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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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Council rejects library task force


Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

The Los Altos City Council nixed a proposal to establish a task force set to study alternative library services options.

The Los Altos City Council last week opted against ratifying a task force set to explore library services outside of the Santa Clara County Library District.

The council rejected a proposal to form the joint Los Altos-Los Altos Hills ad hoc group Feb. 26, voting 4-1 against it after some councilmembers said it wasn’t a pressing priority for the city.

The vote came during an update on the Library Management Options Task Force by Councilwoman Val Carpenter, the task force’s chairwoman. Among other things, Carpenter’s update included a final roster of potential task force members, including Los Altos Hills City Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan and members of the Los Altos Library Commission and Friends of the Library of Los Altos and Community. Carpenter cast the lone vote in favor of the proposal.

“It’s not the merit of whether this could be studied,” Councilwoman Megan Satterlee said. “It’s (about) the priority of studying this now.”

The former city council – which included since termed-out councilmen Ron Packard and David Casas – originally opted Nov. 13 to move forward with the task force after a narrow 3-2 vote. Casas, Packard and Carpenter cast votes in favor of the task force.

At the time, Casas and then-Mayor Carpenter cited the need to explore alternate library services after a report by former Los Altos Hills City Councilman Jean Mordo noted that the cities’ combined annual contributions ranged between $620,000 and $1.4 million more than the library services the two cities received.

“I’m sorry that council does not wish to pursue the $600,000 to $1.5 million that we’re sending to other parts of the library district,” said Carpenter after the Feb. 26 vote.

The Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Board of Directors – the library district’s governing body – uses a funding formula weighing equally each member city’s population, property assessed valuation and library circulation to allocate funds.

The JPA board rejected a request to change the funding formula, as well as a follow-up appeal in October for a “5 percent tolerance threshold” mechanism that would have given Los Altos libraries an additional $66,000.

Just before the Feb. 26 vote by the current council, Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins questioned the use of city staff time on the issue. She noted that the November vote was a narrow one that included two yes votes by members no longer on the council.

“Two of those three votes are no longer with us,” she said. “Two of those votes against this (Satterlee and Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw) are still with us. … I don’t feel comfortable as a new councilmember feeling encumbered by a decision that had this type of a split vote. I think I would be speaking differently if it had been a 5-0 vote.”

Councilwoman Jan Pepper, who currently serves as the city’s representative on the JPA board, expressed concern that the task force might “muddy the waters” for the district, which is planning to seek (by mail-in vote) a renewal of a $33 parcel tax, slated to expire in 2015.

The tax is paid annually to the district by residents of member cities and unincorporated county areas.

“Everyone loves the libraries,” Pepper said. “They’re not broken. It’s not something that needs to be fixed.”

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