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Letters to the Editor

LA resident challenges ad claims

For the third week in a row, Rob Fagen and his pro-Bullis Charter School group Each Student Counts continue to spread unhelpful misrepresentations about how our K-8 school district raises and spends money.

Now Fagen claims that the Los Altos School District spent “a substantial portion” of the last $95 million school facility bond on district administrative offices. I checked, and learned that the district spent less than 4 percent of the bond on its administrative facilities and boardroom. Compared with an already frugal 7 percent spending on administrative functions, that seems reasonable.

I also didn’t understand what Each Student Counts meant by “the district overspent the bond by 20 percent.” Government agencies can’t spend money they don’t have. So, I also learned that the district creatively raised another $34.4 million from matching funds, rebates, energy grants and earned interest to fund capital needs.

I agree that we should know what our tax dollars would be used for. But I’m curious what motivates Fagen to repeatedly and inaccurately accuse our neighbors who serve as unpaid school board trustees of financial shenanigans. This is neither honest nor helpful debate.

Noah Mesel

Los Altos

Assertions on Islam ‘ring true’

In response to Sami A. Ibrahim’s June 18 “Other Voices” column (“History contradicts claims made against Islam”): Thanks for your pleasant thoughts about the early days of Islam, with your quotes of its “spirit of kindliness, generosity, brotherhood and justice for all.” It was not particularly surprising to hear that the degradation of that spirit into the current crop of Muslim radicals was caused by the West, and, in particular, that it was “Bush’s fault.”

These assertions seem a little ridiculous in view of the recent spate of mass beheadings and horrible abuses of women in the Middle East. The writer should look into a few current books on the topic, like “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was raised in a strict Muslim family and survived civil war, female mutilation and brutal beatings; and “I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced” by Nujood Ali, a victim of the child-bride practice in Muslim countries.

It’s clear Ibrahim did not attend the Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley presentation by Nonie Darwish, who said she has no quarrel with the millions of peace-loving Muslims. Her point was that words contained in the Koran are being used by Islamic radicals to practice horrible atrocities. Her assertions ring true today and should be given more exposure.

Richard Blanding

Los Altos

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