Note: The Spring edition is mailed to all of Barron Park. The web editions are normally created long after the paper editions are mailed, and are not as complete.

-- Will Beckett, President

by Maryanne Welton, Chair

by Maryanne Welton

by Douglas Graham, Barron Park Historian

By Art Bayce, Co-Chair

Homes of Distinction

by Lois Prior, Co-Chair, & Mardell Ward


by Shirley Finfrock

by Sue Luttner


by Art Bayce

by Inge Harding-Barlow

by Inge Harding-Barlow, Jill Beckett & Doug Moran, Co-chairs

by Doug Moran, Senior Computer Scientist


by Dorothy Bender, Membership Chair





If you wish to become a Barron Park Association Member,


Community Update

Will Beckett, President

In an effort to reach everyone in the community, once each year, we distribute the Barron Park Newsletter to everyone in the community. We have had concerns recently about doing this in December and so this year decided to do it in the Spring. So this is the first Barron Park community wide Spring issue. Included with this issue is our annual community-wide survey.

It is clear that trying to represent the Barron Park area is one of the most difficult tasks for the BPA. Having 10 to 18 board members is one way we improve representation but more important is to hear from as much of the community as we possibly can. Over the last few years we have been sending out surveys. The response to these has been excellent. In addition to answering the questions, residents have been including very interesting comments which help us calibrate our understanding of community interest. We know that all of us feel surveyed to death but we have tried to make this an easy survey for everyone to fill out so we will get a larger number of responses.

In addition to filling out this year¹s survey, please contact board members and talk to them about your feelings toward the community. Use the Website to better understand the activities we are involved in and use the comment area to send your suggestions.

Most recently the board of the BPA has been involved with the flood control project which created the bypass. and later improvements to the storm drain system and improvements to many of our streets. We have worked very closely with developers who have been working on projects on El Camino Real. We also work very closely with the city on citywide projects such as issues related to school, libraries and the new local bus system. We sponsor a Boy Scout and Cub Scout troop and work to improve landscaping in our parks and on our streets. We hold events such as the May Fete to bring the community together through these fun activities (Scheduled for May 16, 1999).

This year the Emergency Preparedness Committee will be working with the city in hopes to involve Barron Park in another emergency drill. This was done very successfully in 1987 and it is our hope to again pull together Fire, Police and Utilities to do another such drill in October.

In the last year many of you may recall that we were worried about Mickey's health and indeed Mickey did die, due to bone degeneration in one of his legs, and old age. The Board had ideas about replacing Mickey but we quickly found that our Board could not take this on for mostly legal reasons. Instead, members of the community took the initiative to find two new donkeys and have been maintaining them through donations to the Barron Park Association Foundation. James Witt, owner of the Bol property, has allowed this group of people to keep the two new donkeys on his land and has built a new shelter to keep them dry during wet weather.

These are just a few examples of activities in the Barron Park area which build community and make this a great place to live and raise our children. I encourage all of you to get involved and be vocal about the activities, projects and planning. Use the communication tools mentioned above and let us know your thoughts.

Zoning & Land Use (ZALU)

by Maryanne Welton

About 50 community members attended a public meeting sponsored by ZALU last fall to review plans for two proposed developments. The first project was located at 4101 El Camino on the El Camino Island. The plans have been revised and downsized since that meeting to include about 9,000 s.f. of ground-floor commercial space and ten residential units located on the top two floors. Parking for about 45 to 50 cars will be provided both at grade and in an underground parking garage. The proposed project will comply with zoning code requirements for the site and will require approval from the City's Architectural Review Board (ARB).

The other project that was presented last fall would be built on the vacant lot at 3606 El Camino (commonly referred to as the Goodwill trailer lot). The plans initially included a three-story 40-unit extended-stay, executive hotel and 12 studio apartments in a two-story building at the back of the property. After meetings with the community and ZALU committee, the plans were revised to include a ground-floor cafe on El Camino and offices to replace some of the studio apartments. The plans received a frosty reception by the ARB on February 4th and the developer is now re-evaluating options for the site.

The plans for renovating the former All American store into a Blockbuster and Foodini's are going ahead. Final approval of the signage plan is being delayed until it complies with El Camino Design Guidelines for allowed size and materials.

This will not delay improvements to the building, scheduled to begin soon.

