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No home yet for Berlin Wall sections

Original post made on Jan 18, 2013

On Tuesday the City Council was set to decide where to display two large sections of the Berlin Wall donated to the city last year, but could not come to an agreement.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 18, 2013, 11:03 AM

Comments (24)

Posted by vfree, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I hope Frank and his family are shown the respect they deserve when a home is found for the wall sections.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

The obvious choice is the large plain slab in front of city hall. Those attending council meetings can be reminded of what they symbolize.

Posted by Concerned, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

The park by the library/city facilities seems ideal as it has easy walking access for anyone in the downtown area and is a fitting location for such a historical monument.

Posted by Chris Parkinson, a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm

To be fair there was simply a lack of consensus. The staff worked hard but failed on one simple account to make sure they were on the page with the new council. They were with the old council, problem the makeup of the council changed, and the original time in December was pushed out to January knowing full well one councilwoman would get her way. I own the VAC made one mistake that what was pushing the project into parks. With this diversity filled artwork, we failed by not having diversity of choice. I wanted the train station but was voted down for concrete on concrete ugliness and not competing with the artwork already there. Had we done this in December, Pioneer Park would already have the art pieces there and the VAC could move on with its business.

Pioneer Park is not squeezing it in that is merely an opinion with no fact to support it. Pioneer Park represents the heart of Mountain View and was a perfect fit as the Mayor and both vice mayors agreed. Also almost everyone I talked to in the citizenry liked the Pioneer Park setting for the Berlin Wall sections. These pieces are 12 feet tall and massive. They have a scaling issue where they need to back up to large trees or they will dominate the landscape. Pioneer park met that in the aesthetic filter. One of my distant cousins is a founding father of Mountain View and Palo Alto. I am sure John Parkinson would have been proud to have it at Pioneer Park. I know all the German friends I have think so.

Charleston is a park begging for art a friend of mine said and I agree with that. Its just not this art. There is no parking, and is not 100% ADA complaint. The park next to the German school is 100% ADA compliant and Councilman Siegel hated that selection.

I walked the train station. I was mistaken that the south east wing is an end to the building. Quite the contrary, there are underutilized benches under a roof and these pieces of the Berlin Wall can richly adorn the setting. With benches it represents serenity; for activity, and not being a park, it is the hustle and bustle of the metro center of Mountain View.

City Hall is out of the question as the parking structure below will not support the weight and the roof might leak. Since Mountain View does not own a fine art museum where this could easily live, does not own a shopping center, there is only one alternative left and that is the train station. Everyone I talked to with outreach at the train station likes the idea. Aim the faces with the train tracks where heading north people will see the western face. Lighting is easy, and yes put it under glass so to speak to protect 24/7. Just difficult to place as the roof would have to accommodate the installation they are tall and heavy.

Posted by Bill Crawford, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm

This is a marvelous piece of WORLD history, that we are endowed with. I think it's much more appropriate to place it in the transit center where there are far more eyes to view it and cherish it. It should be covered of course, not only to preserve its historical value but to guard against airheads who know nothing, nor care about history!

Posted by Jim Neal, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

I was at this meeting on Tuesday and it was a good reminder of why I ran for office in the first place! There were audible gasps of shock when Ronit Bryant referred to these National Treasures as "two very large pieces of ugly cement". It appears to me that there are some on the council that do not understand the history and the struggle represented by these sections of the wall. It is like calling Yellowstone Park "A bunch of dirt filled with firewood" or Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech "a bunch of words spoken by some Black guy".

The fact is that this is a historic monument that we are very lucky to have and I think it should be given a place of honor and given the highest protection possible. I suggested that the Wall section be placed on City Hall Plaza, but the excuse was that the plaza will not support the weight. I think with some reinforcements installed underneath, it should not be a problem. After all, the plaza already supports a large fountain filled with water!

As to the other locations, I think the Transit center would make the second best choice since it is well lighted at all times and there is a constant presence of people to discourage vandalism.

The park ideas are bad because they are deserted at night and would just scream for someone to deface the monuments since as we have seen, some people place no value on them.

The wall symbolizes what happens when the government controls every aspect of the lives of its citizens and to me, that kind of control is uglier than any wall could ever be.

Jim Neal

Old Mountain View

Posted by Chris Parkinson, a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Hi Jim,

What I know about the roof of the parking structure at City Hall, comes from city engineers and public works. I merely repeat this set of facts. As far as parks go, that was what staff wanted and that came from council. I am not a dictator, and I cannot lead in a vacuum, but that was what I was given (13 parks like settings, two concrete plazas and we had to get down to three). Under the circumstances I led the best I could. Now I am setting to lobby all council to the train station. I feel there is no other way.

As far as Ronit, if this were a religious artifact and she discredited it, think there would be some backlash? Tone is important, as a public official, I have to be cautious what I say so that I do not come off like some lunatic. Is Ronit representing the whole of Mt. View or just her personal or developer views?

We are losing small business at a rate I cannot believe (people I talk to on Evelyn are shocked what is happening; and these are venture capitalists), it is all coming about because of this councilwoman's ties to developers, ABAG, and our gas tax money pouring into developers coffers at the expense of us taxpayers and the small business owners and the hundreds if not thousands of lost jobs. She wants Mt. View to represent a communist city, not our heritage of small business friendly, mountain viewing community. I know I worked for Coldwell Banker as I also am a real estate broker. In Los Altos, three CB offices closed because of development and the sidetracking of normal economics. On Castro a 25 years old real estate and appraisal office shut down. I shut down. 150 plus real estate agents looking for new offices or as my neighbor did, gave up and is a waitress. So much damage. I can say this much the real estate industry is broken here, it is so anemic because of everything being piled on everywhere we turn. Homeowners are downright afraid.

