City Council Planning

Los Altos City Council Candidates 2018…Hillview, Library, Vision, Housing, Measure C

Los Altos City Council Candidates 2018
Two candidates of the YES on C 'party' on the left! Three candidates of the NO on C 'party' on the right!
Written by lalahpolitico

Based on the evidence of their words and actions, here’s a prediction of how the various Los Altos City Council candidates 2018 will ACT ON the most important issues if elected to the Los Altos City Council.

Predictions are based on the following research and evidence —

My attendance at and review of videos of 3 major Los Altos City Council candidates’ forums – Women’s Caucus Sept. 5, Eagle Auditorium Sept. 17, League of Women Voters Oct. 2

[You may be interested in KMTV’s 2018 local election playlist page]

Los Altos City Council candidates 2018 websites, their bios, selected tapes of commission meetings, public comments at Council Meetings, etc. Anita Enander, Teresa Morris, Jean Mordo, Nancy Bremeau, Neysa Fligor. Their written comments as printed in the local press – Town Crier, Daily Post

The featured photo shows the five Los Altos City Council Candidates 2018 agreeing unanimously on something trivial. As you will read below, they sure don’t agree on important matters.

Lalahpolitico Bottomline:

Candidates of the ‘Yes on Measure C” party get C grades from Los Altos Politico because of their unfortunate NIMBYesque policy stances. Anita Enander gets a half grade bump up because of her evidence and logic-based approach to thinking about issues. Unfortunately, she had not yet collected enough information to reach enough sound policy conclusions. [yesonmeasureclosaltos .org]

Candidates of the ‘No on Measure C” party get A and B grades. Incumbent Jean Mordo gets the top grade, because I like incumbents, and most of his policies and actions have been good or good enough. Newcomers Nancy Bremeau and Neysa Fligor get B’s because they both have different things to learn, but both do have ‘moderate to progressive’ policy stances. [nocforlosaltos .org]


HILLVIEW COMMUNITY
CENTER RENEWAL

+ Move forward or – delay it to death?

Let’s review the situation. The existing Hillview was built in 1946 as an elementary school and is all but falling down. Since 2008, there have been 3 City attempts/plans to replace it. The first two involved a project which doubled the square footage and which involved ~$60M bond issues — taxes that were not supported by voters. Obviously, these two efforts did not move forward.

Instead, the current City Council decided in 2016-17 to replace the old ~27,000 sq ft. Hillview building with a new one of about the same size square footage using city reserve funds of $25M. The City Council appointed eleven citizens to a Hillview Task Force with a mandate to hire an architect and make choices at a ‘high-level’ about design and space allocation. An architectural firm – Tam & Noll was hired. As of today’s project schedule, Tam & Noll is expected to have bid/construction-ready blueprints ready during summer 2019. See the design plan as presented to City Council Sept. 2018

Costs: The Tam& Noll design contract is for about $3M. This is money spent. The City Council unanimously agreed to fund construction of “extras” on the project interior, exterior and the site. These extras raised the project ‘quality’ and the estimated total cost to $35M. This is money that is “allocated” but not yet spent.

+Jean Mordo – As the only incumbent running for a second term among the Los Altos City Council Candidates 2018, Mordo was part of the unanimous vote in 2016-17 to rebuild Hillview using City reserve funds, avoiding a bond tax election. Later, he enthusiastically urged other council members to embrace spending an extra $10M for a better quality more aesthetic project.  They all agreed. [The project cost rose from $25M to $35M].

+Nancy Bremeau – Bremeau gives full-throated support to the renewal of Hillview Community Center. Background: As the citizen’s Hillview Task Force was mulling over high-level space allocation decisions, the prevailing theory was that teens disliked adult supervision so much, they would not use a Teen Center, therefore don’t allocate space for that. Instead a small space was allocated for a Multi-generational Game Room. Nancy Bremeau got wind of that, organized local teens to speak at Task Force meetings, and disabused the Task Force of their mistaken notion. The upshot: there will be a dedicated Teen Center, thanks to Bremeau’s activism. [She has a teen son at LA High]

+Neysa Fligor – Fligor also gives full-throated support to the renewal of Hillview Community Center.

