LASD Carefully considering all options: Other Voices

As Los Altos School District officials explained during the November election, dramatic growth in our local economy, increasing housing density and a decade of solid academic achievement by district schools have increased enrollment to heights last seen in the 1970s. Existing district infrastructure and footprint are incapable of addressing existing needs or future enrollment.

Voter approval of the Measure N bond signaled an implicit expectation that the district would address growing enrollment by first doing no harm; that solutions would preserve the small-school model that resulted in all of our schools being ranked in the top 1 percent of public schools in California. We know that our voters expect that all investments must consider solutions that best address school overcrowding but also create facilities that facilitate the educational programs of the future. Most importantly, we know that a community-driven solution is essential to a successful Measure N implementation.


Don't blame the victim: Other Voices

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. In fact, in this country, everyone is entitled to express his or her opinions without getting murdered as a consequence. In her recent “Other Voices” column (“Inalienable right? How about respect for others?,” March 4), author Joy Valentine expressed her opinions. And here are mine in response.

In my opinion, the opinions expressed in Valentine’s column are especially pernicious, because they are falsehoods surrounding a kernel of truth. Yes, the publishing of images of Muhammad is probably unnecessarily aggressive and offensive. But such expression is a right of our society, and it is a right worth defending, even if in this particular case it was somewhat misused. The arbiter of that boundary and whether it has been crossed is not a band of extremist, fundamendalist Muslims. Those offended by this publication have other means of redress, including, but not limited to, court action and retaliatory publication.


Inalienable right? How about respect for others?

The January mayhem in Paris is tragic, as are all the other slaughters perpetrated from time immemorial.

We need to understand that when we attack another, whether it is with words or pictures or guns, there are consequences that often reverberate around the world. This particular tragedy in Paris is one more demonstration of that fact. However, it is not only about free speech, but also obligations and responsibility.


Is MV headed for high-tech exclusivity?: Editor's Notebook

Recent headlines have been awash with news of the future campus Google Inc. plans to build featuring “canopies.” Also in the news is Facebook Inc.’s recent announcement that it, too, wants to expand at its current Menlo Park headquarters. Meanwhile, LinkedIn Corp. looks to be making a major expansion with a possible campus in Phase 2 of The Village at San Antonio Center development in Mountain View, and possibly in an office building on El Camino Real in Los Altos, soon to be vacated by the also highly successful Box Inc.

Everywhere you look, growth abounds. Construction sites are everywhere along El Camino in Mountain View. And if recently submitted plans for Mountain View’s North Bayshore area are any indication, much more construction – millions of square feet in office space, for starters – is on the way.


What makes a village?: From the Mayor's Desk

I heard recently from Town Crier Editor-in-Chief Bruce Barton that Ladera Auto Works, formerly Village Motors, is going to close. Both were small businesses operating at that site for decades. I was stunned: How could Village Motors leave our village? It might lead us all to ask the question: What actually makes a village?

In my mind, a village is a place that fosters familiarity. A village is full of small businesses, where the business owners know their customers and the clients know their merchants. We get to know each other and, through this familiarity, we choose to support our local business owners.


We need a town hall meeting on Measure N: Other Voices

Last November the Los Altos School District community – comprising residents of Los Altos and parts of Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto and unincorporated areas – passed the $150 million Measure N bond to address enrollment growth in grades K-8.


A better option for school district enrollment growth: Other Voices

There is a better response to the Los Altos School District enrollment growth than those detailed in the article last week (“Parents upset with enrollment growth options”). No wonder parents voice concern about all seven of the options presented – each would cause significant disruption. A better option is to use the land at all existing sites more effectively.

Program additions can be spread over the land alongside existing schools while they remain in place. Indeed, most of the Facilities Master Plan Committee options relate to the scenario of not finding any land for a new school. Truly, even if land is found, it will be too expensive to leave funds for all of the needed construction. The district talks about a compromise of making a miniature, even split, new school site with half of the land of current schools, just 5 acres. This still limits us because that land could cost $50 million or more. Such a small size could cause appreciable construction cost increases.


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