We need small business friendly people on council, and now. Politics is a slippery slope where if you are too far to the right or the left you get recalled. Being a centrist you speak to the majority and have longevity.


Posted by Oh, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2013 at 6:15 am

There's a new Mtn View shop opening up, just read about it. I'm not surprised at all that many in the Real Estate biz are hurting. That was a very over bloated area irrationally bolstered by the boom days. Many new tech companies are opening up in MV as well. Small local businesses hoping one day to be big.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2013 at 8:34 am

Looking forward to The Wall pieces being placed in Pioneer Park, central, near the Library and would be something to see. We use have the fountain or waterfall grotto thing that was removed.

We have a 2 pieces have history that at one time was a very large symbol of the cold war, like Hanger One, the Cube. People died while trying to seek freedom that was over the Wall, the Cube and Hanger One are really small.

As for real estate agents losing their jobs, the cause might be a few factors. Banks, housing market crashing, jobs or lack of, etc. Right now it is while another story. Sm

Posted by Andrew, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2013 at 9:32 am

Wow, Bryant really said that? Did she apologize afterwards for being so disrespectful?

Posted by Jim Neal, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the additional information that you provided! It sounds like you did a very good job considering the constraints that you were forced to work under. I too am very concerned about small businesses in Mountain View and the effects that policy decisions have on them, having run a small business myself for many years. I will be running for council again and if I am successful, I will do my best to make sure that everyone has a fair chance to have their voices heard and not just special interests or those who have the deepest pockets.


She really did say that and did not apologize, but she is entitled to her opinions. However, I am sure that if I had made such a comment, I would have been excoriated by the local press.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by Eric, a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Charleston Park is treated as private Google property. Bad idea

Posted by Jack Cormode, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm

If they cannot find a suitable place for the Berlin Wall segments here in Mountain View, perhaps they will consider taking them up to the
deactivated Air Force Station on Mt. Umunhum, as a tribute to the ending of the Cold War.

Posted by Chris Parkinson, a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Ronit is against the placement anywhere by her tone. No one in their right mind would ever call a historical item such as these historical German sections of fascism "two very large pieces of ugly cement". Either there is a something against placing these historical segments, or someone is cookoo. I hate to say it but maybe a little of both.

(Portiion removed. Stick to the topic and drop the personal attacks.)

The Berlin wall will be placed at the train station. Too many on council with all the lobbying I can do will not have it placed at Pioneer Park. It will be The Metro Center and Pioneer Park. Then it sits in Council's lap.

ABC news is invited to our next VAC meeting seen here:

Web Link

As ABC News now has this story tonight.

I suggest everyone interested come to our next meeting and make your voices heard.

Posted by David, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 22, 2013 at 9:18 am

How do we finally organize a recall effort on Ronit? In a way, I'm not shocked that she would describe such historical artifacts in this way; after all, her vision for Mountain View is basically her as dictator running an oppressive socialist state.

Don't forget that she also showed great insensitivity to seniors and disabled people during the debates on drive-thrus.

It's time for her to go. If she doesn't resign on her own volition, let's organize a recall? Who's in?

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Every one is entitled to their views, I like the idea of placing the wall in Pioneer Park, the Train Station sounds good too, or some other creative space to house these pieces of history would be excellent.

The Mountain View area has lots more people with cars and going to their jobs, we don't have much open ground for building much of anything. So we need creative ways to share space, both private and public. I don't mind cement with trees also don't mind trees with cement. Park space with office buildings, green ways down streets and plazas here and there.

Posted by recall ronit, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

David, i'm in on the recall. Where do we sign up.

Posted by Steve , a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2013 at 6:37 pm

+1 on recalling Ronit

Posted by Christopher Parkinson, a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 23, 2013 at 7:32 am

Sticking to my guns here. It will be Pioneer park and Centennial plaza. If council can't then make up their minds we are out of the loop then. As far as stinky thought anger in the council, I have one recommendation for Jack, the over the counter amino acid Carnatine. It gets rid of the stinky thoughts and the rude behavior and we all need it.

As far as a recall election, ask yourself if the member is truly representing you. Talk to Jim Neal, he has the votes.

Politics are at play here. Make good use of it. Have my Mayor's State of the City meeting to go to this morning. Council gets paid, I do all of this as a volunteer.

Posted by Richard, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm

While I like the idea of having pieces of the Berlin wall displayed. If you put it in a park how long do you think it will be before it is covered in new graffiti.

Posted by kathy, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Ronit Bryant said that the Berlin Wall is just "two large pieces of ugly cement", seriously? Even Sarah Palin wouldn't have said that! Note to 'The Berlin Wall', brush up on your history.

My vote is for the train station area, it is a high profile location and the wall could be illuminated making for a striking presentation. It would be visible to many more people than if located in a park. Also keeping it in a high traffic area makes it a far less attractive target for vandals.

Wonderful opportunity for Mountain View, now if we can only save Hangar One.

Still cannot get over the statement by RB....your tax dollars at work.

Posted by Theresa, a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

How about contacting the German School at Whisman Park on this? Maybe they would be interested in making some display space available and this could turn into an exhibition project and a collaboration between students and teachers of the school and the Mountain View community? That would add some life to the "ugly cement"...

Posted by David, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Ronit is an embarrassment to this town. Does anyone know how a recall works in Mountain View? I couldn't find anything online. Sounds like we have a fair amount of interest in getting her fired.

Posted by Council recall, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Happening all over. Business as usual in cities. Shame on Ronit. Careful what you wish for, could backfire

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