Mon09222014

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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Community engagement pitch hits dead end: Proposal to improve communication goes nowhere

A bid by two Los Altos city councilwomen to examine the city’s community engagement efforts ended without a vote Sept. 17 after their council colleagues deemed it too broad.

Councilwomen Jeannie Bruins and Jan Pepper sought the council’s approval at a special meeting last week to form an ad hoc task force that would examine the city’s current community engagement endeavors, review best practices in other cities and identify possible areas of improvement.

According to a staff report, Bruins and Pepper proposed forming a committee of residents, staff members and themselves, citing residents’ concerns about a lack of two-way communication on certain issues voiced during their 2012 election campaigns. Bruins and Pepper added that the effort would also fulfill a 2013 council priority to “encourage and employ effective community engagement practices.”

“People want to know up front, ‘What’s the problem we’re trying to solve? Don’t ask me about whether I want a traffic light – let’s agree first on the problem we’re trying to solve,’” Bruins said, explaining the motivation behind the effort.

The remainder of the council expressed doubts about which problem Bruins and Pepper were attempting to solve.

Councilwoman Megan Satterlee said she couldn’t support voting to form a task force “at this point” because the scope of the project was too broad, suggesting instead a more narrowed focus on a specific issue, such as examining ways to engage the public on traffic issues.

“I think just a generic call, ‘Hey, everyone, let’s talk about public engagement’ – really, I’m struggling as to what that’s going to get us,” she said.

Satterlee also rebuffed the assertion that a lack of effective community engagement was a central issue during the 2012 election campaign.

“I did go through (the 2012) campaign and this was not something that I heard a lot,” she said. “So if there is a lot of resident concern about the engagement process, I have not heard it.”

Councilwoman Val Carpenter said the issue appeared to lack public interest, noting that she received no emails on the topic. She also pointed to a lack of public speakers at the meeting. Carpenter suggested instead calling a study session on the matter, “so the entire council, the mayor and myself, can hear from those who have expressed concerns.”

Pepper countered that the lack of public speakers and emails on the issue were proof that the city should examine community engagement practices in the first place.

“The methods we’re using now are not reaching the people who might be interested, which is maybe why there isn’t anyone here to talk about this with us tonight,” she said.

Pepper also expressed frustration at her colleagues’ resistance to examining the issue from a broader perspective.

“Part of community engagement is getting more people in our community involved – utilizing the talents and ideas that they have,” she said. “Basically what I’m hearing back from my fellow councilmembers is that we don’t want to do that. We want to just kind of keep doing the same thing we’re doing. I don’t know – are we afraid to see what the community has to say?”

Without the necessary votes to move forward, Bruins told the council that she was “comfortable taking no action” on the item so that she and Pepper could “noodle on this a little bit more.”

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