Thu04172014

A 'Common Sense' approach to education: Other Voices

In 1775, Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet called “Common Sense.” His short, simple summary of the advantages of the U.S. gaining autonomy from Great Britain served as the spark that lit the fire for independence. Much like our community, there were two violently opposed groups that Paine had to deal with: the British Loyalists and the Revolutionaries.

As a community, we have been feuding over public education for more than a decade. It is time for a “Common Sense” approach to public education in our community.

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Let's reflect innovative spirit in community spaces: Other Voices

Following is an open letter to the Los Altos City Council.

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Searching for a wrong solution: Other Voices

I write this to express my grave concern over California Constitutional Amendment SCA5, which encourages the use of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin as an admission criterion in California’s public education system. The bill recently passed the state Senate and is pending in the Assembly. If passed there, it may be placed on the November ballot.

The bill aims to repeal portions of Proposition 209 that Californians voted into the state Constitution in 1996. The author, Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-24th District), claims that Proposition 209 prohibits the University of California and California State University systems from diversifying student bodies and providing sufficient opportunities to racial groups in need.

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Downtown success comes with growing pains: Editor's Notebook

An ideal downtown achieves great balance through destination stores, no-hassle parking, special events and open space. It offers something for the young, the old and the in-between. Achieving that balance is difficult as downtown Los Altos grows and changes. There’s been a recent uptick in interest and business with the improving economy. But efforts leading to that uptick bother some of the old-timers who remember the downtown as a quaint little “village.”

The sounds of construction and the resulting steel framework serve notice that First Street between Main Street and Edith Avenue will never be the same. The new construction is good news, in one respect. People have an interest in investing downtown, which means the downtown is popular again. The downside is that Los Altos is becoming less and less a village. The smallness and quaintness of the area brought with it a sense of security, community and convenience. Visitors could usually park right in front of their favorite stores.

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Wisdom has gone to the dogs: Other Voices

I recently attended the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, described as “4 Days, 2,000 People, 1 Question: How Can We Live with Wisdom, Awareness and Compassion in the Digital Age?”

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Before and after with 'horrific' results


PG&E is cutting down 50-year-old redwood trees in Los Altos because officials have decided that it will save them money. This is being done over the objections of the property owners and is significantly impacting their property values.

PG&E recently cut down three 40- to 50-year-old redwoods among other trees at 401 Los Altos Ave. The impact to the property is horrific. What was once a beautiful home in Los Altos – recently purchased by its new owner for $2.5 million, with mature redwoods in the front yard – now looks like any tract home in Los Angeles selling for a lot less. See the “after” photo above.

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Heartening support for domestic-violence victims: Other Voices

I am founder and director of the Women-of-Means Escape Network, Silicon Valley (WomenSV), a nonprofit Los Altos Community Foundation program that serves victims of affluent abusers. I want to thank the Town Crier and our local community for their incredible support of the recent “Women Rising” event at Main Street Cafe.

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