A first impression is hard to change, and the new Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo will be misbranded if the proposed ticket price becomes the real one. Is the museum unfriendly to families like a private, for-profit museum? Exclusive? Well-designed but overpriced? A price of $18 per person will define it in these ways, however, the museum strives to make a different impression.
Why not follow the advice of the people who raised the money for the new museum? They
recommend a much lower ticket price.
Why not remember that the museum is a civic amenity, like the park in which it is located?
The city council should set the price low, reinstall the donation box from the old free-admission days and have faith that gratitude will do the rest.
Cowper Street, Palo Alto
American dream somewhere else
Last month, the city council avoided one of its worst nightmares: accidentally doing something to facilitate affordable housing development. Following an effort by a developer to build apartments in an area with some single-family houses, the city council swooped in to make clear that affordable housing should be illegal in single-family neighborhoods across the city.
Here's the good news: Palo Alto has a plan for affordable housing. It doesn't require the city to spend a dime incentivizing construction for the teachers, service workers and lower-income families who'd benefit from affordable housing. No bureaucracy or long planning meetings are required to jumpstart this program, which long has been in use in Palo Alto. It's tried and true.
Here's the plan: if you can't afford a home here, live somewhere else! It's easy. You may work here, have family here, want to send your kids to school here or enjoy all that Palo Alto has to offer -- and the city council hears you. They really do. They know that Palo Alto is a bastion of opportunity and natural beauty. And here's their advice: Scram!
That may seem unfair to you. But here's what you have to remember: finders keepers, losers weepers. They were here first! You can't seriously expect them to want a low-income person to be able to work hard, send their kids to a good school here, watch them go off and get an education and build wealth for their family. Of course, they believe in the American Dream -- just not here.
Kudos to the city council for finding this creative affordable housing solution. I'm sure state housing law will have nothing to say about our failure to build affordable housing here. And if it does, we'll just pursue our time-honored tradition of ignoring that too!
Leland Avenue, Palo Alto