Almanac

Viewpoint - June 22, 2011

LETTERS

Stanford pushing Alpine

Road trail again

Stanford is again apparently trying to pressure San Mateo County into agreeing to a wide, paved, partly cantilevered, bi-directional "trail" across the front of residents' driveways along Alpine Road.

This is instead of complying with its obligation under its General Use Permit to build a trail across its own land in Santa Clara County. The prior Alpine Road plan also involved eliminating almost 100 mature oaks and armoring the creek. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, largely on the basis of the inherent dangers of this plan, roundly rejected the offer a couple of years ago, and suggested that the money be given instead to Santa Clara County to provide recreational facilities in that county.

One of the biggest dangers, and possibly the worst detrimental factor for the environment, is the truck traffic to and from Stanford. This morning (Monday June 13), I was out by the road and in less than one hour, in addition to regular traffic, I counted 42 double tractor-trailer rigs go past my driveway. This is likely to increase with the hospital expansion.

Not only is this intolerable in a medium-density residential neighborhood that is home to several hundred people, but a truck route is not an appropriate site for a recreational "trail."

Furthermore, there appear to be no limits on the type of cargo that can be transported, whereas freeways and expressways appear to have restrictions on hazardous materials, and the size of truck. There has already been one woman killed recently by a truck in this stretch of road.

Gigantic double, through-traffic trucks need to be eliminated from Alpine Road, and proposing that Alpine be the site for a recreational "trail" is ludicrous in the extreme. It is especially egregious since Stanford owns all of the land on the other side of Alpine Road and could easily — if it truly wanted a decent trail — construct a hiking route from the Buck Estate to and under Interstate 280 that could connect with the Portola Valley trail.

Janet Davis

Alpine Road, Menlo Park

Rancor over Planned

Parenthood misses point

Editor:

The appeal, by a group of residents and activists, against Planned Parenthood in Redwood City is unconscionable.

Orange County Catholic Attorney Gregory Weiler claims it would be "a necessary evil ... considered by a growing majority as an anathema."

Is it evil to provide health care to those who can't afford it? Is it anathema to offer cancer screenings?

More than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood health services are preventive. Every year it provides over 1 million cervical cancer screenings, 830,000 breast exams, and 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases — including HIV.

Abortion is legal. Abortion foes should be grateful that Planned Parenthood services prevent more than 612,000 unintended pregnancies each year. Only about 3 percent of services relate to abortion.

Weiler claims those appealing the clinic include "people who just don't want the disruption in the community."

Would these people consider a doctor's office or hospital disruptive? Is it disruptive to provide essential health care to men and women — especially young people — who couldn't otherwise afford it?

We don't need an Orange County lawyer to deprive local residents of affordable medical services.

We do need Planned Parenthood.

Pat Marriott

Los Altos

Editor:

The Department of Agriculture's new MyPlate dietary logo illustrates graphically the shrinking role of meat and dairy products in our national diet. It replaces meat with a tofu loaf, and shunts dairy off the plate.

The new logo provides a fitting conclusion to a 30-year record of the Dietary Guidelines recommending replacement of animal products and other fatty foods in our diet with vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains (see health.gov/dietaryguidelines).

The recommendations reflect widespread concern with the growing epidemic of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other killer diseases.

There is an historic reason why health authorities have not taken a stronger stand against meat and dairy, as they did with tobacco products three decades ago.

In 1977, the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs published Dietary Goals for the United States, recommending reduced meat consumption. The meat industry forced the committee to destroy all copies of the report and to remove the offending recommendation from a new version. It then abolished the committee, voted Chairman George McGovern out of office, and taught government bureaucrats never to challenge meat consumption again.

Malcolm Davidson

Encinal Avenue, Menlo Park

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