Tue10212014

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

However, there’s always room for improvement. The current board of trustees, some observers claim, is passive and unanimously approves whatever Superintendent Barry Groves puts in front of them. Board critics say trustees rarely introduce their own items for consideration, rarely engage in lengthy discussion about items and ask few questions.

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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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Security versus privacy: A Piece of My Mind

Our local morning newspaper on the 13th anniversary of 9/11 included somber memories, such as the inspiring story of a blind worker whose Seeing Eye dog led him and the workers in his office to safety. The headlines also trumpeted a revelation that Yahoo had been required to turn over user data for “national security interests.” When the company refused to comply, hoping to preserve the privacy rights of its users, it was threatened with fines of $250,000 a day. Security outweighed privacy.

A couple of weeks earlier, I had gone to see an exhibition at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. I was required to open my purse for inspection before I could enter this public building. I went through the inspection with only a minor flash of irritation, though it has been many years since that crazed person slashed at the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. I was hardened by the invasive airport searches of both my purse and my person over the past 13 years of air travel, and I had put up with the searches and screening gates at the local courthouse when I wanted to exercise my citizen’s right to observe a trial. And so on. Security outweighed privacy.

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Lost languages: No Shoes, Please

You would think that being raised by parents who spoke very little English would result in an ability to communicate fluidly in two tongues. However, lots of West Coast “Sansei” (third-generation Japanese-Americans) are like me: surrounded by the Japanese language in our upbringing but hardly able to speak a word.

A credible observation has been made that “Issei” and “Nisei” (first- and second-generation Japanese-Americans) – traumatized by unjust incarceration during World War II – became hypervigilant about ensuring that they were perceived as “true” Americans once they were eventually allowed to re-establish their lives and livelihoods outside a barbed-wire camp environment. This in part accounts for the loss of the Japanese language among Sansei.

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Letters to the Editor

Still waiting for details on bond measure

Most of our community is still waiting for more details on Measure N. Los Altos School District trustees, you are accountable to the voters, and unless I know more about the details, I am being forced to vote no. You ask for blind trust, and I can’t give it.

Shed some light on how you plan to address growth, Bullis Charter School, north of El Camino, middle-school configurations and site locations. Only then can I make an informed decision. Absent that, only a fool would give you a $150 million blank check in November.

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Letters to the Editor

Los Gatos proves model for downtown Los Altos

My husband and I recently decided to go to a movie playing in Los Gatos. We arrived early enough that we had a little time to walk around. We bought a sandwich and took it to the small park at the corner of Main Street and Santa Cruz Avenue.

After our lunch, we walked over to the newly renovated Los Gatos Theatre. The classy renovation has created a beautiful environment in which to enjoy a movie. After the movie, we strolled over to one of the many nearby restaurants to have a drink and an early dinner. Shoppers filled the streets; the restaurants were crowded with diners.

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