Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could...

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Schools

Santa Rita students put on Kranky Kids Radio Show

Santa Rita students put on Kranky Kids Radio Show


Traci Newell/ Town Crier
Neighborhood volunteer Lishka DeVoss, center, introduces members of Santa Rita School’s Kranky Kids Radio Club to their interviewee last week. The students star in the Kranky Kids Radio Show, which airs Fridays on KZSU.
...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Sports

Eagles make school history

Eagles make school history

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos High School Eagles defeated Santa Clara High School Tuesday to advance to the Central Coast Section basketball finals Saturday.

The Eagles are headed where no Los Altos High boys basketball team has gone...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los Altos home. Sensors are placed around a city, below, and fou...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

JACK JOSEPH CRANE

JACK JOSEPH CRANE

Long time Los Altos resident, Jack Joseph Crane, loving husband and devoted father of two children, passed away peacefully at the Terraces in Los Altos, Saturday, February 21, 2015. He was 95 years of age. Jack was born on June 22, 1919. He is prec...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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Permanente Creek project an exercise in lunacy

At the rear of Blach Intermediate School, there is a flood-control channel built in 1959 to convey Permanente Creek water to Stevens Creek, which could protect a large part of Mountain View in the event of a 100-year flood. It has functioned flawlessly except for in 1985, when a culvert became blocked and Blach was inundated. The Santa Clara Valley Water District removed the culvert, then built a constriction in the channel near the batting cage to impede the flow to Stevens Creek.

Now it is configured to force floodwaters out of the channel and direct the flow across the school toward El Camino Hospital and beyond. This positions a large number of homes in Mountain View and some in Los Altos, in addition to the hospital since its expansion, in a manufactured flood zone, which has required the owners to pay expensive flood insurance for years.

The water district reports that there is flood potential somewhere on Stevens Creek north of El Camino Real, so the Permanente water cannot be allowed to continue downstream. It must rise out of the channel and go toward the hospital. I’m not making this up. Mountain View’s Public Works Department is not aware of any such problem on Stevens Creek, Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps do not show it and the hospital doesn’t care.

The water district is now in the final stages of soliciting bids to dig a huge flood basin in Rancho San Antonio County Park, which could protect the hospital and residents downstream in Mountain View. If there were a flood danger, the district could remove the constriction within a few days. The basin project requires removing 100 trees with bulldozers creating noise and dust for nine months in the most heavily used part of our park system. The project is a boondoggle.

Santa Clara County Parks authorities were ignorant of the above facts when first approached by the district for permission. Now they are aware but embarrassed to reverse course because they have a long history of cooperation with their friends in the district. Park officials have become derelict in their fundamental duty – to protect a nature preserve.

The Committee for Green Foothills does not object to the project because, when completed, the area will remain open space. No kidding. The Sierra Club is missing in action. GreenTown Los Altos does not object because its members feel unqualified to evaluate a technical dispute between a powerful public utility, which claims the work is essential, and a few engineers such as myself, who say that it is a complete fraud. GreenTown’s reason for neutrality seems to be a common one. But does a person need to be an engineer to conclude that something is amiss when floodwater is being forced out of a channel and directed toward a hospital?

This is a blatant attempt of a government agency not only to waste money to justify its existence, but to commit an environmental crime in the process. The district raised the money with a parcel tax the public innocently approved. It has already wasted millions of dollars.

The audacity in attempting this in our highly educated and environmentally conscious community is astonishing. But district representatives seem to be correct in assuming that the public is easily duped and essentially defenseless against a lavishly funded hustle.

Jerry Clements is a civil engineer who has owned and operated Jerry Clements & Associates in Los Altos for 35 years, a company that specializes in grading and drainage.

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