LEAD class offers ‘tremendous’ opportunity
I’ve just experienced a fabulous way to learn about the inner workings of Los Altos’ leading institutions – local government, the elementary school district, the high school district, our local community college, our local businesses, the police department and a variety of other organizations working for the social and economic good of all local residents.
I am, of course, referring to the Leadership Education and Advancement (LEAD) class offered each spring by Los Altos Community Foundation, led by Claudia Coleman. I was amazed by the opportunity to speak directly with the leaders of these organizations and to learn about the challenges they are facing and the ways that I can assist them in their missions. It’s really a tremendous opportunity to get an inside look at what’s going on and how to get involved.
I recommend that anyone thinking about making a difference in the community sign up for the next class, which starts in January.
Thank you, Claudia, and thank you Los Altos Community Foundation.
LEAD class graduate
Restriping parking lot is a bad idea
I am totally opposed to the proposed restriping of the parking lot behind 40 Main St. into smaller spaces. This lot is difficult enough to navigate now without 90-degree turns in and out of nondiagonal spaces.
Wait – maybe we should permit the project after all. Maybe we should let it happen and see just how much of a Watusi dance is needed – how small can we go – in order to cram 20 more spaces onto the plaza. Maybe we would find out what percentage of Los Altos’ vehicles and drivers could successfully navigate such a lot.
MVLA energy savings benefit students
Schools aren’t usually seen as technological innovators, but Los Altos High and Mountain View High are not typical schools.
In 2016, the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District became the first high school district in the United States to install energy storage, solar panels and electric-vehicle charging stations. The energy storage system was provided and installed at no cost to the district by the Santa Clara-based Green Charge, made possible through California state incentives. The energy storage units have been a fantastic addition for our district both economically and environmentally. The summer of 2017 is the one-year anniversary of the 1.08-megawatt battery storage installation, which has already saved the district more than $80,000.
Every dollar saved is a dollar the district can spend in supporting greater educational opportunities. I am a proud advocate for this program, and I hope it will be inspiring to others to see the efforts to get energy storage in our district pay off.
Los Altos High Green Team parent volunteer and
founding chairwoman of the PTSA Go Green Sustainability Committee
Library deserves ‘lovely locale’
Laurie Pavlina Lincoln was so right in her letter to the editor (“Don’t relocate library, build additional stories,” June 21).
The current library location is ideal with its orchard site, plenty of parking and only a short walk to downtown for shops, restaurants, etc. The surroundings provide a quiet area for peaceful reflection or studious concentration.
Adding a second story with skylights, and perhaps a balcony or two, would even give the building more “eye appeal.”
A library does not belong in a storefront on Main Street. It deserves a lovely locale.
Lack of 40 Main approval is not city’s fault
The June 28 Town Crier editorial about the 40 Main St. project (“PTC sends right message on 40 Main”) would leave the impression that this project’s “nine-year quest” for approval was because of some fault with the city’s planning process.
Not at all.
Projects that respect the city’s values by conforming to applicable codes get approved and built in much less than nine years. Projects that don’t choose to follow the codes take longer.
This project in its “northern gateway to the downtown area” is being reviewed on its own merits, with the same care as any other location, because we all want the best for our town.
Phoebe Goodman Bressack
Member, Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission
Consistency needed for downtown projects
Thank you for your editorial regarding 40 Main St. (“PTC sends right message on 40 Main,” June 28).
You wrote, “Some commissioners … questioned the fairness of granting variances to some downtown projects but not others. … The 40 Main case brings to light inconsistencies in the city’s planning process.”
I served on the Downtown Buildings Committee. We discovered a disturbing lack of consistency in applying codes and guidelines to recent developments: 400 Main St., Safeway, Enchanté Boutique Hotel, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, 100 First St., 396 First St. and 240 Third St.
Staff reports include “findings” that evaluate submitted projects with respect to city requirements. Required findings are listed in our zoning code (14.78.060).
For every approved building the Downtown Buildings Committee studied, that code was pasted into the staff reports, rather than findings particular to the project.
Only the June 2012 staff report for 40 Main contained project-specific findings, most of which were negative.
The Downtown Buildings Committee is best known for recommending lower building heights in parts of downtown. However, our May 2016 final report contained many recommendations for policies, procedures and documentation to improve predictability and transparency in the planning process. Over one year has passed and they have still not been implemented.