http://paloaltoonline.com/print/story/print/2011/06/17/letters


Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - June 17, 2011

Letters

Drekmeier responds

Editor,

David Bubenik's letter last week suggests that he has not read the updated feasibility study for an anaerobic digester in Palo Alto. For months project opponents have been quoting stale figures, and they lobbied to discontinue the study before more accurate financials could be determined.

Well, the updated figures are now available, and they show that anaerobic digestion could save our community $30 million or more over the first 20 years. After that, the facility would be paid off, and the savings would be even greater.

Opponents of anaerobic digestion have insisted that the facility should pay astronomical land rent, hoping that such a scenario would make it economically unappealing. However, it's up to City Council how much rent, if any, would be charged. And if we did charge ourselves rent, it would only shift funds from the Refuse Fund to the General Fund, which pays for our police, fire, parks and community services.

Opponents have attempted to scare people into opposing the anaerobic digester by claiming it would increase refuse rates. At the same time they have lobbied for the above-mentioned transfer of funds from the Refuse Fund to the General Fund in the form of rent.

Whose side are they on?

People can view the updated feasibility study at www.cityofpaloalto.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=27590 and information about the Palo Alto Green Energy and Compost Initiative at www.pagreenenergy.org.

Peter Drekmeier

Fulton Street

Palo Alto

Stop groundwater pumping

Editor,

For several months now the screened property on the northeast side of the 2100 block of Bryant Street has been discharging water through a four-inch pipe in the gutter into a drain on the corner of Bryant Street and North California Avenue. Obviously this water is being pumped from the ground for some misguided process. The unconscionable depletion of groundwater from precious aquifers that belong, not to the property owners, but to the neighborhood and the City of Palo Alto is a process that must be stopped immediately.

Why this process has been allowed to take place — especially for such an extended period — is beyond the comprehension of any thinking individual.

The City of Palo Alto should do whatever is in its power to police this situation now — before tragic consequences occur.

Barry Z. Rose

Colorado Avenue

Palo Alto

Saltworks and climate

Editor,

It might seem unlikely to some folks, but I think the Saltworks project would have an impact on local climate due to loss of Bay surface water.

We recently moved from a house in a Palo Alto's Adobe Meadow neighborhood, where neither air conditioners nor foam roofs were common. Now in a Mountain View neighborhood, Monta Loma, those are common and we can feel why.

At 3.3 miles from the Bay shore (previously 2.3), it is hotter in the summer and colder in the winter.

Raymond R. White

Whitney Drive

Mountain View

Construction could harm kids

Editor,

Stanford has begun building its new children's hospital and with it a nine-level parking structure fewer than 60-feet from our day care center (CCLC Arboretum, 215 Quarry Road). Stanford has already issued warnings to their physicians that construction of the new hospital will result in dust and noise pollution that could negatively impact patient health and encouraged patients to be kept indoors. They have closed off wings of their current hospital to prevent endangering patients and evacuated offices in proximity to construction.

However, when it comes to building next to a day care, Stanford has little regard for the safety or health of our children. In addition to demolishing playgrounds, they've told our daycare to try to "keep the windows closed" and to "encourage indoor play" as much as possible. As a parent and physician, "keeping windows closed" and "encouraging indoor play" is not an effective strategy to prevent exposure to toxic construction materials like lead and asbestos.

CCLC Arboretum has little to offer unfortunately, as they just lease the land that Stanford owns. Many of the day care staff are outraged, frustrated, and heartbroken over Stanford's unwillingness to find a workable compromise. Many are contemplating leaving. Our loving day care community, which many of us think of as an extended family, is being torn apart. It truly seems odd that a building permit for such a large-scale project would be granted in proximity to a day care.

Up to this point, the voices of the parents have fallen on deaf ears. Several meetings with Stanford and the construction company have all been met with: "This is a billion dollar project that will go forward. Let's do the best we can." On an issue as important as our children's health, "doing the best we can" is not good enough.

Stanford is acting irresponsibly, especially for a hospital purported to advocate for the health of children. We must do better.

Peter Jun

Cedar Avenue

Menlo Park

Comments

Posted by Melissa, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:16 pm

As noted in today's letter from Peter Jun about the imminent construction of a multi-story parking structure just next to the CCLC Arboretum child care facility, the project will undoubtedly cause harm to the attending children if all proceeds as plans. But the story is so much worse. The initial environmental impact report (EIR) did not mention the existence of the daycare, and its subsequent last-minute inclusion was likely overlooked by decision makers. The CCLC staff knew of the proposed project, but deliberately kept parents in the dark until just this week. Is Stanford incompetent, or just evil? Either way, their responses so far are less than satisfying. The CCLC parents will make their presence known at the city council meeting on Monday. There's still time for Stanford, and Palo Alto, to do the right thing.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Melissa states:"the project will undoubtedly cause harm to the attending children if all proceeds as plans"

Evidence please. Construction takes place all the time on and near school grounds and there is no evidence that construction of those buildings has caused harm to children.

