Letters to the Editor - Week of Feb. 27

Lehigh not complying with mandates

The 2013 Sierra Club v. Lehigh consent decree requires the Lehigh Hanson Cement Plant to perform a multimillion dollar project to restore over three miles of Permanente Creek extensively damaged by the company’s mining operations, including the dumping of thousands of cubic yards of mine waste and overburden into the creek.

To date, not a single shovel-full of that waste has been removed from the creek. In fact, due to the procrastination of the Santa Clara County Planning Department, the environmental review process for the project has not even begun.

In 2015, a $7.5 million settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency required Lehigh to install a wastewater treatment system to reduce toxic discharges of selenium and other metals to Permanente Creek. In 2018, Lehigh was issued a notice of violation by Santa Clara County for an illegal haul road from Lehigh Quarry to Stevens Creek Quarry. After the county closed the haul road, a letter from the city of Cupertino estimated that 20 trucks are continually transporting material on city streets from Lehigh Quarry to Stevens Creek Quarry, material that may be contaminated. Stevens Creek Quarry is located near Stevens Creek Reservoir, a source of groundwater recharge for our local water supply. Stevens Creek is one of the few remaining streams in our county that still supports federally threatened steelhead trout.

I encourage you to learn more about these important issues at the county’s annual Lehigh information meeting 7 p.m. Thursday at Cupertino Community Hall, 10350 Torre Ave. Regulatory representatives will be present.

Kit Gordon

Los Altos Hills

Does concern for children end at birth?

Contrary to Ken Girdley’s assertion in his Feb. 13 letter to the Town Crier that the women attending the Jan. 22 Roe v. Wade recognition event were not “celebrating” the loss of “60 million infants,” we were commemorating the U.S. Supreme Court’s action in getting the government out of the doctor’s consulting room so that a woman and her doctor can be free to choose. We trust women.

There are two lives at stake in every reproductive choice: the woman’s and the fetus’s. Most abortions are agonizing decisions. The recent New York law Girdley cites is completely misrepresented as “abortion on demand” when it actually clarifies the conditions under which late-term abortions are permissible. Late-term abortions represent less than 1 percent of all procedures and are done only in dire situations where fetal and/or maternal life are in grave jeopardy.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, before Roe, more than 1 million women each year facing the crisis of an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy found it necessary to resort to illegal abortions. That adds up to many millions of women who died between 1880, when abortion became illegal, and 1973.

I always wonder why there are still so many children languishing in foster care, since conservatives protesting reproductive choice care so deeply about “the children.” Sometimes it seems like the concern for “the children” ends with their birth.

Vicki Reeder

Leadership co-chair

American Association of University Women

Los Altos-Mountain View Branch

‘Pro-choice’ doesn’t mean ‘abortion advocate’

Regarding Ken Girdley’s letter: As a mother and grandmother, I deeply resent being labeled as an “abortion advocate,” and I certainly do have deep regard for the “most innocent among us.” So much so that my concern would be about the chance for any “quality of life” statistically for so many of those infants.

The word is “choice” not “abortion advocate,” Mr. Girdley, and having been created with a free will, women have that right. Without Roe v. Wade, women would again be relegated to coat hangers and back alleys, because even in the best of worlds, conception will not stop. It’s a reality and not a sermon about chastity.

I am proud to be a woman with self-worth and great compassion for others. To me, that is much more important than self-righteous dogma.

Joan Mather

Los Altos

Green New Deal is common-sense policy

Climate change is happening here and now – and as a young person, I’m terrified. I’m 20 years old, and am afraid for the kind of world I will grow into – and the world that my children will have to face in 2100 and beyond.

I’m concerned about the frontline communities already experiencing the worst effects of climate change and the imbalances of power that led to this crisis only reproducing themselves as the Global South industrializes.

The latest climate report from the United Nations says we have only 12 years to transform our economy to preserve the stable climate human civilization has depended on for millennia. We need a massive mobilization of every sector of society on par with what science and justice demand.

A Green New Deal will keep Americans safe from climate change and create millions of green jobs. It is common-sense policy that is overwhelmingly popular with the American people, regardless of political party or where they live.

Any presidential candidate who wants to be taken seriously on climate and earn the support of young people needs to support U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey’s resolution.

Matthew Mellea

Los Altos Hills

LASD schools are a great choice

Let’s be honest – in Los Altos and Mountain View, we live in an extraordinarily affluent area. The vast majority of families with school-age children have lots of choices of schools, from religious to private as well as top-rated public schools. I believe that every family that sends their kids to a school in the Los Altos School District is also making a choice to do so. I know that for my kids, our neighborhood LASD school is the best choice.

While I agree that Bullis Charter School should have its own independent building, I don’t believe it can happen right now. Los Altos has great neighborhood schools – there are no empty buildings left over from people fleeing failing inner-city schools, as in other places where charter schools have appeared. Why should some parents’ choice of a charter school trump all of the other families who choose to send their kids to Egan Junior High?

I believe the charter school should do a better job of working together with district officials to create a viable plan for a new school sometime down the road.

Juliet Jamtgaard

LASD parent

Turn Hillview rebuild over to private donors

I see the Los Altos City Council (and/or the mayor) have found another way to stumble around without finishing the rebuilding of the Hillview Community Center building (“Los Altos council still mulling possible changes to Hillview center design plans,” Feb. 13).

As you may recall from my previous letters, this procrastination started back about 1998 or 1999, when former Mayor Ruth Koehler, who was then president of the Senior Center’s board, was told by the city “fathers” not to do anything there, not to invest in any improvements, even with the center’s own money, because the city had big plans for Hillview.

A near-generation of seniors have now outlived, or died off, awaiting a decent gathering place in Los Altos, 20 years at least, and are hardly any closer to that goal. The various ways of postponement don’t really matter. It seems obvious that the many fine people who have populated the Los Altos City Council were not sufficiently interested in the project, or were incapable of resolving any questions about how the place should look or function, or cost.

Meanwhile, neighboring cities of Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto provide their seniors something like we should have long ago had here.

I kinda wish the city council would step away and turn the location over to some generous private donors (remember how we got the History Museum?) who might get this done. Surely within the city limits of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills there is the personal wealth to achieve this.

Marv Emerling

Los Altos

Thanks to helpers in medical emergency

On Saturday, Feb. 9, we attended a performance at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. My date (wife) experienced what turned out to be a minor medical emergency just as the curtain calls were being made. I called 911 and they responded immediately and efficiently; very capable paramedics arrived, examined her and she was stabilized and transported to El Camino Hospital, where she received great emergency care.

I want to thank all who took part in this event: the theater ushers and staff who cooperated in every way possible, paramedics who were cool and calm, two women who came over and helped on their own accord and the hospital emergency staff of nurses and doctor. Some may think that their efforts were minor, but put together they made it all work on our behalf. We suddenly became a family and community. We are forever grateful.

Carl Orta

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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