Mon10202014

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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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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