Letters | April 23, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - April 23, 2010


More park debate


It appears that a green baby was thrown out with the bathwater during the April 5 City Council meeting . Not mentioned in your story was the council's decision to slate up to 10 acres of designated parkland by the Bay for "un-dedication" to make way for a possible industrial-waste processing plant. Ten acres of peace, tranquility, and natural beauty representing the long needed addition of Byxbee Park, 10 acres of serenity and joy for all the stressed-out inhabitants and visitors of our city are now in serious jeopardy.

Under the banner of "Clean Energy" the supporters of the plant managed to get a $250,000 study approved for this location. At a time when the awareness of the entire nation is focused on the preservation of parks, when we, in the Bay Area, have fought so hard and so long to preserve and protect our last open spaces by the bay for future generations, someone wants to strip down a park and set up an industrial plant?

I say "hands off our park!"

Andrea Gleason

East Meadow Drive

Palo Alto

Palo Alto Bowl


I am the founder of a campaign to save the hallowed, 55-year-old Palo Alto Bowl.

The Palo Alto Bowl is representative of a simpler time; of romanticism. As soon as one steps inside, they can sense a true, old-world atmosphere in the place; in the simplicity. None of that new-age, almost futuristic technology and design which sadly plagues many new alleys today; while these bowls may be shinier and some of the equipment easier to use, it is also these very aspects which take away so very much.

Let me ask one thing: when were we informed of this new motel and condo development? After the fact, right? Were you ever asked for your opinion? I know I wasn't.

Care about the Palo Alto Bowl? Sick and tired of a handful of elderly people deciding the fate of cities with decisions that are the opposite opinions of most people? Sick of city councils slowly chipping away at character? Being developer-friendly? Refusing to solicit and consider opinions from the majority of the public? Using their power to serve personal, short-term interests? Then please join the official Facebook campaign to save this hallowed 55 year old classic alley!


Palo Alto Bowl has been a staple for over half a century. Whether you are 15 or 50, whether you have gone here your entire life or have just recently discovered this gem, whether you are one of the many, many disabled students who rely on this hallowed alley year after year, or are an older bowler who has been involved for years in one of their many leagues, you, my friend, are a part of its rich history. From the moment you entered those doors for the very first time, you helped to play a lasting role in making this jewel what it is today.

The status quo must change.

Daniel Mart

Mountain View

Holman's priorities


Councilwoman Karen Holman is quoted (April 12): "I think the public has spoken pretty loudly and clearly about how much they cherish the libraries. "

"It's not a top priority for me — changing the number of hours."

Exactly what are Holman's priorities?

I always worry when I see words like "cherished" or "beloved" used to justify spending money. Are the police "cherished"? The public works road crews?

"Cherished" is not a criterion for what's essential. Public safety and infrastructure should be at the top of the city's priority list.

Of course libraries are important, but when there's a budget deficit — with more debt looming — not everything can be preserved.

It would be helpful to see the city manager's priority list and City Council's. Without such a list, how do they determine what to cut?

Pat Marriott

Los Altos



I am a Ragazzi parent and a long-time reader of the Weekly.

I wanted to write to thank you for your lovely story on Ragazzi member Nathan Wilen. We are proud of our Ragazzi boys, who work hard and go on to accomplish great things. I hate to be a nit-picker, but it is a shame that you chose to print this story just a week after Ragazzi performed a marvelous public concert in Palo Alto, when readers could have heard Nathan and his young colleagues present a simply fantastic performance here in Palo Alto. Most of Ragazzi's concerts take place in Palo Alto — there will be another one coming up Sunday, June 5 (for information visit www.Ragazzi.org).

The music is absolutely ethereal. If your readers enjoy good music, they don't need to wait for Chantecleer to make its annual local appearance (although we recommend they attend that as well!); there are lots of chances in-between to catch the next generation of gifted singers right here.

