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Letters to the Editor

Let’s focus on Los Altos’ positives

In response to the notion that Los Altos is a sleepy downtown village lacking vibrancy (“How to make Los Altos a destination,” Nov. 1), this is what we do have: the Festival of Lights Parade, the Kiwanis Pet Parade, the Los Altos High School homecoming parade, the Rotary Club’s Fine Art in the Park, the Arts & Wine Festival, the Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween window painting, Halloween candy hand-outs at shops, the Fall Festival, the Corvette car show, First Fridays and summer music in Shoup Park and at Hillview Community Center.

Within walking distance, we have a post office, a public library, a charming theater, a history museum, a variety of restaurants, two wine-tasting rooms, a drugstore, two grocery markets, gift shops, a florist, a stationery shop, a game shop for the kids and more.

Let’s appreciate our “haves” for the moment and look to the future for new ideas.

Jo Palermo

Los Altos

Resident extends thanks to firefighters

I’d like to personally thank Capt. Toby McDonell and all of the firefighters who risked their lives to help others in the Northern California fires (“Local firefighter on the frontline,” Nov. 1). It must have been devastating for all of them to see such destruction in such populated areas.

My father-in-law’s home-building company built many of the homes in Santa Rosa along the Fountaingrove golf course in the 1990s. All but one are gone in the Tubbs Fire, along with thousands more. My brother-in-law’s home was destroyed, along with those of his longtime neighbors. Fortunately he, his housesitter and the pups are safe.

That seems to be all that matters now. His wife died 2 1/2 years ago from ALS, and even her ashes became one with the home’s ashes. Imagine all you have is a sedan with a few things in your trunk and your two German shepherds in your back seat. Some don’t have the sedan. Some don’t have their pets. Some didn’t make it out alive.

Firefighting is difficult work. Thank you, Captain McDonell. And thank all of your crew. You are much appreciated.

Rebecca Hayman

Los Altos

Remove eucalyptus trees to reduce LAH fire risk

Let’s learn a precautionary lesson from this disastrous fire season in Northern California and remove the inflammable eucalyptus trees in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Like stinkwort, eucalyptus is non-native, invasive and poses a considerable fire hazard.

After the Oakland fire in 1991, there was an effort to remove eucalyptus in the region because, according to Tom Klatt of the University of California Fire Mitigation Committee, “Eucalyptus is one of the most fire-intensive plants. … In intense fires, volatile compounds in foliage cause explosive burning.”

The rapid spread of the blazes that affected central Portugal in June, leaving 64 dead, was blamed on the flammability of eucalyptus.

Several years ago Los Altos Hills funded an effort to encourage homeowners to voluntarily remove eucalyptus trees. Today we are focusing only on the removal of stinkwort as a fire hazard.

In light of the ongoing deadly fires in Northern California, and the very-close-to-home Byrne Preserve blaze in July, let’s make the removal of fire-prone eucalyptus trees mandatory, thus mitigating the fire hazard and fostering the restoration of native trees.

Anula Jayasuriya, M.D., Ph.D.

Los Altos Hills

Fremont intersection prompts road rage

Simple question: Why do the Los Altos traffic czars hate the folks who live in the south part of town?

For months and months, while the A Street bridge over Foothill Expressway was widened and traffic lanes were reduced – at the same time that Fremont Avenue was closed for yet another bridge repair, therefore closing that access entirely – we lived with stop signs instead of traffic lights. This functioned well.

Ever since the work was completed and the signal lights reinstalled, traffic at Fremont/Miramonte/A Street has come to a screeching halt. Various people have written to the Los Altos City Council practically begging them to remove the lights and go back to the stop signs. We have been either entirely ignored or have received nonsensical replies. One of these, to my husband, alleged that the stop signs weren’t as safe as traffic lights, as drivers “might ignore them.”

Twice this week at approximately 4 p.m., the timing was set up so badly that only two cars per green light could get across Fremont on A Street. I watched as some drivers, totally frustrated, ran yellow and red lights. Equally as bad, people coming south on Miramonte, wanting to turn left onto Fremont, were also blocked.

I never saw anyone blow through a stop sign yet have witnessed multiple people suffer road rage at this intersection. How could this possibly be safer?

Can somebody inject some sanity into this?

Phyllis Brown

Los Altos

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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