Other Voices: LASD invites residents to be part of Community Engagement Process

The Los Altos School District and the Community Engagement Process Project Team invite the community to participate in the Community Engagement Process to formulate a long-term facility plan to house Bullis Charter School and ensure a top-quality education for all children.


Healthier air for all

Los Altos is a beautiful, peaceful town. However, the air quality, peace and beauty are disturbed by gas-powered leaf blowers. You may not know that gas-powered blowers are illegal in Los Altos. In fact, Los Altos was the first community in the Bay Area to ban gas leaf blowers back in 1991 (Los Altos Municipal Code 6.16.070 – Prohibited acts Section B.15).

They create lots of polluting emissions. Running a gas-powered blower for 30 minutes creates more ozone-forming emissions than driving an F-150 pickup truck 3,800 miles, according to the online automotive information resource Edmunds.com. The small engines in gas-powered blowers are very inefficient due to incomplete fuel burning, thus they produce high amounts of carbon monoxide, ozone and other polluting gases compared with motor vehicles. They are unhealthy for you, your gardeners and the entire community.

From the Mayor's Desk: Plan Bay Area 2040 fails; let's not make the same mistake

For many residents, traffic starts before 3 p.m., while our teachers and service workers struggle with prolonged and extensive commutes. People can’t get around anymore –forget about public transit. The cost of living is through the roof, state/regional legislatures favor the interests of developers as well as tech companies and income inequality has never been worse. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.

Plan Bay Area is continuing to make the same mistakes by relying on flawed projections instead of planning based on what’s better for the future. Trapped in a negative feedback loop of enacting bad policy, Plan Bay Area is in need of bold, structural change; it’s time for residents to be truly involved in the process.

Other Voices : Group exploring 'unintended consequences' of LASD-BCS facilities use

Our community is currently engaged in a historic discussion about the future of our schools. Back in 2014, the voters of the Los Altos School District approved a $150 million bond measure to build a 10th school site and upgrade existing school facilities. This past school year, many of us were shocked and angered when the district seriously considered a plan to relocate our longtime neighborhood school, Egan Junior High School, to a new site on the other side of El Camino Real to give use of the entire campus (less 2 acres for much-needed affordable teacher housing) to Bullis Charter School.

Many of us were relieved when the district board of trustees, after listening to the concerns of many district residents, tabled the proposal for further study. However, the issues of where and how to house Bullis Charter School, what happens to our neighborhood public schools and how the $150 million bond measure will ultimately be spent still loom large.

Editor's Notebook: Downtown needs to get over parking fixation

For more than a few years now, we’ve enjoyed the perspectives offered by the citizen’s group Friends of Los Altos.

Although we sometimes don’t agree with its views, we respect what the group has to say. That’s because its board comprises three former Los Altos council members – Ron Packard, David Casas and Lou Becker – and a former planning commissioner, Jon Baer, all of whom comported themselves well while serving the city.

Other Voices: Parking changes downtown require critical analysis

Friends of Los Altos’ most recent article on the Downtown Vision plan apparently got lots of people talking. Interestingly, we also got the attention of the Town Crier, which published an editorial that generally praised FOLA but questioned our view that parking is an issue that needs to be addressed before implementing elements of the Downtown Vision plan. Bruce Barton, the Town Crier’s editor-in-chief, suggests that the reason no new parking is required is that he, personally, can always find parking, and in a future Los Altos, Lyft, Uber and residents using bicycles will solve any additional needs.

We have a lot of respect for Bruce and the staff at the Town Crier. We need to remember, however, that there are dynamics that may change his current experience with parking availability. Los Altos Community Investments’ massive two-story office building on State Street near the Town Crier offices has been vacant for many years but is currently being remodeled. How many parking stalls will those future businesses and employees require? The Downtown Parking Management Plan adopted by the city said that while the downtown does not currently have a shortage of parking, as more and more retail stores convert to restaurants, more parking is required, and the current parking supply will become insufficient.

Other Voices: It's up to we, the people, to save the function of local journalism

Small and regional newspapers are being shuttered, merged with larger papers or acquired by non-news entities seemingly interested in eking out a last bit of profit. Journalism across the country, especially local journalism, is struggling in its role: to provide citizens actionable information so they can make the best possible choices in their lives and in their local government.

Many of the problems faced by journalism are related to the shift to an online world. While many of us (myself included) prefer reading a physical paper, we must recognize that it is not the future. There are benefits to online news: It is much more accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities; distribution is cheap and instantaneous; and for the reporter, instead of a daily deadline, a story develops at its natural pace and is published when it’s ready.


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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