http://paloaltoonline.com/print/story/print/2011/01/07/letters


Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - January 7, 2011

Letters

Parkland 'grab'

Editor,

After asking voters two years ago to support high-speed rail, Peter Drekmeier is now asking voters to undedicate parkland to build an industrial composting facility.

He continues to repeat one vendor's unverified propaganda to support this facility. That vendor did not include millions in costs for site preparation, heavy equipment, proponents' green roof, or land rent.

Drekmeier asserts that "profits" from this venture could pay for completion of the park.

1. Profits are unlikely.

2. Such profits, if any, would be in Enterprise Funds and could not be used for park improvements. The only monies that could be used for park improvements would be land rents which were not calculated into all the rosy numbers cited by proponents. Ratepayers would pay that tab.

3. The city has collected more than $100 million in rents from the landfill and precious little has been used for the park.

None of this would have to go to the voters except that Drekmeier et al want to build on Byxbee Park and that does require a vote.

Not only would the project take away the parkland, but its adjacency upwind of the park will severely impact the pastoral open-space experience that this park is supposed to provide.

Do not be misled into signing the petition that misrepresents this parkland grab as green energy.

Emily M. Renzel

Baylands Conservation Committee

Palo Alto

No on initiative

Editor,

All initiatives are not good. The initiative promoted by Peter Drekmeier should not be supported. Here's why:

In these economic times, it is irresponsible to promote this industrial operation. It may cost $30 million. No matter how it's funded, you and I will pay with ever-escalating monthly refuse charges. Now, Palo Alto has the second-highest refuse rate in the Bay Area.

None of the benefits touted by the proponents has been verified. They come from a digester vendor eager to become the first in the U.S.

Placing this industrial operation in our baylands scorns years of Bay planning. Bay cities have closed 44 landfill sites. Palo Alto's is about to be closed. Forty years of councils, planning and park commissions, baylands and zero-waste committees have rejected any "further industrial invasion in the Baylands." Yet, this group feels qualified to reject years of unanimous recommendations.

Contrary to proponents' representations, the 10 acres of park they want to undedicate are not an insignificant part of Byxbee Park. Ten acres is equivalent to eight football fields! This is the entrance to Byxbee Park. Present hiking/biking trails will connect with future regional trails. These 10 acres are a vital entrance to our Baylands Park.

Undedicating 10 acres of parkland is unconscionable. Once undedicated, the park is gone forever. The public has no control over its use. There is no more land in the baylands to acquire.

We lose.

This is a bad initiative. Don't sign it.

Enid Pearson

Former councilwoman

Palo Alto

Wasp 'problem'?

Editor,

I am surprised by your conflicting news blurb about the gall wasp in the oak trees on California Avenue.

As you state yourself, they are harmless. Then why is it a "problem"? To get a reader's attention to a non-problem?

Personally I would look at it as benefit knowing that our local wildlife finds it agreeable to live there, indicating that the trees have not been over sprayed with a nasty pesticide.

John P. Nichols

Charleston Road

Mountain View

Cal Ave fountain flaws

Editor,

From the images in the Weekly it appears that the proposed California Avenue fountains are not engaging. They will simply blend into the surrounding concrete and stucco of Palo Alto: unremarkable and ignored

If we are spending public money, how about something for the public? Perhaps even something intellectually compelling. Sync it to music, falling leaves, Morse code, pedestrians or light? Perhaps it even educates us to conserve water.

Palo Alto's public works have not kept pace with its dynamic community or even the creativity of its architecture.

Aren't we meant to be ground zero for technological innovation? At the very least, our fountain must convey a sense of Palo Alto's technological brilliance.

Let's rethink and resend the "Request for Proposals." This water fountain can wait a little longer.

How about taking a lesson from San Jose or Chicago? The Crown Fountain is a major addition to the Chicago's world-renowned public-art collection.

The fountain consists of two 50-foot glass block towers at each end of a shallow reflecting pool. The towers project video images from a broad social spectrum of Chicago citizens, a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, where faces of mythological beings were sculpted with open mouths to allow water, a symbol of life, to flow out. Artist Jaume Plensa adapted this practice by having faces of Chicago citizens projected on LED screens and having water flow through a water outlet in the screen to give the illusion of water spouting from their mouths. The collection of faces, Plensa's tribute to Chicagoans, was taken from a cross-section of 1,000 residents.

The fountain, which anchors the southwest corner of Millennium Park at Michigan Avenue and Monroe Streets, is a favorite of both children and families. The water is on from mid-spring through mid-fall each year (weather permitting,) while the images remain on year-round.

Marci Lamb

Lincoln Avenue

Palo Alto

Gift market a success

Editor,

I am writing to you as a member of the organizing committee of the "Alternative Gift Market" at Trinity Church in Menlo Park on Dec. 5 and 12 last year.

We want to thank the Palo Alto Weekly and in particular your reporter Chris Kenrick for her article, "Simplify the Holidays" that appeared in the Dec. 3 edition of your paper.

This article was very effective in alerting people to the concept of alternative-gift shopping. At our market, this kind of shopping included making donations to worthy causes rather than buying more stuff for others; buying recyclable products for wrapping or gifts; and buying handcrafted items from local and global artisans to support village businesses in developing countries.

As a result of this positive publicity, we attracted large crowds of people to both days of our market and were successful in donating more than $14,000 to 14 worthy nonprofit organizations.

Thank you for calling attention to the concept of simplifying the holidays and helping others in the process.

Planning has already begun for this year's market and the dates have been scheduled for Dec. 5 and 12, 2011.

Happy holidays to all.

Barbara Newton

Trinity Church

Menlo Park

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