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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Updated 11:28 a.m.:

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill R...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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