribute to this 50-year-old California Avenue landmark, but also bittersweet since we know that its days are numbered.
Jan St. Peter and Paul T. Pitlick
We can do better
We (parents, teachers, and administrators) need to recognize that half of our kids are below average. As the parent of two very different children (one significantly below average, the other significantly above), our family's experience clearly indicates the PAUSD's priorities are on the higher achieving half. Until the district can take pride in helping every student reach their full potential, we won't get there. We can, and should, do better by our kids.
Reputation vs. teaching algebra
I was outraged to learn from LaToya Baldwin Clark's "Guest Opinion" (Palo Alto Weekly, Dec. 12, 2011) that the PAUSD is refusing to provide an Algebra II class (required for UC/CSU admission) at a level appropriate to the needs of many district students. Apparently, other California high school districts provide such courses, but the PAUSD will not do so because it would hurt its reputation!!!!! How can we support teachers who believe that their district's "reputation" is more important than actually teaching algebra to students who may have to struggle to learn? When other districts in the state are helping their students meet UC/USC requirements, it is unconscionable that the PAUSD will not do the same.
When our children were in the district many courses were offered at different levels. What has changed?
Ronald Lyon (Professor Emeritus)
Save Cubberley as a resource
I write to express my amazement that the city is considering options to sell or long-term lease the city-owned 8 acres at Cubberley Community Center.
I think that Foothill College could well be situated at Moffett Field where there is public transportation readily available; such location does not impact the Arastradero/Charleston corridor — an already heavily used area with additional 700 parking spaces and presumably 7,000 (five people per space * two in and out * 700) additional or more trips per day.
Cubberley is already under consideration for the reopening of a high school complex. Protect the open space in the area. Retain Cubberley as a city-owned facility. Cubberley is a city-resource that is not replicable anywhere else in Palo Alto. Land is at a premium.
We need to protect resources for the future. You owe a duty of care to the Palo Alto Unified School District and the future students living in Palo Alto.
Let's not proceed with any draft letter of interest. This is not why I worked so hard to elect most of you to the city council.
Alice Schaffer Smith
Los Palos Circle
Can we share resources?
Congratulations to Palo Alto on making real strides towards the essential goal of disaster preparedness by hiring Kenneth Dueker, a veteran of the Palo Alto Police Department, to head the Office of Emergency Services.
Now, let's see if we can share this resource on a regional basis to defray some of the cost, as Emergency Preparedness is a regional need and should be addressed on a regional basis.
Surely each Peninsula city won't burden taxpayers with a $125,000 (plus benefits) resource when we all share the same need. We cannot accept anything less than a city-wide vision that always pursues regional cooperation to maximize service and minimize cost. (As a reminder, we still have a lot of potholes and infrastructure to update as essential priorities.)
Again, great progress, but we must include a regional vision in our future.
Lament on tree removal
When I first moved to this area almost two years ago one of the things that was most impressive were the trees along San Antonio Road near Middlefield Ave. Now I've learned of the imminent removal of those beautiful trees.
Unfortunately, Palo Alto is not as progressive as I once thought, sacrificing very old and beautiful trees to the renovation of a street. So what if the street and sidewalk have a few bumps in them? Is that so bad?
For many many years those trees have stood as comforters to the millions of people who passed below them. They are to be no more. Now, they stand for a limited time as sentinels over a city's foolish officials who make foolish decisions.
Public discourse about the future of the Palo Alto Municipal golf course is welcomed, as long as it is based on factual assumptions. In reading your editorial (Palo Alto Weekly, Dec. 9, 2011), I do not believe you've provided an unbiased background for the issue.
Your comments about the use of the facility by non-Palo Alto residents appear to cast a negative tone to the city's desire to "subsidize" the golf course. Non-residents pay a higher fee, and residents have other preferential treatment. The city supports the upkeep of its parks, which in many cases (excluding Foothill Park) are used as much by non-residents as residents. Limiting public access to parks has rightfully been met with resistance by the city. Why should the golf course be treated any differently?
The golf course has already contributed land allowing the Winter Lodge to remain in its current location. The golf course received nothing in return.
I'm aware of the difficulty of access to soccer fields during the season. The new Stanford fields have lessened this problem considerably. More importantly, soccer for most, isn't a year-round sport and demand for fields is limited to certain times, days and months. The golf course is used all year from sunrise until sundown, by all ages and genders, offering an affordable option for those who enjoy the sport.
In this challenging economy, the council should recognize that the course is an economic asset to the city, providing needed revenue and employment to a sizeable staff.
A questionable investment
For an old golf nut (who played his first time in 1933 and gave up the game for health reasons — two heart attacks on the golf course — 61 years later) it is sad to read in the Dec. 9 Weekly about the situation at Palo Alto Muni. Sad but not too surprising! The desire for a course was strong since in the early 1950s there was not a full-size, 18-hole public course between San Mateo and San Jose. When the course was planned some 60 years ago there were several of us, who were residents of Palo Alto, who disagreed with the location for two reasons.
The main concern was with the water table below the land. It was felt there would be significant drainage problems and the salt content would not be beneficial to the growth of trees, and which might also affect the growth of grass. The second concern was with the wind.
Spending some $4 million to upgrade (?) the course is (at least in my opinion) a questionable investment. The cost would now be five to 10 times as high, but Palo Alto still has a large park in the hills. That is the location many wanted some 50 years ago!
What about the workers?
With all the hype about the High-Speed Rail there is one very important issue that hasn't been addressed. There are thousands of men and women who are earning their living by working on this project. I can't help wonder what will happen to their homes, medical insurance and lives if a few discontented people stop it.
Every year at Christmas time, the city conducts "routine maintenance" on our water system. During the time of this routine (that means it could be done at any time of the year, doesn't it?) maintenance, our water, while safe and potable, doesn't taste as good and looks bad. When I make a cup of tea, a brown deposit is left inside the cup when the tea is gone. Yuck! You have to use soap to get it off; it doesn't just rinse off, so that a second cup of tea could be enjoyed. When I make a cup of tea with our "normal" water, no residue is left in the cup.
I can survive this yuck stuff, but every year we have houseguests at Christmas, and every year they are subjected to this substandard water. They think our water is AWFUL. Couldn't this maintenance that ruins the appearance of our water and leaves a mess in the teacup, be done during any other month of the year? I'm sure I am not the only person in town who is having houseguests.