(NOTE: Because of SPAM, certain email addresses have been withheld in this on-line edition)

by Doug Moran, BPA President


Looking for ideas and volunteers
by Doug Moran

by Doug Moran

Nancy Jo Hamilton
10 years of Service as Newsletter Editor and Board Member
by Doug Moran

by Maryanne Welton - Committee Chair

BARRON PARK HISTORY: The "El Camino Strip"
by Doug Graham, Barron Park Historian

by Edith Smith


of the Barron Park Association

of the Barron Park Association

By Mary Jane Leon, Committee Chair

by Shirley Finfrock

Neighborhood Safety Committee

Advertising Donors

by Doug Moran, BPA President

Two of this fall's hot topics will have significant future impact on traffic around our neighborhood. One is the El Camino Real Design Study and the other is the Hyatt Rickey's redevelopment. Both have been mentioned in earlier issues of the newsletter, but I want to update them. But first, thanks to Trish Corl who is retiring as head of the Greeting/Welcoming Committee. Trish started out doing this for her immediate neighborhood and then took on responsibility for all of Barron Park. Greeting new residents not only helps them settle in but also makes a positive impression about the neighborhood (more in the related article in this newsletter).

El Camino Real Design Study
The basic design of the current El Camino is over 40 years old, going back to an era when it was a semi-rural state highway. It has become an urban commuter corridor, but the design has not been updated to reflect this change because of difficulties getting the myriad of approvals from Caltrans (which controls El Camino). The recent construction projects on El Camino have been to fix specific problems in specific locations — such as an intersection — and have not provided an appropriate mechanism for addressing updating the basic design of the street.

The El Camino Design Study, officially known as the El Camino Real / Caltrans Demonstration Grant Project, is a Caltrans-funded pilot to perform this design update as a precursor to future construction projects. A large part of this Study has been gathering and analyzing data about the current situation on El Camino. As someone who commuted along El Camino (for 12 years), I was impressed by how closely the analysis matched my experiences. The Design portion has been customizing standard highway design templates to fit the available space (the Right-of-Way), state and federal requirements, and the local traffic patterns.

Over the years, the increase in motor vehicle traffic has overwhelmed the other uses of the street. A major focus of the Design Study is to find ways that El Camino can better provide for people who walk and who bicycle without reducing El Camino's handling of traffic. The Design Study has already identified a variety of ways this can be done.

It is easy to forget about the other uses of El Camino. Remember that many students have to cross it to get to school, including elementary school students from the Ventura neighborhood: their schools are here in Barron Park. Relatively small changes in the design of El Camino can substantially enhance safety for pedestrians crossing it. Also, remember that El Camino is one of Palo Alto's business districts, but businesses complain that it is very hard for potential customers to find them. Again, relatively small changes in the design can produce a substantially better environment for these businesses. And if the environment is more attractive for businesses, maybe we will get more businesses locating there that are attractive to us (useful products and services).

The first public presentation of the work of the Design Study was on June 1st. The second public meeting is currently scheduled for Saturday, September 28 from 9:30 to 1:00 pm at Mitchell Park Community Center. In preparation for this meeting, the City created a Web site for the Design Study and will be adding to it as materials become available. There will also be Web pages from others to supplement the City's offerings. Pointers to all these can be found by going to the BPA home page (www.bpaonline.org) and clicking the Hot Topics button. As I write this (mid-August), the most revealing presentations of traffic patterns are not (yet?) on the Web — converting what is inherently an interactive presentation into one suitable for the Web is very difficult. Even if conversion does turn out to be practical, only the few most representative examples will be available. However, these presentations will be part of the 9/28 public meeting and they are well worth viewing.

In reading this material, be careful not to jump to conclusions. First, be aware that traffic behavior can be counter-intuitive, surprising even the traffic engineers. Second, don't confuse options being considered with recommendations. After hearing a brief presentation to the City Council, the Palo Alto Weekly made this mistake and editorialized against the Study and then reversed itself two weeks later after a more thorough consideration. The PA Daily News has made similar errors. On the other hand, do not be too blase about something because it is "only" an option. At this stage in the Study, anything still being considered is likely to be represented in some form in the final recommendations.

