Gorilla contact proves conservation danger
I was very interested in the Town Crier’s May 23 article “The great esc-‘ape’” about the mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, because I too was lucky enough to visit the gorillas (Kwitonda group) in 2016 with my daughter, Jena, who works for the International Gorilla Conservation Programme.
We were asked to stay at least 7 meters from the gorillas, to avoid stressing them and to reduce the risk of disease transfer; even common colds carried by humans can be deadly to the gorillas.
What I find disturbing is that in the article, the father was described as getting “up close and personal” with the gorillas. Articles such as this popularize the wrong behavior. We are asked to stay a certain distance away from the gorillas not only for our safety, but also so that we don’t pass on diseases to the animals.
A better article would have noted the problem with approaching too close to gorillas and the potential impact that irresponsible tourist activity could have on conservation of this critically endangered species.
Rat invasion requires action
Los Altos has a rat problem. North Los Altos, where I live, has a huge rat problem. Damage and home invasions by rats are hot topics of conversation among all of my neighbors with whom I have spoken recently. Rat infestations are also a major concern among my friends in south Los Altos, Mountain View, Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto and Cupertino.
This letter is not a request for tips on how to get rid of rats in my backyard, in my attic or under the hood of my car (my garage mechanic recently told me that rats had eaten the wire harnesses around the engine, and the repair would cost me $800). My neighbors and I are already well aware of prevention steps and options for how to kill rats – including the many drawbacks (for example, poison killing pets; cats eating birds, including owls; and traps killing squirrels and cats).
The rat problem here is now way beyond an individual removing dropped fruit from his or her yard, or removing bird feeders. The rat problem here is now widespread and out of control. When we kill rats, more come back right away. You can hear them every night scampering across rooftops, gnawing at garden watering systems and even eating garden furniture.
The purpose of this letter is to sound the alarm and ask every resident in Los Altos who has suffered some damage from rat infestations to write a descriptive letter, or send an email, to the Town Crier, to Nextdoor, to the mayor and to every member of the Los Altos City Council. The only way to manage the rat problem is a citywide, professional rat-eradication (“eratication”) program.
The Santa Clara County Vector Control District has got its hands full with mosquito-born diseases, ticks and dead birds – and they are underfunded. If Los Altos residents want to get a handle on this problem, the Los Altos City Council must step in, fund and take control of such an “eratication” program.
And remember, everyone: You have to pay the piper, one way or another!
Parks initiative sparks discussion
The citizens’ initiative on parks and public lands is really important, not the least because it has opened up a discussion in Los Altos about the rarest and most valuable thing we own as a community – our public property.
The challenge of any alternate measure drafted by the city is obvious: If Los Altos residents trusted our city council to protect our public land, there would not have been a need for this initiative in the first place.
This citizens’ measure is based on similar ones now in place in Los Altos Hills and Santa Clara, among other nearby cities, and they work just fine.
What will we get from a second measure drafted by the city? If their version is weaker and full of holes, why waste time and money on it? The citizens’ initiative has qualified for the ballot. Let’s all vote on it.
Post office delivers weed patch
The landscaping around the post office on Miramonte Avenue at Loyola Corners has been neglected and is an eyesore in our community.
The postmistress is aware of the problem and indicated that volunteer help could not be accepted due to liability issues.
Hopefully, she can find the way and means to keep our public property attractive and well maintained.
Local expressways need bike lanes
As a Los Altos cyclist for the past 30 years, I emphatically endorse Town Crier columnist Chris Hoeber’s call for dedicated bike lanes on our expressways.
For a cleaner, healthier environment, we need to encourage cycling as an alternative to driving. And every one of us deserves to be safe on our streets – on foot, behind the wheel or on a bike.