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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Solution for BCS/LASD – a merger: Editor's Notebook

I’ve been to the Bullis Charter School campus at Blach Intermediate School twice in the past three months. The first time was in August, at the invitation of Los Altos School District officials. It was a “see what we’ve done to accommodate the charter school” tour to demonstrate how the district met facilities requirements.

The second time, in October, was altogether different. It was a “see how unreasonable the school district is” tour, with a blacktop full of children unable to use the surrounding playing fields. I met assistant principal Alison Schwartzbaum, a passionate educator who didn’t understand why her students couldn’t play on the empty fields.

For 10 years, since the arrival of the charter school, it’s been the same old “us versus them” mentality. The community is beyond tired of it. The Town Crier is tired of reporting on it. However, Bullis Charter School versus the Los Altos School District remains a major problem that must be solved. Ignoring it is not the solution.

I believe that the ultimate solution involves Bullis Charter School becoming part of the Los Altos School District. It should be a magnet school, offering more educational alternatives that add to the district’s overall strength.

The bad vibes on both sides could be attributed to a matter of positioning. Because the Santa Clara County Board of Education, not the school district, sponsors the charter school, it is seen as an outsider, taking away from our existing schools’ resources.

If Bullis Charter School were part of the district, “them” would become “us.” My sense is that facilities issues would be easier to solve were the charter school planet part of the district’s solar system.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. But there’s no will, as far as I can tell. District folks in past years said they’ve made overtures to the charter school to join the district, but charter school officials apparently refused. It’s understandable, in part because of a lack of trust, but also because Bullis Charter School would have to re-charter with the district – a major bureaucratic hurdle – and be subject to increased transparency.

A decade later, the charter school is a successful institution. It’s grown too big for its previously desired campus in Los Altos Hills. It’s drawing students from all over. The charter school is here for good. The district must accommodate it.

It has cost both parties hundreds of thousands of dollars to battle in the courts. Talks reached a low point recently when the district basically threatened to close the Blach campus unless the charter school adhered to the letter of its facilities agreement.

But there are some streaks of light through the dark clouds. Talks are underway that would involve a halt to litigation and a long-term plan for housing the charter school in a shared-campus configuration.

That’s great. But for real action to occur, both sides have to bury the hatchet. This would require new people in charge who were not burdened by history and who could commit to working on a merger.

It won’t be easy. I understand concerns about Bullis Charter School’s loss of control or fears of being under district control. But I don’t see why the charter school can’t be part of the district and continue to do its own thing. It works just fine for the Downtown College Prep charter school and the San Jose Unified School District. Why not us?

Bruce Barton is editor-in-chief of the Town Crier.

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