I want to make sure that community members know about our entertaining local comedy group. I spent Tuesday afternoon watching them juggle conflicting assurances and perform invisible "I'm listening" acts at City Hall.
While one or two of the characters assured their invited guests (the public) that small local businesses receive their unreserved support, others of the group would pop up and announce the development of a glamorous new regional shopping center. That short act of course made invisible the high rents charged for space at a glamorous center, squeezing out local shops.
The program continued with similar contradictory promises regarding open space vs. parking vs. support for and access to public transport, being neighborhood friendly and so on. However the highlight of the program came when members of the troupe described their aspirations to make this a pleasant and viable hub for living, working, entertainment, and retail for the next 60 years but decided not to spend 18 to 24 months for planning this great adventure.
And simultaneously they ignored their guests' requests and petitions. If I were of a quizzical nature, I would wonder why the performers really invited their guests.
Nevertheless, I urge community members to visit City Council sessions. Council members are an entertaining bunch. And will be performing as a troupe until the next local elections.
A missed opportunity to solve problems now
At its March 19 study session related to Merlone Geier's phase-two plans for San Antonio Shoppiong Center, the City Council had the opportunity to decide to slow down and solve some basic problems before proceeding. How are the already congested roads going to handle the increased traffic? How is the city going to support the area's local small businesses?
Many didn't want to wait until the Precise Plan was completed. Understandable. Unfortunately, the council was unable or unwilling to do something creative like doing at least part of the necessary planning before proceeding to the next step.
I really don't want to be stuck in traffic, muttering,"I told you so." So now citizens must take these concerns to the council for each project, and Merlone Geier's phase two is next. The Greater San Antonio Community Association is going to be looking at how council is going to make this all work for everyone's benefit.
Can't wait to partake of Village shops
I live a block from the new Village development replacing the old San Antonio shopping plaza, and it's a real positive for the neighborhood and all of Mountain View. I just cannot wait for the entire project to finish so my wife and I can enjoy the shopping, eating, the movies and all the nice park space. The plan layout has been thought out extensively and I have already driven inside a bit — it is just awesome, and phase two will add cinemas and more.
Right now we drive all over the place just to have a relaxing outing — Santana Row, Stanford Mall, Castro Street, University Avenue — where all the activity is. Now with the Village's cafes and shops, we don't have to drive, we save gas and save the environment.
When Mountain View citizens drive up to Santana Row or Stanford Mall we jam up their roads with our cars; I say it's only fair to extend our fellow neighbors the same courtesy so they come and enjoy themselves at the Village. More revenue for the Village, more revenue for the city of Mountain View. A win-win situation.
Park is better spot for Berlin Wall display
I think we in Mountain View are really fortunate to receive Frank Golzen's donation of a Berlin Wall segment, an important international symbol of the end of the Cold War era.
More people should know there was a time when half the world was under communist rule and could be killed for trying to leave their "workers' paradise."
While I am pleased that the City Council is making the memorial more accessible to downtown, I am a bit disappointed that they chose to put it in the front rather than in back of the library in Pioneer Park. The front of our library is a rather pedestrian setting, used mainly as a waiting area.
Pioneer Park provides a lovely setting where people already enjoy artwork and natural scenery. Adding an important piece of history there would be most fitting. I could foresee teachers bringing students there on field trips, locals bringing out-of-town visitors, and others getting a history lesson.
I hope this is not yet a done deal. Who knows — it might even cost less to install our piece of the Wall in the park, without the need to move a bench.
Fond memories of a stirring memoir
In the late 1980s a tall, stately man in his seventies came up to the Foothill College Writing Center and asked me if I would help him edit his memoirs. He told me that he had no illusions of finding a publisher for his book but wanted to leave his children and grandchildren an account of how he came to the United States from Germany in 1931 when he was 16, alone and penniless, and went on to live the America Dream.
For months, Frank Golzen and I met almost every Saturday morning in my living room as I suggested ways he could correct minor grammar errors, tighten his narrative, and clarify confusing technical terms. While Frank?s memoir contained far more details about the early years of the California trucking industry than I thought anyone needed to know, the overall story of Frank?s amazing drive and business initiative was compelling and inspiring. Most of all, I was constantly moved by his deep appreciation for the country that had given him so many opportunities.
Shortly before we finished going over the manuscript, Frank explained that he would be gone for a while, as he was going to take advantage of the fall of the Soviet Union to revisit the now liberated part of Germany. When he returned, he told me that he had bought two pieces of the fallen Berlin Wall and was having them shipped to California. Many months after we had completed working on his book, he brought me a framed picture of the two pieces of the wall that were by then in front of his office complex tucked away on the east side of San Antonio Avenue and Highway 101.
While that picture has remained on a wall in my bedroom for more than 20 years, I never did get a chance to actually see these remnants of the Cold War. Now that the City Council has finally recognized the value of this important gift from the Golzen family, I look forward to visiting it in front of the library. And whenever I do, I will remember what an inspiration it was to know this remarkable man — a man who loved this country as only an immigrant can.
Try flashing lights at sidewalk crossings
Rather than put a stop sign at Phyllis and Hans avenues, Mountain View could adopt a more practical and highly effective high-tech solution from Los Altos.
At crosswalks across San Antonio Road in downtown Los Altos, they have installed flashing yellow LED lights in the pavement along the crosswalks.
The LEDs are activated by push buttons at the curbs, and they vividly warn motorists that people are in or about to use the crosswalks. These LEDs are particularly effective in low-visibility conditions, such as dusk, nighttime, and rain. They protect pedestrians and bicyclists, while not impeding normal traffic flow when not necessary. It's a win-win solution.