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Last updateWed, 26 Jul 2017 1pm

Letters to the Editor

Tom’s Depot decries ‘defamatory’ comments

As the owner of Tom’s Depot, I take issue with the article on the Loyola Corners study session with the Los Altos City Council and the Planning and Transportation Commission (“Changes at Loyola Corners scrapped,” April 26).

I was most disturbed by the reporting of Los Altos City Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins’ comments about our economic viability and other mistruths. I’m in shock that Ms. Bruins would speak publicly about something she knows nothing about, and that the Town Crier would report this without fact-checking.

It is absolutely not true that “Tom’s Depot … is in trouble,” as Bruins states. Our family has had a successful business in Loyola Corners for 16 years, and our restaurant is doing quite well, as she confirms in her statement, calling Tom’s Depot “the area’s most popular restaurant.”

Her statements that “Tom’s Depot only exists through good graces. … It is not economically viable at all. … The business has been rent-free for periods of time” are absolutely false. There has never been a time when we have not paid our rent. We have always paid our rent, taxes, maintenance and insurance, all while making a profit.

If, as Bruins stated during the meeting, our landlord was the source of these lies – which Bruins then repeated as city councilmember and which the Town Crier then published, all without checking with us for verification – that is appalling.

Bruins states, “It’s because it is well loved that the property owners have let it stay. Any other property owner would have shut it up.” It concerns me that a city councilmember thinks it is just fine for landlords to kick out popular, successful businesses for just any reason.

Finally, “When Tom’s Depot shuts down, and the next thing shuts down and the next thing shuts down … is that what we want?” Bruins asked. We have no plans to shut down and plan to be running our neighborhood restaurant for many years. Instead of predicting our demise, our city council representatives should be applauding the success of a popular, long-term restaurant in an industry known for having a 90 percent failure rate. We are proud that Tom’s Depot has been in business longer than almost any other restaurant in Los Altos.

Since this article has run, we have had many customers tell us that they are sorry we are going out of business. This defamatory article has hurt our reputation and caused anxiety about the future of our business. We request an immediate retraction from the Town Crier.

Maria Gonzalez

Tom’s Depot owner

Los Altos

 

Editor’s response: The Town Crier should have followed Bruins’ comments with a reaction from Tom’s Depot’s owners in that same article. We did feature a response from the restaurant in a May 3 follow-up article. We will not apologize for reporting the comments of our local leaders. Furthermore, the point lost in the midst of defending Tom’s Depot (which, by the way, we also have long supported) is Bruins’ point that if the city and Loyola Corners leaders do nothing, then the inevitable changes that come to Loyola Corners over time will be less desirable than having a good plan in place directing or limiting those changes.

Bruins ‘culpable’ for Tom’s Depot statements

Thanks to Asher Kohn for following up on Los Altos City Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins’ way-out-of-line comments April 20 at the Loyola Corners study session (“Tom’s Depot thrives despite city leader’s assertion, owners say,” May 3).

Bruins should be held culpable for speculating on Tom’s Depot’s or any business’ economic viability while sitting as a public servant of the city.

The construction of both the bridges last year was long, noisy and difficult for everyone. Many of us made extra visits to all the merchants to support them as they weathered the construction mess.

We in south Los Altos consider ourselves very lucky having both Tom’s Depot and Cafe Vitale at Loyola Corners. Parking is and continues to be a challenge.

I think the best use of the triangle property in question (temporarily housing a coffee drive-thru) would be for the city to purchase it, stripe it and plant more shade trees, thereby adding another Los Altos parking plaza to our fair town.

That would be the city doing some good economic development planning instead of what they have done so far.

JoAnne Estill

Los Altos

Celebration of muscle cars insulting

The “American muscle in the modern age” article in the On the Road section of the May 3 Town Crier is an insult to the intelligence and interests of your readership.

Reading about a 300-horsepower hemi-V8 is not going to improve my life or our community. More people in Los Altos will be buying the latest carbon-fiber bicycles from The Bicycle Outfitter than the Chrysler 300 featured in the article.

I’d like to read about technology that may improve my life, not old muscle-car engines. How about an article on the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai? Or the new Hyundai hybrid?

Glorifying the not-so-wonderful auto-centric culture that has devoted so much land to roads, parking, driveways and garages while creating greenhouse gases and smog is deluding us into forgetting the huge challenge we face in addressing climate change. Spouting zero-to-60-mph times encourages aggressive driving, which scares parents from letting their kids walk to school.

I look forward to more relevant articles in the future.

Terry Barton

Los Altos

 

The authors respond: Thank you for taking the time to write in reaction to our recent column reviewing the Chrysler 300S on a trip to the Blackhawk Museums. It’s always useful to understand the range of interests and opinions represented by readers of our automobile reviews.

We would like to point out in response that we try to span the entire range of automotive technology and design on the current marketplace, because even a cursory view of traffic passing Main and State streets on an average day will include everything from the newest Tesla model to supersized SUVs and high-performance supercars. We might note that we actually reviewed the newest Hyundai Fuel Cell car (last fall, soon after it was released), as well as all of the various electric plug-ins and most of the hybrid models currently on the market.

Beyond that, it really isn’t our specific mission within the Town Crier editorial mix to discuss whether people should or should not be driving cars, or how they should be driving; we’ll leave public discussion of those issues to good friends in GreenTown Los Altos and the relevant local traffic, bicycle and pedestrian commissions, whose work we personally support.

Gary and Genie Anderson

Enthusiast Publications LLC

LACI coverage needs balance

I think the article in the May 3 Town Crier could have more accurately reflected the controversial nature of the Los Altos Community Investments development on First Street (“Downtown office building, park to undergo PTC review”).

I didn’t see much written that reflected the significant opposition to this project from residents – much of the text was repeating the developer’s position.

Ultimately, you might think about residents and not developers as your constituents.

Fred Haubensak

Los Altos

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