Anita Enander – While on the campaign trail, Anita Enander has spoken disapprovingly of the $10M boost of the Hillview project quality and budget from $25M to $35M. She speaks of her worries about paying for city pensions, stormwater and sewer infrastructure, and other worthy projects – Halsey House restoration, Grant Park Kitchen.

Teresa MorrisDitto Anita Enander, but not as eloquently.

Aerial View of the New Hillview Building as of the Sept. 2018 Plan shown to City Council. The homes along Hillview Ave. lie along the right edge of the photo

LALAHPOLITICO’s DIRE HILLVIEW PREDICTION: Even though $3M will have been spent on Tam&Noll project design, that does NOT mean the City must spend the next $35M to actually build the new Hillview.

So if you live near old Hillview and like having it underutilized, and/or if you are a strict fiscal hawk, Lalahpolitico expects some of you may vote for the “do nothing near anyone” duo – Enander & Morris – and also vote for Measure C. Those two candidates plus current council member Lynette Lee-Eng – who also has had misgivings about the Hillview project – will form a majority and decide NOT to proceed with the Hillview next steps — bid and construction of the new Hillview. [Actually they might want a bid as evidence that it’s too expensive.]

Stopping the project is the wrong thing to do. Even if there is a big stock market correction, and there is an average recession in the next year or two, this will hardly affect City revenues which are mainly recession-proof property taxes [not so much sales taxes and development fees which are subject to recessions].

Instead, with a recession, construction costs would get cheaper as private sector demand collapses! It would be an ideal time to be rebuilding Hillview. Lalahpolitico is sad that the 2008 Great Recession spooked voters into rejecting the 2008 plan for Hillview. We would have had …could have had…an awesome and much larger community center [2X] by now. Let’s not kill this current Hillview Project.

 


At the Main Library, lack of a dedicated, soundproof, teen room for just teens is a need. Desire for enough room for a Maker Space is also a popular idea.

MAIN LIBRARY REDEVELOPMENT

+Total rebuild as a 2-story or -probably nada?

Candidates Anita Enander and Teresa Morris seem rather unfamiliar with the facts of the current nascent effort to rebuild the Main Library building. The land and the building are owned by the City of Los Altos. The City leases the facility to the Santa Clara County Library – a jurisdiction which serves around 8 or 9 cities and unincorporated areas. It is SCCL that provides library SERVICES to us.

But it’s a little more complicated. There is this special jurisdiction – the North County Library Joint Powers Authority — consisting of the City of Los Altos and the Town of Los Altos Hills. It was originally formed for the purpose of raising parcel taxes to fund longer library hours at the Main Library and Woodland. Now it is exploring floating a potential bond measure to pay for an expanded Main Library building.

Both Cities send a council member to the NCLA board. The NCLA board recently appointed an eleven-person citizens task force over six months ago to evaluate 1) the possibility of a remodel vs. 2) a teardown and rebuild.

That Library Redevelopment task force determined that

The single meeting room and the children’s space are often full to overflowing for the special programs. People and children are turned away.

Because of underground infrastructure and other constraints, the new project must be on the same site footprint. So that means two-stories.

The existing building can support a second story — BUT ONLY on the small front portion that was added in 1993 can. The larger old section cannot support a second story, and the electrical and internet communications capacity cannot be upgraded because of the way it was installed.

The Library Redevelopment task force recently launched a professional Godbe poll of likely voters to test support for a bond measure. They report that even without ‘voter education,’ there is about 60% support now to fund a total rebuild.

Los Altos Library circa 1960s

The 1960’s part of the building can’t support a 2nd story…so we need to tear down and rebuild.

+ Jean Mordo – As an incumbent running for a second term in Los Altos, and as an 8-year council member in the town of Los Altos Hills, Mordo has been very involved with the North County Library Joint Powers Authority. If the Library Redevelopment task force continues to find voter support for the necessary bigger bond, he’s for the total rebuild as a two-story.

