Thu10022014

News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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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

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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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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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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