Note: The Winter edition is mailed to all of Barron Park (about 1600 homes & apartments). The other three quarterly publications are mailed to BPA members only. The web editions are normally created long after the paper editions are mailed to members, and are not as complete.

COMMUNITY UPDATE -- Will Beckett, President

BARRON PARK FLOODING? -- by Christian Kalar, Creeks Chair

LONG EARS & BEATING HOOVES -- by Inge Harding-Barlow

HOME FOR THE DONKEYS -- by Inge Harding-Barlow


NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY -- by Art Bayce, Chair

HABITAT COMMITTEE NEWS -- by Inge Harding-Barlow, Chair

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS -- by Art Bayce, Chairman

ZONING AND LAND USE -- by Will Beckett, Acting Chair


Conducted by the Barron Park Association Board




BARRON PARK HISTORY -- by Doug Graham, Barron Park Historian

BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEE REPORT -- by Erna Glanville and Shirley Finfrock


TREASURER'S REPORT -- by Ken Tani, Treasurer

Argentine Ants
-- Bats -- by Doug Moran




BPA On-Line!



If you wish to become a Barron Park Association Member, email the Membership Chair and I'll fax you a form or,


Community Update

Will Beckett, President

Ten years ago, the Barron Park Association conducted a general survey of the neighborhood. One of our residents conducted this effort as part of a project for her course study in college. These questions reflected many issues of concern in the neighborhood at the time, and we have worked hard over the last 10 years to address the higher priority concerns through our actions on the Board.

In this issue we have included an updated survey which will again help to guide the BPA board actions for the coming years. Therefore, it is very important for you to take time and answer the questions carefully and thoughtfully. We will use the data to help us focus on the issues of greatest importance to the community. Please take the time to read this newsletter carefully. You will find that many of the questions are related to articles you will find here. This is to help you understand the details better so your answers can be made from a more informed perspective. We encourage you to add comments to the survey. All the comments from the last survey were saved and added a very interesting personal perspective to the results. After you have completed the survey, please be sure to drop it off or mail it to the address indicated.

Flood issues, storm drain construction, the loss of our neighborhood market and school moves have been the focus over the last few months. It has been a very busy year. We have worked very closely with the police to improve safety in the neighborhood relating to traffic and crime concerns. New housing and businesses will be opening up in the next year bringing a great deal of change to our section of town. We hope that each of you will stay in touch and do your part to keep our community strong. Stay tuned in by reading the newsletter, checking out our web site, participating with the e-mail list, or dropping by the kiosk near Bol Park. Join of the many committees and become part of the effort to continue shaping this wonderful place.

Traffic Safety
Many who have known me over the years are aware that I bring up the subject of traffic safety on a regular basis in this newsletter. I do this because I continue to hear from the police who cover our area that it is predominately BP residents who are receiving tickets for speeding and running stop signs. It is still surprising to me that our residents would have such a low regard for the safety of their neighbors that they would put lives in danger in this way. Streets in Barron Park have unique conditions that should be cause for concern. Most of our streets are very narrow, don't have sidewalks, and have vegetation right up to the street, making visibility poor. Also, we have very few stop signs in Barron Park when compared to the rest of the city. In fact, in the last 15 years more stop signs have been removed than added. The stop signs that remain address very specific safety concerns such as visibility issues, and safety near schools or parks. Please come to a complete stop, and look carefully both ways to assure that it is safe to proceed. Drive at 25mph or less when traveling through the neighborhood. It is a small area of town and the time you save is not worth a life. Police have been encouraged to write tickets as often as possible for people running stop signs or speeding on our streets. If you see someone driving in an unsafe manner, write down their license number and call 911 (call 329-2413 if there is no longer an immediate danger).

Leaf Blowers
In the last newsletter I wrote an article about the use of leaf blowers and how I felt they were a curse on man. We received many comments from residents who were concerned that gardeners would refuse to work in Palo Alto if such a ban were imposed. However, many also said that they had asked their gardeners not to use leaf blowers and found that gardeners were very accommodating. In the Palo Alto Weekly 11/19/97, a Letter to the Editor, supporting the use of leaf blowers, suggested that permits could be issued to control the use of leaf blowers. That the time used and amount of noise might be included in a set of guidelines, and permits could be required. I think this is an excellent idea. The cost for administration would be covered by the permitting process. Leaf blowers could be checked for noise and pollution the way cars are checked once every two years. Also, violators could have their permit pulled. The permit could be worn like a fishing license so it would be easy to see. This way violators could be easily spotted and the authorities could be called. What are your thoughts about leaf blowers? Write us, or fill in a guest book comment at our Web site:

Barron Park Flooding?

Christian Kalar, Creeks Chair

What happened?
In preparation for the forecasted El Niño weather system, there has been a flurry of creek-related activity recently, both physical and political. First we would like to thank all of the volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and helped clean out the trash and excess vegetation in Barron Creek on September 28th. Our former Creek Committee Chair, Bob Moss, was able to obtain formal permission from most of the property owners and then rallied the troops to a successful day. Following the volunteer cleanup, City of Palo Alto work crews brought in heavy equipment and removed weighty obstacles.

In the late summer of this year, the Santa Clara Valley Water District discovered an error: back in 1988, when the bridge over the channel at Louis Road was designed, there was a miscalculation, and consequently, it can handle only a 50-year flood (rather than a 100-year flood).

If the water at Louis Road were to rise and touch the bottom of the bridge, there would be a chain reaction, causing the water to back up at each bridge and overflow at Waverley (suddenly, and with much force).

The SCVWD is presently reviewing all of the bridge designs, as there might be other bridges on Matadero Channel that must by fixed. According to the SCVWD, water has never overflowed at the Waverley Street bridge, thereby placing the SCVWD in a peculiar legal situation since they reduced a flood hazard in one area but created one in another.

