News


Small plane crashes after takeoff in Palo Alto

Pilot survives after Cessna 140 crashes near Dumbarton Bridge

A man in his 50s walked away unscathed after his plane crashed into mud flats near the eastern end of the Dumbarton Bridge Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

The pilot of a single-engine Cessna 140 reported a loss of engine power at about 12:40 p.m. after taking off from the Palo Alto Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The man piloting the plane, a retired commercial pilot with about 30,000 hours of flight experience, was planning on going to Illinois, but instead tried to turn around and make it back to the airport, Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.

But the plane didn't make it back and landed in soft mud near the bridge shortly after 1 p.m., Schapelhouman said.

The plane overturned after the crash landing, but the pilot, the lone occupant, managed to get out safely, Schapelhouman said.

An "Everglades-style" rescue boat from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, the only one in the South Bay, responded and rescued the man, who appears to be uninjured, according to Schapelhouman.

The fire district is working with state Fish and Game and U.S. Coast Guard officials to handle fuel and oil that is leaking from the upside-down aircraft, Schapelhouman said.

There was about 21 gallons of fuel and five gallons of oil on the plane, he said.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. Schapelhouman said authorities were still deciding Saturday afternoon whether to remove the aircraft from the site, or leave it there for federal investigators.

The plane is registered to a Menlo Park man, but it is unknown whether he was the pilot. The owner will ultimately be responsible for the cost of the cleanup, Schapelhouman said.

Were you at the scene? Send us your photos.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Just give it time - the airport apologists will be out in force. I hope this crash hasn't caused the deaths & injuries that last year's did.


Like this comment
Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm

The last crash at the Palo Alto airport (late May, 2011) was not very well reported by the local papers. Some web-sites did carry information about the crash. The tail code of the plane in that crash in May, showed that the plane was also registered to someone in Menlo Park--

Web Link

According to FAA records, the plane is registered to Evan Williams and Lesley Pickford-Williams, of Menlo Park. A phone call to the Williams residence was not returned by deadline Friday.

An airport employee at the scene Friday refused to discuss the crash with reporters and would not allow them to talk to the pilot, who said he was uninjured. The pilot was walking around and talking to airport and emergency personnel, and drove off after retrieving personal items from the plane.
----

The FAA/TSB did file a preliminary report on this accident on the FAA web site about six weeks after the event, but disturbing questions were never asked, nor answered.

At the time, the tail code for this aircraft (N2865M) showed up as a plane that was available for rental at the Palo Alto Airport (available through a flight club), and other airports in California also. At least one local paper quoted the pilot as saying that there were problems with the engine (or words to that effect).

The troubling questions remain about the use of the Palo Alto Airport by flying clubs that use planes that are not owned by the clubs:

1) Who owns the planes that these clubs rent?
2) Who is responsible for the damage done by a pilot flying these planes?
3) What kind of insurance is required of a flying club that operates out of this airport?
4) Who is responsible for inspecting the engines and planes?
5) Who keeps records for the operations of these clubs?
6) Can the club be held responsible for crimes committed by people renting planes (such as flying in/out drugs)?
7) Are these clubs required to report suspicious activity to local/federal police agencies?
8) What local public safety agencies actually review the records of these flying clubs?


It will be interesting to see how well the local papers report on this crash, the pilot, and the owner, to see if there is any pattern of irresponsibility on the part of anyone involved.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

1) Who owns the planes that these clubs rent?
Various people.
2) Who is responsible for the damage done by a pilot flying these planes?
The airframe owner.
3) What kind of insurance is required of a flying club that operates out of this airport?
PL/PD
4) Who is responsible for inspecting the engines and planes?
The owner, but repairs must be signed off by A7E mechanic.
5) Who keeps records for the operations of these clubs?
The owners and the club.
6) Can the club be held responsible for crimes committed by people renting planes (such as flying in/out drugs)?
About as much as a car rental agency.
7) Are these clubs required to report suspicious activity to local/federal police agencies?
About as much as a car rental agency.
8) What local public safety agencies actually review the records of these flying clubs?
The same ones that investigate car accidents plus the FAA.


Like this comment
Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm

The answers to these questions, provided by a reader, are probably correct--BUT THEY ARE UNACCEPTABLE!

1) Who owns the planes that these clubs rent?

Various people.

2) Who is responsible for the damage done by a pilot flying
these planes?

The airframe owner.

3) What kind of insurance is required of a flying club that operates out of this airport?

PL/PD

4) Who is responsible for inspecting the engines and planes?

The owner, but repairs must be signed off by A7E mechanic.
----

The idea that a "club" can operate on a publicly-owned airport, lease out space, and allow to operate an aircraft rental operation where the planes are owned by "various" unnamed, and clearly unaccountable people (other than through the vagaries of the civil court system), is not acceptable for an urban cluster of communities where upwards of 300,000 people live, work, and where the property values are easily $250B-$500B.

The people living in this five-mile zone (85% of all General Aviation accidents occur within 5 miles of the origin/destination of the flight) have virtually no one in the aggregate local/state/federal governments showing much concern over the safety of the people on the ground.

These clubs need to be denied access to these urban-located airports. If they want to operate out in the "country", that's OK. But to allow people who have almost no obligation to maintain their aircraft or face legal (meaning criminal) consequences, and rent these planes out to people who may be not be residents of the local counties, or state, then it's time for a change!

We who live on the ground are more important that the people who seem to think so little of us, flying over our heads (or not flying as is the case in today's accident, and the May, 2010, accident).


Like this comment
Posted by Alain
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm

"We who live on the ground are more important that the people who seem to think so little of us, flying over our heads (or not flying as is the case in today's accident, and the May, 2010, accident)."

I am much more concerned about those who drive amongst us! How many people hae killed on the ground by planes flying out of Palo Alto Airport? There be some, but I cannot remember any. However, I can count MANY innocent people who have been killed by cars, trains, buses...ON THE GROUND!

I don't fly airplanes, but I can recognize a rat when I see one, "Shut-It-Down". Time to consider bigger issues, methinks.


Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 26, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Unless an airplane crashes into a child-care center while it's occupied or a school and kills a score of children, the airport apologists will say triumphantly: you see, there's no problem, it crashed into the mudflats, (or the bay, or the baylands). This airplane could have just as easily crashed into the Dumbarton Bridge during rush hour and caused a major catastrophe. It's only a matter of time before we have to explain to grieving family members why in the world we have a general aviation airport right next to densely populated residential areas. But of course, the flyboys have to to have fun, what's a few graves compared to their right to waste leaded fuel, poison the air, ground and water and kill a few innocents.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2011 at 7:13 pm

The car argument doesn't work because unfortunately, cars are necessary right now for basic transportation. The majority of small planes used for pleasure craft put too many people at risk for their own pleasure. Selfish, & again, the apologists are always working hard to justify.


Like this comment
Posted by Local Observer
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 26, 2011 at 8:37 pm

The Palo Airport was built in April 1940 per:

Web Link

When was your home built? When did you buy your home?

Some of the specious arguments being posted are as ignorant as those regarding the Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose and the Executive Airport in Sacramento, both of which were built out in the boondocks far away from homes and commerce.

Later, greedy developers built homes and businesses right up to those airports, same as they did for the Palo Alto airport.

I recall the incident when an O'Farrell's (sp?) ice cream parlor that was built at the end of the main runway in Sacramento experienced numerous deaths and injuries when a jet failed to rotate and continued beyond the runway and into the ice cream parlor.

Many similar events happen flanking Reid-Hillview.

Point being: don't build next to the airports that were there l-o-n-g before anything else (including homes and business). How difficult is that to understand?


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:24 am

How difficult is that to understand? Sheesh, our safety is much more important than the airport. Things change, ya know, from 70 years ago. It's not about greedy developers, it's about pilot & machine error that put many in danger, unnecessarily.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2011 at 2:26 am

I guess most of the posts here are supposed to bore or infuriate people into not reading further or expressing their opinion.

This is not a question of when the airport or the houses in EPA or PA were built. Not even a question of the code or developers, that is all long gone and long done so there is nothing to be done.

