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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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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

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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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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County assessor sees rise in local property taxes

Several thousand homeowners throughout Santa Clara County – including 1,100 in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills – should expect an increase in their property taxes, according to the Office of the County Assessor.

County Assessor Larry Stone reported that approximately 47,000 properties would see their assessed values fully restored this year following the real estate market downturn. Another 81,000 properties in the county, including nearly 750 in Los Altos, will experience a partial restoration of the assessed values, which Stone noted was a reflection of the surging residential property market.

“Unemployment has dropped to 7 percent, faster than the nation or the state. The NASDAQ is soaring. Apartment rents have reached record levels with single-family homes close behind. It was inevitable that property taxes would follow,” Stone said in a statement released June 6.

Stone said that while increases in property taxes are never welcome, this is “ good news” for the local economy – and homeowners.

“It means the value of most families’ single most valuable asset, their home, is once again regaining solid equity lost in the collapse of the residential housing market,” he said.

The news comes after 136,000 residential properties were assessed below their purchase price last year. Stone’s report noted that when the market value of a property declines below the previously established assessed value measured as of Jan. 1 each year (lien date), the assessor is required proactively to reduce the assessed value to reflect the lower market value. However, as the real estate market rebounds, the assessor must restore the assessed values.

Proposition 8, passed by California voters in 1978, mandates that property owners are entitled to the lower of the fair market value of their property (as of Jan. 1), or the base-year value as determined at the time of purchase or construction, and increased in accordance with Proposition 13 by no more than 2 percent annually.

“If a property assessment was reduced during the recession, the restoration of its assessed value is not limited to 2 percent, until the market value reaches a property’s purchase price plus the annual inflation increase of no more than 2 percent,” Stone said. “The market solely determines whether the assessed value of a property is reduced or restored.”

The assessor mailed more than 478,000 assessment notices June 28 to property owners in Santa Clara County. In addition to outlining assessed property value, the notice also details the process for requesting an informal review of the assessment. According to the report, the Assessor’s Office will complete as many informal reviews as possible prior to Aug. 1, the deadline for making changes reflected on the property-tax bill mailed in October. Additionally, the letter includes language outlining the process for filing a formal assessment appeal by the Sept. 16 deadline.

For more information, visit www.sccassessor.org.

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