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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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Museum storage shed prompts city staff approval discussion


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The two-story shed at the Los Altos History Museum, left, approved by Los Altos city staff nine months ago, resulted in a lengthy city council discussion last week on the city’s administrative approval process. Town Crier

The construction of a two-story shed for the Los Altos History Museum drew the ire of one councilmember, prompting a two-hour discussion last week on the city’s internal administrative approval process.

The discussion occurred at the council’s Jan. 7 special meeting – scheduled as a continuation of its Dec. 14 annual retreat.

City Manager Marcia Somers told the Town Crier that the museum storage shed – located on the civic center campus – was constructed approximately nine months ago after it was “inadvertently” approved at the administrative level instead of undergoing the public review process.

Somers specifically noted that the city’s Historical Commission initially reviewed the project but that it should have continued moving up the city’s approval ladder – ending with a final vote by the city council. Instead, the shed’s construction was approved at the city staff level after the lone round of commission review. She attributed the item’s approval to a staff miscommunication.

“There was no ill intent,” said Somers, who apologized for the administrative error at the outset of the discussion, which also included Assistant City Manager James Walgren. “It should have gone to the council because it was built on public property.”

The error prompted Councilwoman Val Carpenter to initiate a discussion on the city’s internal approval process. Reached by the Town Crier, Carpenter said she only learned of the shed’s construction via a personal inquiry by a resident. She added that knowledge of the item was a matter of transparency.

“It’s on public land. … How is it that this didn’t go through a full public process?” asked Carpenter, who noted that she initially sought a discussion on the item in April. “I never want to be surprised by anything that happens in the city.”

Carpenter also sought information on other projects approved at the city staff level, including the redevelopment of 242 State St., formerly the home of Ristorante Il Porcino. The new-look space is currently the site of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s “Project Los Altos” exhibits.

Somers noted that the administrative-level approval of 242 State St. fall within city regulations, which allow internal approval of redevelopments if the existing structure is increased by 500 square feet or less.

The lengthy discussion included review of other small projects approved by city staff, including a pool at The Terraces at Los Altos. Ultimately, the council opted for just one change: that any projects or changes related to the city’s downtown parking supply be brought to the council for review and final approval.

“In general, I was glad we finally got a chance to talk about it. … I think we did make some progress,” Carpenter said.

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