Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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LASD bids on Sunnyvale site for BCS campus


Photo By: Traci Newell/Town Crier
Photo Traci Newell/Town Crier The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees authorized a bid on the Raynor Activity Center in Sunnyvale, above, with the intention of relocating Bullis Charter School.

In an effort to find an adequate site for Bullis Charter School, the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees voted to instruct staff to prepare a bid for the Raynor Activity Center in Sunnyvale.

Before the city of Sunnyvale purchased the center in 1979, the property was a school in the Santa Clara Unified School District. The site is located 3 miles outside of Los Altos School District boundaries and nearly 7 miles from the charter school’s current location at Egan Junior High School.

The center is part of a larger 14.67-acre parcel that encompasses Raynor Park and adjacent athletic fields, but only the Activity Center is for sale.

The property includes buildings, adjacent parking lots and a buffer around the buildings of approximately 3.7 acres. The buildings have received no updating or remodeling since they were purchased in the late 1970s.

District board President Doug Smith said the board would not disclose the financial terms of its offer because of the competitive bidding process, but he revealed that the district has the authority to borrow money.

“If we are successful with the bid, we would need to pursue a bond,” he said.

The district would need the bond to purchase the property as well as renovate the outdated facilities.

Smith was unable to disclose the amount needed to purchase the site, but the district has calculated the cost of renovating the facilities.

Although the offer is for only a 3.7-acre parcel, Smith said the district is focused on upgrading the property to make it reasonably equivalent to the district’s facilities.

The city of Sunnyvale is expected to announce the successful bidder in early May. Smith said if Sunnyvale accepts the district’s bid – including inspections, contingencies and use permits – the district would have to commit to the purchase by summer.

It would require a year to prepare the site and renovate the facilities, Smith added. With no major setbacks, the campus could be available to the charter school for the 2014-2015 school year.

Another school district and several private schools are also bidding on the property.

Charter school unhappy

Joe Hurd, member of the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors, said the charter school community is unhappy with the district’s decision to pursue the Raynor site.

“Bullis Charter School has no involvement in this process,” he said. “Why is the district going to discriminate against 10 percent of its children and exile them?”

Hurd called the action “needlessly wasteful” and “not a good use of taxpayer money.”

“There are more than 100 acres that we haven’t had a sustained conversation about,” he said, pointing to Hillview Community Center and Rosita Park. “Bullis doesn’t support this – it’s too small. At the end of the day, what is the Los Altos School District going to do with a property that is outside of the district?”

Is it legal?

Hurd said the California Education Code makes clear that a charter school can only be located outside a school district’s boundaries if the charter school asks to be located at such a site.

That is not the case in this situation, according to Hurd, who added that “it is being foisted upon us.”

District officials interpret the law differently, Smith said. They believe they have the right to place the charter school outside the district.

To clarify the matter and protect the district from a future lawsuit, Smith said the district board instructed staff to request a declaratory relief, a clarification from the judge on whether locating the charter school outside of district boundaries is legally permissible given the circumstances.

Hurd said the process would require “substantial” money and that the school district is inviting litigation.

“We have spent the last eight-plus years trying to find a site within the district without much success,” Smith said. “We are still open to the possibilities of sites within the district, but given the pace of litigation, we can’t ignore any viable option – and this is a viable option.”

Money spent to date

The district submitted $50,000 as a deposit on its bid. If the city of Sunnyvale rejects the district’s bid, the money would be returned. Funds are also earmarked for legal fees for the declaratory relief, but Smith said they are for a worthy cause.

“This is a significant problem that has been tearing our community apart for many years,” he said. “The district has no option but to chase every possible lead, and this happens to be the first one we can chase down.”

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