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Green goals, infrastructure on city's 2012 agenda

Original post made on Jan 6, 2012

Curbing employee costs, fixing up the city's aged infrastructure, reopening the city's largest library and using technology to spur community involvement are among the issues looming large on Palo Alto's horizon in 2012.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 6, 2012, 3:52 PM

Comments (7)

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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Reducing employee benefits and pensions should be high on the 2012 agenda!

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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 7, 2012 at 9:49 am

Our city leaders and elected officials have made it very clear over the past several years that we are facing an unprecedented financial crisis and annul budget deficits. If that be the case, then it's time for them to back up their rhetoric with action. No better time than the beginning of a new year to set these goals.

First of all they must establish clear and firm financial priorities. In my opinion, the top of the list should include nothing more than the vital, essential needs that exist in infrastructure and public safety. Those are the foundation of our basic civic needs, and that's where the initial emphasis should be placed. We must take care of our basic needs and be able to pay our bills to put it simply. It is entirely irresponsible for the city to be suggesting as they have recently to raise local taxes in order to fund these basic needs.

In setting these financial priorities, we have to significantly reduce, or when possible eliminate spending on non-essential projects. The recent park upgrades, new playground construction, bicycle access improvements, and investment in public art are simply luxuries that we can't afford. Capital improvement projects such as the 101 bike bridge, or the golf course redesign due to the San Francisquito creek reconfiguration must be scaled back significantly. The city must also reevaluate the public dollars that we allocate to programs like the Children's Theater, a long time city treasure, but one that I seriously have to question whether or not we should be funding with public money. There are also homeless programs that Palo Alto tax payers help fund with an annual six figure contribution. This mind you that is serving a majority of people with few if any ties to our city.

Once again, we must stabilize our city budget, prioritize our needs, and reduce or eliminate non-essential spending on these many fluff, make-over pet projects.

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Posted by Time for change
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Well said, marrol. unfortunatley, our council will continue with business as usual--cahsing after green pipe dream and their own personal agenda. Next January when they elect a new mayor and vice-mayor, they will all pat themsleves on the back for a job well done.

Until the infrastructure issue is addressed, as MArrol stated, in a serious manner we need to forget about electric charging stations, bike bridges over 101, park and rec improvements and dunding for our "city treasures" (zoo, PACT etc).
Time for our council to bite the bullet and make tough decisions. No more excuses.

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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I too question the courage and commitment of our city leaders and elected officials to make the tough choices. This town is heavy with many influential people, or those tied to special interests, that will make it difficult to cut programs or reduce spending on niche projects.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Hire Palo Alto residents for every job.

You always work a little harder for your family, friends, and neighbors, have a greater incentive to make your streets safe and keep them well maintained, watch the bottom line a little more closely, and have every reason to make life better here at home.

Plus, income earned here, is spent here. Local businesses are supported, taxes collected here, properties are maintained and hold their value, and a sense of community and pride grows here.

It's easy to complain. Let's provide answers from a positive place and set an example.

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Posted by Dial it Up
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

The California Air Resources Board under S.B. 375 (The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008) seeks to reduce our per capita emissions by 15 percent, to 85 percent of current levels by 2035 (now apparently 7 percent by 2020). But Plan Bay Area has tied this to allowing 903,000 additional housing units, enough for 2.2 million more people, 33.8 percent more than live here now. If 133.8 percent of our current population each emits 85 percent of current levels, then our total emissions rise by 13.7 percent (133.8 x.85 = 1.137).

According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the average U.S. household generates 59 tons of greenhouse gases annually, so that's a Bay Area increase of over 45 million tons of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases every year. That larger population would have to reduce individual emissions by a much larger percentage to achieve 1990 levels by 2020, as required by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (A.B. 32).

Most of our emissions are not generated locally – they are released into the atmosphere wherever the goods and food we use are produced and transported. Atmospheric greenhouse gases do not respect regional, state or national boundaries.

True sustainability advocates contend that beyond the quality of life issues – more traffic congestion, air and noise pollution – the public will justifiably be angry when they find out that this “smart growth” will do nothing to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Yes, building in existing urban areas has important environmental advantages over building in rural regions, but it is simply the lesser of two evils. This much urban construction will vastly increase our emissions no matter how “green” that construction may be. Instead of choosing the lesser of two evils when it comes to our air, water and open space, why not choose the good?

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