In the last 10 years the city of Palo Alto has done nothing to clean up nonresidents' parking in the CN zone of College Terrace on a permanent basis. I live on Oxford Avenue and pay $50 per year for the privilege of parking on College Terrace streets. There is a person who does not own or rent property in Palo Alto (assuming that if he did he would not be sleeping in his van on Oxford) who parks about 15 vehicles on a permanent basis. Usually six of them are within 100 feet of my house. The police cannot do anything because he keeps a record of when he parks each vehicle and moves them to avoid the 72-hour ticket.
Right now he occupies on a regular basis six to eight precious parking spaces that Starbucks and the other businesses near Stanford and El Camino could use during this construction period. Why not make this block of Oxford two-hour parking during the day during this current construction period? Then if the local businesses do not complain, make it permanent. Palo Alto government could also allow the local businesses to opt in to the adjacent parking district.
Palo Alto government could also take a leadership role by proposing that all blocks in College Terrace zoned CN be permanently part of the adjacent parking district. Our country and state elect leaders by a majority of those who care to vote. Palo Alto could create the parking district unless a "majority" of those adjacent businesses oppose the project. That way a non-vote is a yes vote instead of the way they made us adopt our current parking program. In that vote, we needed to get a majority of residents to say yes, which was much more difficult. Is this anyway to run a democracy? Making it harder for the majority of concerned, hopefully informed and community oriented, citizens to get change is certainly not what our founding fathers envisioned.
Larry Robert Kavinoky
Downtown North parking
Bravo to Ken Alsman for his letter to the editor May 13 regarding downtown employees' use of residential parking in Professorville.
We would like to add our "two-cents worth" as residents of the Downtown North neighborhood. Until two years ago, our quiet, residential neighborhood was mostly frequented by park visitors and parents walking their young children by day. Our neighborhood kids play in the streets and we've always felt safe here. Now we live in a massive parking lot, cars piled up so tightly in spaces they overlap our driveways and make it difficult to get out. Nearly all these cars belong to downtown startup employees, who are apparently too impoverished to afford a parking garage closer to their jobs. As most of our houses do not have garages, we are forced to park blocks away, difficult with groceries and small children. The cars often stay parked on our streets till late at night. When the owners of these vehicles finally come to remove their vehicles, they speed off, iPods dangling from their ears, oblivious to pets, pedestrians and kids. We've also noticed a huge increase in weekend parking here as well.
Downtown has several large parking lots that were put in to appease residents' uneasiness about Palo Alto's out-of-control growth. The lots are barely half full. It does not seem to be an enormous cut to companies' budgets to simply pay for annual employee parking permits (or, heaven forbid, require them to pay for it themselves!).
Juana Briones House
I was fortunate enough to be born and raised at the Juana Briones House and my family was blessed to call it home for many generations. Ashes of my relatives are scattered on the property and memories of the years it was ours fill my heart.
At a time in California history when women had few options and women of color fewer still, Juana Briones managed to not just survive, but to flourish. She raised eight children, including an orphaned Ohlone Indian girl. She gained a clerical separation from her husband, establishing herself as the first woman in California to be granted a divorce.
In 1844 she purchased, from two Ohlone Indians, 4,400 acres of land in what are now the foothills of Palo Alto. It was on this land that Juana built Rancho La Purísima Concepción. Juana Briones excelled not only in business and farming but her reputation for hospitality and skills in medicine were widely recognized. Although she never received a formal education and could not read or write, Juana Briones thrived as a single mother, a medicine woman, a business woman and a humanitarian.
Rancho La Purísima Concepción was an exceptional and rare monument that has been destroyed.