Officially, the Design Study is producing a set of street cross-sections (templates) to be submitted to Caltrans. If accepted, these will form the basis for the designs for future improvement projects on El Camino. It will also produce a master plan covering the fundamental design issues. Fine-grained details will be handled during the design phase of specific construction projects. Discussion of the larger designs often gets down into the fine detail, such as a block-by-block review of current on-street parking requirements. It has often been unclear to me when we are conducting simply a reality-check on the proposed plan, and when we are considering elements of the plan itself. Hence, if you are unsure whether an issue falls inside the scope of the Design Study, ask.

All of the templates have wider center medians to provide turn lanes plus pedestrian refuges and room for landscaping, and these are often conflicting requirements. Visibility requirements for turn lanes limit the placement of landscaping. Having turn lanes for minor side streets may significantly reduce the amount of landscaping that can be provided in the median. And at intersections, turn lanes and pedestrian refuges compete for the available space.

One of the templates being considered has only four lanes because traffic studies showed it could be possible in two segments, one of them in Barron Park (between Matadero andMaybell). Wait, this is not as crazy as it might seem. El Camino is used very inefficiently in this segment: Stand in the center median and you will see packs of vehicles separated by long stretches where there are few vehicles. Then notice how little cross traffic there is (pedestrians and left-turning vehicles), but how much they disrupt the flow of the main traffic. If the main flow could be spread more evenly over the street, 4 lanes would be adequate. And having only four lanes would provide more room to better handle the cross traffic, making it less disruptive on the main traffic. For example, pedestrians could cross faster. A 4-lane template would also provide for wider sidewalks that would provide a more attractive business environment. The big question is "Can the efficiency of this portion of El Camino be improved enough" that four lanes is a viable option. But the Design Study does not have to answer this question: it can generate both a 6-lane and a 4-lane template for this segment with the choice to be made at the time of the actual construction project. However, within the 4- and 6-lanes templates, lots of decisions are being made trading off the various uses of the available width of the street: traffic lanes, turn lanes, parking, sidewalks, bike lanes, median, landscaping.

Look at the online materials. Be very skeptical of claims that "the sky is falling." Strongly consider attending the public meeting, especially if the above has raised more questions than it answered.

Hyatt Rickey's
The proposal is to put high-density housing (potentially over 300 units) along with a hotel at the current Hyatt Rickey's site. When the Draft Environmental Impact Report for this project was issued, the BPA Board sent a letter outlining 6 major concerns.

  1. Protect the safety of pedestrians and cyclists along the school commute corridor on Charleston and Arastradero. Specifically, develop a long-term plan for traffic management, including significant improvement of bike and pedestrian accommodations along Charleston and Arastradero, especially at Alma and El Camino. Over the past decade, there has been a staggering drop in the number of students who walk or bicycle to school, with safety concerns being cited as a factor. Students being driven to school add trips at the peak hours, making congestion worse.
  2. Provide adequate on-site parking. In attempting to maximize the number of housing units on the site, the developers have made some highly questionable assumptions about how much parking is needed. If space is inadequate, the overflow parking will be in adjacent neighborhoods, a problem we have seen in Barron Park.
  3. Reduce the number of units. This project is at an intersection that is already overloaded. The rule-of-thumb is to anticipate 6-8 new vehicle trips per housing unit, which translates into 1800-2400 new trips if 300 units are added. These new trips would be split over El Camino (currently 50,000 trips/day) and Charleston/Arastradero. Additional vehicles on streets that are overloaded has a disproportionate effect, which has been demonstrated in reverse during the current downturn (small decreases in traffic have resulted in substantially faster commutes). Additionally, the Rickey's project is only one of several large developments anticipated for this section of El Camino.
  4. Provide a single-family home buffer along Wilkie Way. City policy is that there should be a phased transition between high-density housing and single-family homes, but this is not provided for in the developer's proposal. Looking at the many examples around town (including some in BP) where the transition is abrupt can help you understand the reason for this policy.
  5. Prohibit vehicular access to Wilkie Way from the project site. Otherwise, large volumes of cut-through traffic would likely wind up on local streets not designed nor intended for that level of traffic.
  6. Protect the mature trees in the Landscape Zone. How the Rickey's project is handled is important to Barron Park, both for the direct effects (traffic) and the indirect ones (precedents for future developments that may occur in our neighborhood).


