Letters to the Editor: Fluvoxamine, LAH visual blight

Patience: Fluvoxamine deserves scrutiny

I read with particular attention your article about fluvoxamine (“Los Altos Hills resident touts fluvoxamine as COVID-19 treatment,” March 17).

Fluvoxamine is an anti-depressor currently used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s reasonably safe to use with mostly nausea and diarrhea as side effects, although it can be contraindicated in people taking certain medications. Because of some unique biological properties, it has potential as a treatment for COVID-19.

Of the two small studies the article mentions, only one was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, a peer-review journal, and yielded reliable results. But as the authors clarified, these results are only preliminary and have to be confirmed in a larger study.

I understand the frustration of people involved, that this drug is not yet endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration and widely used by physicians, especially during a pandemic when treatment options are limited.

Many drugs last year, including hydroxychloroquine and HIV and flu products, were touted as miracle treatments after small studies had shown some impressive results but were later shown ineffective in larger trials. Before receiving Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA, any new product must show safety and efficacy in large, well-conducted placebo-controlled studies. Patients deserve that level of rigor and scrutiny. There should be no exception.

All currently available treatments – Remdesivir from Gilead, antibodies from Regeneron and Eli Lilly – and vaccines were approved with positive data from large Phase 3 studies. Fluvoxamine is no different. If the ongoing Phase 3 study shows good safety and positive results, the drug will most likely be approved and will be a welcome addition to the current armamentarium.

Dr. Bruno Delagneau
Los Altos

Thanks to community for supporting MTC

On behalf of Mentor Tutor Connection (MTC) and local students, I want to thank the Los Altos Town Crier and this compassionate community for your generosity. The Town Crier’s Holiday Fund has had a tremendous impact on MTC and the young people in our programs over the years.

Your gift is so impactful during this year when students face tremendous challenges in all aspects of their lives. We know you understand that the pandemic and distance learning have led to increased and disproportionate challenges for the young people in our programs. Many students in Los Altos and Mountain View are coping with isolation, stress and anxiety. Under these conditions, mentors and tutors have been beacons of light for students. Virtual relationships are not always easy, but with training and shared learning, MTC volunteers are finding creative and meaningful ways to support students’ academic, social and emotional growth. And, slowly, we are beginning to see each other again, and we will never take that for granted again!

Your gift ensures that young people in our community receive the support they need – not only to get through these challenging times, but to see their own potential and envision a brighter future.
Thank you for making this possible. We wish all of you the best in 2021.

Carol Olson
Executive director
Mentor Tutor Connection

Old phone wires are hazard, visual blight

I’m encouraged by recent initiatives to place utility wires underground in Los Altos Hills. Overhead wires have been a recurring fire hazard, and many poles are simply too close to our winding roads. I’ve witnessed multiple power outages due to vehicles colliding with a pole. And let’s not forget to mention the visual blight they overlay upon our otherwise beautiful landscape.

While we wait for the inevitable undergrounding of electrical utilities, can we not do something sooner about the obsolete telephone landline and cable TV wires sharing those poles? I’d wager that virtually none of those wires are in use any longer, long replaced by cellular and fiber-optic technology. But these large wire bundles are, in large part, what cause the visual blight.

And while PG&E has stepped up efforts to trim trees well away from high-voltage lines, their crews refuse to do anything about limbs entangling telephone and cable TV wires. When asked about it, they advise we “contact the company that owns those wires to complain.” They claim no knowledge of which companies those may be, yet I’d also wager PG&E continues to collect some form of monetary return from the sharing of its utility poles. When the wind takes down a tree entangled with telephone wires, it is likely to take the power lines and poles associated with them.

These old phone wires are a hazard and a visual blight. Let’s start removing them. They have more value for their weight in copper.

Thomas Battle
Los Altos Hills

What will we tell kids about climate change?

I have been thinking about how our young people will judge us when they look back on how we responded to climate change.

Will they ask if we knew in our hearts that using fossil fuels for energy would kill the planet, but we needed to wait and see the data to prove it?

Will we tell them it was so hard that we couldn’t figure out how to safely transition to emissions-free energy despite knowing about a carbon-fee and dividend approach?

Will they ask why we could tax cigarettes and alcohol to reduce harmful consumption but not carbon emissions?

Will we say that the oil industry was so powerful that we couldn’t get any climate legislation passed?

Will they ask if we knew that many underprivileged communities that already had so many hardships were suffering the worst?

Will we say that it seemed OK because big oil companies and wealthy investors were driving the economy and profiting at the expense of our health and the health of our planet?

Or, can we take action today that will change their questions, so that they ask instead how we created a clean and healthy future.

Will we proudly tell them that we advocated and supported a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend that transformed our energy economy while creating jobs and protecting the vulnerable and the environment?

Carlos J. Rodriguez
Mountain View

SB 10 is simple, allows cities choice

Recently, misinformation has been circulated about the proposed zoning legislation Senate Bill 10. Let’s clear that up. SB 10 is simple. It provides that cities that want to upzone a lot to allow 10 or fewer homes, in certain kinds of areas, don’t have to do environmental impact reports (EIRs).

That’s it, nothing more.

More specifically, if a local government rezones a parcel in a transit-rich area, a jobs-rich area or an urban infill site, for 10 homes or fewer, the local government does not have to do an EIR. 

SB 10 would not, itself, rezone anything, anywhere. It would apply only when a city made its own choice to upzone.

This simple measure would eliminate red tape while preserving local control, and let Los Altans choose where homes can be built in Los Altos.

We all benefit when we understand what our legislators are proposing.

Anne Paulson
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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