Hills trash talks teach $6.4M lesson
In July 2018, Los Altos Hills City Manager Cahill formed a new garbage collection contract committee, but it spent the first six months just waiting for a requested quotation from GreenWaste. No effort was made to contact other companies. A significant price increase was expected, as GreenWaste had previously informed the town its existing contract was unprofitable.
Roger Spreen is correct that the town negotiated with GreenWaste for “months and months,” but it did not start negotiations until March 2019, just four months before expiration, after the late request for proposal (Feb. 8, 2019) request failed to allow sufficient time for competitors to bid (“Disputed LA Hills trash talks terminate,” Match 10). Negotiations focused on “smoothing out” the first-year’s 37.9% rate increase. This resulted in GreenWaste receiving $6.4 million more net revenue than it had originally requested, on average, costing each household an additional $2,000!
The town’s base rates are currently 12-29% higher than Portola Valley’s (and Portola Valley’s base rate includes two more bins, a $43/month value). Due to four additional 9% annual increases, in the town’s agreement, in 2024 the 35-gallon rate (most used) will be 41% higher than Portola Valley’s.
Starting negotiations early may help, but having a more capable negotiating team is the true lesson learned.
Los Altos Hills
We must protect city from boardinghouses
I am completely mystified as to why the mayor of Los Altos and two council members voted at the March 9 council meeting to destroy the character and essence of our town.
This was about permitting boardinghouses to spring up in our residential neighborhoods, where six or more unrelated people are allowed to co-habitat in a single-family residence, like a frat house.
Councilmembers Lynette Eng and Anita Enander voted to protect our neighborhoods, and the other three voted to destroy them. Why would they vote to encourage more traffic on our streets, more parking in our neighborhoods, more noise and refuse, straining our utilities and possible crime?
One of these boardinghouses sprung up across the street from our family home of 55 years, and we experienced a first-time shooting. One of the boarders was having an episode and running around with a loaded pistol. Our grandkids freaked out.
This will not help the mandated requirement for affordable housing in our community because the rents are excessive. It is a business venture for the absentee owner.
It’s time to get proactive and to protect our town.
Fluvoxamine: Effective for COVID-19 infection
Steve Kirsch should be commended for his important role in bringing to light that fluvoxamine is a life-saving, cost-effective and safe treatment for COVID-19 infection (“Los Altos Hills resident touts fluvoxamine as COVID treatment,” March 17).
Fluvoxamine is an oral medication that is Food and Drug Administration-approved for treatment of disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disease, but it also acts on the sigma-1 receptor to very effectively control the body’s inflammatory response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The body’s inflammatory response, which can spike into overdrive and wreak havoc in the body through the release of toxic cytokines and result in organ damage and even death, can be controlled, for example, through the administration of the right anti-inflammatory medications. Fluvoxamine is safe and highly effective to this end.
It’s ludicrous that while research has shown that fluvoxamine saves lives in COVID-19 infection, health-care providers are hesitant to prescribe it.
No COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection. For this reason, the use of proven life-saving medications such as fluvoxamine to treat COVID-19 is crucial.
Toni Halliwell, RN, PHN
Don’t allow SB 9 and 10 to become state law
Have you ever stepped outside and reached down and picked up a handful of California’s rich soil and let it trickle through your fingers? Have you taken off your shoes and socks and felt the grass under your feet? Have you looked up at the sky and marveled at the beauty of the trees against the skyline and the fact they purify our air? Have you walked along a single-family street and viewed the architectural styles along the way? Have you walked the trails or along a lake in one of many open-space preserves? This is the California environment that has been created by local control of our zoning and development.
Under two state bills, Senate Bill 9 and Senate Bill 10, local control of its density is lost. Developers can come into a neighborhood and increase its density threefold without providing added parking spaces, paying fees for infrastructure needed to accommodate the new density and then walk away with their profits, leaving the neighborhood decimated.
After the developers leave, who will pay for the problems they leave behind? Who will pay for the street improvements needed to provide for emergency services? Who will pay for the new sewer lines and sanitation plants needed to accommodate the new density? Will we have enough power, or will we have more blackouts? Do we have enough water to supply the new density? Will there be enough defensible space around buildings to fight fires or wildfires? Do we have the facilities to handle the increase in garbage?
Each county, city and town in California has a unique environment that needs local control to maintain a quality of life. The two bills are not the way to solve our housing shortage, as SB 9 and 10 do not provide for affordable housing, but market rate-housing.
Now picture the new neighborhood – gone is the dirt that once slipped through your fingers, gone are the lawns on which children played, and gone are the trees that provided both beauty and clean air. Gone are the single-family homes. Gone are the open spaces. Is this your dream for California?
Please do not allow SB 9 and 10 to become law.
Carol J. Gottlieb
Los Altos Hills