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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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Flaws acknowledged in city's interview process


Mordo

When former Los Altos Hills City Councilman Jean Mordo moved to Los Altos earlier this year, he made it a goal to continue his active involvement in local government. So when a seat opened on the Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission, Mordo jumped at the opportunity to apply.

He was the only applicant. But he did not get the position – at least not yet.

Los Altos councilmembers, who interview candidates and approve appointments, decided to continue seeking additional prospects for the seven-member commission.

Although Mordo was disappointed, he said he was also concerned about how the council handled the process. He said the council scheduled him ahead of the regularly agendized 7 p.m. Sept. 10 meeting, and interviewed him for 10 minutes. He felt that the council wanted to keep the interview closed to the general public.

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins said the council’s decision was “no reflection on Jean.”

Bruins said the interview session was public and properly noticed. But she acknowledged that Mordo’s case brings to light several problems with the process for interviewing and selecting members for city commissions and committees.

For one, the city has no policy in place that designates who should notify candidates on the status of their applications. Bruins took it upon herself to call Mordo after discovering that no one had contacted him a week after his interview.

Bruins agreed that the interviews, conducted in a conference room rather than the council chambers, might convey the appearance that they are not open to the public.

“It’s a public meeting – it’s posted as a public meeting,” she said. “(But) by having it in a conference room, does it suggest a different thing?”

Another challenge involves the Brown Act, California’s open meetings law. The law prohibits councilmembers from communicating privately about items prior to public airing. Bruins said it was only after the interview that the council realized the need to appoint someone with a stronger transportation background, as the commissioner who most recently resigned had such expertise.

The original advertisement for commission applicants included the transportation component but did not emphasize it. When Bruins told Mordo about wanting someone with transportation experience, it came across to Mordo as if the council changed the qualifications after the fact.

“I agree that there is room for improvement (in the process),” Bruins said. “I can understand (Mordo’s frustration) with the way it was handled.”

“Jean did not get rejected,” emphasized Councilwoman Jan Pepper.

Mordo is still being considered for the commission, Pepper and Bruins said, as the council has expanded the timeline to draw more applicants.

The city plans to readvertise the openings on the Planning and Transportation and Senior commissions over the next few months, Bruins said.

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