The ‘write’ stuff makes an impression

Some years ago, I had four clients who wanted to connect to the sewers in Los Altos Hills. The town engineer in charge of sewers was sending them on bizarre errands and asking for useless information. I wrote a letter to City Manager Carl Cahill, informing him of this problem on his staff. I mailed the letter and Carl called two days later. He asked me to come to his office to discuss the matter.

When I arrived, he said, “Jerry, your letter really made an impression.”

I said, “It did?”

He said, “Yeah, nobody writes letters anymore. Everybody uses email.”

Young people take note: Here is a technique for separating yourself from the crowd.

Jerry Clements

Retired civil engineer

Los Altos

LA leaders: Step up oversight of quarry

It is imperative that we add the proposed expansion of the Lehigh-Permanente quarry to the work plan for the Los Altos Environmental Commission.

This limestone quarry and cement plant in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains above our community is a major polluter in our valley, and its poor environmental stewardship especially affects our town and our neighbors. Santa Clara County, including our representative Joe Simitian, has proven a disastrous overseer and regulator of this plant and mine, which has already been considered for Superfund pollution status.

Santa Clara County cannot be relied upon to secure our interests. Lehigh has already severely damaged Permanente Creek right under the county’s nose. Also right under the county’s nose, it has illegally destroyed large swaths of woodland forest and the ridgeline between the quarry and our beloved Rancho San Antonio – all in violation of its existing agreement with the citizens of Los Altos and Santa Clara County.

Now, the mining company wants to compromise more of the ridgeline, which was originally conserved to protect the Los Altos and Santa Clara Valley viewshed from the mine and cement plant monstrosity. Look up in the mountains today, and the mine’s damage is clearly visible from all parts of south Los Altos all of the way to downtown Los Altos and all of the way down to the shoreline of the bay.

Lehigh pollutes our air, water and natural environment with impunity, and the city of Los Altos has not stepped up to safeguard its residents. If Los Altos does not help to thwart this expansion, Lehigh will add more than 600 truck trips a day to our surrounding roadways, and you will be responsible for another major degradation in our quality of life.

The next two years are critical. We need more engagement from Los Altos city leaders to protect residents and public health. Please, do your job.

Sharon Simonson

Los Altos