Barron Park Carol Walk & Party Coming in December!
The third annual carol walk through Barron Park and holiday party will be on Saturday December 21 this year. This year's event as usual will feature Bill Liberatore, director of the award winning Gunn High School Choir, and of course Niner and Perry, the Barron Park Donkeys. Walk with Perry and Niner through our neighborhood! Sing seasonal favorites! Bring your kids and animals! Watch for details in December.

Looking for ideas and volunteers
by Doug Moran

After the creek bypass project was completed, the BPA Natural Habitat Committee supplemented the plantings done by the Water District. These plants include some of the healthier and colorful plants there now. However, after two seasons, despite these successes, this effort died out. The basic problem was digging holes for new plants: by the time we got enough rain to soften the soil, it was too late in the season for the plants to get a good start.

I mentioned this problem to a City Parks official during the Bol Park reopening, and he said that if we came up with a plan, he thought he could get one of the City heavy-duty augers to come by and dig the needed holes.

There is a smattering of people interested in doing this, but not quite a critical mass. Since the coming winter may well be a wet one, this is a good time to resume these projects. There is a wide range of possible projects, with the choices being determined by what the volunteers favor. There are two projects that I would do if I had the time.

The first would be to increase the annuals and perennials that support pollinators (bees, birds, butterflies, ...). This includes providing a mix that provides food throughout the summer, and providing food for the butterflies' larval form (caterpillars). My front yard (790 Matadero) is full of California natives, with a few vegetables to take advantage of the visiting pollinators. People who stop by have commented on how many bees there are, including different species. Ditto for butterflies. One friend, who works on computer vision, said, "Just look for the motion. There is a lot out there."

My second project would be to increase the plants that provide summer food for birds. Over the years, various people have talked about trying to lure quail back into the park. That would involve both improving the food sources for them and providing cover — thickets where they would be safe from cats, hawks, owls and other predators.

If you are interested, contact me (email, 856-3302) and I will arrange an initial organizing meeting.

by Doug Moran

Bol Park was officially reopened on June 20 with an ice cream social. The event was very well attended: City officials said that it was three times the size of any other park opening. The new play structures were mobbed by enthusiastic children, and the ice cream cart was busy right up to closing, and to the last scoop. City officials were impressed and gratified by how enthusiastic and appreciative residents were for what had been done.

Since the opening, final pieces of play equipment have arrived and been installed: a tire swing, a pair of standard swings, and a pair of toddler swings. Also a pair of riding donkeys (spring-mounted) has been installed in the sand pit.

The play structures have continued to be popular: People comment that there is always at least one family there whenever they pass by, and at certaintimes of day, there are many children playing there. Thanks to Kate Rooney of the City's Park Department for all her work to get this accomplished: meeting with residents, tracking down vendors for appropriate equipment (for example, not the normal garish colors), and then pushing to get (most of) the equipment delivered in time.

Many people have asked what the poles with the crossbars are. They are raptor perches. They were installed with the hope that they would be used by hawks and owls to keep the ground squirrel population under control, or at least wary about venturing into the open section of the park. So far I haven't heard of anyone seeing the perches being used, but you have to have patience — hawks can rightly be very suspicious of new "trees" that suddenly appear in their territory.

Nancy Jo Hamilton
10 years of Service as Newsletter Editor and Board Member
by Doug Moran

Nancy has been a significant force in three of the major BPA developments over the past decade. Foremost is the newsletter, which is consistently rated as the most important BPA activity. Nancy was recruited to be editor/publisher because she had a background in this area. Before Nancy, newsletters were short and often published months late. Nancy constantly "reminds" people to get their submission in on time and then shepherds the newsletter through the whole publication process. When the newsletter came to be distributed in a timely manner, people became more agreeable to writing articles, and the newsletter's content increased in both quantity and quality. As editor, Nancy maintains that delicate balance between allowing articles to reflect the "voice" of the various authors and still fit into the overall style of the newsletters. Finally she has substantially improved the overall look of the newsletter (layout and graphics). When you look through the archive of newsletters, it is very apparent when Nancy took over. Note: recently Nancy has been able to hand-off the layout of the newsletter (to Patrick Coyne), but her contribution as editor is still substantial.

