A virtual forum for Los Altos City Council candidates is scheduled 7-9 p.m. Sept. 30.
Seven candidates are running for three open seats on the five-member council in the Nov. 3 election. In advance of the forum, organizers have prepared questions for the candidates, which they are answering in each issue of the Town Crier leading up to the election.
The forum is co-sponsored by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, the Center for Age-Friendly Excellence, GreenTown Los Altos, the Los Altos Community Coalition, Los Altos Community Foundation, Los Altos Forward, the Los Altos Town Crier and the Los Altos Women’s Caucus.
Question: What are the most important environmental issues facing Los Altos as a city and as a member of the Bay Area community, and what should the council be working on to address them?
• Scott Spielman: Air and water pollution are the major environmental issues our city faces. Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The council should encourage electric-vehicle charging stations on city lands, ongoing education, the planting of trees and take steps to stop Lehigh Quarry from continuing to pollute our air and water.
• Jonathan Weinberg: The council should allocate funds to achieve the goals of an updated Climate Action Plan, encourage active transportation (bicycle, pedestrian), modernize infrastructure to protect creeks and effectively manage, capture and recycle stormwater. I favor partnerships with GreenTown and similar nonprofits to make Los Altos a greener city through programs, education, etc.
• Sally Meadows: We face wildfires, extreme weather and drought, plus safety and reliability issues with the electrical grid. The council should encourage reductions in residents’ vehicle miles driven, energy consumption and water use (replacing lawns with low water, native plants), plus incentivize battery storage with photovoltaic systems, electric appliances and LEED building standards.
• Lynette Lee Eng: Climate change is paramount. The council should acquire more parkland, protect and increase our tree canopy, require green building materials and native plants in new developments, incentivize solar, provide electric-vehicle charging stations and work with GreenTown to educate residents. Also, we must demand adherence to pollution standards from Lehigh Quarry.
• Alex Rubashevsky: The current most-pressing environmental issue for the Bay Area is wildfires. A thunderstorm that started 372-plus fires showed how ill-prepared we are, and we have not had clean air since Aug. 17. We need to work with our neighbors to build fire road/stops to mitigate future disasters.
• Terri Couture: The Los Altos Tree Protection Ordinance was established to preserve and maintain the city’s urban forest and rural character. Studies show forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today. Residents should reduce their consumption of throwaway packaging and material, as the market for recycling has greatly diminished.
• Kuljeet Kalkat: Los Altos is an affluent city with a very high carbon footprint per person due to our larger homes and high consumption. We can actively mitigate this issue through reach codes for new buildings and all other initiatives to lower energy use and reduce waste.