Tag Archives: sunnyvale

Sunnyvale City Councilmembers visit Denali student journalists

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Oct. 22, Sunnyvale City Councilmembers Nancy Smith and Michael S. Goldman, along with Mayor Larry Klein, came to Summit Public School: Denali for a press conference with Summit News staff writers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sunnyvale seeks to improve transportation

By Ruby Balbuena, Nathan Pruitt and Natasha Reinitz

Staff Writers

The Sunnyvale City Council is proposing multiple reforms to ease the load on public transportation. They hope these changes will make the public transit system easier to use and reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

Currently many Sunnyvale citizens use personal cars. The city councilmembers are encouraging people to bike, walk and take other forms of public transportation.

On Oct. 22, Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein, Councilmember Nancy Smith and Councilmember Michael S. Goldman attended a press conference at Summit Denali High School hosted by Summit News. 

Mayor Larry Klein said, “The city is doing a lot to try to actively give alternates. The active city transportation plan that the city is using to make it more [pedestrian] friendly, to make it more bike friendly, to get people out of their cars, to look at other solutions. But at the end of the day, transportation is a regional issue.”

The Sunnyvale School District has partnered with the City of Sunnyvale to create the Safe Routes to School Program. The program promotes walking, biking and other alternative forms of transportation to get to school. The school district hopes to improve physical fitness, reduce air pollution and decrease traffic.

“We can’t mandate that everyone walk to work or that all cars are electric,” Councilmember Goldman said. “What we can do is try and make it so that it is easier and there are inducements to get electric cars.” 

Councilmember Smith said that the city of Sunnyvale will be “working on transportation and how we can reduce greenhouse gasses emission from transportation.” 

Councilmember Smith explained that the Caltrain system, which currently runs on diesel fuel, is being switched to run on a renewable electric grid. She said that this reform will make the train system faster and more environmentally-friendly. “One idea is to get people out of cars a bit more than they are. Another thing is that we are electrifying Caltrain … it will soon be running on electricity, which has a lot of benefits.”

The city also intends to implement a shuttle system to solve the pollution problem. “We can ultimately provide conceivably a citywide shuttle, which you’ll start hearing more and more about next year,” Mayor Klein said.

Sunnyvale plans to implement a pilot program of the shuttles in 2020.  The shuttle will focus on transporting people from the Caltrain stations to the Peery Park neighborhood.


Sunnyvale seeks to improve housing availability

By Andrew Larkins, Louis Park, Alaya Scarlett and Ines Villarreal

Staff Writers

The City of Sunnyvale is working to improve the availability of housing, which is an extremely prevalent issue and has been for decades. As Councilmember Michael S Goldman said, “You can’t open a newspaper without hearing about it.” 

Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein addressed the issue and introduced a possible solution. “As far as housing prices, of course you know the state is doing certain things as far as rent stabilization. Basically, reducing the amount that your rent can be raised on a yearly basis,” he said. “From a city standpoint, we try to help fund affordable housing non profits.” 

Mayor Klein, Councilmember Goldman and Councilmember Nancy Smith attended a press conference at Summit Public School: Denali on Oct. 22. The conference was hosted by student journalists in order to discuss the current events of the City of Sunnyvale, including the issues and solutions related to housing prices. 

The City of Sunnyvale has previously begun implementing solutions to this problem. For example, they’ve started offering a large number of units for people in need.   

Mayor Klein said “just south of Denny’s, [the City of Sunnyvale] owns all those homes, and we’re actually converting that into 90 units for seniors and previously homeless and people with disabilities.”

Housing has become more available for those in need – specifically those struggling with homelessness and those with disabilities. Because housing has been such a prevalent issue within Sunnyvale, the city council is currently working to improve the support of people who are in need. 

Last month the City of Sunnyvale passed inclusionary housing. This will allow housing to be more attainable and affordable for those with lower incomes.

Mayor Klein said that this new ordinance will ensure that “all new apartment buildings built within the city, 15% have to be below market, 5% very low, 10% low-income based upon the median Bay Area income range.”

In doing so, Sunnyvale citizens of varying incomes will have more opportunity to live affordably within the city. This will be beneficial in developing more opportunities for people who have difficulty obtaining a place to live.

Elected officials for the City of Sunnyvale have been and continue to seek solutions to improve the availability of housing. Within this press conference, several opportunities and solutions were acknowledged, including offering housing for seniors, previously homeless, people with disabilities and those in low-income brackets.


Sunnyvale works hard to develop climate policy 

By Justin Lin, Hari Prakash, Riley Quigley and Tristan Wagner

Staff Writers

The Sunnyvale City Council is working diligently on climate change and pollution. Climate change has been central to a nationwide focus on environmental policy, with potential Democratic nominees attending multiple forums around the issue, and Sunnyvale has a long-standing environmentally sound record on policy

On Oct. 22, Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein attended a press conference at Summit Denali High School hosted by Summit News. He was joined by Councilmembers Nancy Smith and Michael S. Goldman. 

