Letters to the editor: Fire prevention plan, bocce ball

Comprehensive fire prevention plan needed

As the unfortunate events of the last weeks have shown us, we are far from immune to the risk of wildfire.

It is past time that Los Altos Hills gets serious about thinning overgrown firetraps like the Deer Creek area that are just feet from homes. Instead, the town is focused upon yet another unnecessary regulation, this time in the form of “Tree Protection.”

A town meeting Thursday will address prohibiting residents from removing trees on their private property. This is exactly the wrong direction to go. The town needs to work with its constituents on a comprehensive fire prevention program. It could start by removing all non-native eucalyptus trees on town land.

As our neighbors on the other side of Skyline Boulevard in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties have seen firsthand, we ignore this threat at our own peril.

Phil Mahoney
Los Altos Hills

Bocce ball offer has egos attached

The Town Crier’s article regarding bocce ball courts at Grant Park identified a $30,000 donation from Los Altos Legacies and $20,000 from the Los Altos Rotary Endowment Fund (“Parks and Rec deadlocked on accepting bocce ball court donations,” Aug. 19).

In a letter to the Parks and Recreation Commission, King Lear wrote, “The board members of these charitable funds have no self-interest in making these offers.”
Facts say otherwise. Courts would benefit Lear and roughly 20-50 bocce ball players. Los Altos Legacies will withdraw its offer if the city doesn’t acquiesce to its demands by Dec. 30. They expect the city to cover all costs over $50,000. The ultimate conceit is they want a plaque in their honor!

A city study estimated a $57,000 cost for two courts equivalent to planned courts at the new community center. Yes, we’re already providing bocce ball at Hillview.
Lear claims the Senior Commission supports courts at Grant Park. Not true. That commission wisely recommended studying bocce ball in the context of a Grant Park Master Plan, which would ensure all residents have an opportunity to weigh in on facilities.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Teresa Morris summed it up best: “We’re being asked to do something that … will benefit a small group of people and it has some big strings attached to it.” And some big egos.

Pat Marriott
Los Altos

Don’t force everyone to wear a mask

I strongly take issue with the letters from Fran Rappaport (“Los Altos needs mask mandate,” Aug. 5) and Myra Orta (“Wear a mask or face a fine,” Aug. 19) suggesting that Los Altos needs to enforce the wearing of masks by people who are walking outdoors.

The latest advice from medical experts and government health officials assures us that it is unnecessary to wear a mask outdoors, except when you are unable to maintain social distancing – for example, when waiting in line to enter a store. Merely walking in your neighborhood without a mask doesn’t violate any state or county law and does not put anyone’s health at risk.

When I walk in Los Altos, I have had no difficulty keeping a distance from others. I’ll occasionally cross the street if necessary to maintain distance. What’s the big deal? I’m out for a walk anyway, why wouldn’t I walk across the street? If it becomes unavoidable to walk close to another person, I’ll put on the mask, which I always carry with me. However, this happens very rarely.

If others such as Ms. Orta or Ms. Rappaport want to wear a mask all the time, that is their prerogative. But don’t force it on everyone.

Martin Rattner
Los Altos

Library district: Scrub ‘woke’ from website

I am writing as a Santa Clara county resident and taxpayer.

The Santa Clara County Library District proudly lists its “Core Values” on its website. It is supposedly committed to a “positive patron experience” and allegedly “respects the individual and provides quality services in a non-judgmental way.”

Unfortunately, the library is not living up to its own core values. Rather than providing services in a non-judgmental way, you are pushing propaganda with your “Read Woke From Home” admonishment on your home page. “Woke” really means “left-wing,” and I strongly resent the library telling me what to think in an extremely judgmental way.

The library needs to live up to its core values and scrub the website of all “woke” references.

William Hough
Santa Clara County Library District user

Wrong to paint zoning code ‘racist’

In the Aug. 20 Mercury News, it said Los Altos, Piedmont, Lafayette, Hillsborough and Cupertino were linked to segregation by their zoning, to quote State Sen. Scott Wiener. He said “single-family home zoning was invented specifically to keep black people and low-income people out of communities.”
In the 1950s and ’60s when zoning maps were drawn up, I don’t think the Los Altos City Council had that in mind.

The article labels these cities racist, and that is wrong.

Bob Haase
Los Altos

McClenahan best for LAH fire prevention

With all of these horrendous fires, it is time to say something in appreciation of the way Los Altos Hills County Fire District set up prevention programs with S.P. McClenahan Co., which helped over many years to reduce fire fuel with its brush cutting and tree cutting-
programs.

This year the district was told to be competitive, and instead of McClenahan picking up brush, the district had to offer to residents that various contractors would label our brush piles, bid on them, and the winners would chip the corresponding piles. Just what we didn’t want – a lot of extra people in the neighborhood, during COVID.
We did not participate, and apparently a number of our neighbors did not either.

Most importantly, we knew McClenahan would have a safe operation, and we did not want someone we didn’t know doing dangerous work at our property. Why not have different companies bid on the whole thing, instead of in bits? Then we could get to know the company.

But we do already know the best company, McClenahan. Their crews were safe, skilled, polite and helpful. Furthermore, McClenahan has an incredible fleet of equipment that no other company has, so crews can be efficient. Who else will keep their chippers sharp when chipping dead wood? Who else has giant chippers that can eat whole tree trunks? Who else has cranes for the huge removals?

Now someone says it is more efficient to turn a blind eye to their investments in personnel and equipment because some guy can do this bit and that for a little less money?

Let’s be smart and get McClenahan back on the job. We have a lot of fire prevention work we need to get to in this town.

Cynthia Wain
Los Altos Hills

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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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