Part of the water flow in Matadero Creek/Channel originates from Barron Creek via the diversion channel that starts at the sediment basin behind Gunn High School. To solve the potential flooding problem at Waverley Street, the SCVWD has blocked part of the diversion structure, thereby increasing the chance of flooding on Barron Creek. The result is 20-year flood protection on Barron Creek and 100-year flood protection on Matadero (called the "20-100" option). The ironic point of this situation is that there are only about 25 houses (previously not listed as being in the "official" flood zone) that would now be in danger of flooding, while a flood on Barron Creek would endanger hundreds or even 1000 homes.

What has the BPA done?
The Barron Park Association has been very active during this time of discovery and decisions. On October 10th, the BPA Board met with the SCVWD to review the situation and help prepare for public meetings. The SCVWD held public meetings on October 15th and 16th and the BPA published results, extensive summaries and important issues via e-mail and on the BPA Web site.

The Barron Park Association Board considered the alternatives outlined by the SCVWD and recommended the option that provided 70-year flood protection on both Matadero and Barron creeks. Priortizing legal issues over the weighted risk to homes throughout the area, the SCVWD decided to pursue the 20-100 option.

Is there anything else we can do?
The BPA is still meeting with the SCVWD to determine methods of optimizing the 20-100 plan, such that Barron Creek might receive temporary flood protection greater than a 20-year event. This temporary protection would be accomplished by raising and lowering the diversion blockage during a rainstorm, depending on the water level in Matadero Creek. The other option being pursued by the BPA involves how to compare the legal ramifications of the possible flooding of 25 homes downstream on Matadero, versus 1000 potentially flooded homes in Barron Park. The SCVWD recommends that residents purchase flood insurance and take steps to minimize flood damage through the use of sandbags. Be aware that new flood insurance policies are not effective until 30 days after purchase.

If you have further interest in the creeks of Barron Park, please contact Christian Kalar at (650) 493-8022 or Please see reports of meetings and the SCVWD's position on the BPA Website:

Long Ears & Beating Hooves

by Inge Harding-Barlow

Mickey (Butt-head) turned 30-years-old on July 1st and Perry (Nipper) is now 3-1/2 years. The BPA crew of eight handlers alternately preens and swears about their beloved charges. A retired Stanford professor proudly declared, when entering France, that his profession was "Donkey Handler."

Perry thinks he is a large dog and thoroughly enjoys his canine friends, be they big or small. However, being a donkey teenager, he also likes to test his strength, will, and sense of fun against his 2-footed pals, who don't always see the joke! Please come and play with him on his Sunday walk 9:45 - 10:45 a.m. (unless it rains).

Mickey has his health ups and downs, but all-in-all does very well for his age. He loves his petting, grooming and photo sessions up in his pasture 9:30-10:30 every Sunday.

Winners from the drawing of donors to the Mickey (& Perry) Fund were:

  1. Marion MacGillivray & Peter Milward
  2. Art Bayce
  3. Susan Brown & William Hamburgen

Anyone who would like a Mickey-Perry T-shirt (white background, painting of the famous pair, size - large, price $25.00, please call Edith Smith at 650-493-9386. All profits will go to the Mickey-Perry Fund.

Tax deductible donations may be made out to the:

BPA Foundation -- Mickey's Fund
and mailed to:
Mickey's Fund
701 Kendall Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94306
-- Many thanks to all of you who've contributed!

Home for The Donkeys

Inge Harding-Barlow

In the near future the whole Bol property will be up for sale. This means that where the donkeys can be pastured, is at present, in some doubt. If you would like to join the committee, which is currently being formed, to consider all possibilities, please contact Inge Harding-Barlow at (650) 493-8146.

The committee currently consists of Sam Elster, Ken Arutunian, Dick Placone, Edith Smith, Doug Moran, Art Bayce, Gwen Luce and Inge. Any and all practical ideas are very welcome, with or without joining the committee.

Street Resurfacing

Listed below are the streets that are to be resurfaced in 1998. There will be a community meeting on the 18th, 7 p.m., at Briones School, to talk about resurfacing plans for the Spring.

Matadero between Josina and Laguna
Magnolia from Whitsell to the end
Kendall, from La Donna to Whitsell
Verdosa from Encina Grande to Florales
Encina Grande from Verdosa to Amaranta
Amaranta from Encina Grande to Florales
Orme from Los Robles to the school
Manzana from Los Robles to the end

Neighborhood Safety

Art Bayce, Chair

Name change:
The Community Safety Committee of the BPA now has a new name, the Neighborhood Safety Committee. This will better reflect its new responsibilities and its relation to the Palo Alto Police Department.

As discussed in the Fall Newsletter, the citywide Neighborhood Watch is now a part of the Community Police Division, under Lieutenant Robert Brennan of the Palo Alto Police Department. Many of the functions previously performed by Police Department personnel (such as neighborhood presentations and orientations) will in the future be done by the neighborhoods.

The training sessions to be done by the City to help us organize the revised program, originally scheduled for October 1997, have been postponed to early in 1998. The same neighborhood people involved in the original Barron Park Neighborhood Watch will continue to do their valuable and appreciated work as a part of the Neighborhood Safety Committee. To better cover more areas of Barron Park, we will need more volunteers to be Block or Area Captains. If you would like to contribute to making our neighborhood even more safe, please contact Art Bayce at 493-7058. There are many tasks, and if we all work together, all the tasks will be small ones.

Crime Report
For the most part crime has gone down in Barron Park. There are problems in the area around Military Way and El Camino. A neighborhood group of residents on Military Way and on Magnolia, under the leadership of Jon Klein, have met with the PAPD to discuss the problems around the liquor stores in that area. The group is observing and keeping a record of the occurrences in their neighborhood and the adjoining El Camino Real. This makes it possible for the police to take appropriate action. This is a good example of citizens acting on their own behalf.

To report crimes in progress - immediately call 911.
Past or suspicious events - 24-hour police business number, 329-2413.
Graffiti - City of Palo Alto graffiti hot line, 496-5904.
For information on the Palo Alto Citizens Police Academy - contact CSO Susan Jones, 329-2632.
To be a Palo Alto Police Volunteer, call the Volunteer Program Coordinator, Eileen Derr, 329-2524.

