No Shoes, Please: Thawing in winter

It was astonishing to watch a delegation of both South and North Korean athletes entering PyeongChang Olympic Stadium together for the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony. Notwithstanding worldwide concern over the possibility that President Donald Trump and Dear Leader Kim Jong Un are on the precipice of a nuclear showdown, the Korean Peninsula found a way to communicate and reunite. Amazing.

I’m a sucker for symbolic gestures, though I am aware they often ring hollow. This one, however, didn’t, at least not for me. I thought the South and North Korean athletes looked genuinely happy. Of course, mere participation in the Games is thrilling in and of itself. But as problematic as the North Korean regime has been for decades, and as juvenile and bombastic as the rhetoric between U.S. and North Korean leadership has been of late, I can’t help but think that their jubilation was sincere, and that positive seeds were sown when the host country of the Olympic Games embraced representatives of the Hermit Kingdom as part of the family, indeed, as part of the global community.

Letters to the Editor

Bird exhibition proves a feather in museum’s cap

It’s the year of the bird, and the Los Altos History Museum timed it perfectly with the exhibition “Instinct Extinct: The Great Pacific Flyway.”

Open now, the display explores the seasonal migration of millions of birds navigating by instinct. Sadly, the birds face habitat loss, pesticides and a changing climate, and many species will become extinct.

Letters to the Editor

Cyclist longs for day leaf blowers banned

I’m disappointed that the Los Altos Hills City Council decided against banning gas-powered leaf blowers, especially given the current data regarding the extreme noise levels and health risks associated with these blowers (“LAH council throttles proposed leaf-blower ban,” Jan. 31).

According to the article, the noise emitted by the “two-stroke” machines is 100,000 times louder than Los Altos Hills’ 50-decibel exterior noise-level standard. In addition, gas-powered leaf blowers are linked to cardiovascular disease and lung cancer due to their stirring up of particulate matter. Furthermore, their carbon dioxide-emitting engines contribute to climate change, which also can have serious health consequences for humans.

Other Voices: Communities can choose to end homelessness

The League of Women Voters’ Feb. 8 forum addressing the increasing numbers of RVs parked along Mountain View streets left a few things out. The biggest thing left out was homeless input. This is typical of local attitudes toward homeless issues and homeless people.

We are almost always left out. That’s one big reason why homeless services are not very effective.

Editor's Notebook: The building pressure to provide affordable housing

Don’t look now, but Los Altos is feeling the heat from the state as the desperate call for more affordable housing – and more housing, period – grows louder and louder.

The city has long been established as an affluent, primarily single-family home mecca with generous 10,000-square-foot lots. It also has long since been built out.

Haugh About That?: Choose wisely

Joking about all of the things I didn’t seem to do right, my 97-year-old father tilted his head and went silent. It was 2012, the year of his passing, and he was preparing to impart his final words of wisdom.

“Why do you do that?” he grumbled.

The Villaj Idiut: Post-it notes

There has been a lot of talk over the course of the past few months about The Washington Post, primarily because of the release of the movie “The Post,” starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep and directed by Steven Spielberg.

I will admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for the movie during the awards ceremonies because The Washington Post was where I started my journalism career.

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 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.

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