Help Wanted

Who would be crazy enough to take the position as a CEO of a 65-year-old organization that was losing money, had significant challenges with staff morale and recruitment, and had a politically divided Board of Directors who at times provided inconsistent and diverging direction? And where the predecessor CEO in the position created what some would characterize as a hostile environment among customers, employees, and the Board. Furthermore, the individual who previously held the job was terminated by the Board, in part for not taking direction from the Board nor listening to the organization’s customers. And if someone were crazy enough to take the job, would that person even be any good, or would the job only attract someone who really wasn’t capable of undertaking the very challenging job of getting the organization back on track? Continue reading “Help Wanted”

Who Gets the Short Straw?

Remember the game that we all played in our youth? A group of straws were put out, with only one end showing. Everyone got to pick one, and the person who got the short straw lost. While not entirely fair, at the age of 8 or 10 (or 12) when we played the game, it seemed to be the best way to pick the winner–though most often the short straw was the loser. Of course, in our heightened awareness of environmental impacts, the dearth of disposable plastic straws likely makes that another relic of a bygone era, much akin to dial telephones and portable radios. But we date ourselves.
Continue reading “Who Gets the Short Straw?”

No Place To Park

This nightmare may be coming to Los Altos

Imagine going to the library at 11 am and being unable to find a place to park. Or visiting City Hall or the new Community Center and giving up after circling the parking lot looking for an open spot. What about going downtown at 3 pm and finding the same situation. As a library lover, community center attendee or downtown shopper what would you do? While none of these is likely to happen next week or next month, changes to parking requirements in downtown coupled with increased building construction and capacity are likely to produce that result over the next few years. Add to that the visioning process which calls for turning many of the parking plazas into dining areas and other uses, and you have what many in Los Altos are calling a nightmare scenario.

Continue reading “No Place To Park”

It’s election time again

The Right Stuff: Our Review of City Council Candidates

Its election time again. Once every two years we get the privilege to choose among a group of candidates-some new, one who ran last election, and an incumbent– to represent us on City Council—in this year’s election we get to choose two. Often we decide on candidates because we like or dislike their position on a particular issue, sometimes we pick them because we personally know the person and, sometimes, without much else to go on, we just guess. Rarely do we take a few steps back and ask the question “what kind of person do we need to complement the existing Council lineup and ensure a functioning City Council?” Continue reading “It’s election time again”

Ballot Blues – Election Season is Here, Los Altos Edition

Okay, before you know it election time will be upon us. No, we are not going to discuss the upcoming Presidential election ­— we would rather see and hear the fights that go on in your extended family than try tangling with anyone we aren’t tied to by birth or marriage. Our discussion here is about local politics, for better or worse.

We will try to provide some insight into both the election of Council members vying for the three open seats on the Los Altos City Council as well as the contest for Santa Clara County Board of Education. The what? Okay, let us cover the former in this article and the Board of Education in our next.  Continue reading “Ballot Blues – Election Season is Here, Los Altos Edition”

Making a difference in Los Altos

First we would like to say Happy New Year and thanks for turning out to vote in the 2018 elections. We are excited about the historic all-woman Council and we hope that they can work cooperatively to get important things done in 2019. We are cheering them on!

As residents, most of the time we are in react mode. The City Council has something on their agenda and we have to show up at Council meetings to voice our opinion if we agree-or disagree with what is being proposed. Or, worse yet, we read about what the Council did decide on a specific issue in the Town Crier and we’re frustrated because it’s not what we think is right. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to help decide what the Council focuses on instead? Well, now we all have our chance. The Council is asking residents to take a survey to help them set priorities for the upcoming year. Continue reading “Making a difference in Los Altos”

Analysis of the 2018 Los Altos Election Results … Evolution, not Revolution

Silicon Valley is about disruption and change. Move fast and break things. Los Altos isn’t. It’s about comfort and familiarity – an old friend. McMansions don’t live in our town – despite what some newcomers want when they initially show up with grandiose plans. The role of the Design Review Commission, as expressed by a long time commissioner, is to moderate the rate of change, thus allowing change at a pace that is comfortable, but incremental. Anyone walking through residential neighborhoods sees incremental change as 1950’s and 1960’s ranch houses are being replaced by single story modern and larger, but not overwhelming, two story homes.

Los Altos is about evolution, not revolution. Continue reading “Analysis of the 2018 Los Altos Election Results … Evolution, not Revolution”

So why do our City Council meetings last so long?

Part of FOLA’s charter is to keep an ear to the ground in order to keep current on what’s going on in our community and what residents are both pleased with as well as unhappy about. One subject, which lies just below the surface but seems to be a constant point for discussion, is why in the world do our City Council meetings last so long? Not only does it seem like they go on forever, but by the time they’re over, or at least it seems, it’s often past midnight and most of the attendees have departed for a good night’s sleep. For a small, mostly residential city of 30,000, we don’t exactly have the problems of a San Jose or San Francisco, so what could be taking so much time? Continue reading “So why do our City Council meetings last so long?”