Wed07302014

News

‘Brown is the new green,’ says local water district

‘Brown is the new green,’ says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spendi...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

CARSTEN HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Measure M on the chopping block?: Defendant in hospital’s legal challenge says initiative des


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

El Camino Hospital employee Kary Lynch, right, remains unable to secure legal representation after being named a defendant in the legal case against Measure M’s validity.

A voter-approved initiative that caps executive pay at El Camino Hospital may meet its end before ever taking effect.

Kary Lynch, a 34-year El Camino Hospital psychiatric technician, told the Town Crier that he’s been unable to secure pro bono representation after the hospital named him and Laura Huston – also a hospital employee – as defendants in a lawsuit challenging Measure M’s legality. Lynch and Huston co-sponsored the initiative.

Hospital district voters approved the measure – which limits hospital executive pay to no more than double the annual salary of the California governor – by 51.55 percent in November.

Lynch, served with the lawsuit Dec. 26, said his attempts to access legal help from his union – the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) – among others, have been unsuccessful.

Without the means to mount a defense, Lynch said, the courts will likely invalidate the measure. He noted that the 30-day window to respond to the lawsuit has since elapsed.

“To stand by helplessly and watch the voters’ will go by the wayside is frustrating,” Lynch said. “I believe (the measure) is dead. … My expectation is that a judge will throw it out without ruling on its legality.”

Emails to hospital and SEIU-UHW officials seeking comment were not returned by the Town Crier’s press deadline. A Jan. 24 statement on the hospital’s website, however, noted that it named Lynch and Huston as defendants in the lawsuit because they served as official co-sponsors of the initiative, and not because of a personal vendetta.

“The hospital believes the ballot initiative is unconstitutional,” the statement noted. “The only way to challenge its validity in court is to sue the official sponsors of the initiative. The hospital cannot sue SEIU, as it is not an official sponsor of the measure.”

Lynch said that while he has received some offers of help, none has come close to meeting his legal and financial needs.

“I talked to several (attorneys). … Some offered to assist in my defense, but I needed more than that,” he said. “The (SEIU-UHW) said accurately that they’re not the ones being sued. And because they’re not being sued, they can’t provide representation.”

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, opponents of the measure argued that the hospital’s compensation practices were fair, noting its philosophy of paying employees at the 50th percentile of similar hospitals and health-care systems nationwide.

Those supporting the measure, Lynch recalled, pointed to hospital CEO Tomi Ryba – who reportedly earns more than $600,000 annually in base pay – as proof that the hospital’s salary structure was too generous. Lynch said he believes the measure resonated with area voters, noting that it passed with little to no campaigning by supporters.

“There really was no effort on anyone’s part to campaign on behalf of Measure M,” he said. “It basically passed on its own merit.”

When asked what he plans to do next, Lynch said he wants to move on from the matter – at least for now.

“I’m basically trying to let go of it,” he said. “But in two years, there will be more board members up for re-election and I’ll bring this up again. I will remind people about this.”

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