Los Altos and Los Altos Hills leaders gathered Friday for the annual State of the Cities event to listen to reports from both mayors on the current triumphs and struggles of each town, and also to honor the 2018 recipient of the Walter and Marie Singer Award: Enchanté Boutique Hotel owner Abigail Ahrens.
The award, named after the longtime owners of Los Altos Stationers, who were heavily involved in the community, recognizes a business leader from Los Altos or Los Altos Hills known for giving back.
Ahrens moved to Los Altos in the early 1980s, as 2016 recipients Karen and Tom Smith outlined in a bio on Ahrens’ life prior to handing her a gleaming plaque. (Last year’s recipients, Town Crier publishers Liz and Paul Nyberg, were on vacation.) Since settling here, Ahrens has designed and built more than 100 homes throughout Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, including Los Altos Mayor Jean Mordo’s residence.
Ahrens has been a leader through her ties to the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce and the Los Altos Village Association. She also helped those in need for more than 15 years by sprucing up the Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto at Christmastime.
Several of Ahrens’ children and grandchildren attended Friday’s event, and she named each one of them, stating that her kids especially “helped raise her, which is no small task.” She thanked the community, noting that no one can do work in the community alone. Ahrens said she believed that there was a Santa Claus after being honored with the award. She added that she knew the Singers and cherished the honor even more because of it.
Mordo and Los Altos Hills Mayor John Radford gave Ahrens proclamations from the cities congratulating her on the accomplishment. Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian was on hand to congratulate her as well on behalf of the county.
Radford and Mordo discussed each city’s improvements and what city staff outlined as goals for the year.
Mordo highlighted Los Altos’ continued budget surplus and high spending on civic facilities and infrastructure, while Radford touted an increase in Los Altos Hills’ general fund since he has served as mayor and strides in public safety. Radford briefly choked up at the end of his presentation, as it is his last year on the council before he terms out.
The cities of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills have two long-term goals in common: improving roads and road maintenance and community engagement. Los Altos specifically is working on 15 Safe Routes to School projects, according to Mordo’s presentation. The Los Altos Hills Parks and Recreation Department has organized several events in the past year to enhance a sense of community.