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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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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