I was delighted to read that our City Council is showing resolve and a true commitment to balancing the city's finances in their dealings with the firefighters union. And I would find the union's posturing amusing if our city's financial future and outlook weren't so serious.
The firefighters had many invitations to make their contribution to solving our city's financial troubles when everyone was asked to pitch in and they dug in their heels. Interesting too, that the union didn't have a problem with a ballot initiative as long as the decision to be considered was to enshrine firefighter's jobs, rampant overtime and six-figure salaries along with a ladder truck permanently parked in front of Lytton Gardens into the city charter. To frame this particular ballot initiative, where we will get to consider whether these ancient guarantees should go the way of our 4th of July block-party fireworks and help the city regain financial control, to frame this as unfair labor practices and bad faith seems rather dishonest. And rather selfish for public servants. Kudos to our city council and I hope the people and common sense prevail.
The City of Palo Alto is encouraging long-term parking in my area by its actions and non-actions. El Camino between Stanford Avenue and California Avenue have no parking restrictions enforced on a daily basis. Oxford, Staunton and Cambridge are the same way. These streets are near a business district but there is no "two-hour parking" rule during business hours. The 72-hour rule is only enforced after residents get tired of vehicles parked there and call the city and the community service officer comes back on duty and gets time to visit our streets. That is when the 72-hour countdown begins. There is one individual who has been utilizing about 10 parking spaces here for more than 20 years because he knows how to game the system. After the police put the 72-hour notice on several of his vehicles, he rotates them so they have technically been moved and the police are powerless to issue him tickets. He is still occupying 10 parking spaces, usually six on my block of Oxford at all times. I see this man's 15 or so vehicles continuously form Serra Avenue, on the Stanford Campus, to San Antonio Road in Mountain View along El Camino and the side streets within a block or two of El Camino.
If this is how you wish our city to be run, then do nothing. Otherwise, encourage the city fathers to come up with a rule enforceable by the police to take back our parking spaces for business customers and residents during the day. Are there other areas of Palo Alto with the same problems?
Cal Ave streetscape
To my fellow pedestrians and bicyclists that venture down California Avenue: Don't expect any change in the 4-lane hazardous maze. The merchants have a vice-grip on the project and will never budge. We are left with narrow sidewalks, car domination and the same ho hum.
San Carlos Court
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