City Council

Los Altos City Council Meeting – Oct. 9 – Bullis Charter School Meeting

Casas report on City-School subcommittee meeting...
Written by lalahpolitico

Los Altos City Council Meeting of Oct. 9, 2012

School issues discussion starts at 1:15:20 time in the video. See the notes below. Also see time 2:04 for David Casas reporting out about the city – school subcommittee meeting.

22:00 Pedestrian Plan, public comment Susan Ambiel

27:00 Presentation of a Los Altos Community Foundation sponsored project-
“Community Values Youth

The group has either purchased or obtained data from the MVLA high school district.  Council members wondered why it was necessary to purchase data. They asked about the funding – 143K from a federal grant, 26K from private sources.  Megan Satterlee observed that the data set did not include students from the Montclaire School Area who eventually attend Homestead High in the Cupertino Union District.  Once it was clarified that there was no request for city money, but only a request to use the Seal of the City of Los Altos…


Council voted 5-0 unanimously to permit use of the official City seal by this group.


48:30 Bus Shelters for San Antonio Streetscape


Council criticized some designs – the roof was too high for rain protection; the cheapest design was too spartan and not charming, the price reduction was only from $55K to $45K.  Jim Gustafson, city engineer,  said VTA prefabs, with space for advertising, cost $35K. At those prices and as a hobbyist woodworker, Ron Packard said he preferred charming.  Megan Satterlee asked that the funding be included in the CIP – Capital Improvement Program – process so the shelter can be stack ranked against other projects.  Val Carpenter made the motion that the project be limited to 1 shelter on the streetscape side of San Antonio.


Council voted 5-0 to include the $55K in the next CIP


1:10:00 The Civic Center Billboards


Val Carpenter said she had received quite a few requests from the community that the 3 signs promoting the defunct Community Center Bond be removed.  Jarrett Fishpaw reported that there had been some discussion by the City 60th Anniversary Committee whether or not to reuse the billboards to promote anniversary events, especially for the December gala.  However, it would cost $1800 per billboard to design and apply new graphics to each billboard—which seemed too expensive. Also the committee thought – that in deference to the City sign ordinances which aim to reduce visual clutter –it was undesirable to use the billboards to promote the City 60th Anniversary.  David Casas asked that the billboards be recycled to any entity that needed a billboard.


The motion was to remove the 3  billboards for recycling. It passed 5-0.


1:15:20  Prospective Oct. 30 Joint Meeting with Bullis Charter School


The council discussed whether the meeting would be webcast or recorded, whether there had to be public comment, and which building at BCS would be used – the MPR or an Egan gym.  Fishpaw and Casas spoke for using the city gym because of its capacity and the possibility for amplified sound. But Casas was concerned that no regular gym user be “bumped” because of this meeting.


At 1:36:20 Megan Satterlee joined by Val Carpenter spoke out against the adult cyberbullying occurring – “that’s not ok…should not be in fear of their property [sic or persons].” 


City Attorney Jolie Houston told Ron Packard that public comment would have to allowed at the joint meeting.  Since that was the case, he requested that it be scheduled for AFTER the joint meeting main discussion.  [ LALAPOLITICO – there is ample precendent for that.  Joe Simitian, at his High Speed Rail meeting in Mountain View, took public comment AFTER presentations, until 1 am.  ]


Council instructed staff to proceed with the joint meeting scheduling, with the understanding it be held in either the MPR or the gym, have amplified sound (no  mumbling), and that as a publicly noticed meeting any member of the public can tape it.


1:38:20 Los Altos School District Task Force Appointments


Val Carpenter explained that if the City is to participate, it needs to make its appointment by Nov. 21 to Superintendent Baier.  Satterlee suggested the selection criteria – 1) no child currently in Los Altos School District or BCS 2) be knowledgeable about the Hillview  3) understand all perspectives 4) have excellent community communication skills 5) be able to work with all kinds of people.  There was no requirement for a minimum number of years of residency in the City or Los Altos School District.  She suggested the application/interview process be the same as for any city commission or committee.


1:49:11 Satterlee asked that the District clarify some aspects of the Task Force process.  She  thought the process would be “dead on arrival” if it did not have points in the process where the public at large could give input.  Council discussion clarified that public comment need NOT occur at EVERY meeting of the Task Force. Rather just at certain milestones – for example 1) completion of a DRAFT dataset, 2) completion of a DRAFT set of solutions, etc.   Casas stated it was not enough for the process to be merely “open and visible” to the public.   There needed to be  public “participation.”


Staff asked for permission to start advertising the application for the Task Force.  Val Carpenter seemed to volunteer to write the draft of the ad – she said it would be a PLUS if an applicant has served on the Community Center Master Plan Advisory Committee.


[LALAHPOLITCO:  No, actually it would be a big NEGATIVE, if the person had served on the Community Center Master Plan Advisory Committee. That’s a lot of  baggage to bring to the Los Altos School District Task Force.]


1:58:00 VTA exceeds its authority vis a vis Measure B road repair funds



2:01 Megan Satterlee – Stevens Creek Trail….


2:05:10 David Cases – City School Subcommittee

There was a lot of progress on Safe Routes to School, Egan traffic safety, Skateable art, webcasting…

2:07:45 David Casas Continued…He said that the tone changed…”Why are you asking for that?” was the refrain.  “Why is the city second guessing the superintendent [about the Task Force]?” “ Why are you putting a band aid [5-7M dollars for repair] on something [Hillview Center] you could just give to them [Los Altos School District].


2:10:30 Jarret Fishpaw, who is also on the City School Subcommittee, reported that the district did install a widened gate on San Antonio along the back of the Egan campus.  What was new was that the school was not promoting it. He said that the school does not want kids going in and out at that gate.  [LALAHPOLITICO:  I wonder why? At a recent Los Altos School District board meeting that lalahpolitico attended, it was said that almost no students lived convenient to that gate. Is that a complete reason?]


2:11:45 Val Carpenter suggested that the City could write a letter saying “we won’t do eminent domain on any Los Altos School District owned property”  with the idea of encouraging the district to reciprocate in kind.  Ron Packard said, let’s not…”don’t trouble the waters.”


2:14:20 Jarett Fishpaw reported that Los Altos Village Association [of downtown merchants] LAVA was requesting a city contribution of funds to help pay for a Xmas 2012 free valet parking program.  Ron Packard thought it was a fitting recompense for all the pain the City caused the merchants last year with the First Street Construction mess during Xmas 2011.  The item will be on an agenda. [LALAHPOLITICO:  As usual I , a city taxpayer, don’t like to pay for merchant or downtown landlord perks.  The house across the street is rented…maybe I should pay for their gardener? ] Val Carpenter asked that once the Morris Project contruction begins, have staff study using a shuttle  to take people to the parking along University Ave.


2:21:00 Val Carpenter reported on the SCC Library and the North Couty Joint Powers Authority…

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.