Mixed local excitement as new tier allows indoor dining

Mixed local excitement as new tier allows indoor dining

Eric Davidove/Special to the Town Crier
Giovanni Me...
Campaign signs disrupt Los Altos Hills council election

Campaign signs disrupt Los Altos Hills council election

Like all major scandals since 1972, this one deser...

Mah draws criticism for use of congressman’s quote in mailer

Mah draws criticism for use of congressman’s quote in mailer

Courtesy of Sangeeth Peruri
A recent mailer support...
Potentially misleading ‘Cops Voter Guide’ arrives in residents’ mailboxes

Potentially misleading ‘Cops Voter Guide’ arrives in residents’ mailboxes

A “Cops Voter Guide” mailed recently to Los Altos ...

COVID-19 Live Blog: County pushes back against allowing fans at sporting events

COVID-19 Live Blog: County pushes back against allowing fans at sporting events

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Santa...

Developer of major Los Altos housing project faces continued legal woes

Developer of major Los Altos housing project faces continued legal woes

Town Crier File Photo
Dutchints Development is invo...

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Fred Vertel, 86: Creator of History Museum’s model-train display

Fred Vertel, 86: Creator of History Museum’s model-train display

Town Crier Staff Report

Courtesy of John Vertel
Fred Vertel created the 1930s-era train diorama for the Los Altos History Museum’s permanent exhibition.

For two decades, visito...

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News

PG&E warns of potential pre-emptive outages for Hills residents

2 DAYS AGO
PG&E warns of potential pre-emptive outages for Hills residents

Los Altos Hills is among communities across the state subject to a PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) watch between Sunday (Oct. 25) and Tuesday (Oct. 27).

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Developers seeking additional $4M in damages from Los Altos

2 DAYS AGO
Developers seeking additional $4M in damages from Los Altos

Developers involved in a controversial five-story building proposal for downtown Los Altos are seeking an additional $4 million in damages from the city, which has fought against the project.

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Schools

Los Altos announces playgrounds are back open

2 DAYS AGO
Los Altos announces playgrounds are back open

Los Altos is reopening playgrounds for the first time since they were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, city officials said in a press release Friday.

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Los Altos Art Docents celebrate 50 years

3 DAYS AGO
Los Altos Art Docents celebrate 50 years
Courtesy of Los Altos Art Docents
The Los Altos Art Docents are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Current Art Docents chair Nicole Snedigar is a second-generation docent – her mother, Melinda Reed, above, taught in the 1980s.

The Los Altos Art Docents were founded in 1970 during a time of ...

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Community

Day Worker Center marks 24th anniversary with online event

3 DAYS AGO

The Day Worker Center of Mountain View has scheduled a virtual 24th anniversary celebration 6-7 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 24), broadcasting live from Red Rock Coffee.

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Campaign installation finds comfort in absurdity

4 DAYS AGO
Campaign installation finds comfort in absurdity
Courtesy of Elizabeth Bennett
The latest election signs to sprout in downtown Los Altos provide a cockeyed look at down ballot races.

Los Altos resident Nancy Wolfe spotted election lawn signs last week that demanded a double-take. Taken individually, they pair the rhetoric of the moment with flights ...

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Sports

St. Francis golfer plays 100 holes in single day

4 DAYS AGO
St. Francis golfer plays 100 holes in single day
Courtesy of Ryan Oberweis-Manion
Max Oberweis-Manion, right, participates in Youth on Course’s 100-Hole Hike, aided by his brother, Ryan, last week in San Jose.

For Max Oberweis-Manion, playing 100 holes of golf in one day was like a marathon and a sprint.

With the days getting shorter, he and the othe...

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After returning to LAHS as teacher, 3-sport athlete Bjorklund pursues Ph.D.

4 DAYS AGO
After returning to LAHS as teacher, 3-sport athlete Bjorklund pursues Ph.D.

After four years as a standout student-athlete at Los Altos High in the 1990s, Peter Bjorklund returned to his alma mater as a history teacher for seven years. After leaving in 2014, he’s back in the classroom – this time as a student.

A football, basketball and track and field standout for the Eagle...

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Comment

Other Voices: How props 15, 19 may affect tax and estate planning

4 DAYS AGO

This article is not intended to be tax advice. Readers should contact their personal tax adviser regarding their specific circumstances. The following is intended to be an overview of state propositions 15 and 19 for educational purposes.