Barron Park Elementary School

by Maryanne Welton

Calling All Alumni of Barron Park,
Creekside, and Hoover Elementary Schools

On April 17, 1999, Barron Park Elementary School will host a 50th Anniversary Party and Alumni/Staff Reunion. This event will both celebrate the history of the schools at Barron Park and educate the current BPES community about the events that have occurred there over the last 50 years.

During the next month, students will be working with their teachers and Bob French of the Palo Alto Historical Society on exciting projects to create connections with the past. Some of these projects will utilize the history of the children's own street. Other classes will interview former students, staff and local residents who would like to share their experiences at the school. If you are interested in sharing a memory and being interviewed or if you have a photo or item that can be displayed at the museum, please let us know.

Starting at 3 PM, on Saturday, April 17th a "museum" will open in the multi- purpose room with a timeline, photos and exhibits. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own picnic dinner. A group photo of all school alumni will be taken at 5 PM. Afterwards, there will be birthday cake for everyone and a sing-along featuring the classic songs of childhood with Campfire Ken.

The anniversary celebration will be open to all alumni and friends. If you, your children, friends or neighbors attended the school, please contact us so we can send an invitation for this important anniversary. You can call the school at 858-0508.

Decades Past

Douglas Graham, Barron Park Historian

An Estate is Sold in 1919
Eighty years ago the modern history of Barron Park began with the sale of the old Barron Estate to the Watsonville strawberry growers and packers, Driscoll and Reiter. The Palo Alto Times' story, on December 11, 1919, was headlined "Last Great Estate of Early Days is Sold". The sale of the property, which consisted of 350 "oak-studded" acres, brought nearly $200,000 to the estate. This was the core of the future Barron Park neighborhood, covering all the land presently bounded by El Camino Real, the Stanford Research Park, and Gunn High School. From Gunn, the property line ran past Juana Briones School, crossed Amaranta halfway between Florales and Georgia, and continued past the Barron Square condos to El Camino. Of those modern landmarks, only El Camino, known as "The State Highway", then existed.

The property included a great mansion in a landscaped park, which had originally been built in 1853, as lawyer and California Constitution-signer Elisha Crosby's Mayfield Farm house. The famous California suffragist leader Sarah Wallis then bought the farm in 1859 and built a wonderful Victorian gingerbread mansion on the front of the farm house. She, in turn sold out to San Francisco financier Edward Barron two decades later. Barron added a wing and planted an extensive park. Some of his trees still grace our neighborhood today. Barron successfully resisted Leland Stanford's attempts to add this area to "Palo Alto Farm", and was able to enjoy his beautiful country seat until his death in 1893. His last wife and his children began a legal battle over the will and the estate was in the hands of caretakers until its sale 26 years later.

At the time of the sale in 1919, the reporter for the Times wrote that the developers planned to divide most of the property into small homesites with space for orchards or garden crops. The bulk of the property was described as "beautifully oak covered", and the soil was said to have been "adapted to fruit, chickens, strawberries, tomatoes and other intensive types of farming." The 23-room Barron Mansion in its 30-acre park would be sold separately.

Colonel Jones, Our "Founder" Dies in 1929
By 1929, Barron wouldn't have recognized his old estate. Most of today's collector streets had been laid out and there was a new bridge over Matadero Creek on Matadero Avenue. Orchards and tomato fields were everywhere, but the strawberries were already gone, victims of red spider mite infestation.

On August 9, Colonel Sebastian Jones, the owner and Headmaster of the California Military Academy died suddenly of a heart attack. Colonel Jones was the man who laid out the original Barron Park subdivision along La Selva and Barron Avenues in 1926. He had purchased the Barron Mansion and grounds in 1923, built barracks, other buildings and a swimming pool, and opened the school in the fall of that year. The academy stood where Magnolia Drive and Military Way are today. Although others tried to keep the academy going, it failed within a year, a victim of the stock market crash and the Great Depression. The facilities hosted two other schools until the mansion burned on Thanksgiving Weekend of 1936. The spectacular fire is still remembered today for the enmity it caused between residents of Barron Park and the City of Palo Alto, whose fire department refused to help fight the blaze.

The El Camino strip was beginning to take shape as a commercial area in 1929. Trailer courts, cabin camps (proto-motels) and other roadside businesses were being developed. El Camino was US highway 101 in those days, and was the principle Canada-to-Mexico auto route. One of the most successful of those businesses was the Buena Vista Café, which was located where the closed All American Market now stands. During one period it was known as the "Chat 'N Chew". The (pg. 10) photo shows the Buena Vista Café as it appeared in 1929. The building still exists; it was later moved West on Los Robles and now serves as the office of the Buena Vista Trailer Court.