When asked if he considered pollution and climate change growing problems, Councilmember Goldman answered that pollution and climate change were “problems everywhere.” He said that there was an operation in place spending billions of dollars to upgrade clean water facilities. 

Councilmember Goldman also said, “I think that making it easier to get electric cars would be a good idea.” When asked a follow-up question about cleaner highways, Councilmember Smith responded that Sunnyvale officials “count on the state” to keep it clean. 

Summit Denali students seemed to care a lot about the environment, as the next question also related to climate activism. The next student asked the group of officials what their “plan for helping the environment” was. Councilmember Smith seemed to think that the climate solution was dependent on the youth. She said that “engaging with youth” is important to her and her peers. 

When asked about his current top priority, Mayor Klein answered that “waste water treatment” plants were close to the top of his list. 

In response to a question about youth climate activism, Mayor Klein said that removing food from garbage cans was important to his administration. He said that “40,000 tons were removed from the landfill” after separating food from other trash. 

Councilmember Goldman agreed. He said that his children were teaching him and that climate activism is as much a personal effort for him as a government one. 

Councilmember Goldman also noted, “If all cars were non, you know, non-carbon-generating; all electric cars, all fossil-free-powered, that’s 56% of the U.S. greenhouse emissions. That’s a lot. But there’s 44% left. That’s still a lot. Where is that? That’s in agriculture, making cement. That’s in making steel.” He also said that beef generates a lot of greenhouse gases and that local Sunnyvale citizens can help a nationwide movement by cutting down on beef. 

Councilmember Smith said that the government needs to “figure out how to sequester your carbon.” She also wants to find a way to take the carbon out of the air and possibly change the way farmers rotate crops. 


Sunnyvale city council urges citizens to help the environment

By Elizabeth Hall, Kaashika Raut, Alina Raykovich and Taylor Vu

Staff Writers

Local government officials believe that Sunnyvale residents can help combat climate change. They believe the amount of natural gas use needs to be reduced in homes and more renewable energy sources should be used overall. Residents can bike or walk to work and start eating less meat. 

Larry Klein, the mayor of Sunnyvale, and two Sunnyvale City Councilmembers, Nancy Smith and Michael S. Goldman, came to a press conference at Summit Public School: Denali on Oct. 22. They were greeted with cameras and reporters ready to ask questions.

Councilmember Goldman brought up a specific way that families could fight climate change: eating less meat. “So, as an individual, you could eat a little less meat. I’m not saying you have to go vegan, I’m not, I’m not about to, but beef is you know, I’m not gonna say anything against it, but it generates a lot of greenhouse gases,” he said. “Chicken not so much, fish almost nothing. The greenhouse gas impact from fish and fish free protein, that’s almost the same as being vegetarian. So just cutting back on some of the red meats like beef and lamb and stuff, that would be one thing.”

In Sunnyvale, the FoodCycle program has been implemented. The program gives Sunnyvale residents a food waste bin as well as garbage, recycling and yard waste bin. 

But people have been complaining. Mayor Klein spoke on this, saying, “So it’s having people change how they basically operate and removing their food from their garbage and as much as many people complain, and I still get the random complaints about people saying you reduce the garbage I can throw away if we split their bin into garbage and food. Ultimately that saved more than 40,000 tons out of the landfill.”

Councilmember Goldman later brought up a point that touched on the effects of car pollution nationally. “If all cars were non carbon-generating; all electric cars, all fossil free powered, that’s 56% of the U.S. greenhouse emissions. That’s a lot. But there’s 44% left. That’s still a lot. Where is that? That’s in agriculture, making cement. That’s in making steel.”

Councilmember Smith spoke about how students could get to school or other places in ways other than driving. For example, they could try to bike, walk or use public transportation in order to reach their destination.

There are things that citizens can do in their homes to help. Councilmember Goldman spoke about how putting solar panels in your home and getting an electric car. He said, “You can’t make everyone drive electric cars.” They discussed the fact that right now a lot of electric cars are really expensive, but eventually will become affordable and people will buy them.

Councilmember Smith suggested that the younger generation, people in middle school and high school, have options on what to study and what to do in their lives. She said that kids could grow up and go into studies about climate change. 

There are many ways that the people of Sunnyvale help to combat climate change. People can attempt to bike or walk to school or work, using renewable energy, and just trying to do something to help. 

“Everybody can make minor changes, whether or not that’s separating their food, whether or not that’s not using straws, whether or not that’s you know, all these little things that make a difference,” Mayor Klein said.


Sunnyvale councilmembers address the housing crisis and traffic issues

By Daisy Ding, Soojeong Kim, Izabella Trejo and Eva Weisenfeld

Staff Writers

Members of Sunnyvale City Council are concerned with the rise of housing prices. To further complicate matters, they believe that the increase in prices is progressively causing traffic to worsen.

