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News

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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City study recommends updated fees for services

Some city-provided services may soon cost Los Altos residents more money.

A recent cost allocation and fee study recommends increasing charges for several services – from fines for false alarms to block-party permits – provided by the city. In addition, the report calls for a change in the way the city’s Recreation Department establishes some services and its pricing.

The study’s findings were presented June 4 at a special Los Altos City Council meeting. Los Altos Finance Director Russ Morreale said city staff was expected to return to the council Tuesday – after the Town Crier’s press deadline – with specific proposed fee adjustments.

The study noted that the city provides community-supported services, such as public safety, at an annual cost of $28.9 million. The report indicated that the city subsidizes personal-choice services – which are fee-based – by $1.9 million annually, including direct and indirect costs.

Although the study – required by agencies primarily through Proposition 4 – identified approximately $117,000 in potential additional fee revenue through increases and new fees, Morreale said some of the changes were implemented prior to the study’s release.

“The bulk of the recommendations are already in place,” he said.

The recommended fee adjustments include a $5 increase (to $220) for a third false alarm police response for those with alarm permits; the first two are free of charge. The city, according to the report, subsidizes that specific service annually at $129,805.

Other suggested fee changes include an increase from $550 to $585 for police responses to juvenile parties with alcohol, as well as a bump from $105 to $115 for block-party permits. Special event fees – now $1,600 – could potentially increase to $2,045, while fees for ongoing events may rise $50 to $875.

The report recommends establishing Recreation Department service fees using a market-based methodology. According to Morreale, such an approach allows the department greater flexibility to react and adjust programming and subsequently related pricing based on market conditions.

Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw said he believes the switch to a market-based methodology would pay off for the city in the long run.

“I think the more we give, in terms of flexibility, the more we’ll see as a response from our department to reach what they know is our ultimate goal of as close to full cost recovery as possible,” he said.

The report noted that the city recovers 97 percent of the money spent on fee-supported recreation programs, such as health and wellness classes. Community-supported offerings, like teen and senior programs, experience a 15.9 percent direct-cost recovery. Cumulatively, the programs showed a 70.6 percent recovery rate.

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