Sun10192014

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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Brown Act needed more than ever

July 4 isn't the only celebration of freedom this week. Today is the 50th anniversary of the 1953 Ralph M. Brown Act, which requires public bodies - such as city councils, county boards, city commissions, school boards and special districts - to post agendas at least 72 hours in advance before meeting.

The law basically shut the door on closed meetings and secret decisions by opening the door to the public for comment and participation.

Under the act, all regular meetings must be posted and open to the public. Mandating public notice for meetings came after one California city council voted themselves a pay raise without the public's knowledge.

Gov. Gray Davis considered changing the law during this year's budget crisis in order to save $9 million in payments to local governments for processing public meetings.

The change could could have meant more than a loss of notification.

The law holds public officials accountable and enables residents to participate in the decision-making process. Davis' proposal would essentially strip away the public's right to be informed and to speak up about public decisions.

Consider what might happen in Los Altos without the law: A movie theater at First and Main streets could have been decided over a latte at Starbucks; neighbors might not have known about the planned swimming pool complex at Rosita Park until the first hole was dug; and Bullis-Purissima School might have been bulldozed without the public's prior knowledge.

Given these scenarios, it's no surprise the reaction that some downtown merchants displayed at last week's Los Altos Council meeting regarding a parking permit plan that the council allegedly approved without their knowledge.

Merchants stormed city hall and demanded the council withhold a new permit plan until they had their say. Apparently, the city had used the county tax roll, that excluded most merchants, to notify building owners of a meeting about parking changes.

The council has added the parking issue to next week's agenda and will reconsider its decision pending merchant comments.

If Davis allows local governments to close their doors, our freedom and ability to protect ourselves from those sworn to serve us might be jeopardized.

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