Michael S. Goldman, a member of the Sunnyvale City Council said, “Legislative analyst organization … [a] government agency in Sacramento came out with a report that basically said that since around 1970-1980 housing prices in California have been about double the housing prices in the rest of the country. So we’ve had this for basically 50 years … So what has changed? What has changed is it’s reached a point that in certain areas like LA and the bay area, two major metro areas, you’ve reached a point where any further expansion [is] just too difficult.”

On Oct. 22, Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein, Councilmember Nancy Smith and Councilmember Goldman visited Summit Public School: Denali to attend a press conference held by student journalists from Summit News. There, they commented on the current housing crisis throughout the Bay Area. 

“One thing that is a big problem is that the last big housing boom was in the ’70s and we all know what happens to populations … they grow,” Councilmember Smith said. “So, people move in and have children; you’re going to need more and more housing. We have not built enough to keep up with that … by a lot. This is not just a Silicon Valley [problem,] it is a statewide problem, it’s a national problem actually.”

Sunnyvale city councilmembers also believe Sunnyvale has reached a point where further growth is not possible due to difficulties in transportation. “It’s not a matter of how high you can build,” Councilmember Goldman said. “It is a matter of how you can get people in and out and goods in and out [of the city].” 

The reality is that Sunnyvale’s roads are always congested, creating a somewhat constant pattern of traffic. Mayor Klein said, “30% of the traffic you see on our roads doesn’t start here, doesn’t end here and is just passing through.”

However, Councilmember Goldman said he believes that the traffic issue in Sunnyvale will always be an issue.  He brought up the Marchetti’s constant, explaining that the balance between the desire for a dream house and hope for shorter commutes keeps traffic at a constant.

“That’s why Rome stopped growing, that’s why LA stopped growing, and that may be why we stop growing,” Councilmember Goldman said. “There is a limit to what you can do. If everyone wants a single-family house … there is not enough space unless we redo the laws of physics.”


Books influence the community

By Angela Hwang, Jacob Jasper, Meria Rothrock and Nadia Tatishcheva
Staff Writers

“I really didn’t start liking reading until I was in tenth grade. We had programs in middle school […] that after you read a book you had to take a quiz and then you have to earn so many points, and it just took all of the love of reading out completely of my life.”

Denali English teacher Sara Ragey

Denali English teacher Sara Ragey went on to explain that her reading experience got even worse in high school: “I could never find books that I enjoyed reading, and then any books that were assigned in class I didn’t want to read, and, in high school, it was challenging because I didn’t like reading up until that point and so my reading skills weren’t very good and so books that I had to read in high school were more challenging and because I didn’t understand them … it made me want to read less, so it was like this constant negative cycle of my relationship with reading.”

Ms. Ragey’s story is common to many people. Reading, an essential life skill, has therapeutic and social uses in addition to recreational and enrichment uses.

Stress relief or control is a (potential) therapeutic use for books. According to Yuki Ascue, a child therapist at the Sunnyvale Mental Health Clinic, “At least 60 percent of people turn to books to calm down.” Ms. Ascue explained that a study from the University of Minnesota backs up this claim.

Ms. Ascue explained, “Breathing calms the nervous system [so] if you like reading, it probably calms your nerves and helps with stress management [because] when your mind calms down, you’re activating a different nervous system.”

Esther Min, a Denali freshman agreed, saying: “[Reading] is like an escape, and the characters are making me happy.” Min went on to talk about how reading has increased her social awareness. “Every book has a moral lesson, and, every time I read, I learn more and live in the shoes of the character and try to feel what they are feeling which makes me more empathetic and increases my knowledge of society.”

Denali history teacher Sarah Rivas

Sarah Rivas, a history teacher at Summit Denali, shared her thoughts on how reading has affected her: “I think it’s exposed me to a lot of different viewpoints and ideas.” She went on to add that reading is a big part of her family: “When we read together, we all talk about the books we’ve read, share those stories.”

Mira Geffner, a librarian at the Sunnyvale Public Library, added, “I think it can give us a window into other cultures and individuals whose life experiences we may not be able to understand. […] And I think as a community it can help us understand one another better.”

Ms. Rivas then stated that “there’s [a] cultural awareness [aspect as well]. People, even now or when you get older, are going to make references to these books, and if you don’t know what Big Brother is talking about, you’re going to come off as ignorant and you’re not. I don’t want that to hold [students] back in life.”

Leigh Odum, the owner of Leigh’s Favorite Books

Leigh Odum, the owner of Leigh’s Favorite Books said, “I think there’s a book culture here in Sunnyvale, and I think that it’s one more way for people to connect, people that may not meet otherwise. I think one thing I’ve really noticed about Sunnyvale is Sunnyvale really feels like a small town, so even though it actually has a pretty big population.”

But, of course, reading also allows students to grow and shine. Cleo Chen, a Denali freshmen stated, “Reading inspired me to start writing because I was like, I want to do this too!” and Min said, “I feel like my English level has improved because of the new vocabulary in books.”

However, many people (teachers included), agree that forcing students to read takes away the love of reading. “In elementary school, I didn’t like reading because my mom made me read these really complicated classics, so I never really found out what books are like,” said an anonymous freshman.  