The second major development that Nancy is responsible for is the BPA having a presence on the Web from the early days. Some of the clients for whom she edited and published hardcopy newsletters were interested in having web pages, and Nancy volunteered to handle this for the BPA. With the assistance of Fred Lakin (who has since moved out of Barron Park), Nancy created the core BPA web pages, and hosts them on her site (www.cyberstars.com). She also handles the conversion of each issue of the BPA newsletter into Web pages. Unless you have had to create and maintain a set of Web pages, it is hard to appreciate just how much effort this takes.

Her third major contribution has been to revitalize taking formal surveys of the membership and the neighborhood — meetings had supplanted surveys when the creek bypass project was the major focus of the BPA. In November 1996, the issue of "Monster Houses" was heating up, and Nancy advocated the BPA survey membership on this developing issue and handled distributing it and collating the results (I helped with the formulation of the questions). After a long painful detour into the Historic Preservation Ordinance, the City finally enacted a Neighborhood Compatibility program that is remarkably similar to what that survey showed residents were willing to support (the BPA informed the City of the survey results several times). Currently, the annual neighborhood survey involves significant effort from multiple board members.

Nancy has also contributed to other BPA activities, most notably, handling membership for a number of years (tracking membership is intertwined with distributing the newsletter). Many of the hardest and most important activities of the BPA are ones that often go unnoticed by those not closely involved in them. Nancy has been a stalwart and highly deserving of our thanks on her upcoming 10th anniversary.

By Maryanne Welton, Committee Chair

New development and renovation along El Camino in our neighborhood has been limited this year.

4131 El Camino
The three-story, mixed-used project on the Island is currently under construction. It will contain two levels of underground parking, ground floor retail and office space, and residential units above. The owner has been talking to possible tenants for the retail spaces, such as a sandwich shop, coffee shop, hair salon, and others, but no leases have been signed.

Residential Projects
Several residential projects are being explored along El Camino but no applications have been submitted to the City at this time. I encourage developers to include neighborhood-serving retail in their projects and work with the City's new design guidelines for El Camino to enhance our neighborhood with shops and businesses that we can use. Check this column in each newsletter for updates or contact me if you have any questions on projects in our neighborhood.

by Doug Graham, Barron Park Historian

The "El Camino Strip"
Barron Park has an excellent image among residents of Palo Alto. Those who are familiar with our neighborhood often comment on features such as the eclectic housing mix, the rustic and charming creekside homes, the variety of mini-neighborhoods, winding streets, the density of trees, and, not least, its active neighborhood association. Perhaps it is just as well that most of them have only a vague sense of where Barron Park begins and ends on El Camino. We would not like to be known as the neighborhood with the old, run-down highway strip.

If you care about our fa├žade — our front door, so to speak, it would be instructive to take a leisurely trip on El Camino from the border of Atherton through Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Los Altos and Mountain View to the border of Sunnyvale. On the way, take a critical look at what you see along the road.Thirty years ago, in all four cities, you would have seen a great many cheaply built, aging business establishments of the typical American highway strip kind — older motels, roadhouse-type and drive-in restaurants, retail establishments in World War II quonset-hut buildings, tin-sided body shops and auto repair shops, small strip malls, trailer parks, used car lots and other tawdry holdovers from the California of the Twenties, Thirties and Forties.

Now take a careful look at what you see in the second year of the Twenty-first Century. In Menlo Park, nearly all of the old highway strip buildings have been swept away and replaced with attractive developments, mostly dating from 1980-on. The entire character of the Menlo Park Strip has been upgraded and improved even while the traffic density has grown enormously. In Palo Alto, the Stanford strip has changed very little, but that doesn't matter since it, was and still is the most attractive part of the stretch we are considering. In south Palo Alto, the Mayfield area (California Avenue Business District) has been upgraded considerably and is much more attractive now than thirty years ago.

