Wed09172014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Too much talk, too little action

We don’t want to keep beating a dead horse, but the current Los Altos City Council continues to drag meetings along while accomplishing little.

It’s not that our five councilmembers are slacking off – on the contrary, they’re intelligent, committed residents who care deeply about the community they serve. Councilmembers are diligent about their business and work hard to make the right decisions.

But this council is prone to nitpicking, long-winded statements and directions to staff that, frankly, result in not getting much done.

There’s an intuitive component that seems lacking, meaning that members don’t appear to know when to cut off discussion and make decisions. As a result, agenda items roll over to future council meetings, putting the council further and further behind in the city’s business.

The city’s recently approved parking management plan is a case in point. It took three meetings for the plan to receive council approval, and even then each councilmember offered his or her own recommendations in an addendum to the plan. It was as if each member felt the political need to add his or her two cents.

They seem very conscious of trying to head off any and all potential problems and cover every possible loophole before making decisions. This approach, while understandable, is neither realistic nor productive.

While we’re glad to know that the council is trying to adhere to an 11 p.m. adjournment time, belabored discussions are bogging them down. At last week’s meeting, the council spent three and a half hours on the first two items and 45 minutes on the last three as they sought to wrap things up.

How about self-imposed limits on speaking times? If residents are afforded only two or three minutes under public comment, why not limit councilmembers to five? The discussions shouldn’t gloss over issues just to save time, but there should be a reasonable middle ground.

Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw, who chairs council meetings, should take an active role in streamlining discussions and say, “Enough already.” We expect that the council will improve its time management as members gain more experience in working together. Part of an effective council is not only making good decisions, but also knowing when to say when.

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