Mon09012014

Letters to the Editor

So much

for transparency

I should have guessed as much.

It’s amazing that under the leadership of Los Altos’ recently termed-out mayor, our city council has learned to model the behavior of our federal government: profess transparency and civility but remain nontransparent.

The long wait for the release of the memo describing the interest in First and Main is only one example. What else is there?

Tanya De Mare

Los Altos

Housing survey

disregards area, quality

Referring to the Town Crier article’s on relative house prices, based on a Coldwell Banker report (“Report lists Los Altos as priciest real estate market,” Dec. 5), the trouble with so many such reports is that they are based on insufficient criteria.

This report does not take into account the area and quality of the house. I imagine that four-bedroom houses in Los Altos have an area significantly bigger than those in Redford, Mich., and that they also have reasonably modern kitchens and are built on larger lots.

Too often surveys and studies only discover correlations and not cause and effect.

John Watney

Los Altos

BCS seeks more than

its fair share

In his Nov. 28 column (“Bullis Charter School: Mission-focused accountability”), John Phelps, a member of the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors, seems to suggest that the charter school is an asset to our community, but his arguments fail to make the case.

His first argument is that the charter school is a nonprofit governed by a mission-driven board. So what?

Nonprofit status doesn’t make it comparable to a food bank or a community foundation. Bullis Charter School is more comparable to a private school, whereby the donors and recipients are the same individuals.

Phelps asserts that the charter school’s outcomes are favorable in comparison to public schools. So what? The student population at Bullis Charter School resembles that of private schools.

Disabilities must be mild enough not to require special services. Therefore, the charter school’s student outcomes must be compared only to those of private schools.

Phelps says that Bullis Charter School uses best teaching practices and fulfills its mission. So what? All Los Altos School District schools are high performing and fulfill their missions.

The teaching strategies at the charter school are identical to the best practices implemented throughout the district. The only differences at Bullis Charter School are not in quality, but in private-school-like benefits, such as afternoon music offerings, foreign-language enrichment and trips to Europe.

Phelps imagines that Bullis Charter School is vilified because it receives public funding. That’s nonsense.

Many private schools receive public funding. The difference is, decent schools do not try to get funds/facilities for themselves by taking away what belongs to existing schools. Decent schools do not try to destroy or displace others to grab more than their fair share.

Bullis Charter School supporters who feel despised in the community might look at their sense of entitlement, incessant lawsuits, unwillingness to compromise and obnoxious grandstanding.

I don’t think the public becoming better informed about the charter school’s mission-driven success is going to make a dent in that unfavorable perception.

Sheryl Rattner

Los Altos

Columnist’s analysis applauded

How I applaud Allyson Johnson’s genuinely informative and detailed linguistic analysis of Xin Hua’s reporting of President Barack Obama’s victory speech (“Lost in translation,” Dec. 5). Perhaps the Chinese readership in the People’s Republic of China did not receive a clear picture of the political process in the U.S., but we readers of the Town Crier benefited from a helpful glimpse of theirs.

Wallis Leslie

Los Altos Hills

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