Letters | June 4, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - June 4, 2010


Dogs and bikes


I love dogs and biking, but I think they do not belong in Arastadero Preserve during the spring.

I hiked the preserve today and saw a baby coyote, tiny fawn, small smashed snake and large lizard on or just next to the path leading to the pond above the lake. With so many babies in the park now, it seems that dogs, even on leash, are a jarring and dangerous presence to the infant critters.

Bikers are unable to see small slithering creatures on the path in time to avoid them.

I propose that the city ban dogs and bikes during this time of year.

Barbara Millin

Emerson Street

Palo Alto

Coach responds


I am writing to express my concerns with the recent two-part "Out of Bounds" articles, in particular the section that insinuates that I resigned from my position of head football coach at Gunn High School due to the player/parent evaluations that Chris Horpel conducted about me.

This could not be further from the truth. My letter of resignation clearly states that I resigned due to the lack of administrative support that I received while the head football coach. I also clearly state that I had profound philosophical differences with Athletic Director Chris Horpel.

I have no problem with being evaluated by my players as long as the evaluation is unbiased and can provide a section for self-reflection of those filling out the evaluation. Unfortunately this did not happen, but that still was in no way a factor in my resignation.

It is too bad that your newspaper did not do its homework before printing such an inflammatory and totally biased article.

Matt McGinn

Gunn Physical Education Department

Palo Alto High School Assistant Football Coach

Sidewalk repair


About 12 years ago the city came out and "patched" small sections of the sidewalk by my house at the corner of Lincoln and Ramona Street. Those new sections are generally still in good shape but the bulk of the old original walk isn't. I'd say about 120 to 140 feet need replacement (remember this is a corner lot). Yes, street tree roots probably caused the raised and cracked walks but, from my standpoint, street trees define our town and the desirability of Palo Alto, so I don't want them damaged or taken out, something that is likely if residents just see them as "the problem" that causes them to pay for sidewalk repairs.

I have been trying for three years to get the raised and damaged sections of the original 50-year-old portions of the walk fixed, initially because my elderly neighbor got her walker-assisted exercise traversing the corner and I was afraid she would trip and fall.

The best I got a year ago was black asphalt patches. Recently I called Public Works and the gentleman was very nice and sympathetic, recognizing the walks are in bad shape but no, not "bad enough" that the city will do anything about them.

I know the city is looking for ways to make money, but in general, because of the quality that the trees bestow on community image, I think this is going to be another short-sighted way to generate revenue.

If the city decides to make owners responsible I probably face an inspection and possible penalty from a city inspector who now finds the conditions "bad enough" to need repair and wants to bill me perhaps $8,000 or more to fix the walk that I asked to have fixed three years ago.

If the city decides to adopt this new revenue generator, they need to fix all of the existing damage first.

On liability I think it is great that the city is saying it will retain responsibility, but if the owner is responsible for fixing the walk won't some smart attorney sue both the city and the owner? I understand that is how it works elsewhere.

Ken Alsman

Ramona Street

Palo Alto

Dirty signs?


On May 25 a Palo Alto Public Works Department truck with two city employees pulled up in front of our house.

I thought they were here to prune the city-owned tree in our front yard whose branches are now hanging over the street and sidewalk. Instead, one of the workers put a ladder next to the street sign in front of our house, climbed it and used some type of aerosol cleaner to clean the street sign.

Since Palo Alto is now trying to decide which programs to cut, wouldn't it make more sense to eliminate the two city workers assigned to cleaning street signs than to cut the funds for the railroad crossing guards, as was recently debated?

Or maybe instead of closing libraries and laying off school teachers we could all just live with dirty street signs.

Cheryl Nafzgar

St. Claire Drive

Palo Alto


Posted by AnoNymous, a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Dear Ms. Millin:

Perhaps we could simply exclude ugly people from our local parks. They tend to scare the dogs, you know...

Posted by Commander McBragg, a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm

The dogs won't be a problem because there is a leash law.

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