+ Nancy Bremeau – Bremeau gives full-throated support to the total rebuild as a two-story of the Main Library. If the Library Redevelopment task force finds support for a bigger bond, she’s for it.

+ Neysa Fligor – Fligor also gives full-throated support to the total rebuild as a two-story of the Main Library. If the Library Redevelopment task force finds support for a bigger bond, she’s for it.

 




Anita Enander – On the campaign trail, Enander has spoken positively about a small remodel. She does not know that has been rejected by the Task Force.

Teresa Morrss – Ditto Anita Enander, Morris has spoken positively about a small remodel, but not as eloquently. Plus Morris also has explained she is not in favor of moving the Main Library downtown!

Gosh, two candidates out of touch with the effort! Here’s a fact. Even the one and only one activist who for 10 years was promoting the idea of moving the library downtown has switched to supporting the current NCLA effort to rebuild the Main Library as a two-story on the current civic center site. Is Teresa Morris listening to her usual cabal of anti-downtown change supporters, not to real ‘friends of the library’?

The Friends of the Library group runs the used book sales you are probably familiar with. They were instrumental in urging the SCCL library to circulate the New York Times top 100 books.

LALAHPOLITICO LIBRARY DIRE PREDICTION:

If Anita Enander and Teresa Morris get elected, teaming with current Councilmember Lynette Lee- Eng, they are likely to require further study, more surveys and find ways to delay and effectively ‘shelve’ this Library effort.

Why does Lalahpolitico think so? Teresa Morris is a candidate who repeated says she is especially sensitive to the needs of immediate neighbors. I fear she will offer more than just a sympathetic ear to concerns like… “Library construction will be so disruptive to my peace and quiet. The new larger library building will serve more people and create more traffic and congestion. I won’t be able to get out of my driveway.” In other words, the few neighbors will drown out all the voices of us City of Los Altos residents who would prefer that the library have more gathering rooms for more programs — book lectures, group kiddie readings, a makerspace lab, soundproof teen room, etc.


Two candidates have reservations about the plan. One says we must redo the outreach to 1400 persons because it was “not a representative sample” and extend the outreach even more. N = 5000? How much is enough? If Measure C passes, they may want an election to deep-six the Vision.

DOWNTOWN VISIONING

Measure C proponents including Los Altos City Council Candidates 2018 Anita Enander and Teresa Morris began to realize they weren’t going to get away with pretending that Measure C was about Parks. They have all owned up to the fact that Measure C is actually is designed to stop ideas in the Downtown Vision Plan from being implemented and to limit change at the Civic Center as well. It is all about keeping downtown parking lots for cars.

A couple of months ago, the Measure C proponents contracted with a Florida marketing company to investigate the effectiveness of their messaging. [The Florida survey and its campaign finance issues]

Their new messaging is…

…short version message on lawn signs – “Preserve Los Altos Character.”
Instead of a  “parks” image there is a graphic of small, stylized street trees.

…version message on their website – “Preserve and protect our community’s small-town character.”  Instead of a “parks” image there is a photo of pistache street trees fronting downtown State Street. The car traffic is cropped out of the photo. There are NO PEOPLE, no feet on the street, to be seen.

[I think I get it. C is about those Pistache trees. C is about having a lightly used downtown “for us, residents.” C is about having vacant parking lots. It is about stopping change downtown. Period.]

 

YES ON C MAILER…EMPTY PARKING LOTS
…EMPTY PARKS…NO PEOPLE

No on Measure C Los Altos Mailer 2018

No on Measure C Los Altos Mailer 2018. Notice the absence of people  The parking lots are nearly empty. This is what they love?


 + Jean Mordo – As an incumbent running for a second term in Los Altos, he voted with the council majority for accepting the RNN consultants final downtown vision plan. As he has pointed out during his campaign, that means citizens can pick and choose and implement only those ideas they like a la carte. It will take decades.

+ Nancy Bremeau – Bremeau also points to a very long-term implementation period and stresses how awesome it will be to have more community gathering spaces. She explained that the most radical RNN scenarios were rejected and the current vision is quite watered-down.

