Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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