We’re in the stretch run of a high-profile general election season. Meanwhile, some local news events having nothing to do with the election are taking place, and they’re every bit as politically volatile as some candidates’ races. Here are our takes.
• Thumbs-up: On what amounts to a reprieve for the Los Altos Hills County Fire District after coming close to a Board of Supervisors vote last week to suspend district operations after 81 years and consolidate them into the Santa Clara County Fire Department. Next up is a review of countywide fire services headed by the Local Agency Formation Commission, which could take about a year. We’re convinced the consolidation effort is all about acquiring the local fire district’s $22 million in reserves. We salute all firefighters for the job they do, but this consolidation attempt has little to do with fire protection.
• Thumbs-up: To the Los Altos City Council’s recent approval of a reach code ordinance that amounted to a fair compromise. The council majority met opponents halfway by allowing natural gas on cooktop stoves in new construction – a major source of opposition – while still banning gas for space and water heating, a move Mayor Jan Pepper described as the biggest environmental impact. The ordinance requires higher efficiency standards for natural gas use in new construction. In the end, residents can opt for gas stoves, and there’s still environmental progress made.
• Thumbs-up: To the Los Altos council for approving a task force to address the role of local policing. Some contend Los Altos is a quiet, low-crime community with a good police department. That’s true. But in the wake of a July Los Altos town hall on policing, enough concern is there (the questioned need for school resource officers, a tendency toward traffic stops of minorities) to warrant the city doing its due diligence. It also presents the opportunity for a good police department to get better.
• Thumbs-up: To the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District’s recent groundbreaking for new stadium lights at both campuses. It’s the culmination of years of hard work and compromise with neighbors – an outcome few envisioned even a few years ago. It’s an outstanding accomplishment.