+ Neysa Fligor – Fligor echos that some of the Vision ideas won’t pan out, but she is enthusiastic about others unfolding gradually.

Anita Enander – On the other hand, Anita Enander rejects or is lukewarm about the Vision change ideas because she says

1) parking should be fixed first,
2) there is no funding for the public amenities,
3) the construction will just disrupt our merchants, killing off the business of some of the best-loved businesses. (I did not hear these favorites mentioned? So just insert your favorites I guess. She is implying she is going to save your favorites from going out of business. She fears changes will drive away the current customers of the current merchants. ) Notice that merchant finances do interest her, while property owner finances do not. Is she playing off one group of business people against the other? Hmmm.

Teresa Morris – Morris has expressed doubt about the positive impacts for merchants of Vision ideas. She says she has 18 years of retail experience. Instead of the Vision, she voices the “get a better retail mix” theory for increasing vibrancy downtown. This is the idea that the City should play shopping center manager, and jigger the allowed business uses downtown. Right now only retail business that pay sales tax are allowed on State and Main. It has been suggested by many that personal services like yoga or soul cycle could be allowed. Teresa and Morris talk breathlessly about yesterday’s hottest retail trend – “experiences, rather than things.” [ Neither Anita or Teresa talk about levying fines on landlords for having empty storefronts….but some their more ardent supporters do! “Those greedy developers and landowners. Those shenanigans!”]

THE LOS ALTOS WE LOVE
A LIVELY PLACE FOR PEOPLE GATHERING
PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE

Los Altos Downtown Vision dining hub

RNN consultants suggest establishing an outdoor ‘dining hub’ on one of the central plazas. This is the downtown that Jean, Nancy and Neysa love… a place for people gathering.

LALAHPOLITICO DIRE PREDICTION
on some key long-term Downtown Vision ideas…

Dining hub on a plaza: If C passes, then this will first require a public vote. Even if ‘YES I want a dining hub’ wins, I expect Anita, Teresa, And Lynette (if all are still in office) will all agree there are insufficient funds now. It gets placed on the Capital Improvement Plan for 2030 or 2040 consideration.

Performing arts theater on a plaza: If C passes, then this will first require a public vote. Even if ‘YES I want a theater’ wins, I expect Anita, Teresa, And Lynette (if all are still in office) will all agree there are insufficient funds now. It gets placed on the Capital Improvement Plan for 2030 or 2040 consideration.

100% Affordable ‘workforce’ housing project on a plaza: If C passes, then this will first require a public vote. Even if YES wins, I expect Anita, Teresa, and Lynette (if all are still in office) will all agree there are insufficient funds now. It gets placed on the Capital Improvement Plan for 2030 or 2040 consideration.

Complete streets on 2nd and/or 3rd streets: C does not require a vote for street changes, but I expect Anita, Teresa, And Lynette (if all are still in office) will all agree there are insufficient funds now. “Parking investments should come first! Save our current merchants.” It gets placed on the Capital Improvement Plan for 2030 or 2040 consideration.

RESOURCES ON DOWNTOWN VISION:

Our post with an overview of the RNN Vision

Jean Mordo’s Short slide presentation


Architectural rendering of 4880 El Camino. It is the first Los Altos project to use the State Density Bonus Law to obtain an extra story. It is zoned for 4 story, but 5 had to be allowed. There are several affordable units in the project.

EL CAMINO DEVELOPMENT
& AFFORDABLE HOUSING
& OUR GENERAL PLAN 2022

It was a rude surprise when the first El Camino development to exploit the State Density Bonus law came along in 2016. It is now under construction at 5 stories when our zoning allows only 4 stories. That ‘first’ development was 4880 El Camino.

It is just a fact of life and that pesky State Density Bonus law that virtually all of the El Camino strip that is in Los Altos can be now be rebuilt at 5 stories of housing with just 15% BMR units per our most recent Los Altos inclusionary zoning ordinance. FYI: About half of the El Camino zone is economically ‘ripe’ for redevelopment. [Village Court is NOT in the El Camino zone]

The CT and Density Bonus ordinances will try to protect R zone privacy…Here the view from a Casita Way homeowner’s backyard.

