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.
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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.

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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”

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”

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.
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