Sun02142016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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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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