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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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Councilman seeks legal opinion on term limits


Photo By:
Packard

Los Altos City Councilman Ron Packard intends to stick around – even if he has to wait a couple of years.

Packard, whose second consecutive term is set to expire in November, is seeking a formal opinion from City Attorney Jolie Houston on whether termed-out councilmembers are eligible for re-election after an absence. The council unanimously approved an item on its July 24 consent calendar requesting Houston’s formal opinion.

Houston is expected to issue her opinion at the Aug. 28 city council meeting.

Reached by the Town Crier, Packard said his reasoning for the request was simple. He is intent on running for Mayor Val Carpenter’s termed-out seat on the council in 2014.

“I plan on running for Val’s seat when she’s off the council in two years,” he said. “I’ve said it publicly several times before. It’s no secret.”

Still, Packard conceded that “people will raise questions” about the legality of having a termed-out councilmember running again, hence his request.

To that end, Packard, an attorney, said he’s done his own analysis and believes it’s “absolutely clear” that a termed-out councilmember can run again after an absence from the council.

According to Los Altos Municipal Code Section 2.04.020, “No person shall serve more than two consecutive terms on the Los Altos City Council, plus the completion of any unexpired term to which such person was elected or appointed.”

The city’s municipal code was amended, adding the term limits section in 1999, according to a city staff report outlining the formal request.

Packard said he’s particularly interested in returning as a councilmember when the downtown area undergoes significant changes, pointing to new construction projects along First Street such as the new Safeway grocery store, as examples.

“I’ve really enjoyed serving,” Packard said, “and I’d really like to see a continuity of the measured improvements downtown.”

Packard said his interest in a 2014 council seat also stems from his desire to see “the charm of Main and State streets maintained and not compromised.”

In early May, the council directed city staff to prepare ordinance changes to better define developer incentives (in exchange for public benefits) and building-height limits in downtown’s Commercial Retail Sales zone. At the time, Packard said publicly that he was “absolutely opposed to three-story buildings” in the downtown core.

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