Denali English teacher Sara Ragey

Ms. Ragey confirms that reading is more enjoyable when one is reading something one enjoys: “Then [in 10th grade] I finally found a book that I enjoyed, and I felt like I was reading quickly and understanding and enjoying, and then after that, I was more open to reading.”

She also stated that, in her experience, students who enjoy reading also enjoy school more than students who do not enjoy reading. Her observations are backed up by the Waterford Institute.

Ms. Rivas said, “I think [reading] is a habit that we need to build. Reading is about, for some people, you need to build some stamina and that’s the only way you practice is by like reading in school for some people at home reading’s not emphasized, school’s the only time someone’s going to tell them to read, but then it’s also you’ve seen in all of your classes, reading is in every subject, and so it’s really important that you can read easily and quickly, and it’s also less stressful for you.”

For those that cannot get to the library, do not like carrying around large, bulky books, or have vision troubles, many libraries and bookstores offer ebooks. Ms. Odum said, “[Ebooks have] given customers more options. I think we had a number of customers that had problems with their vision, and so ebooks have given people that had trouble reading a chance to read.” Additionally, Ms. Geffner, the Sunnyvale librarian, said, “We [the library] also provide materials to a limited number of homebound Sunnyvale residents by making personalized deliveries every single month, to between 70 and 80 residents in the city who are not able to get to the library on their own.”

But what impact do ebooks have on the bookstores? Ryan Higgins, the owner of Comics Conspiracy said, ““It’s hard to tell. […] Things like Amazon, I find, doesn’t really affect us too much because a lot of people like to come in, you know, they’re more collectors than just trying to buy cheap stuff online. Clearly some books that are much cheaper on Amazon, I mean sometimes it’s hard to pass up those deals, but, for a lot of people, you know, they’re coming in for the experience of shopping in the store.”

The storefront of Leigh’s Favorite Books

But, for a regular bookstore, business can be harder to attain. “We have to be competitive in terms of pricing, or in terms of services that we offer, there has to be an advantage to buying a full price book or a book that’s discounted less than it is online,” Ms. Odum said, adding: “For us, I haven’t seen a downturn in sales and, again, ebooks existed when we opened our store, so I think it’s just given people more options.” This is in sharp contrast with what Forbes.com reported last year.

Ms. Odum continued, “I think it’s really important to just remember that there’s a new generation with completely different experiences and it’s important to adapt, but I always think it’s important [to encourage young people to read].”

Denali history teacher Sarah Rivas

Ms. Rivas expressed a similar wish for students: “I would like to see you all reading more, I think, not just documents but novels, longer texts that you need to engage with.”

Reading has come a long way since the Dark Ages when books were a rarity and only the wealthiest of people could read. Today we have the privilege of being able to read just about anywhere in a variety of ways from ebooks to bookstores and libraries to online pdfs and free reading websites. As Charles W. Eliot states, “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”

Summit Denali High School searches for a permanent campus

By Ellen Hu

Denali Editor-in-Chief

Summit Denali High School is searching for a permanent campus, and school leaders are working to show their proposed campus is the best location for the school. The school plans to appeal to the City Council in a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.

On Dec. 10, Summit Denali High School appealed to the Sunnyvale Planning Commission for a new campus on San Aleso Avenue in northern Sunnyvale. Students, parents and staff from the school attended the meeting and filled the room with support. The meeting lasted from 7 p.m. well past 10 p.m. Within this three-hour period, the planning commission team, Summit Denali’s director and Summit Denali parents were able to make themselves heard while discussing the possibility of further action taken toward the approval of the new campus.

Summit Denali currently holds two campuses in Sunnyvale: the Weddell campus, which holds the middle school, and the temporary Washington campus, which holds the high school. As a temporary location, Denali will have to move out of the Washington campus in 2019.

Denali Executive Director Kevin Bock said that the school has gone through a long search process in collaboration with the Sunnyvale city planners which involved analysis and elimination of over 40 different locations. In fall 2016, the San Aleso campus was decided as the best fit for the permanent campus. In December 2017, Summit Denali submitted its application for the campus.

The proposed campus was constructed in the 1960s and was occupied by a ceramics manufacturer until the 1980s. Currently, the building is not occupied. If approved, the school plans to undertake several improvements. These include the removal of a mezzanine, painting the exterior with more contemporary colors, new crosswalks and pedestrian safety measures and the inclusion of bicycle parking.

Parking has proven to be the largest issue in the approval of the new campus. The proposed plan holds 69 parking spots in total, with 22 of those spots in a mechanical parking structure reserved for teachers and staff. Parking permits (decided through applications) would provide select students with a parking spot throughout the year.

The City of Sunnyvale holds a requirement for all schools and buildings to to have one quarter of a parking space per student who attends the school. However, larger schools in Sunnyvale, such as Fremont High School, do not follow this requirement as they are run and designed by the school district instead of the city.  

