Bark beetles targeting drought-weakened trees in Los Altos

Courtesy of City of Los Altos
Red turpentine beetles leave a pink substance when tunneling into pine trees.

A little pest has been wreaking havoc on pine trees in Los Altos, according to city officials.

Rangel Reynoso, the city’s interim maintenance supervisor, told the Town Crier that an infestation of bark beetles – specifically red turpentine beetles – has caused more than a dozen Monterey pine trees on city property to die in recent weeks.


Tight LASD races had supporters on edge of seats

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Measure N election consultant Chris Callaway, from left, Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier and candidate Vladimir Ivanovic check results online as the polls close on election night.

Election Day turned into Election Week for local residents tracking the results of Measure N and the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees race.

After a weeklong topsy-turvy ride, Measure N, the district’s $150 million bond, ultimately reached its 55 percent threshold for passage and voters elected incumbent Tamara Logan and newcomers Sangeeth Peruri and Vladimir Ivanovic to the board.


Mordo, Prochnow elected to Los Altos City Council

Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Los Altos City Council candidates Jean Mordo, left in green, and Mary Prochnow, below left, gathered with supporters on election night.

The Los Altos City Council will feature two new faces next month.

Los Altos residents Nov. 4 elected realtor Mary Prochnow and retiree Jean Mordo to fill two open seats on the council. Prochnow finished at the top of the field of five candidates with 28.67 percent of the 17,565 votes cast in the race. Mordo, a former two-term Los Altos Hills councilman, scored 25.48 percent of the vote. Overall, 62 percent of registered residents cast votes in the council race.


Election 2014 Roundup

The following recap updates the election outcomes of the Nov. 4 races affecting Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Find a listing of final vote counts here.

MVLA High School District

Newcomer Fiona Walter garnered the most votes in the race for seats on the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees, topping incumbents Debbie Torok and Joe Mitchner, who will join her on the board in December.


VTA bus lane plans back for more feedback

The Valley Transportation Authority’s plans to update bus service in Los Altos and Mountain View has some commuters fearing the “fast, frequent and reliable” service that VTA touts could bring gridlock to an already overloaded thoroughfare. Supporters claim that the plans would ease auto traffic as bus trips increase.

VTA has proposed a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan for a 17-mile stretch of El Camino Real from San Jose through Mountain View and Los Altos to Palo Alto. VTA officials have scheduled two meetings in Mountain View Nov. 20 to solicit feedback on the recently released draft environmental impact report for the project.


LASD race: Counting absentee ballots takes time

The fate of a number local races hangs in the balance as the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters continues to tabulate absentee ballots returned to polling places on Election Day.

Who will serve on the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees and whether the district's Measure N bond passes are yet to be determined.  

County Registrar Shannon Bushey said the office is currently processing and counting an estimated 150,000 absentee ballots returned through Nov. 4. The results the office published 4 a.m. Nov. 5 included the 81,000 votes cast at polling places on Election Day.

At 5 p.m. Nov. 5, the registrar released results for 16,000 absentee ballots, but the county still has another 105,000-135,000 absentee ballots to process.

Counting absentee ballots, which arrive in sealed envelopes, is a labor-intensive process. Bushey said the ballots first must be sorted by precinct and go through a sorting machine that tallies them and captures voters’ signatures. The registrar’s office staff must compare the signatures to ensure that they match for approval, and then the staff open the envelopes and prep the ballots for processing the vote counts.

Bushey said the first day of counting absentee ballots includes more preparation and sorting, prompting the low-results count of only 16,000 ballots processed. She estimates that the office will complete counting absentee ballots by Saturday but will work Sunday if necessary.

The Registrar of Voters’ website is scheduled to update totals at 5 p.m. each day.

After absentee ballots are counted, the Registrar of Voters must process the 14,000 provisional ballots cast on Election Day, which, according to Bushey, would take at least a week.

All election results will not be certified officially until Dec. 2.

For updates, visit and click “Election Results.”

Measure N virtually assured a win

Victory is at hand for Measure N, the Los Altos School District's proposed $150 million bond measure. The latest totals show Measure N meeting the 55 percent approval mark needed to pass. The current totals are 8,485 "yes" votes, or 57.27 percent, after additional tallies of absentee ballots. "No" votes totaled 6,332 or 42.73 percent.

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