David Bubenik's letter last week suggests that he has not read the updated feasibility study for an anaerobic digester in Palo Alto. For months project opponents have been quoting stale figures, and they lobbied to discontinue the study before more accurate financials could be determined.
Well, the updated figures are now available, and they show that anaerobic digestion could save our community $30 million or more over the first 20 years. After that, the facility would be paid off, and the savings would be even greater.
Opponents of anaerobic digestion have insisted that the facility should pay astronomical land rent, hoping that such a scenario would make it economically unappealing. However, it's up to City Council how much rent, if any, would be charged. And if we did charge ourselves rent, it would only shift funds from the Refuse Fund to the General Fund, which pays for our police, fire, parks and community services.
Opponents have attempted to scare people into opposing the anaerobic digester by claiming it would increase refuse rates. At the same time they have lobbied for the above-mentioned transfer of funds from the Refuse Fund to the General Fund in the form of rent.
Whose side are they on?
People can view the updated feasibility study at www.cityofpaloalto.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=27590 and information about the Palo Alto Green Energy and Compost Initiative at www.pagreenenergy.org.
Stop groundwater pumping
For several months now the screened property on the northeast side of the 2100 block of Bryant Street has been discharging water through a four-inch pipe in the gutter into a drain on the corner of Bryant Street and North California Avenue. Obviously this water is being pumped from the ground for some misguided process. The unconscionable depletion of groundwater from precious aquifers that belong, not to the property owners, but to the neighborhood and the City of Palo Alto is a process that must be stopped immediately.
Why this process has been allowed to take place — especially for such an extended period — is beyond the comprehension of any thinking individual.
The City of Palo Alto should do whatever is in its power to police this situation now — before tragic consequences occur.
Barry Z. Rose
Saltworks and climate
It might seem unlikely to some folks, but I think the Saltworks project would have an impact on local climate due to loss of Bay surface water.
We recently moved from a house in a Palo Alto's Adobe Meadow neighborhood, where neither air conditioners nor foam roofs were common. Now in a Mountain View neighborhood, Monta Loma, those are common and we can feel why.
At 3.3 miles from the Bay shore (previously 2.3), it is hotter in the summer and colder in the winter.
Raymond R. White
Construction could harm kids
Stanford has begun building its new children's hospital and with it a nine-level parking structure fewer than 60-feet from our day care center (CCLC Arboretum, 215 Quarry Road). Stanford has already issued warnings to their physicians that construction of the new hospital will result in dust and noise pollution that could negatively impact patient health and encouraged patients to be kept indoors. They have closed off wings of their current hospital to prevent endangering patients and evacuated offices in proximity to construction.
However, when it comes to building next to a day care, Stanford has little regard for the safety or health of our children. In addition to demolishing playgrounds, they've told our daycare to try to "keep the windows closed" and to "encourage indoor play" as much as possible. As a parent and physician, "keeping windows closed" and "encouraging indoor play" is not an effective strategy to prevent exposure to toxic construction materials like lead and asbestos.
CCLC Arboretum has little to offer unfortunately, as they just lease the land that Stanford owns. Many of the day care staff are outraged, frustrated, and heartbroken over Stanford's unwillingness to find a workable compromise. Many are contemplating leaving. Our loving day care community, which many of us think of as an extended family, is being torn apart. It truly seems odd that a building permit for such a large-scale project would be granted in proximity to a day care.
Up to this point, the voices of the parents have fallen on deaf ears. Several meetings with Stanford and the construction company have all been met with: "This is a billion dollar project that will go forward. Let's do the best we can." On an issue as important as our children's health, "doing the best we can" is not good enough.
Stanford is acting irresponsibly, especially for a hospital purported to advocate for the health of children. We must do better.