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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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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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