Then you reach the intersection where Page Mill Road crosses El Camino and becomes Oregon Expressway. Page Mill Square and part of the Stanford Research Park are on your right, but on your left there is hardly a building, for many blocks, that wasn't built before 1950 — and many of them have never been remodeled. When you reach Barron Park, at the Creekside Inn, you must be prepared to see to another half-mile of the old buildings — punctuated by empty lots and a few empty buildings. We have tacky liquor stores plastered with ads in the windows, a discount rug store with illegal signs, a quonset hut and several other shabby buildings of the sort you might expect to see occupied by bail bondsmen or lone sharks masquerading as money-exchange establishments.

When you reach Los Robles, there is some improvement, with the renovated Blockbuster strip mall, new condominium developments, the new Walgreen's and two modern auto dealerships. From Charleston south, the appearance of El Camino improves somewhat and stays at about the same level through most of Los Altos and Mountain View. You realize that you're past the worst, although the level of modernization varies from block to block.

So, how did we get this way? How did it come about that the Barron Park and Ventura neighborhoods of Palo Alto have the worst appearance in this entire 15-mile stretch of El Camino Real, the Peninsula's Main Street?

El Camino's Highway Past
In the first place, El Camino looks like a highway strip because that's exactly what it used to be. The name can be translated as "The Royal Road" or "The King's Highway." It began as a foot and horse trail trod by the Mission fathers walking between the missions, which were planned to be about one or two long day's walk apart. Our stretch lay between Santa Clara Mission and Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Perhaps surprisingly, however, it is not the oldest road in the area, if you define a road as a track for wheeled vehicles. Arastradero Road, which ran from Woodside to Santa Clara Mission and Pueblo San Jose, holds that distinction. It was an ox-cart lumber-hauling road serving the redwood-lumbering areas of Woodside and Portola Valley. By the time of the American Conquest of California in 1846, El Camino had also become an ox-cart track, used by Rancheros and Rancheras such as Juana Briones. She moved her family by ox-cart, down El Camino Real from San Francisco's North Beach to her new home on Rancho Purissima Concepcion in the Palo Alto Hills, in about three days, that year.

The Gold Rush brought "Anglo-Americans" to the Santa Clara Valley and they began acquiring property, laying out roads and starting businesses. Elisha Crosby acquired a nice piece of property fronting on the cart track in 1853, that he named "Mayfield Farm." This was the largest part of the land which is now Barron Park. By this time, the cart track had become a stagecoach road — the final stretch of the Butterfield Stage Route — the first transcontinental public transportation system — from Texas through southern New Mexico and Arizona and up the coast of California to the City by the Bay. The nascent village that sprang up that year around "Uncle Jim" Otterson's cabin near the present corner of California Avenue and El Camino took its name — Mayfield — from the farm that then occupied our land.

At some later time, the County took over El Camino and made a real road of it. It remained "The County Road" until about 1912, when the State decided to install a system of State Highways. I believe El Camino, or at least its stretch from San Francisco to San Jose, was the first such. In 1913 the work was finished except for a scandalously bad strip through Mayfield. It wasn't fixed until the next year, when it was completed "from Stanford Avenue to the Barrons Bridge" (Matadero Creek — at today's Creekside Inn). Apparently our stretch was further improved in 1921, resulting in a celebration that included a parade starting at Palo Alto City Hall and proceeding south "as far as the gates to the Barron Estate south of Mayfield, turning there for the return trip." The Barron Mansion fronted on State Highway at that time. It had a 150-foot setback, and was located on today's La Selva Way between Military Way and Magnolia Way, where the State Historical Marker now honors Sarah Wallis.

With the advent of marked, paved, through auto routes in the 1920's, inter-city automobile traffic ballooned. By 1923, city and town Chambers of Commerce joined forces to create a romantic version of California's Hispanic and Mexican past. They urged all the communities along the state highway to rename the street "El Camino Real", and sign-posted it as such with about 400 shepherd's-crook shaped iron bell posts hung with "Mission Bells." There was one every mile and a half, on the average, from San Diego to Sonoma. Unfortunately, they proved an irresistible temptation to vandals and thieves (history buffs?), and by 1940 less than half remained. They are rare museum items today. Also during the twenties, the U.S. Highway system came into being and El Camino became U.S. 101. By 1926 it was shown as such in the Rand McNally Auto Road Atlas of the United States.

