Letters to the editor: Aug. 3, 2018


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.

Sarah Eitzman

Apricot Lane

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

View Street

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11 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 8, 2018 at 5:52 pm

Gary is a registered user.

I wrote a letter to the high school board years ago about football injuries - especially when the opposing team is way better. It becamw a guest column in the Voice. Of course, I never heard back from the school board or district. And football remains. What's more, the football programs at Mountain View and Los Altos are still relatively weak. And as to injuries, I asked about them in a public records request. The district responded that all records concerning injuries are strictly privileged from disclosure. I attended a football game between MV and LA some years ago. It was under the lights at Foothill College. Los Altos managed a rare win. The Mountain View coach was then quoted in another newspaper complaining that half of his starters had missed the game with injuries. But for those who don't care about injuries and want to see a good high school football contest, go see Folsom High at De La Salle in Concord Friday night, August 17. Folsom is the defending state champion in Division 1. De La Salle has represented NorCal in every highest division of the state playoffs (currently called "open division") except once for more than a dozen years of the state football playoffs. De La Salle is a Catholic school in Concord which has not lost a game to a NorCal foe since 1991. This could be the end of that streak I won't attend but will look for the game on cable tv. I really like football - to watch. Playing it is just plain STUPID.

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Posted by Transparency
a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2018 at 5:31 pm

The MVLA board seems to have its mind made up already about adding these field lights. Their lack of transparency is astounding. They are alone among local school boards in not providing video recordings and webcasts/TV broadcasts of their meetings so people are uninformed of their doings.

Maybe this will be a cause which will at least cause some changes regarding the transparency. After all, the only argument for the field lights is that everyone else does it, more or less. So why don't they provide video records of their meetings?

16 people like this
Posted by LAHS Parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2018 at 8:04 pm

The board is being perfectly transparent. Just because you don't agree with them doesn't mean they aren't. They are perfectly within their rights to put up field lights. The lights are needed and will be used throughout the school year by football, field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, track and field, dance, cheer, and marching band. So many of our student-athletes will benefit.

2 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 14, 2018 at 10:42 pm

Gary is a registered user.

Well, I guess it is true that not many homes will be affected by the lights or the scheduled and unscheduled activities the lights will enable. Maybe a hundred homes near each high school. Since no one ran for high school board against the incumbents,the lights are a done deal.houses near each football field.But deal. But did I mention that playing tackle football is unwise. Students should learn self-defense - not self - mutilation.

2 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 14, 2018 at 10:57 pm

Gary is a registered user.

But wait just one cotton-pickin minute. A hundred homes near each campus will be significantly affected. Does the school district need to commission an environmental impact report (EIR)? Does the school board need to adopt the findings in the report or make a "negative declaration" that no significant impact is to be expected? Any lawyers living near the high schools should look up CEQA and consider lodging objections before or at the meeting.

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Posted by Check the Video
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2018 at 12:18 pm

The board are hiding behind staff. They did give staff direction to prepare an EIR for the planned lighting and loudspeakers. They didn't review any planned schedule for how much use these lights and speakers would allegedly get, or any kind of measure of the so called need.

If you don't trust my account, then check the video recording of the board meeting. This would be important for other issues, such as the failing educations of the low income students, the bizarre grading policies, etc. The video record is really needed to provide transparency and a record of the visible attitudes of the board members. Some of these board members have been in office for many many terms.

2 people like this
Posted by EIR
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2018 at 1:12 pm

Another issue for the board is the imbalance between Los Altos High School and Mountain View High School. There are 20% more students at Los Altos High School. They are the same size campuses.

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Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Listening to Harding is like listening to Trump: Trust me, it's going to be Great, everyone is going to get what they want, and we don't have it in the budget to pay for it. Our schools have enough problems without adding lights. Time for neighborhoods to lawyer-up. Bullis Charter families taught everyone how to deal with the school board.

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Posted by Another Harding Critic
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2018 at 8:42 am

He hasn't been the superintendent for long, but he carries on the tradition of misleading the public and concealing things. Another reason the board meetings should be video-recorded and archived. Such patterns are more obvious when there is a record. Note that the city of Los Altos offered to use cable TV tax revenue funds to subsidize the cost of the video for the MVLA board meetings. This is in the public interest.

With Harding, there are questions about the veracity of his claims that the neighbors were notified about the decisive meeting on pursuing the lights. A lot mananged to find out, but the announcements weren't set out to as many as he claimed. I question this idea that only 200 neighbors are affected. This isn't just about light, but about scheduling nighttime events which cause traffic and parking issues on surrounding streets. These high schools already have inadequate parking for as many cars as students drive to school each day. There are parking issues on streets all around the school, much further than just those affected by lights directly. Then there's the issue of the loudspeakers WHICH HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH MAKING MORE FIELD TIME AVAILABLE.

There really aren't any arterial roads serving MVLA's schools, unlike the typical High school, or most especially those 2 selected by Harding to present as examples of so called good neighbor policies. First, just presenting 2 policies is a crappy job. It should be suspected that these aren't representative cases. Couple this with the miniscule parking facilities, and the school is burdening the neighborhood with parking already. Special night events with uncontrolled traffic is a separate issue. There should be a traffic and crowd management plan provided by the school district for each such event.

The only way to get anywhere near fair treatment for the public within a half mile of the school is for people to get together and file a lawsuit about these issues.

4 people like this
Posted by LAHS Parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2018 at 10:08 am

There is plenty of on-campus parking at LAHS. I have never heard of a single sporting event at LAHS where parking was actually backed up into the neighborhood. Same for MVHS. In fact, I would venture to guess that LASD Junior Olympics produces 10 times the amount of neighborhood parking as any night time sporting event would ever produce.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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