There is no doubt that SB 50 threatens nearly everything that we have come to love and appreciate about Palo Alto. Allowing it to stand, SB 50 would require that most of Palo Alto be open to high-density housing in all of its residential single-family neighborhoods with little or no parking requirements. The reality is, you could have a three- or four-story apartment building right next door on your quiet, neighborhood street with no parking requirements. How does that sound?
Stop this madness by your state legislators and learn how SB 50 can affect you and your neighborhood.
Park Boulevard, Palo Alto
Yes on the Voter's Choice Act
On April 9, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on adopting the state-approved Voter's Choice Act for the 2020 election cycle. The League of Women Voters of Palo Alto, of which I am president, wholeheartedly supports the adoption of the act for our county.
The Voter's Choice Act does exactly what its title suggests: It gives voters more voting options. First, all voters will have the option to vote by mail because the county Registrar will send (postage-paid) vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters. Second, voters will be able to drop their vote-by-mail ballots at any mailbox or post office as well as any of about 70 ballot drop boxes strategically located around the county. Third, rather than opening 800+ local polling places for Election Day only, the registrar will set up 25 vote centers that will be open for 11 days leading up to and on Election Day and 100 to 125 vote centers that will be open for four days prior to and on Election Day. Any voter in the county can visit any of these vote centers during that time period to either drop off a mail-in ballot, ask to have their personal ballot printed (in any of nine languages) in order to vote in person or make use of California's same-day registration and conditional voting options.
In every one of the five counties where the Voter's Choice Act was piloted in 2018, voter participation increased. Also, the county Registrar's office plans plenty of outreach to explain the new law — an effort the League of Women Voters pledges to help with.
Choice works best for democracy. Yes, the Voter's Choice Act might cost a bit more, but voting is fundamental. And, we support the act because it is good for democracy.
E. Bayshore Road, Palo Alto
Appealing small cell towers in Barron Park
A group of Palo Alto Unified School District parents is appealing a controversial decision for small cell towers to be placed on utility poles in Barron Park, including one near Barron Park Elementary School. The school parents and the principal received no notice about this facility. Los Angeles Unified School District has a resolution opposing such cell towers to protect children from potential health effects from radio frequency radiation. We in Palo Alto are also concerned about the health and well-being of our children, and we think it is especially important to take action now.
Telecom companies have applied to install over 150 small cell towers in Palo Alto, and more will follow. These facilities are being placed only a few feet from our homes and schools and bring concerns about health, aesthetics, noise, property values and fire safety.
The City Council will vote April 15 on whether to change our wireless ordinance to make it even easier for telecom companies to install more small cells here. In contrast, other California cities are instead establishing setbacks from homes and schools as well as minimum spacing requirements to restrict the placement of small cell towers and regain local control. Palo Alto can do this too. Let's protect our children and residents.
Laguna Avenue, Palo Alto
Seniors deserve better
The downtown Avenidas senior-center building expansion is a huge disappointment. It is a toxic environment constructed with tacky workmanship and cheap materials. Avenidas' design plans, given to the public through extensive newspaper coverage, deviated from the designs implemented.
Where are the full-length windows on the upper floors that overlook the beautiful redwood tree-tops and our park? The upstairs feels claustrophobic with small and milky-white windows blocking outside viewing.
None of their windows appear to open for airing out body odors and airborne diseases. The entire place stinks badly from toxic glue holding down carpeting. There's a large permanent sign in the middle of the front entrance door warning that inside chemicals are cancerous. Comparing carpets with soft linoleum, carpets are bad for asthma and other respiratory ailments, and rugs quickly become filthy with wheelchair and walker traffic.
Seniors deserve better!
Guinda Street, Palo Alto
Building condos next door
Do Palo Alto homeowners want to have a multistory, multi-unit condo building built next to their single-family home? Because that's what SB 50 promotes by having the state supersede local zoning regulations. And yes, multistory, multi-unit buildings could be built next to any home in Palo Alto, as all of Palo Alto is considered a "jobs-rich" zone by SB 50.
SB 50 won't require even one parking space per housing unit in that dense housing that could be built next door, so extra cars will just be parked in the street, apparently. Another similar bill, SB 4, sounds the same.
And, while SB 50 purports to reduce long commute times for those working in Palo Alto and other "jobs-rich" zones, it provides no guarantee that those who purchase and live in the dense housing it promotes will be one of the commuters or workers it's supposed to benefit.
If this doesn't sound so great to you, reading more about SB 50 and contacting State Sen. Jerry Hill or State Assemblyman Marc Berman would be a good idea.
Walter Hays Drive, Palo Alto
This story contains 979 words.
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