While on the subject of naming or renaming buildings like the main library, is there a reason why the Cultural Center, when it was renamed a few years ago, was called the Palo Alto Art Center, rather than the Palo Alto Arts Center? There is an auditorium, which, when available, is used by musicians for concerts and recitals. Why not acknowledge their presence, too, by the addition of the letter "s"?
I am writing to praise the awareness of and patience toward young bicyclists that I have seen shown by Palo Alto drivers.
Getting my 5-year-old twins off the safe trails at Shoreline and onto regular Palo Alto streets as we biked to camp this summer was the scariest thing I have ever done. Because of course, despite all our discussions about traffic rules and safety issues, it has not been without incident. I've had children mistakenly go the wrong way (across traffic) when crossing an intersection, and at times the command to "wait" was misinterpreted as "go."
Our worst mix-up was the day they tangled their training wheels while crossing Loma Verde at Middlefield, and both went down in a heap. With a toddler on the back of my own bike, I couldn't easily get off to help, yet the drivers — easily more than 20 cars were involved — waited patiently through a complete traffic-light cycle while everyone got back on their feet and across the street safely; no driver honked, and no vehicle tried to "sneak by" us.
I am grateful for the tolerance shown by local drivers, which has made it safe for us to get through that crucial early-learning period. My children are now much more competent, and we happily bike to school daily. Their bodies are getting stronger, our streets are less congested, and our environment is cleaner.
Why so few candidates
The Weekly noted that few candidates have filed for City Council and School Board races. Public service is important and rewarding, but there are serious obstacles to running. Let me suggest reasons and a simple and useful solution.
It is well understood — especially by those who have been active in civic affairs — that time and schedule demands can be daunting. Elected officials must prepare for meetings, attend several weekly meetings, talk with community members and staff, respond to emails and phone calls, serve as a liaison to local boards and commissions, serve on regional boards, and attend community events. Finally, the electeds also need to take the time to reflect on issues before them. Only some are willing or able to make this commitment.
Others may not be able. Individuals with limited means, less flexible employment requirements, and/or personal and family time demands cannot serve. Many people decide that these circumstances and obligations are not easy to balance. Others make it work.
Since few obstacles are likely to change, let me suggest one thing that could make these jobs more attractive: shortening the length of our meetings. Having served for over 10 years on the School Board and City Council, I believe that no useful discussion occurs in the middle of the night. Other cities and regional boards do much better. Tighter agendas, brevity by the electeds and some voluntary restraint from the community may all help to encourage more people to run for office.
Gail A. Price
Palo Alto City Council
Blinded by the light
Residential street lights — brilliant financial decision or just too bright?
Anyone else dislike the newly installed LED neighborhood streetlights? I feel like I now reside in a shopping mall parking lot.