January 10-16, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Not Haves Vs. Have-Nots

Was it me, or did other readers sense the bias from the "Schoolhouse Rock" article by Vrinda Normand (MetroNews, Jan. 3)? Reading this article, one would get the sense that a socioeconomic battle was being waged in Evergreen, the haves versus the have-nots. Well, nothing could be further from the truth!

The fact is the East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD) has been one of the, let's say, most challenged school districts in the county. It has mismanaged the building of Evergreen Valley High School—which was to be one of the most state-of-the-art high schools in the State, and has problems providing a quality education at several of its 11 schools.

The author failed to mention the ESUSHD is in the process of implementing over $300 million in upgrades to the other 10 schools in the district, but by their own admission, will fall far short of their goal to provide an equal education for its almost 25,000 students. Bonds to provide the money for upgrades to the other district schools was approved by these very same "cushy, affluent" Evergreen residents. Now, developers are planning to build over 8,000 new residential units in Evergreen and Blossom Hill (near the old IBM site), introducing an additional 2,000-plus students (enough to fill an entire new school) to already over-enrolled schools in the district.

So yes, concerned affluent and not-so-affluent residents alike—many of whom don't even have children destined for these schools—are saying enough is enough until the district provides the facilities necessary to guarantee a quality education to all impacted students in the area. Keep in mind, if these residents are so affluent, they don't have to send their children to public schools, but they are committed to a quality education for children in all communities of the district.

What the article also fails to inform the reader is that back in April the ESUHSD issued a letter to City officials and the EEHVS Task Force requesting the reservation of adequate land for a new high school south of the EEHVS development area. However, they have not to this day, identified where this land is to be located. The only possibilities that exist are current industrial properties in Edenvale, and on the RY Ranch, which lies outside the greenline. Both areas are taboo to City Planning Staff and most City Officials. The only alternative is to reserve 40 out of 320 acres of industrial land inside the EEHVS development area for a potential HS site.

I guess another way to solve the problem is to require all students brought into the District by new residential development to attend one of the under-enrolled schools, which the author believes is close enough to attend. But this idea might just run into some resistance by the developers.

So, the next time Metro decides to run an article, please be fair to the readers by researching and publishing all the facts.

By the way, as planning commissioner I represent the entire City, not just my neighborhood or district. If the author cared to be accurate, she would have mentioned that as part of the EEHVS recommendation, I proposed and supported additional affordable housing, reduced traffic, increased parks and open space, a reduced number of residential units, an equitable formula for amenities funding, an oversight committee to ensure the proper use of amenities funding ... and yes, adequate facilities to provide a quality education to all K-12 students in the affected EEHVS area.

Jim Zito, Planning Commissioner and three-year EEHVS Task Force member, San Jose

Down With Brown

Re "I Ain't Talkin' Just to Tease" (MetroMusic, Jan. 3): You are absolutely correct. Brown's genius was in speaking in the language of the street, whether "Payback," "Black and Proud," "Good Foot" or "Funky President." I also think it got lost with some of Eddie Murphy.

Tony Aguilar, San Jose

Don't Be Cruel

Thank you for Elisa Camahort's column about more humane options to factory-farmed dairy products (Silicon Veggie, Jan. 3). Ms. Camahort has valid reasons for objecting to animal cruelty at industrial dairy farms.

Pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones in order to produce unnatural amounts of milk, many dairy cows suffer from painful conditions their entire lives. Male calves are taken from their mothers immediately after birth and often sold to veal producers, where they spend their short lives in crates so small they can hardly move.

The animal abuse that is rampant on factory farms is simply too inhumane for any caring person to support. Metro readers can learn more at

Alyson Bodai, The Humane Society, Washington, D.C.

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