Habitat Committee News

by Inge Harding-Barlow, Chair

With joy we announced that by the turn of the year the BPA will have added about 100 varieties of native trees, shrubs and plants along the bike path and around Bol Park.

There are a couple of reasons for planting natives: First, once established they need next-to-no care and second, they will serve as a multi-purpose resource for our local schools and the neighborhood. We also hope, over several years, to solve the problem of high grass and weeds, which are not only unsightly, but also a fire hazard.

Because many natives are adapted to growing in areas with low rainfall and poor soil, they often exhibit characteristics different from traditional landscaping plants (which expect to be well-fed and watered). Some bushes spread horizontally rather than upward: this allows them to "claim" the water rights to a larger patch of ground. Many perennials grow slowly (often in spurts during the rainy season) so that they don't outgrow their limited water supply. Native grasses go dormant in the dry season, and because of the residual moisture, they are much less of a fire hazard than the grasses currently in the park that die and dry out completely each summer. Þ We have had a number of problems in growing natives in the area of the bike path. First, the soil is mainly highly-compacted clay, mixed with the remains of the railroad track and it changes from "bad" to "worse" within a couple of feet.

Second, the presence of the box culvert presents interesting challenges in deciding what to plant where: because it is often only a few feet below the surface, we cannot plant species that need deep root systems. For example, various species of trees need a source of water in the summer but are perfectly happy if they can find soil that holds moisture starting 10 feet below the surface.

Third, some of the plants have been damaged, even killed, by 2-footed vandals (in addition to the expected damage from the 4-footed critters).

With this in mind, we have bought 1-gallon sized plants and grown their root balls into 5- to 15-gallon sizes. Some of our rarer plant types we will hold until Fall 1998, in order to take and grow cuttings as back-ups.

Our collection of 36 varieties of native bulbs will be grown for a year in pots to yield back-up corms, before being transferred to the park to form the nucleus of our bulb display. (These bulbs were all donated by friends of Jack Paddock, in his honor). To our knowledge, such an extensive collection of native bulbs is very rare (outside of Arboretums,...).

In the coming year native bunch grasses and colorful ground cover will slowly be introduced into the now "weed patches." However, for the next three to five years, we will still be fighting an uphill battle against the weeds, thistles, and other nasty "delights."

We are considering ways to encourage "community weeding" of the park, but need to develop a scheme to minimize the "weeding" of good plants by mistake (many of us have had "professional gardeners" pull prize plants as weeds).

Perry is proving to be a champion weeder -- he really loves to eat that ubiquitous weed Malva Neglecta (common Mallow), often ripping out a foot or more of its taproot.

Please feel free to join him in his efforts!

Emergency Preparedness

Art Bayce, Chairman

At last count, we have received 112 responses to the Emergency Preparedness Survey. Thanks to all of you that have responded! For the benefit of those residents who were not members of the BPA and did not receive a copy of the Fall Newsletter, here is a repeat of the report on that Survey.

The responding households have been broken down into three main categories: Medical Personnel, Helpers and First Aid Trained (32); First Aid Supplies, Medical Equipment, Water and Blankets (73); and General Equipment including Tools, Communication and Fire Extinguishers (87). As can be seen, many households responded to more than one category.

If you have not yet completed and returned the survey, you can find it on the Web at

If you would like a form faxed to you, fax 494-0741, or call Art Bayce 493-7058 to receive an emergency survey form by mail.

During an emergency, contact your nearest BPA Board member for information.The emergency database is confidential and will be accessible only during emergencies.

Surface Flow Flooding
The residents living near the Gunn High School property are familiar with the surface flow flooding from the school property into the Barron Park neighborhood. Arrangements had been made by the school district, with the contractor building the creek by-pass, to prepare diversion swales on the school property to divert this surface flow of water during heavy rainfall to a drain to the creek bypass culvert. A meeting was held in October with the maintenance supervisor of the Palo Alto Unified School District to inspect these diversion swales around Strawberry Hill and other potential problem areas along the path by the school property fence. The deficiencies were noted, and they were to be rectified within a few weeks. The work has been started but is not yet complete.

Note: Sand bags are available for Barron Park residents at the Hoover Elementary School site.

The information contained in the Living with Our Faults booklet is useful not only for earthquake emergencies but also for other emergencies including flooding. This would be a good time to read over the important information in the booklet. If you did not receive a copy of this booklet, contact the City of Palo Alto Fire Department at 329-2184.

Zoning And Land Use

by Will Beckett, Acting Chair

In the '70s many of the properties along El Camino Real were rezoned from commercial to residential, in an effort to reduce the number of commercial properties and increase housing stock in Palo Alto. A transition period of 15 years was set up to allow current use of these properties to continue, with the understanding that at the end of this time commercial use would no longer be allowed. The net affect was that most property owners chose to wait out this period of time and see if they could have the zoning changed back, assuming that opinions would change after 15 years. However, few of the owners decided to go through the process of appealing the zoning changes, and so most properties zoned residential remain with that zoning.

Rudolfo's closed despite en-couragement from the neighborhood to appeal and to remain a restaurant. The comprehensive plan recom-mended a change to "neighborhood commercial" but it is now under construction and will become 46 apartment units. The Cameo Club property was purchased, but no formal plans have been submitted. Some ideas have been reviewed by the city for the property south of Matadero which has the Goodwill trailer on it. A long-term-stay hotel for business types was in the works, but there has been no activity on this in many months.

The zoning for the All American Market property was changed into the new category, called "neighborhood commercial". This zoning allowed for a lower impact commercial use, like the market and other businesses termed "neighborhood serving", but excluded a higher impact range of commercial use, such as auto repair and car dealerships. The mobile home park is zoned for housing, but currently is under strict state control and not likely to change use soon. The gas station next door is on a property which has a "service commercial" zone.

