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November 24, 2004

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Letters Letters (November 24, 2004)

Middlefield mess


A plan to restrict traffic on Middlefield Road is proceeding with little attention. The city proposes to conduct a "test" on the effects of reducing Middlefield to two lanes (from four) between Oregon Expressway and Colorado Avenue.

This plan is ill-conceived and does not serve any community interest.

The purported reason for a lane reduction is traffic calming and pedestrian/bicycle safety. There are already four lights in that two-block stretch of road. How could there possibly be a need for additional traffic calming?

There are generous sidewalks on both sides of the road and pedestrian crossing buttons at each light, that do in fact change the lights very effectively. Restricting traffic, on the other hand, will cause cars to back up through lights and make more turns trying to avoid backups, which will, in fact, make the area less safe.

Traffic will be diverted onto local roads, creating unsafe conditions on Ross Road and Cowper Street, where many of us live with small children.

Finally, the "test" method proposed is to close the lanes for a few hours one afternoon. Such a test would not be valid. Frustrated drivers will not change their behavior the first time they encounter backups. Only a sustained change in traffic conditions would reveal its ultimate effect, as drivers adapt to those new conditions.

I urge the Weekly and concerned readers in Midtown (or other parts of town interested in how these "projects" take on a life of their own) to insist that the city provide better reasons for considering this lane reduction and prove it will have any positive effects.

The negatives are obvious.
Jeff Weitzman
Ross Road
Palo Alto

Biased commentary


In his seriously flawed analysis (Guest Opinion, Nov. 17) of the election outcome, Jason Yen simply recycles the flawed and baseless rhetoric of the Republican campaign against John Kerry and the Democrats.

According to Yen's biased commentary, all folks that live in California read the New York Times, eat at "fusion restaurants" and hire S.A.T. tutors for their kids (he forgot latte-sipping liberals). He believes that all we think of is the next IPO offering and getting our children into prestigious universities.

The petty stereotypes that Yen sprinkles throughout his column are simply false and he knows it. The real insult, however, is with his blatant attack on the moral fiber of anyone who supported John Kerry for president.

Yen makes gross generalizations about Kerry supporters when he states that we "make fun of the way they talk and the beliefs they hold" and "ridicule their seemingly blind support of the president." He also states that the "moral values" of the president and the lack of character of his opponent led to a Bush victory.

Yen fails to acknowledge that, although he lost the election in the Midwest, Kerry received millions of votes in the so-called "red" states. The three-million-vote difference was not a landslide; it was a clear statement from the electorate that we are not as different as the Republicans would have us believe.

Jason Yen should stop perpetuating the divisive message of the Republican Party and recognize that millions of Americans possess the same values. We all care deeply about our country, our families and our God. To marginalize a large portion of our population by attacking the ethics of John Kerry or the Democrats only divides our nation.

The Republicans do not have a monopoly on religious values in this world; their focus on morality was a diversion from the real issues that threaten our future. This was an election where Republican attacks on the character of a war hero with an impeccable record of moral activism and a deep belief in Christian values demeaned both John Kerry and all free-thinking Americans.
Doss Welsh
East Creek Place
Menlo Park

Special edition


In the past we have complained about the politics and lack of even-handedness of the Weekly, but on the other hand, the edition of Nov. 17 is very special.

All of the columns are beautifully written and well done. Congratulations!
Mort Block
Redwood Circle
Palo Alto

New tricks?


Now that President Bush has completed four years of campaigning to get another four years, will he actually hunt down Osama bin Laden? Or has he been too busy accepting more financial backing for the Carlisle Group from bin Laden to really bring this man to justice?

I certainly hope there won't be more of the same: blame innocent countries, invade and destroy, murder their citizens, put our young men and women on the front lines (for oil control) and forget about bin Laden (as long as he keeps supporting the Carlisle Group). I wonder, does that group get the big tax breaks too?

I don't think I can take another four years of the same propaganda, or does the Rove agency have new tricks up their sleeves?
Donnasue Jacobi
Haight Street
Menlo Park

Comcast concern


I quite certainly hope the City of Palo Alto gets a better deal from Comcast than other "regular" users (even though it is difficult to believe that, given Comcast's past record).

I also hope the city employs its own customer service/support for the Internet. I could only receive "parrot" service. The representative would just repeat a "canned" message without really solving the real problem (there was an outage), and would only claim my equipment is faulty.

By sheer coincidence, there is another customer whose requests for honoring promises went ignored until he/she requested the help of the press (Action Line, San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 21).

Good luck Palo Alto!
Raghavendra Rao Loka
Metro Circle
Palo Alto

Presidential sing-off?


Jason Yen, in his Nov. 17 Guest Opinion, states that he, for one, was happy to wake up to a Bush reelection on Nov. 3. Well good for him, I am glad someone was.

He then goes on to describe the sort of voters we have to be thankful to for this "wonderful" result. So the election was won by the sort of folks who admired Bush's moral values and his faith -- people who have never met an openly gay couple.

Jason: Do you really believe this is something to be proud of? This is a president who took the United States out of the Kyoto protocol, banned federal funding from overseas aid agencies that provided abortion services or counseling (which, like it or not, is still legal in the United States), who targeted tax cuts to the wealthy as opposed to the less well off (who not only need the money, but who generally boost the economy by spending most of any cuts they receive), and please don't make me mention the war.

But no, the Midwest only cares about whether its man comes across as a good ol' boy -- and, of course, that he will save it from rampaging married gay couples, if its residents were ever unlucky enough to actually come across any.

If an election is going to be won on such superficialities, then what is the point of even debating the issues? Let's just give each candidate a makeover and see which one is most popular, or have an "American Idol" style sing-off to see who becomes president.
Cathy Fisher
University Avenue
Palo Alto

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