Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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The waiting game: Council enacts four-year moratorium on former members appointments

 

The Los Altos City Council narrowly approved a regulation Feb. 12 placing a four-year waiting period on former city councilmembers seeking appointment to all city volunteer bodies.

An amendment to Section 4.4 of the council’s Norms and Procedures passed by a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw and Councilwoman Megan Satterlee dissenting.

The four-year hiatus was a compromise of sorts for the council after the original revision – authored by Satterlee – called for an outright ban on former councilmembers serving on city commissions and standing committees, but not on ad hoc committees or task forces.

The close vote came after a lengthy debate about the potential advantages and pitfalls of former councilmembers serving on a city body soon after an expired council term.

“It seems to me … that there are two divergent views of former Los Altos mayors and councilmembers,” Councilwoman Val Carpenter said. “I think either they’re among the most dedicated volunteers we have, who add great value to an organization that they give their time and talent to. Or, they exert undue influence and should be banned from serving on any city-funded and council-appointed bodies.”

Carpenter noted that while the provision would ban service on commissions and standing committees, former councilmembers would still be allowed to serve on ad hoc committees and task forces, as outlined in Section 5 of the council regulations.

Initially, Carpenter said her preference was either to strike the ban altogether or to apply it across the board. She later offered her support for a two-year waiting period for city-funded bodies, instead of the across-the-board four-year wait that was approved.

Fishpaw also offered his support for striking the ban or a two-year waiting period.

“Someday I might want to serve on the Senior Commission,” said Fishpaw, 25, with a grin.

Satterlee countered that the rule’s intent was to encourage participation from residents who previously haven’t served on a city-appointed volunteer body. She noted that commissioners and committee members, like councilmembers, are subject to term limits in part for that reason.

“If our primary purpose was to have the most experienced people – who I would argue councilmembers are – serving as our commissioners, then we would not have term limits,” Satterlee said. “We have terms limits to allow for fresh perspectives and allow for continued regeneration of community participation in government.”

As for ad hoc committees and task forces, Satterlee pointed to the city’s 60th anniversary committee, with members serving roles as ambassadors for Los Altos.

“Who better to be an ambassador within the city than former councilmembers?” Satterlee asked. “To exclude them from that I don’t think serves the same purpose of the standing commissions and committees.”

A compromise was ultimately reached on the four-year limit – suggested by Councilwoman Jan Pepper – coupled with the provision that it applied to all city bodies, as offered by Carpenter.

In addition to the four-year wait, the council voted unanimously on several other amendments, including one that bans members of the same family or household from simultaneously serving on the same body. Immediate family members of current councilmembers living in the same household are also ineligible for appointment to any city body.

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