This is not a question of the entity that flies or rents planes, whoever or whatever does that is not going to change the fact that planes fail and people make mistakes.

This is a question of a risk that is not going to go away and an airport management that is not going to take any action to manage that risk. It is a question that at some point, and there is no guarantee it will not be tomorrow, there will be another crash, and no guarantee that the next crash will not be as terrible as the previous crashes have been lucky. This is the incompetent management of risk by people in political power who are just ignoring or stonewalling because they either cannot do anything to significantly fix this, or they know the cost will be so great that they cannot fix it.

The airport was built when progress was anything bigger. noisier, dirtier, and more industrial that farmland or whatever was there before. Things have changed. If they hadn't the SF Bay would be cement ... there would be no bay. When I moved to CA in 1969 most days you could not see the other side of the bay the air quality was so bad.

Now that we know how people feel about the environment and safety, we have new ways for the elite to get their way. They use money instead of votes to run the political system. They open an issue up for discussion, but there is no real discussion and any regular citizen who discusses is viewed in the media as a fanatic if possible to spin it that way.

The Baylands quality is very negatively affected by the airport, not to mention Palo Alto and the noise and risk. Go to the baylands for a hike and you will find planes and helicopters are taking off and landing constantly. It's fun for kids to watch the planes from up close, but that is about the only positive mark I can give to the airport.

This area would be much better if it was more natural and quieter, it is quite a lovely resource and would be useable if there was not constant noise.

This risk cannot be denied, it has happened once, and there are regular mishaps. Just in the last 6 months there was this one, and one on the other side of the airport, the Baylands side a few months back. Maybe there were more.

A yacht harbor would serve the area economically much more than the airport. Some nice restaurants and recreation facilities would bring business to the city and provide a local spot for people to actually interact with each other.


Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 27, 2011 at 6:22 am

The time has come to substantially reduce air traffic intrusions over rural and urban homes and neighborhoods before innocent people on the ground are seriously injured or lose their lives due to yet another aviation tragedy. In addition limits should be placed on disruptive aviation noise intrusions as well as benzene, carbon dioxide, lead, and other toxic emissions resulting from general aviation activity. The loss of property value incurred by those who dwell under flight paths and training areas should also be factored in.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

I am so pleased the pilot of this plane was unhurt and managed to bring the plane down safely.

From what I heard, he had engine trouble and was turning back to Palo Alto airport.

Planes have engine problems whatever their size. The reasons for shutting down Palo Alto airport could be argued for San Carlos, SFO, Oakland, and San Jose. What happens next time a plane has to make an emergency landing at SFO? Wow, the plane may land on highway 101, perhaps we should petition to move SFO to somewere more rural? At least that is what the whiners sound like.

We take risks everytime we leave our homes. In fact we take risks just living here in an earthquake zone. Unless you want to live in the boomdocks, you are living with more risks than the original native Americans before the Valley was anything more than their traditional hunting grounds. Oh wait, they could have been attacked by bears!


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:24 am

Resident, the point is there are different kind of risks. Many of us see the PA airport flyers are somewhat selfish because so much of what they do is for pleasure, yet it causes excessive waste, damage & continual potential danger in an area which has grown too densely populated for the airport to be safe. I grew up in Menlo & PA, & had concerns about the airport when planes would fly too close back then. It's not just people in PA & EPA who worry, either. It's MP, RWC, Atherton - I know many people who have concerns & last year's accident in EPA was an example of those concerns.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 27, 2011 at 11:24 am

Oh my, another silly pro-airport argument:

>The Palo Airport was built in April 1940 per:
>Web Link
>When was your home built? When did you buy your home?

Nobody lives at the airport. Small planes can be easily relocated. Houses, families and neighborhoods cannot. General aviation aircraft can utilize the South County Airport which is profitable, remotely located and has capacity. Santa Clara County would love to expand the facility and make it more profitable.

Another silly argument:

> perhaps we should petition to move SFO to somewhere more rural?
> At least that is what the whiners sound like.

SFO is a commercial international airport generating huge amounts of revenue and jobs. Residents of Palo Alto utilize SFO. At PAO, the whiners are the pilots themselves complaining about fuel costing a few cents more and crying when the County talks about raising fees to cover PAO's deficit. The majority of PAO users are not Palo Alto residents. Yet, through their tears, PAO supporters tell us that the PAO will be profitable years from now. That's assuming, of course, that the City runs PAO, hires another director and staff, finds millions in federal aid and does not pay a dime to the City in leases or rent.


Like this comment
Posted by 2 crew
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm

remember, the govt. is spying on you. but they will never know what they want tro know because they arent worthy.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Suck it in, boys. It ain't gonna go. When was the last ground fatality from Bay area aviation?


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of University South
on Feb 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Am amazed at the airport-haters using every opportunity to damn the airport, with false info (no info really) and claims. Abstract claims about the danger, waste, and "pleasure" of flying. Sounds like some jealousy combined with a few NIMBYs who are annoyed that they purchased a home near the airport.

Wake up sheeple.

A Cessna 140 weighs 890 pounds! That's less than 1/6th of what a Chevy Suburban weighs. And for the person who said (paraphrasing) "cars are necessary transportation", then why are you not trying to ban Chevy Suburbans and other large, wasteful cars?

The pilot did an admirable job handling the emergency:
* He turned away from all populated areas
* He landed safely, in control, such that he could walk away from the crash.
* He landed slowly enough (again, in control) that there was no "crash" and no fire.
* He cooperated fully with the authorities

What exactly are we so worked-up about? In the end, we have a plane weighing less than a Honda Civic, with a fuel tank capacity of 21 gallons (similar to most large cars) having an accident. And nobody was hurt. And the pilot was highly responsible and skilled about it.

Nothing to apologize for here folks. Nothing at all. If anything, a good example of the professionalism of many pilots, and demonstration that however rare, emergencies at the airport do not imply injury to people or property on the ground.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm

If I could, I'd ban Chevy Suburbans & equally huge, offensive, dangerous vehicles. While I wish we had better public transpo in this area, I often avail myself of it, as does my partner. We share one car, & are mindful of our carbon footprint. I know a lot of people who do similar things, but unfortunately, it's not always possible depending on one's circumstances & responsibilities.

No person was hurt, but we don't know the damage to the marshlands. too much danger & risk for "value" of flying.

I've known a lot of pilots through the years - including my childhood, when I spent a lot of time around young adult pilots - & the majority of their flights are for pleasure, wasting precious resources & causing various kinds of pollution - including excessive noise pollution.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Hmmm

What do you do for pleasure?

Do you ski? Do you swim in the ocean? Do you do anything that raises your adrenaline? Or do you stay home and knit?

When asked why he climbed Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary replied "Because it is there".

There is a lot of trolling for trolling's sake going on here.

PS A lot of the flying done through Palo Alto Airport is done for business reasons.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

>> The pilot did an admirable job handling the emergency:

The question is whether a major emergency can be avoided, not how the emergency is handled. Sooner or later there will be a crash in a populated area, that is what should be avoided, and if it is not I don't see how the airport is not responsible for that since they know the numbers.


Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm

PAO is a perfect example of crony capitalism:welfare for the wealthy. Not everyone who use PAO is wealthy, but what it comes down to is that the tax payers, who in the Palo Alto case happen to be generally upscale, but in many other cases of general aviation airports are not, are subsidizing a rich man's hobby or vanity("I don't fly commercial, I fly my own plane, flying commercial is for losers'). The US is the most socialist nation in the world, but our socialism is only for the wealthy, the rest have capitalism. In 2008 the public bailed out corporations who got into trouble which could have sunk the entire global economy, due to recklessness, greed and lack of regulatory watch dogs, and this case is fundamentally similar. Multi-millionaires from Woodside, Los Altos Hills, etc, are given an airport by the land owners who charge no rent, go to curt when asked to pitch in to reduce loses, and feel it's their divine right to be on the public dole. Safety, noise, pollution be damned. And to end insult to injury, even if PAO miraculously ends up showing a profit at some distant point in the future,c every penny of that profit would have to be re-invested in the airport, with us continuing to be a very generous and passive cow who provides milk for the rich in perpetuity, free of charge.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Yeah, I know some of the flying there is done for business reasons - I didn't fall outta the rutabaga plane yesterday & I know what goes on there. What I do for pleasure isn't the point. It's what they do that endangers others & wastes precious resources. Tell you what - your posts are generally reasonable & thoughtful, so I know you're a smartypants - when I make headlines for something that was dangerous, you can judge what I do ;-)


Like this comment
Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:03 pm

From Googling around, it seems that all of the newspapers, and the Menlo Park Fire Department, are doing everything in their power to protect the pilot, and the owner, of this plane, from having their names in the papers. It's interesting that the tail code has not been included in any of the articles about this crash, either.

