How big is your hose?

$50 fire truck from Pottery Barn

$50 fire truck from Pottery Barn

Palo Alto recently spent $1.2 million on a really nice, really big fire truck. If it were up to me, and I do sometimes think of  myself as the future Mayor of Palo Alto, I would have gone with, for the same money, 24,000 small fire trucks, from Pottery Barn, the “fast, cheap and out of control theory” of MIT robotics whiz Rodney Brooks.

You can put the hoses together and put out the sun. (Wait until after dark to try this).


  • Removable hoses can be fitted together.



Does it come with an option on a $250,000 Dalmatian?

But seriously is this to compensate for fact that since passing Measure D to throw out the public safety collective bargaining agreement we are getting out-bid on the best and brightest fire-fighters?

How much do you want to bet that our chief can recite the features of this new toy better than he can recite his own pledge of honor? At Council the other night, in response to Mark Berman softball question about his swearing in oath, the chief said “um,,,honor and integrity or something…that was a while ago” (regarding College Terrace housing proposal and our decision to lax the fire code to build three extra houses there)

If you see smoke coming from north end of Oak Creek Apartments, that’s just me trying to figure out why, as the son and grandson of car salesman, I am NOT in the business of selling $1.2 million fire trucks.

Wouldn’t 1.2 million toy fire trucks do just as well, ala the film “Fast Cheap and Out of Control”?


The real estate ad, with a model kitchen, underneath the picture of our new “Tiller’ for a second there I mistook for the cushy interior of this land-yacht.

I do seriously respect and thank our public safety personnel but am continually mystified by the simultaneous attack on workers and hyper-investment in capital expenditures.

There is also a short story, from 2002, in Harper’s by Stanford Pulitzer Prize fiction writer Adam Johnson “Teen Sniper” imagining a fictional version of our public safety headquarters, or more specifically a SWAT team and sniper squadron and their cushy digs.

I’m the kind of guy who would rather see the $1.2 million in subsidized local housing for public safety workers, as a way to get better and better human factors here.


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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