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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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Online comments: Rank your priorities, values


Comment up-voting

More than 40 readers weighed in on our online comments system in response to a Nov. 13 poll (please add your thoughts at goo.gl/j9AfoH).

The Town Crier launched the survey because we want to provide the most useful and least annoying comments system that technology (and our office’s IT budget) can supply.

By a three-to-one ratio, readers felt that “up-voting” comments – tallying thumbs-up or thumbs-down to indicate sentiment – was more annoying than helpful.

Although the Town Crier’s comments system, like many others, is designed to prevent one person from voting multiple times, any tech-savvy user can circumvent those controls. It doesn't sound as though legitimate voters are finding this feature particularly useful, so we’re likely to remove the comments voting system unless we hear from many who love it.

That brings up the next subject of hot debate – to what extent people should have to identify themselves openly and/or consistently in the comments section. Town Crier staff administrators are able to see the email address associated with each comment on our site. That information remains private, but it gives us a handle on who is commenting when.

Some readers made it clear on the survey that they suspect a small number of individuals may operate multiple, seemingly different, aliases. We’ve observed many instances where that accusation was incorrect. Commenters may not choose to share their identity publicly, but they often use email addresses known to staff to match with real human beings.

The Town Crier could start asking readers to log in to our website to leave a comment. That doesn’t prevent people from making up multiple identities, because spoofing email addresses (and even IP addresses) is easy to do in this day and age. Or, we could require that people comment using only their real names. Given how often lawsuits fly over schools issues in this town, doing so may gag voices that previously felt comfortable speaking.

As a staff, we’re collectively conflicted about the competing values of privacy, freedom of speech and transparency. No solution is foolproof, so we’re asking the community as a whole to share their preferences.

– New Media Editor 
Eliza Ridgeway

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