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June 18, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, June 18, 2004

Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor (June 18, 2004)

Consider naming Cuesta Park for Lt. Ballard

Editor:

On June 9, I watched the family and friends of Army Lt. Ken Ballard gather at Cuesta Park for a celebration after his burial. I remember feeling sad for so many young people having to go through the loss of a friend, and the family members with so much pain that no words could describe.

I think that the city of Mountain View should honor the memory of Ken Ballard by naming the picnic area in Cuesta Park after him. It is an area where people gather on a daily basis to celebrate no matter what the reason. This would be a wonderful way for the city to remember and thank Lt. Ken Ballard for paying the ultimate price.

Dorothy A. Conner
Gantry Way


Ballard, his mother worked to save the Giants

Editor:

I remember Ken Ballard as a 12-year-old stuffing envelopes for the Campaign to Save the Giants baseball team. His mother Karen was one of the four super-volunteers on the Santa Clara and San Jose Save the Giants Campaigns.

Passionate about our Giants, she was the best phoner the campaigns had. Ken would do homework in the next room during the week while we called and stuffed envelopes on the weekends.

He was patient and funny, teasable and teasing. They were a team in life, Ken and Karen. They had an unfussy, profound bond. No child ever had a mother who loved him more and that will rest deep in his soul.

Wendy Fleet
Velarde Street


Gays in the neighborhood should speak up

Editor:

Wow! All those anti-gay letters last week about the Mountain View and Los Altos councils' decisions recognizing gay pride. I was taken aback by how much sentiment there is against us in our own neighborhoods. I invite the gay-haters to look deep into their hearts and psyches to discover their real issues around this.

I think it's easier for gay-haters to persist in their prejudice when they don't know who we are, when they believe "none of 'those people' are in my neighborhood, or at my school, or at my workplace."

And that's easier to do with gays than other minorities because you can't generally tell we're gay by looking. Well, I'm going to tell them, and I invite my LGBT brothers and sisters to do the same.

I've added a rainbow streamer to the peace flag in front of my house. It says, "I celebrate my romantic and sexual orientation, and I support other LGBT neighbors." It also tells the gay-haters, "You can't pretend we're not here."

I also want to celebrate all my straight brothers and sisters who accept and support us. Some of you fight for our cause though it's not your own. Thank you.

To those who want to be accepting but are struggling: one of the most effective tools I've found for overcoming my own prejudices is getting to know people personally. I urge you to talk openly with gay people. And to the die-hard gay-haters: It hurts to be hated for who I am. I wish for you much personal growth and transformation.

Dan Craft
Velarde Street


Lack of affordable housing forcing families out

Editor:

The Mountain View affordable housing tour conducted on June 5, which was the subject of an article in your June 4 issue, was a great success.

Participants traveled by bus to four subsidized housing developments, including ones serving seniors, families, and residents with special needs. More than a hundred people attended the program held at the end of the tour at Tyrella Gardens, a recently remodeled affordable housing complex.

City leaders, including Mayor Matt Pear, Vice Mayor Matt Neely, and Council member Nick Galiotto, accepted a plaque thanking the city for their longstanding commitment to affordable housing.

Information presented at the program shows we have a lot more work to do. The 2002 housing element reported that from 1988-2000 the city added only 25 percent of the needed additional units affordable to families earning less than 80 percent of the area's median income (about $69,000 for a family of four).

More disturbingly, not a single additional unit affordable to such families, which includes 27 percent of Mountain View's residents, was built between 1999 and 2001, the last year for which the housing element included data. The housing element projected a need for 1,000 more units affordable at this income level by 2006, but the 120-unit efficiency studio project appears to be the only significant affordable housing project in the works right now.

At the program a grandmother gave compelling personal testimony that reminded us all how the lack of affordable housing affects our community. She has had to give up her dream of living near her children and grandchildren, all of whom have had to move out of the area to find affordable housing. Who among us has not suffered a similar loss with respect to a family member, a good neighbor, a dear friend, or a trusted coworker due to the lack of affordable housing in our area?

We need a dramatic change in our housing policy. What will become of our community if we fail to do more to prevent lower-income families, including many of our own children, from being driven away due to the lack of affordable housing?

Bill James
Yosemite Avenue


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