Letters to the Editor: Masks, election debate

Thanks for wearing masks outdoors

I had an experience this morning that helped a little to restore my flagging faith in humanity. I was cycling on Miramonte Avenue when a pedestrian coming toward me said, “Thank you for wearing a mask.” It was a simple act of kindness and affirmation, unfortunately very rare these days.

I always wear a mask when cycling, because I know that while 6 feet is a minimally safe separation for people at rest, people with elevated breathing rates – cyclists, runners, pedestrians pushing a baby carriage or walking uphill – can exhale droplets of moisture 20 feet or more. In an infected person, those droplets could contain the coronavirus. Many people who are infected are unaware, and could be spreading the virus.

I don’t understand why everyone engaged in outdoor activity doesn’t wear a mask, at least for their own protection if not for the sake of those around them. But many don’t. I suppose some aren’t aware of the heightened risk, some are willing to take a chance that they won’t encounter anyone else (which in my experience never happens), and some believe that their personal “freedom” not to wear a mask is more important than the well-being of the community as a whole.

I hope that those maskless people who read this will reconsider their actions. To those that do, I say, “Thank you for wearing a mask.”

John W. Semion
Los Altos

Delving deeper into ‘Peek into the Past’

Regarding the photo of Sister Helen Costello in the Oct. 14 “Peek into the Past” feature, an article was posted with the picture of Helen, taken in 2011. She wanted to go for a ride to see the ranch house by the creek, and the barn was a favorite place in her life, as well as life on the ranch.

She was living in Oakwood at the Sacred Heart Convent in Menlo Park at the time, and we didn’t ask permission to go for a ride, we just left. We got into Creekside Oaks through the back gate, and I had that sign – still do – and took that picture.

The gentleman she was pictured with was a gardener who worked for Creekside, not a ranch hand, as stated in the article.

Helen was pretty unstable, so I asked him to help me with this picture-taking. He was very kind and thoughtful. I’m grateful that he was so willing to help. I thought this appearance, with the nun and the sign, was a very interesting combination.

Thank you for sharing the picture in the Town Crier.

Mark Costello
Los Altos

Mordo disavows helping with flyer

A matrix rating of the Los Altos City Council candidates has been published in an ad in the Town Crier and in a mail piece.

I was accused of personally rating the candidates because, in an email leaked out, I took credit for the arguments presented in the front of the flyer. Both sides of the flyer were attached to that email.

I would like to make it clear that I did not write even one word in that matrix, nor even edited it in any way. In fact, the group writing it took off my name from the revised version that appeared in the Oct. 14 Town Crier.

Jean Mordo
Los Altos

Parklets add vibrancy to downtown LA

When I reported for my first day on the job on First Street way back in December 1969, my boss said, “I think you’ll enjoy Los Altos, even if they do roll up the sidewalks at 6 p.m.”

That was the first time I had ever heard the phrase, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last over the next half-century.

I watched with envy as Mountain View turned a moribund downtown area into a vibrant destination spot. And Mountain View wasn’t alone among our neighbor cities in developing fun-to-visit corridors, fun day or night. Meanwhile, apparently in the interest of fulfilling some quaint “village” status for all these years, for me downtown Los Altos lost much of its appeal.

To be sure, it’s sad that it took something as nasty as the pandemic to finally get the wheels of progress turning.

While the few months of days of blocked-off chunks of Main and State streets was a nice start, the (dare we hope permanent?) evolution to the parklet program has created a wonderful feel.

From where I sit, we’ve only improved our fair city and done so without sacrificing any of the small-town nature that many still want.

E. Garry Hill
Los Altos

Don’t discredit hard work

It’s a sad day when a Democrat can’t compliment a Republican for a job well done (“Mah draws criticism for use of congressman’s quote in mailer,” Oct. 21).

U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna gave Santa Clara County Board of Education member Grace Mah permission to use that quote in her election flyer, and afterward state Democratic Party leader Bill James tied Mah to Betsy DeVos. Approving charter schools in underserved communities is not at all like school vouchers for private and religious schools. Charter schools must follow school district curriculum and criteria and serve community needs.

Khanna’s quote compliments the work Mah has done as part of his “diverse education advisory committee.” Are Democrats not allowed to commend Republicans for their efforts, and vice versa? If my child’s teacher is doing a great job, should I not compliment or thank them because our political beliefs differ?

This is truly a sad state of affairs – admiration for hard work tarnished and ultimately discredited by political bias.

Sophia Schillings
Los Altos Hills

FOLA claims need fact-checking

I’m writing to address just some of the misinformation contained in the two-page political advertisement in the Oct. 21 edition of the Town Crier – “A House of Mirrors or Has Los Altos Politics Just Turned Dirty?” – that states it relies on information published by Friends of Los Altos (FOLA) and was paid for by Richard Gorman.

The ad states, “Cranston has formed a series of organizations with overlapping members, each organization making endorsements to make it seem as if multiple independent organizations have come to the same conclusion to support their candidates.” In fact, only one of the organizations mentioned made endorsements; none of the others did.

Is this an attempt to gaslight the community into believing the candidates FOLA and Mr. Gorman oppose have fewer endorsements than they actually have? A review of the websites of all the candidates shows the total number of organizational endorsements the candidates FOLA and Mr. Gorman oppose is 20 (including the Town Crier’s endorsement of all three), as compared to a total of only eight for the candidates they support.

I could go on and address many other falsehoods in the ad, but fact-checking FOLA and the ad are the local equivalent of fact-checking President Trump – you can’t keep up with the falsehoods.

Kim Cranston
Los Altos Hills

Endorsement reveals flawed reasoning

I’m disheartened that the Town Crier endorsed Grace Mah for the Santa Clara County Board of Education.
Your reasoning for supporting her is flawed.

Seventy-five percent of Melissa Baten Caswell’s contributions are from change-seeking local constituents. Grace’s receipt of approximately $240,000 in outside charter school Political Action Committee contributions should make you question who is truly beholden.

Area 1 needs someone who serves local students and not outside interests. As a Los Altos School District trustee, I can tell you that Grace does not provide that service.

Grace only attends charter-related meetings. While it is a hot topic, it is not our focus. Educational equity and serving all district students are. Not once has Grace contacted us to support this. Grace does not represent local interests.

Jessica Speiser
Los Altos School District
Board of Trustees member

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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