Fri02122016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Uncle Art grapples with Social Security

Sound Advice

Nobody was getting in the car. Each member of the family had one last thing to do. Meanwhile we were going to be late to the holiday Nutcracker performance. As the phone rang, I was the only one available to answer.

Me: Hi Uncle Art. I am going to have to call you back. We are on our way out the door.

Uncle Art: This can't wait Buddy-Boy. It is a matter of Social Security.

Me: You mean National Security, don't you?

Uncle Art: Well in the big picture it's National Security. But we are talking about the state of Social Security reform.

Me: That's a big topic. Can I call you back later?

Uncle Art: Sure Buddy-Boy. Call me from your car when you get rolling.

Me: I was thinking about tomorrow!

Uncle Art: I think this should be today. Did I tell you that Aunt Beatrice is circling the house in a Ford Bronco with a gun to her head because of this?

Me: Uncle Art, if you're pulling my leg on this you're getting no Christmas present from me this year.

Uncle Art: What were you going to give me? Oh never mind. I was just kidding. But call me from the car.

Me: OK, Uncle Art, we are on the road. What is the big brouhaha about?

Uncle Art: Your cousin Roger is on a tear about future social security benefits. He got up on a chair last Sunday at the family dinner and proclaimed that he wanted his social security payments to go into Internet stocks or Russian bonds, something with potential.

He was shouting that if something wasn't done soon the whole program will be bankrupt before the middle of the next century.

Me: Wow! Did Roger have too much of the holiday spirits?

Uncle Art: Heck no, Roger doesn't partake. He doesn't need it. I don't think he could get much looser. But anyway, when he said Russian bonds and social security in the same breath, Aunt Beatrice fainted.

Me: When did she get in the Bronco?

Uncle Art: OK, I said I was kidding about that. When Beatrice woke up, she said she didn't want her social security in the risky stock market either because it might go down.

Me: Was Beatrice up in time for dessert?

Uncle Art: Don't get cute. The discussion was getting serious. Uncle Buford said what could be more risky than going broke? Buford said for long term investing treasury bonds are inferior investments. He said that government officials have bungled the job and that we should take over our own investing.

Me: What happened next?

Uncle Art: Beatrice gasped that she didn't know enough about investing to have a chance at doing it right. Then I popped up and asked Buford if someone did everything wrong and had no money would they just be out of luck. When Roger yelled "survival of the fittest," Beatrice passed out again.

Me: I hope you have a video tape you can send me. This sounds better than the X-Files.

Uncle Art: OK Mr. Yuppie! The only way I could break it up was to invoke your name. I said I would call you for the inside word. Then everybody calmed down. So what should I tell them?

Me: Social Security is like a number of programs that came out of Washington a half century ago that are in sore need of revising.

You recall that Congress and the President got together on a welfare reform bill in the last few years that radically updated that system. Social Security affects practically everyone and has a much higher profile than many programs.

Uncle Art: Roger says he will be working until the day he dies, if something isn't done.

Me: I didn't know Roger was working now.

Uncle Art: Well, he is in sort of semi-retirement now, at age 47.

Me: Actually Roger is at the age when it is thought the social security system will crash and burn. But anyway, there are about three proposals floating around to fix the problem. One would divert a portion, about 10 percent, of the current payroll tax to an individual retirement account. This account would be directed by you, or Beatrice in her case. This would give you the opportunity to invest in longer-term assets with higher returns, like stocks, mutual funds, and corporate bonds.

Uncle Art: Sounds good to me and Buford would be thrilled.

Me: One problem is that the reduced revenue may impact the current system. You see, most of the current benefits are paid by today's workers. Also, returns could vary widely.

Uncle Art: Wait, you mean my payroll tax is not in some type of savings plan for the future? It just goes out in payments to retirees?

Me: That's mostly right. Another proposal is to have government trustees invest in assets other than treasury bonds for higher returns.

A third plan would raise the tax rate. But this is seen as hurting lower wage and younger workers.

Uncle Art: Your cousin Buford asked why should we give government bureaucrats more money when they can't handle what they have?

Me: It's a good question. But to be fair, the Congress dictates most of the operation of the fund. The last proposal is to raise the age a person can retire and receive benefits.

Rick Glaze is owner of Glaze Capital Management in Los Altos. You may contact him at 947-9690. Messages can be left for Uncle Art.

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