Residential property owners — whether of older two-story multi-family complexes or of single-family homes — who back up to these El Camino parcels are understandably sad. Their northern view of blue sky is going to be marred by a taller building. There is a feeling of loss of privacy. Although the 5 story windows are 100 feet away, it may feel like the condo dwellers are looking down.

Candidate Teresa Morris is providing a sympathetic ear to home-owners who live on Casita Way. Morris is creating false hope that the forthcoming 5150 El Camino project behind them can be stopped or mitigated or something. The developer has already made some reasonable changes to the row of 30-foot townhouses that will run along the back fence of Casita residents. In reality, Morris can’t save Casita from this 5150 El Camino housing development.

Teresa Morris has said – paraphrasing her – that “we aren’t getting enough affordable housing out of these projects given their size.” Unfortunately, State Law does not allow cities to dictate exactly what size units gets built or the total number of units or how many need to be “affordable”. In fact, if a city imposes zoning requirements which are so onerous that a project can’t get built, that’s illegal, and the city can expect to be sued by the state attorney general. She does not seem to be knowledgeable about how this works.

Teresa Morris has also said that “it is unfair for El Camino to be the only part of our city providing for the state-mandated affordable housing units. “ Does that mean she is hunting for other ‘victim’ neighborhoods to use for development at a higher density?





Anita Enander has done a lot of homework and has correctly said that the Los Altos Housing Element Plan is inadequate to meet the unit goals the state has imposed on us. She is interested in transferring some of our units to other cities, paying them off with development funds.

This is the “RHNA goals shift” idea the Jean Mordo and others first advanced a couple of years ago. It has been taken up by the League of Cities, and there have been some local conversations between Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, etc. The initial reaction of potential ‘receiving’ cities is negative. According to candidate Nancy Bremeau, Mountain View council persons have told her, paraphrasing, “Build your own affordable housing, you snowflakes.”  Shifting units to other cities does NOT appear likely to be a solution.


About 30 local Los Altos teachers told their ‘stories’ of housing and commute difficulties…some new solution ideas…April 2018 Lalahpolitico article…

DIRE PREDICTION: Workforce Housing on a Downtown Parking Plaza

+ Jean Mordo: will try but the idea will probably die in Planning Commission
+Nancy Bremeau: will try but the idea will probably die in Planning Commission
+Neysa Fligor: will try but the idea will probably die in Planning Commission
– Anita Enander: not without an affirmative vote vis Measure C…means no
– Teresa Morris: not without an affirmative vote vis Measure C…mean no

Lalahpolitico Asks: If Measure C were to pass, what percent of the voting public would vote YES for Workforce Housing on a Downtown Plaza… after an election with usual fear-mongering campaigning by the usual NIMBYs about low-income people… 35%? Maybe?

RESOURCES ON HOUSING:

Missing Middle Housing for Teachers – a local event

Joe Simitian on Understand Housing NIMBYs – a local event

Future of Affordable Housing – a local event

Can Los Altos ever reach its low-income RHNA Numbers? – local event

City Improves Incentives for Granny Units in Los Altos

Create your granny unit ADU or pool house in Los Altos…

 


example of an ADU

Enander but especially Morris have concerns about ADU size and the impact on neighbor privacy in many lot situations. These two along with Lynette Lee Eng would probably bring back minimum lot sizes and smaller maximum unit sizes. We aren’t hearing about a flood of applications to build ADUs since the more liberal rules were passed? Have you? Photo: A prefab Accessory Dwelling Unit by the kroneteam.com in Arizona…

The General Plan Rewrite 2020…RHNA…ADUs

The Los Altos General Plan is due for a rewrite. Anita Enander would be a real asset on an ad hoc General Plan committee if one were to be formed…especially if it focused on the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) housing issues. It’s true Los Altos can never meet its RHNA numbers with only El Camino. Enander’s intellect and laser-like focus would be be a boon on such a committee.  She served well on the ad hoc Downtown Buldings Committee.

