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Letters to the Editor: Reach codes, small business, Kiwanis thanks

GreenTown Los Altos supports reach codes

Blue skies and clean air. The pandemic is a terrible price to pay, but clean air is wonderful.

GreenTown Los Altos strives to be the environmental face of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills with creek cleanups, tree plantings, bike rides, and more. We also want to encourage everyone to stop burning fossil fuels in their homes and in their cars, a leading contribution to climate change – and that brings us to reach codes. Reach codes “reach” beyond the Title 24 codes that require energy efficiency in building construction.

Two new codes under consideration by the Los Altos City Council, on the agenda July 14, will require all-electric design for new home construction and additional infrastructure for electric-vehicle charging. The two codes represent big steps in the fight against the consequences of climate change.

GreenTown Los Altos supports adopting the new codes. The state of California does, too, and has set a goal to be carbon-free by 2045. There are many good reasons for Los Altos to join that effort. All-electric homes are cleaner, healthier and cost-effective, and cooking with electricity is quick and easy. Switching to electricity in our homes and with our vehicles makes great sense in Santa Clara County, as our electricity from Silicon Valley Clean Energy is 100% carbon-free. Continuing to build homes that require gas lines that will eventually be phased out makes no sense. Without the reach codes, builders will stick with business as usual and continue to build homes with gas lines. That’s why we need the reach codes.

What does this have to do with the meaning of life, you ask? For me, protecting the environment is one of my passions. I want the best possible future for our children and grandchildren, and that means doing everything reasonably possible to tackle climate change. Reach codes are one of the ways to do that. To all environmentalists, if you agree, please let the city council know.

Gary Hedden

Los Altos

Reach codes deny homeowners flexibility

We are not in favor of eliminating natural gas for new construction. We understand that our home is exempt under the current proposal, but the proposal is of great concern to us and the flexibility it gives us if we were to build a new home in the future.

Public utility services should attract customers with quality service and reasonable cost, to gain and keep their market share. This should not be manipulated by mandated regulations. The proposed change is misdirected and would effectively control consumer choices. Regulations should be directed toward technology and industry to improve and encourage overall safety, stable supply and emission reduction for household products.

Our monthly power bill currently averages over $400 with 71.3% of that number being just for electric charges. And that’s with most of our appliances being powered by natural gas and LED lighting throughout our home and yard. No matter what we do, we cannot get our monthly electrical charge to go down. If we were forced to go all-electric, our power bill would skyrocket and not be affordable.

About 10 years ago, a neighbor’s tree, located across the street from our home, came crashing down in our front yard, taking out all the power and phone lines to the three homes surrounding the downed tree. It took five days for PG&E to restore power to us; we were down in the queue because there were other areas of the Peninsula with large areas of power outages that were the priority. Fortunately, we have gas fireplaces for warmth, a gas water heater for hot water and a gas stove, so we could cook. We were on our own for five days in the middle of winter, but grateful we had natural gas.

Additionally, the No. 1 rule of supply chain management is that one should never single-source any product or service, eliminating the possibility of creating a monopoly. No competition equals no control over the supply or the costs. This reminds us of what the auto, oil and tire companies did to the U.S. back in the 1940s and 1950s, when they successfully eliminated mass transit in favor of the automobile.

Let’s learn from the past and ensure reasonable energy options all can afford while also protecting our environment.

Kathy and Lee Lera

Los Altos

Editor’s note: Kathy Lera is vice president of sales and marketing for the Town Crier.

LAH mayor says town backs small businesses

Los Altos Hills is a community of strong, successful individuals who collectively embrace our rural and bucolic lives. Lacking our own commercial business district, we value our proximity to Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino and Mountain View.

Each of these communities has stores, services and restaurants we frequent, support and deeply care about. We love dining out and we love to shop local. We love small businesses and we love living here and being part of our larger community.

Last week, the Los Altos Hills City Council was asked to make a $250,000 grant/gift to the Los Altos Small Business Relief Fund. While eager to help, it was the unanimous belief of the council that the gift was simply too large for us to consider – it was 50 times the amount we give the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce annually.

Further, Los Altos Hills derives no income from the Los Altos sales tax or hotel taxes, unlike the city of Los Altos. Our primary revenue source is property taxes, taxes that are collected with the expectation that our town administration and council will use those funds to invest in our infrastructure and provide services to the benefit of residents in Los Altos Hills.

After deliberating on the ask of $250,000, our council voted unanimously to double our annual gift to the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce.

We also acknowledged that our Los Altos Hills neighbors are hugely philanthropic as individuals. Rather than even respond to the assertion that we don’t care about small business, we would like to use this forum to ask all in the readership area serviced by the Town Crier to consider supporting restaurants, retail, nonprofits, the Chamber and even the Town Crier with your dollars. The needs are likely to be vast, and it is incumbent upon us as individuals to respond.

Michelle Wu

Mayor of Los Altos Hills

Kiwanis offers thanks to Pet Parade boosters

The Kiwanis Club of Los Altos would like to thank the residents and pets of our community for their participation in our annual Kiwanis Pet Parade.

Because of COVID-19, this year’s 73rd annual parade was virtual, but our friends and neighbors stepped up and submitted more than 80 videos to be included in the parade.

The parade aired via YouTube May 30, and to date has had more than 1,000 views. In addition to the usual dogs, cats and stuffed-animal entries, this year’s parade included more than 15 different types of pets.

A special thanks to Lawrence Chu Sr., our grand marshal, for his heartfelt message, and to all the members of the Kiwanis Club who worked so hard to put this together.

You can view the parade by visiting our website, losaltoskiwanis.org, and following the link. We hope to see you in person next May 15 for our 74th parade.

Kiwanis Club of Los Altos

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