Now I am ashamed of that glory. The recent news of Google covering for and rewarding a high-level employee involved in a sexual harassment allegation has left me embarrassed for our city and angry.
I think Google has lost its moral compass in the most despicable manner on the way to international success.
It never fails to surprise me what it takes for those in power to put aside those everyday people who helped them become so successful. Where did we fail our leaders as parents, teachers, religious advisers and friends?
Ready to help
We all want to improve this situation with the vehicle dwellers. Our lack of affordable housing has translated to more of our Mountain View service workers having no place to sleep except their vehicle. There, but for the grace of God, go I.
Our neighbors who temporarily are vehicle dwellers are our brothers and sisters. I choose to treat them with respect and compassion. It must be very hard for them to maintain a reasonable level of human dignity, living in such a difficult environment, but still they try to somehow do the right thing for themselves and their families. They are simply doing what they know how to do. My hope is to have the privilege of helping them more as they search for some way out of their extreme poverty, while they work hard to better their situation. Fortunately, there are some of us who are ready to help.
Sierra Vista Avenue
North Bayshore project
I'm sad the Mountain View City Council caved in to the huge development company, Sobrato, on its North Bayshore project ("Landmark North Bayshore housing project wins approval," Oct. 26). It shows a real lack of foresight, and no planning for the future. The council continues to look at one project at a time, not the overall picture or long-term consequences.
Regarding the Sobrato project, a simple calculation from building costs shows the project costing $500 million to $1 billion, depending on land costs. If Sobrato wants a 10 to 20 percent annual return, they're expecting revenues of $50 to $200 million per year, and could have afforded the one-time charge for the in-lieu fees for parks and the school fees out of first year's revenues. Instead the council has set the precedent that a sufficiently large development firm can extract significant concessions from the city on various city development fees, and have the residents of Mountain View subsidize them.
This follows the decision by the city to waive the hotel tax for the Hope Street development for 10 years, for a boutique hotel likely producing huge profits. Wait until someone else wants to build a hotel in Mountain View — they're going to want the same deal. The next Sobrato-scale development will expect the same deal, and down the road the residents of Mountain View will pay the cost. I think we need a council with some backbone, that will stand up to the large development firms, and one that has some knowledge of real long-term, comprehensive planning for the city.
Marijuana in Mountain View
Twenty years ago I would have agreed with many of you that we do not need any marijuana shops in Mountain View. But 19 years ago I had breast cancer with a mastectomy and four rounds of chemotherapy about three to four weeks apart. For those of you who have never had this experience, all of us who have hope that none of you will have to endure the complete exhaustion and the nausea that increased many-fold with each treatment. Several people have mentioned that marijuana would have helped me, but it was unthinkable and illegal at the time. Looking back on that experience, I wish there had been a way to find out if it would have helped.
Losing my breast was the least of my problems. The constant threat of full-blown lymphedema in my arm (from removing all the lymph nodes under my arm) from lifting too much weight or repeating an activity too many times, but more importantly the constant throbbing pain in my chest from the cutting of all the nerve endings. Much to my amazement, I learned this year that a cannabis cream could remove the pain for 10 to 12 hours at a time. Also, the cream could be used on my numb and painful toes to relieve the pain that began 19 years ago from the chemotherapy. Now there is just one problem. The cream I used to obtain by a friend, illegally from a caring soul that raises organic marijuana and makes this helpful cream. I would love to buy some legally from a reputable, local store. One that qualifies for the standards that our Mountain View City Council is asking to have and the continued monitoring that will be in place from our police department.
Please support our current council and the in-depth research they have done, along with our police department, to enable all of us to legally obtain these products from a healthy and well-monitored shop. It is up to all of us to help protect our youth from all drugs, including alcohol, and these two shops will not bring more illegal drugs to Mountain View. If anything, there may be less.
In the past two years RVs in Mountain View have more than doubled. Ever wonder where all their sewage goes? We should, given the weekly need for sewage disposal and with the nearest disposal facilities in Redwood City, Fremont and San Jose.
Actually we should be concerned, because there are sightings of sewage dumping in our streets by those who behave badly when they think no one is looking, including a container of sewage left on Crisanto Avenue and sewage dumped in the Rengstorff Park bathroom until it backed up and flooded the bathroom. Luckily these health/environmental hazards were reported and decontaminated by our fire department (thank you, MVFD!).
So how many sewage hazards have been reported in the past two years? How many are scattered throughout our neighborhoods? Have they increased with the growing numbers of RVs?
In the Cuesta Park neighborhood, when some RV dwellers thought no one was looking, sewage has been deliberately dumped on our streets and in storm drains. This summer a group of men from an RV next to a church were seen urinating in church bushes every morning for several weeks until forced to move (thanks, MVPD!). However three months later, that area still reeks of urine. Hopefully their behavior has changed at their new location?
And it's not just human waste. At the same church, another RV with three large aggressive dogs used the church grounds as a dump site for their dogs' waste. Everywhere they park their RV, they leave piles of their dogs' waste for homeowners to clean up.
Most recently, a man was spotted dumping his RV sewage in the recycled water drain at the car wash behind the Valero gas station. Thankfully this was reported, but how many cars have been unknowingly washed with sewage? That's disgusting.
More importantly, how often is sewage deliberately dumped undetected throughout our neighborhoods? Since those discovered in Cuesta Park were only by chance, we don't really know — and if they're not discovered and reported, we're unknowingly exposed to sewage.
Ban bags at farmers market
I love our amazing farmers market! And I'm not the only one. We are a community that values farm-to-table and pay well for our farmers' produce. We can, however, make our market environmentally better. Let's stop with the single-use plastic produce bags and switch to paper bags. A quick search on Amazon shows that rolls of plastic produce bags cost $0.03/bag, while paper produce bags cost $0.055/bag. This is a difference of 2.5 cents per bag, and a huge environmental win! How do we make this happen?
Side note: Optionally, everyone could just pass on the produce bags, weigh the fruit, and throw everything into our re-usable shopping bags.
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