I was very disappointed Monday, May 7, that the Palo Alto City Council passed another ordinance that targets the homeless. Like these people don't have enough problems!
Councilman Schmid made a very good point: If people can't leave their belongings in public space, where can they leave them?
And his colleagues ignored this question completely. Some homeless, for instance, use the libraries. They have to leave their belongings outside and 30 minutes is not nearly enough time to use a public computer, which some do, or look for a book or whatever. This ordinance is just more discrimination against those who are poor in our affluent community, where few residents understand the situation of the homeless.
And people cannot "remain" on public property once a performance at Lucie Stern has ended. But they can enter the same property afterward? What sense does this make? I'm disappointed that councilmen Burt and Schmid didn't stick to their guns and the rest of the council didn't seem to care about the people who would be affected by this ordinance.
I urge the council to rescind this new ordinance at the next meeting.
Rail costs understated
The latest California High-Speed Rail business plan (the one that projects $68 billion to build the system) claims that operating costs once the system is built will be 10 cents per passenger mile.
A recent study by Alain Enthoven of Stanford (and others) surveys the operating costs of HSR systems around the world and comes up with an average of 43 cents per passenger mile. California HSR does not explain how they intend to operate the system at a cost that is one-fifth of the Japanese and German systems. Cold fusion? Anti-matter? Wormholes? We don't know.
The study claims that if the 43-cents-per-mile figure is used the HSR system will require a yearly subsidy of as much as $9 billion — more than the state pays for the University of California system.
But since operating subsidies are forbidden by the enabling legislation, the system will have to be shut down as soon as it is completed. We are about to build a $68 billion hiking trail, the greatest economic folly in history.