When I heard of your "Support Local Journalism" effort I immediately made a contribution and hope many other readers will do the same. I fear for the future of the venture, however, unless the Weekly is able to offer some exclusive, tangible benefit to members.
One suggestion might be that only members would be entitled to comment online on the newspaper's website — using a system where identities are verified, and responsibility and courtesy are fostered. Unfortunately I expect the Weekly will continue to follow the orthodoxy that has ruined so many newspaper websites, i.e., allowing anonymous postings, sometimes horrific.
Yes, moderation can help, but it cannot turn an open site where people take no responsibility for their words into a venue for useful discussion, any more than the most zealous janitor could turn a public bathroom into a place where one would want to hang out and eat a meal.
Like other newspapers, the Weekly needs to appreciate that there's a disconnect between, on the one hand, requiring a name, address, and phone number for letters that might be printed and, on the other hand, freely allowing anonymous graffiti online.
City needs Cubberley
If the City Council responds favorably to Foothill College's request to acquire the 8 acres of Cubberley owned by the city, the result will be an intensification of the site beyond its capacity; the loss of valuable community-serving uses, including more than 300 childcare slots; and the precluding of the school district's ability to re-open the campus with sorely needed secondary classroom space.
Foothill has been an excellent tenant at Cubberley. Their expansion plans will draw residents from the entire north county area. The new satellite campus might be a good use were it not for the dearth of public facility zoned land to serve not only the current but future requirements of our own Palo Alto residents.
Recent discussions of the need for a new public-safety building and vastly expanded elementary school space, to say nothing of ABAG's demand that we make room for up to 14,000 additional housing units, illustrate that we can ill afford to let these 8 acres be used for anything other than to provide for our own residents' needs.
To sell, or even long-term lease, one of the city's most important capital assets would be irresponsible — a terrible mistake that would forever penalize its current and future citizens and diminish Palo Alto's legacy.
Mike Cobb and Lanie Wheeler
Former mayors of Palo Alto
Dixon Place and Diablo Court