Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Language Alert: "Gateway" Property

Term: "gateway" property.

Definition: that run-down area on the outskirts of town near the freeway.

Implication: The first part of your city that people see upon exiting the freeway should be developed with something fabulous, something that says "Welcome to Mountain View," something that says we care. Something we haven't fully specified or established any demand or budget for, but certainly something more uplifting than a mere Home Depot.

Personally, I'd rather call it "that run-down area on the outskirts of town near the freeway." Implication: anybody who wants to put something useful there is welcome to it. Bring on the shopping!

Language Alert: "Heritage Tree"

Term: "Heritage Tree" (aka "Heritage oak", "Heritage spruce", etcetera.)

Definition: A tree that is large, old and probably decrepit.

Implication: It's the city's job to identify all the big, old trees in the city and make sure nobody ever cuts them down or does anything on their property that might endanger them. This is called "protection of the urban forest" and is accomplished by way of an urban forestry board, empowered to enforce a heritage tree ordinance.

Preferred terminology: "Big, old tree."