Good idea for the City Council to have seven rather than nine members. It is, however, rather audacious for City Council members to suggest a possible council term of 12 years and an increase in pay of $600 to do a job that they chose and the people of the city of Palo Alto elected them to do. Does Palo Alto need professional politicians? Give other Palo Altans have a chance to "represent" the people of this city. There are good reasons for term limits. We should not have entrenched politicians in any office.
It sounds like the City Council wants to go into "dictatorship" mode. We have already had revolving doors for two City Council members. This is only a city of 66,000 people. If they are not sufficiently familiar with the issues while running for office then Palo Altans are in for trouble. Who gets 12 years to learn a job "to become more experienced with complex issues"? This is a small city, not the state or federal government! A citizen's recommendation:
1. Term limits of two terms of two years each per elected official, and that is it! You do not get a chance to run again.
2. No increase in salaries paid to city council members!
3. Get out of the pockets of developers and start making decisions that benefit the people of Palo Alto and not Arrillaga and the like.
Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto
The sleeping-in-cars ban
Let the police department furnish them (people living in their cars) with cell phones and a large placard (similar to the ones on pizza-delivery cars) printed in big bold letters — "Neighborhood Watch Vehicle" — then allow them to park on local streets with high rates of burglaries, acting as a deterrent to potential burglaries and as additional eyes and ears to the police department in crime prevention.
South Court, Palo Alto
On losing one's home
I am a Palo Alto resident. In my late teens I was thrown out of my house for the great sin of going to college. I was terrified. I hadn't the least idea of where to go or how to support myself. I wandered the streets worrying that I might be killed or that I would starve. Had I imagined that I was also a felon, I would have been even more traumatized. Fortunately, that time, a relative took me in. Today, it must be just as traumatic to lose one's home either through losing a job, medical bills or emotional problems.
To criminalize this terrifying event instead of providing needed services out-Scrooges Scrooge. Our community can come together to solve this problem.
Lois W. Salo
Ross Road, Palo Alto
In support of Maybell housing
I am a resident of Barron Park writing to strongly support the Palo Alto Housing Corporation (PAHC) proposal to build affordable senior housing on Maybell. I have lived on the same block as the proposed development for more than 25 years. I believe the PAHC project will serve an underserved group of people in Palo Alto.
The self-elected Barron Park Association board opposes the project through a close 6-4 vote, taken without surveying Barron Park residents to determine the sense of the neighborhood. This vote represents only six people, not our neighborhood.
Through a course of public hearings, PAHC and the city responded to criticisms by changing the design, eliminating driveways onto Maybell, scaling down the size of the Maybell residences, providing two additional means of automobile egress from the property, widening the sidewalks and increasing the setbacks.
Knowledgeable advocates for Palo Alto's "Safe Routes to School" tell me they have studied the Maybell situation and do not believe this project will make an appreciable impact on traffic or bike/pedestrian commute safety.
The proposed development is surrounded on two sides by large apartment complexes, one 8-stories tall, and on one side by Juana Briones Park. The proposed two-story houses on Maybell are across the street from a vacant lot and a small rented house, and nearby are several large two-story houses. The proposed development is compatible with the immediate neighborhood and provides much-needed affordable senior housing. Along with many of my Barron Park neighbors, I support this project.
Alta Mesa Avenue, Palo Alto