Impact of stadium lights
I am writing in response to Mountain View-Los Altos Superintendent Jeff Harding's letter to the high school neighbors of June 12, 2018, which describes a proposal to "add football stadium lights and sound systems on the campuses of Mountain View and Los Altos high schools." While I have concerns regarding negative neighborhood impact of nighttime sports events, I want to focus on a more critical and troubling issue related to football stadium lights.
As a pediatrician and parent I am keenly aware of the medical literature related to football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Numerous articles in highly reputable medical journals have shown that early and frequent head trauma with and without concussions have been linked to development of CTE. The Harvard Educational Review recently published a compelling ethical and legal argument against public school sponsorship of high school tackle football. The authors state that "schools should not sponsor activities that are known to cognitively impair a significant percentage of students who participate in those activities." According to its mission statement, the MVLA board of trustees is "committed to focusing the institution's energy and resources on student learning and to their academic and personal development." Given the overwhelming evidence of physical and cognitive harm caused by high school football, the installation of football stadium lights will send a message contrary to this mission statement.
I urge the superintendent to consider the ethical implications of promoting football as well as other neighborhood concerns during his research and discussion process, and urge the board to consider these issues with respect to the Mountain View and Los Altos High School missions.
Be attentive and involved
The Measure V Too Costly campaign initiative to repeal rent control was filed this year by former Mayor John Inks, who is now running for re-election to the Mountain View City Council, and real estate agent Bryan Danforth. This shocked the supporters of Measure V, the successful city rent control ordinance that was passed by the voters in 2016.
The Measure V rent control repeal is well funded by the California Apartment Association and was crafted with the intent to reverse all the provisions of the rent control law, including protection of renters from unjust evictions.
Concerned residents planned an educational "don't sign" campaign to counter this sneaky repeal. Their campaign was funded by sales of tamales and modest donations. Rental advocates walked the neighborhoods. They stymied the signature campaign. The repeal did not get enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot despite reportedly paying signature gatherers up to $16 per signature. And over 300 individuals who had initially signed the sneaky repeal later asked to have their signatures withdrawn after they became aware of the true intent of the initiative.
This is a powerful example, like the initial campaign to get Measure V on the ballot and the successful effort to raise the city's minimum wage, where advocates overcome well-funded opposition to demonstrate the power of organized community-based efforts.
However, attempts to overturn Measure V are not over. It is likely that some current candidates for City Council will run supporting a repeal of rent control, which would inevitably further change the character of our city. Already many renters have benefited from rent control and have been able to continue to afford to live and work in Mountain View.
As citizens we need to be committed to a diverse Mountain View, one where our workers can afford to live. We need to be attentive and involved.
Mike Fischetti and Marilyn Winkleby