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News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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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

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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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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