Sun01252015

News

UPDATED: Missing Los Altos High School student found

UPDATED at 10:20 p.m. Jan. 21: Mountain View Police report that Avendano is safe after being located in Los Angeles County.

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The Mountain View Police Department is looking for 17 year-old Mountain View resident Lizbeth Avendano. Accordin...

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Schools

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposal to exempt ninth-grade student-athletes from taking PE. Students take part in a physical education class at Mount...

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Community

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF


From Midnight Express Instagram
A group of millennial-aged Santas celebrating a night on the town prepare for a safe ride from San Francisco to their South Bay homes, courtesy of Cory Althoff’s new Midnight Express shuttle.

It’s no understatemen...

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Comment

More open than ever: Editorial

One of the Los Altos City Council’s objectives for 2015 is implementing an open-government policy. The title of the policy may be somewhat misleading, because it’s not as if the city has had a closed-government policy. But the new proposal goes beyon...

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Business

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cassidy Turley, which has offices at 339 S. San Antonio Road, is combining with DTZ following its recent acquisition.

Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cassidy Turley have joined forces to operate as a sin...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

JUDY HOFFMANN

JUDY HOFFMANN

Judy Hoffmann passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2014 in New York City. It was only fitting Judy would be traveling and enjoying special adventures in so many different places until the very end.

Judy has lived since 1969 in Los Altos with her h...

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Travel

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill


Courtesy of Raúl Cañibano
Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano is set to appear at Foothill College tonight. His work – including the image “Series: Guajira’s Land, Viñales, 2007,” right – is on display at the KCI Gallery t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View


Suellen Fitzsimmons/Special to the Town Crier
Christopher Tocco stars in TheatreWorks’ “2 Pianos 4 Hands,” which opened last week.

TheatreWorks’ production of “2 Pianos 4 Hands” is scheduled to run through Feb. 15 at the Mountain View Center fo...

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Spiritual Life

Start something great by ringing in the new year with prayer

There is a tradition, which I’m told originates in the Midwest, that calls for people to pray in the new year. A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house and a number of people stayed up until midnight (approximately two hours pa...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Neither guilty nor innocent: No Shoes, Please

I didn’t follow the George Zimmerman trial carefully; for the most part, I listened to summaries developed by legal analysts and journalists who were watching the proceedings like hawks. When the verdict was announced, however, I wasn’t surprised, and believe it’s probably the correct one. But I likewise believe the exonerated man is far from innocent.

There’s a lot to unpack in the analysis of this situation in which Zimmerman stalked, then fatally shot Trayvon Martin. For example, the Stand Your Ground law is something worth rethinking, considering the consequences of not obligating people to walk away from violence when a legitimate opportunity to do so exists. Self-defense is one matter, but untrained, self-appointed vigilantes are another, and the mingling of the two issues in this one case proved tragic.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) also needs scrutiny. ALEC is a nonprofit organization that unites legislators and multinational corporations in closed-door environments, and is inexplicably allowed to author many state laws, including Stand Your Ground legislation. With little oversight, the most powerful corporations in our country together with members of Congress submit pre-written laws – not mere ideas, but actual statutes that are voted on – to legislative bodies with no mention that they are ALEC-sponsored or ALEC-affiliated.

ALEC corporate members represent a wide range of industries: AT&T, Pfizer, Koch Industries and Farmers Insurance among them. After Martin’s death had become headline news, companies such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Amazon pulled out of ALEC to avoid being affiliated with the NRA-backed, ALEC-authored Stand Your Ground law in Florida that was the legal justification for Zimmerman’s actions. To be clear, none of ALEC’s individual or corporate members are doing anything illegal. But I believe that’s part of the problem.

The other problem is the kryptonite of our national discourse – race. In a post-verdict press conference, defense attorney Mark O’Mara stated that had Zimmerman been a black man, he never would have been charged with a crime.

That pronouncement illustrates the great divide between the perceptions and experiences of white America and people of color, particularly around the subject of racial profiling. I think O’Mara is wrong, and incarceration rates of blacks versus those of whites certainly bear this out. However, O’Mara has probably never been stopped and questioned for simply walking down a sidewalk, or pulled over in his car just because. Black and brown men, on the other hand, face a lifetime of being targeted in this manner from an early age. O’Mara isn’t racist when he fails to recognize this chasm between white and black experiences in America, but I think he represents why our country remains defensive.

If George Zimmerman had been a 29-year-old black man, and Trayvon Martin a barely 17-year-old unarmed white boy, the verdict in that trial might have been the same because of Stand Your Ground. But the emotional response to the tragedy would differ person to person, community to community. Maybe that’s human nature, maybe that’s bigotry. But let’s start the conversation there. We can honor Trayvon’s memory by first being honest with ourselves.

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