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Letters to the editor: Nov. 23, 2018

Readers weigh in on San Antonio shopping center, bikes on Caltrain

Keep the city's last department store

I have been reading about the possibility of a Los Altos charter school being built on the corner of California and Showers in Mountain View. That is a very high-traffic area for a school. Also, why a Los Altos charter school in Mountain View?

If they were to build where Kohl's is, we lose our last department store. My husband and I have lived in Mountain View for 65 years and shopped many local stores. On that corner there was Rhodes, then Mervyn's and now Kohl's.

Target and Walmart are in a different category. Present and future Mountain View residents will have to leave town to find a department store. I feel that a lot of people will be put at a disadvantage for a small number of charter-school children who should have a safer place to begin with.

Elinor Westphal

Bryant Avenue

Increase bike capacity

Multi-modal transportation is one part of the process to reduce vehicle miles traveled, congestion, emissions and other negative impacts associated with passenger, and especially single-passenger, vehicles. I take Caltrain with my bike every day to work and rely on Caltrain and my bike as my main modes of transportation to work. Any reduction in the bike capacity is ill-informed and should be suspect from the start; the presumption should be toward increasing bike capacity.

Ben Gustafson

I California Street

Bike cars

I had a bike stolen on Caltrain around Sunnyvale on June 16, 2017, simply because I was not able to sit in the bike car to see it. Overcrowded bike cars demand regulations to allow bikers' sitting priority over passengers with no bikes. It's a simple and easy-to-implement rule to (1) reduce train delays, (2) deter bike thefts, and (3) promote eco-friendly commutes for generations to come.

Wei Liu

Stanford

VTA Measure B lawsuit

More than two years ago, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's 12-member Board of Directors voted to place on the November 2016 ballot a countywide half-cent sales tax increase estimated to raise $6.3 billion over its 30-year duration. The measure authorized the VTA to borrow money against the revenue stream (by selling bonds) and seemed to promise that the money would be used for transportation projects across the county.

Desperate for traffic relief, 71 percent of voters (who voted) supported Measure B. It required two-thirds of the vote. But there was a quirk. The measure purports to authorize the VTA board (by 3/4 vote) to redirect the tax proceeds to virtually anything it chooses. For example, all of the money could be used to finish extending BART to Santa Clara or for other South County projects never even mentioned in the measure. This provision for shifting the use of funds seemed to run afoul of a state law (Government Code section 50075.1) which mandates, among other things, that every local special tax measure state or indicate its "specific purposes" and promise to use the money only for those "specified purposes."

The VTA had a history of advertising some plans (bait) and later using money mostly for higher salaries or South County (switch). That is why a former Saratoga City Councilwoman sued on January 9, 2016, to have Measure B declared invalid. The trial-level court sided with the VTA as did the Court of Appeal in San Jose (on October 18, 2018). I am the pro bono (no charge) attorney for the plaintiff-appellant in the case and will soon file a petition asking the California Supreme Court to address the legal issue created by the VTA' s switch provision. The Supreme Court only grants review to in one in 100 civil cases in which review is sought. So, while the case against Measure B could be over in two more months, the issue of whether North County will receive anything from the tax would continue for years to come.

Gary Wesley

Continental Circle

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Comments

3 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 27, 2018 at 8:25 am

To address the comment by Mrs. Westphal

The plan for the San Antonio Center has been for complete redevelopment ever since Merlone Geier bought in and started work on the west side of the area, so Kohl's will be gone either way, school or no school. Not putting one there will not save the department store or anything else in that area.

As for why a Los Altos school would be in Mountain View, the area where the Kohl's sits in within the Los Altos School District and the children who attend school from all those new apartments do so in that district, as do many other children who reside in Mountain View. In the area of Mountain View where you live, Oak Elementary is attended by many children and it is part of the LASD. Springer Elementary, which is physically located in Mountain View, is also part of the LASD. was confused about this when I moved here as well, since most places I have lived have the school district attendance area boundaries the same as the city limits. Here, the districts and cities are different.

In order to maintain the small school sizes and to deal with the number of people with children who would love to have their children attend the highly rated district schools as well as the charter, we need another school site. As a resident of the area, I can say that I would have liked a school choice that didn't require my child to cross El Camino every day.

I, too, will miss Kohl's when it's gone, but not building a school on the site will not keep it. I hope they do build the school because it will provide much-needed relatively open space. All the LASD schools are park area outside of school hours and we need more park space over here. I am not a fan of the multi-story monstrosities they are building and love to see some real grass for kids to play on rather than another dog park covered in synthetic grass.


14 people like this
Posted by @psr
a resident of another community
on Nov 28, 2018 at 7:34 pm

Here's a better idea:

Step 1 - Close Covington and move BCS to that campus
Step 2 - Move 6th grade to Egan/Blach
Step 3 - Spend the Measure N bond funds to upgrade existing schools

Leave Kohl's alone!


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