Group shouldn't imperilcity manager's job

I understand that the main topic of the special Los Altos Hills City Council meeting March 18 had to do with City Manager Carl Cahill's performance, as did the Feb. 17 special meeting.

After the Feb. 17 meeting, I became aware of a group of residents, calling themselves TTAGS, who have come together with a worthy vision and goals for the town that any reasonable resident, including myself, can totally agree with. However, TTAGS leaders’ unmistakable objective is ousting Cahill from his city manager position. To this end, TTAGS members have laid the blame for all the current and the past “gone wrongs” of the town on Cahill’s doorstep. I find this to be unfair and unwise.

The painful wrongdoings TTAGS cites include the GreenWaste Recovery garbage service contract, failing to protect residents from protracted excessive burglaries and the questionable plan for the addition to the town hall building. Again, I wholeheartedly agree with these “gone wrongs” and would like to see the town remedy them.

The undeniable fact remains that most of these problems more correctly belong with the council body itself and/or the individual council member overseeing the item in question, and only secondarily to Cahill, who works at the pleasure of the council or council member. Therefore, firing Cahill will not address these problems.

An equally serious problem with TTAGS is that its most visible leader, John Swan, is the spouse of Linda Swan, a newly elected council member. With ousting Cahill as its stated objective, TTAGS at the very least suffers from a major appearance of conflict-of-interest impropriety, which is every bit as bad as the act of impropriety itself.

Based on the above, I strongly submit that Cahill’s retention should be decided on the merits of his performance against his assigned goals. A process of fair and balanced input from an unbiased representative of the town’s residents can be added. And certainly not the insinuation of any self-appointed group.

Jim Basiji

Los Altos Hills

GreenTown preaches local sustainability

It has been many years since the first Earth Day in 1970. We have made progress. Our air and water are cleaner now, but the invisible threat, carbon dioxide, keeps going up. Bill McKibben co-founded in 2008 with the recognition that the levels of CO2 should not exceed 350ppm. Last month we hit 417.

Global temperatures are rising, too, step by step, right along with carbon dioxide, and with consequences. Wildfires in California. Hurricanes on the East Coast. The loss of polar ice and sea-level rise. The list goes on.

We at GreenTown Los Altos preach and practice local action. There are still things we can do. Visit the “Lunch with GreenTown” talks on YouTube. We had speakers tell us about energy upgrades for the home, useful tips to cut your carbon footprint, the importance of good urban planning, why eating green makes sense, the value of sustainable agriculture and, a personal favorite, why you should bike.

We also plant trees, more than 200 so far. This is good for the planet and a fun volunteer activity. Many students from our local schools have helped us. We also have a summer internship program targeted at those same students. For more information, visit

Celebrate Earth Day. Take pride in what has been accomplished, while knowing we must do more. Our kids will thank us.

Gary Hedden

GreenTown Los Altos