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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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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

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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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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Medical marijuana rides into LA on questionable conveyances

Photo Photos By Elliott Burr/Town Crier

Marshall Barker, above, a Buddy’s Cannabis employee in San Jose, inspects a recent shipment of marijuana.

Despite city bans on medical marijuana dispensaries, the pot market is thriving in Silicon Valley. Ever-expanding collectives are literally driving through loopholes, using delivery services to provide members with their medicine – a phenomenon that has arrived in Los Altos.

Shade of Green Collective (SoGC), founded by seven medical cannabis patients in their mid-20s, has 100 members – two from Los Altos. But SoGC is just one of several independent delivery services based in Santa Clara County that have declined to release information on their clients.

Eight mobile cannabis businesses advertise with WeedMaps.com, a commercial listing of dispensaries, and another 18 enlisted as members of California NORML, a non-profit organization devoted to legalizing marijuana. In addition, there are unlisted services that rely solely on word-of-mouth advertising and brick-and-mortar stores that offer delivery.

Of the latter, 20 percent of Buddy’s Cannabis’ 1,200-member collective are locals, said owner Matt Lucero.

According to Los Altos police, however, such transactions violate city code. Two ordinan-ces, passed Dec. 8 by a 4-0 Los Altos City Council vote, prohibit the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits. The regulation defines a dispensary as “any facility or location, whether fixed or mobile” distributing medical cannabis to eligible patients.

“If they’re making deliveries in Los Altos, then that would be a business transaction,” Police Capt. Andy Galea said. “Someone with the intent to come into Los Altos to deliver medical marijuana would clearly be in violation of the city ordinance.”

Galea said state laws – under the 1996 Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) and the 2003 Medical Marijuana Program Act (SB 420) – prevent cities from prosecuting individual use of medical cannabis but not distribution. Cities retain the authority to determine how land is used.

While Galea said city regulations clearly restrict delivery services as well as storefronts, many mobile dispensaries are not aware that they’re breaking the law.

“We wanted to do everything the right way,” said Devin Baggett, a SoGC founder. “So we were patient, we did our research (and) we waited for other organizations to see how they fared in the industry.”

Baggett said he had been interested in gathering a collective since 2004, but SoGC did not begin official plans for its symbolic April 20 opening until last year.

A majority of delivery services, whether independent or attached to a stationary dispensary, follow the conservative route, double- and triple-checking business operations to cover every gray area in state and city laws.

Even Lucero, who gained notoriety for knowingly opening shop in Sunnyvale in violation of city ordinances, adopted a more cautious approach at his new location in San Jose, the third move in just four months. Lucero verifies doctors’ recommendations by calling both the doctors’ offices and the California Medical Board. Buddy’s limits purchases to 0.02 grams over a seven-day period.

Delivery-service owners are not the only ones confused. Medical marijuana lawyers and city attorneys also find it difficult to give a definite answer regarding the legality of these mobile pot shops.

Baggett said the lawyers they consulted could not agree, and Los Altos City Attorney Jolie Houston said she wasn’t certain if the ordinance included delivery services based outside the city.

“We have not banned delivery services,” Houston said of Los Altos.

Independent delivery services may be short-lived, however, said Lauren Vazquez, county representative for Americans for Safe Access, the largest national membership of medical marijuana supporters.

“Deliveries are a compromise,” Vazquez said. “It’s not really what patients want. It’s harder to check out the collection, (and) you’re stuck with what they bring to your house.”

She predicted that such medical marijuana sources would naturally take a backseat to storefronts once they become legalized.

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