Blockbuster Video, which will replace All American Market, is considered a neighborhood-serving business. The properties along El Camino in Barron Park tend to be very narrow and not suited to businesses such as large markets. Small markets, who can't offer large chain stores' prices, have a difficult time making a profit, so there is no real incentive to open a market here.

It might be possible to change this trend but that would require action by those who have a strong interest in doing so, to become involved in the city planning process. All cities of a certain size are required by the State of California to have a Comprehensive Plan, and Palo Alto's is currently under the final steps for approval. It includes many provisions that would suggest modifying current zoning to encourage "walkable neighborhoods," by encouraging "neighborhood serving" businesses. Markets are a class of neighborhood serving businesses which demand special attention. They have a significant effect on a neighborhood in terms of traffic, and as community gathering places. However, there is no zoning category which requires a market or even encourages a market.

I believe residents of Barron Park are not interested in a convenience store such as 7-11, but would like to see a 12 to 15,000 square foot market with vegetables, grocery and meats available. If there is community support for this, it might be possible to modify the zoning to encourage this type of use and make it economically attractive to interested markets. A store like Sigona's in Redwood City (across from Price Club) or a JJ&F. Both are examples of stores that do well in a small space.

Incentives might include a loosening of parking regulations or encouraging two-story complexes for higher profit, retail upstairs with a market downstairs. The question is whether these incentives might have a negative impact on the quality of life in the neighborhood. Your thoughts on this would be gratefully accepted.

As for other business on El Camino Real, vacancies are down. Compared to last year, all open spaces have been filled. Pools etc. was replaced by "Just Copies." Howard Johnson's has replaced the El Rancho. The new Hollywood Video is an improvement over the La Cumbre. There seems to be some renewed interest in the area and, with some neighborhood focus, it might be possible to turn some of the current vacant properties into something very attractive and useful.

Have any ideas? Send in your comments or log on to the BPA web site and use the guest book for comments.

You'll Juana Watch for Runners

by Sue Luttner

The Juana Run, a footrace through the streets of Barron Park, will be held this winter on Sunday morning, January 18.

The five-mile race begins at 8 am; children's half- and quarter-mile races begin at 10; and the one-mile race begins at 11. Streets on the courses will be closed from about 15 minutes before the start of each race until all runners have passed. Orme Street, much of Amaranta, and one block of Los Robles will be closed all morning.

The Juana Run is a benefit for Juana Briones Elementary School. Pre-registration is $18 for adults, $12 for children under 12; race-day registration is $22 adults, $15 children.

For more information or a registration form, stop by the school office, 4100 Orme Street; visit the Juana Run web site: juana_run or call the race hotline, 852-9181.

Are you affected?
The race will shut down many Barron Park streets briefly, and a few streets for several hours. The 5-mile race (8 am) starts at Thain Way and travels up Maybell to Donald, Georgia, Arastradero, and Wilmar, back up Maybell to Amaranta, then Florales to Campana, Los Robles to Laguna, Matadero, Whitsell, Barron, Laguna again, up La Para to La Donna, to Los Robles, and finally up Orme to the school.

The children's races (10 am) will affect only Amaranta, Orme, and the block of Los Robles that connects them.

The one-mile race (11 am) begins on Amaranta at Juana Briones Park and turns up Florales to Campana to Los Robles and back to Orme.

Barron Park Survey

Conducted by the Barron Park Association Board


Communication with Residents
Doug Moran

Keeping residents informed of issues and events (past, present and future) is an important function of the BPA. The survey attempts to identify where we need to put more effort.

Newsletter - quarterly The winter issue of the newsletter (this one), is distributed to the whole neighborhood; the other three only to BPA members. The Basic Membership dues are set to be roughly the cost of the newsletter.
page limits, fixed schedule, significant lead time for contributions:

Informing residents of upcoming events by leafletting is a major effort. It takes 10-15 people a total of at least 25 hours to cover the neighborhood -- the typical route is designed to take about 1.5 hours for an experienced person. It has always been difficult to get enough volunteers to do this, and is now verging on the impossible. Additionally, because most people have limited free time, distribution is scheduled over a 10- day period (covering two weekends).

US Mail
Too expensive except for infrequent, high priority notifications.

The Palo Alto Weekly is pretty good at running short notices of events in their "Neighborhoods: Around the Block" column.

The kiosk in Bol Park (opposite Laguna Court) has been used to post information. Unfortunately, it has been the target of both random and directed vandalism: postings were typically ripped down in a day or two. The current anti-vandalism cover is a poor solution: while it protects the postings from vandals, it is so difficult to operate that it "protects" the postings from frequent updating.

Additionally, it has often been hard to generate enthusiasm for aggressively updating the kiosk because postings there are rarely seen to generate much (or any) response. Some of the survey questions attempt to determine if a feedback loop has been created (fewer updates yield less attention yield even fewer updates).

One of the big limitations of the kiosk is that it is very far from many sections of the neighborhood. Over the years, we have considered setting up mini-kiosks or bulletin boards in other areas of the neighborhood, but the key components were never present at the same time: (1) location that is suitable and that we would have permission to use, (2) someone to make preliminary arrangements (non-trivial), and (3) someone to commit to updating the information.

Internet: E-mail and Web
E-mail and the Web avoid many of the limitations of the above communication schemes, but have the very serious limitation that many of our members and other residents do not have access. Of our 400 current members, only 100 are on the BPA e-mail list. Our philosophy toward the Internet is that distributing information over it is better than doing nothing, and we hope that we get somewhat wider distribution through people with access passing information on to their neighbors who don't have access.

People without their own computers can access the Web through computers in the City Hall and at most libraries. Unfortunately, none of these locations are in, or close to, our neighborhood.

Internet: Flood Control issues
The use of e-mail and the Web were central to the BPA's response to the Water District's proposals for the interim fix to the Barron/Matadero Creeks flood control project. Meetings were announced only a few days in advance. Information needed to understand the issues came trickling out. The issues were complicated enough that they could not fit in the space limits of the traditional news media -- in the story in the San Jose Mercury News on the public meetings (October 15-16) there was a very brief description and a pointer to our Web page. City of Palo Alto staff visited our pages for information and told us it was quite useful.

