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The light side of Lyfe WEEKEND | P.16 JANUARY 20, 2012 Volume 19, NO. 53 650.964.6300 INSIDE: MOVIES | PAGE 18 Council approves Annex flood basin OVER PUBLIC OBJECTIONS, MEMBERS CITE CLIMATE CHANGE, HOSPITAL ACCESS By Daniel DeBolt A controversial f lood basin was approved for the Cuesta Annex Tuesday night, despite strong opposition from the park users. The Santa Clara Valley Water District will now build a Permanente Creek flood basin at the Annex that is 12 feet deep in some parts, with gentle slopes and a capacity of 32 acre-feet of water. At its Jan. 17 meeting, the City Council voted 4-2 in favor of the flood basin, with council members Laura Macias and John Inks opposed. Member Jac Siegel recused himself because he owns property nearby. The council made its decision despite a flood of skepticism from the community over the need for a basin. Of almost twodozen public speakers, only two supported the project. “To me it’s obvious flooding is getting worse, it’s getting worse all over the country,” said council member Ronit Bryant, expressing concern about climate change. “I don’t know why we would be the one place where flooding doesn’t occur.” Whether such a change would ruin the Annex, an undeveloped former orchard on 12 acres of city-owned land next to Cuesta Park, is something residents have disagreed about. “It’s kind of an anarchist park,” MICHELLE LE Border collies belonging to Lex Nakashima frolic at Cuesta Annex on Jan. 16. said Lex Nakashima on Monday as he threw a Frisbee to his two border collies that were busy sticking their noses into the area’s many gopher City museum plan is history By Daniel DeBolt C ity officials have received a letter from the Mountain View Historical Association that axes the city’s plans to put a history museum in the back of the Cuesta Annex. Citing fundraising difficulties, the MVHA has ended an agreement with the city that required it to meet certain fundraising milestones for a museum. Its location was controversial: the rear portion of the 12-acre Cuesta Annex, an undeveloped piece of open space next to Cuesta Park that many would like to remain untouched. “It doesn’t mean we won’t continue to look at a way to put together a museum in the future or maybe finding a building that can be changed into a museum,” INSIDE said Pat Figueroa, former mayor and MVHA president. The announcement was met with cheers from the audience at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, which was packed with people speaking on behalf of preserving the Cuesta Annex from plans to build a flood basin there. “I’m disappointed,” said council member Tom Means. “It would have been nice to have a history museum. Each town in the area has done one. It’s nice to have something in your town that reflects where you came from.” In the letter, Figueroa said the move was spurred by the council’s decision in October to not allow developer Roger Burnell to move the 1880s-era Pearson house on Villa Street to the museum site and restore it on his own dime. The value of the house, as well as funds that had been arranged to cover its operation, would have met the MVHA’s first fundraising goal, along with a “significant match donation towards a primary museum,” Figueroa said. Council members, almost all of whom are members of the Historical Association, cited community opposition to the Pearson house plan and lack of community support in their decision. That was despite the “win-win-win” nature of the plan, as Burnell described it, to preserve one of the city’s oldest homes, allow him to develop a 20,000-square-foot office building on the “blighted” site where the house now sits at 902 Villa St. See MUSEUM, page 11 GOINGS ON 19 | MARKETPLACE 20 | REAL ESTATE 21 | VIEWPOINT 15 holes. “The city sees it as an eyesore, everyone else sees it as a place to get away from everything.” Nakashima said he was con- cerned that additional landscaping See CUESTA, page 6 No fear of drought, for now By Nick Veronin T hough rain has been scarce over the past few months, Mountain View residents have little reason to fear drought at this time, an official with the Santa Clara Valley Water District said. “Overall, considering all 10 of our local reservoirs, we are at 81 percent of the average total storage for this time of year,” said Marty Grimes, a spokesman for the water district. Grimes acknowledged that it has been an unusually dry year so far — Nov. 19 was last time any of the water district’s reservoirs collected any significant amount of precipitation. And with each passing dry day, it becomes more likely that 2012 will be a particularly dry year. All the same, he said, it is too early to make meaningful predictions or to say that we are at the beginning of a long-term trend. “We don’t know how much rain we’ll get for the rest of January, February or March,” Grimes said. “It’s too early to make any pronouncements that it’s a dry year, a wet year or an average year.” The water district spokesman also cautioned against attributing the two months of dry weather to global climate change, noting that it is natural to have variation in winter weather. In fact, he observed, it is precisely that natural variation in weather patterns that is helping the state manage this year’s dearth of precipitation. The 2010-11 rainy season, which ended Sept. 30, soaked the state, filling reservoirs to the brim and leaving California with a very bountiful snowpack. See FORECAST, page 11

Mountain View Voice 01.20.2012 - Section 1

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