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Letters to the Editor: Schools races, LAH issues

4 DAYS AGO

Schools community must work together

In the Town Crier’s Oct. 7 editorial endorsing Grace Mah, I was dismayed to see the claim that “helping vulnerable populations” is not something our community needs to be concerned with. Just as bad, in the middle of a pandemic emergency, is the later insinua...

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Special Sections

Private company plans to offer COVID-19 testing in Los Altos

4 DAYS AGO

A local private testing company is scheduled to offer COVID-19 testing in Los Altos next week.

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Take action to protect against COVID-19 and the flu

4 DAYS AGO
Take action to protect against COVID-19 and the flu

We’re about to embark on what health officials are calling a “twindemic,” where we’ll face the overlap of the flu season and an increase in COVID-19 cases over the fall and winter.

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Business

Developer of major Los Altos housing project faces continued legal woes

4 DAYS AGO
Developer of major Los Altos housing project faces continued legal woes
Town Crier File Photo
Dutchints Development is involved in mounting litigation, calling into question a large planned housing complex on El Camino Real.

Dutchints Development, the luxury real estate developer that secured city approval to construct a large housing complex on El Camino Real, continues ...

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Los Altos Draeger’s Market close to completing an extensive remodel

4 DAYS AGO
Los Altos Draeger’s Market close to completing an extensive remodel
Eric Davidove/Special to the Town Crier
Draeger’s Market in Los Altos is nearly finished with a substantial remodeling project that has been ongoing since June.

Draeger’s Market on First Street in Los Altos is nearing the end of an extensive remodeling project that will enable it to expand space for p...

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People

Fred Vertel, 86: Creator of History Museum’s model-train display

5 DAYS AGO
Fred Vertel, 86: Creator of History Museum’s model-train display
Courtesy of John Vertel
Fred Vertel created the 1930s-era train diorama for the Los Altos History Museum’s permanent exhibition.

For two decades, visitors to the Los Altos History Museum have stood over the popular 1932-era train diorama that is a central part of the museum’s permanent exhibition. The...

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Patricia Broussard

5 DAYS AGO

Patricia Broussard passed away peacefully Oct 8, 2020

She was born in Tottenham, London and raised her family in Los Altos, Ca,

A partner in Barber  Properties and very active in the community.

She retired to Carmel Valley in 2000.

She is survived by her husband Charles, Son Trevor Williams and fam...

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Stepping Out

PA Players opens cabaret series

4 DAYS AGO
PA Players opens cabaret series
Joyce Goldschmid/Special to the Town Crier
Songs from “The Addams Family,” staged by Palo Alto Players in 2015, are part of the cabaret series..

Palo Alto Players has created a new virtual cabaret series for the fall that is slated to begin this week.

Titled “Homebound Cabarets,” the series features Pa...

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TheatreWorks offers ‘Voices’

4 DAYS AGO

To encourage its audiences to get out the vote and stand up for racial justice, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has launched an online initiative called “Voices of Democracy.”

Part of TheatreWorks from Home, a virtual stage for the company while in-person performances are postponed due to the pandemic, “...

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Spiritual Life

Reach beyond racism: Baha’i teachings emphasize unity and diversity

18 DAYS AGO

“Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance, it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with ...

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New St. Simon pastor’s approach: ‘You need to welcome people to the table’

1 MONTHS AGO
New St. Simon pastor’s approach: ‘You need to welcome people to the table’
 
The Rev. Brendan McGuire and friend.

St. Simon Catholic Parish recently appointed Father Brendan McGuire, a native of Ireland, to serve as its fifth pastor over the course of the church’s 65-year history.

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Magazine

Ask a Designer: Indoor, outdoor upgrades

2 MONTHS AGO
Ask a Designer: Indoor, outdoor upgrades
Courtesy of Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens
As the shelter-in-place orders continue, some homeowners may consider creating a nicer outdoor living space and kitchen.

Q: A leak was just discovered behind a wall in our shower. We’ll have to remove the tile to repair it. What are some of the newer options fo...

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Native Plants: Garden visits go virtual

2 MONTHS AGO
Native Plants: Garden visits go virtual
Courtesy of Dennis Cater
Growing the California Dutchman’s Pipe on a trellis against a fence
highlights the interesting flowers in this Los Altos garden.

In the native garden, summer and early fall are a good time to assess your existing plantings and figure out what to do once the rainy season begins....

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Policing town hall draws large turnout, passionate discussion about reform

Open Streets
Screenshot From Town Hall
Los Altos city leaders participated in a virtual town hall on policing on Tuesday. The discussion was moderated by former Superior Court of California Judge LaDoris Cordell.

