Friday, March 16, 2007

First hand experience waiting for a stall.

We have lived in LAH for 26+ years and have owned horses a great deal of that time. Our girls were on a waiting list for stalls at Westwind Barn for two years and we finally gave up and built our own barn at home. This list, which was run by Friends of Westwind, was a sham. It was not made public - and we saw many many non-residents move into the Barn ahead of us. After many requests... and many years.... this list is STILL not made public. We were extremely naive about this - but finally realized FOW was running Westwind as a private club for their friends (the vast majority of whom were non- residents). The interesting thing about this is that Westwind Barn is LOS ALTOS HILLS TAXPAYER FUNDED. I'm not in favor of my LAH RESIDENT taxes funding a private club which consists of over 75% NON- residents. It just makes no sense - and I strongly feel our Council is not acting with the best interest of our Town in mind when they allow FOW to continue this farce. FOW has defaulted on their (sweetheart) agreement, but the Council continues to insist on letting them continue to manage the barn.

There is a Town Committee set up to look at Westwind Barn - but they were not allowed to consider other forms of governance. I understand that if residents cannot fill the barn, the remaining stalls could be offered to non- residents, but there should be clear and positive first benefit to residents - with residents making the rules. The private club continues - and local taxpayers continue to fund it. Westwind Barn could (and should) be a showcase facility in Los Altos Hills - and should, foremost, be benefitting the residents who fund it - OUR residents.

The non-residents are in positions of authority - and have made the majority of the decisions. Can you imagine if a LAH resident went to Los Altos or Mountain View and told THEM how a facility in THEIR town was going to be run? It just wouldn't happen - and I think our Town Council has a lot of explaining to do here. Why are the Council Members not making sure OUR tax money is benefitting OUR residents? They have a fiduciary duty to do this - and they are failing.

Shari Emling

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