Strip development, 1920-1960
Highway traffic, of course, creates a need for highway services, and auto-oriented businesses sprang up like the proverbial mushrooms after the storm. Cabin camps (early versions of motels, with detached one-room cottages) appeared, along with gas stations and "greasy spoon" cafes. The Buena Vista dates from this time, starting as a cabin camp situated in the shade of great spreading oaks. Trailers were not far behind, and by 1930 the Barron Park strip had at least three trailer camps and an indeterminate number of motels, most of which live on today in the form of modernized descendents. Bars and Liquor Stores

The Barron Park strip also sprouted bars and restaurants in the Twenties. It may seem strange to find this kind of business along a country highway between towns, but there was a reason for this - a reason that had a profound effect on Barron Park's political future and on the appearance of the strip today. That reason was the Jane Lathrop Stanford's crusade against liquor. Not only was liquor forbidden the students on campus, but deed restrictions prevented the sale of alcoholic beverages — even in dinner restaurants — in Palo Alto. Stanford even succeeded in pressuring Mayfield — a town locally famous for its many and varied saloons — to go dry in 1905. Then national prohibition turned out the lights in all the legal drinking establishments in 1919.

When they came on again in 1933, the highway was there, middle-class people had cars, and they flocked to Menlo Park, Whiskey Gulch and the Barron Park strip to buy their liquor and enjoy their cocktails before dinner in fine restaurants. It is from this time that our shabby liquor stores date - the last two surviving at the corner of Military Way. The liquor stores and bars were the reason that Barron Park's first bid for annexation failed in 1947. The WCTU (Women's Christian Temperance Union) successfully lobbied against permitting sinful Barron Park to enjoy political equality with the morally upright Palo Altans. This set off thirty years of a political "Cold War" between Barron Park and Palo Alto, ending only with our annexation in 1975.

The positive side of the Stanford Liquor clause was the impetus it gave to the establishment of fine dining in Barron Park. Among the more notable establishments were Rick's Swiss Chalet on El Camino Way (where the Good Will Store is located now), Ming's (at the corner of Vista), Rudolfo's or the Axe House (at the corner of Los Robles) and L'Ommelette or "L'Ommie's" (where Walgreen's is now). Only Ming's survives — it moved to its' present Bayshore location on Embarcadero in the late 1960's. The Axe House was a popular Stanford student hangout, named for the Stanford Axe of Big Game fame. Later on, Rudolfo's became a favored pizza parlor for Barron Park families with children. L'Ommies's featured French and Continental cuisine served in a low-ceilinged, wood-paneled elegantly rustic atmosphere. There is a neighborhood legend that Jack Kennedy, during his single first-year semester in 1940 at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, practically owned a certain barstool at L'Ommies, where he held forth with a cluster of feminine groupies. He must have found Stanford boring (or maybe all those late nights resulted in him flunking out) , as he next went to England to see the War.

The Stanford Liquor Clause was only one reason for the unique development of the Barron Park strip. This is Part One of a multi-part article, and, in the next issue of this newsletter, I will explain the origin of the tiny little lots along our El Camino frontage. I will attempt to explore the ramifications that the fragmented land ownership has for would-be developers. In the next or subsequent articles, I will cover the zoning changes that the Barron Park Association brought about in a well-meaning effort to solve the Strip's problems, as well as our fights against apartment complexes, muffler shops, massage parlors, adult bookstores and graffitti.

By Edith Smith (email)

We've had large turn-outs of parents, grandparents, children and pets on the warm Sunday morning "donkeys in the Park" visiting sessions — EACH Sunday from 9:30 to 10:30 A.M. The donkeys also attended the Bol Park Re-Opening, June 20, mingling with visitors of all ages, and listening to the Mayor and other dignitaries. You will notice that the city has honored the donkeys in the colorful but still rustic Cornelis Bol Park sign. Everyone I've talked to likes the new sign. Another bit of donkey sculpture was added to the park in early August. Small children can now ride miniature donkeys in the newly-completed circular sandbox. Look closely and you'll see that these tiny springing donkeys are named for Barron Park's matriarch donkey, JENNY, and her last offspring, MICKEY. These famous old-time Barron Park donkeys are still remembered by many local people. After Barron Park School starts its fall term the donkeys will begin their fourth year of visits with the two Kindergarten Classes. The children pet and brush the donkeys as well as learning about donkey history, physiology, and safety.

