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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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Chris Clark will serve as the face of the city in 2014


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Chris Clark took the reins as Mountain View mayor last week. As in Los Altos, members of the Mountain View City Council take one-year turns serving as mayor.

Chris Clark assumed the role of mayor of Mountain View for 2014 at the Jan. 7 city council meeting. Following is an edited question-and-answer interview with the Town Crier.

Q: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, how long have you been a Mountain View resident, where do you work and how did you get involved in city government?

Clark: I grew up on a family farm in rural Illinois and became interested in public service while serving as a page for the U.S. House of Representatives. I moved to the Bay Area to attend Stanford University and have lived in Mountain View for about seven years. I worked at a Mountain View tech startup that was acquired by a financial services company a little over a year ago and am now leading one of its product groups. I was first involved in Mountain View politics as a Human Relations Commissioner, subsequently transitioning to the Environmental Planning Commission and then won election to the city council in 2012.

Q: What are three goals you would like to see the city accomplish during your year as mayor?

Clark: This is the last year our current council will serve together. Three members are terming out at the end of the year, so I want to ensure that we wrap up several of the efforts my colleagues initiated. These include finalizing three of our major planning documents (San Antonio, North Bayshore and El Camino Real precise plans), carefully managing our budget until we fully recover from the recession and investigating ways to finance some much-needed infrastructure improvements.

Q: What do you see that the city does well, and where is room for improvement?

Clark: Mountain View is very well managed across the board, and a community survey last year indicated that residents are generally quite satisfied with our quality of life. However, there is always room for improvement, such as improving our transit infrastructure to reduce congestion and make biking/walker easier, streamlining the permit processes for residents and small businesses, and making more services and functions available online.

Q: What is the No. 1 concern residents bring to your attention?

Clark: I think residents right now are most concerned about the growth and development associated with our current economic cycle. Compared to most of the rest of the country, we are in the enviable position of having significantly more jobs than housing, but accommodating growth in an already dense 12-square-mile city is quite challenging and requires a delicate balancing act. Now that the economy has picked up, we’re dealing with some painful realities, such as the fact that no new rental housing was built in almost 10 years and that some level of new supply is critical if we want to keep prices somewhat in check and better meet demand. On the other hand, we must carefully balance this growth with the preservation of our quality of life.

Q: What do you see as the biggest misconception about the work of the city council?

Clark: One big misconception is that the city always says yes to developers and approves everything that comes before us. We have said no to spending any staff time on a number of projects and effectively turned them down at the earliest possible stage, but those decisions rarely make headlines. Having said that, we do vote to at least study and work with developers in many instances on projects we believe have the potential to provide significant community benefits. The misconception is that a vote to study something is effectively an approval. Even if a project makes it to the review process, the larger ones generally take a year or more of public meetings, scrutiny and significant revisions before coming to a final vote. Projects might be approved the majority of the time at the final approval stage, but that’s because months, if not years, were spent significantly revising the original plans to ensure that the project fits into the surrounding area well. We don’t always get it right, but we invest a lot of time and effort in the outreach and planning processes to try to ensure that we get it right.

Q: Are you holding office hours as mayor?

Clark: I plan to hold office hours twice a month, likely on Tuesday mornings. We’re still determining the exact time and will publish the schedule on the city website as soon it’s finalized.


Chris Clark becomes Mountain View Mayor - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

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