News

Letters to the editor: Black lives matter, supporting local businesses, racist housing covenants

Anna Chow, co-owner of Cheeky Monkey Toys, checks orders assembled for pickup in the empty downtown Menlo Park store on April 15, 2020. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

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As owners of a local small business, we walk down Santa Cruz Avenue and our hearts grow heavy. We have seen Village Stationers close their doors, and then Sole Desire, and now The Pet Place, just to name a few. Earlier in 2020, we said goodbye to friends and colleagues at two independent toy stores close to us, Talbot's Toyland in San Mateo and Ambassador Toys in Town & Country, when they closed their doors.

There are so many factors that go into the closing of a business. We often hear people say that "greedy landlords" and "online retailers" are causing this "retail apocalypse." As typical of things that are often emphasized in "quotes," these explanations simplify the current challenges. Add in the implications of COVID-19 and the stresses on businesses get even more complicated.

What is often overlooked in this scenario, however, is the power the consumer has to help tilt the scales in favor of local businesses. How? By making the choice to spend their dollars locally. It may take a little more time, but it may not. It may cost a little more, but it may not. You may have to settle for a different color or style, but you may not. With every purchase, we get to choose where to spend our dollars, and those dollars add up. Together, those dollars become an investment in our community. They demonstrate a commitment to keeping our neighbors employed and our town vibrant.

As the shelter in place is lifted, local businesses need your support now. Most businesses have added delivery and/or pickup options if you prefer not to go inside the store. Do some research about your local businesses, give them a call, go on their website, and see how they are adjusting to the new normal.

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Then support them simply by shopping there.

Anna and Dexter Chow

Owners, Cheeky Monkey Toys

Black lives matter

Dear Sheriff Carlos Bolanos,

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On June 21 my son and I, longtime residents of Portola Valley, participated in a protest demonstration at Portola and Alpine Roads ("Portola Valley holds Father's Day Black Lives Matter protest," June 26). About 200 people, almost all white, waved signs and urged drivers to honk, but did not stop traffic. Absolutely no vandalism occurred.

Two Sheriff's Office vehicles showed up. They stopped at the stop sign, waited a long moment, probably studying and perhaps photographing the crowd, and then turned onto Portola Road. They were only 6 to 10 feet from the crowd. Windows closed, not once did they make eye contact with any demonstrators. Their demeanor was such as though we were possible enemies. I wondered how they would have acted had we been a mostly Black crowd behaving the same.

Their coldness and near hostility is a kind of police behavior that needs to be changed. Intentional or not, it carries a message, the wrong message in these days of turmoil.

Thank you for thinking about this.

Andrew C. Browne

Santa Maria Avenue, Portola Valley

Racist covenants

Unfortunate that Maryann Derwin and her former husband were given an obsolete 1947 copy of the Westridge CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions), when they bought their house in 1992 ("'It's a moral imperative that we address it': Portola Valley council discusses racism, policing in wake of killing of George Floyd," June 19).

This was a big mistake on someone's part, as the restrictive covenant preventing non-Caucasians from buying houses in the subdivision was nullified by a Supreme Court decision in 1948, and the Westridge CC&Rs were rewritten soon after that to purge the offending restrictions.

Bev Lipman

Favonio Road, Portola Valley

Mask donations

Throughout the week of June 15, the newly founded Silicon Valley Cyber Leos Club led a mask event for COVID-19 relief.

The Silicon Valley Cyber Lions Club gave the SV Cyber Leos Club 2,000 masks to donate. Annika Bai and I, leaders of the SV Cyber Leos Club, organized an event in which we donated the masks to five organizations in a variety of locations. Ergo, the club helped out a multitude of different communities who needed masks to fight COVID-19.

Members donated 400 masks to Momentum for Mental Health in San Jose, 250 masks to LifeMoves in Menlo Park, 200 masks to Mission Hospice in San Mateo. 400 masks to Tenderloin Housing and 250 to Project Open Hand (both in San Francisco).

The event was a heartwarming opportunity to help out multiple communities and interact with our members for the Silicon Valley Cyber Leo Club's first event ever. It was a great opportunity over 10 members participated, and five organizations were given at least 200 masks each.

