Following are highlights from the Sept. 19 Los Altos Hills City Council meeting.
The next council meeting is scheduled 6 p.m. Oct. 17 at town hall, 26375 W. Fremont Road.
Town awards community service grants
After reviewing applications and statements from local nonprofit organizations, the council awarded $51,500 in Community Service Grants for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
Although 17 organizations applied for $90,158 in funding, only 14 received grants. The council voted to remove three applicants from the pool of eligible grantees: the YWCA, the Los Altos Rotary AIDS Project and the Community School of Music and Arts. During the previous grant year, the town awarded the YWCA a $1,000 grant and the AIDS Project a $2,800 grant.
Los Altos Hills renewed the grants of Friends of Deer Hollow Farm ($9,000), Hidden Villa ($9,000), the Community Health Awareness Council ($6,400), the Community Services Agency ($6,100), the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter ($4,000), the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA ($2,300), the Rotary Club of Los Altos Art Show ($2,200), the Los Altos Mediation Program ($2,100), the Day Worker Center of Mountain View ($2,100), Joint Venture Silicon Valley ($1,800), the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce ($1,800), Next Door Solutions ($1,700) and United Way Silicon Valley ($1,600). The only new recipient, the Center for Age-Friendly Cities, received $1,400.
Mayor Gary Waldeck explained the town’s use of taxpayer funds to underwrite the grants.
“We don’t have a downtown, we don’t have a library or a number of facilities we strongly benefit from,” he said. “Some of these grants go toward making these services available to us.”
Council proposes discussion on schools conflict
When Los Altos and Los Altos Hills city councilmembers convene Oct. 23 for a joint meeting at town hall, the elephant in the room – the ongoing conflict between the Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School – may get cornered. That is, if a conversation on how the councils can ameliorate the situation succeeds.
“It’s about time the two cities most affected take a stand and do something about it,” Los Altos Hills City Councilman John Radford said. “Both councils want to see something happen.”
Although Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan said she was concerned that the meeting might get “hijacked by the public,” she noted that the issue connected to other big-picture questions that councilmembers could discuss.
“Why are so many students commuting across town instead of being able to walk across town?” Corrigan asked, noting that she passes by several schools when transporting her children to school.
Other items on the agenda for the joint council meeting include shared funding for a new community and senior center, the sewer agreement, sidewalk construction on West Edith Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Cypress Drive and a proposal for a crossing guard to help students safely cross Foothill at Edith.
Radford, Corrigan selected mayor, vice mayor for 2014
Members of the previous council saved the town nearly $10,000 by appointing the sole three candidates to the council in the 2012 race instead of requiring an election, but they did not anticipate the challenge the decision would present in determining mayoral succession. In the past, the number of votes an incoming councilmember received determined the order of who would serve next as mayor.
During lengthy debate at the last three meetings, the council considered shortening mayoral terms from one year to allow all five members of the council a term as mayor for a shorter length of time. Following the discussion, the council unanimously voted to maintain the existing system of four one-year terms, even if it caused one councilmember to miss an opportunity to serve as mayor. Under the current process, when Waldeck’s term ends, three other members of the council can each serve a year as mayor.
“I’m willing to compromise,” said Councilman John Harpootlian, who agreed to hedge his bets in favor of the current system even though he may not get to serve as mayor.
As the longest-serving councilmember who has not served as mayor, Radford will take the position in 2014. Councilmembers nominated Corrigan to serve as vice mayor.
– Ellie Van Houtte