LACI calls halt to First Street Green
It is with great sadness that I am announcing we are not moving forward with the First Street Green development project.
I love Los Altos. It is a fabulous town. As a native of this area, I appreciate how Los Altos has kept its charm and has focused on the citizens of the town. We have a fabulous community and I wish to contribute to the vibrancy and closeness that we have today.
The First Street Green project was conceived with the hope of contributing vibrancy and community space to the town. Unfortunately, the First Street Green project as proposed became unsustainable due to overall costs, opposition by some and the likelihood of a long and increasingly expensive process.
I remain devoted to the town and am hopeful that future opportunities to partner with the town will emerge. I am not easily deterred, and I look at this as a change of course rather than a step away.
I have been lucky to meet many people in the community through this project and have been inspired by the overwhelming support for a community-focused development initiative. I am grateful to all of you who supported the First Street Green and grateful for my team, who worked tirelessly to make this happen. To those in the community who opened their homes to host events in support of the project and showed up at hearings to speak in support while wearing green, thank you for joining us. I am also thankful for the feedback from the individuals who were skeptical of the project, as it helped me better understand the needs and priorities of the community.
Thank you as well to the city council and staff for the hours of work and dedicated time listening to our proposals. This work will not be wasted, as I believe we all learned a lot and can do better next time.
Los Altos Community Investments
Add second story to main library
With over 1,500 patrons per day, the Los Altos main library is the most visited library in the Santa Clara County Library District. This success has caused the library to outgrow its current facility.
To continue to best serve its patrons, the most obvious choice is to expand at the current site with a second floor that can provide:
• A much larger and well-equipped community room for library programs.
• A landscaped indoor/outdoor terrace to accommodate the current actively used snack bar operated by the Friends of the Library of Los Altos.
• Additional shelf space for current books that must be stored off-site.
• A separate teen room for tutoring and studying.
• A dedicated computer room.
• Several sponsored meeting rooms with access to the library assets.
The land exists, the parking exists and, more importantly, the current main library location is the centerpiece of the Los Altos intellectual establishment consisting of the History Museum, Hillview Community Center with its ongoing education classes and Bus Barn Theater, all of which draw upon and feed to each other. Separating any of these would destroy this intellectual, educational and entertainment environment and cost much, much more.
10th LASD school site: Is it necessary?
What the community – taxpayers and both Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School parents – wants from the district is a real discussion of the strategy behind the attempts to buy land.
Is it for the north of El Camino Real population? Is it for Bullis Charter School? Is it necessary?
How can the district justify buying expensive real estate when every dollar spent is one less dollar spent on building and improving the schools we already have, which are in need of extensive improvements and renovations?
The Measure N dollars we provided to the district are for facilities improvements across all our schools – not purchasing land. We have three large sites to work with and absolutely no reason that any of them cannot be configured to work.
Yes, the district will have to work with the city to mitigate traffic and clearly explain the issues to the parents, but that is part of the job of trustee, right?
District trustees have been unwilling at every turn to have an open, honest and fair discussion with the public about using existing land. What concerns me is not looking at all the options for existing land as of today, not the limited ones that the district and its task force came up with years ago.
The district has an obligation to provide the best options, and has an obligation to use the taxpayer money wisely. I’ve seen no plan for that.
The only real estate purchase I can support would be to create a neighborhood school for the north of El Camino Real student population – which is the only population that is growing (besides Bullis Charter School, of course).
The Los Altos School District needs to push the restart button and begin having public discussions of its strategy on how to best support both the north of El Camino (Mountain View) and Bullis Charter School populations.
Planning Commission failed to review project
Shame, shame on the Los Altos Planning Commission.
On Oct. 4, the lot on the corner of Eureka Avenue and Grant Road came before the Planning Commission for the second time, a proposal to build a massive, two-story Mediterranean Monster House on a narrow lot. Its neighbors were not adequately notified. A sign on a fence is not sufficient!
We know that we are an R-1-10 Single-Family Zone District, which means that two-story homes are allowed. We know that our neighborhood Block Action Team 43 sent numerous emails, a petition signed by most neighbors and four representatives to the meeting. Three spoke on neighborhood compatibility, privacy, excessive bulk and mass, and safety of the children of three schools that use this street to get to school.
Before us was Zach Dahl, city staff, and three commissioners. Of these four people, only one had been at the previous meeting. I question if our emails were even read by each commissioner. Had anyone come to this street?
The owner of the lot presented false information and in some cases not enough information. There were walls missing in the architectural drawing. The driveway was not accurate. The landscaping was fake. These were important factors that had been reviewed in the case right before ours.
It was suggested that our neighborhood consider applying for rezoning to a Single-Story Overlay Zone District, involving paying many thousands of dollars. Dahl instructed the commissioners not to give a continuance, but to vote on this project, and so they did.
We tried hard! We lost!
LAH earns praise for stinkwort eradication
Kudos to the town of Los Altos Hills for controlling stinkwort in residents’ yards.
I have witnessed the rapid proliferation of this highly invasive weed both in our towns and throughout our open spaces in California. The infestation in Los Altos Hills threatens nearby parks and open spaces. Once established, stinkwort can form thick monocultures, reducing biodiversity, outcompeting native plants and destroying habitat for wildlife.
I hope this effort continues in the future with spraying taking place a bit earlier in the season before flowering. I applaud the effort and hope residents begin to recognize this weed on their properties and aggressively control it as well.
LAHS alum takes issue with ‘taking a knee’
As a former resident and alumnus of Los Altos High School, I am greatly appreciative of such good fortune, more so due to the fact that I have lived for the past 40-some years in one of the most impoverished rural counties in our state.
My major concern over the photo and story that ran in the Town Crier about a few Los Altos High football players using the national anthem as a vehicle to express their disappointment over perceived American shortcomings has to do with the referenced coaches and school staff (“Los Altos High players take a knee,” Oct. 4).
While sympathy for the athletes is well and good, I fervently hope that it was accompanied with an explanation for the proper perspective.
Quite simply, the national anthem is an ode aimed at our aspirations, not our perfection. I believe my Los Altos High principal, Dushan “Dude” Angius, and head coach, Tom Burt, would have articulately conveyed that concept to the protesting athletes, and it would have inspired, not offended them.
I believe they also would have made absolutely clear that such displays would no longer be tolerated during the national anthem. The first time might have been free.
Los Altos High Class of 1968
Library setup inspires ‘total satisfaction’
In response to the letter “Reasons new library should move downtown” (Oct. 4), I must say I find the current library location and facility totally meeting our family’s needs.
The online reservation, notification and speedy checkout systems are superb. When I want to go read in the library, I have almost always been able to find a comfy chair. Wi-Fi works adequately well. And the multipurpose room seems to be well utilized.
So I see no compelling need to move or change the library. I’m sure there are additional amenities that I might enjoy if I were better informed, but I want to voice my total satisfaction with the current setup.
Los Altos Hills
Los Altos Hills