Given that the Summit Denali High School campus would begin the year with 400 students, the school is required to have 100 parking spots. The school hired Kimely-Horn, a planning and design consulting firm, to do an analysis of the number of parking spots that other Summit schools use. After this consultation, the firm reported that the school needed only 54 parking spaces (0.13 parking spots per student). Mr. Bock claims that this is the same level of student parking provided to students at Fremont High School.

Many questions were raised among the planning commission members. These questions encompassed concerns regarding the faculty parking structure, the location near single-family housing and the use of invasive bamboo to add to the landscaping. As parking issues were brought up, the Planning Commission seemed skeptical.

Nonetheless, Chair of the Planning Commission Daniel Howard brought up the history of schools in northern Sunnyvale. “Why haven’t we built a high school on the North side of the city?” he asked. In place of what is now the private school named Kings Academy, Sunnyvale High School used to serve students on the northern side of the city. Now, these teenagers attend Fremont High School.


Summit Denali parents, students and staff attend the Sunnyvale Planning Commission meeting. PHOTO CREDIT: Nadine Abousalem

Denali parents pointed out different transportation trends that didn’t include driving. “My son doesn’t like to drive, even though I urge him to drive, and I think that is a trend we see in other students,” parent James Chen said. “Instead he bikes to school.”

Other parents discussed the role of the school in the community. “Two teen boys who want to go to school, it really speaks to my heart,” parent Sue Johnson said in regards to her two sons who attend the high school. “Denali will be a Snail asset.”

The planning commission meeting left Summit Denali families and staff disappointed as the commission voted against the permit. Nonetheless, Summit Public Schools is undeterred. “We are very excited to be working with the City of Sunnyvale,” Mr. Bock said. “We are also excited to bring a school to the north side of Sunnyvale, and we are confident that the site is a good location for the school.”

Denali leaders have gone through this process in their request for approval for the Weddell Campus, which is now used for the middle school. “[I]n our quest to open our middle school at Weddell, we lost in front of the Planning Commission,” Mr. Bock said in an email to Denali parents and students. “And, we were later approved in front of the City Council.” He views this denial simply as a step in the process of finding a permanent campus.

Featured image (at the top of this post): This diagram displays the proposed San Aleso campus; it was submitted to the Sunnyvale Planning Commission. PHOTO CREDIT: City of Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale City Council candidates visit Summit Denali

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Oct. 4, four candidates for Sunnyvale City Council visited Summit Public School: Denali to speak with student journalists. See below for a compilation of their stories. To learn more about the candidates (pictured left to right in the photo above), visit their websites: Gustav Larsson (incumbent, Seat 1); Henry Alexander III (challenger, Seat 1); Glenn Hendricks (incumbent, Seat 2) and Josh Grossman (challenger, Seat 2)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Staff Photographers Justin Casillas, Mark Haiko, Kamal Lakisic, Hazel Rothrock, Evangeline Si and Michael Stavnitser contributed photos to this slideshow. 


Sunnyvale City Council candidates create a sustainable Sunnyvale

By Jamil Abed, Mark Haiko, Ellen Hu and Angela Hwang

Staff Writers

The candidates for Sunnyvale City Council agree sustainability is a vital part of the city’s future. Improving citywide traffic, they concur, is a large part of that goal.

On Oct. 4, Sunnyvale City Council candidates Glenn Hendricks, Josh Grossman, Henry Alexander III and Gustav Larsson visited Summit Denali to participate in a student-led press conference hosted by journalists from Summit News.  

Mr. Larsson, the Seat One incumbent, said Sunnyvale has already launched effective clean energy programs. “The question is,” he asked, “how can we put it to use better?”

The city council members voted in favor of joining the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Grant in December 2016. The program was launched in early April 2017 in partnership with PG&E. The grant provides Sunnyvale city residents with 100 percent renewable energy in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions in the Bay Area.

While discussing green energy, Mr. Larsson said, “I was really proud that Sunnyvale actually led the push in the Santa Clara County area to do that.” The hope of both himself and fellow incumbent Mr. Hendricks is that other Bay Area communities will take Sunnyvale’s lead and endeavor to create a cleaner environment.  

According to the EPA, cars and additional methods of transportation account for nearly 28.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The candidates discussed how these means of transportation affect both the heavy traffic and the carbon emissions produced in the city. For that reason, it is an issue that is at the focus of their campaigns.    

Current Mayor Glenn Hendricks said that there are traffic demand management programs which work with businesses to mitigate the number of cars on the road. As a part of these programs, he said that buses take “30 to 40“ cars out of traffic.

Another option is to encourage more people to travel using public transportation or methods that do not produce greenhouse emissions. “The other thing that I think is very interesting is modeling after cities like San Jose who have those rentable bicycles or motorized scooters,” Mr. Alexander expressed. “It’s a little more fun, and it also helps the environment.”

According to the EPA, 11 percent of 2016 greenhouse gas emissions from homes and buildings “arise primarily from fossil fuels burned for heat, the use of certain products that contain greenhouse gases, and the handling of waste.”

