LASD 10th School Site — Eminent Domain in Los Altos?

Los Altos Hillview Center a Target of Eminent Domain by LASD
Written by lalahpolitico

Los Altos Hillview Center Could be a target of Eminent Domain by LASD

Los Altos School District is likely to float an up to $100M  bond for the November 2012 election. The Los Altos School District bond would pay for a 10th school site. Whether that need is because of spoiled millionaire whiners, or because there are well over 500 students spending all or part of the day in portables, you can decide.

Are voters willing to pay additional taxes to get rid of the portables throughout the system?

Too bad LASD sold off school sites back in the mists of time. Undeveloped land is scarce or more accurately – non-existent – around here. Current intelligence is that LASD is eyeing at least two potential sites: 1) City of Los Altos Hillview Center, formerly a LASD school in the mists of time or 2) an unspecified commercial site north of El Camino in Palo Alto or Mountain View.

As David Casas and the entire Los Altos City Council has made clear, LASD would have to exercise eminent domain to obtain Hillview. As you can see in this 4 minute video..

…city council doesn’t seem to be sabre-rattling to hold out for a higher price. Looks like another lawsuit if LASD attempts to exercise eminent domain…


David Casas — Hands-off Hillview
Don’t Eminent Domain me Bro’ ( 4 minutes )

Here is the essence of what was said April 10,2012 about City of Los Altos vs. LASD vis a vis the talk of “taking” the Hillview site. LASD is looking for a 10th school site. The city council says the city uses of the site are as valuable as LASD’s.  Mayor Carpenter says look north of El Camino for a site.


Ironically, at this same April 10 Los Altos City Council meeting, the council heard the results of the Godbe Research civic center bond poll. Research found that the Bond Measure would not garner the 2/3 support it needs. Also, the results  found that the most important issue to Los Altans is the quality of schools.   The report provides invaluable data for LASD bond organizers. It suggests that there is at least 55% support for a tax measure of at least $43 per $100,000. The Los Altos city council expressed hope that the “No” opinion could change in one or two years.

The report provides invaluable data for LASD bond organizers.

The Godbe presentation slides are most useful. Also useful is the top line report with the questionnaire.



A negative for any school bond in 2012 and beyond is a change in enforcement posture at the California Franchise Tax Board.  All those parcel taxes ( about $1000 for every parcel in Los Altos)  are not tax deductible and have not been for years. The problem is that the rule is  going to be enforced.  You didn’t know?  Not a defense.  It is still not clear in the legal mumbo jumbo, but elective bond measures for schools and cities are also probably not tax deductible.

That means when you compute your additional property tax on the Los Altos School District bond 2012, you might need to add 33% or so for the itemized tax deduction you won’t get.



The Jungian archetype here is the brothers Cain and Abel.  We sure wish all these guys would figure out how to do voluntary market exchanges …if that works for everyone involved.  If LASD decides to grab for the property, it’s actually not in awful condition as alleged by the City of Los Altos bond marketing materials.  At least not major parts of it …judging from the Recreation Department sales photos here.

LASD definitely should wait to decide on a site till after the city council elections. But get the bond money in November 2012.



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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.