By narrow margin, Mountain View council approves site switch for new district school

Town Crier File Photo
The Mountain View City Council last week approved the Los Altos School District’s pursuit of a 9.65-acre site to build a school.

Los Altos School District officials last week received the OK from the Mountain View City Council to pursue the purchase of a new 9.65-acre site for a school in the city’s high-density San Antonio neighborhood.

Council members voted 4-3 to approve the switch from the previously targeted property at California Street and San Antonio Road to the new site, currently occupied by Kohl’s, 24-Hour Fitness, Joann Fabrics and other smaller businesses, at California and Showers Drive.

Local residents fill downtown Mountain View to protest separation of families

Families Belong Together
Andrew Yee/Special to the Town Crier
Participants of Saturday’s “Families Belong Together” march and rally line El Camino Real at Castro Street in Mountain View. View additional images online at

Local residents and community leaders took to the streets of downtown Mountain View Saturday night at a rally organized by Together We Will Palo Alto/Mountain View to protest the U.S. government’s immigration policies that have led to separating parents from children at the southwest border.

“Immigrants are welcome here. No hate! No fear!” protestors chanted at the intersection of Castro Street and El Camino Real.

The protest was one of many held Saturday throughout the nation, prompted by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s April order of a “zero-tolerance” policy regarding immigration at the border. According to estimates by Propublica, more than 2,300 children have been separated from their families since Sessions’ announcement.

“We want to let the administration and the communities know that what the administration is doing is not OK,” said Sabah Rumanawar, a volunteer with Together We Will, in a phone interview. “And it’s up to the local communities and the state communities and the national communities to come together and make sure that the values of our nation don’t get tainted.”

The closest migrant detainment facility to this area is in Pleasant Hill, according to a Propublica database. The facility, run by the Southwest Key Program, has posted a statement on its website opposing the separation of families at the border stating that “For every child who has come through our shelter doors, we start on day one to reunite them with their parents or a family sponsor and to provide the kind of service that will help them thrive. This has been our priority for decades.”

By the time Saturday’s protest officially started, more than 200 people lined the northeast corner of El Camino and Castro, holding signs with words like “Impeach Hate,” "No refugee prison camps,” and one sign written in Chinese that translated to “Trump is Crazy.”

“I think the community leaders need to show that although it isn’t affecting me personally that it affects people in our community,” said Cupertino Councilman Steven Scharf, who was holding a sign with those words written in Chinese.

Scharf joined fellow community leaders – including Los Altos Mayor Jean Mordo, Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel, East Palo Alto Vice Mayor Lisa Gauthier and Mountain View City Councilman Ken Rosenberg – at the protest.

Although the rally officially began at 7 p.m., supporters started congregating at the intersection at approximately 6:45 p.m. with a couple passersby driving along El Camino yelling to “Build the wall.” By the time the crowd turned to march to Mountain View Civic Plaza, organizer IdaRose Sylvester estimated that more than 1,000 people were in attendance.

“We protested here three weeks ago at the farmers’ market in Mountain View when the news just broke and received 25 people,” the Mountain View resident said. “But someone has told me that they estimated 1,000…But expect this to get much bigger than it is right now.”

By the time the event ended at 9:30 p.m., Sylvester estimated that more than 2,500 protestors – from young to old – filled Civic Plaza.

“When my daughter grows and asks what we did, I want to be able to tell her that we did what we could,” said Mountain View resident Allison Zimmerman, accompanied by her husband and children. “We were in San Jose earlier today and now we’re here showing our support.”

As the marchers settled into Civic Plaza at approximately 8 p.m., Siegel, Gauthier, Rosenberg and other community leaders addressed the crowd.

“How many people are outraged right now?” Rosenberg said. “You are not outraged enough! What is happening is awful and it breaks every covenant we thought we belonged to.”

Rosenberg later added, “Do what our former and real president (Barack Obama) did – ‘Don’t boo, vote.’”

The immigration policy appears to be on its way toward being dismantled; June 26, a Southern California judge ordered the government to reunite all children with their families within 30 days.

“I think that’s too long,” longtime Los Altos resident Janet Harding said. “First of all, they shouldn’t have been separated in the first place. And then they should be reunited within 30 days – that is too long for any child to be taken away from their families.”

View additional images online at

LA police K-9 will get potentially life-saving vest

K9 Bo
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos police K-9 Bo will be provided a blade-proof vest after community members banded together and donated to the cause.

The importance of a tactical vest for not only human police officers, but also their K-9 partners, rose to the forefront of Bay Area residents’ minds after the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety’s K-9 Jax was stabbed to death last Halloween.

The Los Altos Police Department doesn’t want to see its new K-9, Bo, suffer a similar fate and now – with help from the community – has raised enough money to buy a vest to protect the nearly 2-year-old German shepherd.

Santa Clara County disposes of reusable cup survey

Countywide Retail Habit Survey
Ishaan Parmar/Special to the Town Crier
Paper cups used at coffee shops such as Philz are cited as one of the biggest contributors to single-use waste. Philz offers a substantial discount for those who bring a reusable cup.

An online survey seeking to gauge Santa Clara County residents’ thoughts on reusable cups has been prematurely suspended due to concerns it implied officials intend to impose fees upon or ban the sale of disposable beverage containers.

The Countywide Retail Habit Survey originated with the Public Education Subcommittee, a group under the county Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission’s Technical Advisory Committee that consists of officials from various cities who develop community outreach campaigns. Subcommittee members published the survey June 1 and intended to accept responses through June 17, but they discontinued it days before. Subcommittee chairwoman Karin Hickey, environmental program manager for the city of Santa Clara, explained its abrupt end in an email sent to the Town Crier.

Weeds by Miramonte Avenue USPS leave 'mulch' to be desired

Miramonte Post Office
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Weeds at the post office on Miramonte Avenue in Los Altos, above, before they were mowed down last week.

As it turns out, the power is still with the people.

Just days after the Town Crier looked into complaints from multiple residents about unkempt landscaping in front of the United States Postal Service building on Miramonte Avenue in Los Altos, the weeds disappeared.

LAH council selects new Planning Commissioners

Welcome to the dais, Rajiv Patel and C. Edward Smith.

Los Altos Hills City Council members Thursday night selected the two men as the town’s newest Planning Commissioners. As such, they will join Commissioners Jim Basiji, Jitze Couperus and Susan Mandle as advisers to the city council on matters of development.

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