Wendy Crowder

Webster Street

Palo Alto


Posted by K-Mart, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2010 at 7:12 am

Mr Mart continues his dis-information campaign regarding the Palo Alto Bowl.
He states:
"Let me ask one thing: when were we informed of this new motel and condo development? After the fact, right?"
This is a clear lie. You will note from the following story in the PA Weekly:
Web Link
"But the majority ultimately agreed that the proposed project was what the city envisioned when it rezoned the site about three years ago to allow commercial development.
"I think it's a community asset and I'll be sorry to see it go," Klein said. "But the City of Palo Alto doesn't own Palo Alto Bowl."
Klein also said the approval process for the project has been a "model one," featuring numerous commission reviews, extensive outreach to the surrounding neighborhood and application changes based on feedback from critics."

You will note that this matter was in the works for 3+ years prior to the vote and their was outreach to the neighborhoods and responses to critics. So why does Mr Mart claim that people found out after the fact?

Also do not forget another important fact which Mr Mart ignores, the rights of the property owners--the right of the original owner to sell to developers and the rights of the current owner to build on their site. As former councilmmeber Barton noted in the story:
""I appreciate Palo Alto Bowl, I used it, but the real question is not saving Palo Alto Bowl but the zoning rights of the property owners."

Mr Mart goes on to state:
"Were you ever asked for your opinion? I know I wasn't."
Mr Mart is a resident of Mountain View. He cannot tell Palo Alto what to do. That said, the article above show that this was in the works for a number of years. Mr Mart had plenty of time to offer his opinion.
It is false for him to claim that he was not asked.

It will be interesting to see now that the bowl has gotten a reprieve whether Mr Mart will actually take any real action to raise money to buy the bowl site. All we have seen so far is misinformation, attacks on city officials and denigration of "rich people".
The ball is in Mr Mart's court now. It is time for action not words.

Posted by Nate, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 23, 2010 at 11:02 am

With reference to Andrea Oleason's letter about her perception of the industrialization of Byxbee Park; a headline in the paper this morning caught my eye: "7 unlikely threats to the planet.

Number 5 was Public parks because they require watering, fertilizer, maintenance and contribute to climate change.

So, maybe the PA City Council was right to take 10 acres of Byxbee Park for the digester to recycling our compostables and provide the City with green electricity.

Posted by Daniel Mart, a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 24, 2010 at 12:03 am

Daniel Mart is a registered user.

The PA Bowl letter is from last year ... so, this is either a mistake on the part of PA Online, or some fellow supporter decided to re-post it.

Either way ... any promotion is good promotion ;)

Posted by David Jones, a resident of Atherton
on Apr 28, 2010 at 11:44 pm

As a Ragazzi alumni parent, I heartily endorse Ms. Crowder's opinions. Ragazzi produces remarkable music and top-notch boys. They are frequently found at First United Methodist, downtown and at First Congregational on Embarcadero - hear them for yourself!

Posted by The Brenzel Family, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Thank you for publishing Wendy Crowder's letter. She is absolutely correct. Please make more of an effort to publicize the concerts and the choristers of this extraordinary local boys chorus. They are local and great!

Posted by David Hsiao, a resident of Midtown
on May 6, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Wendy Crowder's message is spot on. The Ragazzi Boys Chorus puts on fabulous performances. My son and many of his classmates do Palo Alto proud with their solos and involvement in this excellent organization. Ragazzi has even had a boy sing with the Vienna Boys Choir! Neighbors, friends, and family members enjoy the concerts, particularly those at First Congregational, First United Methodist churches, and other Palo Alto venues. Keep the news coming. The community benefits from great music and great boys.

Posted by Clare Warner, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 7, 2010 at 10:54 am

I, like Wendy Crowder, loved your recent article about Nathan Wilen, which focused on a young man who has found a passion in vocal music, nurtured by his longtime participation in Ragazzi Boys Chorus. It is hard to come by arts organizations solely for boys these days; and as a former Ragazzi parent and a member of the First Congregational Church, where Ragazzi often performs, I can attest to the fact that the chorus is a jewel and Nathan, a wonderful contributor. Thank you for doing this inspirational story.

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