Wed12172014

News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Rotary marks 25th anniversary of AIDS project

Rotary marks 25th anniversary of AIDS project


John Hammerschmidt/Special to the Town Crier
Celebrating the anniversary of the Los Altos Rotary AIDS Project are, from left, front row: Greg Hoblit, Dude Angius, Mary Prochnow and Robin Young. Back: Greg Betts, Joe Renati, Roy Lave, Bob Berka, Dic...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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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

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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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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City joins amicus brief supporting Lehigh plant appeal


Jitze Couperus/ Special to the Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council joined with Los Altos Hills in protesting the expansion of the Lehigh Southwest Cement Co. quarry.

The Los Altos City Council last week unanimously approved the city’s participation in drafting an amicus brief supporting a court appeal that fights the expansion of the Lehigh Southwest Cement Co. quarry.

An amicus brief – or a “friend of the court” brief – is a filing by a person or organization providing some knowledge or perspective that makes his or her views on the subject matter of an action valuable to the court. The person or organization must seek permission to file the brief with the court and cannot be a party to or an attorney involved in the case.

The council’s Sept. 10 vote included provisions that a neighboring city aside from Los Altos Hills participate in the filing, and that the city’s cost is limited to no more than $7,500. The Los Altos Hills City Council in August voted in favor of joining an amicus brief by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District supporting Bay Area for a Clean Environment (BACE, formerly known as No Toxic Air).

BACE is appealing a Superior Court ruling earlier this year that upheld the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors’ decision to grant vested rights to the company, allowing expanded operations on unused land it purchased in 1948. The lawsuit contended that the county board erred in its decision, noting among other things that an Environmental Impact Report inadequately stated the pollution – and impacts on the local environment – created by quarry mining operations.

More than a dozen speakers at the council meeting urged the city to participate in the filing, including Los Altos Hills Mayor Gary Waldeck. As part of their participation, Los Altos Hills councilmembers agreed to join the filing if a neighboring city – in this case, Los Altos – did so, too.

“If we all joined together, it’s also a significant story going forward that says the citizens in the area are concerned,” Waldeck told the council. “As stewards of both the public health and the public trust, we felt in Los Altos Hills that it was our duty to support this for a relatively modest cost. I’m hoping you’re going to feel the same way.”

Mixed reactions

Councilwoman Megan Satterlee expressed her reluctance, however, noting that a published court decision to strike down the appeal could set a negative precedent.

“I am not convinced an amicus brief is going to make any difference whatsoever at all in this appeal, because the vested-rights issue is very different from an issue of representing the population and the effect on health and safety,” she said. “That doesn’t immediately play into whether the county erred in its discretion in granting these vested rights.”

BACE attorney Stuart Flashman conceded Satterlee’s point, calling a published court decision on the matter a “scary and dangerous precedent in terms of city planning.”

“If there was a junkyard somewhere within the city’s limits, and that junkyard bought another property, they could claim, ‘Well, we’re just like a mine. We have to expand in order to continue to exist, so we bought this other property. You have to allow us to expand to this other property,’” he said.

Satterlee’s council colleagues, however, said the risk was worth it.

“I really kind of sit here and say, ‘I’m not sure what other choice do we have,’” said Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins. “To be honest, I’d rather try and fail than to not have tried at all.”

Councilwoman Jan Pepper added that the council had a responsibility “to protect the health and safety of our community.”

Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw, meanwhile, added that the city’s participation was a “pretty obvious course of action.”

Councilwoman Val Carpenter also supported the action, noting “the outpouring” of emails from residents seeking the city’s involvement.

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