Letters to the Editor: Week of Oct. 17

Measure C would enhance what makes LA great

Los Altos has a bit of “country” living – no sidewalks or streetlights installed by the city. I have always loved that I can see the Milky Way on evening walks in the summer.

The amazing growth in Silicon Valley threatens to overwhelm the charm of Los Altos, and many residents sense that if they don’t do something, our hometown will be swept into the jaws of overdevelopment. Mountain View and Palo Alto “made a deal with the devil” in allowing unfettered commercial development and now are being Manhattanized with little that residents can control.

I do not believe the doomsday scenarios touted by the No on Measure C folks. Their warnings that downtown will lack “vibrancy” or that the expenses of voting on development will be crippling seem overblown.

Measure C will take the development of city properties “off the table,” and may discourage the people who see Los Altos and its unique atmosphere only in terms of dollars. This seems like progress to me.

If Measure C passes, I expect Los Altos to continue to thrive, and be desirable for families to raise their children. Protecting public properties will further enhance the things that make our town great.

Kent S. Smith

Los Altos

Measure C could affect community center cafe

Plans for our new Hillview Community Center include a cafe, but if Measure C passes, will it open?

Measure C proponents say, “Passing this measure means we, the residents, must approve any sale, transfer or lease of our scarce land resources.”

How would that affect the new community center cafe?

If Measure C passes, the cafe’s lease would need to be voted on (costing $50,000) because the cafe would significantly impact the public character of the land (positively!) and be a private use of public land (government agencies don’t run coffee shops), and it will be a new lease longer than 180 days.

The earliest vote would be November 2020; if the lease is not ready or the 2020 vote fails, the next chance is November 2022 – a long delay unless there’s a special election (costing up to $500,000). Note that the $50,000 for a ballot item is probably more than we’d make annually from the lease.

If the cafe vendor needs to change, it isn’t clear if we could change vendors without another minimum $50,000 public vote and more delays.

And it’s not just the cafe. Measure C would make it difficult and expensive for the city to approve a project like adding parkland or a central plaza to downtown or creating a nonprofit-run community garden like they have in Sunnyvale – projects that create gathering places to bring our community together.

The answer? Vote “no” on Measure C.

Autumn Looijen

Los Altos

Measure C reveals ‘widespread distrust’

Whatever the merits or demerits of Measure C, the measure has revealed a deep, widespread distrust of our elected and appointed officials.

How the candidates for Los Altos City Council respond to that distrust will tell the voters much. Will the candidates acknowledge and address the problem or dismiss it as unwarranted?

I have lived in Los Altos for over 40 years and have witnessed too many instances in which our elected and appointed leaders were willing to betray our neighborhoods and village to real estate developers and other outside interests. So, I well understand the feelings behind Measure C.

Chester Clark

Los Altos

How to select a council member

The Los Altos City Council has five members. Two seats will become available. We need to elect two out of five candidates.

All the candidates talk and promise a lot. It is very confusing. So which ones will you vote for? My goal is to make your job easier in selecting these two candidates.

In his Oct. 3 Town Crier column, “The roles of city council, commissions and staff,” Gary Anderson wrote, “For years, … nothing beyond the most routine of city operations has been getting done.” I agree with Gary. Our existing city council is performing badly. We need changes on Nov. 6.

The job of a council member demands a great deal of time. Before you cast your vote, please consider only the candidates who can spend a great deal of time on city business. Vote for a doer, not a talker. Talk is cheap.

Los Altos has been falling behind Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Saratoga, etc., in many areas (for example, senior programs). We need a new city council to move Los Altos forward. Please vote wisely.

Carlos Shaw

Los Altos

Tips for providing lower-cost housing

I was surprised and shocked to see, on page 2 of the Oct. 10 issue of the Los Altos Town Crier, a featured new home of 6,000 square feet priced at $7.8 million in my neighborhood. A neighborhood that was formerly affordable to teachers, firemen, policemen, city workers, dentists, doctors, airline pilots, nurses; even one of the chefs from Original Joe’s could afford to live here.

When and why has that changed?

We keep asking how to provide lower-cost housing in Los Altos. Here’s a start:

1. Restrict the square footage of new homes to a reasonable size that reflects lot sizes and neighborhood norms.

2. Call a moratorium on larger-than-needed new homes.

3. Reduce the minimum lot size for single-family homes from one-quarter-acre lot size to one-sixth.

4. Allow more two-family houses as a viable option in Los Altos.

I would like to see my peers, as well as my family, able to afford a home in Los Altos.

Homes of larger size have always resided in Los Altos Hills. Let’s keep it that way!

Anita Siegel

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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