Wed10222014

Letters to the Editor

API article deemed ‘biased reporting’

As I understand it, the Town Crier’s editorial goal is to help the community resolve differences between the Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School.

If the Town Crier truly wants to help bring the schools community together, then your staff writer should be oriented to that objective. Biased reporting is not helping in pursuit of that goal.

Upon first reading of Traci Newell’s reporting the 2013 Academic Performance Index results (“Schools keep top rankings despite dip in test scores,” Sept. 4), in paragraph 2, it looks like the district is No. 4 and the charter school No. 14.

Instead, in Newell’s coverage, one would believe that the district placed fourth in the state, and Bullis Charter School ranked as the 14th-highest-scoring elementary school on the 2013 API. Huh?

Why not try to accurately reflect up-front top-performing Bullis Charter School?

Only after reading the entire article did the truth and accuracy finally emerge from paragraph 11: “Bullis Charter School was the top-scoring school in Los Altos, fifth in Santa Clara County and 14th in the state with a score of 989, a five-point decline from last year. In addition to earning the highest-ranking API score in Los Altos, the school is the top-performing charter school in the state.”

If the Town Crier’s goal is to be realized, it’s time to stop the biased reporting and give credit where credit is due. It wouldn’t hurt to start by recognizing that Bullis Charter School is a jewel in the community.

Duffy Price

Los Altos Hills

Editor’s note: The article on API scores chronicled local schools’ scores and how they ranked on the state level. Our reporter mentioned the Los Altos School District’s and Bullis Charter School’s rankings in the same paragraph as a broader statement about schools in the community – with further details later in the story.

Reporting choices are never simple when it comes to covering the local schools debate – and almost guaranteed to draw criticism from one or both sides.

Want a bond measure? Stop the lawsuits

I am puzzled by the Bullis Charter School leadership. Do they really believe that Los Altos School District residents will pass a bond measure that benefits them when they have five outstanding lawsuits against those very same residents?

Realistically, I just can’t see that happening. Last year, a survey showed only lukewarm support for a bond measure, and when respondents were told that the bond measure might benefit Bullis, support dropped even further.

So, what to do? For starters, ending the lawsuits immediately might help. Voters in June 2014 (I believe that’s the earliest a bond measure could be placed on the ballot) would have had only nine months in which to forget the lawsuits – and nine months might not be enough time.

Ending the lawsuits would free up however much the charter school pays its attorneys annually ($1 million? $2 million? More?). Bullis Charter School could then offer this for a site in the spirit of cooperation and sharing. (Note that other charter schools in California have bought and constructed their own facilities entirely out of their own pocket, completely eliminating any district involvement.)

Absent dropping the lawsuits and absent a substantial contribution toward a new school for Bullis, I don’t see any chance that a bond measure would pass.

Vladimir G. Ivanovic

Los Altos

Mountain View growing too much

The Mountain View City Council has thrown a bomb on local residents. The bomb has exploded with shrapnel in the form of:

• Encouraging and making way for developers to build high-rise apartments and businesses with no forethought on its real future impact to our city.

• Forcing small businesses out of business.

• Approving substantially reduced required parking for the new structures.

• Failing to provide adequate parking in the downtown area.

• Creating congestion through the narrowing of El Camino Real and Castro Street to force Mountain View residents to ride bicycles.

• “Manhattanizing” Mountain View by creating canyons of buildings throughout the city.

And the list goes on.

Sadly, all of these problems apply not only to Mountain View, but also to the entire Peninsula.

Please answer these questions:

• How will people grocery shop on bicycles or get to doctors appointments without cars? How will people with disabilities get around? We have no viable public transportation. Valley Transportation Authority is not the answer. We would need a reliable, extensive and inexpensive mode of public transportation in place before and if this development is forced through.

• Why are city governments allowing the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to continue this insane onslaught of development? Why aren’t they fighting ABAG’s so-called requirements? Why is there a push to make Mountain View and the Bay Area like Manhattan?

What we can learn from looking at these huge cities is that fast-track building with no forethought to real future impact does not work.

Psychological studies have proven over and over that when more people are stuffed into a limited space, the results are more violent crimes, a decline in overall health and an increase in the already great divide between rich and poor.

Why do you want to create this in Mountain View and on the Peninsula? This is neither green nor sustainable.

Denise Pinto

Mountain View

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