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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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More than a game: No Shoes, Please

There is a lot about the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation that intrigues me. As I write, the full details regarding Martin’s allegations about his tenure as an offensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins have yet to be disclosed. However, by abruptly leaving his team and filing a formal complaint, Martin has been criticized by his former teammates and other NFL players for not standing up for himself and airing locker room dirty laundry in public.

Support for Martin has surfaced, too. People have questioned hazing rituals that really amount to nothing more than sanctioned extortion and abuse, in addition to criticizing Incognito’s use of the N-word in a text message to Martin.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that African-American players on the team found nothing offensive about Incognito’s message. It seems that Americans in general have been spoon-fed enough rap music that the N-word is OK in certain locales (locker rooms) with certain people (Caucasians like Incognito who are conferred “honorary” black status) and under certain conditions (when demeaning language is used to “toughen” someone up or even convey warmth and camaraderie).

However, I was shocked to hear reports that Martin – a Stanford University graduate with Harvard-educated parents – was considered “less black” than Incognito, whose thuggish behavior has been documented since his college career. It reminds me of complaints I’ve heard from African-Americans who say that their own community will accuse them of acting “too white” if they are educated and/or well spoken. Whether or not those misaligned values played a role with the players who lined up to defend Incognito’s behavior is unproven, but something smells weird to me.

The NFL investigation into the Miami Dolphins workplace environment will take some time because it’s not only a complicated situation, it’s also a chaotic hot mess. But I’m fascinated by several arguments already being made in the court of public opinion.

First, there’s the one regarding Martin’s manhood. When that particular assessment is at play, I can almost predict that the definition of said manhood is going to be extremely narrow, rigid and backward thinking, rather than broad, open and current. I wonder how long men will continue putting themselves through that lifetime gauntlet.

Second, there’s the argument that things are routinely said and done in any garden-variety locker room that are unacceptable in other workplaces. That’s called exceptionalism: Organization A is exempt from a normal code of conduct for X and Y reasons. OK, but explain how X and Y serve the common or team good, thereby qualifying Organization A for special dispensation – and “It’s always been that way” doesn’t count as a good reason.

Finally, there’s the admonishment that Martin should have kept things in-house regardless. A situation may merit attention and scrutiny, but it must be done out of public view. I’ve heard that old chestnut invoked under circumstances ranging from safeguarding personal privacy to covering up crimes like child molestation. So unless the Miami Dolphins locker room is a matter of national security, I think transparency regarding organizational practices is a good thing.

I can understand why players might be afraid of a little light, but I’d be more concerned about remaining in the shadows.

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