A look inside the Daily Post mailbag

The Post raises hell

Dear Editor: Bravo for taking the stance that candidates should decline certain donations (Dave Price’s column, Oct. 19). “Follow the money” declared the prosecutors at Watergate. The same applies to City Council candidates.

On Oct. 14, 2016, the Post said, “Five families have poured $63,000 into the Palo Alto City Council race in support of two candidates, Arthur Keller and Lydia Kou. And three of the five have ties to Castilleja School, which has submitted plans to expand its campus.”

One family had a wife on Castilleja’s Board of Trustees, another family had a wife on Castilleja’s Investment Committee and the third family’s husband was a former member of the Castilleja Board of Trustees.

In the current race you have shown that Kou, who is running for re-election, is accepting money from people associated with Castilleja. Of course you are right in pointing to the obvious conflict of interest.

Daily Post, don’t be intimidated by those who claim otherwise.

“Follow the money,” the tocsin cry of watchdogs like you who sniff out manipulation and corruption in the shadowy political process.

Years ago I wrote to you that in 1861, the Chicago Daily News said, “It’s the duty of newspapers to print the truth and raise some hell.”

You have been a crusading advocate of both. As a doddering old newspaperman, I am proud of Dave Price and the Post. Thanks and keep the spotlight on Castilleja’s proposed expansion and “Follow the money!”

Vic Befera
Palo Alto

Re-elect Anna Eshoo

Dear Editor: I’m writing to strongly and confidently recommend Congresswoman Anna Eshoo for re-election in the 18th congressional district.

Anna has consistently worked as a relentless advocate for our district. She serves with compassion, empathy and distinction, is the hardest worker I know, and brings to public service honor, decency, inspiration in every interaction, and a reverence for the role of our Congress and our institutions of government.

She loves our country and our district. I’ve always been impressed with how she never forgets her constituents, from delayed passports to larger issues like healthcare, climate change and technology.

After President Trump’s election, Anna personally rallied resistance groups and shined a light on taking our country back.  And while no one is a stronger critic of our President than Anna, in a time when people are deeply divided she proudly tells stories of the many times she has reached across the aisle to get policies passed that benefit our country.

We’ve been fortunate on the Peninsula to have Anna Eshoo fighting for us, and we’ll need her in her powerful role on the Energy and Commerce Committee to work with President Biden to build back better.

Anna is everything we say we want in our Representatives: Effective, Decent, Compassionate and someone who reaches across the aisle when needed. Her opponent’s attacks have been misleading and unwarranted.

Let’s Reelect Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. Thank you.

Josh Becker
Menlo Park

The author is a candidate for state Senate.

Foothills Park

Dear Editor: Palo Alto’s City Council shouldn’t be bullied by a lawsuit!

Council has laid out a reasonable plan for Foothills Park that allows non-Palo Alto residents access for a reasonable period of time (with a modest entrance fee) to gather data during a trial period. Then the citizens will vote to decide what to do. This trial period will help determine the impact on preservation of the park by the added usage. That is democracy in action.

This lawsuit by the ACLU, NAACP and 10 individuals is an attempt to bully Palo Alto to do the will of the few. This is not democratic!

Is it discrimination that homeowners have a right to invite into their homes only whomever they want? Foothills Park is the collective property of all Palo Alto citizens. Palo Altans can invite in whomever they want. Conversely, those not invited are not allowed in. This is not discrimination!

Anyone can claim “discrimination” but the facts don’t support that. Palo Alto is home to people from China, Japan, India, Korea, Russia, European countries, people of color, Hispanics, and many more people regardless of race, religion, sexual preference, or ethnic origin. Anyone who lives in Palo Alto has access to Foothills Park. “Discrimination” should not be a frivolous claim.

The lawsuit should be thrown out as lacking merit.

Rich Stiebel
Palo Alto

Vote for Nguyen

Dear Editor: I decided to support Chelsea Nguyen after learning of her unique background which speaks volumes of her dedication and skills, courage and commitment to problem- solving. She’s a Vietnamese immigrant sponsored by Menlo Church. She did her graduate studies in Theology at Oxford University.

