The League of Women Voters of the Los Altos-Mountain View Area has locally taken positions on government (local government, libraries) and social (education, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, Housing, Rent Stabilization, Healthcare, El Camino Hospital) issues, as detailed below:
- Support of General Plans in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View, which set forth goals and plans for achieving those goals. Each city’s plan should reflect that city’s needs and values. State guidelines for general plans should be guidelines and not mandates. Background information should be expressed in a form which allows comparison of data on a regional basis. Los Altos Hills’ plan should provide for services compatible with the rural nature of the area and should recognize LAH responsibilities to the region.
- Support for revision of general plans on a regularly scheduled basis with enough flexibility to allow early revision of any section which needs changing sooner than scheduled. Action plans should be revised more often than policies or goals. Early citizen input and public review are essential. Planning Commission should make proposals for revision. City Council should initiate unscheduled review if they see a need for it.
- Support of long-range capital improvement programs in Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills based on effective city planning and sound financing.
- Support of funding for local libraries sufficient to maintain essential services, continuing the present level of funding plus and inflation factor.
- Support for supplemental library funding by the cities of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills and by the Santa Clara County General Fund representing unincorporated areas for the Los Altos and Woodland Libraries.
- Support for continuing Sunday hours at Mountain View Public Library and Los Altos Library, realizing it may be necessary to reduce other hours to achieve this.
- Support of programs that develop and maintain quality education in local schools with curriculum which meets the needs of all students based on efficient administration and adequate financing.
- Support of merger(1) of school districts as an option when class offerings are restricted so severely that more choice can only be brought about by merger. Mergers should maintain the community identity feeling and preserve neighborhood schools, particularly for primary grade students.
- Support of unification(2) as a goal of school district reorganization.
- Support for annexation(3) in concept.
- Support for school district reorganization in order to provide a continuity (articulation) and to be a mechanism for handling school district integration.
(1) “Merger” refers to 2 school districts becoming one. (Old example was Mountain View and Whisman School District merging to become Mountain View Whisman School District [MVWSD]; theoretical future example, for which we have no opinion at this point in time, would be if MVWSD and Los Altos School District became one district.)
(2) “Unification” refers to a “unified” school district which encompasses kindergarten through 12th grade. (Example: Palo Alto Unified School District. Contrast this with Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District and Los Altos [elementary] School District.)
(3) “Annexation” refers to when a small geographical area joins an existing school district. This is typically done via review and recommendation by the Santa Clara County School Organization Committee to the Santa Clara County Board of Education.
Foothill-De Anza Community College District
- Recognition that standards at state level are necessary for academic and transfer programs.
- The diversity from community to community within the state requires a measure of local control and local implementation to meet the specific needs of the broad spectrum of the student community.
- Support efforts by the Community College Board of Trustees and the local administration to achieve adequate State funding for the local districts.
- We support a locally controlled public community college district that meets the diverse needs of the districts population.
- Objective of this position is to support the following programs:
- General Education program
- Transfer program
- Associate degrees program (A.A. & A.S.)
- Employment Training
- Learning Center/Library
- Basic Skills and Remedial program
- In-service training program
- Tutorial services
- Life-long learning
- The Community College District should be supported by public funds controlled by the Board of Trustees. Objective of this position is to support public funds that are adequate, equitable, flexible, fair, predictable, and collectible.
- Support for ordinances against age discrimination in housing.
- Support for retention of city ability to refuse conversion of apartments to condominiums when such conversion is not in the best interest of the city.
- Support of the following ways to cope with jobs/housing imbalance and related transportation problems:
a. Increased densities where appropriate if a feeling of open space is retained.
b. Cluster zoning, which provides open space.
c. Retention of non-conforming use dwellings.
d. Rezoning commercial to residential or mixed use.
e. Improvement of CalTrain passenger service.
f. Improvement of present freeways without expansion of system.
g. Encouragement of car pooling, company buses, use of bicycles.
The League finds that:
- The community benefits when people have stable housing and can afford to live near their work, when businesses have access to workers of all skill and socioeconomic levels, and when rent stabilization is cost neutral to the city.
- These programs benefit current and future tenants in units subject to rent control by minimizing displacement and providing stable and predictable housing costs, while also providing a fair rate of return to landlords because of vacancy decontrol.
- These programs benefit tenants in units covered by just cause from arbitrary evictions but allow landlords to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent, breach of the lease, and other specified causes.
- Banking is fair and reasonable to tenants and landlords so long as tenants receive an annual notification explaining that the landlord is banking the allowed rent increase.
- Tenants should have the right to petition if their units are not kept in proper repair or their services are decreased or new costs, such as utilities, are charged.
- Landlords should have the right to petition if they are not making a fair rate of return.
- The fair rate of return should be based upon a non-volatile index to benefit both tenants and landlords.
- It is appropriate that the fees to operate the program shall be cost-neutral to the city.
- Support for increasing the number of skilled nursing facilities which accept Medicare and Medical in order to make nursing home care more accessible to all.
- Support for continuation of the ombudsman service to patients of skilled nursing facilities.
- Support for services (e.g., hospice, day health, home health) which enables the chronically or terminally ill to be cared for outside of institutions.
- Support for programs which make health education and outreach services (e.g., nutrition, transportation, social services) accessible and affordable to those in need.
- Support for the use of health insurance plans which encourage the most appropriate and cost-effective care.
- Support for programs which seek to educate consumers about health insurance coverage.
El Camino Hospital
- Support efforts to preserve the hospital as presently located and to continue to serve the health care needs of the community.
- Support efforts to attract enough primary care physicians to meet the health care needs of the community.
- In the interest of good public relations, both the El Camino Healthcare District Board and the El Camino Hospital Board should communicate with the public regularly, make frequent progress reports, and have periodic meetings open to the public.
- El Camino Healthcare District should continue to collect property tax moneys and should make detailed reports to the community on how the taxes are used.
- El Camino Healthcare District should not transfer the hospital land to any entity without a vote of the electorate. El Camino Healthcare District should not be dissolved without a vote of the electorate.
- The LWV study of El Camino Healthcare District and El Camino Hospital Board should remain active to monitor the collection and use of tax dollars and any changes in the organization of the district, in order to reach new consensus as appropriate and take action in a timely manner.