Amelia Kratzer

Lennox Avenue, Menlo Park

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Letters to the editor: Black lives matter, supporting local businesses, racist housing covenants

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Sun, Jul 5, 2020, 9:41 am
Updated: Tue, Jul 7, 2020, 11:03 am

Shop local

As owners of a local small business, we walk down Santa Cruz Avenue and our hearts grow heavy. We have seen Village Stationers close their doors, and then Sole Desire, and now The Pet Place, just to name a few. Earlier in 2020, we said goodbye to friends and colleagues at two independent toy stores close to us, Talbot's Toyland in San Mateo and Ambassador Toys in Town & Country, when they closed their doors.

There are so many factors that go into the closing of a business. We often hear people say that "greedy landlords" and "online retailers" are causing this "retail apocalypse." As typical of things that are often emphasized in "quotes," these explanations simplify the current challenges. Add in the implications of COVID-19 and the stresses on businesses get even more complicated.

What is often overlooked in this scenario, however, is the power the consumer has to help tilt the scales in favor of local businesses. How? By making the choice to spend their dollars locally. It may take a little more time, but it may not. It may cost a little more, but it may not. You may have to settle for a different color or style, but you may not. With every purchase, we get to choose where to spend our dollars, and those dollars add up. Together, those dollars become an investment in our community. They demonstrate a commitment to keeping our neighbors employed and our town vibrant.

As the shelter in place is lifted, local businesses need your support now. Most businesses have added delivery and/or pickup options if you prefer not to go inside the store. Do some research about your local businesses, give them a call, go on their website, and see how they are adjusting to the new normal.

Then support them simply by shopping there.

Anna and Dexter Chow

Owners, Cheeky Monkey Toys

Black lives matter

Dear Sheriff Carlos Bolanos,

On June 21 my son and I, longtime residents of Portola Valley, participated in a protest demonstration at Portola and Alpine Roads ("Portola Valley holds Father's Day Black Lives Matter protest," June 26). About 200 people, almost all white, waved signs and urged drivers to honk, but did not stop traffic. Absolutely no vandalism occurred.

Two Sheriff's Office vehicles showed up. They stopped at the stop sign, waited a long moment, probably studying and perhaps photographing the crowd, and then turned onto Portola Road. They were only 6 to 10 feet from the crowd. Windows closed, not once did they make eye contact with any demonstrators. Their demeanor was such as though we were possible enemies. I wondered how they would have acted had we been a mostly Black crowd behaving the same.

Their coldness and near hostility is a kind of police behavior that needs to be changed. Intentional or not, it carries a message, the wrong message in these days of turmoil.

Thank you for thinking about this.

Andrew C. Browne

Santa Maria Avenue, Portola Valley

Racist covenants

Unfortunate that Maryann Derwin and her former husband were given an obsolete 1947 copy of the Westridge CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions), when they bought their house in 1992 ("'It's a moral imperative that we address it': Portola Valley council discusses racism, policing in wake of killing of George Floyd," June 19).

This was a big mistake on someone's part, as the restrictive covenant preventing non-Caucasians from buying houses in the subdivision was nullified by a Supreme Court decision in 1948, and the Westridge CC&Rs were rewritten soon after that to purge the offending restrictions.

Bev Lipman

Favonio Road, Portola Valley

Mask donations

Throughout the week of June 15, the newly founded Silicon Valley Cyber Leos Club led a mask event for COVID-19 relief.

The Silicon Valley Cyber Lions Club gave the SV Cyber Leos Club 2,000 masks to donate. Annika Bai and I, leaders of the SV Cyber Leos Club, organized an event in which we donated the masks to five organizations in a variety of locations. Ergo, the club helped out a multitude of different communities who needed masks to fight COVID-19.

Members donated 400 masks to Momentum for Mental Health in San Jose, 250 masks to LifeMoves in Menlo Park, 200 masks to Mission Hospice in San Mateo. 400 masks to Tenderloin Housing and 250 to Project Open Hand (both in San Francisco).

The event was a heartwarming opportunity to help out multiple communities and interact with our members for the Silicon Valley Cyber Leo Club's first event ever. It was a great opportunity over 10 members participated, and five organizations were given at least 200 masks each.

Amelia Kratzer

Lennox Avenue, Menlo Park

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