Foothill College led to book’s success
Reading Alexander Shebanow’s May 12 column, “I found my voice in community college,” reminded me how an intense five-day-a-week transistor course with lab at Foothill College in the early 1960s changed my life.
It was taught by Ben Lange, a physicist from Lockheed. Using material from that course, I put together a transistor course for Hewlett-Packard’s service department, which ran 7-9 a.m. three times a week for six weeks to teach repair guys how to fix transistorized products. Then Dave Packard asked me to make it into a two-day course for HP’s customers. I did, and it became so popular that there were five of us out full time teaching it across the U.S. and around the world. We did this for five years.
Next, Packard asked me to make it into a videotape series, which ran 15 tapes and was translated into multiple languages.
Later, I turned it into a book, selling close to 200,000 copies in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese. It is used in a college course in Brazil, and a lot of thanks go to Foothill College for offering this course in the early days of transistors.
(No address given)
LAH not prepared for next big quake
When the next big earthquake hits, not many years from now, many residents of Los Altos Hills will be in deep trouble because of the layout of our town and the irrational policies perpetuated by the city council.
Given that most residences are on cul-de-sacs with only one road in and out – and those roads likely to be blocked by fallen power poles, trees, landslides or burning homes, many people will face the necessity of getting out, preferably in their own vehicles.
There are some emergency roads through parts of town and a number of pathways between neighborhoods that are wide enough for both private cars and emergency vehicles to use, but they are all blocked from public access, leaving residents trapped unless they can recruit a fire engine or ambulance. There are other paths that could be made accessible with minor modifications, but nothing is being done toward that end, which I claim is irrational.
Another problem that is likely to arise is that some freeway bridges will collapse, cutting the town in two at interchanges. There is a way to circumvent that problem – namely, by opening up small segments of centerline walls on both sides of each interchange so that cars and trucks can get on an on-ramp, cross to the lane going the other direction and get off on the off-ramp on the other side.
For the past 24 years, I have been calling the attention of the Los Altos Hills City Council to the need to address these problems, but each time, they nod their heads and do nothing.
After the recent interesting talk on earthquakes given by a Stanford University professor at town hall, I brought up these matters during the question period, but the council member controlling the microphone then took it elsewhere to prevent any discussion of this important safety issue, as usual.
Los Altos Hills
Proposed initiative is not about parks
I spoke with Los Altos resident Jim Jolly about his Save Los Altos Parks initiative, a proposed ballot measure that would prevent the city from selling more than 7,500 square feet of public land without voters’ approval. I told him my concern is our teachers. I would like to help teachers with workforce housing on a city parking lot, but his initiative would make that difficult, if not impossible.
There is too much uncertainty in getting a complex ballot measure passed, and that will stop good projects before they even get started. He said the problem is that big tech companies are hiring too many people here in Silicon Valley.
He is right – that is one of the root causes of the housing crisis. But sadly, his initiative won’t fix that. His initiative will do plenty of other things, though – it will stop the Downtown Vision project in its tracks. It will stop a new Bus Barn, a new movie theater, a new library and, ironically, a new downtown park.
It is mistrust of city government that is driving this initiative. The answer is vigilance, staying engaged and speaking up. That works. This initiative is not about parks, and it is not the way to go.
If you get a chance, please see the Los Altos Women’s Caucus film “Los Altos: A Place to Call Home?” This film puts a face on the housing crisis with interviews of teachers, health-care workers and people who simply work downtown. These are the people who help make our city a success. It is a very worthwhile and touching film.
Persky recall: How to judge a judge
The recall effort targeting Judge Aaron Persky asks the public to make a judgment that few have enough information upon which to base it. No one has suggested that Persky is not qualified for the job in terms of education and experience. Also, no one appears to suggest that any of the decisions that he has made during his career were not within the parameters set by law. In fact, the California Commission on Judicial Performance determined that he has indeed followed the law.
Certainly I am in no position to support something as drastic as a recall. I believe it is extremely important to avoid trial by public or media opinion. There are too many spin artists that can shape public opinion, particularly by appealing to emotions.
Los Altos Hills