Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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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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