Sun04202014

News

City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation

City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council earmarked $7,000 for the purchase of Chris Johanson’s artwork.

The city of Los Altos will contribute $7,000 toward the purchase of a $28,000 art installation featured in the San Francisco Museum...

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Schools

LASD students celebrate service learning

LASD students celebrate service learning


Courtesy of Sandra McGonagle
We Day, held March 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, exhorts students in the Los Altos School District to effect positive change.

More than 150 Los Altos School District student leaders joined 16,000 Bay Area students to ce...

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Community

Film career launches with Cannes screening

Film career launches with Cannes screening


Courtesy of Zachary Ready
Los Altos native Zachary Ready, front left, and co-director Andrew Cathey, right, celebrate their Campus MovieFest awards.

After learning the art of filmmaking as a child in the front yard of his family’s Los Altos home...

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Sports

Sports on the Side

Pathways Run/Walk slated May 10 in Hills

The 13th annual Pathways Run/Walk is scheduled 9 a.m. May 10 at Westwind Community Barn, 27210 Altamont Road, Los Altos Hills. The course wends through Byrne Preserve and onto the Los Altos Hills Pathways sys...

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Comment

Now is the time to expand parking: Editorial

Just a few short years ago, vacancies dotted downtown Los Altos. Property owners had a hard time attracting businesses because there was a shortage of customers. That is no longer true. Now, the cry is: Where are my customers going to park?

The city...

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Special Sections

Epicurean's Mary Clark Bartlett: Serving sustainability

Epicurean's Mary Clark Bartlett: Serving sustainability


Courtesy of Michael McTighe
Mary Clark Bartlett is founder and CEO of Los Altos-based Epicurean Group.

Labels such as “healthy,” “organic” and “green” are rarely used to describe the meals served in most corporate cafes in Silicon Valley. But on...

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Business

Local realtor honored for volunteer efforts

Local realtor honored for volunteer efforts


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Coldwell Banker recently recognized realtor Kim Copher, right, for her philanthropic efforts. Copher and colleague Alan Russell, left, volunteer at Reach Potential Movement, where they collect books for its Bookshelf in ...

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Books

Local Author Spotlight

In an effort to support authors from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, many self-published, Book Buzz periodically spotlights their books and offers information on where to purchase them. Local authors are encouraged to submit brief summa...

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People

Noteworthy

RotaCare honors local volunteer

RotaCare Bay Area honored Jim Cochran of the RotaCare Mountain View Free Medical Clinic with the Outstanding Clinic Volunteer Award April 10 for his commitment to RotaCare’s mission of providing free medical care to t...

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Travel

Sausalito: Explore the historical city with world-class views

Sausalito: Explore the historical city with world-class views


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
Sausalito offers panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay. A number of companies schedule boat tours that sail past Angel Island and Alcatraz.

On a clear day, Sausalito offers spectacular views of the San Franc...

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Stepping Out

Western Ballet performs this weekend  at Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills

Western Ballet performs this weekend at Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills


Courtesy of Alexi Zubiria
Western Ballet’s “La Fille Mal Gardée” features Alison Share and Maykel Solas. The production runs Friday and Saturday at Foothill College

Western Ballet is slated to perform “La Fille Mal GardéeR...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away


Van Houtte/Town Crier Yoga of Los Altos hosts a variety of classes, including Strong Flow Vinyasa, above, taught by Doron Hanoch. Yin Yoga instructor Janya Wongsopa guides a student in the practice, below.

It’s nearly 9 a.m. on a Monday mornin...

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First and Main: Get a better deal: Editorial

The city’s handling of its 0.78-acre property at First and Main streets continues to bother us.

Apparently, it bothers others, too. At last week’s Los Altos City Council meeting, resident Robin Abrams offered the results of her research on the city’s sale of the property to developer Jeffrey A. Morris. Her numbers, comparing sales of nearby properties during the same period, appear to show that the city could have asked for much more than the $3.1 million it agreed to in 2010.

City officials counter that they got the best deal at the time, considering a lackluster economy and a lack of serious bidders.

However, the city forged a deal despite the fact that there were other bidders the city did not pursue (a revelation made public due to the efforts of downtown property owner Kim Cranston). As a result, the city sold low, when the market was still low, to a developer with an underwhelming track record of projects.

The city has an agreement in place, true. While councilmembers could break the agreement, absorb the legal costs and turn around and sell the project at a higher price, that’s not likely to happen. Four of the five councilmembers last week (Jan Pepper was the only member willing to further review the agreement) agreed that the city did the right thing and didn’t want to hear any more of it.

We understand that breaking an agreement could further scar the city’s reputation among developers. However, when civic-minded and financially savvy people like Abrams question such a deal, we should pay attention.

Many prominent residents, including former city leaders, don’t like the proposed project and would prefer something better. The city did nothing illegal in the sale. But merely settling for a project just to get something built is a crime.

Monday morning quarterbacking? You bet. But today the site is still a parking lot. It’s never too late to challenge the deal until there’s actual construction on the property – and hopefully a new owner with guaranteed tenants that bring real vibrancy to downtown. This goal has been discussed endlessly and, in fact, led to the formation of the downtown advocacy group Los Altos Forward.

We think the city should ask for more. Any structure built at First and Main could stand for at least 100 years. The city could still negotiate a better deal and get a better project. But councilmembers must be willing to make it happen. That’s why, Los Altos residents, they need to hear from you.

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