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Giving the thumb to recent actions

Based on last weeks election returns and some recent actions Los Altos and Los Altos Hills city councils, we present some brief, but highly opinionated, reactions: Thumbs down: To Santa Clara County residents who voted against Measure B, a parcel tax that would have maintained hours and services at local libraries, including the Los Altos branches. Despite the Los Altos area carrying the measure with 80 percent in favor, the remainder of the county wasn't so receptive and measure failed to reach the necessary two-thirds majority to pass. This may be opening a can of worms, but the question should be asked: Would Los Altos be better off to join cities such as Mountain View and Sunnyvale, that have their own independent libraries, without being dragged down by the rest of the county?

Thumbs up: Meanwhile, the passage of state propositions 55, 57 and 58 bode well for our local school districts and city governments. Double thumbs-up: No on 56 meant no blank check for the legislature to keep raising taxes.

Thumbs up: To the Los Altos City Council for continued receptiveness to favorable downtown development. First, the council scrapped the $1 million extortion fee previously proposed to the Los Altos Grill (formerly Bandera), then cleared the way for the popular restaurant to open for lunch. Then the council reopened talks with developer Roxy Rapp for a boutique hotel at First and Main streets, still the best use for that property. Last week's discussions also gave indication the council may be willing to direct the city to sell the property and get out of the commercial leasing business which has been in the doldrums the past eight years on this property.

Thumbs down: To the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly INS) for apparently not being able to tell the difference between a terrorist and a piano teacher. First, the bureau locked up Yana Slobodova, who taught at the Community School of Music & Arts, for 20 days, then refused to release her unless she signed an agreement not to appeal the bureau's demand that she be deported. Slobodova did enter this country illegally eight years ago, but has since sought to make it right, working with the system. Still, immigration officials were firm that she had to leave, even though Slobodova did not get to defend herself in front of those making the decision. She left for Russia Feb. 29, leaving behind her husband and young son.

Thumbs up: To the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce and Los Altos Village Association for joining forces to promote shopping locally, helping merchants and ultimately, city services. One percent of all sales taxes go directly to the city of Los Altos. The two business organizations jointly sponsored a banner that went up this week across Main Street urging residents to shop in town.

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