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?”

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”

Detailed Analysis of Measure C

The purpose of this analysis is not to recommend a yes or no vote on Measure C. Rather, it is to provide some insight into the numerous objections to the Measure voiced by a group that claims that if Measure C were to pass, there would be an assault on representative democracy and generally create administrative chaos. In the preparation of this analysis, we have made an effort to collect all arguments advanced against Measure C, and then evaluate each. This collection of the arguments has incorporated a wide variety of sources. It is derived from the opposing ballot statements, newspaper letters to editors, lists from various groups, opposition mailers, candidate forums, and personal meetings. One of our board members has also traveled to San Francisco in order to meet with and interview the partner of the law firm that drafted Measure C in order to get his perspective.
Continue reading “Detailed Analysis of Measure C”

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”

Are we ready for a 5-Story building on Main Street?

5 story building on Main Street

On June 7, 2018, Ted and Jerry Sorensen went before the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) with their proposed 3-story development for 40 Main Street. Their proposal was substantially the same as the 3-story development they have been promoting for the last ten years. It was unanimously turned down by the PTC at that meeting primarily because it offered 0 of the 29 required parking spaces, and exceeded the 30-foot height limit by over 25%, with a proposed height of 38 feet. Continue reading “Are we ready for a 5-Story building on Main Street?”

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”

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”