‘Anti-Israel’ letter demands response
The troubling letter in the July 9 Town Crier, “Speaker’s defense of Israel proves ‘puzzling,’” demands a response. I have read many letters by the same writer in various Bay Area newspapers. Every one is an anti-Israel diatribe, implying that the tragic, decades-long conflict between Israel and its neighbors is all Israel’s fault all the time. His assertion that Israel has no interest in a peaceful settlement is ludicrous.
Ben-Gurion’s acceptance of the UN Partition Plan in 1947, the famous Rabin-Arafat handshake on the White House lawn, the serious peace offers by Ehud Barak at Camp David, and later by Ehud Olmert, are evidence of Israel’s efforts to reach a solution. In each case, the other side ultimately said “no.”
The writer points out the importance in the Sikh religion of service to mankind. I witnessed this on my visit to the Sikh Temple in Milpitas, where I spoke on behalf of the Jewish community at the memorial service following the massacre of Sikhs in Wisconsin just two years ago. The writer may be interested to know that the pursuit of social justice and devotion to “tikkun olam” (the repair of the world) are also central tenets of the Jewish religion.
Land swap best bet for new school site
Now that the Los Altos School District has come to an agreement (still to be finalized) with Bullis Charter School, there is one looming issue that could clearly doom the school bond from passing. That issue is the threat to the Los Altos community center, which is used by a large portion of the city.
The district’s own architect described recently how two schools could be built on the existing Covington land, moving the district offices. However, some parents don’t like the idea of sharing at Covington with the charter school.
I have the following suggestion: Swap the 8 acres of Hillview Community Center for 8 acres at Covington in some layout where it is adjacent to Rosita Park. This effectively gives the city a 13.7-acre piece of land for the community center, with tennis courts, a tot lot and a softball field on part of the acreage. Compare to a softball field and a soccer field sharing only approximately 8 acres at Hillview. It’s actually a win for the city.
The city could lease, say, 4 acres of land at Rosita to the district to augment the 8 acres at Covington to make a space large enough for 900 students enrolled at Bullis Charter School.
The architect is saying that purchase of land for such a K-8 school would by itself cost $48 million. Saving $48 million with no reduction in city space is quite a feat, I think. It still gives the Los Altos School District an additional geographic location to meet that goal its seems to have. And, it solves the problem of needing to remodel Covington School to the tune of $24 million.
Simple parking offense proves costly
I want to share a Los Altos experience I had on the eve of the recent Arts & Wine Festival.
I went to Voila Hair Design July 11 for a 30-minute haircut, a monthly routine for me in my 18-plus years as a Los Altos resident. Three hours and $600 in fines and fees later, I drove home.
Here’s what happened.
I parked on State Street in a designated spot at 4:55 p.m. My 5 p.m. appointment was bumped to 5:30. I left at 6 p.m. after getting my haircut. However, my car was gone, as were all the cars on State Street. It was only then that I saw the little sign adjacent to my parking spot warning that cars were to be cleared by 5 p.m. for the festival. Interestingly, no one was setting up the festival on State Street at 6 or even 6:30.
Guilty as charged and accountable, I walked to the Police Department to pay my penance. To my dismay, I was assessed $600 in fines and fees:
• Los Altos fined me $230. By contrast, the city’s website says: “The cost of a parking citation is $54.50.”
• Bill’s Towing, the city’s vendor, collected $370 for a tow of less than 4 miles. By contrast, a survey among four area tow operators had estimates ranging from $100-$150 for the same journey.
A sign on Foothill Expressway boasts that “Downtown Los Altos Is Open for Business.” Not for me. No more haircuts, restaurants, shopping or any other form of commerce until the city reconsiders its punitive ways relative to a simple parking offense.
Kevin E. Kimball
Residents thank BCS, LASD for collaborating
We, the undersigned group of concerned community members, commend the Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School boards for working together on the recently proposed five-year agreement. By collaborating, you have taken an important step in bringing our community together.
We urge you to endorse the agreement and to continue working together to finalize the terms and wording of the proposed bond so that its success will meet the long-term facilities needs of all public school students in the Los Altos School District, including Bullis Charter School students.
Thank you for your leadership in this effort.
Sharon Clay, parent,
Lisa Collart, parent, Bullis Charter School;
Jeff Fixler, parent, Springer School;
Nancy Ginsburg Gill, resident;
Millie Gong, parent, Bullis Charter School;
Roxanne Janson, resident;
Duncan MacVicar, resident;
Jeremy Minshull, parent, Egan Junior High School;
and Tanya Raschke, parent, Bullis Charter School