Letters to the editor | August 16, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - August 16, 2019

Letters to the editor

100% against Castilleja expansion


I drive the Emerson Street/Embarcadero Road route multiple times a day and strongly feel the expansion would affect my commute to work.

Adding a parking garage in a residential neighborhood also sounds absolutely ridiculous.

Why are we negatively impacting long-term residents who have lives in the area for decades to benefit out of town, temporary folks?

Nathan Fahrenthold

Greer Road, Palo Alto

Faith in Castilleja


I am writing to express my support for Castilleja School's plan to modify its conditional-use permit to expand enrollment. Castilleja is an asset to the community and its plans with the increased enrollment will only make the school a better environment.

I have faith that the school will work with the city to mitigate any outstanding negative impacts to the plan, just as it has spent the past few years working to reduce car traffic to the school and to honor its agreement with the city to gradually reduce enrollment.

Roy Maydan

Byron Street, Palo Alto

Lawn sign survey


There are two groups expressing views about Castilleja School's proposed expansion: those directly impacted and those with opinions. I made a survey of houses close to the campus with lawn signs addressing the issue. The survey area includes properties across the street from the campus and on streets radiating one block away. Out of 75 houses, 36 had signs — which is nearly half, indicating this is a hot issue for many people. Out of those 36, 28 had signs opposing the expansion, which is nearly four out of five. This is an overwhelming majority. There were no signs supporting the expansion. Therefore, I counted the number of houses with signs supporting Castilleja and women's education, even though these are not contentious issues. Nearly everyone supports women's education and facility renovation.

William Macy

Melville Avenue, Palo Alto

A supporter of Castilleja


I am an ardent supporter of Castilleja School, its mission, its proposal to modernize and its application for an enrollment increase.

I live on Melville Avenue, between Emerson Street and Alma Street. I have never suffered a single moment from traffic, noise or parking due to the Castilleja students or activities. My neighbors are fabricating these issues, and for the life of me I cannot fathom their motives. As I read their online posts and letters to the editor, there is a distinct message that Castilleja is bad because it serves the wealthy and attracts students from beyond Palo Alto's boundaries. In fact, Castilleja offers scholarships to a material portion of their students and often to students from outside of Palo Alto who bring a diversity that enriches the learning experience.

Some neighbors cannot let go of the enrollment misrepresentation from over a decade ago. But I've lived here since before the enrollment issue was unveiled, and none of these people mentioned an issue or a hardship with the school back then. Castilleja is a stellar neighbor, with a sensitivity to its surroundings like no other institution I know. The daily visible traffic-control management, the repeated invitations to attend meetings to discuss neighborhood issues, the letters and notices I receive warning me about days when they expect heavy traffic (about twice a year) — no similar courtesies from Palo Alto High School.

I pay sky high property taxes to live in this robust and thriving community. I want choice for girls to attend an excellent public school or a nationally ranked all-girls school. There are many of us who live next to Castilleja who feel this same way.

Nancy Tuck

Melville Avenue, Palo Alto

Don't let Castilleja expand


I am firmly against allowing Castilleja School to expand. There is no clear benefit to our community from allowing an expansion of Castilleja. In fact, now that the Draft Environmental Impact Report is available, it is clear that expansion would instead cause many problems for Palo Alto, including increased traffic in an already congested area.

It would be ridiculous to portray me as being against the "education of women" as Castilleja supporters have tried to say. Girls who live in Palo Alto have access to an outstanding public education at Palo Alto High School, where both my daughters have thrived, and Gunn High School is also an outstanding option. The 75% of Castilleja students from outside Palo Alto (and those within Palo Alto) have other options for spending excessive amounts of tuition dollars if they feel they must have a private, girls-only education. Palo Alto has no obligation to support this school any more than we have so far.

Castilleja is in a residential area, and it has flouted its enrollment limits for many years, causing traffic problems for its neighbors. It should be penalized, not rewarded for this behavior with an expansion. It has not stepped up to provide housing for teachers or any other real benefits to our community.

Palo Alto should not support this proposal.

