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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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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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