Approximately 160 attendees participated in a virtual town hall on policing in Los Altos Tuesday (July 28), pressing the police chief, city council and city manager on a variety of issues surrounding police reform.

During the three-and-a-half-hour listening session moderated by retired Superior Court of California Judge LaDoris Cordell, nearly 50 speakers directly addressed the five council members, Police Chief Andy Galea and City Manager Chris Jordan. Many more submitted written questions and comments via text. They reacted to the citation and arrest data recently released by the city, questioned the necessity of school resource officers and shared their personal experiences with police.

Cordell, with her sharp, clear voice, toggled seamlessly between speakers and written comments, one after the other. Galea responded to most questions and concerns, and Mayor Jan Pepper pledged to discuss the opinions voiced at next month’s council meeting.

Data feedback

At the top of many participants’ minds was the data on arrests and citations made by Los Altos police over the past three years, which indicated a much higher rate of nonresident stops and disproportionate stops of Black and Hispanic people. However, the city did not provide data on stops that didn’t result in citations or arrests, and a fair portion of data was attributed to an “other” category of race – because California drivers’ licenses don’t list a person’s race and officers rely on their observations.

Still, the data that was released drew criticism.

“Any way you look at it, the numbers are appalling,” said Susan Russell, a longtime Los Altos resident. “As a white person who has lived here for more than 40 years, I’ve never been stopped. I don’t think I’m a good driver.”

Jeanine Valadez, a Hispanic Los Altos homeowner since 1989, said that she has been stopped eight to 10 times, and additional stop data would be important because she never felt comfortable reporting the interactions to police herself, as the police had her license and home address.

Most of her stops, Valadez claimed, consisted of police asking if she owned the Lexus she drove in or if she were a resident. Then, they would return her license to her and walk away. When her son – a Los Altos High School graduate – was 10, he made her a Build-a-Bear dressed as a police officer with a voice chip programmed to say, “Is this your car, ma’am?”

“It was kind of a sad family joke,” Valadez said. “My family in Southern California would make fun of me for living in Los Altos because I was always stopped.”

Los Altos does not have to comply with the Racial and Identity Profiling Act, which requires release of more extensive data, until 2023. Galea said the city was working toward technology upgrades to be able to produce more data.

“You can certainly draw some conclusions just by the numbers themselves,” Galea said. “I think to really make or reach any substantive conclusions about any of the data, there needs to be a lot more research to be done.”

School resource officers

At least one-fifth of the speakers said they were either part of or supporting Justice Vanguard Foundation, an activist group comprising students, alumni and staff from the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. The speakers from the organization strongly favored police reform and encouraged city leaders to be more progressive in making changes to the police department.

Many of the speakers with ties to MVLA urged Galea to consider removing school resource officers, which, according to the city website, “function as a police officer in the school setting.”

Seth Donnelly, who has taught at Los Altos High School for more than 20 years, said many students and staff of color feel racially subjected to and profiled by SROs.

“That does not mean every individual SRO is a bad person,” Donnelly said. “But what it means is the institution of police on school campus is creating an intolerable atmosphere that is not safe for Black students in particular or even Black staff.”

In response, Galea said he was open to a discussion on the future of SROs. But he noted that Los Altos has only one SRO, who serves approximately 16 public and private schools.

“I receive a lot of positive comments regarding our SRO,” Galea said.” I have requests for more SROs than we do. I don’t want people to have the impression that we’re just actively patrolling the hallway of schools, because that’s exactly not what is taking place.”

Some support police

A few participants voiced their support for the Los Altos Police Department, mentioning positive interactions and a desire to maintain or even increase police presence over concerns about protecting property or vehicles.

“We want our property protected,” said resident Kelly Hawkes. “That means we want our homes and businesses not looted nor vandalized.”

Roberta Phillips, who lives on San Antonio Road, said that when she talked to Galea about the number of speeding cars that drive by her house, the chief responded by adding speed radar equipment six times a year.

“I know we have got growth that we can all do and do better,” Phillips said. “But I did want to compliment our police department … [They] were very responsive and did come up with solutions. I just want to thank them for being a really good police department.”

The city council members remained silent throughout the listening session, other than the mayor, who said the items discussed would be brought up at the next council meeting in August.

“We thank everyone for being so actively engaged tonight, sharing so many ideas and sharing your insights,” Pepper said. “It’s very, very helpful to us. One of the speakers made a comment, ‘Listening is the first step, and action is the next.’ I hope that we will take action.”

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