LA council: Initiate communication

Following is an open letter to the Los Altos City Council.

It appears we are headed for another year of serious drought. As residents of Los Altos, we are concerned about the amount of watering still being done around town. It’s understandable that our public spaces need to be kept attractive, but we are wondering if the council could issue some guidelines now on how residents can save water by watering less and conserving in the home?

A timely reminder might prompt those still washing our cars and overwatering our lawns that all of us may need this precious resource later on this year to drink, keep us cool and fight any fires that threaten our safety.

As, except for notes in the Town Crier, we never get any direct information from our council, we are also wondering if it’s possible in this day and age for you to initiate communication to all residents in some way, rather than us having to sign up for an e-update or choosing to watch the council meetings remotely? Perhaps some kind of direct request for our email (or other IT addresses), which might be extremely useful in any emergency (and could be worded this way) would work? We all already get the Yellow Alerts, and we wonder if a similar system might be used for this?

Thank you for your attention.

Lizebeth and Don Burch

Los Altos

Cycle track is ‘recipe for disaster’

I completely disagree with the cycle track proposal in front of Los Altos High School on Almond Avenue. I live nearby and witness bicycles and cars many mornings during drop-off (pre-COVID, of course), and I am an avid cyclist myself. Having kids bike on the wrong side of the road crossing four driveways with student drivers is a recipe for disaster; completely unsafe.

Not only is it not teaching our kids good bicycle safety, the drivers will not be on the lookout for bicycles coming from the “wrong” direction. We know this from the number of bicycle riders and pedestrians hit every year because they are riding on the sidewalk between Los Altos High and Almond Avenue.

Whoever is driving this is too quick to make this decision. Have any of them sat at the corner of Gordon Way and Almond Avenue during drop-off in the morning? Or in front of Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter School? Cars, bikes, pedestrians, all crisscrossing across to get on the “wrong” side of the street to cross at the crosswalks on the wrong side of the streets.

Much more observation needs to happen before this cycle track gets painted on Almond Avenue!

Perhaps the biggest reason I’m against the cycle track is bicyclists’ safety. Cars do not expect to see bicycles coming from the “wrong” side of the road, especially high school students who are brand-new drivers. This is not safe.

The focus should be put on making the crossings safe and legal.

Again, all you have to do is stand out there some morning during drop-off and you will see what an unsafe situation it is. You can also read the column from several weeks ago addressing learning the rules of the road on a bicycle (Town Crier, March 3).

Jennifer Granath

Los Altos

Los Altos needs new emergency center

Los Altos desperately needs to replace its aging and substandard Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Federal funding may be available from a new grant program, and the city has applied for funds. The competition for funds is known to be very high for U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo’s 18th District. We’re competing with larger and potentially more politically influential cities.

To maximize our opportunity to be selected for funding, please, please call Congresswoman Eshoo’s office at (202) 225-8104 or email her at to ask for her help by supporting this project.


The current EOC is a conference room in the aging Maintenance Services Center on Fremont Avenue. It is highly vulnerable to failure from an earthquake, wildfire or other disaster. It is not designed to operate in a pandemic and doesn’t meet requirements for an “Essential Services Building” in the California Health and Safety Code.

Fortunately, the city has been planning a new EOC building to be located behind the existing police building on the civic center campus. If we could get grant funding, the project could be “shovel ready” this summer.

Call/email Congresswoman Eshoo!

Harry Guy

Los Altos

No water,  no growth

Adding 2 or 3 million more residents to an area that does not have enough water for current residents – does that make sense? I don’t think so.

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency. Reservoirs in the Russian River watershed are at record lows. We have only 50% of water in reservoirs. Not long ago, we had an 11-year drought (according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). As our climate changes, our droughts are longer, our fire season is months longer, our water supply still scanty.

Are Californians “stubborn” for wanting more access to nature and the preservation of our environment? Californians choose to be here and not in a crowded metropolis. The housing championed by Professor Matthew Record is not “affordable” and does not address the homeless crisis facing even employed Californians (“Housing shortage costs billions annually, expert tells chamber,” Town Crier, April 14). It benefits realtors and builders.

The amount of housing claimed to be needed is controversial. The attack on single-family homes is racist. Minority communities are threatened. Real-estate interests buy out lower-income families. Homeownership is a goal reached over generations.

Why should they not be allowed their own homes? Homeownership brings stability and taxes to cities. The pandemic taught us the perils of crowding. Access to a yard, a tree is essential.

Susan Embers

Mountain View