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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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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