I believe that the distribution of information before the public meetings played a very positive role: at the Wednesday meeting, which was dominated by Barron Park residents, the audience was very focused on the key issues and problems, whereas at the Thursday meeting, I felt a lot of time was spent sidetracked on peripheral and minor issues. Greg Zlotnick, our elected representative on the Water District Board, told me that he wished that the other Board members could have attended the Wednesday meeting, both for its content and as a very positive example of public input.

Palo Alto Police Need Good Sleep
Nancy Hamilton

Almost all of Palo Alto's police officers live far away. When they have to work overtime -- major criminal investigations, emergencies (flood, power outages), etc. -- they often do not have enough time to go home to sleep. Unlike the firefighters, who can sleep in the firehouses, the police officers have nowhere to go, and often catch a few hours of sleep in their cars in the city garage before getting back to work.

A place is needed where our officers can "bed down" for a few hours. Ideally, a local motel or business would donate a good-sized room with an attached bath, that could serve as a meeting place as well as for sleep and freshening up. Or lacking that, Palo Alto residents might volunteer spare bedrooms (hopefully including a bath) in their homes for these occasions. Something could be worked out where the resident could "adopt" one officer to become acquainted with, and with whom he could trust his house key (overtime shifts sometimes end at 3 a.m.).

Please answer the survey question if you have helpful information.

Leafblowers are a continuing/ developing controversy: they have both undeniable advantages and problems. Several cities in California have banned leafblowers, including Los Angeles and Los Altos (Los Altos Hills?). The problem is not just the noise, but also the dust and pollen kicked up. There is particular concern about using them on streets (brake dust and other deposits can be very nasty stuff).

The survey contains a set of questions to help us determine if this is a large enough problem in Barron Park that we should explore it further. There are several groups in Palo Alto that are advocating a ban; the BPA has taken no position on this issue.


If you wish to respond to this survey, please use your "paper" winter edition of this newsletter which was mailed to all residents of Barron Park. If you didn't receive a newsletter, print this out, answer it, and mail to: Ken Tani, 701 Kendall Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306.

"I/we visit Bol Park."
o Frequently o Sometimes o Rarely/never ____ times per month

"I/we visit the donkeys."
o Frequently o Sometimes o Rarely/never ____ times per month

"Mickey and Perry are very special to our neighborhood."
o Agree o No opinion o Disagree

1) Speeding is a problem in Barron Park.
o No problem o Moderate problem o Serious problem -- Locations: _______________________________________________________________________________

2) Running of stop signs is a problem in Barron Park.
o No problem o Moderate problem o Serious problem -- Locations: _______________________________________________________________________________

3) The speeding problem in Barron Park should be resolved through law enforcement rather than with more traffic signs.
o Agree o No opinion o Disagree

4) Bicycling is safe in Barron Park.
o Feel unsafe o Moderately safe o Feel safe o Do not bicycle
Comments: ___________________________________________________________________

"The local businesses along El Camino Real (south) adequately serve the residents of Barron Park."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree
Comments: _________________________

"I would like to see the following business(es) on El Camino."
o Grocery o Bakery o Produce
o Other (write in-- use addn'l. sheets)




"I patronize businesses on El Camino Real near Barron Park."
o Frequently o Sometimes o Rarely/never

"More programs are needed for our senior residents."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree

"I need a better public transit system to get to places within Palo Alto."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree

"There are enough recreation programs for young people in our neighborhood."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree

"I would like to see more street trees in Barron Park."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree

"The City of Palo Alto does a good job of trimming our trees."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree

"The staff and city council of Palo Alto are responsive to the interests of Barron Park residents."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree

"I think there should be a neighborhood approval process for building large houses on small lots."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree

"I would like to see volunteers (businesses, motels, individual residents) provide sleeping quarters for our police officers who work overtime and have just a few hours between shifts."
o Agree o No opinion o Disagree

"I have a spare room in which I would gladly allow a PA Police Officer to sleep occasionally."
Your name: __________________________________ your phone #___________________

"I am getting good information about Barron Park events and issues."
o Agree o No opinion o Disagree -- Comments: ____________________________

BPA e-mail list:
o Do not have e-mail o Did not know of list o I'm on the list
o Decided not to subscribe

BPA World Wide Web site:
o No Web access o Did not know of site o Visited site o Not visited site

"I find the information in BPA e-mail and on BPA Web site useful."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree o No access /not visited
Comments ___________________________________________________________________

"I go by the kiosk regularly and it would be a good place for me to see Barron Park news."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree
Comments ___________________________________________________________________

"I know about BPA's Emergency Preparedness activities."
o Agree o No Opinion o Disagree
Comments ___________________________________________________________________

"I/we come to the May Fete."
o Always o Sometimes o Rarely/never o Never heard of it

"Information and ideas offered at the Annual House & Garden Faires aided our family."
o Agree o Did not attend o No opinion o Disagree

"A leafblower is used on my property."
o no o by me/family member o by gardener _____ estimated minutes per week

"Leafblowers are an annoyance to me."
Level: o none o minor o significant o major problem
Category: o noise o fumes/smell o dust/pollen _____ estimated minutes per week

"Leafblowing in neighboring yards blows things into my yard."
o never/rarely o dust/pollen o debris (leaves, grass clippings, ...)

"Weekdays (9-5), I am at home." (information confidential -- for statistical analysis only)
o always/usually o often o sometimes o rarely/never

Thank You!
Look for survey results in the Spring BPA Newsletter -- you don't have to join the BPA to participate in the survey! But you won't receive all four quarterly newsletters if you don't!

Annual Dues

It's that time of year again, please use the

BPA Membership Form

Can you believe another year has slipped past and here we are at Holiday time again? And here I am again, with some suggestions to help you keep your special days happy, healthy, and safe.