She’s a single mother and served in the U.S. Air Force in the Middle East. Not exactly a Sunday picnic or a country club. Tough stuff. She has lived in Menlo Park for 40 years. All Menlo Park is fortunate to have someone with her experience and fortitude want to run for City Council.
Please join me in welcoming her to the city council. She’s not a puppet.

Stuart Soffer
Menlo Park

Post office cleanup

Dear Editor: Many thanks to whomever removed the majority of “weed” trees from in front of the Hamilton Avenue Post Office in Palo Alto. It looks much better now. Much still needs to be done.

Hopefully, restoring the landscaping and saving the redwood tree will soon follow.

John Hyde
Palo Alto

College district payouts

Dear Editor: Taxpayers in the San Mateo County Community College District have paid former chancellor Ron Galatolo $1.2 million and former HR chief Eugene Whitlock $2.2 million lion to go away. Actually, Galatolo never resigned or retired. The board made him chancellor emeritus, and he is paid $39,000 a month to do no work.

What is going on here? Whitlock was hired by Galatolo and reported to him. Galatolo was hired by the board and reported to them.

The board members didn’t shell out this cash from their own pockets. They used public money, your money. Therefore, the board should be transparent and accountable.

When questioned, the public got the standard boiler plate statement, that a settlement was reached to avoid “long and costly litigation.”

How did it get to this? The board has a responsibility to hire, supervise, and fire the CEO, the district chancellor. The failure of Galatolo and Whitlock can be viewed as the board’s failure.

Therefore, after examining the websites for the college district candidates, I was pleased to see that John Pimentel, of all those running, addressed my concern by saying he would “demand transparency.”

“If elected, there won’t be golden parachutes with $1.2 million contracts for no work, and proceeds from voter-approved bonds will be spent only on projects that were promised to voters,” Pimentel said.

Michael B. Reiner
Boynton Beach, Fla.

The author is a former employee of the community college district.

The Electoral College

Dear Editor: Among the 45 people who have been elected president, five including Donald Trump have received fewer popular votes than their opponent.

After the challenges with the Articles of Confederation following the Revolutionary War, the founding fathers purposely designed the United States as a republic and not a democracy. The U.S. Constitution spells out how political power will be shared between the national government and the individual states with “… powers not delegated … nor prohibited … are reserved for the states or the people…”

Federalist Paper #39 shares this understanding “… So far the government is federal, not national …” “… The executive power will be derived from a very compound source …” “… the immediate election of the president is to be made by the states in their political character …”

Without the Electoral College, presidential campaigns would be focused on large population centers with little attention to the other regions. In 1960, John Kennedy easily won the Electoral College but edged Richard Nixon by one-tenth of 1% of the popular vote. Imagine that national recount compared to just Florida in 2000!

Finally, because a super majority of states are required to amend the U.S. Constitution, there is little chance that blue states like Delaware and red states like Wyoming with less than a handful of electoral votes are going to relinquish their regional political power.

However, states can allocate their electoral votes by congressional district as currently established in Maine and Nebraska.

Mark Lindberg
Mountain View

Yes on Measure S

Dear Editor: Climate change, and the droughts and floods it brings are long-term issues, and so need longterm funding. Measure S commits
$263 million to protecting communities from flooding, including shoreline protection, countywide. Flood protection work includes annual maintenance of creeks and improved flood warning systems.

Additionally, Measure S commits $44 million toward restoring and maintaining healthy fish ecosystems and populations by helping to remove barriers to fish passage and improving in-stream habitat. More funds are available to clean up creeks to benefit people and the environment. Because Measure S doesn’t expire, resources will be available into the future as the region grapples with climate change impacts.

Sustained funding for ongoing operations and maintenance ensures the investments made in infrastructure and ecosystem restoration throughout Santa Clara County will be lasting. Put clean creeks, ecosystem restoration, and flood risk mitigation on solid ground.

Protect the communities and creeks we all love. Vote “yes” on Measure S.

Margaret Bruce

The author is executive director of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority but is speaking as an individual.

Kou’s commitment

Dear Editor: I voted to re-elect Councilwoman Lydia Kou because of her demonstrated commitment to Palo Alto.

