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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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Los Altos mysteries explored


Google Earth image taken April 2013
Some contend that the city of Los Altos initially purchased the .78-acre site at First and Main streets for parking. Approximately how many of the above parking spaces were lost is a matter of confusion – the city cites 54 spaces in one memo, 96 in another.

Mystery 1: How many parking spaces has the Los Altos City Council eliminated since June 2010 in downtown Los Altos, and what will it cost to replace them?

To find out the total number of eliminated spaces, it is useful first to determine part of the answer, which is how many parking spaces the city council eliminated at First and Main streets (400 Main St.). This is complicated by the fact that two important city documents have different numbers for how many spaces were eliminated at First and Main.

The Downtown Parking Management Plan, dated June 2013 and adopted by the city council Sept. 17, 2013, counts “96 parking spaces” at First and Main. However, the Downtown Public Parking Data sheet, dated July 17, 2013, which the city council discussed and put into the record when it adopted the parking plan, states that regarding “Loss of Public Parking District Spaces Due to Downtown Improvements,” the “First and Main Redevelopment” accounts for “54 spaces.”

Which is the correct number: 54 or 96? The actual number of parking spaces (including spaces under trees) at First and Main is shown in the accompanying April 2013 Google Earth image – 96 spaces. The data sheet number is off by 43 percent.

Fiscal impact

The Downtown Parking Management Plan projects the cost to replace parking spaces with a garage as $38,081 per space if the city paid cash. If the city finances construction of the garage over 30 years, the projected cost per net new space, including construction, financing and maintenance costs, is $127,138 (Parking Plan Cost Estimate).

The projected cost in cash to replace the 96 spaces lost at First and Main is $3.6 million. The projected cost to finance construction of the 96 spaces over 30 years, including construction, financing and maintenance, is $12.2 million. The city sold First and Main to the Jeffrey A. Morris Group for $3.1 million, substantially less than what it will cost to replace the parking lost there. This may surprise people who think that the city acquired First and Main for parking.

Read more in the following weeks to get additional clues for figuring out this mystery.

Kim Cranston is a Los Altos Hills resident and downtown Los Altos property owner.

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