However, there are a couple of interesting clues. The pilot is in his 50s, he lives in Menlo Park, and the plane is a Cesna 140. Looking for Cesna 140s registered to people in Menlo Park, we find that there is one plane, with the tail code N89374.

Menlo Park Airplane Registrations:
Web Link

Looking through the FAA on-line accident data base, it turns out that a Cesna 140 with this tail code was involved in an accident at the Palo Alto airport back on 04/05/1986. The following links provide details about that crash:

Long Form NTSB Report:
Web Link

Probable Cause NTSB Report:
Web Link

Contributing Factors
WEATHER CONDITION..TAILWIND
LACK OF TOTAL EXPERIENCE IN TYPE OF AIRCRAFT..DUAL STUDENT
PROPER ASSISTANCE..NOT RECEIVED..DUAL STUDENT
THROTTLE/POWER CONTROL..NOT USED..PILOT IN COMMAND(CFI)

What's particularly interesting is that the Palo Alto Flying Club is listed as the aircraft operator at the time of the 1986 crash. And it would appear that a person without experience was flying the plane when it got into trouble, and that adequate assistance from the flight instructor was not provided.

Given that this plane has been involved in a previous crash at the Palo Alto Airport, one can only wonder why the media, and the Menlo Park Public Safety officials, are so interested in shrouding the owner/operator from public scrutiny. And then there is the question of the involvement of the Palo Alto Flying Club in this mess.

Picture of the crashed plane:
Web Link

Another disturbing question pops up: is a plane this small really appropriate to use to fly in the dead of winter into the Mid-West, where the weather really gets cold. None of the media reports seem to question this decision on the part of the pilot, or the owner of the plane (should they not be the same person). Certainly the question as to whether the plane was configured for IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) and if it had fully functional wing deicers (needed for winter flying) should be asked. Given that the NTSB is not going to question the validity of the choice of aircraft, or destination of the pilot, since the plane was obviously not flight worthy to fly 10 miles. But certainly someone should be asking these questions. Questions like: will this plane be allowed to continue flying out of the Palo Alto Airport, if it now has had two accidents?






Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2011 at 11:45 pm

>> The US is the most socialist nation in the world,
>> but our socialism is only for the wealthy

You so-called socialism, if it is not democratic, is fascism.
People who are anti-democratic always misuse these terms.

Investing in a public or private concern is not always a
big political concern, but in this case I think since the airport
was already here it is easier for airport supporters to make
their case, they have the intertia.

This is the dangerous instability, we know that sooner or
later a bad crash is going to happen, so the airport supporters
in my opinion are misusing their advantage to continue something
quietly they would not get out and make a loud statement about.
This lack of integrity and lack of proactiveness at even doing
anything substantive to justify of explain their stance is what
I see a big problem. People who think like this are bound to
abuse their authority and make bad decisions because they are
unable to weight the lives of people outside their peer group
objectively.


Like this comment
Posted by Rob Tanner
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 27, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Dear @Daniel:

Please provide attribution for your quote as follows: "("I don't fly commercial, I fly my own plane, flying commercial is for losers')."

If you cannot provide attribution (i.e. the person who said it), many of us will be forced to assume you have falsified or somehow fabricated this quote. We can only assume you have chosen to falsify or fabricate so-called "facts" to paint general aviation pilots in a negative light.

Go ahead and be a NIMBY if you wish (it is a free country), but try to be part of the fact-based community when you formulate your argument.


Like this comment
Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2011 at 12:03 am

The "FUD" level in here seems to be reaching epic proportions.

What's with the hating on the airport? It's been here forever and it's a great resource for the community. I live and work in Palo Alto and got my pilot's license at PAO. If you've never flown a small plane or never flown out of Palo Alto, why not try one of the introductory flights offered at each of the flying clubs? Try taking a Bay Tour. Maybe you'll open up your mind a bit.


Like this comment
Posted by Local Observer
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 28, 2011 at 12:52 am

In response to "Shut-It-Down":

Your cited URL for probable cause has this explanation of the 1986
incident:

"... THE ACFT LANDED NORMALLY. THE WITNESS REPORTED THAT DURING THE LAST PORTION OF THE ACFT'S ROLL OUT THE SURFACE WIND PROVIDED THE ACFT WITH A TAILWIND COMPONENT. THE CFI REPORTED THAT HER STUDENT 'CAME UP ON THE BRAKES' & SHE DIRECTED HIM NOT TO BRAKE. THE CFI FURTHER STATED THAT DESPITE HER EFFORT AT SAVING THE ACFT BY APPLYING BACK PRESSURE TO THE YOKE, SHE LOST CONTROL & THE ACFT NOSED OVER."

Kindly explain how an airplane that landed safety and was simply taxiing along the ground when it encountered a troublesome "TAILWIND COMPONENT" that defied efforts by both pilots to correct resulting in the plane nosing-over ("THE ACFT NOSED OVER") constitutes a "crash" or hazard to anything on the ground? Did you even bother reading the report at the URL you cited? It would appear you didn't. It truly was an accident, but it happened on the ground with no injuries. 25 years later yesterday's pilot-in-command of the same aircraft experienced an engine failure and safely maneuvered the plane away from habitation and "landed" (so to speak :-) safely. So what's your beef with Menlo Park, the media, and that specific aircraft?


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2011 at 5:42 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Someone cannot accept that flying is here to stay. As a local resident of some 40 years, I can not recall one incident of anyone on the ground any time being injured by anything associated with aircraft. We know that aircraft sometimes crash; so do cars, buses, trains and boats. The risk of a 747 crashing at University and Alma is there, but slight. Normal people find the more likely risks more deserving of attention.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 7:05 am

Hmm

Thanks for the compliment, at least I think being called a Smartypants in this case is a compliment. You are very gracious, but I happen to disagree with you this time although I concur that you often make good points.


Like this comment
Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 28, 2011 at 7:36 am

PatrickD: This hating of the airport that you speak about is really not about the airport but more about this forum in general. When it is a slow news day, typically several people on this forum pick one of the low- hanging fruits in this forum to endlessly piss amd moan about. I believe it's a form of "troll-baiting" or trying to elicit contrary comments so they can have something to bat about.

And yet not a peep about the pending HSR plans? Interesting.


Like this comment
Posted by CA Native
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2011 at 8:56 am

Shut-It-Down, just wanted to address a few of your comments.

Not sure if the 1986 plane and this one are the same, but let's say they are. A Cessna 170 is a little 4-cylinder “tail dragger” airplane. Because they have two large wheels in front, and a little wheel at the tail, tail draggers are good for landing in fields, and are the preferred airplanes for rural and bush operations. But they require a little more care when landing so they don't, for example, nose over. All designs have pluses and minuses. Extra instruction is required in tail draggers for this reason. It's a safety requirement.

If you read the NTSB report, an instructor was checking her student out in the airplane in 1986, as part of this safety requirement, and they'd had several successful landings. Toward the end of the last landing roll, at low speed, the student applied the brakes too hard. The airplane nosed over. No one was injured. Assuming it was the same airplane, it was repairable, so the damage could not have been too bad.

I don't fault the instructor too much. Her student pushed on the brakes too hard. This airplane has dual controls, so the instructor can counteract most student control movements (if necessary), but brakes are kind of a push-only affair, so you have to counteract that verbally, or with other control movements. Mishaps occur, even in training, and that was a fairly benign one. There was no risk to anyone in the community.

I disagree with your assertion that a vehicle that's involved in two incidents 25 years apart should be removed from service. You may or may not want the airport there. But it's better to base public policy and safety decisions on logic.

