Letters to the Editor
Taken For Granted
Kudos for Erin Sherbert's piece regarding the Silicon Valley Leadership Group ("Private Business, Public Interest," MetroNews, April 9).
This group's extraordinary efforts—to invest in transit, finance affordable housing, and improve the environment—often go unnoticed in the media. We too easily take for granted the organization's innovative and courageous premise: that Silicon Valley corporations can lead major policy initiatives that benefit all of us. SVLG serves to remind us that in the long run, the community's interest and corporate self-interest share much in common.
Re "Private Business, Public Interest": Your puff-piece about the grossly misnamed "Silicon Valley Leadership Group" fails to provide any opposing viewpoints on such controversial issues such as the proposed multibillion-dollar BART extension. It would have been nice if author Erin Sherbert could have presented an opposing viewpoint, like that of the Bay Rail alliance, for example.
Re "Private Business, Public Interest": As a founding member of the Housing Trust Fund of Santa Clara County, I have seen the results of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group's work firsthand. SVLG's work on tangible solutions for the complex problem of affordable housing, including local and state policy and local funding, has made a real difference in solving one of the region's most pressing challenges. It has also set an example of public/private partnerships for other regions in California and throughout the country to follow. The valley is fortunate to have such enlightened business leadership.
Eden Housing Inc.
As the band teacher at Miller Middle School in the Cupertino Union School District, it is my pleasure to teach 225 wonderful students a day.
As years have past in 20 years of teaching, everyone's cost of living has gone up. I never received a pay cut, until now. Although I am very lucky to have a wonderful job that I love, it was a surprise to find that my first paycheck of this school year was $85 less a month. I did research and found out that most of that amount is for the increase in health premiums (I use Kaiser).
Five years ago, teachers began to share the cost of health benefits with the district. It is fair for us to share the cost. But now, health-care premiums have risen from 12 percent to 18 percent, and many Cupertino teachers, like me, are getting a smaller paycheck this year.
We agreed to share COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) with the district for the past three years. But this year, even with the huge health-care rate hike, the district offers the teachers zero. They have COLA money in the bank, earning interest.
The last offer from teachers to the district was a reasonable 6 percent: 4.5 percent salary increase (COLA) and the rest towards health care.
If the district never offered me another penny, I would still feel lucky to have my job. Working at Miller with my boss, other colleagues, and the most amazing students imaginable is a dream job. I don't think it's too much to ask that teachers receive the state-allocated COLA, and that the district share the burden of increased health-care costs.
CUSD, please listen and settle with the teachers soon. This situation is weighing on our minds, and we would like to be clear-headed for our precious students.
"If there is such a thing as an enlightened business group," then every citizen of the region we call Silicon Valley can be grateful that such a group exists in our community.As described by Erin Sherbert in Metro Silicon Valley, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has consistently set the highest of community-benefit standards for 30 years. Whether through the construction of a more efficient transit system, a national model for affordable housing development, or work in our nation's capital to bring sense to our visa system, the Leadership Group has always taken the long view and worked to create a vibrant community that, yes, often happens to be business-friendly. That "business-friendly" and "vibrant community" can occur together is a tribute to the organization and to the people who created it and who carry out the work today.
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