The Los Altos City Council took the following actions at its Nov. 12 meeting.
No fee change for EV charging stations
The council last week resisted changing the hourly charging fee for the city’s electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, despite numbers that show a cost-recovery shortfall for the program.
Ultimately, the council opted to re-examine the fee structure at the stations’ one-year mark in June after councilmembers appeared initially split.
According to a city staff report, the three EV stations – installed in late March in Parking Plaza 3 off San Antonio Road near the Bus Barn Theater – have cost $3,048 to operate but generated just $2,400 in revenue over the first six months. The $648 shortfall led some councilmembers to express support for increasing the stations’ $1 per hour charging fee.
Councilwoman Val Carpenter told her colleagues that she favored switching to a fee that allows the city to break even, adding that the stations offer an incentive for EV drivers to come to Los Altos.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary for the city to subsidize this program,” she said.
Councilwoman Jan Pepper said she was “comfortable” with a fee of $2 per hour, noting that the city also paid approximately $29,000 to install the stations earlier this year. In addition, she said, EV owners are more concerned with simply finding places to charge their cars.
“I think the issue right now for people who have EVs is knowing where there’s a charging station – not what the cost is,” Pepper said.
Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw, however, countered that his “greatest fear” is that a rate increase could lead to EV owners avoiding the Los Altos stations for cheaper ones elsewhere. The three dual-heading chargers, according to the report, collectively saw 1,145 charges at an average of two hours per session in their first six months.
Councilwoman Megan Satterlee recommended that the council revisit the issue in June, with additional usage data at their disposal before a final fee decision is rendered.
“I don’t think we should be subsidizing this,” she said, “but I don’t think we should be picking up pennies either.”
County DA commends Los Altos Police
A council presentation last week by the Santa Clara County district attorney included praise for the Los Altos Police Department in addition to new details about a recent burglary case.
District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen told the council that his agency – which prosecutes nearly 30,000 cases per year – is pleased to see the lengths that Los Altos Police Department officers and detectives go to solve cases.
“They are in size a small agency, but they make very big arrests,” said Rosen, a Los Altos resident. “Woe to the criminal that has the misfortune of entering into their jurisdiction.”
Rosen pointed to the recent arrests of two burglars – San Francisco residents Dennis Windham and Andre Marcell Clark – accused of breaking into a Los Altos home. As previously reported by the Town Crier, the duo was charged with burglarizing a Cristo Rey Place home in mid-October. That incident occurred days before Windham and Clark were arrested for another burglary after a car chase by Morgan Hill and San Jose police.
Rosen added that the Los Altos burglary charges came after an iPad stolen from the residence started pinging its location because it contained a locator app. That led detectives Mark Thompson and Scott McCrossin to drive up to Oakland, where they located the device at a pawnshop and obtained surveillance tape of the suspects, he added.
“Not every police department’s officers would’ve driven to Oakland, found that pawn shop, then worked with the pawnshop owner to show the surveillance tapes,” Rosen said.
Rosen also noted the arrest earlier this year of Los Altos resident Thomas Andrew Cronin for a string of armed robberies, including a pair of downtown banks. He said the department’s investigative work was “so strong” that Cronin opted to plead guilty in lieu of a trial and is currently serving seven years in state prison.
Rosen also sounded a word of caution for Los Altos residents, noting that elder fraud and abuse, in addition to real estate fraud, remain “quite prevalent” throughout the county.
Former commissioner selected for new post
The council unanimously voted to appoint former Planning Commissioner Ken Lorell to a vacant seat on the Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission.
The vote came after the council conducted eight interviews for the seat, vacant since August. The Planning Commission was disbanded when the previous city council combined it with the Traffic Commission.
Senior Commission deadline extended
The council announced that the deadline to apply for one vacancy on the Senior Commission would be extended to Monday after no one applied during the initial search.
Applicants must be Los Altos residents 55 or older.
For more information, call 947-2720 or visit losaltosca.gov.