Flying clubs make aviation accessible to young adults and those of modest means. There is nothing sinister about them. All airplanes are subject to strict yearly inspection requirements, as well as compliance with specific (additional) safety directives applicable to the make and model. Pilots have training and currency requirements. Safety is extremely important to the aviation community.

As far as flying in the Midwest in the "dead of winter", small airplanes perform better in cold air, not worse, because cold air is denser. (Hot air and high altitudes are more the concern, and pilots are trained for this.) IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) equipment is required when flying in clouds. Icing equipment is required when flying in icy clouds. Both must be certified and checked regularly. Neither is required for safe flight in clear air (no matter how cold). Ice does not just spontaneously form in clear, cold air. Neither IFR nor icing equipment would have made a difference in this incident, or the prior one (assuming it is the same airplane). The pilot in question here is a commercial pilot with 30,000 hours experience. That would indicate military and/or airline captain status to me. He was almost certainly qualified to fly a Cessna 170 to Illinois. It appears that he performed very professionally.

The scenario where an airport is built in a rural area -- which then becomes urban -- is common. People have been known to buy a home under the approach end of an active commercial runway, then expect something done about the noise. It seems inevitable. My father once told me about a chicken farmer he knew who sold some of his land for houses. The new residents forced him out because of the chicken smell. The phenomenon is not unique to airports. Sometimes zoning and land use change as communities evolve. Airports and communities get along best when they work together for mutual benefit. Like most things.

Whether the community wishes to preserve this airport is another question. People should make up their own minds. But they deserve accurate facts when doing so. I respect a difference of opinion, but slanted/spun information, such as that found in your recent post, is only divisive. You want to shut the airport down. Okay. But you’d be better off presenting a cogent argument for this.



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Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2011 at 9:49 am

Wow almost a year later and we have another plane crash. Luckily he crashed in the mud but dam thats not good for the EPA residents suffering from PTSD. Just one more thing for EPA residents to worry about. Thanks for landing in the mud though Maverick.


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Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:55 am

I got my private pilot's rating at Palo Alto airport in the late 90s. It was a fantastic experience. I rented aircraft from a couple of the FBOs at the airport, and for a while was leasing a plane from another Palo Alto resident.

It's obvious that many of the people hollering about safety have not had flight training. This particular pilot had to go through checkouts every 6 months while he was flying commercially, so I'm sure he knew the proper emergency procedures.

Even though I no longer sit in the left seat due to medical issues, I was drilled so many times on emergency landings that I could probably still pull one off. My instructor would pull engine power when I was a few hundred feet off the ground so that I could go through the process of identifying a safe place to land, and then take the plane down safely before I was given power again.

Every student goes through this process, time and time again. When flying with the FAA evaluator who makes the final decision about whether or not to give a student his or her flight rating, it happens at least once. During my private pilot practical exam, I had to make 4 landings with a variety of simulated problems. I had one in-flight emergency during my time flying, and was able to very calmly land the plane without damage to anyone or anything.

I would urge those of you who are upset about the existence of the airport to figure out why you're so adamant. The facts do not back up your claims that there's some kind of inherent danger.


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 28, 2011 at 11:16 am

"The facts do not back up your claims that there's some kind of inherent danger."
Do you realize that a year ago, a plane crashed into a child-care center near PAO about 30 minutes before it would've been filled with small children? When a general aviation is located in the midst of residential neighborhoods, the danger isn't only inherent, but fatalities are a matter of when, not if. Beyond inherited danger, there's also inherited chutzpah here, when Palo Alto is giving the land for free so mostly non-residents can fly. How about practicing some free market principles here by letting the city charge real market rent rates for the land, which will have to be expressed in the user fees, and see if this airport can survive.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 28, 2011 at 11:37 am

Daniel suggests:"How about practicing some free market principles here by letting the city charge real market rent rates for the land, which will have to be expressed in the user fees,"

I presume that Daniel would support real market rents for the city's parks, swimming pools, streets, landfill, library and fire and police departments - none of which are used equally by ALL of the residents.


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Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm

> I presume that Daniel would support real market rents for the
> city's parks, swimming pools, streets, landfill, library and fire
> and police departments - none of which are used equally by ALL
> of the residents.

It's difficult to understand how a resident of Atherton can expect the people of Palo Alto to listen to this claptrap. Of course ALL of the citizens of Palo Alto use the streets, and the landfill. (Even if they were bedridden, the people who care for them use the streets to make their ways to the places where these bedridden live.) How daft can you be??? Streets and landfills are legitimate functions of government. The police and fire departments are the most legitimate functions of government, and are prepared funded (quite well, in fact) to provide various services to the public at large. City parks are available to anyone who cares to use them. While parks are not essential services, as compared to public safety, they do have a secondary function in some places of providing "land buffers", which are intended to reduce the population density. To that end, they sometimes end up being more "essential" than not, to some communities.

As to libraries and swimming pools, these are clearly not essential services, compared to public safety. They are open, however, the the entire public--even though they are clearly not used by the entire public. Over time, we might well see public libraries disappear "into the cloud", by the way.

The Palo Alto Airport, sitting on 100 acres of land, nominally valued at $500M, serves only about 80 Palo Alto residents-the rest (some 300+ pilots locating their planes at that airport) come from outside Palo Alto, and many--like the two plane owners whose planes have been involved in the last two crashes involving the Palo Alto Airport, live in San Mateo County. As such, do they pay taxes on their aircraft in Santa Clara county to help defray the highly subsidized cost of this airport? Probably not. They, on the other hand, use this airport to rent their aircraft out to "various people" who have little or no proven concern for the safety of the people on the ground--as we have seen by the disdain of those pilots/owners to identify themselves to the public and commit to paying any clean-up/public expenditures incurred during the crash.

Your promoting the public's requirement to subsidize a handful of people to the tune of $500M of land, and $2M-$??M for FAA operations and capital spending, to the same level of government-provided essential services demonstrates a level of convoluted thinking that really should not be introduced into a discussion about public safety here in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm

The entire FAA costs of the Palo Alto airport are paid for by airport user fees via aviation gas taxes.

How does someone who only walks use the streets?

Why should library and park users be subsidized by non-users?

Claptrap is when your anonymous keyboard bravery is not supported by the facts.


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Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

> The entire FAA costs of the Palo Alto airport are paid \
> for by airport user fees via aviation gas taxes.

This is false!!! The FAA publishes the number of gallons of Avgas purchased yearly. It does not take a rocket scientist to do the math to see that the dollars generated by fuel taxes on Avgas does not come close to paying for the expenses generated by General Aviation airports.

Next time you book a commercial flight, look at the hefty FAA tax that is imposed (10% or 15%). This goes into a general fund, just like the revenues for Avgas, and taxes from the Federal General Fund, to pay for the 5000+ small, G/A airports.

> How does someone who only walks use the streets?

The sideways are connected to the streets. It is virtually impossible to find sidewalks that are not parallel to streets in any major city (save the odd foot path in parks). The number of people who "walk", but don't use public transportation (such as taxis and buses), and who grow their own food but don't use supermarkets to feed themselves in any way (supermarkets that are supplied by trucks that use streets) must be very few in number. Maybe in some thirdworld country, but not here in Palo Alto.


> Why should library and park users be subsidized by non-users?

Parks are very expensive to own (although not too expensive to operate). Here in Palo Alto, we have about $20B tied up in parks/open land (at a nominal $5M/acre.) As noted in the previous response, parks have multiple purposes in Palo Alto. If they were not "subsidized" by the public, it's possible that the population density could double--destroying the quality of life as we know it.

As to libraries--they should not be subsidized by non-users. Libraries are an artifact of the past, and will be evolving fairly quickly into something that hopefully will require far less (hopefully none) public subsidy, outside some funding to provide for the preservation of our collective past.

> Claptrap is when your anonymous keyboard bravery
> is not supported by the facts.

Get a life. You continually insert yourself into other people's affairs, based on little else than your name. Ideas have value, or not, based on their content. Your continued assertion that anonymity is equivalent to cowardice is a sign of someone incapable to engaging ideas for what they are.

