Tue09302014

News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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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

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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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 add ...

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Council needs to work out some kinks: Editorial

Allow us to point out what many visitors to city council meetings already know: A double standard applies to members of the council versus members of the public.

The council usually allots members of the public two or three minutes to say their piece. Councilmembers often remind speakers to keep their comments brief and on point. Then, when it’s councilmembers’ turn to talk, all time constraints go out the window. More often than not, councilmembers tend to ramble on, leaving us to wonder why the time clock doesn’t expire on them as well.

Recent Los Altos City Council meetings illustrate this dynamic perfectly. During the May 28 meeting, councilmembers went round and round for nearly two hours discussing a downtown parking study, ultimately voting simply to accept the data in the report. Councilwoman Megan Satterlee criticized city staff for falling short of her expectations on the parking study, after she and the previous council had directed the study last year and failed to set those expectations in the first place.

Why waste $160,000 of the city’s money and the staff’s time on a study when it’s not what you ultimately wanted?

Then came the June 4 council meeting. This one lasted more than four hours – with only three items on the agenda. In one laborious exchange, two councilmembers even wasted time debating the use of the word “small” to describe certain land parcels as part of a relatively trivial letter. They spent 35 minutes overall on that letter, which should have been approved as a consent item.

We understand that this is a new council, with two newly elected members learning the ropes and three veteran members expected to take on more assertive roles (this includes our 26-year-old mayor, Jarrett Fishpaw). We accept that there will be growing pains and some missteps along the way. And yes, we do appreciate attention to detail.

But efficiency and a solid understanding of priorities are also important, and these objectives are what the current council needs to work on most.

Years back, Mayor Lou Becker instituted a rule that council meetings would adjourn by 11 p.m. – no ifs, ands or buts. More recent councils have recognized the 11 p.m. deadline in theory, but in practice don’t always enforce it. We suggest sticking to a hard-and-fast 11 p.m. adjournment.

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