Town Square

Mountain View Whisman approves $481K contract to design Monta Loma overhaul

Original post made on Sep 14, 2021

The Mountain View Whisman School District approved a $481,000 contract last week to design an overhaul of the outdoor space at Monta Loma Elementary, after a plan to erect fences around the campus was met with public outcry last year.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 14, 2021, 1:51 PM


Posted by gretchen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 14, 2021 at 2:24 pm

gretchen is a registered user.

No this is not resignation, it is not being informed that this was on the agenda. The district somehow chooses to inform the neighborhood when it is forced to by law or it sees some benefit. I see this as just another act of bad faith. At least one of the board members and the mayor were at a recent ice cream social in the park and I am sure that neither went away thinking that the neighborhood was resigned or approved.

Posted by Seriously
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 14, 2021 at 2:41 pm

Seriously is a registered user.

This is one of the reasons why I opted out of paying Measure B parcel tax. MVWSD board cannot be trusted with five bucks, let alone the millions that they continue to squander on poorly conceived projects.

Posted by Parks
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 14, 2021 at 2:42 pm

Parks is a registered user.

This whole thing is a solution in search of a problem. Are there truly urgent security threats at Monta Loma requiring massive spending to ameliorate? Not even close. We have a lovely park that is beloved by our neighborhood and sharing the space has gone smoothly most of the time. Better signage and communication would solve the few problems there have been. Is the new cone system marking off the fields during school hours not working? Seems to be going well. The district should just acknowledge their mistake and back down. We don't need all this--we just need access to our park.

Posted by smorr
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 14, 2021 at 9:13 pm

smorr is a registered user.

My biggest concern now is that "going back to the drawing board" to come up with a plan that satisfies all constituencies could result in the park being chopped up into smaller sections with limited or no access to parts of it for some groups.
We could lose the beautiful expansive space we have now. And IMO, that would be worse than a fence.
I agree with what others have said. All they need to do is hire one or two security guards. Problem solved at much less expense and no ill-effect on the community. Which makes me wonder why this is all happening in the first place.

Posted by Abe
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 14, 2021 at 10:31 pm

Abe is a registered user.

That "silence" was the public blocked from speaking.

This meeting had 2 days' notice and you could either listen or wait to speak, not both (Web Link

The previous working group was suddenly disbanded while the board pushed a proposal to fence off the entire park or cut off most of it -- either way ending the neighborhood's open green area. The new Architectural Program only allows for 2 public community input meetings. No design review.

I haven't heard anyone who's happy with the direction. People may be worn down but not resigned.

The school has a fine pilot approach right now: signs, temporary cones during school hours, and a staffer on watch for those stray walkers. They could get a lot of security guard years for $8-9 million! Replace the fences around the buildings if that makes the staff feel safer, but please do some threat modeling rather than security theater.

We didn't vote those funds for this. Clearly Chris Chiang is the only board member to reelect.

Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 15, 2021 at 8:10 am

Old Steve is a registered user.

Sorry folks! The open space is a school playfield used by the public after hours. IT IS NOT A CITY PARK!! The sign is a convenience, the land belongs to the school district. The community did not want it fenced, inspite of the fact there was unauthorized use going on. Security guards forever would be more than what the district has allocated. Trustee Chiang is a useful foil for conventional wisdom. Unfortunately, both of his board tenures seem to lack common sense when it comes to facilities. He is certainly an experienced teacher, but I am not sure what all of his board experience has taught him about design and construction of school based public facilities. Just because the designer has been hired, does not mean anybody has agreed to a project.

Posted by sarahdox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 15, 2021 at 11:22 am

sarahdox is a registered user.

Sorry, OLD STEVE (apparently of Rex Manor, not Monta Loma), but the school park space is maintained by the City of MV - not the school district - and there is a long-standing arrangement that MV-Area school parks are open to the public during hours and locations appropriate for each school. We've been shown no specific instances of so-called security incidents that fencing would definitely have prevented. Also, the voters provided the money in order to improve facilities, not to create pointlessly hostile areas by building fences instead of environmentally safer and more economically maintainable school buildings.
It is true that successive MV City Councils have allowed for private, public, and commercial real estate projects to gobble up potential park space in a variety of ways. While the southernmost parts of the city enjoy ample residential park (e.g., Cuesta Park) space there is a dearth of same in much of the rest of the city. Tiny "pocket parks" and shared school/city parks allow for much-used-but-very-limited recreational opportunities. And yes, indeed, the recent MVWSD meeting was announced with very short notice, with the new rules that restricted online participants to comments only via email during the meeting. The only way to comment directly was to physically attend the meeting. A board member's explanation that this was a "return to normal" was at best closed-minded. Why spend district funds on using meeting space in lieu of full participation via online conference? Why force people to spend extra hours and $$$ for transportation, parking, baby sitting, rearranged mealtimes, etc.? A properly run online session with direct audience input can be nicely managed - as has been done by MVWSD in the past. ***Citizens are watching this MVWSD Board and the MV City Council***, and they definitely will be basing future votes (in public elections) upon the *actions taken*, *and* those that are *hidden* or *not taken*.

Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 15, 2021 at 3:37 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

So because I don't live in Monta Loma, my voice does not count? The school is part of a "school district". I have been familiar with the City Parks/School District "arrangement" since 1992 so I don't need to be lectured on that or the resumption of normal meeting practices. No agency would typically make the details of security incidents broadly public, so why should the district? Go ahead, watch the board and council all you want, but the last time we got frustrated, we were rewarded with Trustee Steven Nelson. We live with fencing and access issues at Stevenson/Theuerkauf all the time. Maybe get out of the Monta Loma bubble for a walk or bike ride. Our set up is one of the reasons we moved here.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 18, 2021 at 5:53 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@ Old Steve, your voice is heard and counts. MVWSD Board President is under some grave misunderstanding of how free legislative democracy works if she thinks 'minority opinions' should bow and be silent before The Majority. really?
-We and great Britain would not have had slavery abolished if that were the case! The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 would still be in force (fed agents tracking down runaways etc.). So - hogwash to supression of minority legislative opinion! Calhoun and his ideas have died - Wilberforce lives.

Trustee Chiang is speaking out for Priority Use of Public school facility money for Kids. Especially Academics. Save resources (public tax money) for those FIRST! His voice has many supporters. Certainly I think more than 1/5 of the properety taxpayers footing these paricular school bills.

Posted by Chris Bedford
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 14, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Chris Bedford is a registered user.

regarding article on Monta Loma park (horrible fence or no horrible fence issue): Web Link My take-away is Chris Chiang is the only school board member worth voting for (not that I usually vote for these positions, but in upcoming election I surely will!) Chris seems like he is the only board member w/ any sense. I will definitely support any candidate who opposes the remaining knuckleheads. I say: Leave the park alone. If there are concerns about security, then security guard idea is great. Easy, low-cost non-disruptive solution that creates a good job in the community.