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Last updateTue, 14 Nov 2017 4pm

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Editorials: Sweeley, Faillace for MVLA school board

The stewardship of the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District (MVLA) is in good hands with a strong group of trustees who are competent and caring. Susan Sweeley and Phil Faillace are two key members, which is why we think the incumbent trustees should be elected for four more years.

Sweeley, on the board since 2000, has shown extensive commitment to students and the district as a whole. In addition to mentoring kids, she also is involved with student support groups such as the Community Health Awareness Council and the MVLA Community Scholars. Her business background indicates she is an asset come budget review time.

Faillace, a former math instructor, is completely focused on academic excellence. A past member of the district's curriculum council, he's committed to quality teaching and applies the necessary scrutiny toward any new instructor seeking tenure.

Both Faillace and Sweeley recognize the achievement gap between Latino students and the rest of the district population as MVLA's biggest challenge. Sweeley believes the problem is addressed student by student. Faillace believes exit exams, currently applied to the high schools, also should be given at the lower grades as an extra push to get students better prepared.

We appreciate the candidacy of challenger Colin Rudolph. The Los Altos family man, a high-tech account executive, is in the race for the right reason – a simple desire to give back to his community. By doing more homework about MVLA, he is bound to pose a serious challenge in a future race.

Rudolph should be commended for making this a race in the first place. He represents the third candidate vying for two seats, making 2008 MVLA's first competitive election in 10 years. His entry allowed us – and the public – to become familiar with the good work of Sweeley and Faillace.

Earlier this year, the idea of term limits was suggested for the MVLA board. Granted, Sweeley is seeking a third term, Faillace a fourth. But term limits usually are viewed as a way to get rid of politicians who have become too cozy with special-interest groups over time. Here, the special interests are students and quality education. Experience and commitment, from our perspective, trump desires to get rid of someone perceived as overstaying his or her welcome. Experience and commitment are why we're going with Sweeley and Faillace.

County measures: No on A

Only five years away from a 2013 deadline for all hospitals to be upgraded seismically, officials at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center are turning to county residents at the worst possible economic time to propose an $840 million bond measure (Measure A on the Nov. 4 ballot). We urge a no vote.

We understand that Valley Med provides burn and trauma units, and is a key emergency response facility. It also provides treatment for the uninsured.

But Measure A doesn't guarantee a seismic upgrade. Needing a two-thirds majority to pass, it only funds the first phase of a massive retrofit estimated at $1.45 billion.

At a time when homes are being foreclosed on, stocks are tumbling and people are struggling more than ever to make ends meet, they're being asked to pay another $14 annually on every $100,000 of assessed valuation – for half a construction project?

There's no guarantee this is money well spent, just as there's no guarantee voters will choose to fund the full cost of the upgrade.

Considering county supervisors in May rejected a sales-tax incresase or emergency response fee to help Valley Med (citing the economy), we suggest voters do the same with Measure A.

Yes on B

Measure B proposes a one-eighth-cent sales tax to fund a 16.1-mile BART extension from Fremont to San Jose, fulfilling a long-sought desire to bring BART into Silicon Valley. As we said with Measure A, this is not a time for more taxes. But alternative transportation is good for the economy and the environment. We're voting yes.

Opponents cite numerous failures of the Valley Transportation Authority as the main reason to reject Measure B. But proponents point out the extension will be operated by BART, not the VTA.

In addition, Measure B funds don't kick in until state and federal matching funds are granted. The eighth-cent sales tax is good for 30 years.

High gas prices have compounded our current economic woes. Silicon Valley has depended for too long on the freeway as (virtually) the sole commuting option.

This extension allows for a BART connection with the rest of the Bay Area. The eighth of a cent is worth it.

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