Letters to the editor: Mask mandate, Innocence Project

Los Altos needs mask mandate

Following is an open letter to the Los Altos City Council.

I believe that the wearing of masks is essential to the health of Los Altos residents.

Recently I have been made aware that the issue of mandating masks has been on the meeting schedule two times. The first time it didn’t get voted on, and at the most recent council meeting it was placed No. 10 on the agenda, but because of lack of time it again did not go up for a vote.

This virus is not going away soon, and we must take all necessary measures and all do our parts to fight COVID-19.

I am frequently walking about downtown and have noticed that more people are wearing masks when walking about.
Not everyone, though, and it should be all.

Bikers and runners are the least likely to have masks on and are not at a 6-foot distance.

I would like to have the council vote to mandate masks whenever residents are out. That includes walkers, runners and those riding bikes. I also would like to suggest to the council that they have an emergency meeting to mandate the wearing of masks at all times.

I hope you all will join me in my concern and do what is best for Los Altos.
We need the mandate and the publicity downtown to help all of us to be safe.

Thank you for your attention. 

Fran Rappaport
Los Altos

Innocence Project appreciates support

As a customer of Bliss Beauty Center in Los Altos and a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, I was thrilled to see that Bliss honored Blackout Day by donating all its revenue that day to support Innocence work. But as a volunteer attorney for the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP), I want to let readers know that we are here doing that important work right in our own community.

Many people don’t know that there are Innocence organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad working to exonerate innocent people.

At NCIP, we represent clients in 48 Northern and Central California counties, including Santa Clara County, from Monterey, Kings, Tulare and Inyo counties up to the Oregon border. NCIP is a project of the Santa Clara University School of Law and offers a yearlong course for law students where they get valuable experience working on our cases.

Both the Innocence Project in New York and the Northern California Innocence Project are active members of the Innocence Network, and we are colleagues who share information and refer cases to one another where appropriate. But we are independent organizations and do not share funding.

To finance our work covering all of the huge geographic area of Northern California, we seek donations from more than 500 individual, foundation, government and corporate funders each year.
As a volunteer attorney with NCIP since 2017, I have worked on teams that exonerated two of our long-term clients. In this time of pandemic, protecting the rights of the innocent in California is more urgent than ever.

As anyone who knows me knows, I am always happy to talk about my work and also to fundraise to support it.

For more information, visit ncip.org or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Catherine Marken Boyle
Los Altos Hills

Stop personal attacks over reach codes

Why do proponents of natural-gas reach codes try to win their argument by making personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with them?

Connie Miller (“Group, media mislead on preference for reach codes,” July 8) calls representatives of Los Altos Residents “immoral” for opposing the codes. She also accuses them of spreading misinformation, when the information comes from city surveys. The first survey recorded 644 respondents, which showed 74% (464 people) do not support the gas ban.

Only 206 people responded to the second survey (tinyurl.com/yc9gr3zr), which Miller relies on to make her case. She claims that “a significant number of responses favor implementing all-electric reach codes.”

In fact, if one takes time to read all the comments on this survey, only 28 of 98 comments are in favor of the gas ban.

Instead of blaming Los Altos Residents for “stalling progress” and blaming the Town Crier for falling under Los Altos Residents’ influence, Miller should recognize that Los Altos residents are too smart to be swayed by personal attacks and cherry-picking survey numbers.

Pat Marriott
Los Altos

Reporting on police stats is misleading

Regarding the headline to your July 17 online story “Los Altos police data indicates disproportionate arrests, citations of Black and Hispanic people”:

The headline, by itself, sounds like a less-than-subtle indictment of our local law enforcement officers. While the headline may be technically true, the much more important and telling piece of data in the story is that 80% of Los Altos crime is perpetrated by people from outside Los Altos, where the racial mix is considerably different.

That is the story here. Inexplicably, the article goes on to compare overall crime data with the demographics of Los Altos – a flawed comparison by your own admission.

C’mon, as journalists, you’re better than that.

John Gordon
Los Altos

Don’t forget old-school rules of the road

As a longtime, avid runner, I am delighted seeing so many of our neighbors and families outside exercising. However, many of them do not know the rules of the road. They are putting not only themselves and their families at risk, but also motorists and bikers who are trying to avoid them.

What if the Town Crier did a headline with the simple mottoes below? The old-school rules sound like these:

• Wheels on the right, legs on the left

• Bike right, walk/run on the left

The make-sense of it is that if you are walking or running, you should always be facing oncoming vehicles, under greater speed than you, so you can get out of the way.

Too many people are using listening devices and not following the path that will keep them most safe.

Camilla McCrea
Los Altos

Why capitalize ‘Black’ but not ‘white’?

This is regarding the article in the July 22 issue, “Police data shows higher number of nonresident stops.”

As I was reading this, I noticed one thing. The writer kept capitalizing “Black” people but using lower case for “white” people. Why is that?

I emailed Town Crier Editor-in-Chief Bruce Barton, and he responded back by writing, “Associated Press style dictates Black people share cultural similarities while whites do not.” Notice that he followed the AP dictate in his response to me.

Apparently, the PC police have once again found a way to slap every white person in the face. It’s not enough to constantly remind us of our “white privilege,” they now have to make us “lower-case citizens.” Capitalizing “Black” while intentionally using lower case for “white” just increases racial tension.

You don’t elevate the status of one race by lowering the status of another.

I believe we are all equal, so when writing I will either capitalize both “Black” and “White” or stick with lower case for both. I will not bow down to the PC police by capitalizing one while using lower case for the other.

Ken Girdley
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. 

Paid Political Endorsement letters

The Town Crier offers the option of pre-paid political endorsement letters for candidates in the Nov. 3 election.

Letters must support candidates – no submissions containing exclusively negative content will be printed.

Authors’ names are required for publication. Letters will be published in the order they are received, and we will accept only one letter per author per campaign. Please limit letters to no more than 200 words.

The cost is $150 per endorsement letter for either print or online, $200 for both. The deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesdays for inclusion in the following week’s Town Crier. To submit endorsement letters and for more information, email Howard Bischoff at howardb@latc.com.

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