Fri12192014

News

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.

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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.

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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 sccgov.org 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.

County libraries – including Los Altos – are free again


Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Patrons enjoy the offerings of the Los Altos Library.

The Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Board voted Thursday to eliminate the $80 annual library-card fee for users who do not live in the library district.

The vote was 8-3 in favor of the motion made by County Supervisor Joe Simitian, serving his second year on the JPA.

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LA City Council approves stricter downtown parking measures


Town Crier File Photo
Former Los Altos Community Services Officer Mark Bennett checks tires in a downtown parking lot a few years ago.

Enhanced parking enforcement is coming to downtown Los Altos.

The Los Altos City Council last week unanimously approved the implementation of graduated parking fines for repeat offenders in the downtown area. The fines would range from $54.50 for a first-time parking offense to $90.80 for a second offense and $151.40 for a third and subsequent violations.

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Theater and parking garage concept gets positive response from council


Rendering
The Los Altos City Council expressed support for a downtown theater, left, and parking garage concept, presented by former Mayor King Lear at an Oct. 28 study session. courtesy of city of Los Altos

The Los Altos City Council reacted favorably last week to a downtown parking garage and theater concept proposed by a former mayor.

During a 45-minute study session Oct. 28, some councilmembers voiced interest in exploring former Mayor King Lear’s idea to construct a 400-space parking garage in Downtown Parking Plaza 3 (next to Los Altos Grill), including condominiums on top. Lear’s concept also calls for the construction of an 11,600-square-foot movie and live-performance theater across Third Street in Parking Plaza 2. The theater, he noted, could include a setback, plazalike front.

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