Letters to the Editor | June 27, 2008 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |


Mountain View Voice

Opinion - June 27, 2008

Letters to the Editor

Note to Voice delivery: Lose the plastic bags


Your wonderful little newspaper arrives regularly and its information is valuable and appreciated. But on these many dry spring and summer days, it just begs the question: Why are you still throwing it to me in this useless must-be-immediately-recycled used-one-time-only, what-an incredible-waste of-resources stupid little blue plastic bag?

Read your own paper! Forrest Linebarger has written so many great environmental-friendly articles on so many topics — please get the message. The world is going green, solar is here now, people are biking, not driving — and plastic bags are on the way out. Set a trend — lead, don't follow here — and drop the bags.

Here's a plan: Start by insisting that the carrier/deliverer watch a weather report and not use bags on dry days. Recommend a double-fold instead. By simply folding the paper into thirds, and tucking one end inside the other, the paper can still make the short throw from carrier to under-a-car without flying open or blowing away.

Somebody must be able to see the cost savings potential here. Don't those bags cost someone money?

Please — give it a try. I know you can do it. Think of all the turtles, gulls and fish whose lives you'll save by not polluting the Earth with these dangerous bags.

Even China is getting with the no-more-plastic-bags movement. Surely the one town in America with great free WiFi, courtesy of the preeminent Internet company in the world, can inspire locals to consider a cost-saving and eco-friendly idea like this. Better late than never — let's start now.

Steve Cutcomb

Ernestine Lane

Fresh food is healthier, tastier and cheaper


Last week's "Voices Around Town" feature echoed a widespread complaint about organic food: It is too expensive. By now, readers have certainly heard the twin arguments that conventionally grown food doesn't reflect the true cost of food production — which includes tolls on the environment and the health of those who plant and harvest crops — and that communities benefit from consumers' investment in organic food, which is often locally grown on small farms paying fair wages.

This is all true, but unlikely to convince budget-minded shoppers to pay more for their food. Even from a purely economic perspective, however, a price-per-pound comparison between organic and conventionally grown food is not always the most relevant. Instead, we need to consider a family's entire food budget, which usually allows for both eating out and buying processed prepared foods.

Whereas our town benefits when we spend our food dollars at one of the various excellent restaurants here, we do very little good for our bodies, environment, or local economy when we buy overly packaged convenience foods. The truly relevant comparison is not between organic and conventional foods, but between fresh foods and food substitutes. Families save money when they spend the time to prepare fresh food at home. Organic or conventional, the highest quality produce is grown locally and sold in season, and some studies have shown that organically grown produce is denser in nutrients and more flavorful.

Personally, I would choose a June nectarine from the farmer's market over an oddly soft packaged cookie any day.

Katherine Preston

Front Lane

Some dense housing is inevitable here


In his June 13 letter on affordable housing, Konrad M. Sosnow says he is opposed to high-density housing, or slums, as he calls them.

I am certainly opposed to three- and four-story housing units dispersed in residential neighborhoods and eight or 10 people living in a two-bedroom apartment (i.e. Rock Street or California Street), and I am not enchanted with stacked boxes (i.e. Mayfield Mall and others).

But three- or four-story (or more) housing complexes along El Camino Real or on Castro Street is unavoidable, especially with soaring commercial development advocated by the current City Council for companies like Google.

Mr. Sosnow needs to know that two of the seven planning commissioners live on his own street (Trophy Drive), and they too seem to favor high-density in-fill, at least for the north side of town. So, Mr. Sosnow, just be happy you live on the south side of Mountain View that will probably never be the high-density slum you seem to fear.

Or, like about 30,000 former residents in the past seven years, you too could move about 50 miles east to towns like Mountain View used to be. Life goes on.

Donald Letcher

N. Rengstorff Avenue

City should get moving on teen center


Thank you for your article last month about the public meeting with Mayor Tom Means regarding the need for a teen center in Mountain View ("Mayor hit by teen center campaign," May 23).

The teens from Youth Motivated for Action and Involvement (YMAI), of Peninsula Interfaith Action at St. Athanasius and St. Joseph churches, put together a powerful case for the need for a teen center in Mountain View and identified resources the city could use to create a safe, positive, drug-free, gang-free environment. The 250 Mountain View residents who attended were enthusiastic about the benefits of a teen center, but disappointed by Mayor Means' aversion to taking leadership on this project.

The youths and their supporters presented a vision of a teen center with something for all youth — quiet study areas, a counseling center, activity rooms, a lounge, computer lab and a gym. They cited examples of numerous cities where vital teen centers have proven gang-reducing results and many other benefits.

Mayor Means' suggestion that St. Joseph run a teen center in its small basement, and that private funds be used, is unrealistic and would not allow for the kind of teen center our youth need and that Mountain View deserves.

The City Council has demonstrated concern about the needs of teens and the impact of gangs by seeking funds for anti-gang law enforcement staff, but has not supported the creation of a great teen center. We hope to see the council become more supportive and take action, with comment from youths and their supporters, so that a state-of-the art teen center can become a reality.

Lori Abrahamsohn

N. Rengstorff Avenue

Do not save the tree on Hans Avenue


Regarding Patricia Evans' June 13 letter claiming that a heritage tree on Hans Avenue must be saved:

I lived in the subject house from 1968 to 1975. We had nothing but trouble with the tree. The sewer lines had to be cleared regularly of tree roots, and one Christmas, as we were about to leave on vacation, a very big limb fell on the house.

This cost a great deal of money to fix. Ms. Evans should volunteer to pay for any damage caused by the tree, if it remains in place, since it is so important to her.

There are thousands of trees growing in the area, and as soon as one tree is removed others are planted. So we don't need to worry about "sustainability."

I like trees probably much more than the average person, but I do think property owners should have some rights, and not be continually challenged by well-meaning neighbors.

Stan Wilson

Waverly Place


Posted by AG, a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 14, 2008 at 8:42 am

I don't mind having the "Mountain View Voice" delivered in the little blue plastic bags at all. I have a dog and reuse the bags for picking up poop while we're out on walks. They are just the right size so that several of them can be tucked away in a coat pocket until needed. They fit the hand like a glove and are easily tied up into a knot and disposed of. They are not bulky (like grocery bags) so very little plastic is actually thrown away. Let's face it... No one can predict the weather 100% of the time so I think the bags are not unreasonable. The only thing I wish is that the Voice use biodegradable bags so that they're at least better for the environment.

If anyone has a stash of the little blue bags that they don't need and would like to donate them please let me know. I'd be more than happy to pick them up for me to use for my dog. Thanks!

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 14, 2008 at 5:45 pm

I don't like the MV Voice delivered in the the blue bags. It makes it too easy for burglars to case the neighborhood and see who is away. I have to remember to ask my neighbor to pick it up for me whenever I travel. I liked receiving it in the US mail. I also subscribe to Los Altos Town Crier and it comes in the mail every week. No problems at all.