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July 02, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, July 02, 2004

Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor (July 02, 2004)

Many bikers turned away from baby bullet


Caltrain's new "baby bullet" service, offering a 43-minute ride from Mountain View to San Francisco, has been widely anticipated by commuters.

However, one serious glitch in the new service is a severe lack of bike racks. Many bicycling commuters have been turned away from the train on numerous occasions even though the train was not near capacity.

Because the baby bullet involves fewer stops, many more new and existing Caltrain customers may now choose to bike to the baby bullet stations. Instead, Caltrain chose to reduce a bike-car train after its first week of service. Cyclists and Caltrain are natural allies as we seek healthier and environmentally sound means of commuting. I strongly urge Caltrain to add more bike cars.

Chao Lam
Via Escalera

Candidates should pay part of ballot fee


I agree with your suggestion of giving candidates for Mountain View City Council a break on the ballot statement fee. It is my feeling, however, that candidates should be expected to pay a reasonable amount, around $500, to run.

Making it completely free would make it tempting for anyone to run, whether they are serious or not. Charging a reasonable fee would limit candidates to those that are truly interested in serving. Also, splitting the expense of running for city council between the candidates and the city will give citizens the message that both sides are dedicated to providing a responsible body of government.

Another point about charging $2,140 or more is the fact that I hate to see our city, county, state or country, for that matter, be governed by the rich for the rich. In a way it's already happening. But we need to keep in mind that anyone who is a good candidate for office, with leadership qualities, is a hard worker and a good manager and most likely will amass some sort of sizeable capital as part of his or her skill set and drive. I wouldn't want a lame duck to be a member of my city council.

Bob Capriles
Tulane Drive

Go back to printing ballots just in English


The candidate ballot fee increase is another case of treating the symptom instead of the problem. The problem is multi-language ballots. When English is the only language used on ballots of an English speaking country, the problem disappears.

The opportunity to vote is a privilege of citizens of the United States, whether born here or naturalized.

To become a naturalized citizen, one of the requirements is "an ability to read, write, and speak English." If they can't do this, how did they become naturalized citizens?

In the past, some groups thought they would "help" immigrants who became naturalized citizens by making it easier for them to read and understand the ballot in order to vote. Instead, their actions tend to facilitate an addiction to, or dependence on, their previous language and delay the assimilation of immigrants into our society. In reality, these well-meaning actions tend to keep immigrants as second-class citizens, because they don't know English.

This is an example of the law of unintended consequences.

Asking the city of Mountain View to pay part of the fee will just open another Pandora's box of government trying to solve one problem and creating another one, and generating more unintended consequences. With all the concern about budget constraints, this does not seem to be a rational use of taxpayers' money. (An attitude that $10,000 or $20,000 is a negligible amount is part of the reason so many governments have budget problems.)

Why not use this example as a starting point to get the multi-language requirement of the ballot changed?

Paul Johnson
Dale Avenue

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