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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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Settlement, tighter belt ahead for El Camino Hospital

Approving a higher budget of $480 million and construction to begin "as soon as possible," leaders of El Camino Hospital pushed the long-delayed replacement hospital project one step closer to completion last week. They are already poised for the next step: settling the lawsuit brought by Saratoga lawyer Aaron Katz.

"We're taking on a debt load we've not had," board Vice Chairman Dave Reeder said last week. "We can do it, but it won't be easy. … If we can't get a settlement in the Katz suit, ... it's back to the drawing board."

Katz challenged the $148 million bond measure overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2003 to partially finance a new hospital that would meet upgraded state seismic code. The bidding process and the construction start date have been delayed for months while the lawsuit has made its way slowly through the courts. The hospital cannot issue the general obligation bonds until the case is decided or settled. Katz, who owns property in Mountain View, wants election laws changed so that taxpayer-supported bond measures are voted on only by those who own land in the pertinent voting district, regardless of where those landowners live.

Hospital leaders hinted last week that a settlement may be reached soon - but not soon enough to avoid the need for several years of economizing in other areas to compensate for the expensive delay in replacing the outdated main hospital building.

Hospital and district boards met in closed sessions about the lawsuit last week but took no action. However, interim CEO and longtime CFO Marla Gularte stated in open session that the hospital is negotiating a settlement with Katz. Katz had no comment at press time.

Jon Friedenberg, vice president for strategy and external relations, later described the prospect of settling a case the hospital considers to have no merit as "odious." Why would hospital administrators pursue the settlement they deplore? Construction costs are shooting skyward while the case plods along.

"There's what you'd like to do and then there's what you need to do," Friedenberg said.

In last Wednesday's meeting, Reeder said, "We're going to have to tighten the belt. We're going to have to do it more efficiently, (but) we don't want to reduce staff."

Friedenberg said that whatever form the belt-tightening takes, "It's a longer-term challenge - it won't happen this year. It will occur over the next several years to enable us to afford the debt service the project will require."

He said, "One strategy we'll take a look at is to make sure we're getting the maximum efficiency from our technology, so we have more patients getting their procedures done in a certain amount of time. That's one of the hundreds of things we'll be looking at."

The West Valley-Mission Community College District settled its share of the suit for $60,000 in early December. The remaining combined lawsuit against the hospital, the Mountain View-

Whisman Elementary School District and the Campbell Union High School District is in the Sixth District Court of Appeals.

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