Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


Rendering courtesy of city of Los Altos
The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. Red lines indicate vehicle access points, and yellow lines represent pedestri...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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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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