On July 16 Perry and Niner had their annual physical check-up and equine shots (tetanus, rabies, etc.) with their Vet., Dr. Gary Hanes. Dr. Hanes is an expert on donkeys, as he owns his own donkey. He gave the donkeys a thorough examination, including legs, chest, hooves, eyes, etc. This photo shows Niner, handled by Dr. Inge Harding-Barlow, getting a thorough tooth inspection.

You may send your monetary support of the Barron Park donkeys to the Palo Alto Donkey Project, ACTERRA, 3921 East Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303. This umbrella organization handles their insurance. During the Fall and Winter they must be fed grass-alfalfa, as their pasture is all grazed off. This is expensive. All donations are gratefully appreciated and acknowleged by Barron Park volunteers. Do visit Bol Park on Sunday mornings and experience our own "petting zoo."

By Linda Lui email

After a significant number of families "graduated" from Barron Park's Babysitting Co-op this past Spring, the group is finally accepting applications from families living in the areas that feed either Juana Briones or Barron Park Elementary. It's a great way to meet other families with similar child care needs and trade off occasional evenings,....or mornings,...or what have you. It doesn't cost anything and it's even more convenient now that most people have an e-mail address. How does it work? You have an account and as you have people sit for you, hours are recorded against your account. When you sit for someone else, you are credited for the hours you sit. There are two rotational administrative positions; a monthly secretarial and a semi-annual presidential term. (Wow, another bullet for your resume!)

As a new member attending the "Progressive Dinner", one of the two annual member potlucks, I warmed to hear of how Wendy and Ames Cornish met Janet Negley and Owen Wolkowitz. They became acquainted years ago at a co-op Potluck Picnic. One mom had a weekly dance class she wanted to attend and the other mom was available and pretty soon it became a regular routine. Their kids became fast friends and so did they.

In the past, families have had to wait for half a year or more to get in, since there is a member limit of thirty families. After seven years, current president, Karen Saxena, will be leaving after her term since her eldest child is a teenager and her brood can "babysit themselves." She claims it's been a wonderful resource for her over the years. If you are interested in getting more information or would like an application, contact her at karen.[email withheld] or by phone at (650)856-6778. After October 31, 2002, contact Katy Mast at [email withheld].

of the Barron Park Association!

This spring marked the beginning of the annual Barron Park Association membership drive. If you haven't already signed up for this year, you can print a copy of the form from the web site http://www.cyberstars.com/bpa/bpa-membership-form.html, complete it, and mail it with your check to the BPA membership chair, Don Anderson, at 4185 Alta Mesa Avenue, Palo Alto 94306. Why Become a BPA Member?

Your annual dues sponsor publication and distribution of the BPA quarterly newsletter, as well as neighborhood events such as the May Fete, Home and Garden Tour, Holiday Parade and Party, and community meetings. The BPA is about building community, and each association membership makes us that much more successful. For a full description of the Barron Park Association, its purpose and activities, see the BPA web site: http://www.cyberstars.com/bpa/

Membership Categories (Amounts are per household) n Fellow $100 n Patron $50 n Sponsor $35 n Member $20 n Senior (65+) $10 n Business $50

Questions? Contact Don Anderson at (650) 494-8672, or email.

Greeting packets are now available to any Barron Park resident who would like to welcome a new neighbor. The newcomer could be next door or down the street, an owner or renter. Each packet contains a collection of informative materials, including sample BPA Newsletters, a brief history of Barron Park, booklets on Neighborhood Watch, emergency preparedness pamphlets, utility options, area and bike lane maps, etc. Included with each packet is the latest version of Info Palo Alto, the Weekly's annual guide to everything! It's very easy to welcome a new resident with a greeting packet in hand — takes only a few minutes and is a thoughtful way to introduce yourself and carry on the great Barron Park tradition of community and connection. If you would like to participate, please contact Gwen Luce at (650) 424-1960 or

Every Sunday morning, weather permitting, the donkeys visit with people of all ages from 9:30 until 10:30 in Bol Park. Bring your kids and dogs!