Feel free to offer an opinion but have evidence if you wish to state such a definitive conclusion as "the project will undoubtedly cause harm to the attending children if all proceeds as plans"


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jun 17, 2011 at 9:39 pm

The Childrens' Environmental Health Network Symposium report entitled Preventing Child Exposures to Environmental Hazards:Research and Policy Issues lists a wide range of environmental hazards for children - the process of constructing buildings is not even mentioned.

As I noted in another topic on this forum hospitals have much more stringent requirements for protection from airborne contamination than do schools or normal individuals because they have patients whose conditions or surgical procedures make them much more susceptible to infection.

Stanford is wisely taking steps to minimize these risks during the planned construction. During prior hospital construction periods certain types of surgery were postponed for this reason.


Posted by Melissa, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 18, 2011 at 10:36 am

Peter,

According to the FEIR, the daycare children will be exposed to unfiltered air which will contain TAC, NOX, PM2.5-10 and ROG. The FEIR addresses health risks to the following populations: LPCH patients, SHC patients, and maximally exposed offsite residents (MEIR). These populations were identified in Envion's February 2010 report, the daycare wasn't acknowledged by Environ until *after* the February report. Therefore the health risk to the SACC population is not addressed in the FEIR.

Melissa


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jun 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

Mellisa states:"Therefore the health risk to the SACC population is not addressed in the FEIR".

This is a big improvement over the previous statement that "the project will undoubtedly cause harm to the attending children if all proceeds as plans".

As noted in the Childrens' Environmental Health Network Symposium report entitled Preventing Child Exposures to Environmental Hazards:Research and Policy Issues lists a wide range of environmental hazards for children - the process of constructing buildings is not even mentioned.

The prudent steps which the hospital is taking to protect its highly vulnerable patients are addressing a substantially greater risk of airborne contamination to those patients than the risk to healthy individuals - who have been, are and will be exposed to the by-products of many construction projects.


Posted by Melissa, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 18, 2011 at 11:08 am

Peter,

The FEIR was reviewed by Meryl Karol, Ph.D., an immuno-toxicologist. She is the past President of the US Society of Toxicology and the former Secretary General of the International Union of Toxicologists. She has served on the advisory board to all the major environment agencies including: WHO, EPA, NRC, FDA, CDC, and the US military. She has testified before Congress during the FEMA Katrina trailer/formaldehyde hearings. She's also the grandmother one of the daycare children.

Dr. Karol's comments, which I paraphrased above, will be presented in full, along with other evidence, at Monday night's Palo Alto City Council meeting. I am not familiar with the document you have been citing, but based on her review I believe the risks to the daycare children are real and substantial. If you continue to disagree, I recommend you attend Monday's meeting.

Melissa


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I still don't get what the use is of posting on these forums. Get an attorney to assist, or, get a doctor, or doctors, to vouch for the danger & demand Stanford do something, if indeed it's dangerous for the kids. Or get both.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jun 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I can find no evidence in the literature of construction using modern materials posing a chemical risk to either the construction workers or to nearby individuals.

Based on my prior experience, I believe what Stanford is concerned about is the fact that construction will disturb the soil at the construction site thereby possibly causing indigenous infectious and fungal material to become airborne. Those indigenous infectious and fungal material pose a potential risk to immune compromised and surgical patients with healing wounds, hence the hospital's abundant caution to its staff on this matter.

Again, I can find no evidence in the literature that such indigenous infectious and fungal material pose a risk to normal individuals. There is a long history of intimate human exposure to construction sites and no data that such exposure has any known risk. If this were not the case there would be, given all the construction that takes place, significant epidemiological data supporting such a risk.


Posted by Love It, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm

"Is Stanford incompetent, or just evil?" You gotta love that kind of constructive attitude. I'm sure these folks are a joy to work with ;-)


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I agree, Love It. Maybe it's CCLC who're incompetent and/or evil, keeping the parents "in the dark".

There may be kids at this CCLC site who're prone to bad allergies, upper respiratory infections or asthma. I can see that being of primary concern.

Having the close ties to Stanford that I do, I know they're very fallible, but "evil" & "incompetent" aren't apt descriptors.