Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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How about selling First & Main property to Safeway?

Kallshian's Korner

One of the interesting things that characterize towns like Los Altos is why some local issues become large enough to divide the town. For example: What to do with the property at First and Main streets?

The city bought this property about five years ago for $1.8 million. It was a good investment; the value has tripled.

The council is not asking for help as to what the city should do with the millions. The question is "What should be the ultimate use of the property?" Some "villagers" want a theater. Some want a hotel. Some want a combination of both.

When the property was considered for purchase by the city, yours truly and a few others, made a suggestion for its use: Sell it to Safeway.

The plan would call for enlargement of the present store to simulate their magnificent outlet on California Street in Mountain View.

Parking space in the area would increase significantly. Aisles in the store would be wide enough so kids with carts, going in opposite directions, would not crash. Working mothers would enjoy the increase of variety and volume of prebaked and precooked foods. If there is doubt about this, just visit the Mountain View store.

Issue No. 2 has to do with who runs city council meetings and who is in charge. A little history might help. The city was incorporated in 1952. The public elected a five-member council. The first woman to serve was elected in 1964 - Audrey Fisher. She served for 16 years with no term limits. She was elected mayor in her 15th year.

In 1978, along came Kallshian again. He served for one four-year term (1964-1968), but did not run again until 1978, after retirement from Ma Bell. He made two motions to change the rules - they still apply. Council members are limited to two, four-year terms. Mayors are elected by council for a one-year term.Whoever has been on the council for the longest time without being mayor gets to be mayor.

The mayor supervises council meetings but has no more authority than any other council member. One vote, no veto power.

When controversial issues were on the agenda, the public was given the opportunity to express its position first. After listening to the public, the council then expressed its position on the issue. Then the council voted. It was rare for a council member to express a position prior. His job is to listen to all who have an opinion on the issue, then listen to the four council members, give his opinion and then ask the council members to vote out loud.

There is no limit to the time allotted to the mayor, but he (or she) has one vote on the issue.

It is improper for the council to express their position on an issue prior to listening to the public.

The real message is that council members are elected by the voters. Each member, including the mayor, has one vote.

Can you think of anything more divisive than electing the mayor by a 3-2 vote? Kallshian fixed that, too. Everyone gets to be the mayor by rotation!

Kallshian, a former Los Altos mayor, is a longtime Los Altos resident.

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