Letter to the Los Gatos Weekly

Seeking the truth
about logging in
the mountains

We appreciate the coverage by the Los Gatos Weekly-Times on the complex issue of logging the Los Gatos watershed. It is critical that the citizens of the greater Los Gatos area know the issues that concern all of us.

* Eighty-five percent of the water used by Los Gatos and Monte Sereno comes from the proposed logging area.

* If the winds that swept the 1985 Lexington fire had been blowing the other way, the town of Los Gatos would have been endangered.

* The wear on our roads and traffic slow-downs from the 80,000-pound logging trucks on Highway 17 will affect all of us.

During our Sept. 11 meeting, my job was to present what we know to date. Since that meeting, we know: San Jose Water Company has delayed submitting its request for a logging permit; knows there is widespread opposition to its plans; is being told by the California Department of Forestry that fire safety must be addressed; has never met with the Santa Clara County fire marshal to discuss fire safety on this issue.

We have directly contacted Andrew Gere, the SJWC project manager for this logging project. He indicated that meetings are planned to discuss fire safety. It's incredible. How can you remove the largest, most fire-resistant trees from an area that is periodically visited by devastating fires without doing a fire safety plan first? Is it possible that the logging truck is driving the plan, ala Big Creek Lumber?

John Tang, a representative of the SJWC, announced at the Sept. 19 Los Gatos Town Council meeting that his company plans to work with the community to address our concerns. My only regret is they didn't do this first before their fait accompli announcement to the community.

I say to SJWC: Invite us to your meetings with CDF and Santa Clara Fire, invite Mid-Peninsula Open Space and invite representatives from Los Gatos and Monte Sereno. Let's all work as neighbors and come up with a cohesive plan that mitigates future fires, protects our water and is consistent with the current land use.

Rick Parfitt

Los Gatos

Rick Parfitt
October 9, 2005