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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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Unanswered questions about Los Altos: Editor's Notebook

I believe that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Stupid answers, yes. Smart ones, too. Or no answers at all.

Curious people always have questions – even when it comes to a quiet, so-called bedroom community like Los Altos.

There are some who like to think that this is a place where nothing happens. Some “outsiders” call us “Mayberry.” One of our other local papers has used the term “well heeled.” You might picture fat and happy walruses warming themselves on a quiet, sunny beach. All right, I might picture them.

Los Altos, however, comprises people – nearly 30,000 of them. Many have stories that may be extremely interesting that will never see the light of day in our paper because we don’t know about them and/or residents don’t want to share them.

But there are stories I am aware of that prompt intriguing questions – questions that are yet to be answered even in this newspaper. Following are a few examples.

Just who is that guy in the red suit behind the beard riding in the Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade? Only the parade organizers are in on the secret, just like we’re all in on the “secret” that Clark Kent is Superman.

This is arguably a rhetorical question, but why is Loyola Corners still such a mess? Why has virtually nothing of significance been done to address the loony street configurations, despite years of talk and alleged funding for a new bridge that has yet to see the light of day? And whose idea was it that a parking lot full of weeds was better for Loyola Corners than the colorful, long-established Echo Restaurant, which was gutted a decade ago?

A daily newspaper north of us recently addressed the question of who the Wizard of Oz is behind Passerelle Investment Co. Since its emergence in 2009, Passerelle has become by far the largest property owner in downtown Los Altos.

The paper quoted a few locals who pointed to Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin – who apparently lived for a brief time in Los Altos Hills – as the man controlling the purse strings. That may be true, but we really don’t know for certain. The official answer is “no comment.”

There may never be an official answer, but Passerelle’s actions have been nothing but positive for downtown Los Altos. By sprucing up old buildings and bringing in unique businesses (also thanks to Mary Heffernan, purportedly a friend of Brin’s), downtown has entered the 21st century. It also has been the driving force behind the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s “Project Los Altos: Silicon Valley on the Go” and the recent barrage of indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Through idealistic and deep-pocketed Passerelle, downtown is the equivalent of the lucky guy who finds a suitcase full of cash on his doorstep. He may not know where it comes from, but he’s grateful it’s there.

Of course, the next question is how long Passerelle will be around. Is it here for another few years only to go poof with the changing whims of its investors? Or is the company in it for the long haul? I hope it’s the latter.

I’m sure you have good questions of your own. Write me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I might even offer a stupid answer.

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

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