Rule #1: Simplify!
Find ways to cut back, saving time and money, but more importantly, energy. Making cookies? Your friends will be just as delighted with one or two varieties instead of your usual six. You can fill in the gaps with dried fruit and candied nutmeats.

Hang a swag of fresh greens from your yard on your door, tied with a recycled bow from the past. The "hand-made" effect will be ever more homey and welcoming.

Chunky candles with greens and a few shiny baubles will create a very festive look. The fat, wide-based candles are safer than tall tapers because they are not tipped over as readily.

Think a check or money is too impersonal? Believe me, your teen or college-age family will adore you!

These gifts can be made special when presented with a dime-store toy relating to their skills or interests.

For the young-marrieds, a gift certificate with a catalog from a store such as Crate & Barrel, Smith & Hawkins or Wm. Sonoma will make YOUR gift the BEST!

Lastly -- do something for yourself. Why not call the Senior Center (327-2811) and make an appointment for a 1/2 hour massage -- such a pampering and very affordable luxury. Or ask Santa to bring you this gift.

Space does not permit, but I'd like to tell you how to throw a very easy, but elegant Old Fashioned Afternoon Tea for a very few friends -- maybe for New Years?

Stay well, stay safe -- but be Happy
-- Katie

Creekside Inn = Different -- But the Same!

by Katie Edwards

Possibly you have heard that Creekside Inn has been sold. 'Tis true.

I went over to extend a neighborly welcome, both from myself, and from the Barron Park Association, and had a pleasant surprise. The ownership has changed -- sold to a "hospitality group" in San Francisco -- but the management and staff are essentially unchanged. The manager assures me that we should continue to have the same comfortable relationship under the new regime.

Peter Anders, one of the new owners, called me to introduce himself, and reassured me that nothing would change.

We will miss Lynn Roberts and Mark Wilson. They have been loyal supporters of the B.P.A. as well as having been wonderful neighbors. I personally wish them "good luck" and happiness in whatever their futures hold.

(Just another reminder that the only constant is change.)

Activism on the Net

The BPA will be part of a segment on the PBS series Internet Café on uses of the Internet by various activist groups. A representative of the BPA (Doug Moran) and of the College Terrace Residents Association were chosen to talk about different aspects of grass-root activism. The BPA came to the attention of this show because of our Web page How a Neighborhood Association uses the Internet: Advice and Reflections.

This episode is scheduled to be distributed on January 9th. KTEH (Ch. 54 San Jose) airs this series at 5pm on Sundays (KQED does not show it) and this segment is likely to be about 4 minutes long (don't blink). Aside: This series is taped here in Palo Alto at Cybersmith on University Avenue.

Barron Park History

Doug Graham, Barron Park Historian

How Did Your Street Get It's Name?

San Jude Avenue is named for St. Jude, who is known as the Saint of the Impossible, to whom prayers are directed requesting intercession in hopeless or impossible situations. The 800 block, running north ("east") from Laguna Avenue, was laid out as part of the 1941 Los Robles Manor Tract. It had been planted to pear trees. The street appears as La Jude on the 1941 map, but this was probably a simple error, which was corrected by the time the street appeared on official maps by 1947. The 700 block, which runs south ("west") off La Donna, was laid out in 1949 as part of the Boldt Subdivision. It was also planted to pears before suburbanization intervened. San Jude is one of two streets in the neighborhood to exist in two widely separated segments, which has doubtless confused thousands of address-seekers over the years (the other one is Georgia Avenue).

This cul-de-sac, which runs off Los Robles above (south, or "west") of Laguna, was part of the 1945 El Cerrito Tract. It was later extended through "El Cerrito Unit Two" in 1948. The name, which means little hill in Spanish, followed the spanish theme of the 1920s and 1930s, which was favored by the Barron Park-Maybell Improvement Association later on in the 1950s. The "little hill" may have referred to the view of the hill through which the railroad cut, the hill on the bikepath now known as "Strawberry Hill".

Almost opposite El Cerrito along Los Robles is Manzana Lane, a cul-de-sac which ran straight back to "the pit", which I wrote about in the fall newsletter. Manzana is Spanish for apple, one of two streets named for fruit trees. There was an orchard here, but I do not know if it was apples. Can anyone tell me? Apricots were planted in most of the surrounding area.

The derivation of this street's name is given incorrectly in the 1990 revised version of the Streets of Palo Alto. I can say that without insulting anyone because I was the source of the error. Since we revised that wonderful little book, I found a reference to the original (and correct) spelling of the street name as La Pera - the pear. Of course! Since 1990, I have also learned that much of that part of Barron Park was planted to pear trees in the 1920s and 1930s, especially after the strawberry fields gave out. This is a much simpler and more satisfying explanation than the rather strained speculation I wrote for the Streets book.

This little cul-de-sac that intersects with Matadero just north ("east") of Laguna serves the 1946 La Mata Tract. The name is probably a condensation of the two street names. This is a good illustration of the often silly abuses in street naming that occurred here in those days. If you don't like this common-sense explanation, buttressed by the memory of Eleanor Price, who lived on Los Robles in the 1940s, you can think of La Mata as meaning a bush or a group of trees - a perfectly good Spanish translation. Does anyone know what crops, if any, were grown on this land?

These two streets were almost certainly named for the same tree ("arbol") - a gigantic liv eoak ("encina") which grew right where the two streets currently intersect. The tree shows clearly on the 1941 aerial photo, standing alone in a young orchard of prune trees. The Encina Grande tract was laid out in 1946; all its streets were given Spanish names.

Arastradero road is probably the oldest road in our vicinity; it appears on maps before El Camino does. It was an "arrastre", a log-hauling road, and was also used as a cattle trail. It was probably used to haul redwood timber from Rancho Corte de Madera ("wood place" or lumbering area) to Mission Santa Clara and San Jose Pueblo. Old maps refer to the trail as "Camino Arrastradoro para la Sierra" ("wood hauling road from the mountains), or as the "Paseo" (pass). It originally crossed Adobe Creek near where the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct does now, along the bikepath between Terman Park and La Mesa Cemetery. However, in the 1860s it was re-routed to connect with Charleston Road at El Camino. This apparently was done to avoid the cost of building a bridge (and paying taxes on it).

