Fri12192014

Vote 'yes' on Measure N: Other Voices

It’s a clear fact: Student enrollment in the Los Altos School District is surging. In the past 10 years, enrollment has increased by more than 1,100 students. Our schools haven’t had this many children since the 1970s, when we had 12 K-8 school sites instead of the nine we have today. Including Bullis Charter School, housed on both junior high campuses, there are 10 schools housed on nine sites with a student population that continues to grow, which is just not sustainable.

Measure N is all about protecting our small schools and avoiding classroom overcrowding in order to keep the top-quality education we expect from our local schools.

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Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From April 2008 to November 2012, the Los Altos City Council eliminated 139 parking spaces in the downtown Public Parking District (9 percent of the total) and allowed two developments to provide 76 fewer parking spaces than required by code (5 percent of the downtown Public Parking District supply). (2) The city’s Downtown Parking Management Plan projects the cost to replace these 215 parking spaces ranges at from $8.18 million cash to $27.3 million with financing and maintenance costs over 30 years.(3)

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Preserve Los Altos parks: Other Voices

Los Altos parks are gems, offering our kids an active alternative to computers and video games and our seniors an oasis of tranquility and beauty.

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School lunch: Opportunity to improve health, academics: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s article “Evolving with regulations, Los Altos’ school lunch programs retain local ties” (Aug. 13) presents a bleak view of the Los Altos School District’s efforts to meet school lunch guidelines.

The parents interviewed perpetuate the false dichotomy that healthful food must necessarily taste bad. A more positive perspective is that food can be both nutritious and delicious, and that habits learned early in life can help children grow into healthy adults without sacrificing their taste buds.

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Urbanization of downtown Los Altos could be good

I was on a cycling tour of England with 25 Boy Scouts. We entered a charming town in the Cotswolds and parked our bikes in the small town center. I commented, “This sure is a nice little town.” A nearby lady responded, “And it used to be quiet.”

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It's all good: Other Voices

I recently witnessed an interaction between law enforcement and two youths, one that is light-years away from what the media has chosen to focus on. One that highlights goodness on both sides. One that happens time and again. One that is underreported. The two youths and the police officer involved in this situation are to be commended.

I pulled up to a bank to make an ATM deposit Aug. 23 in downtown Los Altos. Two boys were skateboarding in the parking lot. They paused to let my car pass, then resumed their tricks with laughter and enthusiasm. I looked at my watch with dismay. It was 10:45 p.m. As I stepped out of my car, I saw a police car slowly drive by. So did the two youths, who both appeared to be junior-high age. Police car, coincidental? I wasn’t sure, but I was glad “the car” seemed to notice the kids. Bingo. The officer’s car stopped behind the parking lot and I heard the boys say, “Uh-oh,” as I stepped out of my own car to approach the ATM.

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You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone

For the past four years, I’ve returned to Los Altos for the summer. As a college student on the East Coast, I relished my annual escape from the heavy, humid weather of New England and looked forward to returning to my hometown. Yet these homecomings have never quite been a return to the normal, and they have certainly never been a return to the past.

In some ways, this is due to the fact that I myself am changing. Distance always provides perspective, and my time away from home has certainly done that. In other ways, it’s due to the fact that Los Altos itself has changed. The revitalization of the downtown area that has occurred since I left in 2010 has been noticeable, and it’s exciting to see a bit of the change that in my childhood was only the subject of parental sideline conversations at Hillview soccer games.

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