A Dairy is Sold and Residents Protest Zoning in 1939
During the late 1920s and through the 1930s, La Encina Dairy was located near the present corner of Josina and Kendall (Kendall was known as Encina Avenue in the 1930s). John and Bertha Freund took over the dairy in 1937. The photo shows John with his delivery van. They milked 25 cows by hand and delivered raw milk to customers in Barron Park and South Palo Alto. In 1939, they were forced to sell the dairy because of increased residential building around them and complaints from a developer about the smell. The Freunds continued to live on the property until the Bol Tract along Josina, one of the earliest Eichler developments, was built in 1948.

At the same time the dairy was being forced out by suburbanization, more than 100 residents of Barron Park signed a petition to the County Planning Commission protesting against the adoption of "any zone plan" in the area. The residents protested that zoning was premature when streets had not even been laid out in much of the area. They insisted that a comprehensive road plan be adopted first.

By 1939, the El Camino strip featured numerous liquor stores, bars and restaurants with liquor licenses. Even though national prohibition had been repealed six years earlier, Palo Alto was still "dry" in compliance with the deed restrictions instigated by Jane Lathrop Stanford to keep alcohol away from her University. Barron Park was just over the city line and was the first place that thirsty Palo Altans could buy a drink. Straight-laced Palo Altans looked down on the area as a sort of sin strip and later considered this a reason not to permit the area to annex to the city. Remnants of this tawdry atmosphere still haunt us today.

We Gained Our Own Fire Department in 1949
Four subdivisions were plotted in Barron Park in 1949 - one of the biggest building years in our history. The Orme tract along Amaranta and Orme was laid out, as well as the Boldt subdivision on Paul and San Jude. Los Circuelos was built on Laguna Way, and La Donna Gardens along La Donna Street. The "Barron Park Shopping Center" opened across El Camino on October 6. It included The Wilson-Leep TV-Radio-Appliance store, Nemeth's Meat Market and Deli, and the Barron Park Pharmacy. The latter still operated in the early 1980s.

All this new construction led the fire insurance companies to demand that the area be serviced by Palo Alto or else establish its own fire department - continued coverage by the state Department of Forestry from their mountaintop fire stations was clearly inadequate. The City had recently rejected Barron Park's offer to be annexed and feelings were bitter on both sides. At a special election January 11, the neighborhood voted 225-60 to establish our own fire protection district. The Commissioners' first job was to determine the feasibility of establishing a fire department or contracting out to Palo Alto for coverage. Palo Alto later rejected the second option, so The Barron Park Volunteer Fire Department was formed and operated until annexation to the city in 1975. Their first call was on November 21, when they extinguished a fire caused by a flooded furnace at 891 La Jude Avenue. The district firehouse still stands, a metal shed behind the Lanai Florist shop on El Camino. Some of the volunteer firemen still live in the neighborhood; see the photo of the volunteer's badge worn for many years by Skip Berryessa.

I hope you have enjoyed this series of snapshots of life in Barron Park each decade from eighty to fifty years ago.

You can email Doug Graham

Neighborhood Safety & Emergency Preparedness

by Art Bayce, Co-chair

Community Meeting
There will be a public meeting on preparation for potential emergencies in our area for all Barron Park residents. The meeting will be held in the multi-purpose room of the Barron Park Elementary School at 800 Barron Avenue. Please reserve this date for the meeting: Thursday, April 22, 1999, 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. This meeting is for you, your family, neighbors and friends. Information will be presented for your effective response to most emergencies. There will be several speakers from the community and the City of Palo Alto.

A disaster can strike our area at any time, whether it be a flood, earthquake, fire or toxic spill. We do know that the "Year 2000" will arrive on time. Are you prepared for any of these potential disasters?

Discussions will include both information applicable to all types of emergencies and specific information for some emergencies which will have special problems. Plans will also be presented for an emergency drill for Barron Park in the Fall. Find out what you can do for yourself, your family and your community, and also find out what the City will be able to do for you.

There will be time for questions, and light refreshments will be available.

Neighborhood Safety

Citizen Police Academy
If you are interested in information on the Palo Alto Citizen Police Academy and would like to attend, please call the Community Policing Division at 329-2666.

Important Numbers
To report crimes in progress - immediately call 911. Past or suspicious events - 24-hour police business number, 329-2413. Graffiti - City of Palo Alto hot line, 496-5904.

