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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Residential speeding demands substantive solutions: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s Aug. 21 article on speed limits (“Slow down: LA City Council rejects proposed speed-limit increases”) deserves some clarification and commentary, including the question: What is your better solution?

Believing that a radar feedback speed sign is “miraculous” and that implementing one will “make all the problems go away” is pure fantasy. It may help to a minimal degree for a short period of time. However, once drivers understand that it has no enforcement component, it simply becomes another sign to ignore. To believe that irresponsible drivers will somehow suddenly convert to responsible drivers based on one of these signs is sophomoric.

Narrowing streets? Visually shrinking the roadway may slow down some drivers, but others will simply use more of the bike lane.

How about speed tables? They do work to help control speeds and enhance pedestrian safety if designed and installed correctly. The speed table in front of Los Altos High School is an example of a functional design. The speed table at the back of Almond School is an example of a failed design that both city staff and council have known about for six years yet refuse to correct, risking public safety. Why?

Installing “Yield to Pedestrians, State Law” signs in crosswalks? While effective, they don’t represent a “rural atmosphere.” It’s OK for virtually all other cities, but we are above such banal displays, as our “rural atmosphere” appears to include unabated running of occupied crosswalks. Why?

Blaming crosstown commute speeders as the source of the problem is an easy way to duck personal responsibility. Drivers speeding on El Monte Avenue, for example, continue that speeding habit on South Clark, a street that can be radar enforced and is, almost exclusively, used by Los Altos residents (oh my!). Yet there is no radar enforcement on South Clark. Why? There are numerous other enforceable street examples, yet little, if anything, is being done.

Reality check: Educating drivers in an attempt to promote responsible driving is folly. Based on my 13 years of working with the city on the Traffic Commission and Neighbor Advisory Task Force, I can assure you that the only substantive tool that gets a driver’s attention is a red and blue light in the rearview mirror. It applies to those crosstown commuters as well as Los Altos residents, including business executives, parents shuttling kids to school, students and seniors.

If you don’t like residential speeding, what is your substantive solution?

Los Altos City Councilwoman Val Carpenter hits the target on the real problem – the 85th percentile rule. Until that rule is removed from street surveys, the inmates (drivers) will run the asylum, determining speed limits while ignoring street design, residential density and bicycle and pedestrian safety.

It’s time for all councilmembers and all Los Altos residents concerned with residential traffic safety to write, call and email state representatives and demand that the 85th percentile rule be removed as the determining survey factor within the Caltrans Manual of Traffic Control Devices. Enough is enough. The root cause is known. It is time for our representatives to man up and resolve this issue in Sacramento with assistance from cities all across California that have the same problem with no resolution in sight.

Kurt Ayers is a Los Altos resident and former member of the Traffic Commission (now the Planning and Transportation Commission).

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