The next Palo Alto City Council needs to make significant progress in erasing our city's infrastructure deficit. The Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission Report tackled that $300 million problem, laid out the issues and options in its January report, the City Council and Staff embraced that report, and now the heavy lifting begins. One candidate in the coming election, Marc Berman, was a member of that commission. He knows the challenge from the inside out, appreciates its complexity, and knows what it will take to manage it with persistence, judgment and determination.
We believe that, even without his deep knowledge of Palo Alto's infrastructure challenge, Marc would be an outstanding candidate. With it, he'll be a major asset on the council and for our community.
Ray Bacchetti, Le Levy
Co-chairs, Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission
Positive change with Dauber
Ken Dauber, a software engineer and former sociology professor, brings expertise to the PAUSD race. With very strong research, data analysis, critical thinking and communication skills, he understands educational research and innovative practices. He has already contributed to an improved homework policy, a modified calendar and a stronger, more comprehensive examination of counseling models that really work for students — all related to reducing student stress.
He is reflective and sensitive to detail and nuance and recognizes that current practices need to address the academic and social needs of all students, including the achievement of students of color. Ken recognizes that current decisions shape education for the future.
He advocates positive change and speaks directly to the issues. He raises concerns and proposes solutions; he has a high level of integrity and engagement. This will enrich the quality of discussions and outcomes.
Vote for Ken Dauber for School Board.
Gail A. Price
Former School Board member
Palo Alto City Council member
Dauber is 'collegial'
It's too bad Walt Hays, who I otherwise respect, has chosen to sink to negative characterizations of other candidates to promote his candidate, Ms. Townsend (Letter to the Editor, Oct. 19, 2012). Does Ms. Townsend have so few personal accomplishments in her nine years on the board other than "collegiality" that Mr. Hays and her other supporters must resort to tearing down another candidate to promote their own?
If Mr. Hays had taken the time to meet Mr. Dauber personally (he has not) he would understand what those of us who have worked with Mr. Dauber know. On top of being smart, articulate and full of constructive ideas, Ken Dauber is thoughtful, cordial and polite. Challenging the status quo and pointing to areas where the board or superintendent has fallen down on the job does not mean someone cannot work congenially with colleagues. To state otherwise is a red herring intended to distract people from judging their candidate on her own merit.
Voters should believe what they have seen and heard in public, not the caricatures presented by opposing candidates' followers. The Weekly got it right in endorsing Ken Dauber, and he will be an outstanding School Board Trustee.
El Centro Street
'Bye quiet neighborhoods
The Palo Alto Planning Department has recently reinterpreted the Palo Alto Noise Code, to allow noise levels on residential streets and sidewalks that normally would only be allowed in public areas, such as, parks. This was done to permit AT&T to install its noisy Distributed Antenna System (DAS) equipment on telephone poles in residentially zoned neighborhoods.
The residential noise code limits noise to no more than 6 decibels above ambient at the residential property line. Four months ago, in an email to me, the Planning Department agreed that this 6-decibel noise standard also applied to noise generated on sidewalks and streets in a residential area. Now, because of pressure from AT&T, that decision has been reversed. The Planning Department now says someone can come to the sidewalk in front of a residential property, and they are limited by only the public area noise standard, which is 15 decibels above ambient at 25 feet, even when that 25 feet is completely on the residential property. This new noise code interpretation would allow someone on the sidewalk in front of a residence to make as much noise as a noisy vacuum cleaner. They could do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I find this new interpretation of the Palo Alto noise code unbelievable and completely contrary to the intent of the noise code. If this new interpretation of the noise code is allowed to stand, we can all say goodbye to our quiet residential neighborhoods.
Biking on sidewalks
A recent letter complained about a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk on Homer from Alma Street to Whole Foods and suggested that it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in Palo Alto. It isn't illegal except on short stretches of a few streets (e.g., University Avenue in the downtown area). It is, however, illegal to ride a bicycle on Homer when going from Alma to Whole Foods as that street is one way in the opposite direction.
The bicyclist in question might have gone through the Caltrain undercrossing at Homer and either didn't want to go a block out of his way or didn't feel comfortable riding on Alma Street.
Regardless, he shouldn't have made a pedestrian feel uncomfortable while walking on a sidewalk, but he might have been more willing to use the road if drivers behaved better. This morning, for example, I saw a driver first tailgate another vehicle on Charleston and then use the bike lane as a passing lane, apparently because of a pressing need to reach the red light a few hundred yards ahead in as little time as possible. Let's just say that such behavior does not inspire confidence.