Beautification Committee

Homes of Distinction and Star Volunteer Awards Spring, 1999
by Lois Prior, Co-Chair, & Mardell Ward

In response to our questionnaire asking for nominations for the Home of Distinction and Star Volunteer Awards, we are pleased to announce the following results.

4060 El Cerrito Road - Over 2000 sq. ft Category
Home of Teena and Mike James

Teena and Mike James moved into their pleasant ranch style home in July, 1986. It was a great neighborhood; other families close by, a safe and quiet cul-de-sac where their two children could roller skate, ride their bikes and play a rousing game of baseball. Soon another daughter was born into the family and nine years later they were looking for a larger home. With the help and advice of Gwen Luce they looked into the pros and cons of remodeling versus moving. Working with their architect, Glen Dodds, they were able to share their vision of a more traditional style home with an additional bedroom and bath, study, larger dining room and best of all, an indoor laundry room. Dodds felt that this could be accomplished without adding another story and so the modest ranch home became a lovely, spacious traditional home featuring a river rock facade and formal entry way.

Teena and Mike were pleased with Tom Gordon of Traditional Homes, their contractor, who was most helpful in implementing the architectural drawings. During the remodel, it was discovered that the existing fireplace had not been built to code and needed to be replaced. They ran into difficulties due to inadequate drainage since the back yard was a good one foot higher in elevation than the front yard. In addition, they had to work around an abandoned swimming pool that had been filled in by the previous owners. Landscape architect Winn Siegman of Winning Landscape was a tremendous help in working with the James' early on in the remodeling project and was able to design the plantings to work around the drainage needs. He also completely re-landscaped the front yard.

The final result is a harmonious home and garden, a place of beauty and repose, from the welcoming bench in the front garden to the spacious front entry way, it speaks a welcome to all who enter.

Under 2,000 Sq.Ft. Category Tie Vote for Landscaping/Maintenance
When Stephanie Hanneford and Christine Witzel moved into their 3553 Whitsell Avenue home, they decided to engage a professional land-scape architect. The interview between the three resulted in a design of permanent plantings arranged so that seasonal color could be added. "No lawns," said they, "and no need for regular gardening service."

They admit smilingly that the first year the garden looked like a drawing by a child with a jumbo box of crayons. Now they concentrate on pinks and blues, back planted in whites which deepen the greens and brighten the colors.

Maintenance consists of "seasonal spurts and a half an hour here and there on the weekends."
They long for sunny weather, for a whole wall of morning glories and their glorious wisteria.
"When I come home and see our flowering crabapple tree," says Stephanie, I know how lucky we are to live here." 3557 Whitsell

"We like small houses and gardens that compliment the general character of the neighborhood," says Alexis Persyko, describing the home she and husband Arthur rent at 3557 Whitsell Avenue in Barron Park. They also own a San Francisco Victorian. Because the owner remodeled to include many windows, the couple enjoys the garden on two levels. They can be out to enjoy the back patio with its wisteria trellis, one aspect of usable garden space. From inside they view garden areas that boast great eye appeal and low maintenance.

"We have here a warm and cozy, well designed living space. We have the original, enhanced neighborhood ambiance. The house is not a monster structure that infringes on its neighbors. Living in a house set in a suitable and attractive garden that does not demand endless care, Alexis adds, suits us very well."

Special Award for Front Walkway/Landscaping -- 778 Florales
Experts say that every garden needs a focal point. Irene Umbricht and Robert Tschamper found a truly impressive one for the front walkway at their 778 Florales home. Bricks in varying tones of terra cotta are intricately set to provide a wide and welcoming path to their primary entrance. The design speaks of fine craftsmanship. The plan indicates hospitality and attention to detail which courtyards and walkways of another era offered to delight the eye and add substance to homes, as well as, public buildings. The flowering trees and delightful light post frame this walkway to add additional interest to the entryway.

Spring 1999 Star Volunteer
Sue Luttner

by Shirley Finfrock

The Beautification Committee recognizes star volunteer Sue Luttner, whose efforts as street-tree liaison culminated in the planting of 53 city trees in the neighborhood this winter.

"The city gave us the trees and technical support," Sue says, "But it was the volunteers who made it happen. I think we all have to congratulate each other."

