Heartfelt thanks

to local firefighters

With the first rain and wind storm of the season bearing down last Sunday, many of us lost power. A sump pump we rely on to keep our basement from flooding is our immediate priority, and it was filling up quickly due to a backup generator (for this specific purpose) not working properly. I knew to call the fire department for help, as we couldn’t stay ahead of the rising water, bailing it out with buckets. 

It wasn’t a life-or-death situation, but the result from flooding can involve months of mold, dry rot and fans running nonstop for aeration and safety.

The help we received from our local fire departments was worthy of nonstop praise! Both the El Monte (Foothill College) and Loyola battalions came to help at different times over the course of four hours, as we were exhausting ourselves trying to stay ahead of the rising water in the sump hole.

I’d like to thank these helpful responders and suggest that we rename our fire district to something more all-encompassing and deserving, as they do so much more than fight our fires. Community Emergency Services or Emergency Responders is more indicative of their neighborhood value.

Thank you, thank you, all of you – you know who you are – and we are so very grateful for your services!

Twinkie and Brad Lyman

Los Altos Hills

County board needs culture change, not BCS

My daughter attended Bullis Charter School from kindergarten to eighth grade. The education she received and values instilled during that time continue to serve her well as she pursues her engineering degree at MIT.

We found the BCS community to be diverse and inclusive, forming strong bonds with the school and many of the parents. 

So, it was disheartening to read of the most recent Santa Clara County Board of Education

(SCCBOE) assault on this outstanding public charter school (“BCS told it needs to change its culture to serve more underserved students,” Oct. 13). To understand why requires a little history and context

First the history. BCS was founded by local parents in response to the last remaining elementary school in Los Altos Hills being closed. The founders established a public charter school to promote experiential learning built on strong value pillars. This resonated with parents, teachers and school administrators, resulting in a thriving educational community. That success has resulted in continuous meritless attacks over the years by local school boards. This is just the latest.

Now for context. The $5,000 annual donation cited in the article is requested to make up the difference between what BCS does not receive in funds per student resulting from an SCCBOE decision not to share several of the local parcel taxes equitably among the schools. The donation is voluntary and confidential, just like it is for the Los Altos Educational Foundation. We never encountered school or social pressure to contribute, and never heard that anyone did. So, the statement that it is “segregationist, separating the haves from the have-nots” is factually false. In any case, if it were a problem, SCCBOE could eliminate the issue by correcting the inequity in student funding. In other words, they are complaining about an issue they created.

BCS has a great culture. The culture that needs to change is that of the Santa Clara County Board of Education.

A.R. Alvarez

Los Altos Hills

Time to revoke BCS charter

After 18 years of Bullis Charter School, it’s time to revoke its charter.

I see no reason to bow down to BCS demands and am appalled at what they have done. I do not want one cent of my tax dollars to support BCS anymore.

BCS parents, are you aware of what you are teaching your children? To deny entry to BCS these 18 years to those who can’t pay a $5,000 “donation,” are low-income, Hispanic, English learners or disabled?

I also question why the Los Altos School District allowed this to go on for years. BCS must be very clever and heavily supported by attorneys. Is that where the “donation” funds go?

The time to stop this is now.

Joan St. Laurent

Former president of the Santa Rita School PTA and

school site chairperson

Los Altos

LA council’s censure policy is ‘draconian’

As stated on the wall of the city council chambers at Los Altos City Hall:

“The vision of the City of Los Altos is to preserve and enhance the business climate, ensuring that the City is financially stable, and to partner with the community in its commitment to improve the quality of life of residents.”

I can’t see how adopting a censure policy for the city council is compatible with improving the quality of life of residents. The mayor and each city council member should be setting an example of positive, not punitive leadership.

I’m not alone in being disappointed that our elected city officials feel that adopting this type of policy is a better approach than working on having better relationships with each other and team building, not setting up a system to attack one another.

This is not what the residents of Los Altos elected you to do. Please vote “no” and do not adopt this draconian policy and get back to work on the important issues that affect Los Altos residents. And try to keep in mind: “We don’t have to agree on anything to be kind to one another.”

Katherine Wurzburg

Los Altos

Nuclear power provides carbon-free option

If we want to meet our emissions goals, we need to support nuclear power.

The Mount Diablo power plant single-handedly produced 8.5% of California’s in-state power in 2020. This carbon-free plant is slated to be closed soon in part because of renewable energy programs that refuse to support nuclear energy and Community Choice Energy (CCE) pools that refuse to buy nuclear energy.

Even if you account for all large nuclear disasters, nuclear is safer than every other power source in terms of deaths per terawatt-hour of power generated. We all want an all-renewable energy future, but the reality is that we need a carbon-free present. The fires are getting worse every year, the hydroelectric dams are drying up and 48% of California’s energy generation is natural gas.

I know many of you fighting against nuclear power have been fighting for the environment and the climate since before I was born 19 years ago, which is why I have hope that you will listen. Talk to your local renewable energy programs and your CCEs and ask them to support nuclear energy.

Gregoire Brougher

Los Altos Hills