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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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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