Plastic bag ban: What have we gained?
Our City Council members have now voted and it will soon be a law that there will be no more plastic bags at the grocery store.
The reasons given are environmental: clogged waterways, endangerment of wildlife. These are issues of irresponsible people, people littering, so now an entire city suffers the consequences.
I recycle every plastic and paper bag received. For example: I line my bathroom waste baskets; I line my kitchen garbage container; the daily cleaning of my cat's litter box. This uses several bags per week.
I now will need to purchase plastic bags to use in this way as a reusable grocery bag is definitely not an option for any of these purposes. So what has been gained?
Kudos to Mr. Means and Mr. Inks who did not vote for this ban. I am glad I cast my vote in the right direction.
Cuesta Park Annex not for sale
I believe that Santa Clara Valley Water District board director Patrick Kwok is wrong in asserting that the people of Mountain View explicitly approved the Cuesta Annex flood basin in the November election.
The project was a minor issue in the election process and one of the (two) re-elected incumbent council members was opposed to the Annex project. The political motivation seems to come from the water district itself, which is anxious to spend Measure B funds before time runs out.
I believe that the majority of informed residents of Mountain View and Los Altos disapprove of the district's proposals. The district has repeatedly failed to establish that a real threat of flood exists and has botched its flood protection plans over and over again.
Real estate laws of disclosure require that the risk of potential flood to property in a flood zone be revealed during exchange of ownership. Those who completed purchase of properties in a flood zone were made aware of the potential hazard (and the need for supplementary insurance) and obviously found the risk, and any additional insurance costs, to be acceptable. It is evident that no properties in Mountain View and Los Altos have suffered loss in value as a result.
As for El Camino Hospital, it is inconceivable that close to half a billion dollars has been spent on reconstruction if a credible threat of flood exists. Unless elected board members and highly paid hospital executive managers, architects and construction companies are guilty of collective incompetence, it is unimaginable that a 1 percent risk of flood was not considered, and dismissed, before construction began. It is shameful for a highly profitable "nonprofit" institution to offer a few million dollars now to protect itself against an unverified threat. Cuesta Park Annex belongs to the people of Mountain View and is not for sale.
Facts disputed in Cuesta petition drive
The letters of Cynthia Riorden and Bob Schick show their misconceptions of the Permanente Creek flood problem and illustrate why the petitions they collect are misleading.
The pond and diversion channel they say protect us in a 100-year flood are "in-stream", so they fill as the water rises and are full when the peak flow begins — they don't provide 100-year flood protection.
Off-stream detention basins, like the one proposed for Cuesta Annex, only begin to fill during peak flow when the in-stream capacity has been filled. That's what makes them effective — they catch the overflow that would flood our neighborhoods.
The email Bob mentions I sent to my neighbors informed them that removal of the Cuesta Annex basin from the plan would leave our neighborhood and the El Camino Hospital exposed to the 100-year flood. I mentioned that "only one heritage tree" will be removed because that is the plan and because people hear the opponents talk of "clear cutting" in the Annex and think the heritage oaks will be removed. In fact, the other trees to be removed are not heritage trees, they are small, some young and some shrubby suckers than grew when the orchard trees were removed.
It's not surprising that opponents gather petition signatures when they misinform people about the flood problem, claim existing alternatives, and threaten the loss of open space and "clear cut" of trees in the Annex. The truth is the city hired an outside engineering firm that confirmed the water district projections. And the Annex basin plan includes an easement against development that will help preserve it as a natural open space, while it also helps to protect our homes and local hospital from unusual floods. The Cuesta Annex flood basin project should move forward.
Basic items needed for veterans at VA
I am pleased and humbled by the response to the letter the Voice published several weeks ago regarding the simple basic needs of our long-term in-patient veterans at the Palo Alto VA.
Mostly it has been individual citizens who have come forward asking how they can help, what they can donate, but I even got contacted from someone at Lockheed-Martin in Sunnyvale who said that he and some of his fellow patriotic employees want to donate the basic items I have asked for on behalf of our vets.
The individual stories of some of these vets who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are moving. Just as my war hero son, who saved the lives of 25 of his fellow 3rd Cavalry soldiers and lost many of his buddies, now suffers serious PTSD, so it is there are similar heart-wrenching stories the other vets at the VA can tell.
It is sad that due to budget cuts the VA cannot even provide toothpaste, tooth brushes, shampoo, basic socks and T-shirts for those who have served our country in combat. This is not the VA's fault. It is the fault of Congress, the president, and the Pentagon. It's a national disgrace, a national shame.
Please, if you missed the first letter I urge you to contact me at my business email: firstname.lastname@example.org. And I want to extend a huge thanks to the Voice for supporting this quest.
Response to letter has it wrong
Job Lopez (Letters last week) has it backwards in his response to Charlie Larson's letter.
Instead of taking the proper path to legal citizenship, (former Mountain View resident Jose) Vargas has shown complete disregard for the laws of our country. He has stolen Social Security numbers and lied to get a drivers license. I have to wonder what laws must be broken before Job feels it no longer be acceptable.
Is he okay with his identity being stolen and his bank account drained? How about a car accident that injures him or his family by someone with no insurance or driver's license? I really like how he put the "lied" part in italics as if it is of no consequence to lie to people and feel justified. I can only hope that Job doesn't have kids, otherwise he will have to explain why robbing a bank is okay because "daddy doesn't have any money."
Unjust to give amnesty to those here illegally
Job Lopez's letter (last week) says that we should view undocumented immigrants from a "just and moral point of view" so that those who were brought to our country as children should be given amnesty.
When we treat those people that way, we are being unjust and immoral to our citizens who are paying the bills for those undocumented students in our schools, the undocumented people in our hospitals and our welfare programs. When we do not enforce our laws, that is not fair to those people who obey the laws. Is Lopez a legal resident?
Road diets could create other problems
In your Dec. 7 editorial, "A better way to design our streets," you wrote that a "road diet" has been successful in Palo Alto, no doubt referring to Arastradero Road.
From the July 27 Palo Alto Weekly "... traffic volume rose in three areas within the Barron Park neighborhood: Maybell Avenue and Maybell Court; Maybell Avenue and Pena Court; and Matadero Avenue at Josina Court. The traffic count at Maybell and Pena rose significantly from 2,700 vehicles to 3,348 daily since the [Arastradero Road] trial changes, ... Chief Transportation Official Jaime Rodriguez admitted a speed survey had not been done along the cut-through routes."
A 24 percent traffic increase on a formerly quiet little street cannot be considered successful. How many accidents will occur as frustrated drivers — and bicyclists — divert through neighborhoods to avoid congested arterials?
"Road diets" have unintended consequences.
Time to take a stand on animal cruelty
I am a student at Mountain View High School writing this letter to convince your readers that animal cruelty is wrong.
I am specifically concerned about animals being used for entertainment, animals being used for clothing and animals being killed because they are considered "pests."
We should not use animals for entertainment such as circuses, zoos, sporting events and in movies and television. You can help support this cause by boycotting these places and events.
We should not use animals for clothing, including coats, boots and purses. You can help support this by only buying clothing made without animals.
We should not kill animals because we consider them "pests." You can help support this by getting involved in your community and beyond to find ways to coexist with animals.
I support stopping animal cruelty because I do not think it is right or fair to hurt or kill animals. If you agree, please take action.
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