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Letters to the Editor

Los Altos citizens need to step up

As a resident of Los Altos since 1971 and a successful business owner with a second-floor view of Main Street, we witness it all.

It’s not any one thing, it’s an accumulation of stuff in the Village.

I have met with Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis and a councilmember and have attended the council meetings. We have people running this city who have never been self-employed or run a successful business, making decisions for us based on what?

We the people are partly responsible and should be accountable.

Egos, attitudes and power or perceived power make and break us all. To quote one of the many business owners of Los Altos, “Stop the Stupid.”

If I wanted Los Altos to fail, I wouldn’t change a thing. Raise the bar, Los Altos, you are shareholders.

Ron Walker

Los Altos

Rabbit newcomers ravage local flowers

The Town Crier recently published an article on rabbits and the problems they create for gardeners (“Rabbit invasion gnawing on nerves of local gardeners,” July 4). I have approximately 30 rose bushes in my side yard. The rabbits love them. They have now killed one bush and are slowly but surely going to be the death of another.

I have special flowerbeds with Transvaal daisies, zinnias and Bachelor’s buttons. The rabbits also enjoy the Bachelor’s button flowers and the petals of the daisies.

In a community as wealthy as Los Altos, do we really have to tolerate these pests?

La Verne Saxbury

Los Altos

Remember the subjects of the conflict

The situation with Bullis Charter School has morphed into Los Altos’ soap opera. Shouldn’t we all be on one team? In no way are these ludicrous debates and failed negotiations helping any children receive an education.

As a small town, it is unfair to pit neighbor against neighbor. After reading the Town Crier’s Timeline, which spans more than a decade, isn’t it time to end this fight?

While it may seem that expanding the charter facilities or salvaging the location of one of the old elementary schools is important, shouldn’t we put more thought toward stability? This drama is in no way useful to improving their learning. We need to reach a conclusion for the sake of those whom both sides have forgotten they are fighting for – the children.

Alyssa Jacobson

Los Altos

Stop taxation without BCS representation

I want to raise an issue that I have not seen discussed in this newspaper and think our free press needs to examine: governance and accountability to the taxpayer for the spending of our school taxes.

I am concerned that we are living with “taxation without representation.” While taxpayers’ money goes to fund Bullis Charter School, we taxpayers have no representative governing the spending of our tax money nor a voice in how it is spent.

Los Altos public schools are administered by the Los Altos School District and overseen by the district’s board of trustees. The taxes paid by all of us living in the Los Altos School District tax district go to fund the schools.

The taxes paid by those living in the Los Altos School District tax district also go to fund Bullis Charter School. The charter school is overseen by a board of directors and chartered by the Santa Clara County Office of Education. While the County Office of Education is elected by we taxpayers and voted to grant the charter, it has no governance nor oversight role in running the school.

The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees is elected by those of us living in the school district’s tax district. Those Bullis Charter School families who reside within the school district similarly get to vote on members of the school district board of trustees.

The Bullis Charter School Board of Directors is appointed by the members of the board of directors. Those of us within the Los Altos School District tax district do not get to vote on their board membership. We do not have a voice on the board representing the taxpayers at large.

As a Los Altos School District taxpayer, I am concerned. Where is the accountability for the spending of our tax money? How am I assured that the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors has appropriate controls and governance procedures in place when they have no accountability to the taxpayers in the Los Altos School District?

I urge Bullis Charter School to immediately take steps to institute an election process for its board of directors. I urge our newspapers to do some investigative reporting and bring back the facts to the readers, Los Altos School District taxpayers and Bullis Charter School parents – both those who are Los Altos School District taxpayers and those who are not.

Ann Hepenstal

Los Altos

Beware consequences of rushed approvals

As we have watched the proposed gateway project at First and Main streets make its way through the public process, we have become increasingly concerned with the apparent rush for approval for such an important project.

Planning commissioners at their August meeting were in such a hurry to approve the current plans that they themselves publicly acknowledged that they had no idea what the final product would look like. Why would the planning commissioners approve such a significant project when they have not even seen the final plans yet? That doesn’t seem right.

Normally the planning commission would require the applicant to make sure changes are incorporated into the final plans before being forwarded to the city council. Changes requested include redesign of the “rear” of the building along Foothill Expressway and Main Street to acknowledge its gateway entry status and to provide 3-D computer-generated renderings.

Because of these requirements, it is appropriate to send the project back to the planning commission after receiving city council feedback so that the Planning Commission has the opportunity to review and approve the final design.

Bart Nelson

Los Altos

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