Fri12192014

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

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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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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BCS, LASD deliberate long-term objectives


Traci Newell/Town Crier
Los Altos Hills Mayor Gary Waldeck, center, addresses Los Altos School District Trustees Tammy Logan and Doug Smith, left, and Bullis Charter School board members Peter Evans and Francis La Poll (in jacket) during a meeting Thursday.

Subsets of the Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School boards met last week to address long-term options for a new charter school site.

The two parties have been at odds for years over whether the facilities the district provides the Bullis Charter School are “reasonably equivalent” under Proposition 39, the state’s charter school law. The discussion looked to the future and the possibility of placing a bond measure before voters to fund the purchase of an additional campus for the charter school.

Board members Francis La Poll and Peter Evans represented Bullis Charter School at the meetings, and Los Altos School District Board President Doug Smith and Trustee Tammy Logan represented the district. Los Altos Hills Mayor Gary Waldeck mediated the discussion.

Outlining objectives

Waldeck opened the meeting, held Thursday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, by requesting that the two parties name their top three objectives for the future.

Logan and Smith identified only one goal – to address community concerns in a way that will gain enough support to pass a bond that could solve the facilities issues.

“There is a vision that says the district wants to shut down Bullis Charter School,” Smith said. “That is not the goal. The goal is to peacefully coexist.”

La Poll listed the charter school’s three overarching goals:

• To serve every district child who wishes to attend Bullis Charter School, without capacity limitations or grade-level restrictions.

• To find interim solutions that would contain assurances with regard to the charter school’s short-term “project list” until a bond measure passes.

• To occupy stable, reasonably equivalent facilities.

Addressing the bond

Evans questioned whether a bond measure would solve all of the charter school’s facilities problems.

“The bond is a means to an end, but it is not an end in itself,” he said. “The challenge is to determine whether a bond will be the means to peacefully coexist.”

La Poll said Bullis Charter School would need a guarantee that if a bond passes, the charter school would benefit. He assumed that would be addressed in the language of the bond.

Smith said the two groups would collaborate on the language for a bond measure.

A large portion of the meeting was dedicated to discussing whether a bond, which could result in a new site for the charter school, would include assurance that the charter school would not seek to close another operating district school for a specified number of years.

“We will not get the support of the community if they feel there is a threat of closing another school,” Smith said.

Eventually, the charter school representatives agreed that language addressing that concern is “doable.”

The district can propose two types of bonds. A Proposition 39-type bond requires 55 percent approval for passage and could tax residents $30 per $100,000 assessed value of their property, netting approximately $150 million. The district could schedule an election in June or November of 2014. The second type requires a two-thirds vote but could stipulate an assessment rate higher than the $30 per $100,000 assessed value. Such an election could be held any Tuesday.

Smith said the district has not decided which type of bond to pursue and will conduct additional polling before making that determination.

Sites and litigation

La Poll asked if the school district would discontinue looking at sites for the charter school outside the school district’s boundaries.

“If we are going to pass a bond, we are going to have to find sites that are mutually agreeable,” Smith replied, adding that a group of charter school and district representatives are currently examining potential properties.

“None of the possible sites are clean – there is hair on all of them,” Smith said. “But there are some possibilities.”

Smith asked if everyone would agree to drop all existing litigation if a bond were to pass.

“I’m talking about the existing suits,” he said. “If we are building you a site and we have mutually selected the location, agreed on the design, all the stuff in previous years shouldn’t matter.”

“That certainly may be on the table,” La Poll responded.

Moving ahead

Waldeck suggested an agenda for the next meeting – scheduled Monday, after the Town Crier’s press deadline – that would allow each side to present in writing a draft of a resolution to support a bond that addressed the concerns already raised.

“I’ve seen a level of distrust that is like the Hatfields and McCoys,” Waldeck said. “Let’s get past that, one thing at a time.”

He added that then the group could review the resolutions and attempt to combine them into one compatible draft.

Smith suggested that they should also discuss community concerns in greater detail.

“How do we address the community concerns so that the people we will turn to (to help us pass a bond) … can support it?” Smith asked. “It’s critical to get that buy-in.”

La Poll agreed that he was troubled by the list of community concerns.

“There are just certain things we as a board will not accept if they intrude on our program,” he said.

The next meeting is scheduled 7 p.m. today at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 W. Fremont Road.

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