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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Los Altos councilmembers split over Fallen Leaf Lane


Courtesy of City Of Los Altos
One of the concepts included in the Stevens Creek Feasibility Study calls for the installation of green directional signs for bicyclists riding along Fallen Leaf Lane in Los Altos.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted 3-2 in favor of scheduling a future public meeting – likely in early 2014 – to discuss the final outcome of a four-cities Stevens Creek Trail Feasibility Study.

Councilwomen Val Carpenter and Jan Pepper cast dissenting votes Oct. 22 after each expressed a desire to eliminate Fallen Leaf Lane as a possible connection for the trail between Mountain View and Cupertino. Fallen Leaf is one of the routes under consideration as the study seeks to find a technically feasible way to align the trail through Los Altos or Sunnyvale.

A group of residents – including members of the Fallen Leaf Lane Neighborhood Association (FLLNA) – recently urged the council to remove the street from consideration as a connector by the study – which includes the cities of Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale. A handful of FLLNA members asked the council Oct. 8 to adopt a policy requiring a 75-percent approval rate by affected residents before a trail is designated in Los Altos. The group has presented the council with two petitions totaling approximately 800 residents signatures opposing a Fallen Leaf trail.

Carpenter and Pepper cast “no” votes after many of the 30-plus residents in attendance spoke out against the study listing Fallen Leaf Lane as a potential trail route.

“I’d like to remove the angst that the residents of this neighborhood are feeling and stop the time and effort that is being spent on this option,” said Pepper, who unsuccessfully sought council support in scheduling the item for further discussion in November.

Carpenter, meanwhile, told her colleagues that while she continues to support the goal to connect the regional trail, she couldn’t support any new trail options in Los Altos.

“At this point, I really lack confidence that the process will result in an outcome that works for the people who live in the city of Los Altos, especially in view of the petitions we’ve received and that have been signed by more than 800 of our residents,” she said.

Residents voice concerns

The council’s decision came after several Fallen Leaf Lane residents told the council that they do not want a trail connection on their street. Several said they favor a 2008 feasibility study by Los Altos that lists a preferred trail connection using Fremont Avenue, Grant Road and Foothill Expressway.

“We don’t want this bike trail. We don’t want it going down Fallen Leaf Lane. It’s as simple as that,” Fallen Leaf resident Nancy Claunch said.

Some residents who spoke said the ranking criteria that lists grades for possible connector routes is flawed, while others cited the potentially increased liability for the city if a trail connector is established through Los Altos.

“You owe it to all of us to get independent individuals to come in and look at what’s going on here, in terms of how these decisions are being made,” said Fallen Leaf resident Larry Thompson, who added that a trail connection on the street would be “highly destructive to a substantial community in Los Altos.”

Local realtor Kathryn Tomaino said such a trail could negatively impact home values in the area.

“Never do (buyers) request to be adjacent to a bike path … buyers will buy in spite of bike paths, but not because of bike paths,” she said.

El Sereno Avenue resident Susan Murphy, however, offered a different take on the matter, noting that having Stevens Creek Trail run through the city would leave a “positive legacy for families in the future.”

Dissenting council views

Despite concerns by Carpenter and Pepper, the remaining members of the council – Megan Satterlee, Jeannie Bruins and Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw – said they favored completing the study first before making any decisions.

Satterlee noted that while she wasn’t certain the study would end up with a clear solution, making changes midstream could result in a negative outcome.

“If we are to take action before we know where the (trail) connection is, we may very well go in a direction that doesn’t make any sense,” she said. “To me, that would be a waste of the money that has been spent so far. … I just think this is the wrong point in time to be making a decision.”

Fishpaw added that other cities in the study would likely follow suit if Los Altos started picking out which connections should be considered.

“Personally, I have concerns with taking any particular street off this study, because I don’t want other cities to take streets off the study,” he said. “I want to understand what is technically feasible.”

Bruins, who represents the city on the four-city study, conceded that it “remains a work in progress” but urged patience and trust in the process. Bruins noted that study elements, such as ranking criteria, have yet to pass her “sniff test,” and that it appears that the study will “probably not” put forward a specifically preferred route recommendation.

“We haven’t finished fleshing this out and we have a lot of questions,” she said of the four-city group conducting the study. “We have more questions than answers.”

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