Fri09192014

News

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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Other Voices: BCS asking district to fool public over bond purpose

Over the course of decades, our community has developed excellent public schools into which the community pours its heart, soul and minds. The ongoing facilities dispute with Bullis Charter School (BCS) has been a sore spot that we need to solve. But it’s hard to find the right path in light of recent BCS actions.

Last year, they waged a $300,000 PR campaign to promote compromise – then still sued the Los Altos School District (LASD) and lost. This year, they signed a Facilities Use Agreement that they are now violating. And now, instead of negotiating, they’re back on the PR trail again.

Throughout September, LASD and BCS met to discuss both short term facilities enhancements and long term cooperation on a school facilities bond. Yet, for the past month, LASD has been unable to get BCS to return to the negotiating table.

Based on BCS’s requests, the District proposed an agreement that would provide BCS with short term enhancements to their current facilities, and lays a path toward passing a bond. We have received no formal response to that proposal – no meetings, no dialogue –until the charter school manifesto recently printed in this paper.

Instead of working with LASD on a bond measure the community could support, BCS urges the district to position the bond as something other than what it would be. Repeatedly, they’ve suggested that the LASD Board of Trustees has mystical influence over our community – that folks here believe whatever we say, no matter what the facts show. They’ve asked us to deceive the public about the proceeds of a school bond. Ironically, a similar fight over a school bond spurred the creation of BCS in the first place.

Every year for the past 10 years, BCS has asked LASD (and often the courts) to close a neighborhood school and give it to BCS. The community has been very clear in their opposition to this. BCS knows this, and knows that a successful bond campaign would result in building a new school for BCS students. Yet they insist that isn’t their request. Our community is smart enough to see through that charade.

When we met in September, BCS negotiators refused to even discuss how they might change to help build community support for a bond. Instead, the BCS editorial asks LASD Trustees to violate state law and breach the trust of our local community by ignoring the legal funding formulas for charter schools. The state legislature allocates the property taxes between charter schools and school districts – it isn’t up to LASD trustees to change that formula. Similarly, voters of our community have generously supported LASD schools through parcel taxes, but it is the voters – not the trustees – who decide how those funds are spent. LASD has expressed a willingness to work with BCS to address these questions through the legislative process in the longer term. Perhaps if we’re considering a financial rebalancing we will also discuss sharing of all private funds as well. However, in the here-and-now, we have a facilities shortage that we need to address. Let’s talk about how BCS can help us pass a desperately needed school bond.

Doug Smith is president of the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees.

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