By Mary Jane Leon

Lunches Continue to Draw Crowds
The Barron Park Seniors have had two successful lunches since the last newsletter: one in June at Dinah's Poolside Restaurant, and a catered lunch in our renewed Bol Park in July.

Pictures in this newsletter are from the lunch at Dinah's. It was lovely dining pool-side — windy, but warm. Dinah's did a special menu for us of half-sandwiches and other specials, each choice just the right amount of food for our appetites. The one drawback to Dinah's was that, because we were sitting in the midst of other diners, our ability to talk table-to-table or as a group was inhibited.

Then in late July, we cristened our newly restored Bol Park by having a picnic catered by Driftwood Deli. They delivered box lunches for 36 — the largest number of people we have had at any of our lunches. We sat our chairs up right beyond the play area, and happened to be there the day the parks people finished the swings and installed the little toy donkeys. This picnic was particularly enjoyable, because we could walk around after eating, to mix and chat with others not sitting close to us. We all introduced ourselves to the group at large, and asked each person to add a sentence or two about themselves. Through those introductions, we learned that there are several musicians in our group, that Marie Dunn is looking for bowlers, and that the local lawn bowlers are also looking for recruits. The crowd enjoyed the picnic so much that they voted to have our next lunch the same place, catered by Driftwood Deli again. That will be mid-September. Then our lunch after that will be back in a restaurant, possibly Compadres or Su Hong's, in the late October/early November time frame. If you would like to attend, and are not already on our calling or email list, please phone Julie or Mary Jane and get yourselves on the "lunch bunch" list. You can reach Julie Spengler at 493-9151 or Mary Jane Leon at 493-5248.

by Shirley Finfrock

Due to a skunk and a dog encounter at a friend's home last night, she contacted Vector Control of Santa Clara County(www.sccvector.org) about ridding her property of the skunk — since this was the second event this summer. A Vector Control man of Santa Clara County came to Sabra's home about the problem. My friends and I were walking by when he was leaving, so we initiated a conversation with him, and he gave us a real education on ways to eliminate the unwanted critters.

He gave us many helpful hints to cut down the over population of rats, squirrels, skunks, raccoons and opossums.

  1. Don't put out more than 1/2 day's supply of bird seed in the automatic bird feeders.
  2. Keep ivy growth so sun reaches the ground and it's not a dark hiding place. The critters are attracted to the snails that live in ivy and other heavy growth vegetation.
  3. Pick and use, or dispose of all fruit on your fruit trees, rather than let it lay and rot and attract the critters as a food supply.
  4. Keep shrubbery away from sides of home that reach the roofs, and act as a ladder for critters to your roof. And, of course,
  5. keep pet food unavailable to wild critters. Squirrels and rats are the first cycle, and the skunks, raccoons and opossums are the second cycle. Please visit the Santa Clara County Vector control Website at: www.sccvector.org or call (800) 675-1155. Another helpful site is: www.mosquito.com

Neighborhood Safety Committee

Due to health and/or relocation issues, our stalwart Greeting and Emergency Preparedness Committee leaders (Art Bayce, Trish Corl and Paul Edwards) have needed to relinquish their duties. They are, however, still in the neighborhood, ready and willing to coach the rest of us!

Temporarily, Gwen Luce has volunteered to be the "point person" from our neighborhood with the Office of Emergency Services and the Police Department. Mick McDonald (650-329-2265) at OES and Susie Jones at PAPD (650-329-2632) are eager to be available to us.

Barron Park residents who would like to join neighbors who're already greeting newcomers (we've been gathering all kinds of good stuff for our bulging packets!) or who would like to become trained neighborhood disaster activists (PANDA) are invited to contact Gwen at email address or (650) 424-1960 for deployment!

Recently, when one of our neighbors' home burned down, our BPA-news electronic bulletin board served to alert and galvanize community action to help the homeless family find shelter. Do consider availing yourselves of this easy way of knowing what's happening in our neighborhood.

Advertising Donors



Harmony Bakery is open at 2865 Park Blvd.
Mention this ad and get a free trial membership in our wholesale club.
650-289-9515 Hrs: 7:30a-2p Tue-Sat. 5p-6:30p Fri.
Taste why we are the best in Palo Alto for bread and pastries.
For more information check us out on the web at: http://www.Harmonybakery.com

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

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