Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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