Perhaps this is not the best place for you to be spending your time.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Resident, yes, I meant Smartypants as a compliment :-)


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Anonymity is equivalent to cowardice because there is neither source credibility or accountability.

Anonymous posters can claim residency wherever they like and can assert "facts" without any need to be accountable for their assertions.

Ideas from known posters have value or not because of the reputation, prior postings and known experience of the named posters. Anyone who wishes can view all of my posts, my years of public service, my familiarity and involvement with Palo Alto via my long residency, my service on the Planning Commission and my many years of service on the JCRC - no one has any such insights into someone like Shut-it-down who simply claims to live somewhere in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Peter, you don't need to diss those of us who don't use our real names. We have varying but legit reasons for not wanting our names posted. Not using our real name doesn't credit what we write because after awhile, an informed and/or thoughtful opinion is obvious, even if you don't agree w/it or the poster's expertise may be less than yours.

One also doesn't have to live in a specific area or town to know what goes on, so I don't think your living in Atherton discredits you. But you are biased. I've been attacked by posters in PA since I live in EPA, but really, they have no idea of my knowledge of PA or where I come by that knowledge. As you know, where we live doesn't limit our knowledge of other places or events.

The bottom line, for many of us, is that the PA airport doesn't do a lot for the public at large & adds what we consider to be unnecessary danger to our lives. Your poor comparison to parks, libraries etc. doesn't serve your point at all - you're too smart for that & so are we.


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Posted by Nancy
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Peter Carpenter's "many years of service" can also been as participation in the power structure of the elite and wealthy on the Peninsula who scratch one-another's back by supporting and lobbying for such perks as the airport - which face it: is not really a facility that the great mass of Palo Alto residents can use: it's simply too expensive. This stands in contrast to libraries and parks that anyone can use because they're free.

Why Palo Alto should be subsidizing wealthy fly-boys who live in Atherton is beyond me. (And the free use of the land IS a subsidy - as is the implicit guarantee of loses that the city will undertake when it starts operating the airport in a few years.) Shut-it down - anonymous or not - has the far stronger case...which may explain why Mr. Carpenter resorts to adhominem complaints about Shut-it-down's anonymity, rather than addressing the difficult arguments he/she makes.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

"Anonymity is equivalent to cowardice because there is neither source credibility or accountability."

Here we go again--another attack on people who post without using their real names (which I may add is allowed by this forum). There are numerous reasons why people post anonymously. That does not automatically mean that an anonymous post is any less factual than a post by someone who uses their real name.
It is unfortunate that people like mr Carpenter dismiss those posters and then denigrate them by calling them cowards. It seems to me that the real cowards are those people who are afraid of differing views on a subject and seem to think that postings by people who use their real names are somehow more "valuable" than anonymous postings.

if Mr Carpenter is so afraid of anonymous posters perhaps he should makes his posts on a forum that does not allow anonymous postings. I would assume that Mr Carpenter is also against people who act as whistle-blowers anonymously. I also assume that if you went to speak wit mr Carpenter, he would demand to know your identity before engaging in a conversation with you. How quaint.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Nancy, I agree w/you re shutting it down & it being a subsidy. It is a little funny when I read PA posters blaming the wealthy Athertonites since PA isn't exactly poverty-stricken. But I understand & support your point. I also wish we had much better public transpo. The libraries & parks serve oodles of people, the latter even w/their many financial cutbacks.

I was raised around a lot of private pilots & one is still a professional pilot to this day. It was a nice, smart group of people & I've flown on small planes. So my complains aren't personal or because I don't have anything else to do.


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Posted by Eric
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm

It's funny how GA (general aviation) can somehow be viewed as a means for drug smuggling. The load capacity of GA aircraft is quite small, GA's movement is constantly being monitored and the typical private pilot has a lifestyle that would not put him or her in a position of need to smuggle drugs. I bring this up to question the credibility of those who condemn the airport. One of those who goes by the name of "Shut-It-Down" (just the alias shows bias) actually posed that question in a list of questions. I can assure you that there is FAR more smuggling going on in automobiles than in GA. The critics of the airport and flying clubs seem to paint a picture of flying clubs as being shady, unregulated organizations filled with unsafe aircraft owned by people who have no concern for the safety of those on the ground or piloting the aircraft. This shows how uninformed the critics are. Please do your research before you get behind your keyboards, by saying these things you run the risk of appearing ignorant and you lose a lot of credibility that you may need in future arguments.
I happen to be one of these owners. I purchased a Cessna 150, it's 37 years old and the purchase price was about the same as a nice used car. I assure you that I am not wealthy, rather lower middle class actually. Where people like "Shut-It-Down" and others of his or her ilk are wrong about flying clubs is that they ARE professionally run, subject to many regulations and the aircraft are continually inspected. Being in a flying club, my airplane is required to undergo 50 hour as well as 100 hour inspections as well as an annual inspection regardless of number of hours flown. An aircraft that is not in a flying club (available for rent)is subject to a less rigorous inspection schedule. An aircraft in a flying club is also subject to complaints, however minor they might be, from club members who fly it. These problems are always addressed in a timely manner, so one could say that the aircraft is being continually inspected and critiqued.
As for the argument that this is a form of recreation that uses up natural resources and is a source of pollution, is really, REALLY hope that (so you don't look incredibly hypocritical) you have never traveled (in ANY form of transportation) to the beach, Lake Tahoe, Yellowstone, Yosemite or even Grandma's house for that matter
I could go on, but I really have to get back to work, got payments to make on that fancy plane of mine!


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Eric, your efforts to convince us that what you do is something we should find reassuring and respectful are laudatory, but unconvincing. Once you start flying non-petroleum based planes, you may garner more understanding & support.

The FBI has pilot agents in the bay area who exactly look for drug smuggling & other crimes by private plane. There are crimes committed by small plane & everyone knows it. That doesn't mean flying is nefarious, but it also doesn't convince those of us who want the airport closed to appreciate it.


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Posted by Rico
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm

I wonder how many pilots learned to fly at Palo Alto airport that are now military pilots, or airline pilots? Military pilots protect our life style while airline pilots allow us to discover new lands and cultures, which I feel is important, Try driving to Europe.


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Posted by Shut-It-Down
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

> Not sure if the 1986 plane and this one are the same, but let's say they are.
> A Cessna 170 is a little 4-cylinder “tail dragger” airplane.
The crash in 1986 and this week were Cesna 140’s. It will take perhaps as much as six weeks for the FAA/NTSB to post the preliminary “probable cause” report. At that time, we will know for certain.
If you read the NTSB report, an instructor was checking her student out in the airplane in 1986, as part of this safety requirement, and they'd had several successful landings. Toward the end of the last landing roll, at low speed, the student applied the brakes too hard. The airplane nosed over. No one was injured.
> Assuming it was the same airplane, it was repairable, so the damage could not have been too bad.
Most likely.
> There was no risk to anyone in the community.
This time.
> I don't fault the instructor too much. Her student pushed on the brakes too hard. This airplane has
> dual controls, so the instructor can counteract most student control movements (if necessary), but
> brakes are kind of a push-only affair, so you have to counteract that verbally, or with other
> control movements. Mishaps occur, even in training, and that was a fairly benign one.
The problem is larger than this particular accident. From reviewing the accident/incident reports (about 250 reports), a large percentage of the accidents are the result of students and/or their instructors. The question as to why there is a flying school operating in an urban area of 300,000 people needs serious scrutiny.
> I disagree with your assertion that a vehicle that's involved in
> two incidents 25 years apart should be removed from service. You
> may or may not want the airport there. But it's better to base
> public policy and safety decisions on logic.

This may be a fair counter-point. However, the point being brought to the table is the competence of the owner, and the people operating the flight clubs/schools.

> Flying clubs make aviation accessible to young adults and those of
> modest means. There is nothing sinister about them.

Perhaps not .. but is there anything competent about them? Do they have they slightest concern for the safety of the communities surrounding the airport?

> All airplanes are subject to strict yearly inspection requirements,
> as well as compliance with specific (additional) safety directives
> applicable to the make and model.