With help from the staff at Canopy: Trees for Palo Alto, Sue started laying the groundwork last spring, when she recruited volunteers to survey the west neighborhood block by block for potential sites. Over the summer, she mustered a force of tree ambassadors to sift out the spots where people actually wanted trees and to work out a specific location and species for each. Utility maps, tree lists, response forms‹Sue tracked it all.

Sue says she's especially gratified that we planted more than a dozen valley oaks‹the deciduous native is hardy, spectacular, and relatively nuisance free, but the species is dying out locally because the seedlings cannot compete against acacias, peppers, and other aggressive imports.

Sue and her husband Jerome Coonen have lived on Orme Street for 12 years‹you may have noticed their irises in the spring. Both Sue & Jerome are also active at Juana Briones Elementary School, where their sons are in the second and fifth grade.

Email Shirley Finfrock with your nomination.

Renewing Our Urban Forest

by Sue Luttner
Check it out: Chinese pistache saplings at Juana Briones Park, sycamores on Chimalus, maples on Josina, and valley oaks on Laguna, Paradise, La Donna, and more.

With a third and final day of digging in early March, volunteers installed the last of 53 city trees planted in our neighborhood this rainy season. These trees, placed in the easement between our property lines and the streets, will provide summer shade, avian habitat, and natural beauty in decades to come.

The March planting included a Chinese pistache placed on Laguna in memory of Erna Glanville, a long-time Barron Park resident and former chair of the Beautification Committee. In a move that seemed especially fitting, Jim, one of Erna¹s sons, came early and dug a large portion of the hole. Her grandchildren scattered wildflower seeds nearby.

Dozens of groups and individuals responded to our call for help with the plantings this winter. Gunn High School students came out, both the Key Club and an assortment of free-lance tree-planters recruited by student Stella Aung. Jean-Luc Brouillette brought a den of wolf cubs from our local elementary schools, and Young adults from Jews United for Social Interaction (JUSI) provided a small army of volunteers for the February planting. Boy Scout Troop 76 came out under the leadership of Scout Master Bill White from Los Altos and Barron Park¹s own Paul Cole, assistant scout master. And of course many residents simply showed up with gloves and shovels.

We focused on the west half of the neighborhood in this first effort. We will be looking at the east side of the neighborhood next season. If you think you have a good spot for a street tree in front of your home‹anywhere in the neighborhood‹call Canopy: Trees for Palo Alto at 964-6110. If you¹re interested in work as a tree spotter or ambassador, call Sue Luttner, 424-0824. Email

BPA Neighborhood Survey - 1999

This survey is composed of three parts. Questions in the first part will help the BPA Board of Directors in deciding where to focus BPA efforts. Some activities are dependent on the level of participation.

Part B attempts to gather this information.

Part C solicits suggestions, comments and more open-ended opinions. "No Opinion" is provided as an answer to questions below so that we can distinguish it from "No Answer" (for example, where someone skipped the question).

1. What areas are important for BPA involvement? For explanation of the categories below, see the article in this newsletter on BPA Committees. Rate both the importance to you and your family and for the neighborhood.

(This is an abreviated version of the survey, only showing the questions asked, not how to respond) a) Beautification
b) Creeks
c) Donkey Handlers Activity
d) Emergency Preparedness
e) May Fete
f) Natural Habitat/Environment
g) Neighood Businesses
h) Neighborhood Safety
i) Newsletter
j) Parks
k) Streets and Traffic
l) Welcoming of New Residents
m) Zoning and Land Use
n) Internet: BPA Web Site
o) Internet: BPA email list

2. El Camino Businesses: What type of development or business would you like to see, and use, on El Camino Real in and near Barron Park. This information may be used to influence developers and the City. The businesses listed here are the ones most mentioned in last year's BPA survey.
a) Bakery
b) Coffee Shop
c) Grocery Store
d) Hardware
e) Produce Market
f) Other

3. The City of Palo Alto is considering establishing a local bus system (similar to Stanford's Marguerite Shuttle), with a maximum time between buses of 20 minutes. Would you use such a system if there were stops within Barron Park.

4. Have you used the Santa Clara County Valley Transit bus #22 on El Camino Real?

5. Emergency Preparedness: Do you have 3 days of emergency supplies (food, water, medication, supplemental lighting, battery radio) for all members of your household and pets? (See article on next page)


6. Event: The May Fete has been held annually since 1978 and has been well attended (weather permitting). Recently, the number of people willing and able to help arrange and run this event has been shrinking dramatically.

7. Event: The House and Garden Tour has been held in April 1996, April 1997 and June 1998, and is being considered for Spring 2000 (skipping this year).

