In an unusually short meeting Tuesday night, the Cupertino City Council paid tribute to a former mayor, and approved the city’s first Poet Laureate.
Don Burnett Bicycle-Pedestrian Bridge
The Cupertino City Council agreed to help cement the legacy of former Mayor Don Burnett by chipping in up to $4,000 in matching funds for signs designating the Mary Avenue bridge the Don Burnett Bicycle-Pedestrian Bridge.
Burnett’s widow, Nancy, asked the Council Tuesday night to join the Friends of Don Burnett in financing two signs, one for each end of the striking span that crosses Interstate 280. Burnett died Sept. 11, 2010 from cancer.
The bridge was a vision of Burnett’s, an avid bicyclist who served on the council from 1993 to 2001, and as mayor from 1995 to 1996. It officially opened April, 2009, after being proposed nearly a decade earlier.
A special ceremony at the bridge marking the name change is taking place 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 8, Nancy Burnett told council.
State Senator Joe Simitian introduced a bill in April to rename the Mary Avenue Bicycle Footbridge to the Don Burnett Bicycle-Pedestrian Bridge. The bill passed on July 14.
Although the legislation authorizes the state to manufacture signs with the new name, it does not provide any money to pay for them. The Friends of Don Burnett group is fundraising to cover those costs.
Dick Blaine, one of Burnett’s riding buddies who logged 30,000 miles with him over 10 years, told council the group wants to purchase nicer signs than the black and white institutional-style ones the state was going to create.
“When we looked at the signs we felt they were not appropriate for either Don Burnett’s memory or the community,” Blaine said.
Blaine said the new signs will cost $8,000 to $10,000. The group is welcoming donations from the public. Checks can be made out to De Anza Optimist Club and mailed to Burnett Bridge Fund, C/O Anne Ng, 6031 Bollinger Rd., Cupertino, CA, 95014.
City’s First Poet Laureate Approved
Council members unanimously approved De Anza College instructor David Denny as the city’s first Poet Laureate.
Denny was chosen by a Library Commission sub-committee after a nine-month search. Chairman Ron Miller told Council that many of Denny’s poems “celebrate the diversity of human life and animal life here in Cupertino.” He has a poetry book coming out called Plebian on the Front Porch.
According to Miller, Denny has already proposed a number of poetry reading and writing projects for his two-year term as Poet Laureate.