Tue07292014

News

LASD, BCS boards finalize 5-year agreement

LASD, BCS boards finalize 5-year agreement

Bullis Charter School board members unanimously approved a five-year agreement with the Los Altos School District just before midnight Monday. The agreement, also unanimously approved by LASD trustees earlier in the evening, outlines facilities uses ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand int...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building in L...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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