Mon05252015

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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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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Generosity comes through again: Thanks from the Publisher

The 2014-2015 Los Altos Town Crier Holiday Fund is drawing to a close. The campaign was the most successful ever, raising more than $250,000 from nearly 400 donors.

The program, launched in 2000, supports Silicon Valley-area nonprofit organizations that invest the fund’s donations for maximum results. The number of nonprofit agencies we support has grown from eight in 2000 to 20 in 2014. For more information on the groups, visit losaltosonline.com.

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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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Public art and developer money: Editorial

Los Altos City Councilmembers last week discussed an interesting idea – applying developer fees to fund more public artwork.

Under the proposal, those looking to build in downtown Los Altos and elsewhere could either contribute a piece of art to complement their project or pay an in-lieu fee to the city so that its Public Arts Commission could recommend a piece for purchase instead. The in-lieu fee discussed is 1 percent of the total project. A $7 million project, say, would yield $70,000 for public art.

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Get used to high and dry: Editorial

Here we are, sitting in the shade of an umbrella table in the heart of sunny downtown Los Altos. It’s short-sleeve weather, 72 degrees, in fact, and we’re not out of winter.

Meanwhile, our friends in New England are being continuously clobbered with snow, with no end in sight. Full-grown men, shoveling snow off the rooftops of their houses, can barely be seen amid the giant mounds of white stuff.

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Good compromise on PE exemptions: Editorial

While “Deflategate” captures the national sports headlines, the local issue of physical education class exemptions for freshmen seems a much worthier sports topic for discussion.

The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees broached the subject two weeks ago amid persistent pressure from parents who objected to some freshmen student-athletes being denied exemptions from taking PE classes.

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