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Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Assessor says local economy on path to recovery


Photo By: Randy Gard/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Randy Gard/Special To The Town Crier

Assessor Larry Stone speaks to the Rotary Club of Los Altos at its March 21 meeting.

Longtime Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone discussed the opportunities and dramatic inequities that exist in today’s property markets at a Rotary Club of Los Altos meeting March 21.

Elected four times to four-year terms as county assessor, Stone has witnessed the rise and fall of various property sectors and experienced the effects of Proposition 13 on the local economy.

Although only 19 percent of the state’s population lives in the Bay Area, 35 percent of California’s job growth has occurred in the region, according to Stone.

The Silicon Valley apartment market is “on fire,” Stone said, and the hunt for single-family homes has surged in recent months. Although 27 percent of family residences and 53 percent of condominiums are still assessed below their purchase price, competition in high-end areas like Los Altos and Los Altos Hills is increasing. Excellent schools are the one predictable indicator of stable or increasing market values, he added.

Stone said commercial space in Silicon Valley is filling up. The area experienced the third-highest increase in office rents in the country last year, trailing only San Francisco and New York.

“I believe we are rising from the depths of the bottom of the worst economic decline in my lifetime,” he said.

Stone addressed the unexpected consequences of Proposition 13 – the initiative limiting the tax rate for real estate that passed in 1978. Proposition 13 has created as many problems for first-time homebuyers as it has solved for senior citizens, he said, and “shifted fiscal authority to the state, while leaving local government with the responsibilities.”

The result, Stone noted, is a “convoluted school funding system” that has reduced California to 47th in the country in K-12 school funding.

Stone offered an example of the proposition’s inequity: Take two homeowners with similar residences on the same street. The newer homeowner can pay as much as 10 times the amount of property tax as the homeowner who has owned a comparable property for many more years. This seems “inherently un-American,” he said.

A split property-tax roll, Stone proposed, would establish a different tax process for residential properties than commercial properties, which should be reassessed to market value every one or two years. But any reform would “create winners and losers,” he said.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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