The two most recent crashes suggest that these “strict yearly inspections” are not sufficient to provide for the safety of the people on the ground.

> Pilots have training and currency requirements. Safety is
> extremely important to the aviation community.

So you say .. but the accident rate for General Aviation is 20x that of commercial aviation. Why is that if safety is so important?

> As far as flying in the Midwest in the "dead of winter", small
> airplanes perform better in cold air, not worse,

If you say so.

> IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) equipment is required when flying
> in clouds.

Ok .. but was this Cesna 140 outfitted for IFR?

> The scenario where an airport is built in a rural area -- which
> then becomes urban -- is common.

This airport was originally on the Stanford lands. Because of irresponsible behavior on the part of the pilots of the early 1930s, there was a pending law suit that was intended to see the airport moved. Since airports were important to rural areas of that era (which Palo Alto clearly was), land near the bay was found. However, most accidents occur within five miles of originations/destinations of general aviation flights. With 300,000 people within this zone, it’s a little hard to fathom anyone claiming that a tiny little airport is more important than the homes/lives of 300,000 people is simply delusional.

> People have been known to buy a home under the approach end of
> an active commercial runway,

This is true. But in most cases, the tension is between large commercial, or military, airports. This is a play pen for a handful of local people with the money to own a plane. This airport provides virtually nothing in terms of meaningful contribution to the local economy.

> You want to shut the airport down. Okay. But you’d be better
> off presenting a cogent argument for this.

The problem is that this is an opinion blog. It is not well suited to deal with the issues at hand. As to slanted information—that exactly what the pilot community and their supporters in government have been shoveling out for decades. It’s doubtful that anyone who is an elected official could provide any meaningful information about this airport, its history, or the future costs to the local taxpayers.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2011 at 6:44 pm

OK.
I thought I had finished, but now I see that we are talking about a flying school.

How many student drivers do we have on the roads at any one time? They can do a course at school or online, pass a reasonably easy written multiple choice test and then get behind the wheel of a car with another driver who is unable to reach the brakes and drive on our highways without even a student driver sign! Kids can do this as early as 15 1/2. If you are really serious about people learning to fly in a dual controlled plane, you must be much more seriously worried about 15 1/2 year old kids getting in a car which doesn't have dual controls with an instructor who is not trained and able to drive on our highways.

The analogy above shows that I am much more worried about student drivers than I am about someone learning to fly.


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Posted by Eric
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Interesting that a response to my posting dealt with something highly unlikely (smuggling). If I wanted to smuggle drugs, GA would be one of the last methods of transportation I could think of. It's happening by sea, ground and commercial jet. GA aircraft from airfields like PAO? It just aint happening.
As for garnering support, I doubt that flying a "non-petroleum based" plane would change your mind, by the way, how would a change in the source of power change your mind?
Speaking of the use of petroleum, GA uses somewhere in the order of one tenth of one percent of petroleum consumption...not an arguing point, I'm sorry. I would imagine that you would be someone who would be in favor of somehow using electricity to power an airplane. Aah, but then we would have to burn more coal to generate that juice and by doing so, spew far more heavy metals in the air than even the burning of 100 low lead does.
But I digress, my point about flight clubs and little airplanes was never addressed...perhaps that's something I really know about?
And as for burning fossil fuels for recreation and fun, with the resulting pollution...somebody cast another first stone. This time don't be disingenuous...


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Keep up w/the elitist love of private planes, Eric - an activity that is dangerous & wasteful. I agree the smuggling thing was rather far-fetched - except that the FBI uses pilot agents to ferret it out & it does happen. I'm not holding my breath for alternatively fueled small planes & I'm sure you aren't either - neither of use would look good in cyanotic blue. But admit it - it's a dangerous, wasteful past time & one that a lot of people are against, for good reasons.


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Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm

rem is a registered user.

Everybody get a life..

It is a nice small airport and WAS THERE BEFORE the "money hungry" builders/developer encrouched.

If you don't like it - MOVE.

The pilot did an outstanding job..


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:18 pm

This has nothing to do w/developers or the skill of the pilot. It has to do w/the placement of the airport & the danger of it presents ongoingly. Move? Sheesh, that is such a dumb thing to say. Move because of a selfish, dangerous passtime? Nah, shut it down.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Nobody's going to win this argument and in the long run we all lose because it does have everything to do with the developers. Our economic model depends on exponential growth. Airports are put out in the sticks, and within a few decades the urban ameoba envelopes them. Half Moon Bay airport is getting a 50 foot high quarter million square foot office park in the marshland off the approach edge of its runway. With California's projected growth, South County Airport will be similarly surrounded by 2025. I'll predict Palo Alto Airport outlasts them both because we won't let further development take over our own baylands. We know if the airport gets shut down, it will not be remediated to salt marsh. It will be turned into what they are getting in Redwood City. Someone will get rich but the city will go broke and the taxpayers will get left holding the bag.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 1:43 am

People post on this forum anonymously for the very reason that they wish to hide something (definition - 1 . without any name acknowledged, as that of author, contributor, or the like: an anonymous letter to the editor; an anonymous donation.
2. of unknown name; whose name is withheld: an anonymous author.
3. lacking individuality, unique character, or distinction).

What exactly they wish to hide can only be guessed - it may be their name, their actual place of residence, their occupation, their experience or lack thereof, their otherwise known biases and conflicts of interest or the fact that they have also posted under numerous other noms de guerre. What these anonymous individuals opine must then be filtered though the lens which they themselves have created. In a discussion such as this one about the airport it is always helpful to be able to assess the knowledge base of the poster - which is difficult to do if we have no idea who they are or of their competency on the subject matter. Each reader must therefore use their own judgement in evaluating such postings.

However, when such anonymous posters then attack posters who have disclosed their true identity and base their attacks on who the known posters are, or where those known posters live, work or serve (all factors that are truly unknowable about an anonymous attacker) then they have, in my opinion, crossed the line from the permitted anonymity of this forum to cowardice. Others may see it differently, particularly if they too are anonymous and cherish the "safety" of anonymity.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 1, 2011 at 6:05 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Mr. Carpenter, you are right. I believe that contradiction should be signed. I also believe that developers serve a purpose and do not deserve the acrimony cast on them.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 6:22 am

"However, when such anonymous posters then attack posters who have disclosed their true identity and base their attacks on who the known posters are, or where those known posters live, work or serve (all factors that are truly unknowable about an anonymous attacker) then they have, in my opinion, crossed the line from the permitted anonymity of this forum to cowardice. Others may see it differently, particularly if they too are anonymous and cherish the "safety" of anonymity."

Mr Carpenter continues to put spin on his denigration of those that chose to post anonymously. He obviously feels the need to justify his negative stance and his dislike of anonymous posters. It i snot enough that he does not like anonymous posters (which is his option) but feels the need to label them as "cowards". Sounds to me like an example of the kettle calling the pot black".
The editors do a pretty good job of editing out personal attacks, so I am not sure what Mr Carpenter is railing about. Clearly he is upset with opinions that differ from his own--too bad he is not open minded to other lines of thought.
Conclusion, Mr Carpenter's rantings are sound and fury signifying nothing


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 6:35 am

svatnot - I suggest that you actually read what I have posted before you attempt to respond:"What these anonymous individuals opine must then be filtered though the lens which they themselves have created. In a discussion such as this one about the airport it is always helpful to be able to assess the knowledge base of the poster - which is difficult to do if we have no idea who they are or of their competency on the subject matter. Each reader must therefore use their own judgement in evaluating such postings."

I don't denigrate those who post anonymously, just chose who post anonymous attacks on others - like they were going around attacking blind people secure in the knowledge that they would never be held accountable. If that is your style, so be it but I hardly consider that as being "respectful and truthful in your postings".


