Letters to the editor: City decisions, reach codes, masks

City decisions are an ‘embarrassment’

It’s not bad enough that we have the plague of COVID-19 to deal with and the sky filled with ash from fires all around us, but now I have to read in the Aug. 19 Town Crier that the Parks and Rec Commission can’t decide whether to accept a $50,000 contribution to build a bocce ball court at Grant Park. Even worse, they can’t even decide to say that they can’t decide! Amazing!

Next I read the great story by Eric He (congratulations!) about the Los Altos City Council approving major deals with a developer (who is facing multiple lawsuits). Really? What is going on? Where are the people to run this town that are competent? They certainly are not on this council. They must be out there somewhere.

Please step up and help get the town out of this mess. What an embarrassment!

Mark Vasser
Los Altos

GreenTown supports all-electric reach codes

Lexi Crilley wrote a letter to the editor about reach codes and the environmental injustice of the fossil fuel industry (“Reach codes promote environmental justice,” Aug. 12). That is certainly an important concern, and one of the reasons that GreenTown Los Altos supports the all-electric reach codes soon to come before the city council.
A concern for all of us is that fossil fuels are forcing climate change. That is why the state of California has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2045. That is a stretch goal, but setting goals has a way of creating change. Other states have set similar goals, and together we can show the world that it can be done.

The reach code ordinances under consideration are not as dramatic as the opponents like to suggest. The codes apply to new construction, so only a small number of homes will be affected. Cooking with induction cooktops works well. The cost of building a new home without a gas line is lower. The operating costs are comparable and likely to favor electricity in the future. PG&E officials have stated that they prefer not to build new gas-line infrastructure as the lines will ultimately be abandoned.

For all of these reasons and more, we urge support of all-electric reach codes.

Gary Hedden
GreenTown Los Altos


Require masks, then impose fines

On a recent Friday evening, I took my dog for a walk in the village area and counted the number of people wearing masks: 18 out of 38 had masks on (not including people dining). I count most nights, and the mask rate is usually between 25% and 40%. That night it was 38%.

The United States is approaching 200,000 deaths. That is greater than military deaths in the Revolutionary War, World War I, Korea and Vietnam combined.
Each of us believes we are an exception. We won’t get the virus and won’t infect others. Did any of the 200,000 who died expect this to happen? Did 200,000 expect to infect others?

It is time for more drastic action. Make wearing masks mandatory. Every time you leave your apartment or home, make wearing a mask mandatory. It doesn’t matter if you are 8 or 80 – wear a mask. Biking, running, walking, with family – require a mask. No exceptions. Have large and escalating fines for noncompliance. How much is it worth to save a life?

Perhaps if the news showed the faces of the 1,000 people who died each day, we would wake up.

Jerry Brodkey
Los Altos

Reopening schools is a ‘scary prospect’

I recently read the article “Elementary schools seek waivers to allow fall reopening” (Town Crier, Aug. 5), and was disappointed and disgusted by the schools mentioned.

My concern with these plans to reopen schools lies not with the health of the children, but the people around them. This virus is not as impactful on children as it is in older populations, which Los Altos absolutely has. In Los Altos, the median age is 45 years old. It is a scary prospect that many people could die due to the poor actions of school management.

As a high school student myself, I would want nothing more than to return to regular life, but I could not, given that my selfish actions could seriously harm or even kill a large population. We have already seen some disastrous outcomes from reopened schools in some southern states.

It was even more disheartening to hear that the Santa Clara County Public Health Department “strongly encourages” elementary schools to follow the waiver process to reopen. In a time like this, when the number of deaths continue to rise, it feels as if the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and our local schools don’t truly have our best interest in mind.

Matthew Poppitz
Los Altos

Groups promote equal bocce ball facilities

As members of Los Altos Legacies, it is not true that there are “big strings attached” to our donation for bocce ball courts at Grant Park (“Parks and Rec deadlocked on accepting bocce ball court donations,” Aug. 19).

A deadline was added because this donation has been offered for three years, recently increased from $20,000 to $30,000, plus $20,000 from the Rotary Club of Los Altos, for a total of $50,000. The total cost of the bocce ball court is estimated to be $56,000.

Therefore, the Los Altos Parks and Recreation Commission is turning down almost free bocce ball courts. Los Altos Legacies has met with the commission and the city numerous times over the years to find a non-grass location for the courts and a small plaque (to be paid for by Legacies) at Grant Park. A site was agreed upon, but opposition was voiced by a city council member who liked to walk her dog in the park.

Bocce ball is popular for seniors at Hillview Park and across the nation. To say it has limited popularity is totally false. We set a deadline just to get the city to make up its mind for Grant Park.

As a nonprofit organization serving local seniors, Los Altos Legacies is trying to provide equal entertainment at Grant Park as at Hillview with bocce ball courts.

Ellen and Paul Gonella
Los Altos


City should accept bocce court donations

The recent Town Crier article about a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting regarding proposed bocce ball courts could benefit from some background information. There are two storylines to understand: the proposal and the opposition.

The proposals from two Los Altos charitable funds offer the city $50,000 to build outdoor recreation facilities for seniors at Grant Park. We propose two bocce courts like, and built concurrent with, the courts being constructed at Hillview Park. Grant and Hillview both host senior programs and deserve this equal treatment. Grant Park currently provides no outdoor recreation facilities for seniors.

Men and women of all ages enjoy bocce ball for outdoor exercise, fun and socialization. With courts at both ends of town, tournaments could be organized for wider socialization and more fun. Thousands of seniors would enjoy these courts over the next 50 years. We are offering Los Altos this vision and opportunity, if the city wishes to accept it.

The opposition is organized by supporters and advisers of Los Altos City Councilwoman Lynette Lee Eng, who lives across the street from Grant Park. She is the council liaison for the Parks and Recreation Commission. The opposition sends emails, speaks at meetings, posts on social media and is running a biased survey that mentions neither the gift nor the focus on seniors.

The opposition wants to wait to do a Grant Park Master Plan with a public survey. Maybe bocce ball is good in north Los Altos but not in Grant Park? They say that if seniors in south Los Altos want to play bocce ball, they can drive to Hillview. But that speaks against the need for senior services at Grant Park.

The $30,000 offer from Los Altos Legacies expires Dec. 31, 14 months after the initial presentations. This should be enough time to accept a generous, appropriate and timely offer.

King Lear
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 [email protected] 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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