I have lived in Palo Alto for more than 25 years, and I am now moved to complain about the proliferation of offensive buildings that directly abut the sidewalk, rising from the ground to create intrusive eyesores that destroy the pleasant look of our community.
This message is prompted by the monstrosity on Alma near East Meadow — a development that apparently had room for open space within the buildings, hidden from view to passersby, but not enough space for a setback, or a lawn, or other feature that would allow the building to fit into the neighborhood.
This seems to be a trend. I fear that the planning department may actually want buildings like this, since the Hyatt Rickeys and JCC developments share the same problems. There is no excuse for such designs; I point out that all of the industrial buildings along Page Mill Road are set back from the street, with lawns and trees (and some fountains) presenting a pastoral appearance, and not the harsh and unfriendly appearance of the Alma building, the Hyatt Rickeys development, or the JCC.
As a Palo Alto resident, I complain and object to building designs in which the structure starts at the sidewalk, encroaching on the street, presenting a solid wall with no or few windows, with few or no plants or other amenities to make it look like a welcoming building, as opposed to the prison or fortress look of the developments I mentioned above.
Highest kudos to Lydia Kou, visionary, founder and leader of Quakeville. This is the third year Lydia has held this event — an important exercise for all the Palo Alto Emergency Service Volunteers as well as an opportunity for the public to learn more and experience life after a disaster.
This year Lydia organized more exciting components including a fabulous drill for the ARES/RACES, CERTs (Community Emergency Response Teams), NPC/BPCs (Neighborhood/Block Coordinators). Highest credit to CERT leaders: John St Clare III, Bob Sikora and Mark Meyers, who developed these exercises. The new emergency medical unit, led by Geri Spieler and Bonnie Berg, RN, demonstrated their skills in treating victims. The Red Cross, led by Karl Matzke, opened a shelter in Cubberley Gym to allow residents to spend the night. Palo Alto Animal Services, Connie Urbanski, provided support for "stuffed" animals, which would not be able to stay in a shelter after a disaster. Ali Williams took the lead on media outreach and was the Quakeville public information officer.
The information tables were ably staffed by Sheri Furman, who gave residents an opportunity to taste "emergency food," and Sherie Dodsworth with her product, Portavault. Special thanks to the teen volunteers led by Divya Saini, FEMA Teen Council and organizer of the Gunn "Movers and Shakers." Everyone was impressed with the make-up — thanks to TheatreWorks' Sarah Hatton, Amanda Widick from StageArtisan FX and Kam McCowan from Stanford. It couldn't have happened without the many wonderful volunteers and the sponsorship and support from Kenneth Dueker, director of the Office of Emergency Services.
Amazingly well done. Thanks again to Lydia Kou, organizer/director for leading the team to a very successful Quakevillle 2012.
Annette Glanckopf (member of the Quakeville planning team)
No need for streetlights
I agree with Marilyn Mayo (Palo Alto Weekly, Sept. 7). The new streetlights do not belong in residential neighborhoods. For many years I have enjoyed looking at the stars from the deck in my backyard. No more. I have to shield my eyes from the new streetlight, which seems as bright as the sun.