Vargas and our immigrant ancestors
Like the parents of Jose Antonio Vargas ("Growing up undocumented in Mountain View," Sept. 28), my ancestors fled a troubled land under trying circumstances. They did what they must in order to secure freedom and safety for themselves and their families.
The grave marker of my great-grandfather shows in English letters that his name was Simon Horenstein, but in Hebrew letters the stone says that his name was Jacob Beck. Simon came to America from Proskurov, Ukraine, under a false name. Perhaps there was an immigration visa available for a Simon Horenstein, and the intended recipient was unable to use it. Simon always feared that his lie would be discovered, and that he would be deported. Simon's brother Eli Beck arrived in the United States under equally desperate circumstances, after deserting from the army of the Tsar. Simon insisted that Eli change his own last name to Horenstein, because it appeared suspicious for the two brothers to have different last names.
Meanwhile in Ukraine, on February 15, 1919, a Communist pogrom swept through Proskurov. That night 1,700 Jews were murdered in the town. Simon's nephew Israel survived the massacre and was later brought to America, but in the pogrom he sustained a head and neck injury. Simon's grandson, my uncle, with the same name Simon Horenstein, became a neurologist because he wanted to help people like his injured kinsman Israel. Uncle Simon is just one remarkable member of the remarkable family established in America by great-grandfather Simon.
Though the details differ, many readers of the Voice are descended from immigrants who underwent terrible hardships to come to America. Jose Antonio Vargas, who gives voice to the difficult stories of many other immigrants, deserves to be recognized in Mountain View as a favorite son.
Statewide bond measures
I have been submitting ballot arguments against statewide propositions for four decades to ensure that voters receive some contrary considerations. And I have often raised related issues in the ballot arguments. In submitting opening (primary) arguments against some of the propositions on the November 2018 ballot, I made some general points for consideration -- including that general obligation bonds sold must be repaid with interest, possibly through higher property taxes.
Statewide bond measures are not (currently) repaid through higher property taxes. In recent decades, property tax revenue has been used to support local governments -- not the state government. However, as I read it, the approval of general obligation bond measures mandates repayment through any and all taxation authorities. The state government used to receive 70 percent of its revenue from property taxes and could again tap the source to repay bond indebtedness which, for the state, is already some $74 billion. So questions about the fairness of the state's property tax system as modified by Proposition 13 in 1978 are legitimate.
Historically, bond measures have been used to borrow money for "motherhood and apple pie" projects that voters will like. Propositions 1 and 4 present such projects. But they do cost money -- and that is then money not available for anything else. In addition and as I have often done, I include in the ballot arguments broader questions and concerns for voter consideration. How anyone votes on Propositions 1 and 4 does not concern me. But I am hopeful voters will read and consider the issues raised.
Vote for Ellen Kamei
Moving to Mountain View from the East Coast nearly five years ago, I did not know anyone or anything about the city of Mountain View, aside from that it was close to where I would be working. One of the first things I did to build a sense of community was to join a local run club, which is where I met the wonderful Ellen Kamei. From the moment I met Ellen, I could tell that she loved Mountain View. It is her home, where she lives, works, and spends her free time participating and supporting the community.
As I got to know Ellen, and learned more about my new West Coast home, I became more interested and engaged with the city. I love the vibrancy of Castro Street, the concerts on the plaza, art and wine festivals, wine strolls, and all the community events that take place downtown. I love that the parks are clean and safe. I love the accessibility of Stevens Creek Trail, multiple dog parks and green space throughout the city. Most importantly, the people in the community itself. In the past five years that I have lived here, I have made strong friendships and consider Mountain View my home.
Having known Ellen now for almost five years, I know that she is passionate about Mountain View, and wants the best for the city that we both call home. She understands the struggles and challenges of both renters and homeowners alike, and takes time to listen to and understand multiple viewpoints. Ellen is incredibly hard-working, considerate, and solution-focused. She would be a great voice to have on the Mountain View City Council.
Modernize the business tax
Did you know Mountain View's business license tax hasn't been increased since 1954?
Earlier this year, the City Council voted unanimously to place a tax measure on the Nov. 6 ballot that will modernize the business license tax. You'll find this proposal as Measure P near the end of your ballot. If a majority of Mountain View voters approve, it'll provide $6 million for critical funding we need to expand public transit, improve traffic flow, increase affordable housing, and support community services.
Measure P is not a tax on residents or families! Only businesses will pay this tax on a per employee rate. The council was careful to protect small businesses and make Measure P fair; businesses with 25 or fewer employees would pay no more than $195 per year. Instead, large businesses with the greatest impact on our traffic and infrastructure will pay the highest rates. Nonprofits pay nothing.
Eighty percent of funds will be used for transportation and traffic solutions that benefit businesses and the community, including a railroad underpass at Rengstorff Avenue and Central Expressway, an upgraded downtown transit center, expanded bike & pedestrian paths, and safer routes to schools.
Please vote yes on Measure P to modernize the business tax and improve our community!
Vote for Dr. Ting
I would like to submit this letter of endorsement of Dr. George Ting's candidacy for the El Camino Healthcare District Board of Directors.
I have been on staff at El Camino Hospital for 27 years, and count the opportunity to work with Dr. Ting as a highlight. He has demonstrated superb clinical judgment, but has also served the hospital, medical staff and community in many ways -- notably as chief of the medical staff, as adviser and member of committees, and always as a participant in discussions about how to improve quality of and access to the best health care possible.
I value Dr. Ting's expertise, whether about clinical issues or administrative ones, and look forward to his positive addition to the board.
I wholeheartedly support his candidacy, and the benefits we all will glean from his addition to the board.
B Dr. Ting for health care district board==
I have known Dr. George Ting, candidate for the El Camino Healthcare District Board of Directors, for more than 25 years from two quite different perspectives. First, Dr. Ting represented the hospital and medical staff in overseeing the medical information system jointly developed with Lockheed -- and later Technicon -- the first of its kind in the world (and) where I had led the Lockheed/Technicon team. Second, Dr. Ting undertook the care of my wife, Jane, when her kidneys failed and she began dialysis at age 73, a diagnosis with a mean U.S. one-year survival (rate) at that age of 15 percent. Jane survived more than 12 years as a consequence of Dr. Ting's prescription of a form of dialysis still only undertaken by about 1 percent of U.S. dialysis patients.
Dr. Ting's excellence, temperament and judgment as a physician, combined with experience from thousands of hours taken from his private practice to serve the broad interests of the hospital, make him an ideal candidate to serve on the El Camino Healthcare District board.
The perfect candidate
It is my pleasure and honor to endorse Dr. George Ting in his election as a member of the El Camino Healthcare District Board of Directors. I have known Dr. Ting for over 35 years both professionally and socially and know he would be an excellent addition to the board. He is well-respected by colleagues and patients alike for his thoroughness, levelheadedness, commitment, and his ability to listen and communicate through difficult issues. Dr. Ting has the business and analytical skills, along with a deep understanding of the medical industry, to formulate plans that provide health care that is well-managed and available for all people.
He is the perfect candidate, with years of leadership experience at El Camino Hospital and El Camino Hospital's dialysis program, to ensure El Camino Hospital will meet the needs of the community in the most efficient and compassionate way. It would be a real shame not to take advantage of a person so qualified and willing to serve his community. Dr. Ting has my highest recommendation.