Last week the Planning and Heritage Resource commissions each approved the plans for the renovation of the Vets Hall. In doing so they approved the removal of all the trees on the property- to be replaced with some other species - and allowed variances that will put part of this building up against the sidewalk on Prospect, despite a required 10-foot setback. It will put a glass wall on the Prospect side making the historic Vets Hall into a more contemporary building, ignoring the quaintness of its surroundings.
So when you see the trees come down and the glass wall go up next year, don't complain. You need to speak up now. Despite pleas from a handful of Danville's elder citizens, no changes were made. Why? Because so few come out and speak up. There is still time to effect change: When this proposal gets to Town Council show up and speak out. Can't make an evening meeting? Write or e-mail our Town Council. We elected them and they should listen to its citizens or we should vote them out.
What happens on the corner of Prospect and Hartz is vital to this community and should not be ignored.
Linda Stolow, resident, senior, business owner
Why trade trees at Vets Hall?
Are we trading an existing building of character for one that is sterile, nondescript and devoid of character? I think so!
What about the trees? With a little thought and planning you can have your cake and eat it too! I'm talking about keeping the mature, healthy, established redwood and cedar trees that line the Veterans Hall building along Prospect and Hartz that are proposed for removal. In my professional opinion as a consulting arborist, these are not the so-defined "nuisance trees" they are claimed to be. These are perfectly healthy trees that are well-suited to the long term environment. Why not incorporate (at least some of) the existing trees into the proposed plans?
As a pro-prudent growth resident of Danville of 50 years, it pains me to see this growth at the expense of architectural character and the loss of still more established trees - both are primary elements that help us to define why we like a place.
We marvel at ancient societies and their governments who had the vision and foresight to create beautiful, timeless architecture while also incorporating art, water features and relaxing community spaces with mature canopy cover to inspire existing and future generations. Indeed, to blend these elements effectively facilitates play, social interaction and commerce, and - dare I say it - higher thinking! I don't see that reflected here.
Perhaps a more nuanced, more layered approached to progress is what is needed for a government more reflective of the needs of its people. Go ahead with the "remodel" but be tasteful and respectful of architecture and your inherited assets - the trees.
Timothy C. Ghirardelli, consulting arborist
50-year Danville resident
Firefighters are best neighbors
Regarding last week's cover story, "Too close for comfort?", the new fire station in Alamo will be a positive addition to our community. Firefighters are the very best kind of neighbors and Alamo should welcome this project.
Their building will always be well maintained, their landscaping will be kept up, and the site will never turn into an eyesore. It will never be abandoned and will always be occupied, and there won't be any wild parties. These neighbors will be very quiet. And no, they won't turn their sirens on at 3 in the morning - a siren isn't needed when there isn't any traffic.
And like all good neighbors, they will welcome guests for tours and familiarization with their people and their capabilities. Go take a look at the SRV Fire District's Web site under Community Outreach. Their program is extensive.
This nonsense about the fire engines having to travel on Miranda Avenue is silly. They have to travel on Miranda now if there's a fire in that vicinity. I guess some people expect the fire department to approach a fire scene by avoiding residential areas and circling around until they get close enough to throw water on the fire. Come on, folks. They also have 24-7 emergency medical people who are experts in first aid and CPR. If you had a heart condition, would you want to live near a firehouse? You bet your life you would!
McNerney cares for our kids
We need health care reform! Not only are health care costs out of control, but more families than ever are struggling to make ends meet. Loss of health benefits along with a job has caused more than one of my students serious problems. Our children should not have to do without health care, incurring the risk of life long consequences. I'm glad that we have a congressman who is on our side. Jerry McNerney is, once again, proving to care for our kids.
Medicare is government health care
We've been sitting through the rabid distortions and outright lies about what's being proposed to fix our health care system. But what's most infuriating is that the majority of opponents who snarl about "socialized medicine" and "government control of health care" are obviously senior citizens (as am I) who enjoy good Medicare and prescription drug coverage funded by American taxpayers. If they truly believe that our government should not be involved in health care they should turn in their Medicare and Part D cards and try to buy coverage on the open market. (They would fail, of course, because no private insurer would accept them.)
America can't continue with our present fractured health insurance system which rewards insurers for avoiding risk, accepting only the most healthy. Federal law must assure health coverage to all Americans, and require private insurers to accept everyone who applies without discriminatory rates for pre-existing medical conditions. That's what federal health reform proposes. I really appreciate the efforts of our Congressman, Jerry McNerney, who has stood up for these reforms notwithstanding the distortions and lies.