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November 04, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, November 04, 2005

Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor (November 04, 2005)


Vote for Luskin, Pefley and Goines

Editor:

Residents of Mountain View and Los Altos living in the Los Altos School District need to make their opinions heard in the upcoming election. Three of five positions on the board of trustees will be filled, and the character of the board may change significantly depending on who is elected.

David Luskin, David Pefley and Mark Goines have committed to acting in the best interest of the community as a whole, and working in a collaborative manner with the other board candidates to better the school district. They have a long history of volunteer activity with the district, promoting better education for all the residents of the school district.

I encourage voters to get out to their polling places on Tuesday, and make their voices heard. Charlie Amsden Cuesta Drive

Vote for Julia Miller

Editor:

I attended the Oct. 20 League of Women Voters candidate forum at Mountain View City Hall for the Foothill-De Anza College Board. The only candidate who expressed a willingness to even question the new $400 million bond measure planned by the district for next year (apart from the strategic timing of the plan) was two-term Sunnyvale City Council member Julia Miller. She deserves the consideration of voters. Gary Wesley Continental Circle

Vote for Bruce Swenson

Editor:

Bruce Swenson will make an outstanding trustee for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and deserves our vote. His solid background in education, finance and budget analysis is needed now more than ever.

We face challenging times marked by budgetary uncertainty. Bruce understands the importance of long-range financial planning to anticipate future needs. And he knows first-hand the importance of our community colleges and the affordable higher education they provide. Many students gain immediate skills they need for a better job or a new career. Others transfer to universities, benefiting from the much lower cost of taking their first two years at our local community college.

Bruce's six years as Foothill College's vice president of finance show his dedication in balancing budget constraints with the educational needs of our students. Throughout his six years as a division dean, Bruce has demonstrated the leadership needed to be sure our community colleges remain an excellent option for higher learning. At the same time, his 18 years as mathematics professor, working directly with students, show his longstanding commitment to our students' educational success. Karen White Palo Alto

Propositions do not level playing field

Editor:

Many of the propositions before voters next Tuesday purport to level the playing field and do exactly the opposite.

Example: Prop 73 attempts to legislate positive communication between troubled teens and their parents. And Prop 74 extends probationary period for teachers but fails to demand more training for evaluators.

Proposition 75 requires annual individual authorization for political participation by unions that already have "opt out" provisions but does not require equivalent authorization by corporations from stockholders or employees. Corporate political spending already dwarfs union spending. And 76 destroys the constitutional checks and balances between legislators and the governor by empowering the governor to cut spending for schools and other services unilaterally -- ignoring Prop 98 mandates.

Proposition 77 determines that three retired judges will redraw the district lines -- with no requirement or process to show that the judges truly are non-partisan, or skilled or experienced in this sort of task. Then we the people vote on their plan. If the majority doesn't like it, three (presumably different) judges go back to work again. All this will cost the taxpayers dearly.

The deluge of "Yes on 78" and "No on 79" commercials, paid for almost exclusively by big pharmaceutical companies, tells it all: Prop 78 asks these companies to voluntarily offer prescription discounts (a plan that didn't work previously, so was cancelled) while 79 requires discounts.

Yes, we need reform. But not the kind that creates a downhill ski run rather than a soccer field. Most of these propositions make a mockery of government of, by and for the people. Joan MacDonald Emmons Drive

Vote for Prop 79, not 78

Editor:

I have noticed that several local newspapers have guided readers to a League of Women Voters Web site for assistance with the propositions. However, the difference between propositions 78 and 79 is foggy as written. The ads you have seen on television are sponsored by large pharmaceutical corporations and their associations who are spending over $80 million to try and defeat Prop 79. That sponsorship is clearly stated at the end of each spot. They have pledged to spend this money because:

* Proposition 78 is voluntary for them. The last time California tried a voluntary program, the drug companies refused to participate.

* The drug companies' plan covers only half as many people as Proposition 79.

* Proposition 78 gives California no power to enforce discounts.

European countries have purchased from pharmaceutical groups in bulk for many years in order to serve more patients and control costs, yet the drug companies still make generous profits. This economic system has been used in many countries, which the World Health Organization rates much higher in efficacy than the U.S.

An article in the Los Angeles Times reminds us, "It must be plain that no industry would voluntarily spend $80 million to promote the public interest -- they only spend this kind of cash to promote their own interests." Since you have already seen the industry-sponsored commercial dozens of times, it only seems fair to go to www.voteyesonprop79.com and review what others have to say. Barb Dawson Palo Alto

Declining MV-Whisman enrollment no mystery

Editor:

I am writing in response to the recent Voicearticle in which the Mountain View-Whisman School District administration states that they find the significant drop in school enrollment mysterious ("Mysterious decline in school enrollment," Oct. 14).

There really is no mystery. With the impending closure of Slater School, some parents decided to make their school changes this year rather than waiting. Their children are now attending public and private schools in Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Altos and Palo Alto. In addition, last June the administration eliminated a class in the alternative PACT program, which brings in children from outside the district. This accounts for an additional decline of 20 students.

Could this be the beginning of a downward spiral, as the district's prediction of declining enrollment becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy? Robyn Rymer Taylor Court

A right to speak on child care center

Editor:

I attended the city meeting of Oct. 11 at which time the matter regarding the privately operated child care center plans for Rengstorff Park was heard.

The meeting was not without incident, and I was shocked beyond imagination when our mayor, in an unpleasant manner, admonished a citizen who had spoken on our behalf. Even though the man was not from our immediate neighborhood, our constitution affords every citizen the right to freedom of speech. Therefore, that person had the right to express himself and be heard.

We give our gratitude and appreciation to councilmen Matt Pear and Greg Perry for their continued support on our behalf. They can rest assured of our support in their time of need. Frances Trimmer S. Rengstorff Avenue

More tricks than treats

Editor:

Another year, another Halloween of trick-or-treaters. Last year, my husband's golf clubs were stolen out of the trunk of his car that was parked in our driveway. This year, in addition to the filthy mouths (causing me to turn away a huge group of "young adults"), I had to chase after a couple of kids that were preparing to hurl the pumpkins I had on my front porch.

The "neighborhood" kids are now being driven into the neighborhood, and I no longer recognize anybody. The "cute" little kiddies stand over the basket of candy proclaiming, "I don't like that kind" and "How many can I have?" Last but not least, now we have "kids" that don't even bother to put on a costume, but they certainly expect their treat.

Call me the Grinch who stole Halloween. Muriel Sivyer-Lee Velarde Street


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