Sat07042015

No confidence in civic center proposals: Editorial

Few Los Altos issues have become more convoluted than the development of the 18-acre Hillview civic center property. Most agree that the area, as currently configured, needs improvement. But nothing has happened in the nearly 10 years since serious discussions began (other than nearly $900,000 spent on consultant fees).

Plans have gone from grandiose and overblown (a costly and complete overhaul of the 18 acres) to a modest renovation of the existing Hillview Community Center buildings.

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A chance to fight cancer Saturday: Editorial

It was 11 years ago that the first Los Altos Relay For Life took place at Los Altos High School. The first couple of Relays proved epic events, filled with committed participants. Tents surrounded the track for the 24-hour American Cancer Society fundraiser.

The events raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and organizers were proud of their top rankings among Relay For Life events across the country. The Town Crier followed suit, providing extensive coverage as teams of participants took turns walking the track to cover the entire 24 hours.

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Editorial: Let's assume not to presume

Two recent downtown Los Altos stories offer lessons in the drawbacks of jumping to conclusions.

A few months back, the Town Crier published an article on Ladera Autoworks on First Street closing its doors. That part was true, but the reason was not. We quoted the business owner, who incorrectly alleged that his building had been sold to a new owner and that he was being forced out.

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Coffee with cops? We'll drink to that: Editorial

The recent “Coffee with a Cop” event proved a good public relations move for the Los Altos Police Department. It also provided a great opportunity for residents to ask questions and converse with several officers, including the police chief, in an informal setting. The gathering was long overdue and well attended – approximately 80 residents showed up to the May 19 event at Main Street Cafe & Books.

The timing of such an event is not coincidental. Police departments across the nation have been under heavy criticism over high-profile incidents in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, among other cities, that paint cops as overzealous enforcers whose violent handling of arrests has resulted in injustice and death. That these deaths happen to involve young black men has further spurred cries of racism and racial profiling.

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What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, time, labor, expertise and sage advice. 

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Giving the thumb to what's done: Editorial

In the wake of recent Los Altos-area news events, we’re all thumbs.

Thumbs-down: To the Los Altos City Council’s decision to put the Walter Singer bust in storage. This is wrong on so many levels – even worse than the initial council decision to transfer the bust to the grounds of the Los Altos History Museum.

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We'll buy it; what is it? Editorial

Would you buy a device on the condition that you are kept in the dark about how it works? Would you feel good about purchasing such a device when the contract even calls for nondisclosure of the nondisclosure form that keeps the device top secret?

That’s the situation local officials faced recently when Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith sought approval for a $500,000 cellphone tracking device to help in capturing criminals. Such use, of course, would apply to the town of Los Altos Hills and the county’s unincorporated areas around Los Altos, both under Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction.

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