In view of the extensive use of Spanish placenames in our neighborhood, perhaps we should rename it El Parque de Barron! Happy Holidays to you all.

Beautification Committee Report

by Erna Glanville and
Shirley Finfrock

Activities by the Beautification Committee for 1998 are underway and dates scheduled. The street tree planting is scheduled with CANOPY, Trees for Palo Alto, for Saturday, November 14, 1998. The committee, with the help of Barron Park residents, will be surveying appropriate locations for new or replacement street trees. The trees and planting holes are provided by CANOPY, the liaison committee involved in actual planting. Homeowners are responsible for water maintenance to insure the new trees get a good start, and leaf raking each fall. The city is the responsibility for tree trimming. If residents wish to have a street tree or trees planted on their property frontage in November, contact Shirley Finfrock at 493-8054 or e-mail Please give your opinion about more street trees in Barron Park in this issue's survey. The homeowner can select the variety of tree desired from varieties recommended by the Palo Alto city arborist. This project was postponed to November, 1998, due to the walkway and storm drain projects in process in our neighborhood during the next few months.

A new date of June 7 has been selected for the Third Annual Barron Park House & Garden Faire. A walking tour of several gardens and open interiors will take place between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m.

To insure a more condensed walking tour this year, our plan is to divide Barron Park into three or four areas, featuring a different area of the neighborhood each year. A Garden Advice Center, Plant Sale, and Refreshments will be offered in individual gardens or at Bol Park. We will be accepting plant donations for the plant sale, so keep our needs in mind when thinning out excessive plants from your garden this spring, or starting seedlings. All donation plants must be potted. Contractors and service providers related to specific projects will be at the property location. More information about the street tree planting and Habitat Commitee's activities will also be publicized at this event. You will be receiving more information about this event in the spring.

Other activities of the Beautification Committee are the on-going tree well weeding and planting on El Camino Real and participation in the activities of the Palo Alto Historic Survey.

If you have any interest in our projects or events, we welcome your participation. Contact Shirley Finfrock at 493-8054 or e-mail Your name will be added to our mailing list for time and location of our monthly meeting dates to contribute your efforts to the continuous beautification of Barron Park. Shirley Finfrock is now co-chairperson of the Beautification Committee with Erna Glanville, and is a board member of the Barron Park Association. Bryn Homsy, Lois Prior, and Shirley Finfrock are co-chairpersons for the 1998 House & Garden Faire.

Happy Holidays and happy gardening!!

Weeding Barron Park's El Camino

by Mardell Ward

Members of the Barron Park Beautification Committee have set themselves the task of removing ugly weeds and debris from El Camino tree wells and side-walk cracks. Spring planting is planned.

Crews have been out once or twice a month this fall. Weeding crew: Sue Lutner, Mardell Ward, Erna Glanville (co-chair), Bryn Homsy, Amrette and Jerry Butler, Shirley Finfrock (co-chair) and Carla Bliss.

Treasurer's Report

by Ken Tani, Treasurer

BPA Income
BPA relies on annual membership dues and donations for the majority of each year's operating income. For the last fiscal year (07/01/96 through 06/30/97) total income was $9,188.41 with almost exactly two-thirds ($6,095.80) from membership dues and donations. A $1,000.00 subsidy from the Santa Clara Water District to defray costs associated with the Bol Park Rededication at the May Fete, BPA newsletter ad sales of $897.50, and May Fete food and beverage sales of $851.61 were the other major sources of income. Plant sales and donations at the Beautification Committee's Home and Garden Faire ($243.50) and donations for Bol Park Revegetation ($100.00) were the remaining income items. It should be noted that Mickey/Perry Fund donations are not treated as BPA income, and are dedicated for the care and feeding of the donkeys.

BPA Expenses
The quarterly BPA newsletter is the major expense each year. For the last fiscal year (07/01/96 through 06/30/97) total expenses were $9,831.53 with about 57% ($5,565.05) in newsletter postage (bulk rate), printing, and production costs. The major printing and postage costs are associated with the winter issue which is sent to all Barron Park residents (about 1600 households). The other three issues (spring, summer, and fall) are mailed to current members only (400 households in 1997). The annual May Fete was the second largest expense of $1,564.73, although a $1,000.00 subsidy was received from the Santa Clara Valley Water District for this year's Bol Park Rededication. The Bol Park Revegetation project ($736.15) and the Beautification Committee's Home and Garden Faire ($653.44) were other major expenses. Since all donkey care and feeding is supported by contributions to the Mickey/Perry Fund, these costs are not treated as BPA expenses.

Any questions or comments? -- Please contact Ken Tani by phone at 650-424-0700 or via e-mail

Mickey/Perry Fund
The Mickey/Perry Fund was started in September 1996 to support the care and feeding of Mickey. Initially, BPA accepted donations and directly paid for Mickey's care. In December 1996 the Barron Park Association Foundation (BPAF), a separate tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization, agreed to serve as 'fiscal agent' for the Mickey Fund, allowing donors to make tax-deductible contributions. As of 11/20/97, 85 donations totaling $4,005.00 have been received. The accompanying bar graph shows the distribution of donations by amount.

The largest expenses have been Mickey's veterinarian bills ($1,169.00), primarily in December 1996 when he was very ill. Thanks to the dedicated care of Mickey's handlers, we hope that these costs will not recur. The other major cost ($595.00) is the regular trimming of Mickey's and Perry's hooves by the farrier. A storage bin and watering equipment were purchased ($347.71) to aid in daily feeding. Feed, medicine, and supplies ($822.14) represent the other costs for Mickey and Perry.

