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Jubilation, Relief at Measure E Victory Party

Supporters of Measure E gathered at a Palo Alto resident's home to monitor results and celebrate victory.

While it was no big surprise, the passage of Measure E nevertheless sent a wave of relief over campaign volunteers who gathered on election night. 

"We expected to win -- we weren't expecting such a landslide," said former Palo Alto mayor and campaign leader Peter Drekmeier after viewing the large absentee ballot results. The measure has since passed with 64.38 percent of the vote.

The measure, which caused a great deal of hubbub and was known for having environmentalists on both sides, will allocate ten of Byxbee Park's 126 acres for the purpose of building an organic waste processing facility. The remaining 116 dedicated parkland acres continue to be used for recreational purposes. 

Several key members of the $30,000 campaign were recognized at the election night party -- which took place at a Palo Alto couple's home -- including Walt Hays, who single-handedly raised thousands of dollars and headed a vast letter-writing campaign. 

"I really honestly believe that climate change is the biggest threat that humanity's ever faced," Hays said. "I feel like the federal government is doing nothing about it, so if anything's going to be done, it's going to have to be done starting with the local level... We don't want to have 450,000 truck miles a year hauling our stuff down to Gilroy when we can actually convert it to something minimizing waste." 

Volunteers for the grassroots campaign spent countless hours talking to people about the issue. "They all took it as a personal mission to talk to everyone they knew," Drekmeier said. "We were knocking on doors, which is very unusual for a campaign like this."

They went through all 58 walkable precincts, leaving literature and knocking on doors, said another campaign leader, Carolyn Curtis. Most of the volunteers campaigned in the same precincts they lived in, a strategy she called "unbeatable."

"Even if you don't know the person, all you have to say is I’m your neighbor," she said. "It's better than getting something in the mail or something on TV. A real person. That's the kind of campaign it's always been."

Mark Weiss November 09, 2011 at 10:23 AM
I think Avni's video is interesting -- just the idea that citizen reporters can take pictures like this -- still and moving -- then post to the web - - and then people like me can also talk back -- things are very different than in my days training with the press -- I went thru Times Tribune training program in 1984. I voted against this. I wrote a light-hearted take on this for Patch, in September: http://paloalto.patch.com/blog_posts/green-goop-no-and-no Tom Jordan who I respect says it will never get built. Also, that some of the developers backed this troubles me. I think its weird to build something big and expensive and concrete as "environmentalism". What about reduce, re-use recycle? While Walter Hays debates Enid Pearson here, the developers push through another couple high-rises downtown....Lytton and Alma, Bryant and University, etc.
Cedric de La Beaujardiere November 09, 2011 at 01:29 PM
I'm very pleased with these results: By nearly 2 to 1, Palo Alto voters have clearly stated local compost and renewable energy and money savings are a good trade for less than 8% of future Byxbee Park. I'm glad to see that Palo Alto voters weren't fooled by the opposition's campaign of misinformation, though I fear they will continue with this dishonorable tactic. See our rebuttal to their many misleading claims at www.PAGreenEnergy.org/rebuttal including where you can see an image of the site in the context of the landfill contours. I have every confidence that Palo Alto will find significant economic and environmental savings by turning our wastes into local resources. Go Palo Alto!
Cedric de La Beaujardiere November 09, 2011 at 07:18 PM
I am moderating my above statement by proffering an olive branch. Speaking for myself and the few others with whom this came up last night, we are ready to work with the park preservationists to find and support ways to identify and minimize or eliminate any impacts on the park arising from the city's municipal organics management activities. The Request For Information (RFI) for the city's Feasibility Study already stipulated controls for noise and odor, and CEQA and EIRs for any project will also require impact mitigation. But greater improvements are likely to be found through creative cooperation than through combativeness. For instance, in our early outreach, in one proposal for the site, we proposed a living green roof over the building (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_roof) which would have returned about 40% of the site to the park, and buffered noise and visibility. Project opponents claimed it would be too expensive, but green roofs exist over thousands of buildings, and any increase in price could be small (2% to 7%) of the total project capital and life-time operating cost (based on quickly researched $10-$40/sq.ft typical pricing, and assuming $100M 20-year project). That's just one example of a creative solution to minimize impacts and increase enjoyment of what can be an educational and inspiring demonstation of turning wastes into resources and living sustainably. Let us now put our differences asside and work together for a win-win-win solution.

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