Oct 132013

My 11-year-old son rides up Maybell “safe route to school” every day, and knows about dodging cars in the crowded traffic scene around the site of the Measure D high density rezoning. He is also aware of the plans to build three-story homes on 3,000 square ft. lots, and know many of the Baron Park families that have great concerns about dense urbanization being dropped into a neighborhood that has a proud rural heritage. We don’t live in the Barron Park / Green Acres neighborhood.

We were driving past a PAHC housing project and saw the Yes on Measure D from the Proponents of neighborhood rezoning, when he asked with contemplative innocence: “Dad, why do people who live far away from the orchard get to vote on Measure D?”

My immediate response was about living in a democracy and giving everyone a say about important decisions. Then the truth of that innocent question sunk in — a simple truth that I had felt, but had not found the words to express.

It goes like this: Neighborhoods are like members of a family — brothers and sisters that need to stick up for each other. The Maybell neighbors have properly expressed great alarm at the density that is being imposed on the neighborhood. Zoning protections that are in place are being stripped away by big money proponents of rezoning.

The proponents of High Density Rezoning are relying on apathy in other areas that offers the tempting thought that violating rules and eroding the character of a neighborhood with San Jose style stack and pack market rate housing is OK as long as it is Not In My Back Yard.

My son’s observation caused me to go to the computer and write this appeal to those that may not have had time to wade though the details.  I propose that we should follow the Golden Rule and Do onto others as we would have them do onto us. Just the fact that more than 4,000 residents signed the petition to bring the council’s actions to a referendum is evidence enough that something is rotten in Denmark. Private market rate development is riding though on the the trojan horse of a good cause.  The neighborhoods, as brothers and sisters of the great family of Palo Alto need to step up and offer unconditional support to a “family member” that is in deep distress about a rezoning bully that is dictating an erosion of the neighborhood.

A neighborhood is being bullied by the Deep-Pocket proponents of high density rezoning. We have to stick together and respond to the call for help. Like a family, it is important to be supportive, as next time it will be your turn to be supported — the deep-pocket proponents of high density rezoning have just started on this upzone for profit model, and it will take a unified city to retain our quality of life.

If you have time to look into the issues, please do look at VoteAgainstD.com. We have a family member crying out for help — Vote against Measure D. We cannot accept anything less.

Tim Gray

I am supporting my neighbors by serving as Treasurer for Palo Altans to Preserve Neighborhood Zoning

(Reposted from Tim Gray’s blog on PaloAltoPatch)

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