The candidates agree that replacing electricity with natural gas in buildings is a large step in Sunnyvale’s path towards a greener future. “On newer construction,” Mr. Hendricks said, “we’re going to be seeing some changes happening at a policy level about that going forward.”

However, financial sustainability must also be taken into account when considering the implementation of these environmentally sustainable practices. “It’s great to have a balanced budget, and that’s really critical, but if we sacrifice our quality of life to achieve that balanced budget we’ve gotta really rethink our strategy,” Mr. Grossman said.

The candidates believe that incentivizing other forms of green energy will effectively integrate these systems into Sunnyvale. Mr. Alexander said, “I will look into how we can incentive not only apartment buildings but also businesses to use things like solar energy or solar panels within their buildings.”

The Bay Area has followed Sunnyvale in taking a step towards a more sustainable future. “San Francisco is also looking into setting up a community choice energy activation to get their energy from cleaner sources,” Mr. Larsson said. “But we’ve already done that.”  


Sunnyvale City Council candidates discuss school shootings

By Hazel Rothrock, Nadia Tatishcheva and Alex Twoy

Staff Writers

The Sunnyvale City Council candidates have strong feelings about school safety and gun violence. They feel the need to address mental health and how to keep students safe.

“Sunnyvale has been named the safest city in the U.S. the third year in a row, so we’re really proud of that, but safest city does not mean crime-free, and that’s something that we have to stay on top of … because we don’t want to say, ‘Oh, it’s never gonna happen here.’ Things can happen here, and we need to be ready for that,” said Gustav Larsson, the Seat 1 incumbent, when asked about school shootings and what the City Council was doing to prevent them.

On Oct. 4, four City Council candidates, Gustav Larsson, Henry Alexander III, Glenn Hendricks, and Josh Grossman, visited Summit Denali for a press conference. They discussed many important issues, including what could be done by the council to lessen the possibility of school shootings.

Glenn Hendricks, the Seat 2 incumbent and Mayor of Sunnyvale, talked about meeting the students on the steps of City Hall after one of the shootings earlier this year: “I told them, ‘Hey, thank you for coming out; you’re doing the right thing by raising your voice and showing you’re concerned about what this is.’ We talked about the things that we’re planning to do in the city.”

Some of the candidates also expressed concern about the mental health of students and how that might be tied to the increasing number of school shootings that have been seen in the United States in recent years.

Mr. Hendricks talked about working with current supervisors of the city to “try and get more money for mental health for people,” as “mental health is not necessarily something that is a budgeted item in the city.”

Mr. Larsson talked about collaboration within different levels of government and agencies, stating that “the school districts have one set of responsibilities, but mental health, for example, is really at the county level. Police and fire officers are at the city level. We all have to work together, communicate together.”

Henry Alexander III, the Seat 1 challenger, said he felt like the students were under too much stress, proposing that “the schools should do a better job at educating the children about … scaling back some. Because everything is so … information overload, and for me it’s overwhelming, and my brain is, I’d like to say it’s developed … when you’re growing up that’s just probably just a little bit too much.”

The candidates also discussed gun control and how that might be related to preventing school shootings and improving school safety.

Josh Grossman, the Seat 2 challenger, said that he sympathized with the students who had to deal with school shootings and the aftermath of them, arguing that the way we need to fix school shootings is “common sense gun control at the national level. We need to have mental health checks, and we need to work forward to do that.” Mr. Grossman encouraged the students of Summit Denali to get more involved and to vote when they are old enough in order to solve the issue America has with gun control.

Mr. Hendricks spoke about encouraging more states to follow in California’s footsteps, seeing as California has some of the strictest gun laws. He also talked about some of the things being done by the city of Sunnyvale to prevent gun violence, including the gun buyback program that was conducted on the last weekend of September 2018. Mr. Hendricks explained, “567 guns were turned in. And these are guns that people didn’t want anymore, they’re not in their house; they no longer have the opportunity to be stolen and get into criminal’s hands.”

Mr. Alexander backed up his fellow candidates, agreeing that “gun laws need to be explored” from a national level.

The candidates agreed that school shootings are a major problem and that there are many things that can be done in order to prevent more from happening, including stricter gun laws and investing more resources in the mental health of students.


Candidates explain their main goals for the Sunnyvale City Council

By Charles Cassel, Kyle Kobetsky, Soren Ryan-Jensen and Evangeline Si

Staff Writers

Sunnyvale City Council candidates value the quality of life in the city. As incumbent Glenn Hendricks puts it, “We need to have long-term financial stability in order to afford our sewage systems and parks.”

On Oct. 4, four local Sunnyvale City Council candidates visited Summit Denali to answer questions about their views and plans as city council members.

One important issue that was discussed by all candidates was quality of life for the citizens of Sunnyvale.

Challenger Henry Alexander III mainly focused on improving the quality of life for Sunnyvale through adding more open spaces and improving traffic.

Mr. Hendricks agreed that quality of life is an important problem to look at. However, he thinks that the city of Sunnyvale needs to focus on their long-term financial stability first. He backed up his claim by pointing out that you need money to fund these quality of life improvements.

