Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - April 5, 2013

Letters to the editor

Bag ban positives

Editor,

For the longest time now, I have been waiting for the city of Palo Alto to finally ban plastic bags in grocery and retail stores. I was also shocked that in the last two creek cleanups, 150 plastic bags were found. As well as towards the end of the article ("Plastic bags banned at stores, restaurants" from March 15) I was glad to find out that reusable bags no longer need to have the ecologically friendly labels on them. This was ruining the attractiveness of the bags. I'm sure this ban will motivate people to bring their own bags, since each bag will cost 10 cents. Plus, personally, I find the reusable bags a lot more fashionable.

I think this will not only have a positive impact on creeks, but also have a positive affect on global warming, since the more bags produced, the more CO2 is put out into the atmosphere. This is my greatest concern.

But don't you think that this will not solve the whole problem? I believe that children at elementary schools should already be taught that in order to save the environment, it is important to reduce waste. Also, some explanation should be given about what is so bad about waste.

Galina Romanovskaya

Addison Avenue

Palo Alto

Schedule change is better

Editor,

I think that what the Palo Alto Unified School District did to change the school calendar was the right thing to do. Instead of having finals two weeks after winter break they adjusted the calender so that finals fall before winter break.

Now why is this a good idea? Many students would study during break for finals. This makes a less enjoyable break because they are studying and cannot spend time having fun with relatives and friends and enjoying the holidays. The school district put finals before winter break so the students can have a relaxing break. Also, in the old calendar, the break separates the last two weeks of the first semester. This gap in learning is not beneficial for students because they may have forgotten some concepts over the break.

Many people would argue that this change is not for the best. Some students argue that they have plenty of time to study over the two weeks when they get back to school. Many families are also affected because their schedule is different from their relatives elsewhere and makes it harder to visit them.

Overall the reduced stress and more relaxing break makes the change worth it.

Rick Wytmar

9th grader at Gunn High School

The Miki's Market saga

Editor,

As a neighbor who lives just behind the store, I have been following the Alma Plaza saga from the beginning. When Miki's finally came to life, I was thrilled: Here was a nearby grocery with an interesting array of products, especially fresh produce, at reasonable prices. I became a regular customer and encouraged friends to patronize the store. So the announcement of its closure came as a stunner. I wondered how a businessman could start out without so little capital that he could not survive more than six months. Was he promised some incentives by the developer who, in his eagerness to get an occupant for the store, was willing to overlook Miki's financial shortcomings and strike a deal that wasn't going to be viable over the long term?

Granted, the siting of the store is not ideal; its unattractive frontage on Alma is hardly inviting. And for neighbors, it still required a drive to the store, as pedestrian access has been blocked by construction. Miki did little in the way of advertising and PR; few people, I discovered, were aware of the store's offerings. But as all good business people should know, it takes time to build familiarity and a following. One of my neighbors told me she still shopped at Piazza because she felt a loyalty there. For Miki's to woo away customers would take time.

Now, after all these years of planning and debate, it's very unfortunate that we are left once again with a vacant property, with no viable prospects for the future.

Ruthann Hammer

Ramona Street

Palo Alto

Sorry about Miki's

Editor,

I am very sorry that Miki's has closed. They had very good produce and pastries. And for the very first time, I could easily walk or bike to shop for groceries. I also feel very sorry for the nice people who worked there.

I hope we have another good grocery store there soon.

Soroor Ebnesajjad

Florales Drive

Palo Alto

The citizens lose

Editor,

The only surprise about the closing of Miki's Market was how fast it happened. The layout is a textbook example of how NOT to design a retail grocery store — position the store with its back to the street and crowded against it; provide inadequate and invisible parking that can only be accessed by a constricted and easily missed alley. I had read and heard good things about the store and wanted to check it out, but when passing by I could never force myself to turn down the very unappetizing entryway.

Thank you for your editorial about Miki's, which clarified a number of things for me. I had thought that this was yet another horrible example of the new urbanism, or whatever it's called, that the planning department keeps advocating. But it seems that our City Council is responsible for replacing one type of blight at Alma Plaza with another. I think it's long past time for our city government to stop providing exemptions to the zoning for so-called public benefits. The developers are only interested in maximizing their profits, and the citizens of Palo Alto always lose when these massive projects are built — as epitomized by the Alma Plaza project.

Diane Moore

Colorado Avenue

Palo Alto

Unfulfilled hopes

Editor,

Miki's closing is a sad story of unfulfilled hopes: There was a man who wanted to bring to Palo Alto the best produce at a reasonable price while offering the state-of-the-art cheese shop, buying from small artisans and finding the best meat, such as Uruguayan grass-fed beef. It was easy to like this modest size supermarket with a friendly knowledgeable staff. It did not have time to build up a clientele and folded suddenly at everyone's dismay!

Quality was not enough to bring people in. Could more advertising have made a difference? Could the help from venture capitalists have allowed Miki to last longer than six months? It is strange that nobody cared for a special concept of specialty foods on a bed of healthy reasonably priced produce.

Miki couldn't do it alone. It takes time to get people to discover a treasure. I will regret getting my delicious French special goat cheese "clochette" paired with top Comice and Bosc pears. I will regret the cozy feeling of the right-size friendly market.

Palo Alto may not be as sophisticated after all. Some say the SP location may have been a problem, without an obvious parking lot in front. Still, a grocery market is considered as an anchor store in Alma Plaza. Perhaps only a chain Safeway store may survive.

Danielle Lapp

Santa Fe Avenue

Stanford

Comments

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I find Ruthann hammers letter to be extremely ironic given the history of alma plaza


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm

I agree with what Ruthann Hammer had to say about Miki's. Miki's probably could have evolved a following had it stuck to it long enough, 6 months is not enough. I went there a few times and probably would have eventually found a reason to stop by more often. One thing that I did not like was that it was closed so early. All the other markets in Palo Alto are open at least until 10pm and that was the only constant I think was a major negative.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 6, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Also, although I try my best to avoid looking at any advertising, I have to admit I don't often succeed at that, and I never saw anything introducing Miki's, explaining what it was, why it would be better and for what items? There was no name-recognition so I did not even know it was a market until just a few months ago. I have to wonder how this whole deal came together and if anyone knew enough to avoid this but just kept quiet. The whole mess has not served Palo Alto, and I think any developer behind this really should face review and be a very negative household name in this city. One would think with our proximity and relation to Stanford that we might get some world-class actors in this city, instead it seems we get third rate rip-offs with everything.


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