Mon10202014

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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Los Altos City Council approves compromise plan: one pool for Rosita site

After eight years of adversarial discussions over the site and size of a community pool, the Los Altos City Council approved one pool at the Rosita site at its April 25 meeting.

The council voted 3-2 to adopt the Community Swimming Pool Task Force recommendation for one 25-yard-by-25-meter competition pool, including a water feature/wading pool. Councilmembers Val Carpenter and Curtis Cole dissented in favor of a two-pool complex.

"This decision is not an end point but a beginning to the process," said Councilman David Casas, who facilitated the task force.

With unanimous votes, the council agreed to three other task force recommendations: to affirm previous council direction on pool issues; to direct staff to construct a detailed timeline; and to direct staff to prepare a budget review of planned city expenditures - including a built-in reserve to cover shortfalls - for this and the next two fiscal years.

The fifth recommendation to "direct staff to investigate the steps required to add a focused addendum to the EIR for the final pool configuration and specific location" was deferred. According to City Manager Phil Rose, its immediate implementation might involve examining alternatives with expensive consultants before city parameters were set. For instance, the tennis court area is not all city property, so discussions with the Los Altos School District would be necessary before a final configuration is chosen.

The votes followed a detailed presentation from the task force chartered Jan. 24 when the council appointed a subcommittee of Carpenter and Casas. They formed the task force with Brad Elman and Susan Mensinger from the Rosita neighborhood, Kamrin Knight Desmond and Greg Hoberg from the swimming community, Leslie Crane and Amy Gaffney from Covington School and Wayne Grove from the community at large.

Responding to Rosita neighborhood concerns about financial risk, Carpenter said she had "a high degree of confidence that we can meet the cost … based on the task force report and the fact that it was done before." The original Covington Community Pool, which operated from 1947 until it was removed in 2001 for the remodeling of the school, operated without a deficit.

Dick Thomas, co-chairman of Swimmers Promoting Los Altos Aquatics, Safety and Health (SPLASH), said: "SPLASH will raise whatever funds are needed.

In spite of full chambers, reaction was subdued when Mayor Ron Packard cast the final, deciding vote.

"From our perspective, (this was) the better outcome between the two alternatives," said Mensinger of the Rosita Neighborhood Coalition. "If (they're) going to do a pool, do one."

Kathy Englar, SPLASH co-chairwoman, said, "Since 1999, every council has supported a pool." Even though the council rejected the two-pool proposal, she added, "We don't think of it as a loss. Five councilmembers wanted a pool - it was a landslide to us."

Depending on when you set the start date of the controversy, the Rosita Pool project has been under discussion for:

• Up to 7-1/2 years, counting from a 1998 bond measure, which assured that Covington School would be re-opened and the existing pool removed.

• Five years from Jan. 31, 2001, the last day of swimming before Covington pool was drained.

• Three years from the lawsuit filed Jan. 9, 2003, by the Rosita Neighborhood Coalition to force a draft EIR.

• Nearly a year and a half since the council, Dec. 22, 2004, added an aquatic center for the Rosita site to the 2004-'05 Capital Improvement Budget.

• Almost one year from Judge Leslie Nichols' decision, Aug. 16, 2005, that the city had complied with the court's requests.

• Seven months from the time the current council appointed its first task force.

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