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 7:35 am

"I don't denigrate those who post anonymously"

Well, first of all you should try to get my name right (clearly an example of not being respectful--the kettle calling the pot black again)
Check your posts above. you clearly state:
"Anonymity is equivalent to cowardice because there is neither source credibility or accountability."
You are clearly denigrating all people who post anonymously. Nice try spinning it into something else. You seem to throw out any opinions by anonymous posters since you ( and who appointed you as the decider on who is knowledgeable on a subject and who is not?) have decided that they are not competent on the subject manner. Sounds a bit haughty to me. (and BTW, even if someone posts with their own name, how will you know how knowledgable they are on the subject?. Plan to hire detectives to check them out?)
While you may not consider certain postings as ""respectful and truthful", the editors seem to have no problem with the the vast majority of postins on this thread (including your denigration of other posters).
If you do not like the way this forum is run, I suggest you confine your postings to another forum that meets your high standards. At this point however, your postings are no better than those anonymous posters that you complain about. As I said before it sounds to me like you just do not like opinions that are not inlock step with your own.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 7:54 am

Svatoid?? states:"even if someone posts with their own name, how will you know how knowledgable they are on the subject?."

It is called source credibility. Someone who posts in their own name and is therefore prepared to be held accountable for their postings and who is known in the community for their expertise on certain matters is clearly more credible than someone who posts anonymously using a number of different names. In my case I have hundreds of posts on this forum and anyone who wishes can look at my record including the Form 700's which I have filed over each of the last ten years. As I noted above "Anyone who wishes can view all of my posts, my years of public service, my familiarity and involvement with Palo Alto via my long residency, my service on the Planning Commission and my many years of service on the JCRC ". What is the comparable metric by which to judge the postings of an anonymous person? And just exactly what are they hiding and why - that certainly bears on their source credibility.

Svatoid, for example, has not contributed a single fact to the subject of this thread but simply shows up to attack others. A distraction to be sure but certainly not a distraction caused by those who he so enjoys attacking from his safe anonymous seat in the gallery.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 8:11 am

"Svatoid?? states:"even if someone posts with their own name, how will you know how knowledgable they are on the subject?. It is called source credibility.""
More spin from Peter. How does he know that someone who posts with his own name knows anything about subject. Also how does he know that someone who posts under an anonymous name knows nothing about the subject. Sounds to me like Peter dismisses all anonymous posts out of hand without even bothering to see if they are factual or not.

"What is the comparable metric by which to judge the postings of an anonymous person? And just exactly what are they hiding and why - that certainly bears on their source credibility."
The comparable metric is actually reading the post and seeing if it is factual not dismissing it outright because it is anonymous. ALso there are no sinister motives for why someone is posting anonymously--this point has been discussed in many other threads on this forum and does not need to be mentioned anymore, since it is clear that Peter does not undertstand those reasons to begin with.
If Peter is unhappy with this forum he should lobby the editors for changes and/or post on a forum that meets his high standards. Or perhaps Peter feels that since he is posting under his own name, his comments should be taken as facts and the last words on the subject.

"Svatoid, for example, has not contributed a single fact to the subject of this thread but simply shows up to attack others. A distraction to be sure but certainly not a distraction caused by those who he so enjoys attacking from his safe anonymous seat in the gallery."
Peter continues to spin in attempt to dig himself out of the hole he is in. You will note that in all the postings that I have made, I have not attacked anyone. I have called Peter out for his derogatory comments about other posters ("Anonymity is equivalent to cowardice because there is neither source credibility or accountability"). Peter has labeled all anonymous posters as cowards and has continued to vilify them in his other postings.
Clearly he feels that those that disagree with him are "attacking" him. He fails to understand how this forum works.
Peter appears to be very thin skinned and mistakes criticism of his comments for "attacks", while actually engaging in attack mode behavior himself.
And Peter still wonders why I do not want him to know my identity?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 8:27 am

What do the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, SF Chronicle, SJ Mercury News, International Herald Tribune, the Economist and the Financial Times all have in common, in addition to being superb newspapers? NONE of them permits anonymous postings.

And since I am posting under my name "anyone who wishes can look at my record including the Form 700's which I have filed over each of the last ten years. As I noted above "Anyone who wishes can view all of my posts, my years of public service, my familiarity and involvement with Palo Alto via my long residency, my service on the Planning Commission and my many years of service on the JCRC ".

How does the reader know that someone calling themselves X is in fact not a developer who is attempting to discredit posters who might interfere with his desire to develop the airport land after the airport is gone.

Why does an anonymous X care what I have to say about anonymous posters - who is X trying to protect and why?

These are just some of the reasons why the highly respected newspapers that I cited above do not permit anonymous postings. This forum does and I have frequently told the editors that it is a mistake to do so. The mistake is compounded when some of those anonymous posters do nothing but attack others.

Back to the subject of this thread anyone?


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 8:48 am

"What do the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, SF Chronicle, SJ Mercury News, International Herald Tribune, the Economist and the Financial Times all have in common, in addition to being superb newspapers? NONE of them permits anonymous postings."
Not sure what you are referring to here. Are you talking about their comments section?
You can post comments if you are registered and you are allowed to post comments using a nickname--true the paper knows your name, but your posting will still be under that alias (at least for the Chronicle). But what is your point?
If you are unhappy with the PA Weekly policy on this forum then speak with them about it. For now anonymous posters ARE NOT doing anything wrong

"How does the reader know that someone calling themselves X is in fact not a developer who is attempting to discredit posters who might interfere with his desire to develop the airport land after the airport is gone."
How does the reader know that someone posting under their own name knows what they are talking about? Do you investigate the background and see if they are truly knowledgeable about the matter they are discussing? is that what you do?

"Why does an anonymous X care what I have to say about anonymous posters - who is X trying to protect and why?"
If you see nothing wrong with denigrating anonymous posters (""Anonymity is equivalent to cowardice because there is neither source credibility or accountability."") then...
What I and others are tryingto protect is the right of posters to post anonymously without being attacked by people like you. Nothing sinister--not hiding anything.

"The mistake is compounded when some of those anonymous posters do nothing but attack others."
Perhaps you should go back and see that it was you who launched there "attacks" on other (""Anonymity is equivalent to cowardice because there is neither source credibility or accountability."") Myself and others have just called you out on these attacks.

Peter has spent a lot of time trying to justify and put spin on his derogatory comments of others, even going so far as to claim that those that criticize him are "attacking" him. I guess playing the victim makes Peter feel better

And Peter still wonders why I do not want him to know my identity?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 8:57 am

Let's try to reboot this discussion.

A small plane taking off from the Palo Alto Airport experienced an engine failure. The pilot competently maintained control and diverted the aircraft to a totally unpopulated mud flat and executed a safe landing in which no one on board the aircraft or on the ground was injured.

From my perspective and experience the pilot did exactly the right things (aviate, navigate, communicate) and he/she should be congratulated. I will leave it to the experts at the NTSB to determine why the engine failed.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:00 am

"Let's try to reboot this discussion."

And ignore attacks on others by myself and attempts to make myself into the victim here, while trying to spin my comments away with feeble explanations, says Peter Carpenter.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:03 am

As already noted:"Svatoid, for example, has not contributed a single fact to the subject of this thread but simply shows up to attack others. A distraction to be sure but certainly not a distraction caused by those who he so enjoys attacking from his safe anonymous seat in the gallery."

Let's try to reboot this discussion.

A small plane taking off from the Palo Alto Airport experienced an engine failure. The pilot competently maintained control and diverted the aircraft to a totally unpopulated mud flat and executed a safe landing in which no one on board the aircraft or on the ground was injured.

From my perspective and experience the pilot did exactly the right things (aviate, navigate, communicate) and he/she should be congratulated. I will leave it to the experts at the NTSB to determine why the engine failed.



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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:21 am

"As already noted:"Svatoid, for example, has not contributed a single fact to the subject of this thread but simply shows up to attack others. A distraction to be sure but certainly not a distraction caused by those who he so enjoys attacking from his safe anonymous seat in the gallery.""
As already noted, I have not attacked anyone. I was responding to Peter's attack on anonymous posters. Peter has made a great effort to spin away his comment by making himself into the victim.
You will also note, that since he is using his name on his posts, in his opinion, whatever he says should be taken as a fact (i.e. the continued false charge that I am "attacking" people)

"Let's try to reboot this discussion."

And ignore attacks on others by myself and attempts to make myself into the victim here, while trying to spin my comments away with feeble explanations, says Peter Carpenter.

