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December, 2002

Here we go again. The trail issue is up before the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, December 17, 2002. County staff is caving in to Stanford again, and have gone against the decision of the Board that ordered an environmental study.

Read the County Counsel's recommendation which proposes a trail in the Caltrans drainage ditch alongside I-280, which Caltrans and Los Altos Hills don't like and can stop. Or, alternatively, the old S1-C route rejected by the Board, which goes at Arastadero and I-280 and won't connect to the Arastadero Preserve. County counsel also recommends stalling on the C-1 trail route and not even studying anything, for no really good reason. That costs us at least another year, maybe longer, without any trail.

(Confused? Click here for a map.)

This is all happening over a year after easements for trails were supposed to be dedicated.

Stanford is stalling, and stalling, trying to make the trails disappear, hoping people will give up. Meanwhile, their paid lobbyists collect high salaries, funded, ultimately, by tuition and alumni contributions, while their lawyers collect huge fees. (Stanford pays millions every year in legal fees; check their IRS Form 990 filing with the Internal Revenue Service, which shows over $8,8 million in outside legal fees for 2001 alone.) They have every incentive to drag this out.

Come to the Board of Supervisors meeting on December 17, 2002, in the Santa Clara County Government Center at 70 West Hedding St., San Jose, and make your voice heard.We need people at this one.

The trail issue goes before the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors again on January 27, 2002. If you'd like to come, the matter is scheduled for no earlier than 2:30 PM. A modest turnout would be helpful.

Stanford continues to propose various trail routes that move the required trails off Stanford property onto someone else's property. So far, Stanford's proposals to move the trails off their land have been disapproved by the Palo Alto City Council, the Menlo Park City Council, the Mayor of Los Altos Hills, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, and CALTRANS. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors refused to approve Stanford's latest proposal at their December 9th meeting, because, among other things, it called for a trail through the middle of the Stanford Golf Course. It also didn't fix most of the problems described elsewhere on this site.

Stanford's latest proposal involves putting a trail alongside I-280 on CALTRANS land, using a boardwalk over a drainage ditch. Really. And they want six more months to work on that idea.

This is not compliance; this is stalling. But it won't work.

County Supervisor Liz Kniss has this to say about the trail issue:

ďAfter weeks and months of discussions, negotiations and public input, Iím sorry to report that Iím very disappointed in Stanfordís newly released trail proposal. I donít believe this plan provides for adequate public safety, trail connectivity or the quality of recreational experience that Peninsula residents expect and deserve. In short, I find the current proposal unacceptable, but I believe there remains the opportunity to compromise and achieve a trail plan that reflects both the spirit and intent of Stanfordís obligations and creates the kind of trail system that our County residents deserve. I have faith in Stanford Universityís goodwill and good intentions towards the community and I am willing to work with Stanford officials night and day before our Board Meeting on Tuesday, December 4th to achieve a proposal we can all support.Ē

County Supervisor Liz Kniss,
November 30, 2001

But, in fact, Stanford didn't propose anything acceptable before the December 9th meeting. Nor have they done so yet.

So it's time for the Supervisors to take enforcement action. As of December 12, 2001, Stanford is not in compliance with its General Use Permit from the County of Santa Clara, because the required trail easements have not yet been dedicated.. This gives the Supervisors the authority to block Stanford's building permits and shut down some or all construction on campus until acceptable trail routes are offered. We suggest that a total construction shutdown would be overkill, but stopping new construction starts south of Junipero Serra Boulevard (the Dish area) would be an appropriate sanction.

A detailed position statement by a coalition of local environment groups will be posted here shortly.

Also see the Commitee for Green Foothills report for an update on other Dish area environmental issues


We can win this.

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will consider the trail plan on December 4, 2001

"Stanford's idea of a pastoral hike: sucking exhaust" -- Mercury News editorial

Endorsement by Open Space District.

Stanford makes their formal trail route proposal. It's not good.

Proposed plan from Stanford and County Parks and Recreation gives up 3.6 miles of legally required trails over Stanford land.


