Tue09302014

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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Stock Report

The view from Omaha - Warren Buffett style

With the Dow Jones industrial and the Nasdaq composite experiencing huge daily volatility, this column will attempt to explain the philosophy of Warren Buffett and his investor theory on stock valuation.

Berkshire Hathaway's annual report arrived at the house the other day. What Warren Buffett has to say about the current stock market and its valuation is interesting.

Despite the carnage in the market over the past several months, Buffett feels the long-term prospect for equities is "far from exciting." Even his own holdings are mildly attractive and fully priced.

Berkshire's holdings consist of more than $1 billion in each of the following stocks: American Express, Coca-Cola, Gillette, Washington Post and Wells Fargo. (Note: no high-tech equities in his portfolio.)

The per share book value of Berkshire Hathaway outpaced the performance of the S&P 500 in 2000, and the book value has increased from $19 to $40,442 over the years.

Buffett has not invested in high-tech industry because the valuation is not there. Dividend yield, price-earnings ratios, and growth rates have nothing to do with valuation except in providing clues to the timing and amount of cash flow.

Buffett points out that for all the talk of "creating value" during the Internet boom, much of the activity was just transferring value on a massive scale. "By shameless merchandising, promoters moved billions of dollars from the pockets of the public to their own purses and now the company value is in shambles."

Buffett, even before the bubble collapsed, pointed out how silly valuations were becoming. However, most investors, deep down, probably knew this as well, but couldn't force themselves to leave the party. The unrealistic expectation - the apex of greed - should have been a clear sign of trouble.

After being scorned by investors as a doddering old-timer who didn't understand the new investing paradigm, Warren Buffett has reclaimed his title of "Investing Legend."

He regards a strong cash flow, a dominant market share and a superb return on equity as being vital. He cautions investors to ignore the daily - even month ly - price blips of a stock and try to determine if management is building value for the long haul. Finally, he urges investors to seek top-quality management and pay attention to the price of the stock.

As a suggestion, Buffett should look at Washington Mutual because it meets his criteria. Originally Palo Alto Savings and Loan, then Northern California Savings, Great Western Savings and now, the company is Washington Mutual (WM).

WM, the nation's largest savings-and-loan institution and the second-largest mortgage originator, has a branch office at Third and Main streets in Los Altos.

Each time the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates, mortgage rates fall leading to refinancing activity. Two-thirds of WM's revenue is generated from the net interest margin.

Priced at 52 with a 2.53 percent yield, WM is attractively priced for purchase and unless the California real estate market collapses, is a defensive equity most investors could like.

Noel, a seasoned investor, covers the stock market for the Town Crier.

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