Freedom's just another word: No Shoes, Please

It used to be that the word “freedom” held exclusively positive connotations for me, but now it’s really become a mixed bag. It all started in 2001 when President George W. Bush asked the question he felt was on the minds of most Americans regarding the 9/11 attacks: Why do they hate us? Bush’s answer was, in part, “They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with one another.”

It was such a simplistic answer – having nothing to do with history, culture or geopolitical tensions – and reminded me of a teenager explaining a slight from a classmate with the conclusion, “She’s just jealous.”


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.


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.


Letters to the Editor

Priority should be finding site for BCS

The Town Crier’s Feb. 11 article “Parents upset with enrollment-growth options” was informative but failed to communicate why parents are displeased. I attended the meeting on which you reported to express my concern about the process the Facilities Master Plan Committee (FMPC) has followed and where that process has led them.

The FMPC narrowed its focus to seven options through a process of brainstorming followed by majority vote. The first option involves acquiring a site on which to build a school for Bullis Charter School. The remaining six options all involve closing, moving and/or breaking up one or more neighborhood schools. The FMPC appears to have assumed that Bullis Charter School would be located on a single site not shared with others, and options that might involve cooperation with local cities do not appear to have been considered.


Letters to the Editor

Don’t force art policy on builders or public

Thank you for your editorial opposing development fees for public art (“Public art and developer money,” Feb. 4).

There is no need for the city to own art. Few people agree on what constitutes a work of art, so public pieces are often reviled as well as appreciated. The artist loaner program is a brilliant idea with advantages to artists (wide exposure) and residents (rotating pieces).


10,000 ways: Haugh About That?

With hackles standing erect along its spine, ears pointed at attention and legs aggressively stiff, I stared at the mighty beast ready to charge. By the look in its inflamed eyes, I’d have to be a moron not to know I was in big doo-doo.


Generosity comes through again: Thanks from the Publisher

The 2014-2015 Los Altos Town Crier Holiday Fund is drawing to a close. The campaign was the most successful ever, raising more than $250,000 from nearly 400 donors.

The program, launched in 2000, supports Silicon Valley-area nonprofit organizations that invest the fund’s donations for maximum results. The number of nonprofit agencies we support has grown from eight in 2000 to 20 in 2014. For more information on the groups, visit losaltosonline.com.


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