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Los Altos a destination for the 'lucky': Letters to the Editor, Aug. 9, 2017

LOS ALTOS A DESTINATION FOR ‘LUCKY,’ WEALTHY

Thank you for publishing Asher Kohn’s goodbye letter to Los Altos (“Can you help keep people like me in Los Altos?” July 26). He simply doesn’t understand what Los Altos is.

Los Altos is not a journey, but a destination. Contrast this to Mountain View, which until recently was a community of the journey: You could afford a starter home, raise your kids and work hard to be successful in high-tech. If you were very good, or very lucky, or both, you could eventually leave it, and move to Los Altos: the destination.

Los Altos may never be a community for most teachers, or service workers, or even young, upwardly mobile software engineers. Asher proposes a solution looking for a problem: Build more housing. But if you can’t afford to live in Los Altos as it currently is, that’s all right with most of us.

We wish Asher luck. If he’s very good, or very lucky, and very financially successful, we will welcome him back with open arms.

Wang Chu

Los Altos

COLUMN RINGS TRUE FOR LONGTIME RESIDENT

I am writing to thank Town Crier staff writer Asher Kohn for his insightful and contemplative “Other Voices” column (“Can you help keep people like me in Los Altos?” July 26). His observations are well worth thinking about.

As a fairly recent resident, eager to settle into what he describes as our “homey and tight-knit” town and raise a family here, he can see himself in most of our residents. He is not sure, however, that they can see themselves in him. Diversity in income, ethnicity or attitude is not a major priority in Los Altos, and I base that on professional experience, social contacts and other participation in neighboring communities.

“They treat me and others who work in this town not as members of their community,” Kohn writes, “but as a service economy – an amenity that comes with the median $2.8 million home.”

Asher, I have lived here for over 50 years – long before $2.8 million median-priced homes, yet the same aura you describe has pretty consistently prevailed during that time. I personally have described it before in Town Crier letters, and been roundly criticized for doing so.

It is important for me to express as well, however, that I live happily in and love my neighborhood and neighbors.

Yet Asher’s words that “Los Altos is an epicenter of wealth and beauty, but it is also a community happy to pull the ladder up after themselves” are also true. Insularity and provincial attitudes and biases are all too prevalent and often heavy-handedly dispensed.

Why is this? I think it is clear that such attitudes have never been addressed or prioritized as important in our community, and are not now. Thanks again for bringing them to the fore.

Enjoy your new home, Asher, and may your experiences here be a fading memory as your bright future unfolds.

Joan Mather

Los Altos

Visuals of proposed project would be helpful

I need a visual, and I doubt I am the only one.

The proposed new Los Altos Community Investments building downtown (plaza, parking and all) is a development that I am having a hard time placing in town. I’m pretty sure at least part of it is to be across from the big-box Safeway on First Street, but that is rather vague. Descriptors like “Parking Plaza 9” or “7,” etc., mean nothing to me. I have lived in Los Altos for 35 years and can’t recall ever seeing any signage that uses that nomenclature.

So, I would very much like to see the Town Crier print a current aerial view of the site-specific and surrounding area of this proposed project.

For an example, I direct you to the picture on page 6 of the July 26 Town Crier of the proposed mixed-use building behind Chef Chu’s.

Specific highlighting that shows proposed aspects of the project (such as two-story and three-story sections, plazas and parking areas) would be most helpful to provide a more complete picture of just how this development actually fits into the downtown area.

Frank McKee

Los Altos

Why gas leaf blowers are illegal

It is important that our community understand the many reasons why gas-powered leaf blowers are illegal in Los Altos.

They are extremely noisy, harming the peace and quiet of our community, and damaging the hearing of the people using them.

They are extremely highly polluting  – in fact, running a gas leaf blower for 30 minutes creates more emissions than driving an F-150 pickup truck 3,800 miles, according to Edmunds.com. These emissions are detrimental to residents’ health and the health of the people who use them.

Please do what you can to preserve the quiet and cleanliness of our community, and the health of our gardeners, by not using gas-powered leaf blowers and encouraging your neighbors to do the same.

Consider leaving the leaves in place, or switch to an electric blower, or even a rake, and make your neighbors happy.

If you see a gas leaf blower in use, call the Los Altos Police Department’s nonemergency line at 947-2776, so an officer can cite the violator. Reporting the exact address of the violation is helpful.

Elaine Haight

Los Altos

 

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