Last week the Weekly reported that the last small merchant in Alma Plaza received notice to vacate in three weeks. Today I was in the shoe store cum Post Office Substation of Rufo M Lacerna. Mr. Lacerna and his wife have served this community faaithfully as they struggled to make a go of their little enterprise. To make ends meet they practiced an economy not often seen by Palo Altans. When I first entered the store several years ago the six month old baby lay in his cradle. As she sold stamps and weighed letters Mrs. Lacerna soothed the babies cries. The three year old romped around the front of the counter. For years they sweltered in the summer. There was no cross ventilation. Mrs. Lacerna was ever alert to see the boy did not run out of the open door into the parking lot.
The Lacernas' financial existence depends on moving the substation to a new location. He has found a new location but is afraid to sign a lease until he has assurance that the Post Office Dept. will approve the transition.
Palo Alto officialdom is painfully "correct" in the manner it debates every planning decision. Its decisions regarding Alma Plaza have shattered the lives of the Lacernas. Mr. Lacerna is a bright and energetic man, but his command of English betrays him. He needs help in threading his way through the pathways of the bureaucracy. I call on the Palo Alto bureaucracy and on concerned citizens to show some humanitarian compassion and help the Lacernas reestablish themselves. I am deeply disturbed by the tendency to concentrate on policy while struggling citizens are hung out to dry.