Praise and pitfalls for downtown projects
I am writing to convey my praise for the First Street preliminary proposal and my disappointment toward the progress of the community center.
The First Street preliminary proposal for a mixed-use building, a public green space and a 360-space underground parking garage would be a great addition to the town. The developers would contribute 4,700 square feet to the town green, public bathrooms and a public gathering space. I also like the idea of spreading the square footage over three floors instead of two. This will provide more office space for employees who will enjoy the benefit of our local shops and restaurants. I think this will encourage new restaurants and shops to open downtown.
I am disappointed in the reduction of the budget and the lack of creativity for the community center. Our new community center will be our legacy to the town for several generations and will reflect the spirit of the town. I would love to see an innovative, artistic, leading-edge architecture that reflects the sophistication and capability of the residents while capturing the small-town, natural feel.
It should be something that we can be proud of for generations to come.
Switch to plant-based diet to protect Earth
The Peninsula Peace and Justice Center of Palo Alto recently hosted a screening of the wonderful yet profoundly disturbing documentary “Cowspiracy.” The filmmakers, Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, highlighted the damaging impact of factory farms on the health and survival of our fragile planet.
They argue that animal farms are the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution.
Factory farms are collectively responsible for significantly more greenhouse gases than the burning and extraction of fossil fuels, and fracking (hydraulic fracturing). They also are the leading cause of the extinction of the species, topsoil erosion and destruction of ocean life. What irked the authors was that these earth-killing activities are almost entirely ignored, even by environmental agencies.
What is equally disturbing is what appears to be an intentional refusal to openly discuss the issue of animal agriculture. It appears that animal agriculture is a highly lucrative business protected by powerful lobbyists and politicians.
The film offers some startling statistics:
• Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
• Methane emitted by livestock is 25 to 100 times more destructive than carbon dioxide.
• Livestock is responsible for 65 percent of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a deadly greenhouse gas with 296 times the global-warming potential of carbon dioxide. This deadly gas remains in the atmosphere for 150 years.
• Emissions from agriculture are projected to increase 80 percent by 2050.
• Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day.
• Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34 to 76 trillion gallons annually compared with fracking, whose usage ranges from 70 to 140 billion gallons annually.
• Feed crops for livestock consume 56 percent of water in the U.S.
• 477 gallons of water are required to produce 1 pound of eggs; nearly 900 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of cheese.
• 1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.
When you reach for your next hamburger, remember that 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.
The filmmakers recommend that we all switch to a plant-based diet (vegetarian or vegan) to protect the environment. The “Cowspiracy” cookbook offers many mouthwatering recipes.
The film has been translated into Spanish and German with English subtitles, and into 10 other languages, including Chinese and Russian.
LACI converts skeptic with facts
A park on First Street! A three-story building! What are they thinking? I have been completely against these ideas since I heard about them.
That is the problem – I based my decision strictly on hearsay.
Recently, many of us attended a Los Altos Community Investments infomercial at Nature Gallery hosted by Carol Garsten and Robin Abrams. The time was well spent.
LACI presented the facts regarding building size, parking issues, green space, public use of the buildings and answered all of our questions. They completely won me over.
This building, green space and underground parking really will be great for all of Los Altos.
If you have an opportunity to attend a LACI “dog and pony,” please do so.
Base your decision as to whether this plan is good for Los Altos on all of the facts.