The Santa Clara County Water District wants to turn the Cuesta Annex into a 12-foot-deep pit to use as a flood basin. Surprisingly, our City Council has given tentative approval for this. And even more surprising to me is that the group that worked so hard to save the Annex for open space is silent.
The pit would be used for a flood, which is expected only once every 100 years. But how would it be used when not flooded? I struggle to see how this could be open space as we normally understand the term. Maybe you could use it for parking, but is a parking lot open space?
The water district is not stopping with the Annex either. They want to do the same thing with McKelvey Park. They want our youth to play baseball in a pit. These fields aren't that big to begin with, and with the sloping banks you would need to make the fields even smaller. We already have an acute shortage of playing fields in Mountain View so I don't think it's a good idea to disturb an existing one.
I urge our City Council to rethink this. The water district has other alternatives to provide the flood protection they seek.
Another soccer program serves at-risk youth
I was inspired by the July 11 article "Local teens run soccer camp for at-risk youth." It's not often you find young people with a desire to serve their community, and I want to commend the coaches who willingly give of their time to make a difference in the lives of others.
It reminded me of another free soccer program worth mentioning to those who may not be aware of it. It's called E-Soccer and runs year-round. Soccer is taught in an inclusive way for typical and special-needs children ages 5 and up.
It is run entirely by volunteers, and our own Mountain View Rotary Club donated money last year to pay for new uniforms and equipment. Check out the Web site for more information at www.e-soccer.info.
I wish the soccer camp for at-risk youth as much growth and success as E-Soccer has experienced over the past seven years.
'Podium pundits' are exercising their rights
Thank you for printing Allen Price's July 10 letter that sharply criticizes the right of certain residents to address the City Council during the public communications period.
And, thanks to Mayor Means and the other council members for not interrupting the public remarks during the June 24 meeting.
As one of the "podium pundits" that evening, delivering a people's petition calling on the City Council to stand up for the interests of our community, I think Mr. Price's impatient reaction is senseless and indicative of the current groundswell of public apathy. His idea of eliminating public remarks would compromise the traditional American democratic process.
Ironically, part of our petition presented that night, which was signed by more than 25 local residents, includes the charge that President Bush and Vice President Cheney blatantly violated the principles of our Constitution's Bill of Rights.
Though the City Council members appeared to be listening to our appeal to speak up for the Constitution and for our community, we haven't, as yet, heard from them as to where they stand. Maybe the mayor and current members have adopted a policy of silence — choosing not to break out of a comfortable shell.
W. Middlefield Road
Club project lacks adequate retail space
I was very interested to learn that 18,000 square feet of The Club may be torn down in favor of condos and retail space. The Whisman neighborhood is rife with new housing developments, but has almost none of the infrastructure that is required to support them.
According to last week's article, 5,800 square feet of the space will be for retail, which is certainly insufficient for a grocery store, a pharmacy such as Longs or Walgreens, or other businesses that people need every day. What sort of businesses do they expect to put into 5,800 square feet? Liquor stores?
The city needs to tell residents what its plans are for providing useful shops and businesses in this booming part of town. As citizen-involved planning progresses, the city can help Mountain View's existing neighborhoods by convening a grocery store "summit" of sorts that would guide small shop owners in selling products that normal, middle-class people need.
So many of these so-called "convenience" stores appear to specialize in merchandise for the homeless and vagrant populations, selling cigarettes, cheap beer and pornographic magazines. And 7-Eleven? Don't get me started.
If we are committed to making Mountain View a green city, one that other communities might emulate, we need to look closely at how to make everyday basics available to our citizens within walking distance of their homes. The small, neighborhood shopping centers are key to making that happen.
I challenge the City Council to develop the Whisman area to meet the needs of its residents — including the hundreds, if not thousands, who will live here when the housing developers finish their work.
Cynthia Marshall Schuman