Wed11262014

News

Letters to the Editor

Packard deserves parking exemption

I am writing in response to the April 13 letter to the editor, “Packard Foundation should comply with codes.” As a Los Altos homeowner since 1985, I am very aware that the Packard Foundation is a huge asset to our community; we are extraordinarily fortunate to have it here, and it is most definitely to our benefit to keep it here!

The Packard Foundation is special; it has done and does wonderful things for our area and the world. Also, let’s remember that not only does the foundation spend money locally, so do its employees.

Yes, I absolutely believe they should get an exemption, as I also believe that if their Alternate Transportation Management Program doesn’t work, they will take responsibility and do whatever is necessary to make things right.

Make the exemption to the Packard Foundation itself rather than to the “building” if there is any concern about future occupants.

I don’t see accommodating the Packard Foundation as setting “a dangerous precedent” (according to Los Altos City Councilwoman Val Carpenter).

I see accommodating the Packard Foundation as showing our appreciation for all they’ve done and all they do!

Linda Michaelson

Los Altos

LASD budget has structural problem

Los Altos teachers are awesome, but we have a budget shortfall.

Recently I have heard a lot of concern about the impact of current state budget problems on the compensation of our wonderful teachers. In the past year, our elementary schools have been forced to lay off classroom aides and teachers in order to balance our budget, and we are facing similar changes in the coming year with a shortfall of about $3 million.

At the same time, the district staff has been negotiating a teacher labor agreement for this and next year. Progress has been slow, and the teachers are currently working under last year’s agreement.

The proposed contract will keep the base compensation system in place, but what that means is an increase in costs of $500,000 or more this year and next, given automatic salary increases for years of service and increases in benefits costs. This “structural” increase in costs puts our budget out of balance in the face of a decrease in revenues.

I have voted against this contract. I believe we need to find a way to mitigate increases to preserve some teaching positions. There are many good approaches (furlough days, capped benefit costs, actual pay cuts), but those are not a part of this contract. If they were, I would likely support them. I feel we need to have those kinds of concessions now in order to preserve as many teaching positions as possible.

Mark Goines

Los Altos School District Board of Trustees

Talon Editorial Board explains position

This is regarding the April 21 Town Crier article, “The Talon’s exposé sparks conflict between LAHS groups.”

The Talon Editorial Board (not the Talon staff, as cited in the article) published a neutral and informative news article online regarding The Collective’s status at Los Altos High School. Our article, which we published on www.lahstalon.org, explained to the student body what The Collective and ACTUALITY are.

In our article headlined “School-sponsored ‘Collective’ aims to promote respect,” we hoped that students would be able to have enough information to make their own decisions to believe in or disagree with The Collective’s message and the means it uses to self-promote.

We welcome readers to visit our Web site for more information.

The Talon Editorial Board:

Sahil Luthra, Ava Foudeh, Scott Stevens, Shefali Luthra, Ancy Dow, Carolyn Huang and Zia Rosenzweig

Sussman report needs objectivity

I was troubled by the April 21 Town Crier article about Brian Sussman, an angry, right-wing talk show “entertainer.”

The article seems to endorse Mr. Sussman’s opinion that global warming is “a plot,” blamed on Karl Marx, the hippies and various others – and disregarding the overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming seems to be a very real threat to mankind.

Where was the reporter’s objectivity?

She states that Sussman “refutes” (Webster’s definition: “to prove wrong”) what Sussman labels the “myths ... of global warming, for which there is no consensus.”

We all need to ask ourselves which option is worse: to pursue reasonable measures to minimize global warming – only to learn, in a decade, that it was unnecessary – or to continue to ignore a problem that, in 10 years, may have tragic consequences for our world and our children?

Michael L. Rappaport, M.D.

Los Altos

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