Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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Officials grapple with rising number of MV students attending LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A youth crosses the busy intersection at San Antonio Road and El Camino Real, an area that has experienced a surge in growth.

Following is the second in the Town Crier’s two-part series on the consequences of growth in the San Antonio Change Area. Part 1 appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of the Town Crier.

It’s no secret that Mountain View is growing, with hundreds of new housing units under construction or planned for the San Antonio Change Area.

Increased auto traffic is just one result of the growth. The impact of additional students on the Los Altos School District, with boundaries that include portions of the San Antonio Road and El Camino Real areas, is another.

As with traffic, there is no easy solution to accommodating that growth. School district officials report that the student population north of El Camino more than doubled over the past 15 years. Superintendent Jeff Baier’s numbers show an increase from 216 students in the 1995-1996 school year to 574 in 2011-2012.

“That’s about the size of one of our schools,” Baier said.

An additional 330 housing units are completed or under construction at The Village at San Antonio Center, and 170 units are under construction at the former Los Altos Garden Supply site (on the Los Altos side of El Camino).

Collaborating on solutions

City officials reviewed progress on the San Antonio Precise Plan at last week’s Mountain View City Council meeting.

One speaker wondered whether considering the impact on schools is an issue, given that new housing at The Village has accounted for only four new students thus far.

“Until very recently, there have been no apartments built in the area, so the student population growth has been independent of development,” said Mountain View City Manager Dan Rich. “In general, higher-density apartments do not yield that many students.”

Santa Rita and Almond schools are already at capacity. Acquiring a school site in Mountain View is the most obvious option supported by the district and the city of Los Altos. It is also the most difficult to make a reality.

“There are very few parcels of the size desired for a school, and the value of land is quite high,” Rich said. “The city does not control the properties. We can’t force a site to be used as a school or sold to the school district, nor can we ‘downzone’ a property.”

So far, there’s been talk among the two cities and the school district about collaborating on a solution – but little action.

“Not a lot of engagement as of yet,” said Los Altos School District Trustee Mark Goines. “We have included them in the discussion on new facilities and the growth we are experiencing, and we are getting involved in the San Antonio Precise Plan meetings.”

At last week’s council meeting, Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga said she wasn’t sure what kind of help the city could offer the school district.

“It’s really up to the school district (to put a school in Mountain View),” Abe-Koga said. “They have the power of eminent domain (public takeover of private property to build a school site), we don’t.”

Goines said individual Mountain View councilmembers “have expressed interest in being helpful. They are, however, more focused on development than education. … Sadly, they are financially incentivized to build homes and businesses that generate taxes, less interested in having property converted to non-tax-generating schools. Separately, residents have been lobbying for more park space, and a school could serve both educational and playtime interests. But the dialogue continues.”

Goines said he has spoken with three other Mountain View councilmembers and communicated with the city’s Youth Advisory Committee. He also pointed to the district’s Enrollment Task Force and input from residents about “accommodations for a school/park in the San Antonio/California neighborhood.”

The San Antonio Precise Plan will include specific direction for improving mobility and mitigating growth in the area. The target date for completing the plan is December 2014.

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