Come to the Town Hall meeting on Stanford's compliance with its General Use Permit.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss has scheduled a town hall meeting to update the community on the Stanford GUP and Community Plan. Now is the time to let her know that the community wants to see progress on all of the environmental protections called for in the GUP/CP. Please plan to attend.

Where: Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto.
When: Thursday, August 23, 7pm.

PATHS position statement

This is the message we'd like your help in getting across.

5th District residents pay 26% of the tax dollars received by the Parks Charter Fund, but receive only 16% of the park acreage. Over many years this 5th District shortfall amount is estimated to be about $32 million dollars.

PATHS has submitted a proposal to both Stanford University and the Santa Clara County Supervisors outlining how the county could support and facilitate trail maintenance and resource management in the Foothills, relieving Stanford of expense and liability in providing trail access.

There is no 5th District county park north of Rancho San Antonio. Trails and paths in the Dish area have proven (by their usage) to be needed and used. Sensitive ecosystems and public access do co-exist in many parks and open spaces where resource management practices are used. Contrary to Stanford's accusations, the public has done little to despoil the Foothills area. We don't need another Jasper Ridge, a lovely but inaccessible open space.

Sign the PATHS petition.

Sign the P.A.T.H.S. petition. You can sign on-line or at the S.O.S.A. table at Junipero Serra and Stanford Avenue (by the entrance to the Dish) on weekends. Download a printable petition and collect signatures, return to PATHS, 788 Stern Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94303 by October 10th. We will be presenting these to Joe Simitian at the Planning Commision's and Supervisors' hearings.

Sign the SOS-Alliance petition.

They're working the open-space issue, and need your help.

Contact the Santa Clara County Supervisors.

Click here to write all the supervisors.

Contact Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss

Contact Stanford University President John Hennessy

Especially important if you're a Stanford graduate.
phone 650-725-3723,
fax: 650-725-6847

Provost John Etchemendy
phone 650-724-4075
fax: 650-724-1347
Board of Trustees
phone: 650-725-9217
fax: 650-725-3340,
Bldg. 10, Stanford U., 94025

Write letters to the editor

Palo Alto Weekly, PO Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302
fax: 650-326-3928;

Palo Alto Daily News, 329 Alma St., Palo Alto, CA 94301
fax: 650-327-0676,

San Jose Mercury News, 750 Ridder Park Dr., San Jose, CA 95190
fax: 408-271-3792

Stanford Daily, Storke Publications Building, Stanford, CA, 94305
fax: 650-725-1329;

Menlo Park Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025
fax: 650-854-0677;

San Francisco Chronicle, 901 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103;
fax: 415-543-7708;

Show public support by attending meetings

If you come 15 minutes early and sign up, you may have an opportunity to speak.

[PAST] October 30th (Monday), 7 pm: Special Board Hearing on Community Plan, GUP and final EIR, County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose.

  • [PAST] October 18th (Wednesday), 6:30 pm: Planning Commission Hearing on Community Plan, GUP and Final EIR, Palo Alto City Council Chambers, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto.
  • [PAST] October 24th (Tuesday), 7 pm: Supervisor Joe Simitian announces his thoughts on the Stanford Community Plan and GUP and invites community feedback, Palo Alto Council Chambers, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto.
  • [PAST] October 30th (Monday), 7 pm: Special Board Hearing on Community Plan, GUP and final EIR, County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose.

Student Protest

Stanford students protested the night closure of the Dish area on Wednesday, October 4, 2000 at 11:30 PM. Read their manifesto.

Silent solidarity

Notice what seem to be the silent statements of solidarity and community that are appearing on the loop trail at the Dish: Cairns (heaps of rocks in a pile or spire) are arising along the side of the asphalt road. We at PATHS appreciate these gestures of support and commitment. (Update: the cairns referred to have been destroyed by Stanford as of Spring 2001).

Be true to your heart. Follow wherever this trail of events leads, bringing your commitment and goodwill, no matter how insurmountable the situation may appear. Leave room for the unexpected.

This site is operated by a group of Stanford-area people, many of whom are Stanford alumni.
It is not an official site of Stanford University.
Last update July 14, 2003.