A few weeks ago my husband and I drove up to Foothills Park. The weather was hot and there were fire warnings. The Foothills Station was not staffed (another issue, that) but we noticed two people in emergency vests near the fire station. They were looking over the city through binoculars. Turns out the two were Lydia and her husband John on fire watch. That reminded me of Kou’s extraordinary leadership in coordinating Quakeville, for the city’s Office of Emergency Services. I think it smart to have a person like Kou on council.

She knows this city because she quietly dedicates hours of her personal time to it — and each of us. She cares about our welfare and her deeds prove this. I don’t always agree with her positions, but I appreciate the balance she brings to council discussions.

Annette Ross
Palo Alto

Vote ‘no’ on Prop. 16

Dear Editor: Children shouldn’t be punished because of their skin color, right? That is wrong, unethical and intentional discrimination isn’t it? Well, before Proposition 209 passed in 1996 the UC and CSU systems used race, gender, color, ethnicity and national origin in their admission decisions.

Back then, if your child checked the “Asian” box on the application, they deducted 400 SAT points and reduced their high school grade-point average. They deducted 200 SAT points for whites.
That process punished children for their skin color, something they couldn’t change. It was wrong.
But Prop. 16 will allow UC and CSU to resume using race, sex, gender and national origin in admissions.

Vote “no” on Prop. 16.

Mike Brown

News media bias

Dear Editor: At any other time in our nation’s history, the recent revelations of Joe Biden’s corruption — as reported by the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Fox News and Fox Opinion hosts — would be disqualifying for the former vice president. Neither Joe nor Hunter Biden have come out and declared that any of the emails made public thus far are false or that the laptop they were found on did not belong to Hunter. They have not done so because, as we now know, it is all true.

On Tuesday (Oct. 27), Fox opinion host Tucker Carlson interviewed one of Joe and Hunter Biden’s former business partners, a wealthy international businessman, Democratic contributor and Navy veteran, Tony Bobulinski.

Joe, Hunter and Joe’s brother Jim Biden allegedly wooed Bobulinski to help run their budding Chinese business venture, a business based upon trading on the Biden family name. Mr. Bobulinski said that Joe Biden’s statement that he didn’t discuss his son’s business ventures, and that these revelations are a Russian misinformation campaign, are flat out lies. He also stated that the Biden family received a $5 million “loan” from their communist Chinese business partner.

This Biden family corruption, especially Joe’s role in it, is being censored by Twitter and Facebook and ignored by nearly all of the media. There was no mention of Mr. Bobulinski’s statements the morning after his interview by CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS or ABC. This media and big tech censorship and bias threatens our democracy and should concern all fair-minded citizens regardless of their political persuasion.

William R. Garrett
Palo Alto

Combating Covid

Dear Editor: The media hype is history. As commander-in-chief of the armed forces, President Trump initiated Operation Warp Speed as a strategy to combat an enemy known as Covid-19.

“Operation Warp Speed’s goal is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures),” said a fact sheet from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Treatment protocol breakthroughs and therapeutics have resulted in a significant reduction in the death rate, allaying the fears exacerbated by media hype fanned by Democratic Party politicians.

Jack Hickey
Redwood City

Unwanted red light

Dear Editor: Who’s bright idea was it to put a new red-light on El Camino Real at College Avenue? Traffic is light right now because of the lockdown order, but when things get back to normal, this light will create a real problem. Drivers will have to contend with lights at Stanford, College, Cambridge and California avenues. What a gauntlet for drivers to run. I don’t recall this coming to City Council for approval. Come to think of it, they wouldn’t want to ask the public what they think about it because it would be thumbs down. We shouldn’t be slowing traffic down, we should be making it easier to get from Point A to Point B.

Mark Murphy
Palo Alto

Editor’s note: Caltrans was responsible for installing this pedestrian-activated red light. Caltrans calls them “enhanced” crosswalks and it has installed or will install 12 of them between San Francisco and Gilroy at a cost of around $300,000 apiece. As far as we can tell, Caltrans never held any public hearings on whether to install these lights.

Re-elect Mandelkern

Dear Editor: On Tuesday, we will elect three people to new terms on the San Mateo County Community College District board. I can enthusiastically recommend Dave Mandelkern for re-election to the college board representing Trustee Area 3. I’ve known him for many years. Under his leadership the board has implemented responsible fiscal policies, including balancing the $200 million budget every year, fully funding employee post-retirement benefit obligations, and creating adequate reserves to deal with the likely impact of Covid-19 on our local economy. The district’s capital improvement projects have revitalized all three of our campuses. We need to return an experienced leader like Dave to the board.

