Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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City moves forward with Lehigh amicus brief

NEWS lehigh
Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council agreed to join the legal filing over Lehigh Southwest Cement Co.'s vested mining rights.

The Los Altos City Council last week reaffirmed its participation in an amicus brief that supports the appeal of a court decision over vested mining rights by Lehigh Southwest Cement Co.

The 5-0 vote Sept. 24 upholds the council’s unanimous decision two weeks earlier to join the legal filing by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, known as a “friend of the court” filing. The brief supports Bay Area for Clean Environment’s (BACE) appeal of a Superior Court ruling earlier this year that upheld a decision by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to grant vested rights – and expanded operations – on unused land purchased by Lehigh in 1948.

The council reviewed the issue Sept. 24 after attorneys representing Lehigh sent correspondence to the city alleging, among other things, misrepresentation by Cupertino City Councilman Barry Chang. At earlier public meetings, Chang had urged Los Altos and Los Altos Hills to join the filing.

The council voted to participate after Councilwoman Megan Satterlee said the city received information that clarified claims by Lehigh representatives. Satterlee didn’t offer specifics, but the council agreed to match the contributions of Los Altos Hills and other participating cities, not to exceed $7,500.

“Between our last motion and now, there were some allegations made by attorneys representing the respondent (Lehigh), and I think we have subsequently gotten the information we need to address those (allegations),” Satterlee said.

Los Altos Hills Mayor Gary Waldeck, whose city is also participating in the filing, urged his counterparts in Los Altos to continue their support despite Lehigh’s allegations.

“The real thing we’re trying to accomplish, I think, is to send a message to the people who make decisions about this stuff that says, ‘You know, you’ve got an awful lot of people lined up, and they’re all in a line looking at you.’ That’s the real message we’re trying to give here,” he said.

Lehigh’s allegations

In its correspondence to Los Altos – which included a copy of a letter to the city of Cupertino and other documentation – Lehigh’s legal team stated that Chang attempted to garner support without properly disclosing his position as a member of BACE’s board of directors.

Lehigh representatives also alleged that the IRS suspended BACE’s nonprofit status for failure to file tax returns for three years. It added that Chang failed to disclose that he and his wife started a small Cupertino business on his Form 700 Statement of Economic Interest filing. The Cupertino City Council subsequently discontinued discussions on joining the amicus brief filing until a later date.

“Given BACE’s failure to disclose its financial information to the Internal Revenue Service and the public – a basic obligation of a nonprofit – it is impossible for the public to know whether, and to what extent, Chang is compensated by BACE,” the letter stated.

BACE attorney responds

Reached by the Town Crier, attorney Stuart Flashman, representing BACE, said Lehigh’s allegations were based on outdated information and that the organization’s problems with the IRS have since been resolved.

“The (California) Franchise Tax Board is happy. … BACE’s status has been reinstated as a corporation in good standing,” he said.

Flashman said BACE’s tax problems came about after the organization originally filed taxes using the employer ID number of its original name – No Toxic Air. The IRS assigned a second employer ID when the organization changed its name to BACE. Flashman added that BACE’s accountant filed the missing state tax returns in May.

Flashman labeled Lehigh’s allegations against Chang “another tempest in a teapot,” noting that the councilman recently filed new 700 forms disclosing his economic interests. He added that board directors like Chang are not paid by BACE.

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