8. Bol Park natural habitat area (along the bike path): Would you and your family (or friends) be interested in adopt-a-plot within this area? You would be asked for a 3-year commitment to maintain the area (weeding, sowing seeds, and planting native perennials).

9. If you answered Yes/Maybe about volunteering for any of the events in Part B, please provide contact information and area of interest:

Name, phone, e-mail:

May Fete____ House & Garden Tour____ Adopt-A-Plot___


10. Events: What other event or activity supported by the BPA would you support?

11. Newsletter: The BPA newsletter has consistently been identified by residents as one of the most important activities of the BPA. Several people have commented that they get so much mail that it often goes unnoticed. Has this been a problem for you?

12. Donkeys: Suggestions for additional activities or events that the donkeys could/should participate in? (They currently have "play time" in the park on Sunday morning, appear at May Fete and have had several events at the schools).

13. Would you like to have a fenced public dog run in Barron Park?

14. Noise is a problem in my neighborhood. Specify source

15. What is the most positive aspect for you of living in the Barron Park neighborhood?

16. ³I would like to talk to a member of the BPA Board of Directors about (issue/problem)

Name_______________________________ Phone ________________

Thank you for completing this survey to convey your interests and needs to the BPA Board of Directors.

(Survey results will appear in the Summer Edition of our BPA Newsletter. You must be a member to receive one! See ON-LINE MEMBERSHIP FORM.)

Essemtial Emergency Preparedness Supplies

by Art Bayce

(Note: A 2-week supply is recommended, 3-day minimal) Water: 1 gallon per person per day.

For a more complete listing and for details, please see the "Living with Our Faults" booklet which was distributed to each Palo Alto resident several years ago. If you do not have a copy, contact Art Bayce at 493-7058. Remember, the guidelines apply for any emergency. Special considerations will be prepared for some different emergency situations.


Inge Harding-Barlow -- Donkey Activity Coordinator & Handler

Welcome to Susan Carsen, who has joined the donkey handlers -- Jim Bronson, Inge Harding-Barlow, Mary Jane Leon, Steve Luce, Doug Moran, Pat Rogow, Edith and Leland Smith, and Ted Thomas.

Perry is reveling in his status as the model for the donkey in an animation film scheduled for release at the end of 1999.

Both Perry and Miner 49er take their community obligations seriously and perform with skill during their show times. However, it should be remembered that surprised donkeys can kick, and sticking fingers at and into donkey's mouths at the pasture gate is pretty stupid. Donkeys do not understand the strength of their bite. However, for such large animals, they are wonderfully gentle and often react like large dogs would. Their appearance on TV last year, showed this trait.

During the coming summer, the donkey handlers will lead a push to set up an endowment-trust fund to cover the day-to-day care of the donkeys, namely food, farrier, vet and insurance bills. We will be calling an organizational meeting probably in mid-June or mid-September. In the meantime, please contact Inge at 493-8146 or Edith at 493-9386 with ideas and suggestions concerning the fund and also a fitting memorial to Mickey. If you would like Perry and Miner 49er to make guest appearances at local functions, please call Inge at 493-8146.

Come meet the donkeys "up close and personal" in Bol Park every Sunday, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. The handlers will show you how to groom, pet and feed a donkey. Both donkeys enjoy meeting small children and dogs of all sizes, as well as adults of all ages. Come one, come all, Barron Park is special!!

Visit the Donkey's Web page at: www.bpaonline.org/mickey

Natural Habitat Committee

Inge Harding-Barlow, Jill Beckett & Doug Moran, Co-chairs

Belated offering of seeds of native plants (plus some non-natives). Some of the plants acquired for the revegetation project along the bike path in Bol Park produced more seeds that the project could use at this time, so we are offering them to neighborhood residents (for free).

If you have "the knack" and the space to start plants from seed for later transplanting in the park, that would be especially appreciated.

The best online collection of pictures of many (but not all) of the native plants can be found at http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/photos/flora/

Native plants are not as "refined" as more traditional garden plants, but they have advantages both in being adapted to our climate (especially dry summers) and they provide food for local wildlife (birds, butterflies, bees, ...).

Many people (myself included) believe that we get better yields in our vegetable garden by including plants that attract and support bees and other pollinators.

