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Morgan Hill
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September 23, 2021

Letters: Hiking El Toro was pure joy, and looking forward to next year

Dear Editor, I would like to take this time to thank both the
Historical Society and Boy Scout Troop #799 for hosting the hike up
El Toro on Saturday, March 28. For those of you who didn’t make it,
you missed out on an awesome experience.
Hiking El Toro was pure joy, and looking forward to next year

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this time to thank both the Historical Society and Boy Scout Troop #799 for hosting the hike up El Toro on Saturday, March 28. For those of you who didn’t make it, you missed out on an awesome experience.

I have lived here since 1991 and El Toro is practically in my backyard. Every time I look at it, I am inspired due to its beauty. I accidentally stumbled upon a brief article in the paper about the hike and I thought, why not?

I awoke early Saturday, not knowing if I could get to the top. The taped recording said that you could turn around at any time. I am an avid walker, but 1,400 feet? I also am someone who does not like to give up.

I arrived at the library just as the first hikers were beginning to descend. I had my gloves, my water, and my eagerness to complete this task. I spoke with some hikers, a few with bleeding hands and some with cuts on their knees. I was now more determined to get up that mountain!

I started off not knowing what I was facing. The homes we passed were beautiful and the owners all had smiles on their faces. To these neighbors, I say thank you for allowing us to walk through your lovely neighborhood. I saw small children with huge grins on their faces cherishing a yellow ticket coming off the trail. That ticket would entitle them to a certificate that they could proudly place on a wall in their home or even bring to school for “Show and Tell.”

Believe me when I say, this was not an easy hike. With each turn, it got steeper. Children were giggling as they slid down the trail. There was a sign with a snake on it that simply said: “Please stay on your side of the fence.” The trail was perfectly groomed and then I saw the ropes. Never having to pull myself with a rope was an adventure in itself. While hikers came down, everyone was extremely friendly. Smiles and laughter were contagious.

As I neared the top, I was amazed by the beauty that only we could see. Climbing each step made me eager to arrive to what I can only compare to Heaven. It truly was a magnificent view. No where did I see an unhappy person. Even the dogs had huge grins on their faces. The smallest and youngest hiker I met was barely 3. As I mentioned, she was clutching that yellow ticket as if it were gold.

All in all, the day was truly an event that will be in my memory forever. I am already looking forward to next year’s hike. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who helped make this a most remarkable day!

Linda S. Hartman, a happy Morgan Hill hiker

Housing will not create a vibrant, exciting downtown

Dear Editor,

Some time ago, our beloved city council voted to build our new library downtown. This would enable a downtown property owner, where the library was to be built, to make big bucks. The council’s logic was that library patrons would go to the library and then spend money downtown. Our school children would go to the library and later, at night, wander around the downtown area and have fun.

Many local citizens then learned of this scam, confronted the council and this ridiculous plan was terminated.

Now, scam two: The city council, in all its wisdom, is asking Morgan Hill voters to approve affordable and low-income housing in the downtown area. The logic is that the new downtown residents will create a vibrant and exciting downtown. What a joke! And, this special election will cost the taxpayers $130,000. Vote no on Measure A.

Fred Amoroso, Morgan Hill

Measure A is an opportunity to stimulate downtown economy

Dear Editor,

It isn’t often that we have an opportunity to vote for a local ballot measure that can simultaneously enhance our community’s economic, social, and environmental well-being – at no additional expense to city taxpayers! So it’s especially important that we vote Yes on Measure A on the May 19 Morgan Hill ballot, which provides us with just such an opportunity.

Working within the existing overall limits of Morgan Hill’s growth control system, Measure A allows for 500 housing allotments to be set aside for the downtown and used as downtown housing projects are applied for and built. This measure will actually help other on-going projects because it will preserve the annual 250 (approximate) units for non-downtown projects, without impacting the city’s planned 2020 population limit. By doing so, Measure A will breathe new life and economic vitality into Downtown Morgan Hill – and thus strengthen our local economy.

Building the Downtown housing units that Measure A will allow will also contribute to creating a vibrant, walkable, transit oriented neighborhood. That will help meet the housing needs of all age groups within our community. This includes the growing number of empty nesters who may wish to continue living in our community but would prefer to live in a more compact neighborhood where they are not so dependent on the automobile and don’t have the responsibilities of maintaining larger suburban homes and lawns as they grow older, as well as young professionals who are important to the competitiveness of our economy, but who can’t afford most existing homes in our community.

Passage of Measure A will also benefit our environment by reducing development pressures on nearby open space and farmlands around our city that are important both to maintaining our quality of life and to providing us with fresh, locally-grown produce. And by creating a Downtown where walking, bicycling, and use of public transit are viable alternatives to driving, Measure A will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

It doesn’t get much better or easier than that! In short, passage of Measure A can be a win for our local economy, a win for the environment, and a win for our community. Morgan Hill voters, I urge you to vote Yes on Measure A on May 19.

Julie Makrai, Morgan Hill

Why is public money spent to compete with existing businesses?

Dear Editor,

I have read a number of articles about the Morgan Hill City budget shortages. It has been mentioned that we cannot afford additional police officers and, the city will have to cut employees. Today I happened to go by the Centennial Recreation Center and saw a sign that said, “PUBLIC NOTICE Is HEREBY GIVEN that the Centennial Recreation Center has filed with the city of Morgan Hill a Uniform Application for an Architectural Site Review to build an Expansion to the existing fitness center.” I assume that the existing fitness center is the major portion of the CRC/YMCA.

The fitness center facility is contracted out to the Young Men’s Christian Association for maybe 20 years, I understand. We built the Centennial Recreation Center with maybe $15 million of taxpayer money. Thus we used public money to create a business to compete directly with local businesses like 24 Hour Fitness and others.

I read that the fitness center now has about 10,000 members. It was once mentioned that it costs a little more than $1,000 per year to be a member. (That equals maybe $1 million per year.) Additionally the YMCA is using the public facility to operate the Senior Cafe. We see and hear a lot about the “General Fund Budget” but not much about the CRC/YMCA operating budget.

The YMCA, using our public buildings, are giving discounts to YMCA members from other towns, they are giving YMCA members discounts in activities being held at the Aquatic Center and the Community and Cultural Center. We, the taxpayers, then are paying for the religious membership discount benefits.

The operators of the Centennial Recreation Center used the public facility to contract with the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce to provide them a reoccurring breakfast. The CRC/YMCA (Senior Cafe) out bid the local restaurants. Did we contract with the YMCA to operate a commercial food service in the CRC facility?

Today I noticed that the City/YMCA is promoting the business of the Collette Travel Agency. The Collette advertising brochures specify that interested travel customers should contact a city employee. It is my belief that we do not pay our city employees to act as sales agents for private companies.

I believe that city employees should not use work time to promote business for the Collette Travel Company, or to provide food services to the Chamber of Commerce, and/or to promote the commercial activities of the Young Men’s Christian Association.

In this time of a critical fiscal situation, why are we expanding a building used by the YMCA? Why are we proposing to expend additional millions in the theme park area of Monterey Road and Main Avenue? Why are we giving YMCA members discounts? And, why are we not seeing the whole financial picture of the City/YMCA partnership contract?

Staten Johnston, Morgan Hill

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