LAH Meeting Reveals Hillview Could be LASD Site

Written by lalahpolitico

Los Altos Mayor Val Carpenter says Hillview as a LASD site is possible

During the Feb. 16 LAH city council meeting, LAH council member John Radford inquired of Los Altos Mayor Val Carpenter if there was a chance that Los Altos School District could get part of the Community Center site, namely the Hillview School part of the site, to use for a new school. Los Altos Mayor Carpenter said, if the poll results were weak, Yes. And even if the poll was strong and Phase 1 were built, probably the plans for Phases 2, 3, 4 could be amended to work with LASD’s needs.

Jean Mordo (LAH) says Los Altans alone will pay unless a poll shows weak support

Also during the meeting, it was discussed if and how the city of Los Altos Hills might participate in paying for part of Phase 1 construction of the Los Altos Community Center Master Plan. LAH council member Ginger Summit believed LAH sentiment could be rallied to help pay. Jean Mordo explained that the City of Los Altos was already going down a path where Los Altans alone would pay. However that could change if a poll of likely Los Altos voters showed only weak support. Only at that point, would LAH discuss financial participation.

The Town Crier ran an article in early February reporting that Jean Mordo, council member of the City of Los Altos Hills, was interested in exploring ways to participate in a bond issue or parcel tax to pay for the planned new Los Altos Community Center. The article reported that Los Altos assistant city manager rejected the overture and suggested a simple outright donation.

Editorial Comment:

Assistant City Manager, James Walgren, is prudent to keep the City of Los Altos Hills at arm’s length. These are two separate legal entities after all. Fences and separate checking accounts make good neighbors.

The current existing experiment of financial cooperation between the two municipalities is the North County Library Authority (NCLA). Formed in a contract called a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) in 1985, the two cities share representation in the NCLA. The NCLA’s main function is to administer a parcel tax on property within the city of Los Altos and city of Los Altos Hills that is used to pay salaries for extra hours of operation at Los Altos and Woodland Santa Clara County Library branches. We note that LAH has 2,900 parcels while LA has 10,200. So LAH pays only 28% of revenue raised, but gets 40% of the representation on NCLA. (Each city sends 2 council members; the 5th member is from the Los Altos Library Commission. The sixth person is a non-voting Los Altos staff liasion)

Thought Exercise: If the Community Center were to be separated out from the police station, the price tag for the Community Center alone could be say $35 million. A combined LA-LAH bond measure might be, say, $15 per 100,000 assessed value. What representation would LAH get in shared management of the Community Center? It’s on Los Altos owned land. Furthermore, total City of LAH assessed value is $4.9 billion, whereas City of Los Altos assessed value’ is $9.4 billion. That would be unequal taxation and a complicated representation arrangement again.

About the author


Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past several years.