On the subject of finances, challenger Josh Grossman led the discussion by pointing out that the board is rapidly approving new businesses to help the financial situation and that is causing people in mobile homes to leave Sunnyvale due to high rents and having their lots being replaced with luxury condos.

Incumbent Gustav Larsson brought up his ideas to help solve the issues of traffic, finances, quality of life and the housing crisis. His idea was to add more housing in proximity to VTA transport and workplaces. He pointed out how this would work because the housing would make more money for the city and putting people closer to workplaces and transportation would mean that less traffic would be on the road. Also, less traffic means a higher quality of life, and, of course, adding housing would help the housing crisis.

While on the subject of quality of life, they all agreed that community safety is important. When asked about gun control, the incumbent, Mr. Hendricks, and the challenger, Mr.  Grossman, for Seat #2 responded with a similar answer regarding mental health checkups and common sense gun control. However, Mr. Alexander responded differently to the question of how to help with this issue of gun control. “It’s an info overload,” he stated. Mr. Alexander claimed that electronic information is overloading the minds of the students, putting more stress on their mental health.

When the candidates were asked, “How do you think you can solve school shootings?” they responded with answers that mostly corresponded with each other. Most of the candidates said we need more gun control laws, though each had their own differences. Mr. Hendricks talked about how you can’t really fix school shootings, although to stop most of them you need stricter gun control laws and mental health checks.

Mr. Grossman said in response to the school shootings question that you need common sense, and you need to have gun control laws and “mental health checkups at a national level.” Mr. Alexander said that schools need to take a step back and focus on helping students deal with stress and that “gun laws need to be explored.”

In response to the question about school shootings, Mr. Larsson said he wanted to make the city “ready for these issues” and steered away from giving a direct answer. However, when asked about getting the city down to zero emissions, he answered, “We have already started that,” and talked about how Sunnyvale is ahead of other cities but it needs to put its completely clean energy to better use and residents need more efficient electronics.

All the candidates had similar stories of getting into politics through local issues. Mr. Grossman was School Board president; after leaving that office, he missed local politics and decided to run for a different position. Mr. Larsson got into politics by making a petition to change something in the city, and he feels he made a difference. Mr. Alexander tried to save a park in his neighbor by mobilizing 10,000 residents, yet still lost. Finally, Mr. Hendricks got into politics by going to a local meeting, only to get ignored. All of the city council candidates had similar ways of getting into politics, through local issues, Despite their similarities, they have different takes on the same issues.


City Council candidates explain major traffic issues in the Bay

By Ibrahim Ayub, Jacob Gaylord, Mateo Gonzalez Rivera and Michael Stavnitser

Staff Writers

Four candidates for Sunnyvale City Council are very concerned about the amount of traffic in the city.

On Oct. 4, four City Council members came to visit Summit Denali to answer questions at a student-led press conference hosted by the journalists at Summit News.

Challenger Josh Grossman spoke about how the traffic has gotten really bad in the Bay Area. He said if he becomes elected he will try and help fix the major traffic problem.

Mr. Grossman said, “I was taking my daughter to work on Oct. 4 and noticed the amount of traffic has increased considerably over the last year.” He and the other city council candidates were concerned about the amount of traffic, and they said they think it is due to the number of big developments that are coming into the Bay Area.

For example, they just finished building the new Apple campus on Wolfe Road, and there is now considerably more traffic, Mr. Grossman said. We need to find a way to lessen the amount of traffic before it comes to a big problem, he explained.

The City Council candidates said they think big companies like Apple and Google should provide buses to lessen the amount of traffic in the city of Sunnyvale, especially since those companies keep building new campuses and increasing the amount of traffic.

For example, if Apple and Google would get buses, then that would reduce traffic by having fewer cars on the road, Mr. Grossman said. If people would carpool, then that would also reduce traffic.

On his website, Mr. Grossman states, “I’m running to ensure we can work to ensure a good quality of life in Sunnyvale by mandating Better Traffic Management.”

Challenger Henry Alexander III also said he wants to manage traffic lights to make the flow of traffic better.

On his website, Mr. Alexander states, “We must manage traffic congestion now because of serious impacts to safety and quality of life in our city.”

Incumbent Gustav Larsson said he also wants traffic to be improved in Sunnyvale. To improve traffic, he believes that fewer people should drive their cars and that they could walk or bike or take public transit instead.

On his website, Mr. Larsson states, “We implemented a state-of-the-art intelligent traffic signal system.”

Incumbent Glenn Hendricks added that he also wants to help improve the traffic in Sunnyvale to help the community be a better place.

On his website, Mr. Hendricks states that he wants to “implement a holistic view of traffic for the city of Sunnyvale and the state of California.”


City Council candidates propose ways to improve their city

By Andrea Castilleros and Joseph Gutierrez

Staff Writers

Sunnyvale City Council candidates are concerned about housing problems in the community.

