From the Mayor's Desk: Los Altos council working to return to chambers

I have heard from many of you who are concerned about whether the Los Altos City Council will ever be returning to our official chambers at city hall, where for many decades the council has conducted its work.

These chambers were paid for with your tax dollars, and you would like to see the business of our government take place right there where you can see it and participate in it. That’s how it works in Washington, D.C., and in Sacramento. Right now, to many of you, it seems that in Los Altos, the elected city government has been evicted from its home.

This has been challenging for those who don’t like to or cannot drive at night. Until our recent move, residents had been able to watch our council meetings on television streamed live from the council chambers at city hall. Unfortunately, we don’t have a system in place to make livestreaming possible in our temporary meeting rooms. As a result, the burden of this move and the loss of livestreaming has fallen disproportionately on our senior citizens and the disabled. But this has also created a challenge for busy parents who want to stay informed, yet need to be home at night with family.

Livestreaming is just one of the problems. Although we worked hard to make accommodations at the Los Altos Youth Center, where we’ve been holding many of our meetings, the audio system did not always work well, and, during the heat of the summer, the temporary air-conditioning system sometimes drowned out the audio system. In a community such as ours, in the heart of Silicon Valley, this does not seem appropriate.

I greatly appreciate your patience as the council works through this. The council is scheduled to discuss this item at our meeting Tuesday. We look forward to hearing from you. We have hired experts to conduct tests to better identify any environmental concerns. Now, we can move forward on implementing their recommendations. Then, we expect to return to conducting the people’s business, once again, in our official council chambers at city hall.

Lynette Lee Eng is mayor of Los Altos.

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