Publication Date: Wednesday, March 10, 2004
(March 10, 2004) Looking for action on Chronicle rates
It is high time for Woodside readers of the San Francisco Chronicle to take charge of this situation.
I was so happy to see the Almanac print the article, "Is the Chronicle discriminating against town of Woodside?" in the February 18 issue. There is absolutely no reason for Chronicle rates to be double the normal rates for Woodside residents, except that some people maybe aren't aware.
I hope your article draws attention to this situation. Here are some things for Chronicle readers to consider.
All Chronicle deliveries and rates in Woodside are controlled by one person. For years, the Chronicle newsstand price was 25 cents. At Roberts Market, the newsstand price was 50 cents.
If you read the fine print on Chronicle subscription offers, there is a disclaimer that the offer in not good in all areas. Woodside is one of the areas that cannot participate fairly in these offers. The Chronicle's appointed agent has set a rate and so far, we have been stuck with it.
Can something be done to remedy this problem? Of course, cancel your subscription. We happily go to newsstands outside of Woodside, even though the Roberts Chronicle price is now the same as that of everywhere else. It has become a matter of principle not to support the Woodside Chronicle agent.
If Woodside newspaper readers put pressure on Dave to get his prices in line, it would happen. Thank you to the Almanac for taking action on this problem.
More nostalgia for old days on Mountain Home
We read Nancy Zucconi's March 3 letter concerning the once tranquil Mountain Home Road with nostalgic sadness.
We left our land there before the jarring noises from myriad construction crews were spoiling that once quiet green tunnel of a road. I miss the land. I don't miss what's happened to it. The high fences, the locked gates, the monster houses, and the manicured gardens weren't for us and they don't represent the Woodside we knew and loved for so many years.
But there is one wonderful relic which has survived, and that's the Little Store on Woodside Road. Thank heavens for that funky little spot - with good food, lots of friendly faces, children inside, dogs outside, and sometimes a horse or two plus the comforting presence at lunchtime of members of the Sheriff's Department.
And if we're lucky, a visit from Marcel Mouney, one time chef at the Little Store, reminding us of some of his famous French dishes in the days when we didn't worry so much about cholesterol.
Thankfully, there are some bits of the old Woodside that are still alive and kicking, even if we have to test each morning to see if the same is true for us.
Portola Road, Portola Valley
Where does buck stop on zoning ordinance?
"The buck stops here!" read a small sign on Harry Truman's desk in the Oval Office.
"No way the buck stops here. The Menlo Park City Council has tabled the proposed zoning change until the June 2004 meeting to have "staff" prepare a summary of both or more sides, opinions and statements, decide something and then possibly refer it to the voters of Menlo Park in the November general elections."
The above text might be carried on a large sign for the Menlo Park City Council chambers. What's an eight-month delay in something that should have been decided last Tuesday night by our elected officials, who wanted "democracy" to decide what should be done? If the Menlo council had been in the Oval Office in 1945, World War II would still be going on.
My solution to this is to relieve the council members of having to make any decisions. It is as follows:
1. Every issue that comes before the city -- payroll, traffic gridlock, hiring and firing of staff, proclamations and so on -- will be submitted to "staff" by the 10th of each month on preprinted forms by concerned citizens.
2. The "staff" will write the proposed issues in readable and understandable English.
3. Each issue will be assigned a number
4. On the 20th of each month a meeting will be held in the Council Chambers where all the numbers will be put into a lottery basket. A council member, chosen randomly, will then draw the numbers and that will be the order in which the issues will be placed on the ballot.
5. The list of issues and the pros and cons of each will be printed and sent to all Menlo registered voters.
6. A general election will be held on the last day of each and every month and the people of Menlo Park will vote yes or no on each issue. Be it one or 243 issues, as we do want the people to have a voice in the running of their city.
7. The results will be tallied and those issues that win will be declared "winners" and that issue is then "law" and the losers can either be forgotten or be brought up again on the 10th of the next month.
8. This way, the council members will not have to make a decision on anything and democracy will reign throughout the length and breadth of our fair city.
Sharon Park Drive, Menlo Park
Time to ante up for Atherton tennis courts
A few days ago the Atherton Tennis Committee mailed out a request for donations to resurface the town's tennis courts. I would like to encourage residents to support this drive and explain why it benefits the entire town.
The courts were donated to the town in 1971 by the foundation, the Dames and individuals. For nearly 20 years approximately 200 families paid $150 per year for keys to the courts. Many families have sent their children to tennis camps.
Currently the committee needs to raise about $150,000 for the 30-year major resurface. As the courts have aged the number of families purchasing keys has dropped to 70.
The courts benefit us all. I encourage everyone to support these efforts and if you play tennis to consider purchasing a five-year key to help with this drive.
Town Council member
The price of volunteer government
If the Town of Portola Valley were run as a business with 10 employees needing office space, a business manager would allocate 120 square feet per employee for a total of 1,200 square feet.
A multi-use facility, and common areas could add another 1,200 square feet for a total of 2,400 square feet. At a generous building cost of $400 per square foot that adds up to under $1 million.
Garage costs for vehicles should only cost $40 a square foot with four vehicles for 800 square feet costing $320,000. The total cost is very close to the donation already received.
That cost, however, leaves little for the expensive town consultants. It leaves nothing for some of the Town Council to satisfy their artistic desires to leave an enduring legacy. Those items cost another $11 million to $14 million. It appears that "volunteer" government is 10 times as expensive as "business-like" government.
Maybe it is time to reconsider whether the artistic expression of the town leaders at taxpayer expense is a good idea. We don't need a charrette to continue the charade that this is all due to earthquake safety. The reality is that the consultants, and some Town Council members, want to express themselves, artistically and expensively.
Santa Maria Avenue, Portola Valley
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