Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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