In the April 8 issue you asked what I think about the city's decision to keep radios encrypted. Why are you asking me? I have no experience whatsoever with law enforcement. Why don't we ask for Robert Jonsen's opinion, he's our police chief? The city has asked him to take full responsibility to serve and protect our community. Let him decide such matters, that's his job. If we continue to micro-manage his department, then when our crime wave continues to spread, we will only have ourselves to blame not the police department.
Arbutus Avenue, Palo Alto
Castilleja has complied with the rule of law
Regardless of one's position on Castilleja School's project, both parties agree that when it comes to current city code, everybody in Palo Alto has to comply. What I struggle to understand is why anyone thinks Castilleja is getting special privileges.
Throughout this long application process, the school has complied with the rule of law.
If you want to argue that Castilleja is being treated differently here at all — in other words, if anything is unfair — it's the added hurdles that Castilleja has been asked to jump over.
An appropriate comparison is to Congregation Kol Emeth. Both institutions operate under a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in a R-1 Zone. I'd say that's apples to apples. The city, abiding by code, approved an underground parking garage for the Kol Emeth. Castilleja has requested the same thing. Questions about whether a garage is allowed, tell me that the school is not being evaluated justly.
According to the code, a CUP provides for uses "that are necessary or desirable for the development of a community or region." If it weren't for CUPs, our community wouldn't have places of worship, museums, or other core elements that make up the fabric of our lives. Schools — yes, even private ones — fall into this use category. Further, the code explicitly states that "in granting conditional use permits, reasonable conditions or restrictions may be imposed." Variances and CUPs are legally permissible tools, they're not used to gain "special" treatment, and they should be applied equally and fairly to all applicants across the city.
Melville Avenue, Palo Alto
When voting, keep younger generation in mind
As we stand on the precipice of a new era in national and geopolitics, we know that the prosperity and future of Palo Alto residents depend on our response to the looming issues of housing, education and health care access. With the primary election on June 7 (and mail-in voting beginning as soon as May 9), I can confidently say that Ajwang Rading is the right candidate to tackle these issues in the United States Congress.
His personal experiences with homelessness for over a decade and skill as a tech lawyer advising startups, prepare him to address the challenges we face even in the heart of Silicon Valley by driving bold solutions in the U.S. Capitol.
As a student, it may seem that I'm biased toward a younger candidate. Yes, I support Rading because it's time for new leadership — but also a new kind of leadership. His experience and energy will shape the legislation that will ultimately determine the future of my generation.
As we approach the primary, I urge us to reflect on what we value. It's time we match the growth we have undergone in industry and identity, with a change in leadership that can better amplify our voices in Congress.
When I met Rading, right off the bat, I was charmed by his sensibility and spirit. He, refreshingly, makes time for his constituents.
I'm thrilled to vote for Ajwang as soon as I receive my ballot. I hope you will too, keeping my generation in mind.
student, Palo Alto High School
Tickets prices too high for many music lovers
As a music lover living in the Midpeninsula, I was happy to hear that Menlo Park's Guild Theatre would reopen as a live music venue.
As a jazz fan, I was intrigued by the Guild's posting on Facebook announcing that tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington would be performing at the theatre in July. I've seen Mr. Washington at the SFJazz Center, playing the music of Wayne Shorter and am familiar with his massive album The Epic. The Guild Theatre is just a few minutes from where I live, and I was looking forward to perhaps checking him out again, depending on the ticket price.
My happy anticipation quickly changed to disappointment when I saw that tickets are $143.00 each! According to the Guild, they have to charge this much because of how much Mr. Washington is asking.
After I made a comment on the post objecting to the high ticket price, someone responded: "It is not for you, I think it will sell out!" I've been told that he is not associated with the Guild Theatre, but perhaps with Mr. Washington?
His rude and condescending comment bothered me for days. If this concert and venue is not for me, a homeowner in Palo Alto, how many others will be prohibited from attending? How many others will feel that it is not for them?
I am not advocating for the cheapest ticket price, just something that is reasonable and fair. I feel that live jazz should be more inclusive and less exclusive. I don't know how to change this, but I will not be supporting Mr. Washington at the Guild.
By the way, my comments on the Guild Theatre's post, the elitist response, as well as other comments objecting to the high cost, have been filtered out, and I am no longer able to comment on it. The only comment from the public that is left, the "most relevant" comment, according to the Guild, is positive (big surprise). So much for an open discussion with differing opinions about high ticket prices.
Byron Street, Palo Alto
If I were mayor ...
Let's have some fun, shall we? What would you do if you were mayor/had a magic wand?
What I want for Palo Alto is:
1) A Chinese language version of the city of Palo Alto website. All agendas/minutes/bulletins translated into Mandarin as well.
2) A Chinese language option for Palo Alto Online.
3) An electric-assist bike rental program
4) Rebates for electric-assist bikes
5) Rebates for electric leaf blowers, contingent on trade-in of gas blower
6) Ordinance to allow seizure of gas blowers for repeat offenders
7) RPPP for the entire city
8) A world-class, destination dog park with dog pool, agility course, turf, etc., located in Eleanor Pardee Park
9) Construction of multiple units on properties in residential neighborhoods
10) Approval of Castilleja's remodel
What's your wish list?
Birch Street, Palo Alto
Tech helped businesses survive in the pandemic
The lessons learned from the pandemic won't be forgotten, even as things start to open
back up. As a therapist, I depend on interacting with people, and the pandemic put a
pause on in-person work. I didn't want my patients to suffer, so I began looking into new
ways for us to connect.
I am incredibly lucky that we were able to transition to using online platforms. Even
today, many of my patients still prefer to use online platforms for their meetings. Without
the accessibility of online services, it would have been near impossible to keep up the
quality of each session.
My industry is not alone in learning to operate under new circumstances, and I am far
from the last person whose business was saved thanks to technology. I know from the
experiences of friends and family — both business owners and patrons — that the
adaptability provided by tech companies made getting through the pandemic a little bit
easier for many of us.
For that reason, my hope is that legislators currently discussing anti-tech policies that
would pull back on our access to resources, platforms and services, will pause their
efforts. We shouldn't be going after tech tools that have benefitted our communities.
Instead, we should be celebrating how we can work with these services to better our
operations for ourselves and those that we serve.
Avenue Del Ora, Redwood City