Letters to the editor: Climate change, tree protections

The year of confronting climate change

Aside from the coronavirus crisis and political upheaval, 2020 is confronting the climate change challenge. These past few weeks, California fires directly caused by humans have been exacerbated by dry forest conditions.

The 3.5 million acres burned by nearly 8,000 wildfires in California are not just another unfortunate event of this year – they’re sparks of increasingly common and more severe wildfires in the years ahead.

Starting college in California last year, I loved the environmental awareness and political advocacy in the atmosphere but hastily evacuated in March. As I sit at home, I wonder when I can ever return to campus and breathe in the fresh air without a mask because of respiratory viruses or wildfire smoke.

Catherine Luo
Stanford

Fire safety trumps tree protections

The headline “Hills commission supports expanded tree protections” gives the wrong impression (Town Crier, Sept. 9). The Los Altos Hills Planning Commission raised serious concerns and directed staff to thoroughly rework the proposal. There was widespread concern that the current ordinance protects too many small, crowded trees that pose a fire hazard.

Proponents cite goals like “preserving our heritage” and “promoting the environment,” but the proposal undermines both. What’s natural here is an open landscape dotted with trees, like the Stanford Dish area today. The density of trees today is unnatural. There is nothing more noble behind this proposal than a preference by some for a wooded landscaping style.

Proponents ignore the fire hazard posed by a wooded landscape in a dry-summer climate.

Proponents have recommended restricting the removal of the Deodar cedar and promoting a large juniper to protected “heritage” status. Both species are famous for their flammability. Residents doing construction have been required to plant closely spaced trees that violate defensible space rules.

It is past time to become serious about fire and set landscaping preferences aside.

Neal Mielke
Los Altos Hills

Masks, quarantining show common sense

My wife and I used our common sense to wear masks and gloves starting in March, when clerks did not wear masks.

My son and his wife needed to stay with us for two nights. We have a bedroom/bathroom with access to a back door.

We all wore masks and ate at chairs outside. We did not enter their bedroom/bath for two weeks.

Donald Plouff
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 candidate, 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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