Simitian pushing for law enforcement reforms in wake of Floyd death

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian June 12 proposed changes to policing and use of force, among them the high-profile “8 Can’t Wait” reforms.
In response to the national outcry in the wake of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Simitian plans to bring the proposal before the Board of Supervisors at its June 23 meeting.
“The details of George Floyd’s killing are by now known to us all. Indeed, they seem all too familiar. Because they are,” said Simitian, whose District 5 includes Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. “What we have just witnessed is and should be deeply disturbing to every American. It is inherently inconsistent with our nation’s stated aspiration to provide equal justice under the law. And there can be no argument that the pain of such behavior weighs most heavily on communities of color.”
Simitian’s proposed package comprises three parts: the “8 Can’t Wait” reforms, a set of additional reforms and a review of existing county policies to ensure compliance with rapidly developing state law on the use of force, including deadly force, by state law enforcement officials.
The “8 Can’t Wait” reforms stem from the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., and a subsequent study. Out of it came eight proposals shown to reduce the incidence and severity of officer-involved violence:
• Requiring officers to intervene to stop another officer from using excessive force.
• Restricting or prohibiting the use of chokeholds, strangleholds, carotid restraints and other approaches that cut off a suspect’s air supply or blood flow.
• Requiring officers to de-escalate situations to the greatest extent possible before using force, and to train officers specifically in de-escalation and violence reduction strategies.
• Updating use of force policies to more clearly represent the maximum level of force allowable in response to specific types of conduct.
• Requiring officers to give a clear verbal warning before using deadly force.
• Prohibiting officers from shooting at moving vehicles unless an individual in the vehicle poses a direct deadly threat by means other than the vehicle.
• Requiring officers to exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before resorting to deadly force.
• Requiring comprehensive reporting of both all uses of force and all threats of force.
In addition to the above “8 Can’t Wait” reforms, Simitian is proposing that county law enforcement officials consider policies:
• Prohibiting the hiring of enforcement and correctional officers with a history of excessive force or serious misconduct complaints.
• Making public a list of all lethal and less-lethal armaments currently owned by county departments.
• Limiting the acquisition of “military-style” weaponry and equipment.
• Banning or limiting the use of tear gas and rubber bullets as a crowd-control technique.
• Restructuring county emergency response to ensure that the county employees best trained and suited to handle a given situation are able to do so.
Simitian is also calling for the county to audit its various policies to ensure compliance with state law.

Curves participating in Relay For Life

Add Relay For Life to the list of events forced to pivot online this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society is scheduled noon to 8 p.m. Saturday. The Silicon Valley North division includes Los Altos.
Elements of the June 20 event include an opening ceremony, survivor and cargiver laps, live music, sidewalk art and face mask contests, “Why I Relay” video messages, a scavenger hunt and luminaria ceremony.
Curves of Los Altos is among the participants in the Silicon Valley North division. The exercise and physical fitness studio has scheduled four classes in support of the Relay: a specialty dance and tai chi class today; a cardio bootcamp and balance class Tuesday; a specialty dance and tai chi class Thursday; and a total body workout class on Relay day. All classes run 12:45-1:15 p.m.
Coaches will be teaching via Zoom from Cuesta Park in Mountain View to raise money for the cause. The recommended donation is $5 per class.
To participate, visit
To donate, make checks out to American Cancer Society and mail or drop off at Curves, 2069 Grant Road, Los Altos 92024.

Free COVID-19 testing offered today in Los Altos

Santa Clara County’s mobile testing unit is providing free COVID-19 testing until 4 p.m. today at the Los Altos Youth Center, 1 N. San Antonio Road.

The testing is free and open to all residents, including those living outside city limits. No appointment is necessary for this walk-up event. No insurance is needed and immigration status will not be checked. The "pop-up" effort is being operated through the county's Valley Medical Center.

The county has scheduled additional North County testing opportunities. Testing also is going on at Creekside Park in Cupertino until 4 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; and at Palo Alto City Hall, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., today through Friday.

The El Camino Healthcare District also is offering testing by appointment only at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. To qualify, you must be a resident of the communities the hospital district serves – Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Sunnyvale. 

Tests may be scheduled by calling 650-940-7022, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit
“We’re finally getting some traction on testing,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. “It’s not yet as much as I’d like to see, and it’s certainly not as fast as I’d like to see, but it’s progress.” 

For more information about the county-sponsored tests, visit

Libraries to offer curbside pickup

Physical books are about to make a shelter-in-place comeback for local readers. Los Altos’ main and Woodland Branch libraries plan to start offering curbside pickup later this month, as well as allowing return of library items checked out before the libraries closed in March.

To acquire new material, library patrons will need to place a hold via their online account and then visit the library to do a curbside hold pickup.

Diridon stresses urgency in fight against climate change


By Patricia Rohrs

Rod Diridon Sr. strayed from his usual focus on public transportation to discuss the sobering subject of climate change and mass extinction at the Rotary Club of Los Altos’ May 28 virtual meeting.

The former Santa Clara County supervisor, a tireless advocate of mass transit for decades, related his latest passion as chairman of the Rotary District 5170 Climate Action Council in a presentation titled “Climate Change: Combating the Sixth Mass Extinction?”

Midpen talks 'Coexisting with Cougars'

Town Crier File Photo
Incidents involving mountain lion attacks remain low, Matt Sharp Chaney said during the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s recent “Coexisting with Cougars” presentation.

A person is more likely to get in a car accident in the parking lot of a Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District preserve than encounter a mountain lion on a trail, speaker Matt Sharp Chaney said during Midpen’s recent “Coexisting with Cougars” virtual presentation.

While the risk of being attacked by a mountain lion is even lower, he advised preserve users to take precautions.

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