Around Town: off to the Capitol; ruff reception


Tidbits collected by the Weekly staff on people, events and other happenings.

RUFF RECEPTION ... Palo Alto officials often talk about the need to add a new dog park in the northern half of the city, where none currently exist. Recent proposals have been dogged by environmental regulations, concerns about tree health or good-old-fashioned opposition from neighbors in the proposed area. According to a new memo from Daren Anderson, from the Community Services Department, a December meeting focused on building a park in a large grassy area near the edge of Pardee Park (away from the oaks) elicited a mixed reception from the roughly 70 people in attendance. While roughly half supported the idea, the rest opposed it, citing the location's close proximity to homes, the fact that the park is already heavily used "and shouldn't be overly programmed" and their belief that a dog park would "create additional traffic, noise and smell." Staff encountered a different obstacle in Bowden Park, which is best known for its prominent sculpture of a car with human legs. Bowden Park was initially identified as one of the most promising locations for a dog run, but staff had since found challenges in relocating the public art. Now, the top contender is Peers Park. A December community meeting about adding a dog park at Peers Park attracted about 25 people, most of whom supported the idea. The Parks and Recreation Commission is set to consider this site -- and other possible options -- at its March 28 meeting.

OFF TO THE CAPITOL ... The Palo Alto City Council normally relies on lobbyists to carry its message in Washington, D.C. Last week, however, Mayor Greg Scharff, Vice Mayor Liz Kniss and Councilmen Adrian Fine and Cory Wolbach took on the role of lobbyists themselves when they traveled to the nation's capital for the National League of Cities Conference. They met with Congressional leaders, legislative staffers and policy administrators, including members of the Federal Aviation Administration. While the trip, was smooth and productive, there were few grounds for optimism. Kniss said that what she found most discouraging in D.C. was "such a negative feeling for California." Several council members referred to a fashionable new acronym making its way around D.C. in the Trump administration: ABC, short for "Anything but California." The attitude may have explained the recent decision by the feds to freeze an expected grant to Caltrain for its long-awaited electrification project. Wolbach said he and others are now awaiting Trump's "skinny budget" (a preliminary and abridged precursor to the proposed budget) to see if the electrification project makes it in. Wolbach said the group's meeting with the FAA was particularly reassuring, with the agency indicating that it has recently undertaken several studies into airplane noise, a topic that has generated a groundswell of community interest. Scharff said Monday that one of the most useful components of the trip was talking to Republican senators, who he said shared the city's concerns about cuts in transportation. "I'm still hopeful the feds will step up and do the right thing and fund electrification," Scharff said.

HONORING TERMAN JUNIOR ... In recent weeks, as the community hotly debated the value of renaming David Starr Jordan and Terman middle schools given their namesakes' advocacy of eugenics, it was suggested that the name Terman could be retained not in honor of Lewis Terman, a Stanford psychologist who promoted eugenics, but his son, Frederick , an accomplished Stanford electrical engineer with no found connection to eugenics. While some argue only a new name will firmly disavow the more problematic aspects of the elder Terman's legacy, others urged caution in castigating the son for his father's sins. Perhaps little known is that in 2015, a local stretch of U.S. Highway 101 at Shoreline Boulevard was named to honor Frederick. A resolution proposing the naming, introduced by state Sen. Jerry Hill, hails Frederick "one of the most successful American administrators of science, engineering, and higher education in the 20th century." It is likely a citizens committee (or committees) will be tasked with recommending new names for both schools to the Board of Education, which voted to rename the schools by the start of the 2018-19 school year.


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6 people like this
Posted by OMG
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 26, 2017 at 8:51 am

here we go newly elected, under investigation and off traveling to washington on our dime. wasted votes on propped up stooges of the developers and PA elite

4 people like this
Posted by ABC
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 26, 2017 at 11:22 am

Trump's ABC policy- trying try bully a whole state just because they voted against him. Bullying may work for Trump in the business world, but voters are just hating him more now.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 26, 2017 at 11:50 am

Note that the "Frederick E Terman Memorial Highway" signs were funded by donations, not highway tax dollars. (Explicitly written into the text of Jerry Hill's resolution.)

Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 26, 2017 at 4:05 pm

re: Pardee or Peers Park as a location for a 'new' dog park.

The neighbors already use those parks as off-leash dog parks. How about a bit of enforcement?

1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 26, 2017 at 6:35 pm

It should not be so difficult or costly: just change the leash law so that is it not so discriminatory against a large demographic of the city (or the whole country, for that matter).

Like this comment
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 27, 2017 at 2:51 pm

I was surprised, but happy, that our PA contingent actually talked to Republicans, and not just far left liberals in Congress, with their friendly points of view...preaching to the choir. The failure of the early rollout of Trumpcare will be debated for a long time. It was obvious to me, from what I read and saw, that it wouldn't fly. There needs to be a side by side pro/con presentation of the differences/comparisons in the plans and the pros and cons of each of them presented by supporters and non-supporters.

2 people like this
Posted by TooFunny
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2017 at 3:13 pm

"The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state". Thomas Sowell

"....Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and donations from the rich while promising to keep each away from one another...."

A rising tide in a democracy does not raise all ships. The middle class sinks. I'm thinking Socrates, not sure.

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

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