Other Voices: The roles of city council, commissions and staff

What are the proper roles and responsibilities of city council members, council-appointed commissioners, task forces and working group members and city staff?

After the confusion of the Aug. 28 Los Altos City Council meeting, this seems like a question worth asking. For example, we observed council members stating that they would overrule Planning Commission parking recommendations – which came from the parking committee that had devoted months to the subject. Council members also believed that their opinions about traffic issues should supersede analyses by appropriate commissions and city staff. The final confusion was that council members were uncertain of the goals of the Downtown Vision study – which has been underway for nearly two years!

Other Voices: Has LASD developed optimal plan for 10th site?

It is no surprise that the output of the 10th Site Advisory Task Force resulted in the most votes to move Bullis Charter School to the new 10th campus. Why? This was the only option that remained standing after all other options were artificially removed by district staff or the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees directly, or by the artificial constraints placed on the task force.

District staff shared multiple times that they were resistant to operating a neighborhood school or a magnet school at the site. Two-thirds of the task force members were handpicked loyalists chosen by the district, or employed by the district. There was no representation by taxpayers/community members who did not have kids in the district recently. Even the “final” report was written by district staff and paid consultants. The report was never voted on, discussed or reviewed collectively by the task force.

Other Voices: Students best served by collaboration, transparency and community

When I joined the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees in 2014, the district and Bullis Charter School had just finalized a five-year agreement to set aside our differences and work toward a mutually beneficial, long-term school facilities solution. Today, we are finally on the cusp of executing that vision. With continued collaboration and transparency, I believe Bullis Charter School and the district can agree on a plan that benefits all local students.


In recent years, our community was relieved that Bullis Charter School and the district chose collaboration instead of lawsuits. With collaboration, the charter school and district schools and students thrived. Together, we passed a bond measure to resolve our school facilities challenges and a parcel tax to support educational programs for all of our students.

Other Voices: LWV urges 'no' vote on Measure C

The League of Women Voters strongly urges you to vote “no” on Measure C, which would require a vote of the public before most city-owned land could be sold or leased. Based on our analysis, there is no need for this restrictive measure because we are not aware of any instances where the city has sold parks or open-space lands. Leases to provide services and to meet city goals and objectives are routine occurrences in city operations.

Other Voices: Shedding light on shared community interests

As superintendent of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, I sometimes struggle with difficult decisions. I consider all perspectives and opposing views, and seeking fair solutions on tough calls can keep me up at night. You have undoubtedly heard that the MVLA Board of Trustees is considering the installation of stadium lights at Mountain View and Los Altos high schools. The stadium lights discussion is one of those tough calls.

Other Voices: El Camino more than a community hospital

Since relocating to the Bay Area a year ago to serve as CEO of El Camino Hospital, I have come to really enjoy Northern California and exploring the outdoors, golfing and hiking along the coast and in the mountains. I also have had the opportunity to meet many of our local residents in Los Altos, Mountain View and Sunnyvale through community and civic events. It has been a privilege to see and hear firsthand how El Camino Hospital’s commitment to the community’s health has made an impact, and in some cases how we can keep improving.

We have two hospitals, as well as many outpatient services like the Cancer Center, where we see and treat patients, but El Camino Hospital is more than our facilities. Many of our employees were born and raised here, and they dedicate their livelihood to supporting the health and well-being of neighbors like you.

Other Voices: Unceremoniously dumped by corporate America

I was 22 when I broke my first world record. It started with an abrupt tap on my shoulder at 10:30 a.m. on a Monday in the heart of corporate America – if corporate America even has a heart.

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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