The current Mickey/Perry fund balances for activity from 9/30/96 through 11/20/97 are:

Tax-deductible donations for the care and feeding of Mickey and Perry may be sent to:

BPAF Mickey/Perry Fund
701 Kendall Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 9430

Any questions or comments? - Please contact Ken Tani by phone at 650-424-0700 or via e-mail

Study Participation

Doug Moran

Argentine Ants

Professor Deborah Gordon of the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University is conducting a study of Argentine ants. These are the common species of ants that are found throughout the area, and are a recent arrival in California (and the US). During the winter they enter houses and nest in potted plants, electronic equipment, and various other places.

The goals of Prof. Gordon's project are (1) to find out if there are certain weather conditions under which ants tend to move into buildings, and (2) to test some methods of keeping the ants out. They will be happy to share anything that is learned.

Participants in this study would be contacted once a week for the next 18 months, and. asked if ants have been in the home during that past week. You have your choice of being contacted by either telephone or e-mail, and it is not a problem if you are away for some weeks and miss the message.

This survey was mentioned in the main article in the Science and Technology section of the San Jose Mercury News of October 28, and resulted in a large number of responses from throughout the Bay area. We volunteered to further publicize this study to help Prof. Gordon get a large number of participants in a limited area: it is useful to have many reports from the same microclimate to determine if all the ants in that area come inside at the same time (triggered by weather conditions).

To volunteer, send e-mail to (deleted)

The BPA hopes to have further information available on our Web page under Hot Topics.


Information about the size and location of populations of various species of bats in the Bay area is skimpy. One of the people trying to fill this void has asked us to report sightings of bats. Information requested:

  1. Critical:
    • date and time
    • location of activity (for example, "the Barron Creek sediment basin")
    • method of observation (visual, guano, ...)

  2. Description (often difficult): size, color, ...

  3. If flying (can distinguish species that are very similar in appearance):
    • distance above ground
    • flying pattern
    • how it catches prey

  4. If roosting, a description of the roost (for example, construction of bridge or bathouse) and its location.

Send any reports via email to
Doug Moran -- or telephone me at 856-3302 and I will forward the information.

Check our Web page under Hot Topics for further or updated information.

Letters to the BPA

Barron Park Association
Palo Alto Unified School District
Palo Alto Public Works Department

Dear Ladies and/or Gentlemen,
For the past several years I have been complaining to whoever would listen that the surface drainage at Gunn High School was improperly executed and that there [was] a very large puddle formed behind my house which, in times of severe rain, drained into my yard and other yards along El Cerrito Road before it entered the regular drainage system. I have just returned from a month's vacation and was delighted to find that two additional drains have been installed at the location of the puddle. I am not sure to whom to address my thanks, but I suspect all three of you had a hand in getting the drains installed. Therefore, I want to sincerely thank all three of you.

The addition of the drains plus the repaving and raising of the bicycle path will considerably improve our safety from drainage problems and help our peace of mind in this El Niño year.
Very truly yours,
John C. Dusterberry

Oct. 28, 1997
Mr. Doug Graham, Historian
Barron Park Association

Dear Doug,
Merre Jayne and Earl McFate have donated [a] Barron Park Volunteer Fire Helmet to the History Committee of the BPA.

Merre Jayne obtained this helmet from Grant Denmark, owner of the Heidelberg Restaurant, the night that the restaurant closed several years ago. This helmet hung on a lamppost in the restaurant for many years.

Merre Jayne and Earl have been residents of Barron Park for forty plus years residing at 1070 El Cerrito Road. They have sold their home and are moving into interim quarters on San Antonio Road on October 30, 1997. Merre Jayne was active in the Beautification Committee activities.
Shirley Finfrock

[The helmet is fiberglass, painted light yellow, with the words "Barron Park Fire" in old-fashioned type letters in red across the front. It is a valuable accession to the growing trove of Barron Park history materials.]

Help wanted: BPA Web pages

If you have created or found Web pages that you think would be of special interest to neighborhood residents, please send us the URL and a brief description that we can include on the appropriate BPA Web page.

We are also interested in ideas and suggestions for additional material for the BPA Web site (good ideas that come with someone interested in implementing them get top priority).

Also, if you are interested in maintaining and expanding one of our current sets of pages, please contact us. Note: the BPA Web site is actually spread over multiple computers, with pages located on the computer of the person with primary responsibility for them (simplifying updates). Contact: BPA Webmaster

EMR Volunteers Again!

Once again Emergency Medical Response Explorer Post #5 will be helping residents with sandbagging. EMR is now handled through the Palo Alto Fire Department under direction of Fire Fighters and Paramedics from different fire stations around Palo Alto. The Scouts are more than happy to assist residents in the Barron Park area with the sandbagging of their homes. They are accepting donations for their services which can be made out to EMR Explorer Post #5 and sent to Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave, Floor Six, attention Fire Administration. They also plan on working with the American Red Cross Disaster Services and the BPA in developing an Emergency Action Plan for the possibility of flooding this year. EMR has set up a sandbagging hotline at Captain David's house at 494-3958. EMR is receiving Emergency Response and Flood training from Tony Graham, a Barron Park Resident, who can be contacted at 493-0689. All Explorers are students at Gunn and Paly High School and attend classes regularly, so they ask residents to not expect instant response.

BPA On-Line!

Internet BPA e-mail lists

President: Will Beckett

Vice President: Doug Moran

Secretary: Inge Harding-Barlow

Treasurer: Ken Tani

Editor: Nancy Jo Hamilton

BPA Web Home Page:

BPA Newsletters Archive:

Donkeys' Home Page:

BPA Board of Directors:

BPA Committees:

Advertising Donors


Creekside Inn

40% Off on All Rooms! (many new rooms)
This offer good December 18th through January 3rd 1998

493-2411 or 1-800-49CREEK


Driftwood Deli & Market

-- Sandwiches -- Fresh bread --
-- Dairy -- Groceries -- Magazines --
-- Liquor -- Catering -- Indoor and outdoor seating --

3450 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306 (near Creekside Inn)
(415) 493-4162

© 1997 The Barron Park Association. All rights reserved.

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