With all due respect to Elaine Haight, who mentioned Truckee's paid parking as an example Palo Alto could follow: As a part-timer in Truckee, I can tell you the locals would not shop downtown at all for several years until the parking program was changed to make it more acceptable. The last time the rules were changed was in November 2011 and, for the first time ever, their parking district actually made money during the last six months.
I would suggest Palo Alto review all the various forms of parking Truckee tried in order to not make the same mistakes. For example, in Truckee you do not pay to park after 6 p.m. so the restaurant business is not affected. Here is a link to their current parking program: www.moonshineink.com/sections/spot/truckee-alters-paid-parking
Just say no
One has to wonder how it was concluded — from somewhere on high — that the Bay Area must accommodate thousands of newcomers in all of our already saturated cities. Cram them in — it doesn't matter how — just do it!
In fact, it's already started. California Avenue is slated to be reduced to a two-lane street, regardless of the many protestations raised in the past few years.
What's next? Will neighborhood streets become single-lane, one-way streets? After all, such a move will allow narrowly designed housing units to be added to our cities. We can get used to one-way streets — simply use the appropriate streets to get to our destinations. After a few fender benders and fatalities, we'll learn to get around.
As for our building height limits — no problem — local height restrictions can be "modified" to meet the cramming-in requirements — after all, it's already being done, so that solution should be no surprise.
But here's a solution to the arbitrarily imposed cramming-in mandate borrowed from Nancy Reagan (never dreamed I'd ever respect her "wisdom"): "Just Say No."
But not simply "No." Bay Area cities should respond with a resounding "No, no, no, NO WAY will we accede to the obscene orders to turn our Bay Area into a series of Chicago Projects."
Consider another borrowed idea: Instead of "Build it and they will come," our position should be, "Don't build it and they WON'T come."
Waverley Street, Palo Alto
Independence Day eats
What ever happened to the good old days when the worst things we had to fear on the Fourth of July were traffic jams and wayward fireworks?
According to the Department of Agriculture's Meat & Poultry Hotline, this year's top threat is food poisoning by nasty E. coli and salmonella bugs lurking in hamburgers and hot dogs at millions of backyard barbecues. The hotline's advice is to grill them longer and hotter. Of course, they don't bother to mention that the high-temperature grilling that kills the bugs also forms lots of cancer-causing compounds.
Luckily, a bunch of enterprising U.S. food manufacturers and processors have met this challenge head-on by developing a great variety of healthful, delicious and convenient veggie burgers and soy dogs.
These delicious plant-based foods don't harbor nasty pathogens or cancer-causing compounds. They don't even carry cholesterol, saturated fats, drugs or pesticides. And, they are waiting for us in the frozen food section of our supermarket.
This Fourth of July offers a great opportunity to declare our independence from the meat industry and to share wholesome veggie burgers and soy dogs with our family and friends.
Clark Avenue, Palo Alto
Criminalization of the homeless
Palo Alto prides itself on being a home of creative, innovative people who solve problems. Why can't we come up with a solution for a real-life important problem such as people sleeping in cars? The city of Palo Alto is willing to spend thousands of dollars on consultants to deliberate the merits of development projects and public fountains; surely they could spare a few of those thousands to establish a parking area with a shower and a few toilets where people living in cars could sleep safely.
These people sleeping in cars are at least not sleeping (in the) rough outdoors or under bridges. They still own something, have a shell. Why can't they be given a safe haven to park, bathe and maybe even have some community? The warmth and sunlight of California are needed more by the homeless than by people living in huge, ostentatious houses.
Dana M. St. George
Campesino Avenue, Palo Alto