Letters to the Editor: Week of Oct. 10

LASD should provide equal opportunity

I disagree with the Mountain View City Council’s stance that the 10th school site should house a neighborhood school, as stated in the Sept. 26 article in the Town Crier (“10th-site discussions miss north of El Camino Real perspective”).

The equity issue at stake is not so much the walking distance of the school; the glaring equity issue about to transpire is that such a neighborhood school would likely create a disparity in access to a top-performing school. As a former resident of the Mountain View Whisman School District, I observed that school performance in Mountain View was closely tied to the socioeconomic status of the students’ families. The schools in the more affluent parts of Mountain View clearly outperformed their less affluent counterparts. As a child of immigrant parents, I know that many immigrants would place a much higher value on access to a high-quality public education than a short walk to school.

Placing a Los Altos School District neighborhood school for students who live north of El Camino would deprive both Los Altos and Mountain View students alike of the benefits of a diverse socioeconomic student body. As a Santa Rita School parent who lives south of El Camino, I am proud of the fact that my school has more socioeconomic diversity than other district elementary schools. Such diversity gives growth opportunities for students and families on both sides of the spectrum.

Los Altos, let’s not be insular. We have an opportunity to continue to give an equal opportunity for all students in our district, regardless of economic background.

Cheryl Thieu

Los Altos

Make your own decision on Measure C

The No on Measure C ad in the Sept. 12 Town Crier states the following: “Costly. Confusing. Join Community Leaders – Vote No on Measure C.”

No thank you. We are part of the 71 percent who helped defeat Measure A, which was put on the ballot by some of these same “community leaders.” Talk about costly! At the same time, three large billboards were erected at strategic intersections around town to convince us to vote “yes.” Also costly!

“Confusing”? That is a word routinely used in political campaigns to deter voters from actually reading the measure. It is another tactic, as is the use of endorsements (group mentality) to dissuade the voter from doing his or her own due diligence.

Please read Measure C in its entirety and make your own decision. Don’t leave it up to someone else to decide for you.

Kathleen and Roland Dow

Los Altos

Measure C will bring consequences

Measure C is a classic Trojan horse.

First, “Protect Our Parks” was a very smart choice for its pitch, but the only example of the intersection of voters and government over parks the last 55 years was when voters turned down the purchase of Redwood Grove and the Los Altos City Council then made the right decision to purchase it. Interestingly, if Measure C was in effect at the time, we would have one less park.

Second, concealed in Measure C is that leases/lease renewals of city property must be approved by voters. One impact of this will be increased costs to renew ongoing leases on city property used by nonprofit services – like our two libraries. Will the county library system need to offset election costs with reduced services like Sunday closure or reduced evening hours?

Third, Measure C proponents talk about avoiding “unanticipated consequences” to preserve “Los Altos Character.”

The character of our town is the result of over 55 years of the present city government structure, and the major change proposed by Measure C, with its confusing language and higher costs, will certainly bring consequences, but not positive for the majority of residences or “Los Altos Character.”

David Smith

Los Altos

Why no formal list of Measure C supporters?

A Los Altos City Council member reminded me recently that there are good neighbors and concerned citizens on both sides of the Measure C debate. Everyone who is trying to understand the implications of this initiative wants what is best for Los Altos.

In my own search for answers, I visited the websites of both “camps,” and one difference stood out: the Yes on C site did not contain a formal list of those who support the measure, while the No on C site did have a long list of organizations and individuals who oppose this initiative.

I looked at the list of those who do not believe Measure C is good for Los Altos. And I recognized the names of a number of our citizens. They include current and former city officials (our duly elected representatives), as well as long-standing volunteers who have devoted years to improving Los Altos for all of us. Many of them have been honored by the community for their dedication and their contributions.

In contrast, I know very few of those actively supporting Measure C, and I am not aware of any who have brought about lasting improvements to our town with the kind of timeless efforts needed to bring about meaningful change.

I encourage anyone who is uncertain about how to vote on Measure C to look at where your fellow citizens – those whom you respect and admire – stand. Once I had done that, I knew exactly how I was going to vote. And I will do so with confidence in my decision.

Bob Simon

Los Altos

Editor’s note: The websites referenced in this letter are yesonlosaltosmeasurec.org and nocforlosaltos.org.

Measure C gives residents power to sell land

Once again we see an opponent spreading misinformation about the well-written Measure C. The measure does not force the city to hold an election when renewing leases on libraries, fire stations, the Los Altos History Museum and Bus Barn Theater. Plus, a sunset clause does not make a good law. In fact, most local, state and federal laws do not have a sunset clause. If this law becomes outdated, it can be modified or rescinded by a majority vote of the residents.

“Modified or rescinded by a majority vote of the residents” is what scares our elected officials. Politicians hate giving up their power, so naturally they will fight any measure that does that, regardless of how well written that measure is.

The League of Women Voters mentions that the law is unnecessary because no parks or open spaces have ever been sold by the city council. This proactive measure was written to prevent that from happening. Unlike most reactive laws, this proactive law will close the barn door before the horse gets out, not after.

As we all know, once a piece of land is sold, it’s a done deal. We, the residents, can’t recover it.

I’m voting “yes” on Measure C because I want the power to sell our parks, open spaces and public lands to reside with the residents of Los Altos, not a majority of three city council members.

Ken Girdley

Los Altos

Elected officials: The populists are angry

Los Altos Mayor Jean Mordo tells us “we must trust our elected officials to deal with complex issues that do not lend themselves easily to a simple “for” or “against” decision. Listen to all, but be wary of simplistic opinions disseminated on social media by angry populists!” (“LA council candidates address decision-making balance,” Sept. 19).

Merriam-Webster defines “populist”:

1 : a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people especially

2 : a believer in the rights, wisdom or virtues of the common people

Does our mayor really think that only elected officials are smart enough to deal with complex issues, while the common people are only capable of simplistic opinions?

No wonder we populists are angry!

Pat Marriott

Los Altos

Measure C: ‘If in doubt, throw it out’

Measure C started as “save our parks” but changed to “save our small-town character.” I love our small-town charm, but Measure C is not the answer because there is more to our town’s charm than public land. The best way to protect all of our town is to work with and not against the city council. Proposals for change to our community spaces must go though an open process of presentations before commissions and the council. This offers opportunity for public input, and the result is invariably a better proposal.

The proponents of Measure C, on the other hand, meeting in private, without public input, crafted a complicated legal measure that requires voting on leases and is now dividing the town. Their approach violates a fundamental principle of representative government – that we rely on our elected officials to represent us and we hold them accountable. Voting on leases is a bad idea, and we should apply the “back of the refrigerator” test to it: “If in doubt, toss it out.”

Join me and vote “no” on Measure C.

Gary Hedden

Los Altos

Centrally located BCS a ‘logical’ choice

Bullis Charter School draws students from throughout the Los Altos School District. The other schools draw from their neighborhoods. Placing Bullis Charter School on one or more campuses more centrally located within the district is logical.

Now, let me introduce the school board to the third dimension: The 10th site is most suitable for underground parking and a multistory classroom building. The measure of students per acre applies only in flatland.

James Shively

Los Altos Hills

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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