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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, June 28, 2002

Reader Wire Reader Wire (June 28, 2002)

A dismal loss

The possibility of losing the Park Theater presents another dismal loss for this community.

This local theater, showing the movies we love, has kept us in the neighborhood using restaurants and bookstores nearby, enabling us to spend an evening near our homes, avoiding the freeway and the multi-plex, and retaining a sense that we still have a community. MaryLee McNeal Melville Avenue, Palo Alto
Save the Park

Surely it is not too late to save the Park Theater? Menlo Park officials should attempt to save this gem. The theater helps make Menlo Park a perfect town for meeting most entertainment activities.

My husband and I attend the Park Theater regularly. We usually combine seeing a movie with going out to dinner, visiting Kepler's or strolling down Santa Cruz Avenue. Allowing the theater to be shut down will cause other Menlo Park businesses to suffer.

I recall hearing on a public radio talk show program that the theaters in Menlo Park and Palo Alto are among the few independent film theaters left between San Francisco and Los Angeles. How lucky are we?

There is no question that there is ample economic support for both the Guild and the Park theaters, so why is this happening? I believe strongly in supporting local merchants and businesses. The council could meet the goal of increasing that support by working to keep the Park open, or by finding workable alternatives.

Rallying public support for anything is difficult these days. By all indications, public support for saving the Park Theater is deeply felt and overwhelming. Our elected and appointed representatives have a duty to act on this support.

Menlo Park cannot afford to lose this treasure. Irma Villarreal Atherwood Avenue, Redwood City
'La Mancha' lives

Thank you for the article regarding the Gunn Student Film Festival (Weekly, June 19). However, the first "La Mancha Film Festival" was organized by Nathan Kitada and James Most of Menlo-Atherton High School.

It continues to be a successful venue for student filmmakers to showcase their work -- the most recent showing was last April at the Burgess Community Center. The "La Mancha" has no affiliation with the Gunn Student Film Festival other than the inspiration it provided as the first local, student-run festival.

The Gunn Student Film Festival could not have been possible without the contributions of the Video Production Club and everyone who participated. Henry Jacobs Stockton Place, Palo Alto
Traffic 'furrows'

Since we can't find money to fix the sewers, maybe we could turn flooding to our advantage, build a moat and make Palo Alto an island.

Until then, we're a link in a chain of crowded cities. We want more homes, more business, a bigger tax base, a thriving downtown -- but we don't want traffic on our streets.

The Winchester Mystery House approach of piecemeal neighborhood "calming" isn't the answer. Consider the Pace Car Program. Those signing the Neighborhood Pace Car Pledge -- promising to obey traffic laws and "have fun while caring about others" -- get a bumper sticker and "become 'mobile speed humps.'"

Individuals who think it's their responsibility to slow traffic could put themselves in danger. Better to hire more police officers and crack down on traffic violators.

The best we can do is develop a master plan that keeps traffic flowing smoothly on major arteries. "Calming" traffic on these main roads will exacerbate our problems. Why have fewer and narrower lanes on El Camino when it's already like a parking lot during commute hours? Throttling traffic will create more road rage, more red-light running and more shortcuts through residential areas.

Naphtali Knox, former city planning director, understood the problem in the 1970s (Weekly, June 19). He said traffic is like water flowing across a plowed field. If it doesn't go down one furrow, it goes down another.

Let's keep the water flowing through the big furrows so the small ones don't get flooded. Pat Marriott Dennis Drive, Palo Alto
Trailing behind

County Supervisor Liz Kniss is wasting our tax dollars and abusing her position. Why?

When Stanford sought county approval for its ten-year land-use plan it promised foothills trails for its own residents to compensate for the loss of recreational space. As is true of Stanford generally, the trails will be open to the public and the trails fit the county's plan. Stanford wants to start building them.

But Kniss has been an impediment. Even though campus residents accept the plan, Kniss wants the trails to go through the center of Stanford's lands. By law, these trails are permanent once built.

Why does she want them on core lands dedicated to the University's founding mission? Stanford's administration has said repeatedly that it would not mortgage future academic needs for political expediency. I believe them.

Kniss has caused delays and needlessly redundant expenditure of the time of county staff, lawyers and leaders. That translates into money -- those are our tax dollars.

Is she an expensive waffler? Or is she using her position to advance some ulterior agenda having nothing to do with providing Stanford residents with hiking trails?

There are better uses for our shrinking tax dollars. We have urgent needs for low-income housing, medical care for the poor and upkeep of our county parks. The Board of Supervisors faces inevitable deficits and they shouldn't be frittering away our resources with stuff like this.

Let's remember this when Kniss next runs for a public office. James W. Lyons Webster Street, Palo Alto


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