Wed12172014

Letters to the Editor

Forget ‘traffic-calming,’ enforce speed laws

A little honesty about “traffic calming” might be useful.

In the Jan. 16 Town Crier, an article described wrestling over the idea of making “a $2 million investment (for Fremont roundabouts) to reduce the speed” (“Residents resoundingly reject Fremont roundabout.”) Why would Los Altos spend $2 million to reduce the average speed on Fremont Avenue rather than just changing a few signs and then enforcing the speed limit?

The answer: Because the existing limit is unenforceable. Why? Because it violates California state law. The existing speed limit already constitutes a speed trap, according to state law and traffic surveys, and citations don’t stand up in court.

So rather than either comply with California state law or work through the legislature to try and change it, “traffic calmers” want to spend millions of dollars of Los Altos tax money to erect obstacles to traffic flow, creating a de facto speed limit “below the radar” (pun intended).

A democratic process exists for creating, enforcing and modifying laws. Let’s use it.

William Brown

Los Altos

Don’t hold education hostage

My three children have been educated in the Los Altos School District and benefited tremendously. The district has done an outstanding job.

I have also observed the district address the special needs of other students and also the needs of those who are academically challenged. Clearly the district has not taken a “one size fits all” approach to education.

So what does Bullis Charter School offer that the district doesn’t, and at what cost?

If charter school parents want the “extras,” they should bear the cost, because the district has done extraordinarily well for the community.

The long-term solution is to dissolve Bullis Charter School. If the district does not provide what Bullis Charter School parents demand, these parents can (a) enroll their child in the appropriate private school, (b) school their children at home and/or (c) supplement the district’s education after school hours on their own dime.

Public education should not be held hostage to those who demand that their every wants be satisfied. Bullis Charter School parents should stop playing the entitlement game and allow the district to put its resources to work for everybody.

David S. Lee

Los Altos

Resident appreciates Acosta column on guns

I wholeheartedly agree with Grace Acosta’s view that more guns lead to more killing (“It’s the guns, stupid,” Jan. 23).

A study done in 2007 by Small Arms Survey, an independent Swiss organization, supports her point: For every 100 residents, the United States had 89 firearms, compared with an average of 15.1 in the 10 developed countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, England and Wales, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and Spain). The gun murder rate in 100,000 people was 3.0 in the U.S. and an average of 0.25 in the above-listed nations. These statistics are nearly six years old, and the number of firearms in our country has most likely increased during that period.

No doubt that there are other causes beside guns for the 12-times-higher rate of killings in the U.S., but the comparison is still deplorable. The simplest explanation might still be that having a firearm makes it too easy to kill. After all, a single person can spread death in a matter of seconds to a large number of people – without even being close to them.

I grew up in Hungary and participated in the 1956 Revolution. We learned the hard way that guns and Molotov cocktails were no match for Soviet tanks and howitzers. As Acosta points out, in a democratic country like the U.S., there are more sensible alternatives than citizens arming themselves.

Les Besser

Los Altos

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