Guest Opinion: 'Strawberry Hill' defoliation requires school reform on spraying | August 22, 2007 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - August 22, 2007

Guest Opinion: 'Strawberry Hill' defoliation requires school reform on spraying

by Winter Dellenbach

My dad taught science. For dozens of summers he led hikes through the local hills for town kids, showing us king snakes, trapdoor spiders, monkey flowers and horned toads.

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Winter Dellenbach is a Barron Park resident and long-time Palo Altan. She can be e-mailed at [email protected]


Posted by For a Healthy Neighborhoods Act
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 21, 2007 at 3:46 pm

I’m very grateful to Winter Dellenbach for writing her Guest Opinion about the Strawberry Hill defoliation and the need to address some larger issues. She writes “Many of the above questions have been individually addressed, but a comprehensive policy is needed. The district has adopted the Healthy Schools Act (HSA) that calls for reduced use of toxics and encourages the creation of an integrated pest management (IPM) plan to do so.”

This may be a good time to ask the City of Palo Alto to adopt a Healthy Neighborhoods Act that calls for large developments such as The Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life and Bridge Housing projects at 901 San Antonio Road to notify neighborhoods when demolition will occur. Monitoring devises should be required on site that would sound an alarm if toxic particles are released into the air. Local roofs and soil should be tested for toxic materials – before the rains start in the case of the SUN Microsystems building that was recently demolished.

The local air quality people tell me that although it would be a good idea for neighbors to be notified of demolitions, this is not required. They did suggest that if I noticed dust blowing around the site I should call the project manager. He is required to keep the dust down by hosing down the site.

I’m concerned that toxic materials have settled in my garden, in trees and on my roof. When it rains, will these materials be washed into the soil? Did the SUN building contain asbestos or other toxic materials?

Winter Dellenbach writes “Private toxics contractors should be subject to serious oversight to ensure they abide by a minimal-use goal of the HSA. Complying with the Healthy Schools Act is a matter of health and safety -- parents, the PTA and the public should insist upon it as we become a greener community.” I agree and I ask that contractors should also be subject to serious oversight. The development at 901 San Antonio Road is across the freeway from the Baylands Nature Preserve as well as close to neighborhoods and schools. As everyone knows from 9/11, particulate matter travels widely.

Posted by William
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2007 at 4:20 pm

This subject has been discussed before on this site.

Web Link

(by mistake I responded to the link I referenced).

It is a back-and-forth argument about the toxicity/lack of toxicity of Roundup, as well as the cost of hiring laborers to accomplish the task using mechanical methods.

Winter, clearly, has spent some time in a tree house. Roundup only kills growing plants. It is, literally, less toxic to humans than table salt. It's surfactant is more of a problem, but only when used in water. What is the difference between that and mechinical mowing? Either way, the plants are they are when the ground goes dry, and the sun kills them. The difference between the natural apporach and mechanical/herbicide approach is that the natural approach leaves a fire hazard.

If you bother to read the above link, you will see that some posters recommended goats to do the job. I wonder if Winter agrees with this approach? Goats are starved ahead of time in order to make sure they are desperate enough to eat weeds.

One spray of Roundup, or several mechanical mowings...or goats...or imaginary volunteers with hoes (prescreend, of course, for being in the presence of children, and covered for liability). Take your choice.

Two years in a treehouse?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 21, 2007 at 4:21 pm

The same could be said of the building recently demolished at Bayshore/Loma Verde. This was close to homes, and not far from both Greer Park and the Baylands with less interruption of where the contaminated particles could land as it was just across from the freeway.

Posted by William
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Here is the link, again:

Web Link

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2007 at 8:15 pm

Much of California soil is asbestos in nature.

Posted by Amazed
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 21, 2007 at 10:57 pm

"Much of California soil is asbestos in nature"

Where did you get that one, Walt - from Wikipedia or from your book, The World According to Walt???

Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2007 at 9:59 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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