Letters | August 13, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - August 13, 2010


Advice for Fehrenbach


I believe new Palo Alto Economic Development Manager Tommy Fehrenbach will be the communicator that will allow an energetic conversation about taking actions outside the box.

Being from Palo Alto, he will be sensitive to our desire to preserve the qualities that make Palo Alto unique, but he also has the vision to lead a creative conversation about how to make the downtown more pedestrian friendly, including the possibility of closing some streets to car traffic.

There is a balance between the business interests of Palo Alto and the preservationists desire to retain Palo Alto qualities. Tommy will be able to bring those interests together.

He will just have to prove to the preservationists that his business background does not necessarily mean he is a hired gun of the high-density development interests.

Let's leverage what we preserve and find a win-win for both interests.

A lot of people will be watching your moves, Tommy, so make sure your actions are inclusive and fair. (yes, fairness can be a principal in city government).

By the way, try to include residents from a broad spectrum of the city and avoid the typical configuration of city insiders. And no closed meetings, like other city managers have pulled (yes, I'm talking about you Chief Burns.)

Show us how the power of sincere citizen participation and entrepreneurial energy can move the city forward.

Tim Gray

Former council candidate

Palo Alto

Nurse negotiations


I've been an operating-room nurse at Stanford Hospital since 1989 and, like the 2,700 other nurses at Stanford and Lucile Packard Hospitals, I've been working under an expired contract for several months.

CRONA (Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement), which represents the nurses, last bargained with the hospitals in March, when they gave CRONA what they termed their "last, best and final" offer.

While we have agreed with the hospitals on several crucial points, major disagreements remain. They involve things the hospitals wish to take away from nurses.

The hospitals' final offer was rejected by 90 percent of CRONA nurses in a secret-ballot vote. It would impose on nurses new criteria for advancement that are virtually impossible to attain, and result in experienced and highly-skilled nurses being unfairly demoted. The hospitals also want to change our medical benefits in a manner that will be very harmful to nurses and their families — especially those with serious injuries or medical problems and those who are pregnant.

The community should be concerned about this prolonged contract dispute because of its possible adverse consequences for medical care. Already, experienced nurses have left the hospitals for jobs elsewhere and morale is extremely low. We worry about the effect that this dispute will have on patient care.

We ask you to urge the hospitals to bargain with us in good faith so we can negotiate a fair agreement beneficial to CRONA, the hospitals, and the community we serve.

Marivi V. Verbo

Partridge Avenue

Menlo Park



Self-publishing has opened doors that many authors believed would always be shut. But if we self-publish we should do so knowing that the end product will not be our best work.

An author's work needs the critical eye of an impartial editor — an editor who is not the author's wife, husband, child or best friend. A talented editor will elevate an already talented writer's work to an entirely new level. But in our rush to self-publish, to "get the work out there," we bypass this significant part of the process.

That is why self-publishing has a slightly off-putting reputation. Most self-published books are poorly written, unedited dreck.

An agent's job is to sell books to publishers. Typically, agents work within specific genres that they enjoy reading. There are agents who specialize in mystery, thriller, literary fiction and — yes — even humor. And, of course, most agents follow trends. For instance, if Mr. Jacobson had five daughters who were vampires he'd be the next Stephanie Meyer. It takes a great investment of time to find an agent or publisher. Perhaps, justifiably because it is an agonizing process, Mr. Jacobson did not want to invest the time.

Full disclosure: I know Lynn Jacobson. He's a wonderful man. And I am familiar with Mr. Jacobson's book. I do not consider it part of the aforementioned "dreck." It will put a smile on your face. But the attitude he projects in the article — that agents are humorless trolls desperate to quash the dreams of aspiring writers — is wrong. Agents want nothing more than to find a best seller. It's just that, the more we self-publish, the more difficult finding that best seller becomes.

Mimm Patterson

Emerson Street

Palo Alto


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