Letters | September 27, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - September 27, 2013


No on Maybell


Friends have asked me what can we do to help save the existing low-income housing at the Buena Vista Trailer Park. If Measure D fails, it will send a message to other greedy developers that Palo Alto will not double their money by allowing a density bonus at the expense of current residents. Then the owner, and the developer who has incited the owner's greed, might negotiate a fair, realistic price to sell to the residents.

Keep the kids in the Palo Alto schools! Please vote no on Measure D.

Margaret Fruth

Ventura neighborhood, Palo Alto

Your neighborhood is next


This campaign is a grassroots effort against the Palo Alto City Council's violation of current zoning and statutory procedures all over town, not just on Maybell.

The neighbors of the Maybell project in Measure D would welcome the low-cost senior housing under current zoning — 41 units and no single-family homes.

The City Council wants PC zoning for this project for the increased density. PC zoning is a euphemism for "we'll do what we want — in YOUR neighborhood." Readers, YOUR neighborhood is next.

The Maybell project has no access except for Clemo, a dead-end, one block street that functions as a parking lot for Juana Briones Park.

The council wants this to be an argument about low-cost senior housing. The neighbors say it is about whimsical zoning changes.

By the way, the zoning change the city wants is for 61 low-income-senior housing units plus 12 market-rate single-family homes on 3,000-square-foot lots with no driveways in front of the homes.

John Elman

Hubbartt Drive, Palo Alto

Name library for resident


I haven't heard a mention of a former, prominent Palo Alto resident yet for the new main library. Why not consider Dr. Thomas Williams who founded the Palo Alto Medical Foundation?

Lorin Krogh

Encina Avenue, Palo Alto

Strive for balance


"Urban density" is often the result of overpopulation, ("'Urban' Growth Outpacing Overall Density - Palo Alto Feeling It?" by Jay Thorwaldson, Sept. 20). It is time the whole world started striving for a "balanced" population through education and prevention. Often we hear our government talk about balancing our budget. We need to do the same with population.

Why not encourage couples to have one healthy pregnancy and then adopt the rest of the children a couple wants and can properly care for emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually?

There would be many benefits: Less stress and pressure, frustration, anger and fear. People need space to live in and call their own, just like wild animals. There would not be the need to build and maintain new prisons, sewage, water or power plants, build and maintain new roads. Cost of housing, food, gasoline and other needs would decrease.

People as a whole would be happier, more joyous, selfless, kind; just more fun to be with.

Jackie Leonard-Dimmick

Walnut Avenue, Atherton

Homeless camp at Baylands


Carol Gilbert (Palo Alto Weekly, Sept. 13) has the perfect solution: "Support our homeless with a situation at the Baylands that would allow overnight, safe, patrolled parking with showers, toilets and pay phones."A camptown for the homeless at the Baylands. It wouldn't cost so very much and it would provide the essential accommodation for all those who are truly in need of a place to live. It is peaceful there, with ample space. It could be a model for the Bay Area, if not the nation.

Lachen McClellan

Coastland Drive, Palo Alto

Hunt down those cats?


Slingshots, anyone?


Ruben Contreras ("Kill feral cats," Sept. 20) is so right. We ought not to pamper feral cats through euthanasia, but kill them, as he argues. I suggest he create a hunting party, clothe with camouflage and provide equipment, then head for our part of the peninsula, where feral cats kill with impunity. We, and our neighbors, have been unable to rid our yards of these bird-slayers by the usual means: slingshot pebbles, plastic balls shot from airguns, hurling small rocks, squirting with water. ... My wife refuses to arm me with a BB gun, sadly.

So, I am in favor of Ruben's solution, whatever his left-to-one's-imagination set of approaches might be. Perhaps, he plans to set steel traps, place bags containing angry raccoons, use crucifixion, poison gas, Dobermans, arrows, scattershot ... the list goes on. One request Ruben, please inform us as to the exact date and time of your expedition so the children and pets can be tucked away safely.

Jeff Colflesh

Placitas Avenue, Menlo Park

Essential, not simple


A comment on what "fully parked" means, a short hand that may be misleading if taken literally. Parking on-site is impossible in downtown. Other alternatives can create a "fully parked equivalent" solution:

1. Substantial $ contributions (in-lieu fees and assessment of property owners and businesses) towards providing common parking solutions,

2. Up-to-date technology,

3. Realistic Transportation Demand Management Programs,

4. Land use controls ensuring space is used, not abused (residential isn't converted to employment, employee density, a mix of uses,

5. A Residential Permit Program with enforcement — funded primarily by those downtown interests creating the parking pressures,

6. Bold ideas: remote parking, more efficient use of existing structures, private property for structures.

The bottom line is that if on-site parking isn't possible without creating blank spaces and pedestrian obstacles (240 Hamilton), you need to make substantial payments — either lump sum or annually; in-lieu or assessment — to implement the overall program.

Simple? No. Essential, Yes!

This won't happen unless: the Council adopts an immediate moratorium on all construction in the current pipeline; the Council adopts a true Residential Permit Program, and the Council mandates an open downtown parking committee process, one with new private sector leaders.

Until then, property owners/developers will not come to the table, rather they will continue to argue in their own financial interests - not the interests of the community, the interest of employees or the long-term interests of downtown itself.

Ken Alsman

Ramona Street, Palo Alto

No cats to be seen


Regarding feral cats. I visit the Palo Alto Baylands area perhaps once a week, and I have lived here for 50 years.

On my visits to the Baylands I have seen many kinds of birds including burrowing owls — I call them ballerina owls, pheasants and then jack rabbits or maybe they should be called hares, ground squirrels of course (would they eat bird eggs? I don't know) and skunks, cute as a monkey standing on their hind legs — but have I seen a cat? No, not one cat in 50 years — even though cats usually like me and approach me in many places. If we consider other areas of Palo Alto I would think that squirrels do much more harm to the bird population — by stealing and eating bird eggs — (but) the crows are not without blame here; they also raid birds' nests.

When it comes to bird-serenades, I hear them daily and I see the birds just as daily.

Concerning cats, don't kill a cat — love a cat; and that includes small cats, big cats — that could be mountain lions.

Marie-Louise Starling-Bell

Webster Street, Palo Alto