To get packets of seeds, drop me an email note or telephone (856-3302) and we can arrange a drop-off/pickup

Y2K Problems

by Doug Moran, Senior Computer Scientist

The Year 2000 (Y2K) "computer bug" is increasingly in the news, with both prophets of "doom and gloom" and naysayers. Making the assumption that there will be a variety of minor disruptions and failures that will affect you personally would be a reasonable basis for preparing. My experience with natural disasters is that people are quite good at dealing with systems that have broken down: either doing a work-around or jury-rigging a replacement. In every day life, people are always overriding what the system tells them when they know the results don't make sense. The big problem when a computer is malfunctioning is convincing the people who operate it that it has a problem.

One of the likeliest problems is that your personal records will be temporarily mangled or become inaccessible. One basic preparation for Y2K is to collect and file documents about important activities. For example, if your bank's computer insists that you don't have an account with them, being able to take in your previous month's statement should convince them that you aren't trying to "run a con" on them.

The likely computer problems will also result in delays and inefficiencies in providing various services. Consequently, you should have a small cache of important supplies (food, medicine...). My personal guess is that a few days worth of supplies is adequate to allow the companies to either fix the problem, or get a work-around in place. Remember, those companies will be motivated to get things back to normal quickly: they aren't just losing business, but losing customers.

Finally, the time around New Year's day has often seen the coldest weather of the year. Many people are predicting that there will be widespread electrical power outages of short duration. If the electricity goes out, most gas furnaces do not function: they use electric blowers (fans) to move the hot air from the furnace into your living space. Also, many furnaces have controls that run on electricity. If you have a fireplace, you will want to make sure it is ready for use. Inadequate ventilation means not just smoke in your house, but deadly carbon monoxide.


A third generation Barron Parker's warning, especially to the elderly, written to Gwen Luce at the time of the sale of the writer¹s mother's home:

Dear Gwen --
Thank you so much for your help selling my mother's property. Your professionalism and integrity are much appreciated.

My mother was a sweet person who placed great importance on remaining independent. Unfor-tunately, that independence cost her a great deal. She had had a handyman do small jobs on the exterior of the home a few times in the early 1990s.

When she was hospitalized in 1998, I encountered this person at her home and he insisted that she owed him money. An analysis of her bank statements revealed that she had spent very large sums of money for work that either did not need to be done or could not be done correctly by this person.

I hope that you will be able to warn Barron Park residents of the danger of hiring persons without following some important steps. ALWAYS get several estimates. Ask for references from neighbors and/or previous customers. Check with the City building department. Always hire licensed workers and be certain to get building permits whenever necessary. (This can save you money and headaches later on).

Have a written contract and don't pay the entire amount until the work is completed satisfactorily.

My mother hired someone whose initial bid was low and then spent much much more because he kept asking for additional funds.

Finally, let a family member or trusted friend know what you're doing. Taking these steps would have saved us a great deal -- emotionally and financially.

It is so wonderful to close this experience on a positive note. Thank you, Gwen, for making this last transaction on the family home such a pleasant one.

Sincerely, Diane Ross


by Dorothy Bender

As your membership chair, I am excited to see our membership continue to grow to over 400 households.

Now is the time to renew your membership and to consider one of our active committees. See related articles on committee projects in this issue or prior issues from our website at http://www.bpaonline.org/.

The Activities & Committees are: Beautification, Neighborhood Businesses, Creeks/Flood Control, Distribution of flyers/surveys, Donkey Handlers, Emergency Preparedness, History of Barron Park, Home & Garden Tour, May Fete, Membership, Natural Habitat /Environment, Neighborhood Safety, Newsletters, Parks (Bol & Briones), Schools Liaison, Seniors, Traffic & Streets, Welcoming New Neighbors, Zoning and Land Use.

Monthly meetings of the Barron Park Association Board of Directors are open to anyone interested - please contact Will Beckett, President at 494-6922 if you plan on attending. Meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month (except August) at the Staff Room of the Barron Park Elementary School from 7:15-9:30 p.m.

Again, from our website you can examine the results of past surveys, read newsletters, read about how the BPA uses the internet, send email to the board, read the bylaws of the association, etc.

We welcome your comments and participation.

BPA Committee Mission Statements

Beautification Committee
The Beautification Committee encourages the responsible maintenance of both private and community property in Barron Park. We try to bring people together in the common interest with on-going and occasional projects:


Emergency Preparedness

Natural Habitat/ Environment
The current focus is the landscaping of "open space" portion of Bol Park (along the bike path) with native plants. This is dictated in part by the absense of a permanent watering system, and in part by a desire to provide better habitat and food for wildlife (birds, butterflies, ...).

