LettersBuena Vista diversity
I grew up in Barron Park, went to Barron Park School, Terman and Cubberley (which gives you some idea of how old I am). My parents lived here until they passed away, and though I lived other places, I have always sighed a great sigh of relief and contentment as I drove into Palo Alto from wherever I lived, knowing and feeling I was at home.
One of the qualities I have always loved about our neighborhood is the diversity. Even as the McMansions started popping up, there remained a sense of inclusion, of acceptance, of community and social responsibility with which I grew up here in Palo Alto
The Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, it seems to me, has always been part of our neighborhood, a rich and vibrant community within our community. The children there go to school with our children. My grandson is engaged to a lovely girl that he went to Gunn with, who lives there. These are families, honest, hard-working people with wonderful values, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet and to give their kids the opportunities so many of us take for granted.
To my knowledge, there is no equivalent place in our community for these families to move, and I think it would be detrimental to our community to lose this important part of what makes Barron Park a special place to live and grow up.
Bikes on the loose
This morning I was nearly knocked over by a speeding cyclist riding on the sidewalk on Homer Avenue from Alma as he headed up to Whole Foods. He was a fit, 20ish guy on an expensive bike. I assume he speeds in a Bimmer when he isn't busy terrorizing pedestrians. I'm a fit, oldish cyclist who bikes in the streets, the law in Palo Alto, when I'm not walking. Whole Foods is a major pedestrian area, and many of its patrons are not really able to hop out of the way of bikers who seem to feel they're too important to obey the rules.
It's great that more and more people are using bikes for transport, but this is the seventh time in two days that I've been sideswiped, startled or intimidated by people riding on the downtown sidewalks of Palo Alto in mid-morning. Two months ago I was forced off University Avenue at High Street and into a tree well, twisting my ankle, by a young man hell-bent toward Palm Drive.
Is the Palo Alto Police Department waiting until there's a major accident before it starts enforcing the law?
Reschedule Menlo meeting
What is quite possibly the most important City Council meeting in Menlo Park's history is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m. There are three problems with this. First, our City Council meetings are regularly scheduled on Tuesdays, and that is what people expect. Therefore many people may miss this important meeting. Second, it just so happens to be scheduled exactly on the day and time of the third and final presidential debate, which most people will probably want to watch, especially during this all-important election year. Third, having a crucial meeting on a matter of citywide concern at 6 p.m. on any day, virtually excludes huge segments of our population, who are either just getting off work, or who need to be home making dinner for their children and families.
Our City Council meetings regularly start at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Could it be that the city of Menlo Park wants to discourage residents from attending this vitally important meeting involving high-density zoning in numerous locations all over our city? It sure looks like it. And to further complicate matters, the city is holding its regular Tuesday 7 p.m. meeting the following day — but not allowing anyone who managed, against all odds, to attend the Monday night meeting and make a public comment, to speak out at the Tuesday night meeting.
So we're likely to have an under-attended meeting on Monday, followed by a largely silenced audience on Tuesday. Concerned residents should email or phone the city and insist on making Tuesday, Oct. 23, the initial meeting on this topic, and adding Wednesday, Oct. 24 as an overflow meeting to give all residents the opportunity to voice their opinions.
School board endorsements
I agree with your endorsement of Melissa Baten Caswell and Heidi Emberling for School Board, but believe you are wrong to endorse Ken Dauber over Camille Townsend.
Your recommendation acknowledged that the "criticism and aggressive style (of the group We Can Do Better, which Dauber represents) has made some uncomfortable and put the board and superintendent on the defensive," but argued that those concerns are overridden by the value of the group's new ideas.
I beg to differ. The district is thriving under its current leadership, and a key factor has been their collegiality. Some of Dauber's ideas may be good, but his conduct over the past year makes it highly doubtful that cooperation among board members would be maintained if he replaced Townsend. While he has come across as more moderate in candidate forums, his past conduct is probably a better predictor of what he would do if elected.
Camille Townsend's consistently positive relationship with her colleagues has been an important factor in the district's success. I urge your readers to cast their vote for her as well as Caswell and Emberling.