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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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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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