Letter: Vegetation always wins over cement | April 2, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Viewpoint - April 2, 2014

Letter: Vegetation always wins over cement

The following letter was addressed to the Menlo Park City Council:

"Don't fight lost battles" is an important phrase and concept to remember when one is involved in political and ethical battles like trying to prevent a beautiful, wooded waterway (San Francisquito Creek) from being turned into a cement (trapezoid) walled storm drain in the name of flood control.

And it is gratifying when one "wins," as described in my self-published 1975 book, "A P/U History of Menlo Park, which to this writer's delight is still in the Menlo Park and other libraries. But if one lives long enough, often one witnesses the same battles arising to be fought by conscientious people in the next generation.

Downstream flooding has many causes, including upstream land use. East Palo Alto and the bayside parts of many communities were built before we had a thorough understanding of drainage patterns, flood plains and the properties of saturated soils. And these days we are forced to change our thinking on climate itself as we see high cement structures being drowned as water levels rise around the world. The so-called Hundred-Year Flood is now not an adequate basis for planning our surroundings.

One of the first things done in building or upgrading communities is tending to the landscaping. In many communities, wise politicians and planners are even replacing parking spaces with trees. There is a difference in what happens to a person's mind and soul or whatever you want to call it when looking at a cement wall or even a rock-lined creek bed versus a beautiful tree. When it comes to cement vs. vegetation, vegetation will ultimately win.

Martha B. Hopkins Tucson, Arizona


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