Online Meetings, Parks and COVID-19

Dear Palo Altans,

I am offering online/phone office hours

Chats with Lydia (via Zoom) 
Every Tuesday

10am – 11:30am

Please register in advance if you wish to attend a meeting:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpf-mopzkqLkmMIQxNESMu0cc5PeLiRw.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Today is the 14th day since the Bay Area-wide shelter-in-place order went into effect, and the 11th day since the State-wide executive order for the same.

The City has had to make many difficult decisions since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, and this week, the decisions do not get any easier we came to the decision to close the parking lots of the open space preserves. At this time, Palo Alto parks and open spaces are still open. Please, please comply with the 6-foot physical/social distancing and avoid group gatherings. FYI, San Mateo County has closed all its 23 parks and MidPen Open Space has closed Windy Hill Open Space Preserve.  

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Why Scott Wiener's SB-50 Won't Get Us Affordable Housing

On March 30, 2019, 48 Hills in San Francisco presented a very informative talk by “geographical economist” Dr. Michael Storper entitled “Why Scott Wiener’s SB-50 Won’t Get Us Affordable Housing.” The two videos below are Dr. Storper’s talk and the Q&A session that followed.

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We Are Still Under Attack

It’s not over… SB-50 may be shelved temporarily, but we are still under attack by Sacramento! There are a slew of other state/assembly bills that are moving forward which, if passed, will eliminate local governance over land use and zoning. Most of these proposed bills aim to eliminate single family neighborhoods.

These bills will be voted at the Capitol by the Senators and Assembly Members, not by you and I. We have No SAY, even though it will directly impact us in many ways; mentally, physically and financially.

On June 8, 2019 Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning (PASZ) held a rally at the corner of El Camino Real and Embarcadero Rd. to support local control of zoning.
View the photos.

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CADEM Assembly Election

Dear Palo Altans,

I am learning so much and I want to share. Please excuse and forgive me if what I am sharing is something you know about already. This is information about the Assembly District Election Meeting (ADEM) of the California Democratic Party and the election of the ADEM delegates. 

Date: Saturday, January 26, 2019

Time: Doors open 10:00am

Speeches begin: 10:15am

Registration/Voting starts: 10:45am

Registration/Voting ends: 12:45am

Location: Hillview Community Center, 97 Hillview Avenue, Los Altos, CA 94022

As stated on the CADEM website, the Assembly District Election Meetings (ADEMS) are held every two years (Saturday, January 12 or Sunday, January 13 and Saturday, January 26 or Sunday, January 27 of 2019) to elect 7 "self-identified female" and 7 "other than self-identified female" to be Assembly District Delegates (ADDs) to represent the Assembly District they are registered as a Democrat in.  

AD Delegates to the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) are responsible for planning and attending informational meetings throughout the region and working with other DSCC delegates throughout California to represent their community. 

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Stop the MTA CASA Compact

2019 is starting off busy with many proposals lining up in an attempt to trump local land use and zoning governance, all of which will further erode quality of life and deteriorate the uniqueness of our cities and character of our neighborhoods.
I particularly want to bring your attention to the MTC/ABAG CASA Compact and San Francisco’s Senator Scott Weiner’s Senate Bill 50 (his previous bill SB 827 was vetoed). I am writing about the CASA Compact because time is of the essence.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) adopted and approved a radical and aggressive plan to address housing in the Bay Area through a plan called the CASA Compact (https://mtc.ca.gov/sites/default/files/CASA_Compact.pdf).

The CASA Compact proposes ten “elements” for state legislation which supposedly, will solve the housing “crisis” by focusing on the 3 P's (Production, Preservation and Protection).  Recognize, this is going to be enforced by the State through a regional body which has appointed representatives, not elected officials.

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Roads, Roads, Roads

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Caltrain Electrification

Caltrain representatives held a community meeting on August 28, 2018. Here is a link to their presentation http://calmod.org/wp-content/uploads/PCEP_Community_Presentation_Palo-Alto_Aug.28.18_Final.pdf

Here are my “take aways” from this meeting:

  • There is a “paralleling station” at the Page Mill Road rail location, Caltrain representatives explains it to an electrical station for the electrification.
  • Caltrain has started their construction work in Palo Alto, in particular what they call “foundation potholing”. Some of the construction work does take place during the night time from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 am. Caltrain representatives say that they try to decrease the light and noise intrusions by using barriers that lessens these impacts.
  • The trees and shrubbery that have provided aesthetics and noise barrier between homes and the railroad and trains will be trimmed extensively or removed. There are over 200 trees that will be removed and Caltrain representatives indicate they will be replacing removed mature trees with baby trees and have really not provided good answers to the replacements.

Caltrain representatives were adamant that Caltrain’s electrification project has no bearing on a city’s grade separation

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Rail Crossings Grade Separation

The potential of home/property takings by eminent domain has been taken off the table for the Churchill, East Meadow and Charleston areas. Residents should continue to monitor and to be aware and hold Council and City Staff to task on ensuring that there will be absolutely no property takings.

You should be aware of the following possibilities, even though staff report indicates “return to Council with a report on the impacts…”;

  1. Street Closure at Churchill Avenue (full or partial) – commit to adopt appropriate mitigations to address diverted and additional traffic on Embarcadero Road and minimizing cut through traffic into the adjacent neighborhoods.
  2. Street Closure at Palo Alto Avenue – build a bike/pedestrian crossing undercrossing and widen University Avenue.
  3. Loma Verde Avenue – build a bike/pedestrian crossing to connect Margarita Avenue. Will there be home/property takings by eminent domain?

rail_crossing.png

 

 

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Palo Alto Animal Shelter

UPDATE:

Palo Alto's effort to revitalize its aged animal shelter received a big boost Monday night, when the City Council agreed to make more than $3 million in improvements to the facility as part of an agreement with the shelter's proposed new operator, Pets In Need.

By an 8-0 vote, with Adrian Fine absent, the council supported a proposal for staff to conclude its negotiations with the Redwood City-based nonprofit. In doing so, it acceded to Pets In Need's request that the old facility on East Bayshore Road be upgraded, with the costs of the renovations currently estimated at $3.4 million.

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Small Cell Deployment (Cell Antennaes)

It has come to my attention that State legislators, Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), have introduced legislation, SB 3157 to further streamline small cell deployment due to the rapid evolution and modernization of leading-edge infrastructure necessary to enhance small cell deployment act.

SB 3157 has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

https://lrus.wolterskluwer.com/news/tr-daily/thune-schatz-introduce-bill-to-streamline-small-cell-deployment/54837/

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