Mon10202014

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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Letters to the Editor

Robinson’s story inspires reader

Amid recent articles about bank robbers, scam artists and the continued vitriol in the Bullis Charter School vs. Los Altos School District debate, a heroine emerged who deserves commendation.

Thank you for the inspiring story about a courageous woman, Sarah Robinson (“Rare cancer turns local resident into passionate advocate,” Aug. 14), who is facing a life-or-death struggle with a rare cancer and yet somehow finds the time and energy to help others. This is the spirit that deserves coverage and that inspires us as a community.

Sarah, I wish you permanent remission and many, many years ahead of you to continue your selfless path. You are incredible.

Amy Kull

Los Altos

The Makery a hit with local residents

What a wonderful surprise to walk into the colorful Makery on State Street.

Primary colors of every imaginable craft material are found on the shelves: fabric, yarn, threads, tissue paper, stamps, pre-packaged kits, how-to books and even more. Classes are promised in the near future.

We went in separately and both agreed that we could have spent much more time looking around and getting inspired. Such an exciting addition to State Street. The Makery is sure to become a Peninsula destination.

Barbara Mordo

Los Altos and Lois Adams

Cupertino

BCS lockout furthers LASD political agenda

When you think of the word “teacher,” what are the first things that to come to mind? Most would say: “students,” “schools,” “books,” “learning,” “role model,” “mentor” and a long litany of other positive labels.

One does not think of words such as “shut out,” “ligation,” “fear tactics,” “lack of equitable facilities,” “political agendas,” “deprivation of a civil right.”

Growing up, schools were the safe zone of a community, not a battlefield.

When I decided to go into teaching, the last thing I had ever envisioned for a teacher or a student was being locked out of a school that is ready to open its doors in just eight days. I think about the looks on their faces when I have to tell them that the people who were entrusted by the community with the duty to protect their citizens’ rights to an equitable education have failed them, and failed them miserably.

What message is the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees sending to public school students in the community by locking them and their teachers out of our campus, in order to further their own political agenda?

Jenny Cheng, teacher

Bullis Charter School

Lockout distressing for BCS parents, staff

My child attends Bullis Charter School in Los Altos. I am writing because we need your help. Our teachers have been locked out of their rooms at Blach Intermediate School by the top administration of the Los Altos School District. This is causing unnecessary stress on our staff and parents, who are all aware of what is going on. It is my understanding that district officials are withholding the keys from our staff in order to force our board to sign a faulty lease agreement.

Charter schools were created to promote innovation in education. The innovation at Bullis Charter School has been tremendous. Bullis has thrived despite ongoing battles with the school district and is currently the top-performing charter school in California.

Please help us encourage district officials to treat our staff and children fairly by allowing our teachers into their rooms.

Melissa Nolan

Los Altos

Speed-limit increase poses safety threat

I am concerned about the proposed speed-limit increase on Cuesta Drive between El Monte Avenue and Springer Road.

How does this proposed increase square with the long-term plan to “calm” traffic on a residential street? Raising the speed limit seems like it would be counterproductive to the city’s long-term plan.

How does raising the speed limit increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety? We have many children who bike and walk to the rear entrance to Covington School. Increasing speed limits around a school entrance should be discouraged. A crosswalk should be added on Cuesta at Arboleda Drive.

According to the Los Altos Police, most of the cars on Cuesta in the morning and afternoon hours are commuters taking a shortcut from Interstate 280 to Grant Road/State Route 237. Commuters should be taking Foothill Expressway, as it was designed.

I suggest a “No Right Turn” zone from El Monte to Cuesta during the morning commute hours, and the same in reverse (“No Left Turn” from Cuesta to El Monte) for the afternoon hours.

The truck traffic on Cuesta has increased lately. I believe this is illegal, as they are above the weight limit permitted on a residential street. Police presence needs to be increased to enforce the law.

I encourage the city to implement the City of Los Altos 2011 Collector Traffic Calming Plan for Cuesta. These traffic-calming measures would bring down the speeds on Cuesta, thus eliminating the need to raise the speed limit.

Susan Evard

Los Altos

License plate scanners prompt privacy concerns

The article “Police roll out license plate scanner” (Town Crier, Aug. 7)) should cause Los Altos residents significant concern.

The Los Altos Police Department would be well advised to refuse this “gift” from the Department of Homeland Security immediately. Individual privacy is only one of many issues that implementing automatic anonymous license plate scanning and database tracking of same in Los Altos raises. Few of the benefits of such a practice are positive for Los Altos, the people who live here or anyone else.

Quotes in the article from Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis and Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office are so incomplete and (especially) naive as to be laughable.

Maybe I missed it, but did this issue come before the Los Altos City Council? It really should get exposure in open public discussion.

License plate tracking is a much bigger deal than just adding another piece of “free” electronics to a patrol car whilst claiming officer involvement won’t be necessary.

The city council needs to think this through and involve the public.

Bob Perdriau

Los Altos

In search of Good Samaritan

About three weeks ago, my heart caused me to fall in my front yard. Trisha, my daughter-in-law, saw me on the ground and came out to take care of me.

A young man on a bicycle stopped by and asked what he could do to help. Trisha told him to get the neighbor in the house across the street. He did that, and the neighbor came out and called 911. The young man then took off on his bicycle – unfortunately, without leaving a calling card.

I would very much like to know who the young man was, as I’d like to thank him personally for his kindness and help. I hope he reads the Town Crier and will respond to my request.

Barbara Emerich

Los Altos

Parking problem isn’t solved yet

Ted and Jerry Sorensen’s “Other Voices” column (“Three solutions for improving downtown parking,” Aug. 7) was so self-serving that it was sickening.

They say that there’s no parking problem right now. The implication is to let their (unmentioned) project go forward without building adequate parking, and maybe others without building any parking.

With this thinking, there soon will be a problem, which they, as offered in other forums, suggest be solved by bulldozing the trees and small shrubs in our existing parking plazas so that they can be re-striped into narrower slots. Because of the curves of these lanes in our plazas, this will make it even harder to park and perform ingress/egress from our cars. Even this would be a short-term solution, especially if the Los Altos City Council permits more construction in the plazas themselves.

Ultimately, a parking garage will be necessary. My suggestion is for the city council not to approve any more projects without adequate parking. Also, pick a site now for a future garage and protect it so that when the time comes, we are not left with a site without any access to any street whatsoever – i.e., don’t let the city council box us into a corner.

Paul Brooks

Los Altos

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