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Letters to the editor: Social distancing, street closures

Teens not practicing social distancing

While walking by Lincoln Park in the late afternoon recently, I noticed a group of approximately 20 teens who gathered in the park. They were sitting in a tight circle with no masks and not keeping the necessary social distance, with nice bikes thrown in disarray all over the ground and the sidewalk.

Don’t they know the rules? Don’t they care about their parents or the older grandparents, whom they can infect with the coronavirus upon their return home and send them to the emergency hospital? And maybe cause their death? I am sure they will shed tears at their funerals, but it will be too late.
So immature. What’s wrong with them?
Lina Broydo
Los Altos Hills

Street closures a win-win for all

The idea of opening up downtown Los Altos on Main and State streets to pedestrian traffic with no vehicles has merit. It has merit even without the coronavirus as a reason to allow restaurants and shops to utilize more outdoor spaces. We are blessed with a temperate climate most of the year, which is conducive to outdoor living and playing. All businesses would benefit from more foot traffic, and that is certainly more pleasant without having to dodge cars. Main and State streets could have more outdoor seating, flower boxes and play areas for the kids. Strolling and window shopping are certainly more pleasant without the sounds and sights and smells of cars. The increased revenue from welcoming and encouraging out-of-town shoppers would certainly help our sales-tax revenues. It is a win-win for everyone and should be done. It is especially relevant now, when we need more space to social distance.
Myra Orta
Los Altos

Reach codes are overreaching

California has some of the most stringent regulations in the United States regarding environmental issues. The so-called reach codes would impose even more stringent limits on our ability to choose how we want to heat our homes and water, and to cook our food.
To me, this is another example of unnecessary government control that reduces our freedom of choice.
I hope our city council will agree and vote not to impose reach codes on both current and future Los Altos residents.
Jim Jolly
Los Altos

Climate action needed at national level, too

Sybil Cramer’s insightful and informative letter, “Support reach codes for greater good” (May 27), draws parallels between COVID-19 and global warming, and the negative consequences of being too slow to take preventive action for these “invisible enemies.”
As Cramer mentioned, adopting all-electric building codes for new construction in Los Altos would be “a small but valuable step in the right direction” in terms of fighting climate change and supporting a livable world for younger generations.
While local climate action is important, action at the national level is also essential if we are to win this climate battle.
Thankfully, there is already a bipartisan bill in Congress, The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R.763), with 80 co-sponsors, including Rep. Anna Eshoo. 
This market-based policy will reduce America’s emissions by at least 40% in the first 12 years by pricing carbon at the source and allocating all of the revenue to Americans to spend as they see fit. A win-win!
Paula Danz
Volunteer, Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Get a balanced view on reach codes

I was troubled by Cheryl Weiden’s letter about reach codes, in which she characterized the position of opponents as “slander, conspiracy theories and misinformation” (“Why are reach codes causing a stir?” June 3). She even claims “members of an organized group want to pick a fight” over this.
She encourages us to read the facts on the Los Altos website, but that’s a one-sided perspective. Los Altos Residents, presumably the “organized group” Weiden references, hosted a webinar in which three energy experts discuss the pros and cons of the proposed reach codes (see tinyurl.com/y9spvdmx).
I urge all residents to take advantage of this effort to get a balanced view of the issue. We may not all agree, but we’re all entitled to form our own opinions without unreasonable accusations from Weiden.
We should have the right to choose what energy source is right for our families – and for our environment. The city council is overreaching on this one.
Pat Marriott
Los Altos

Is global warming really a problem?

I’ll take Rod Diridon’s global warming hysteria with a grain of salt, considering how we’ve been force-fed predictions of doomsday since the first Earth Day 50 years ago (“Diridon stresses urgency in fight against climate change,” June 10).
One example: “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By … (1975) some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”
I’ll believe global warming is a problem when the rich people telling us it’s a problem begin acting like it’s a problem. That means no more junkets to global-warming conferences aboard carbon-spewing private jets.
Bill Hough
Los Altos

Take a step back from high density

Scientific evidence seems to indicate that the areas hardest-hit by the coronavirus are those with the densest populations. This makes sense in that close proximity via mass transit and high-density housing are common denominators of the hardest-hit areas. Elevators, subways, trains and planes are also breeding grounds for disease.
Moreover, I don’t think we’re done with COVID-19 just yet. Even if we find a flu-like vaccine that may help, there will be another virus someday, followed by others.
So here is my question: Do we really want to continue building high-density housing along the El Camino Real corridor and surrounding Silicon Valley areas, creating the same kind of crammed environment that has seen such a rapid rise in the spread of this virus? Or can we take a step back from the onslaught of mass housing and mass transit that municipalities and counties are advocating throughout the Bay Area?
Many companies have discovered that their staffs work well remotely. Perhaps when shelter-in-place orders have been lifted we could continue to encourage working from home where it makes sense, thus reducing the amount of commute traffic and preserving the newfound cleaner air, less-crowded roadways and relaxed attitudes that have arisen from more time spent with our loved ones.
R. Hayman
Los Altos

Kids vulnerable to sex trafficking

I attend Los Altos High School. I earned my Girl Scout Gold Award for my project on child trafficking awareness.
The Human Trafficking Prevention Education and Training Act (California Assembly Bill 1227) says the average age of sex-trafficking victims is between 11 and 14 years old, and California has a high rate in comparison to the other states in our country.
Social media sites are being used to recruit many of these underage victims. It is all the more important now during these unprecedented times to keep an eye on kids’ use of social media because it is being used more to avoid boredom.
Educating children is important, especially those who may not be confident or are unsure about the hazards of online predatory practices used by expert manipulators.
Parents, in addition to actively monitoring their kids’ online activity, should make sure their kids’ social media accounts are private. Filters should be used, comments closed and passwords secured. Parents should work to educate and empower their children about traffickers. To avoid a trafficker on social media, children should not accept friend requests from strangers. Traffickers will generally send a friend or follow request and then start a conversation, charming their potential victims.
It is helpful to memorize the multilingual National Trafficking Hotline phone number: (888) 373-7888, or text “Help” to BeFree (233733).
Anooshkha Shetty
Los Altos

Uncivil discourse trickles down to council

Even without the racist adjective used by Los Altos City Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, the comment that anyone who disagrees is “out of their mind” implies that they are either crazy or stupid – the antithesis of civil discourse.
We look at Twitter, Facebook, watch or read the news, and hear or see such comments on the state and national level of politics. It is sad to see it trickle down to our own local council.
Judy Dodge
Los Altos

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