Mon10202014

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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To do or not do, to like or not like

Reflections

Like Tevya In "Fiddler On the Roof," I have a constant dilemma: making up my mind. Tevya sets up one side of a question, makes up his mind, then says,"On the other hand ..." I understand him completely. A mind that balances both sides of an issue finds it difficult to make a decision.

In my days of grading student essays, I'd anguish over choosing a high grade for creativity and logic vs. a lower one for frequent errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. It wasn't only a professional judgment on my part, but also the ever-present compassion. This student was someone's child, with feelings of pain and loss of self-respect if dealt the lower grade.

The pain became mine, however, because of the need to reread each paper several times before my professional judgment won out. At least I decided to use green or purple ink rather than the blood-red marks all over the paper. I knew also that students counted the "goods" and "well-dones" in the margin that helped to soften the "needs more work" or "How about a specific example?" scribbled in other places. I could not, in good conscience, ignore the errors, hearing in my head parents' shocked comments or the weary complaints of college English teachers who felt that we forced them to do remedial work.

Other judgment calls put me on the fence as well. As a drama critic, I must evaluate the success of local theater groups in presenting the opening of a new play. To be supremely objective, one must divorce oneself from audience reaction, personal favorites or the opinions of fellow critics.

Recently, I praised the musical "Raisin" for its sincere adaptation of "Raisin in the Sun," which I had taught many times. Should I carp at some of the singing that sounded a bit strained or at the contrast between the raucous music and the emotional story? The worst scenario occurred when a fellow critic blasted the production as "dated" and some friends agreed. Wait a minute. The audience can recognize a play's themes even if time has changed the way history views the passions of the black American characters in Lorraine Hansberry's drama. Can one say that "Saving Private Ryan" is dated because of the language of some of the GIs?

As a former film reviewer, I find it hard to view a film dispassionately. We went to see "There's Something About Mary," fully expecting to laugh and relax as Siskel and Ebert promised we would. We left the theater disgruntled and annoyed with the inanity of the plot and the antics of the characters, not one of whom we could find sympathetic. For once I had no problems making up my mind. Boo, hiss!

Unhappily, I find that I have joined the majority in judging Bill Clinton. I went from a very naive belief in our president's denial of wrongdoing to painful cynicism when the tawdry details came out. Being on the fence in this case proved terribly destructive to my belief in Clinton's public statements. Wanting something to be true does not prove to be an intelligent way to evaluate an important problem. How can one trust a liar, a public liar at that? It didn't help to be aware of President Kennedy's amoral behavior or of President Roosevelt's dancing around the horrors of the Holocaust. Most of those revelations came out long after their time in office.

I suspect my Tevya-like balancing act will always be part of my need to evaluate our times. Uncomfortable as it may be to stand alone, I realize I find it hard to divorce my judgments from my instincts to see the world in a positive way.

I value the words of Thoreau:

If a man does not keep

pace with his companions,

perhaps it is because

he hears a different drummer.

Let him step to the music

he hears,

however measured or far away.

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