Wed05252016

How to be seen: Other Voices

It is a dark and stormy night. After a long day at the office, you’re about to arrive home. Driving down your street, you spot a faint shadow in the darkness. You slow and see that you have narrowly missed your neighbor, who is out walking his dog.

Many of the things that make Los Altos special – narrow residential streets with muted street lighting and few sidewalks, and our fondness for pets – create an unusually dangerous situation for pedestrians, especially at this time of year when the days are short. When it’s time to take the dog for a walk or get some fresh air, many of us grab the nearest jacket and a flashlight, and become virtually invisible in the night.

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Coming to a school near you: From the City Manager's Desk

 

Pedestrian and bicycle safety is one of Los Altos’ highest priorities, particularly for school-aged children. To address this priority, the city council approved a Pedestrian Master Plan last August with the goal of improving pedestrian safety and mobility throughout the city.

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Light hearts and heavy metal: A Piece of My Mind

I am at the Caravan Lounge in San Jose, the darkest, smallest public space I have ever visited. I am surrounded by black T-shirts, black denim jeans and black leather jackets. A singer at the other end of the bar is screaming over the noise of two extremely amplified electric guitars and a snare drum set. I have earplugs in my ears, but the vibration of the bass guitar is still rattling my breastbone and echoing in my shoulder blades. I am wearing black slacks and a black T-shirt emblazoned with two skeletons, one of which is stabbing the other. My sister M is standing next to me wearing the same shirt. She turns to me with a wide grin and mouths above the din, “Isn’t this great?”

I am here basically because my sister’s husband was brought up in Brazil. When M heard that a trio of Brazilian women musicians needed a place to stay while they recorded their next album, she and her husband volunteered their spare bedrooms, expecting perhaps a nice string trio. Instead they got Nervosa, an up-and-coming Brazilian thrash metal band.

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Letters to the Editor

Clean energy initiative allows local control

GreenTown Los Altos applauds the city councils of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills for joining Silicon Valley Clean Energy.

This new, local nonprofit public agency will buy clean, renewably sourced electricity and help us meet our Climate Action Plan goals. PG&E will still deliver the electricity and send us the bill, but we will get cleaner electricity at very competitive rates.

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Letters to the Editor

Is eminent domain fair to landowners?

In December, I got a mailing from the Sempervirens Fund asking for donations for the 125,000-acre Great Park to link up and protect the redwood forests from Silicon Valley to the Pacific Ocean. Linked to the Great Park is a possible expansion of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

Since the 1900s, my husband’s family has had property within this area that we cherish as part of our legacy. I am part of a group of approximately 250 people who own 60 parcels of land, of which Sempervirens currently owns two parcels. Our area is a prime acquisition target because of Waddell Creek and Big Basin’s trail to the ocean, even though the redwoods are second or third growth, not old growth.

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Editorial: A clash over law -- or politics?

The city of Los Altos recently suspended Citywide Parking Committee meetings to investigate possible violations of the Brown Act, the state’s open meetings law. The city acted in response to a complaint by Friends of Los Altos (FOLA), a group whose board members include David Casas, Ron Packard, Val Carpenter and Lou Becker (former Los Altos City Councilmembers) and Jon Baer and Ken Lorell, both former Planning and Transportation Commission members.

FOLA contends that subcommittees researching and collecting data on city parking options were subject to and violated the Brown Act. Even if two or three members met as a subcommittee, FOLA alleged, there was sharing of information with other subcommittees, thus triggering the Brown Act breach.

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Death and life: No Shoes, Please

I like funerals. This isn’t to say that I’m happy when people die, or that I’m perversely attracted to sorrow and grief. But over the years, I’ve attended my fair share of services, and there are certain attributes – respect, gratitude, love and kindness – that in a funeral reach depths that I don’t see very often on display either in everyday life or on other special occasions.

You would think that given its commanding name, Thanksgiving is the day when cups runneth way over, or that Christmastime – with its governance over peace on earth, goodwill toward men – would be swollen with magnanimous behavior and serenity. But that’s not always the case. I’ve found that stress around major holidays often brings out the worst in people – in stores, seasonal parties and even at family dinner tables.

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