It is rather embarrassing for the powers that be — the current city council — that Anita was not reappointed to the Planning Commission last month. She believes her “sin” was being YES on Measure C. Maybe.

But I observed she appeared active in delaying the Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance for extra months and months by ‘perfecting’ Accessory Structure regulations. “Work on it as long as it takes till we get it right.”

She also participated in an attempt to sidestep City Council direction to set the maximum ADU size at 1200 square feet. Instead the Planning Commission returned the ordinance to City Council with a max of 800 square feet – insufficient for any kind of small family. Council amended it and passed it with a 1200 max. Lynette Lee Eng abstained as I recall.

Has there been a flood of ADU applications since the liberalization?

 


Initially, the Measure C proponents talked about parks, parks, parks, open space…Now  what they talk about are leases, leases, leases, and parking lots downtown…

MEASURE C – Is it about Parks or Leases?


At first in April 2018,  the C proponents were NOT eager to talk about LEASES. But they are now. In fact it’s nearly the only thing they talk about. They used to show Shoup Park tall redwood trees, now they show short parking lot trees! “You gotta love those parking lots – the best thing about downtown.”

 


Readers have probably read and heard plenty about where the candidates stand on Measure C. You’ve seen so many pro and con arguments.

Here are my key observations about Measure C:

1)LYING BY OMISSION. The Proponents of Yes on C initially led their marketing with the message “Protect our parks and public lands [open space].” They claim this was not their only message during the lightning fast signature gathering process. But it was the first message out of their mouths, and maybe there was no need to keep talking to get the signature. When you’ve closed the sale, you don’t keep talking.

Consider this, it is a fact proponents requested the City Attorney assign a simple, short title for their measure, a title limited to words about parks and public lands. Instead the attorney assigned a long, comprehensive title which includes the LEASE language.

The claim that C proponents and the signature gatherers have ALWAYS explained the lease language, even early in their campaign, is insincere.

2) MEASURE C IS UNECESSARY to Save Parks. About a week ago, City Council passed an ordinance to amend the General Plan to require a public vote in order to sell, transfer or redesignate City-owned Parks and Open Space. Yes, City-owned downtown parking plazas and the 18 acre civic center are NOT Parks or Open Space. The purpose of the Civic Center has always been Public & Institutional as understood by the original sellers Gilbert Smith. The Hillview parcel was a school with a school bus station.  This land has always been NOT A PARK and should be kept available for the list of defined uses of that zone.  Similarly, the downtown parking plazas used to be privately owned by the store owners. The land was pooled and given to the city some 70 years ago.

3) The City has never sold any parks. It has done quite the opposite; it has acquired parks. It bought Hillview and Grant from school districts. More recently, it bought Lincoln Park from the county. With Joe Simitian, Candidate Bremeau facilitated that price negotiation to a successful conclusion at $1million dollars.

2) UNCERTAIN IMPACTS ON LEASES. There is a stark difference of opinion about how the long-term lease language will play out in practice. C Proponents want you to “know” that current tenants of the Civic Center environs – such as the fire station, the Los Altos Stage, the History Museum, the Santa Clara County Library – will be able to renew their current leases without a vote.

In fall of 2017, Mike Ellerin raged against the Children’s Corner long-term lease at the Hillview Community Center project. Ellerin is the Treasurer of the YES on C campaign.

a) As a C opponent, I want you to know that this will not include the continuation of Children’s Corner — even though this open to the public pre-school is a 40 year tenant — it will not be treated as continuing with the same terms. I think this will be because the current terms are perhaps an annual or five-year renewal. The last version of the proposed new lease is 20-30 years, in order to pre-pay for its share of new city construction in the Hillview project.

