Sun09142014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Tips From The Auto Brokers: Don't be fooled leasing companies: they're just like dealership

If you are like most people, your first thought of acquiring a new vehicle is a happy one: you behind the wheel of that hot new car of your dreams.

Your second thought is a little less scintillating: you walking into a dealership, like a fly into a spider's web.

As we've stated previously, dealerships are like casinos; they build big, fancy showrooms to lure you in, persuade you that you somehow are going to come out ahead in the car-buying or leasing process and then take as much of your money as they can over a period of several hours.

Leasing companies differ from dealerships in that they don't have showrooms, and they offer you more personalized service. They may go so far as to insinuate that they exist to save you money in your lease transaction.

But don't be fooled: leasing companies, like dealerships, are in the business of making as much money on your leased vehicle as possible.

They don't open up their doors to help you; they open up their doors to help themselves to your money under the guise of helping you.

We've made this point before, but it bears repeating: leasing an automobile is a complex transaction in which the consumer is at a distinct disadvantage. This is due to the lack of federal regulations pertaining to disclosure of what is known as the money factor, or buy rate.

This is the rate the leasing bank charges for the lease. But while the dealership or leasing company is privy to this internal rate, the consumer is not, and typically it is marked up substantially, without consumer knowledge.

We cannot stress enough what a slippery slope this can be for you, the consumer. Your best bet always is to find a broker to act as your agent, in your best interest, to protect you from being gouged.

But we know some of you are stubborn, and others may be convinced that you are the best negotiators walking the earth.

Here is a tip for ye of little faith.

Besides your monthly lease payment, the most significant factor to you in your lease transaction probably will be your out-of-pocket expense prior to delivery. This is the amount for which you will write a check upon signing the lease - your total drive-off. This is not the same as your down payment.

With a leased vehicle, the Gross Capitalized Cost (commonly, the "cap cost") is equivalent to the cash price. When the dealer or leasing company gives you a down payment figure, remember that technically down payment translates into the capitalized cost reduction, or the amount by which you effectively pay down the lease in advance in order to reduce your future monthly payments.

Added to your down payment are the following items: first monthly payment; refundable security deposit (if applicable); licensing fees and any other applicable fees, such as the $5 California Tire Disposal Fee; luxury tax (if applicable); and state sales tax.

In other words: ask for your total drive-off; don't be misguided by the term "down payment."

And don't forget that for every leased vehicle there is a bank acquisition fee, charged by the bank to the dealer for "doing" the lease. This is a mandatory fee that represents yet another opportunity for the dealer or leasing company to mark up the cost of your lease - in this case, an average of an additional $300 to 400 of free money hidden in your lease.

For dealerships and leasing companies, profit is the name of the game; and you, the consumer, are the profit source.

Beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing.

Hammer and Kelly are associated with Hammer Auto, a new car auto broker in Palo Alto. For more information, call 813-6100 or visit the Web site at www.hammerauto.com.

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