On Oct. 4, four Sunnyvale City Council candidates came to Summit Denali to talk about how they can improve their city. In Seat 1, the incumbent Gustav Larsson is running against challenger Henry Alexander III. In Seat 2, the incumbent Glenn Hendricks is running against challenger Josh Grossman.

Candidates discussed what got them into politics in the first place. They all had the same concept of solving the problems in their communities.

“I had heard from families who can afford to buy a house and still don’t get picked because of the competition,” Mr. Larsson said.

According to Zillow.com, the average rate for home value in Sunnyvale is $1,914,600; that rate has gone up by 21.8 percent over the past year and will likely go up by 10 percent next year.  

Part of the issue, Mr. Larsson said, is how hard it is for community members to get to work. “We should use housing near jobs or near close transportation to jobs,” he said.

Another issue, for Mr. Grossman, is that available space is really shrinking in the community. “We should stop building because it will get too crowded in Sunnyvale,” he said.  

According to SFCurved.com, Sunnyvale City Councilmember Michael Goldman said, “Well, there’s no unanimity. Basically what I hear is most people saying, ‘Hey, we’re full, I can’t get out of my driveway, there are too many businesses cramming people into offices.’”

All four of these City Council candidates want to see Sunnyvale prosper and become healthy; they will work to help the communities around them. They will aim to make Sunnyvale a better place to live and work.


Sunnyvale City Council candidates believe in the importance of finances

By Jacob Jasper, Kamal Lakisic and Saad Qazi

Staff Writers

Finances are the core of a city’s government, and Sunnyvale City Council candidates believe they must consolidate the city’s finances before moving onto other ventures. Candidate discussion at an Oct. 4 press conference, held at Summit Denali, revolved around the sustainable financial situation of the city of Sunnyvale.

The press conference included the incumbent and challenger candidates for Sunnyvale City Council Seats 1 and 2, and it allowed students to interact with local politicians. The candidates discussed with students a multitude of city problems like traffic, education, environment, and, central to our analysis, finances.

When asked what the central path toward progress was for the City of Sunnyvale, Mayor Glenn Hendricks said improving the stability of the city’s finances would go a long way toward the city’s development and its ability to tackle all challenges with the best interests of the people in mind: “There are a lot of things we have to work on, but I think finances are at the core, in order to bring quality of life,” Mr. Hendricks said.

Later on in the press conference, when opposing views on finances were brought up, Mr. Hendricks reiterated the core issue of finances and how they are crucial for the city’s development. According to his thinking, where the city must start is “with the long term finances of the city. We have to be sustainable. We have to be able to pay for all the core services that people want to have.”

Challenger Josh Grossman also believes in the importance of finances, but he also focused on other aspects of the City of Sunnyvale: “It’s great to have a balanced budget, and that’s really critical, but if we sacrifice our quality of life … so I want to have both.” Despite his intent to improve the quality of life for residents, he agrees that the budget must be taken into account and kept stable.

Challenger Henry Alexander III discussed the openness of the budget and the city’s transparent use of finances, an issue he sees as prevalent. “Be it budgets, be it the amount people are being paid, be it the amount people are giving finance … for campaigns, these are things I think people care about.”

The remaining incumbent candidate, Gustav Larsson, discussed the importance of the city’s drive toward clean energy. Despite not touching on financial aspects of such a venture, he described the benefits it would entail — giving it an importance above many other projects the City of Sunnyvale was considering. “Actually, the City of Sunnyvale has already taken the initiative…on bringing clean energy.”


Sunnyvale City Council candidates are concerned about quality of life 

By Thomas Maiello, Brandon Raybon and Alan Rivera

Staff Writers

Sunnyvale City Council candidates are concerned that the city’s quality of life is being challenged by many social and environmental issues.

On Oct. 4, Sunnyvale City Council candidates Glenn Hendricks, Gustav Larsson, Josh Grossman and Henry Alexander III attended a press conference held by Summit Denali student journalists.

Sunnyvale is about the size of Mountain View and Cupertino combined, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. According to the Sunnyvale website and the Cupertino website, Sunnyvale has 22 parks, while Cupertino has over 30 parks.

“The most important thing is the quality of life. The quality of life has decreased ever since the developments have started to increase. We need more parks to improve the quality of life,” Mr. Alexander said.

In December 2016, the Sunnyvale City Council voted in favor of the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Act. According to the Mercury News,“The move means 100 percent of the city’s energy will come from renewable, carbon-free energy sources come April.”

Clean energy has been a focus for the City Council when discussing the quality of life. “We brought clean energy to Sunnyvale; we want other cities in Santa Clara County to participate in that,” Mr. Hendricks said.

Other candidates were concerned that development in Sunnyvale has affected quality of life for residents.

“I got involved in politics because I remember people getting kicked out of a mobile home park for a six dwelling unit to be put in its place,” Mr. Grossman said. “We need to make sure that companies like Apple and Google pay their share in our city. Currently Apple and Google together pay $24,000 to the city of Sunnyvale for being here. We want to make sure that large companies pay their share.”