Jenifer Behling

Rent control parable

Dear Editor: I take a little pill every morning. I take another pill at night. I take these pills because I have cardiovascular disease, a chronic condition.  The pills don’t cure my disease, nor did the operation that put a small metal tube in my heart.

My cardiologist made very sure I was aware of that when I was discharged — my disease was not cured and I had to carefully manage it for the rest of my life.

Many affordable housing advocates don’t support rent control because it doesn’t “solve” the “problem.” They view housing affordability as an acute disease we have to “cure.”

But the lack of affordable housing is more like a chronic condition. It’s been a problem my whole lifetime. It was a problem for my parents’ generation. It was a problem for my grandparents’ generation.

Rent control is a tool that local communities can use to manage this chronic condition. It won’t “solve” the problem or “cure” the disease, but it will help real people who struggle every day to keep a roof over their heads. Please vote “yes” on 21.

Michael Hitchcock
Redwood City

Mandelkern praised

Dear Editor: I’m proud of the positive steps Trustee Dave Mandelkern has taken in leading our three local community colleges — Canada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College — to fight climate change, and to address global warming.

Our Community College District has won state and national awards for its green building leadership and sustainable building practices. The solar farm at Canada College provides clean green energy that provides the majority of the needs of the campus. Our students learn about sustainability, environmental science and are trained for jobs that pay well, such as solar panel installation.

These accomplishments are a credit to Mandelkern‘s vision and leadership in his position on our college district’s Board of Trustees.

I’m proud to support Mandelkern for re-election to the San Mateo County Community College District board, Area 3. Vote for Dave!

Kathy Trafton

Real leadership

Dear Editor: Please vote for Dave Mandelkern for re-election to the San Mateo County Community College District Board. Under Dave’s leadership our three local community colleges (Canada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College) are working very efficiently and effectively, which is amazing given the impact and disruption that our schools have faced over the past seven months from the pandemic.

When Covid-19 hit, Mandelkern led our district in taking quick action to transition our students to online education, provide food assistance to our most vulnerable students and residents, launch support services for our local small businesses, and put in place programs to retrain displaced workers to find new jobs.

Mandelkern continues to stand with our students, helping to deliver and maintain access to counseling, tutoring and other vital services, and he’s providing our students with the tools they need to succeed in these difficult times.

Please vote to re-elect Dave Mandelkern to the Governing Board of the San Mateo County Community College District for Trustee, Area 3.

Kathy Engelmann
Menlo Park

Speaking for residents

Dear Editor: Palo Alto Businesses have 3.5 jobs for every one of Palo Alto’s 66,000 residents. That makes 3.5 jobs for every baby, every retiree, every resident.

Few babies want to work at Tesla or Hewlett-Packard.

Twenty percent of Palo Alto residents are over age 65 and are enjoying their retirements.
Thousands of non-residents come into Palo Alto every day for work. They park in our neighborhoods, block driveways, cross-walks and stop signs. There is not even the benefit of a business tax to help pay for Palo Alto police officers and firefighters.

Councilwoman Lydia Kou is one of the few council members who speaks up for Palo Alto residents. She does it very thoughtfully and very intelligently. She is always very polite to residents who speak at council meetings.

I highly recommend Kou for re-election to council.

Joan Larrabee
Palo Alto

Absent senators

Dear Editor: I am disappointed that our senators, Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris, boycotted the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. By doing so they showed they are more committed to representing the Democratic Party than they are to representing the state of California. I would much rather they had shown up and voted no than taken the juvenile route of pouting and not being present; of saying, “if I don’t get my way I won’t come and play.” They are being paid to make decisions about what is best for America, not to make grand gestures out of pique.

Alice Miller
Palo Alto

A problem solver

Dear Editor: Palo Alto is facing difficult decisions on many fronts: Rail crossings, housing shortages, absentee owners, income inequalities, and social upheavals. With so much at stake, we can’t afford on-the-job learners. Pat Burt was mayor during the Great Recession, leading the council on similar difficult decisions that moved our city toward recovery during a fiscal crisis. Pat is a consistent consensus builder. I appreciate the work Pat did on SOFA (South of Forest Avenue area plan), bringing people together to create and support a plan that redeveloped a swath of downtown while preserving historic assets, adding new park space, and building housing for all income levels, including affordable housing. We need creative problem solvers to get us through our coming challenges. Pat Burt can do it again.