Diana Darcy

Harker Avenue, Palo Alto

Of course Tarantino got it wrong


After pointing out a series of inaccuracies in Quentin Tarantino's film about Bruce Lee, Chen Kai Wen's letter published in the Weekly on Aug. 2 stated, "Maybe Tarantino just knows how to please his chosen audience: white men in America."

Let me suggest a more realistic explanation. First, a standard Hollywood formula is to have some obnoxious guy finally get beat up. It appeals to an important audience segment: teenage boys who have to put up with obnoxious classmates who are inevitably stronger than they are. Furthermore, movie investors like formulas — they like something that is proven to work to reduce risks, so using a standard formula helps attract the funding needed to make the film.

Now, let's suppose that Brad Pitt didn't want to play the guy who gets beat up because he thinks his "fan base" wouldn't like it. Meanwhile, Tarantino wants Pitt in the movie if only because having someone with "box office appeal" would make investors more comfortable. So, what would they do?

With a young actor just starting his career, and who has to appear in as many pictures as he can to gain experience, you have an obvious candidate for the part. The scene probably resembled the one in "The Maltese Falcon" where the older guys in charge decide the best solution is to make Wilma the fall guy, and there was no viable option for Wilma once he found out.

Bill Zaumen

Clara Drive, Palo Alto

Loss of Breaking Bread


The discontinuation of the Palo Alto Breaking Bread lunch and dinner program by LifeMoves is wrong. This valuable program has been in Palo Alto for several decades. The LifeMoves flyer announcing this says the meal program is moving to the Opportunity Center (OC) to serve breakfast. But the OC has and has had a breakfast program for a number of years. Actually, what is happening is that LifeMoves is discontinuing the Breaking Bread dinner and lunch program.

The LifeMoves announcement also says that there are other dinner meal programs that people can go to. On Wednesday nights, there are two dinners in East Palo Alto at 5 p.m. If one goes on the bus or drives, the traffic is very slow crossing U.S. Highway 101 eastbound, making it impractical to attend. The other option listed is the Street Life Ministries for dinner three nights a week. While this is a great program, I have spoken to people who do not attend for the following reasons:

1) Dinner time is at 8 p.m. (Breaking Bread dinner time is 5 p.m.)

2) Diners eat outside and sit on buckets or benches as opposed to sitting in a chair at a table like at LifeMoves dinners.

3) There is a religious component, which is fine, but some people do not like this.

Laurence Wertman

Channing Avenue, Palo Alto

Silicon Valley ethos


I have lived in Palo Alto since 1972 but initially arrived in this area to do postdoctoral research at Stanford University in 1969. During that time, I have become concerned about the increasing competitiveness, materialism and lack of social consciousness that has become prevalent in the citizenry of Silicon Valley.

Thirty years ago, I was introduced to the phrase "you eat their lunch or they eat your lunch." I was told that was the competitive mantra of Silicon Valley business. As a psychologist with a highly developed social conscience, I wonder why can't we share our lunch.

My career has been spent in working most of the past 50 years with the economically less fortunate, disabled people and those who lack social capital. Our society has become a place in which social class mobility has been significantly reduced. In addition, the social support network has shrunk.

I would like to propose that those of us who have prospered and have benefited from the incredible rise in house prices might consider sharing 10% or more of their estates to those who are less fortunate by contributing to scholarships, support for the economically challenged or any other means of leveling the significant disparity between the lives of the top 10% and the lives of the lower 50%. Even if it reduces the amount that your children inherit, it is likely they will do fine with receiving 90%.

Finally, accumulation of material objects in order to make yourself happy is a fruitless pursuit. You will receive much more in the way of psychic rewards by contributing to the greater good of those less fortunate than you will by accumulating material objects.

Theodore Alper

South Court, Palo Alto


3 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 17, 2019 at 5:17 pm

Nancy Tuck echoes the misinformation voiced by Castilleja. Yes, it works fine now, but when you add an underground garage that dumps into the neighborhood, 135 more students, and 440 more car trips per day, things will change. Is that so hard to grasp?

[Portion removed.]

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