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October 25-31, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

Mountain View Government Cares

This letter is in response to the Fly column of Oct. 11 ("Train Tragedy"), which portrayed the City of Mountain View as a community that does not care about the Caltrain/pedestrian accidents at Rengstorff Avenue. As a community, Mountain View is indeed concerned about safety along the entire Caltrain system where so far this year there have been 13 pedestrian deaths. The problem is that, in California, the funds are simply not available to construct this and other expensive grade separations.

The City of Mountain View does not own or operate Caltrain. The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board and the California Public Utilities Commission are responsible for train operations and safety. Statewide, the funding picture for grade separation projects such as Rengstorff Avenue is bleak. In 2006, the California Transportation Commission set aside only $15 million for critical grade separation projects, not enough to fully fund even one urban project. This year, AB 1785, which would have increased state grade separation funding, did not pass the California Senate. One hope is Proposition 1B on the November ballot that would set aside $250 million for railroad grade separation projects statewide. In Santa Clara County, local transportation funds (Measure A) have primarily allocated for service and station improvements. Mountain View worked hard to include a Rengstorff Avenue grade separation project in the 2003 County Expressway Plan; however, funds are also scarce to implement many of the important projects in that countywide plan.

Despite the huge funding obstacles, in 2002, the Mountain View City Council funded a feasibility study for a Rengstorff Avenue grade separation project at a cost of $100,000. The purpose of the study was to have a workable concept in place, so a project could move forward quickly in the event funds are available at a federal, state or local level. The study identified feasible project alternatives that in today's dollars will cost in excess of $50 million. Last year, the City applied for a grant to do environmental analysis to further advance project readiness, but no grant funds were received. The City Council will consider funding this $400,000 study in the upcoming budget.

The City of Mountain View stands ready to partner with Caltrain, the Valley Transportation Authority and others to improve safety along the Caltrain corridor. Meaningful improvements in safety will only be achieved with major infusions of capital from state and federal sources which have to date been directed toward important service enhancements.

Cathy R. Lazarus, Public Works Director, City of Mountain View

Ask a Floridian!

Re "Can't Stop the Rock" (Cover Story, Oct. 18): I'm not from San Jose or Campbell or any of those places, but just wanna say THE FORGOTTEN KICKS ASS!

Anthony Alard, Hialeah, Fla.

The Woods Are Spooky Enough

Re "Dark Green" (Cover Story, Oct. 11): As a hiker and backpacker, I know how dangerous it can be in the backcountry of our valley's mountains without the addition of gun-toting marijuana farmers, so I was glad to finally see an in-depth article on the subject. It seems that many news outlets sweep the raids under the rug or banish them to small articles on the back page to make room for stories on corrupt local government. These farmers not only add one more factor into the dangers of enjoying the wilderness, they also pose a threat to the environment and families who might be trying to introduce their children to the outdoors. I can't imagine being a child and having a gun-toting maniac jump out of the bushes and point a gun at you while you're trying to have fun with your family. From now on, if I see black irrigation pipe I'm reporting it to whatever agency operates the land, and I'd encourage others to do the same.

Keep up the good work.

Matt Guertner, San Jose


Re "Men-aissance, Schmenais-sance" (Style, Sept. 27): Joseph, I read your article with some surprise, as most of the media today has quickly turned on "yesterday's metrosexual" and is looking to replace him with the unshaven sloth. Now the latest fad is the "retrosexual," whatever that is. It sounds like a guy who still wears leisure suits and expects his wife to do all the cooking and cleaning. As the CEO of a luxury men's grooming company, I have never been a fan of the metrosexual classifications. It makes men who simply want to put their best face forward look like prissy, self-obsessed narcissists. Your point about each man having his own style is true—but he should still spend the extra three minutes it takes to wash his face with good product and use a moisturizer with SPF. In my experience, once a man tries quality skin care, he never goes back, and you couldn't pry that eye cream away from him.

Ryan Anderson, CEO, Moxie for Men, Elk Grove

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