Me thinks that Peter Carpenter does protests too much


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

Yep, I think Svatoid is probably a land developer in disguise trying to discredit anyone who speaks positively of the excellent job done by this pilot.

Let's try to reboot this discussion.

A small plane taking off from the Palo Alto Airport experienced an engine failure. The pilot competently maintained control and diverted the aircraft to a totally unpopulated mud flat and executed a safe landing in which no one on board the aircraft or on the ground was injured.

From my perspective and experience the pilot did exactly the right things (aviate, navigate, communicate) and he/she should be congratulated. I will leave it to the experts at the NTSB to determine why the engine failed.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:40 am

"Yep, I think Svatoid is probably a land developer in disguise trying to discredit anyone who speaks positively of the excellent job done by this pilot."
To be honest, I am not a land developer, I am a scientist, But here we again have another example of Peter trying to spin his negative comments ((""Anonymity is equivalent to cowardice because there is neither source credibility or accountability."") about certain posters. You will note that my quarrel with Peter is not about the pilot's actions, but about Peter's comments regarding anonymous posters. For someone who complains about anonymous posters and lack of credibility, Peter's credibility is certainly taking a hit now by accusing me of doing something that I have not done. The emperor has no clothes.

"Let's try to reboot this discussion."

And ignore attacks on others by myself and attempts to make myself into the victim here, while trying to spin my comments away with feeble explanations, says Peter Carpenter.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 9:44 am

Savatoid - You have made your point and I have made mine and we disagree - grow up and move on - PLEASE.

Let's try to reboot this discussion.

A small plane taking off from the Palo Alto Airport experienced an engine failure. The pilot competently maintained control and diverted the aircraft to a totally unpopulated mud flat and executed a safe landing in which no one on board the aircraft or on the ground was injured.

From my perspective and experience the pilot did exactly the right things (aviate, navigate, communicate) and he/she should be congratulated. I will leave it to the experts at the NTSB to determine why the engine failed.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:04 am

"Savatoid - You have made your point and I have made mine and we disagree - grow up and move on - PLEASE."
It appears it is not me that needs to grow up, Peter. You denigrate posters( ""Anonymity is equivalent to cowardice because there is neither source credibility or accountability.""), you make statements that completely lack credibility and/or truth (Yep, I think Svatoid is probably a land developer in disguise trying to discredit anyone who speaks positively of the excellent job done by this pilot.), while claiming that because you post under your own name that grants you "credibility". You refuse to take responsibility for your comments and try to make yourself into the victim here. Accept responsibility and move on. You have been exposed--the emperor has no clothes.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:09 am

Savatoid - You have made your point and I have made mine. You live in an Orwellian world where only the anonymous posters are allowed to criticize others. I believe that anonymous attacks on this forum are inappropriate. We disagree. Move on - PLEASE.

Let's try to reboot this discussion.

A small plane taking off from the Palo Alto Airport experienced an engine failure. The pilot competently maintained control and diverted the aircraft to a totally unpopulated mud flat and executed a safe landing in which no one on board the aircraft or on the ground was injured.

From my perspective and experience the pilot did exactly the right things (aviate, navigate, communicate) and he/she should be congratulated. I will leave it to the experts at the NTSB to determine why the engine failed.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:21 am

"Savatoid - You have made your point and I have made mine. You live in an Orwellian world where only the anonymous posters are allowed to criticize others. I believe that anonymous attacks on this forum are inappropriate. We disagree. Move on - PLEASE."

More spin from Peter. I have never said that only anonymous posters are allowed to criticize others--you are allowed to criticize, but you are not allowed to denigrate other posters (( ""Anonymity is equivalent to cowardice because there is neither source credibility or accountability."")). No one, at least not I, have "attacked" you--I have criticized your comments. You seem to forget that you initiated this whole matter and now you are trying to play the victim. Your credibility has taken a hit. I agree you need to move on.


"Let's try to reboot this discussion."

And ignore attacks on others by myself and attempts to make myself into the victim here, while trying to spin my comments away with feeble explanations, says Peter Carpenter.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:28 am

Savatoid - PLEASE reread the entire thread and note the starting point by the anonymous poster Shut-it-down "It's difficult to understand how a resident of Atherton can expect the people of Palo Alto to listen to this claptrap".

Move on - but if you want to discuss this further I suggest we have lunch and that we let the rest of the users of this forum deal with the topic at hand:


'Small plane crashes after takeoff in Palo Alto'




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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:44 am

"Savatoid - PLEASE reread the entire thread and note the starting point by the anonymous poster Shut-it-down "It's difficult to understand how a resident of Atherton can expect the people of Palo Alto to listen to this claptrap"."
Once again you are confusing criticism of your posting with an "attack", which led you to denigrate anonymous posters. Had the person used his real name would his comments have been okay? As i have said many times before, it is apparent that you are not open to criticism of your opinions.
You have not come out looking good from this whole exchange. I suggest you quit while you are ahead and move on.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:54 am

"Had the person used his real name would his comments have been okay?"

Absolutely - a fair and open exchange of opinions is fine but not an anonymous denigration of my comments as claptrap and stating that because I am an Atherton resident that my opinions are meaningless.
I have invested a lot of time and effort into the Palo Alto community and such a comment is totally inappropriate.

Move on - but if you want to discuss this further I suggest we have lunch ( I have no idea who you are but send Jay Thorwaldson an email and he will give you my contact info) and that we let the rest of the users of this forum deal with the topic at hand:

'Small plane crashes after takeoff in Palo Alto'


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 11:08 am

""Had the person used his real name would his comments have been okay?"

Absolutely - a fair and open exchange of opinions is fine but not an anonymous denigration of my comments as claptrap and stating that because I am an Atherton resident that my opinions are meaningless."

And yet the editors had no problem with that comment. You have spun the comment into a "personal attack" on yourself and are busy playing the victim here.
Sorry , Peter, you are wrong and out of line. Anonymous criticism on this forum are permissible--the comments where not an "attack" and even if they where I am not sure why you feel that attacks made by people that use their real names are okay (as in your case)
I have no desire to make my identity known to you, for obvious reasons.

Move on, Peter.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

"I have no desire to make my identity known to you, for obvious reasons."

I understand, it would be an unfair meeting of the minds.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 1, 2011 at 11:16 am

""I have no desire to make my identity known to you, for obvious reasons."

I understand, it would be an unfair meeting of the minds."

Here we go again, more personal attacks and denigration of an anonymous poster. I guess when you cannot argue with the facts, you resort to this.
I have exposed you and your credibility is kaput--so now we have these kind of comments.
Very sad, indeed. Time to move on, Peter.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 1, 2011 at 11:35 am

Privacy is crucial in these times of extensive electronic communication. I intend to maintain my privacy, as is my right. There are numerous instances of online harassment & stalking, which can be avoided if a person doesn't reveal their particulars. One can have integrity, honesty & privacy online so as to stay safe & participate in relevant discourse.

I was peripherally involved, against my will, in a long, nasty online stalking case in which I was threatened & became concerned because of the stalker's behavior towards several people. While I was only of ancillary interest to the stalker, when his attention focused on me & he threatened me, I had to take action because he knew where I worked. I will not have that happen again.

Carpenter needs to back off on his relentless hectoring of those who prefer, for good reason, to not use their real names.


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Peter Carpenter was a Planning Commissioner in Palo Alto from 1974-78. During that period he was known as an advocate for the power structure and corporatism, still is. Our city would have been a much nicer place to live in if he hadn't been on the Planning Commission. He has never done anything that benefits the average Palo Alto resident, he is a corporatist. His comments should be viewed from that perspective.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Daniel???? states:"Peter Carpenter was a Planning Commissioner in Palo Alto from 1974-78. During that period he was known as an advocate for the power structure and corporatism, still is."

Facts please. During that period the Planning Commission rewrote the General Plan - what SPECIFIC aspects of that General Plan do you find objectionable?

Or is this simply more mindless anonymous accusations?


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Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Would you guys please STOP this public diatribe? Did you know that if you purposefully feed a troll, little by little you become a troll? Email each other your insults as it is very BORING and does not make any of you out to very bright.


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Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Corr: be very . . .


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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