Tue08042015

News

Case of the forged memo: Allegations deemed 'baseless'


An investigation into an allegedly forged city document concluded that the claims were “baseless,” according to a press release from the city of Los Altos.

The investigation centered on a memorandum Community Development Director James Walgren distributed March 16 to the Citywide Parking Committee. Committee member and downtown property owner Kim Cranston alleged that the memo was a forgery intended to mislead the committee about the history of downtown parking.

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Ex-Peninsula Symphony director sentenced to nine years for embezzlement, fraud


Disgraced Executive Director Steve Carlton has been sentenced to nine years in state prison for a host of crimes – embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion and forgery – that nearly brought down the Los Altos-based Peninsula Symphony.

Carlton, convicted in December, was sentenced Thursday in Santa Clara County Superior Court with approximately 30 onlookers in attendance – most of them longtime supporters of the 64-year-old symphony.

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City considers mixed-use Loyola Corners project


Rendering Courtesy of Silicon Valley Property Management Group
Los Altos is mulling a Loyola Corners retail and condominium development, shown above in a photo rendering.

A proposed three-story, mixed-use building in Loyola Corners has drawn mixed reaction.

The Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) Thursday recommended that the city council reject the project. City planning staff, however, urged approval. City Clerk Jon Maginot said the city council plans to review the project at a date to be scheduled.

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'Vibrancy' sets tone for Downtown Plan


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Downtown development has generated a wide range of opinion, prompting the city council to seek public feedback.

The public’s vision for downtown Los Altos primarily hinges on one factor – vibrancy.

“It kind of translates into economic development,” said Mayor Jan Pepper.

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Police rise to the occasion, nab burglary suspect in Los Altos bakery


Los Altos police cornered a suspected burglar at Los Altos Bakery June 1 after the wanted felon rammed into an occupied detective car and led police on a vehicle chase, according to a press release from the Palo Alto Police Department.

No one was injured in the incident.

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Former symphony director sentenced

Disgraced executive director Steve Carlton has been sentenced to nine years in state prison for a host of crimes, among them embezzlement and forgery, that nearly brought down the Los Altos-based Peninsula Symphony.

Carlton, convicted in December, was sentenced Thursday (June 4) in Santa Clara County Superior Court with approximately 30 onlookers in attendance – most of them longtime supporters of the 64-year-old symphony.

Symphony board members Dick Bennett and Alan Bien were among four speakers urging the harshest punishment possible for Carlton, who drained nearly $700,000 from the symphony’s endowment and operating funds. 

Among the transgressions, Carlton pocketed $228,000 for his own personal use – with the remaining amount simply gone. Carlton kept online records, and they’ve been erased. In addition, he wrote checks forging the signatures of symphony board members.

Barely subduing his anger, Bennett spoke of feeling betrayed and took responsibility for hiring Carlton. Carlton resigned in September 2013 when symphony board members discovered the missing funds.

Carlton, his shackled hands shaking, stood to face his victims and offered his “sincere apologies” for his actions, which he said, were a result of an addiction. It was not specified in court what that addiction was.

This marked the second major crime in which Carlton was convicted and sentenced. He pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of his first wife in 1991, and served four years in prison. Since the conviction came before the voter-approved three strikes law, Superior Court Judge Allison Danner did not allow it to factor in with this case. Under three strikes, Carlton could have faced 25 years to life in prison.

For more on this story, read the June 10 edition of the Town Crier. 

Hills council strikes down proposed moratorium on substandard lots

With a divided vote, the Los Altos Hills City Council Wednesday (June 3) struck down a proposed 45-day moratorium on substandard lot development.

Mayor Courtenay C. Corrigan and Councilmember John Radford cast dissenting votes opposing the moratorium on conditional development permit (CDP) applications. For the moratorium to pass, at least four of the five councilmembers needed to vote in favor of it.

“I’m not happy with some of what’s going on, but I think our current rules are sufficient,” Radford said.

Councilmembers John Harpootlian, Rich Larsen and Gary Waldeck voted in support of the moratorium.

CDP applications are required for expansion or new development when a residential property’s Lot Unit Factor – indicating how large a home can be – is less than half an acre. Although the town’s founding documents indicate a standard of 1-acre lot sizes, there are at least 50 lots of half an acre or less in Los Altos Hills.

Planning commission members have formed an ad hoc committee to examine existing CDP regulations, including the acceptable number of variances and exceptions allowed in conjunction with CDPs.

Approximately 20 Los Altos Hills residents and developers spoke during the public comment session of the morning meeting, an estimated half of whom favored the moratorium.

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