Measure C would prevent ‘downtown nightmare’
When my neighbor stopped by my house this spring and asked me to sign the citizens’ parklands initiative – now Measure C – I did not understand the need for it. Were public parks and public lands really under threat of development? I didn’t think so.
Now I have read all the ridiculous plans the city has for our tree-lined public parking plazas – and now I get it. The entire Downtown Vision is a crony developer’s dream – public housing, higher and denser building and (instead of trees and easy parking) so-called programmed spaces. It certainly is a recipe for making Los Altos look like downtown Redwood City.
Now I understand the need for Measure C. The public land we own as residents is irreplaceable. Once we’ve given it away for this downtown nightmare, we will never get it back again.
Downtown Vision would permanently change city
The Downtown Vision plan has been adopted by the Los Altos City Council and is being sold as major development to improve the vitality of downtown. It is a big increase in development, on top of what has already been done, so it is useful to understand the impact of that prior development.
I used to take my pets to Adobe Animal Hospital on First Street. There will never be retail/service there again. Condos are on that land, and residents will never go there again.
The retail/service space that formerly housed The Barking Lot, a burger joint and the empty corner lot at First Street and San Antonio Road is now a large commercial building. No new retail or service stores will ever be there.
Beausejour restaurant and the furniture store have been boarded up for years, taking that space off the market.
If you feel that the town has lost vitality, then you might also want to consider that it has also permanently lost a fair amount of its retail/service space to the development of commercial and residential buildings.
The intent of the Downtown Vision plan is to accelerate the very thing that is causing the problem. The retail/service space in Los Altos has been condensed to primarily Main and State streets, and now that is going to get the high-density development treatment. It is absurd to think that more of this same development will fix the problem – it extracts vitality and uniqueness from the Los Altos downtown. What it will do is permanently change the nature of downtown, what is left of it, and certainly not for the better.
Mountain Play worth the hike?
After decades in the area, I was surprised to read Julie Arnheim’s “Summer traditions” column (Aug. 29).
How could I never have heard of the Mountain Play in Marin? Then I got to the part where she wrote that after you see the play, “you hike the 7 miles down to Mill Valley.” It’s not that I haven’t heard of it, it’s that I’ve blocked it from my mind.
Los Altos Hills
Assistance League remains vibrant, well funded
We were disappointed in the article regarding our decision to close the Costume Bank and HOME apartments (“Assistance League closes Costume Bank, hands off HOME program,” Aug. 29).
The article identified an “evolving workforce” and reduction in volunteers as driving factors behind these closures. That is not accurate in either case. The Costume Bank cannot compete against the convenience of online shopping and, as a fundraiser, the economics of it no longer make sense. That said, the Assistance League of Los Altos is not “struggling to stay afloat.” Thanks to good financial stewardship from past leaders, we remain well funded.
Regarding HOME apartments, it was a very difficult decision to close this program and it was driven by a difficult partnership with Stanford Health Care (SHC). The women of our chapter created the HOME apartments program, fundraised to build it, oversaw the construction and operated the apartments for 31 years. We received no financial support from SHC, and we were forced to overcome many obstacles created by SHC.
We will miss both the Costume Bank and HOME apartments, but we’re excited about our future.
We’ve always attracted vibrant women who identify unmet needs in the local community and who then take action. This tradition will carry on well into the future.
Assistance League of Los Altos