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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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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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