Bruce Mcleod
Palo Alto

Vote ‘no’ on Prop. 16

Dear Editor: Martin Luther King, in his “I Have a Dream” speech, said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Of course we should also remember the important 14th Amendment that states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall … deprive any person … equal protection of the laws.”
While I’m sure that many who support Prop. 16 are well-intended, take time to think about King’s vision and take note of the Constitution. Please vote “no” on Prop. 16. There are more constructive and effective ways to support constitutional rights for all and to fight racism. Reverse discrimination isn’t the most constructive or constitutional way to make our country a better place for all Americans.

Greg Druehl
Menlo Park

Caswell for Ed Board

Dear Editor: Thank you for your article Oct. 17 outlining the funding sources of the Santa Clara County Board of Education, Area 1, race. The facts show that 75% of Melissa Baten Caswell’s contributions are from local constituents in the Board of Education’s Area 1 looking for a change in representation, which is a stark contrast to the 14% Grace Mah has received from local constituents in total. Grace has received roughly $240,000 in outside charter school political action committee contributions (79% of what she has raised) and makes me question who she will truly serve.

Area 1 (northern Santa Clara County including Palo Alto and Los Altos) needs someone who serves local students and not outside interests. As an Los Altos School District trustee, I can tell you that Grace does not provide that service. Grace only attends charter-related meetings. While it is a hot topic, it is not our focus. Educational equity and serving all district students are. Not once has Grace contacted us to support this. Furthermore, 27 out of 30 local trustees agree; Grace does not represent local interests.

Melissa has a record of representing her constituency in the Palo Alto Unified School District and the Santa Clara County School Boards Association. She is the change we need.

Jessica Speiser
Los Altos School District
Board of Trustees

Statue topplers

Dear Editor: First of all, you can’t “unhappen” history. If you don’t want to look at a statue, drive or walk on another street to get to your destination. This preserves your constitutional right not to look at the statue, as well as preserving your fellow citizen’s constitutional right to look at it. Now, wasn’t that simple?

Luella Hugdahl
Redwood City

Condemning violence

Dear Editor: Skip Justman (Letters, Oct. 16) wonders why Joe Biden doesn’t condemn violent protests.  Well, for one, he doesn’t need to. Nobody can possibly suspect that he likes violence. It would be like saying he was against an aggressive cancer invading his system. Why bother?

However, to satisfy people like Mr. Justman, Joe Biden, and his running mate, Kamala Harris, have indeed denounced violence, “on both sides of the political spectrum,” many times. You can look it up.  What is more interesting is that Biden has challenged President Trump to do the same, aiming at the president for applauding a caravan of his supporters who were caught on video tear-gassing protesters and shooting them with paintballs and for not immediately condemning Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old Trump supporter charged with homicide for shooting protesters in Kenosha.

Nor, does it really need to be emphasized that it’s been Biden, all along, who has been talking about dealing with the gun violence and mass murders that it generates. Republicans have consistently performed as though the violence and havoc semi-automatics generate doesn’t exist.  Maybe they think some types of destructive violence is better than others.

It’s still not wise to throw stones when you live in a glass-enclosed home.

Marty Pulvers
Mountain View


1 Comment

  1. Doesn’t it seem odd that in nearly two decades serving as a Board member that Dave Mandelkern supporters are only now saying he has helped the students of the SMCCCD – just during election week. The students who attend Skyline College, CSM and Cañada College need support more than the week before an election. Can’t the other Trustees make the same claim? It seems misleading to say Mandelkern is responsible for this and that when the Board is representative of five members and one student trustee. Then let’s praise Maurice Goodman and Richard Holober for standing up for students’ needs, they appear to question the hired-by Galatolo administration and strive to maintain focus on students during publicized meetings (open to the public). Going forward, if the Board includes new member J Pimentel to take scwatrz’s place, would it be fair to state real transparency may be coming? It certainly is needed.
    Pimentel for Trustee. Re-elect Goodman for Trustee.

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