Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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 ad...

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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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