Neighborhood Safety Committee

Maintenance and improvement of neighborhood parks (Bol and Briones). Bol Park tends to be the primary focus of this committee because it was purchased by the neighborhood and later became a city park when Barron Park became part of Palo Alto. The current play structure in Bol Park does not meet current safety guidelines and standards. A group of parents of small children has been exploring what is available that is better designed for safety and would fit in with Bol Park and the neighborhood.

Traffic and Streets
Primary ongoing activity is as an interface with the Police Dept on traffic problems and enforcement. When traffic safety problems arise, help residents work with the appropriate city staff. When street resurfacing projects are pending, try to interact with city staff early in the process to get neighborhood issues considered and addressed in meetings with the residents. When there are problems with contractors, followup with city staff (often with limited effectiveness because the contract does not have the needed penalties and city staff is limited to using persuasion).

ZALU Committee
The Zoning and Land Use committee reviews proposals for new development and renovations of existing properties along El Camino in Barron Park. We often meet with developers and property owners before plans are submitted to the City's Architectural Review Board and attend most ARB hearings to provide a "community" viewpoint. During the next several years we plan to focus on the following goals:

  1. Transform El Camino Real into a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented, neighborhood-serving retail and residential district.
  2. Create a southern gateway to Palo Alto that is representative of the city's character and pride in the built environment.
  3. Begin a proactive effort to attract new development and provide support for existing businesses that meet these goals.
  4. Update El Camino Design Guidelines to encourage high quality design.
  5. Begin process for Coordinated Area Plan with a multi-disciplinary design team and community involvement to develop a framework that would guide future development.
  6. Enforce sign regulations, especially for temporary signs.
  7. Begin process with City Council that would allow demolition permits to be issued before other city approvals are obtained. If you are interested in being involved with the ZALU committee, please contact Maryanne Welton by phone (493-3035) or email.


The Daffodils are blooming like mad at the end of my drive, and the snails are slithering their way up the Agapanthus stalks. To paraphrase the song -- guess it must be spring!

I truly love this season -- tender green things poking up everywhere -- I know most of them are weeds to be pulled later, but they do improve the winter-drab landscape. I must check out in my field to see if the "miner's lettuce" has returned. It's a wonderful edible "weed," a great addition to a spring salad.

However, I do miss my hot-pink flowering peach tree, out by the street. It was a victim of last year's El Niño, I'm told, literally drowned!

Well, onward: I'm glad this Annual Issue goes out to all of our Barron Park neighbors because once more I'm asking for your help. The Emergency Preparedness Committee is compiling a list of people who would need extra help in the event of an emergency situation in Barron Park. This list would be strictly for Emergency use. If you or someone you know should be on this list, please call me at 493-8023, or Art Bayce -- chair of the EPC at 493-7058. Having a complete and up-to-date roster of our elderly, disabled, or otherwise immobile residents is essential to the proper execution of our emergency plan. To that end, please do help us "find" these neighbors.

Incidentally, some time in the fall, along with various City departments, we are hoping to have an Emergency Drill to test our Plan. To discuss this Drill, and other Barron Park concerns, BPA is hosting a Community Meeting on April 22nd at Barron Park School at 7:30 p.m. Post this date on you calendar NOW, and come to this meeting to give us your input, and be informed about what's on the table for Barron Park.

Well, hope you all have a healthy Spring. While you're out there pulling weeds do take time to smell the blossoms. (Anyone for Escargots?)


May 16th!

Noon to 4 p.m.

Would you like to help?
Call Ken Tani 424-0700 tani_sys@ix.netcom.com
food & drink, Maypole dance, live music, face painting, balloons, pet parade, model trains, bicycle licensing.

Come join us at the 16th Annual May Fete!

Advertising Donors


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)
(650) 493-4162



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: http://www.bpaonline.org

BPA Newsletters Archive: http://www2.bpaonline.org/BP-News

Donkeys' Home Page: http://www.bpaonline.org/

BPA Board of Directors: http://www.bpaonline.org/organization.html

BPA Committees: http://www2.bpaonline.org/committees.html

BPA Bulletin Board: www.bpaonline.org/bulletin-board

Become a BPA member! Support the BPA and receive all quarterly BPA Newsletters by US mail! See our

Electronic BPA Membership Form

© 1998 The Barron Park Association. All rights reserved.

URL this page: http://www2.bpaonline.org/BP-News/dec98

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