I've been living in Mountain View for more than three years now and find it to be a great city — lively and diverse and a place I've come to identify with.
That said, it was disenchanting when I saw how musicians were being treated downtown the other night. I approached an officer and asked about music (he had just stopped a group of people from playing) and he said you need a permit. He then proceeded to say, "They'll never get one though...that's what Shoreline's for," while making a "move along" type of gesture with his hands.
I play professionally all over the Bay Area and have pulled out my horn from time to time to jam with some of the great musicians who play on Castro Street. It's amazing that we have these people out there willing to share their artistic expression with us. Shouldn't we be embracing it?
The Mountain View I know is a city of creative, open and brilliant people whom I'm sure would agree that this is not the approach we should be taking towards artists. This man's uniform said he was a representative of our city, but his condescending attitude did not reflect our community spirit whatsoever.
Can't we gear our laws toward encouraging this type of activity? People love music and are drawn to it. The only person I saw that had a problem that night was the cop.
Chazz Alley, saxophonist
Sierra Vista Avenue
Why ruin Cuesta Annex with a flood basin?
If you are someone who enjoys Cuesta Annex, the beautiful, undeveloped space on Cuesta Drive in Mountain View, you may want to read this. More importantly, you may want to do something to preserve it.
Mayor Ronit Bryant and her colleagues on the City Council want to turn this little piece of heaven into a flood abatement area. They want to incorporate a 21-foot-deep flood detention basin that will require the removal of all almond and fruit trees and possibly the shade trees that line the annex and the parking lot.
We have Permanente Creek for flood abatement and there hasn't been a flood in 100 years. Trying to understand a rational reason for this senseless destruction of 100-year-old flowering trees escapes me, as well as local artists and residents who enjoy walking their dogs in the annex.
Currently, the annex costs next to nothing to maintain; mowing the tall grass is the only maintenance. In a time when city budgets are tight, why would further expenditures be undertaken? What does the council have to gain by developing this unspoiled, little piece of open space? Why isn't it being protected as a heritage or historical site within the city?
Race to the Top needs debate
Race to the Top was never designed to fully fund reforms. It is meant to jump-start reforms that President Obama and the Department of Education deemed worthy regardless of the money.
If something will dramatically improve student learning, it is worth the costs. Even in the red, budgets are still simply about priorities. Items with the most impact on learning should be kept first, and items with the least cut first. Whether what Washington wants is what we need warrants a debate. That is a debate beyond dollars and cents.