I was amazed to find that the City Council is considering making major changes in our Shoreline Golf Links in order to further remove coots and geese. This change should be minimized and only undertaken if the council feels that more fighting is needed and then only with professional advice as suggested by David L. Collins of the U.S. Golf Association's regional affairs committee.
The staff has done a great job to reduce the negative impact of bird feces on the golf course. My play there over the past year tells me that a major problem has been reduced to an aggravation. Recently I have had no problems with feces on the greens.
That's why I was shocked to find that a major course change was being proposed by staff — eliminating all water hazards on the course. The limited water hazards are a positive addition to those of us who play. The water hazards could be limited, but not removed as proposed. As Collins said, the city must consult a course-layout professional and consider the impact on what any action will have on drainage and the cart paths of this high-quality course. I hope that many players are consulted, too, and I hope no major changes are made without full review and planning.
Give funds to Caltrain, not rail authority
I would much rather see federal funds go to Caltrain for electrification and modernization of existing service than to the high-speed rail authority.
Caltrain serves us well. There is no guarantee that the rail authority will serve us at all, and it certainly will not serve us well.
Time to end expensive rail boondoggle
For those of us who regularly receive the hyped press releases from the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the latest announcement means more good money after bad — grant applications for $16.6 million in federal funds. This is a drop in the bucket.
It has become abundantly clear and recently substantiated by recent audits that there is simply not enough money to complete the type of high-speed rail system envisioned by those who voted for Prop 1A in 2008.
Some estimate that the current $45 billion price tag could easily reach $100 billion, and not a single track has been laid. Ominously however, there is enough money via stimulus funds to start digging ourselves into a hole, from which we may never emerge. What then?
Congresswoman Jackie Speier's recent admission that the auditor's report has raised her concern that the project could become a "house of cards" is welcome news, but is it too little, too late? She joins state Senators Simitian and Lowenthal (both who chair budget subcommittees overseeing transportation spending) who many months ago listened to valid concerns regarding irreversible damage to cities, inflated ridership and budget.
How much money will be wasted on multiple consultants, reports and studies before the plug is finally pulled on this boondoggle? In the meanwhile, we should expect plenty of hype from communications firm Ogilvy. Nine million dollars of our taxpayer money cannot buy us a train system, but it surely can buy plenty of PR.
A letter last week about the Prometheus housing project contained an editing error. Here is the original version:
In defending her (May 14) support of the Minton's site proposal, Mayor Bryant made the profoundly misleading claim that no studies in the case indicated "significant impacts on the neighborhood."
The main "Study/MND" report in January concluded as follows.
No increase in site car traffic. (Assuming the "existing use" is a hypothetical big-box store with 1717 daily visits. It isn't.)
No garage overflow, based on "six similar developments." (Four had heavily occupied and one had unspecified street parking, none of which was counted; only two sites had known tenancy percentages.
From the site with the least data, the report estimated the proposed garage 97.7 percent full at full apartment occupancy. No current use of existing streets by Caltrain commuters to park cars overnight. (Resident Annette Nielsen simply waited for morning commute trains, and promptly photographed 20 of them.)
All of this information was in the City Council's hands when they made their decision.