http://paloaltoonline.com/print/story/print/2012/02/24/letters


Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - February 24, 2012

Letters

Compost facility feasibility

Editor,

Now that Measure E has opened the door to using 10 acres of parkland for a compost facility, residents must watch the city's actions closely to make sure that a decision is made quickly, and if the real financial merit of the plant is not feasible — make sure that the parkland is rededicated.

All concerned residents must insist that our leaders respond to the following questions:

1. How do we make sure that the "cost" (market value) of the 10 acres of real estate is fully accounted for in any financial feasibility study?

2. How do we assure that there is absolute integrity in all the assumptions used to evaluate the project (real financial merit vs. pipe dreams)?

3. How do we keep study costs to a minimum (i.e., if it is clear that the anaerobic digester does not meet financial return goals, stop the detailed study and return the parkland)?

Without this scrutiny, we will spend money and delay a precious park resource without delivering any value.

Watchdog efforts like these are bad news for those hoping that there might be a loophole to convert the land to another purpose once the memory of implied promises have faded.

That promise: The city will provide an innovative composting plant that returns a positive financial return (including the market value of the land) or return it to parkland and proceed with the long-delayed recreational vision for our waterfront. Got accountability? Compost or get off the pot.

Timothy Gray

Park Boulevard

Electrify Caltrain

Editor,

The latest sugar in the California High Speed Rail Authority boondoggle is to provide electrification for the Peninsula Caltrain System. Back in 2000 Santa Clara County voters approved Measure A, which extended the 1996 sales tax for the BART extension, but also for Caltrain electrification. The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce got on board, so to speak, since electrification promised fast, frequent and quiet Caltrain. That was the sugar for Measure A. Bottom line: We were promised electrification once in Measure A and now for high-speed rail. This is doubling down on bait and switch.

Chop Keenan

Keenan Land Co.

Palo Alto

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