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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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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

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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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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