How do I know Children’s Corner continuation is unlikely? Mike Ellerin, Treasurer of the Yes on C committee, has publically raged against the Children’s Corner being allowed to remain at the new Hillview project. Nancy Phillips, also part of the YES on C committee, also commented negatively. Advisors to Council member Lynette Lee Eng also spoke negatively. {Children’s Corner vs. Senior Activities} At this meeting they raised the “poor senior” excuse. In fact, they can take credit for whipping up the senior mob that was there. At later council meetings they complained that the Children’s Corner lease was a “privatization.”

b) What about the Library renewal? Anita Enander argues, that even when the library is rebuilt on its footprint, it will be able to write a new lease with different terms, because it is not a “privatization.”

But I argue that if more meeting rooms are added to the main library, that will be a “significant change” in the public use, in the intensity of use. And even though Anita wouldn’t personally sue, the Measure’s language about ‘significant change’ reads like unhappy neighbors could sue. Former mayor Ron Packard, now of FOLA, has suggested that when Measure C passes, an implementation ordinance be written to require any lawsuit be filed within 90 days (3 months) of any ‘significant change’ or “privatization’ actions taken by the City Council without a public vote.

Lalahpolitico: Thanks to our form of government’s requirement for six months of “public notices and open meetings” 90 days window to file will not prevent opposition lawsuits. I think six months plus three more months, is plenty of time for any minority opposition to lawyer up for a lawsuit battle about change to the library size. [link to kmtv 15 debate on C]

This is the door to Avenidas – Elder daycare used especially for the memory-impaired. This City of Mountain View building is used exclusively by this non-profit. It is located right next to the larger MV Senior Center building. If the City of Los Altos ever wanted to lease part of the New Hillview Community Center for this use, the Los Altos Measure C would require an election for the public to approve it. Is that what we want to do? Second-guess so many city management decisions? The Hillview parcel is >7500 square feet; it would be a ‘significant change’ to the senior center; some would argue an eldercare program is not wide open to the public and is a ‘privatization’. IMHO this change of use would require an election.

WILL CURRENT TENANTS BE THE FOREVER TENANTS?
WHAT ABOUT FUTURE TENANTS?

The world could change a lot in 10, 20, 30 years…

Example 1: Suppose in 10 years it became clear the city-run general purpose senior area in the New Hillview Community Center would be more useful as 1) a senior daycare facility, 2) an Alzheimer’s daycare, 3) an all-day soup kitchen for seniors (eating seems to be the most popular activity of the current City-run program). The City should lease to an expert, not do this with City employees.

Even the general purpose city-run senior program might be much better if leased out to a provider who is specialized in geriatrics.It seems the one or two beloved folks who have staffed the current center and reported to Mr. Hernandez have quit. Finding qualified geriatrics employees must be getting really hard with full-employment now.

So if it becomes desirable to use an outside provider….they will, of course, want a long-term lease. YES, This would seem to require a vote in my opinion. [Real world example: City of Mountain view leases a facility to a non-profit Alzheimer’s day care operation…where it is very hard to gain admission! Privatization? ]

Example 2: Suppose in 10 years there arise national-level, private companies that specialize in bringing instant libraries to local cities.They are ‘disrupters’ and offer services even SCCL will find hard to match. Features like… the latest in STEM equipment and STEM instructors to furnish STEM rooms…Deals with publishers to get the latest paper and e-books….Very fast response to localized demand for titles topics…Access to national book tour talent to lecture to us…less driving to Kepler’s in Menlo Park

If Measure C passes, City Council and staff cannot make these FUTURE decisions about new, future tenants even after public input – citizen task forces, committees, 6 months of public noticing and meeting — without a $50,000 to $300,000 vote process. Cumbersome?

 

To reiterate, Measure C is not about Parks, it is about Leases, and Parking Lots. Everyone knows it’s about stopping ideas in the Downtown Vision Plan and quashing changes at the Downtown Civic Center, changes which revolve around creating gathering spaces for people.

Let’s repeat.. the lead Measure C proponent contracted with a Florida marketing company to investigate the effectiveness of their messaging. A complaint has been filed with the FCCP regarding failure to report the cost of this survey. [Post about survey with its questions here.]

They used to say…
Protect our Parks and Public Lands [sic open space]

Now they say…
Preserve Los Altos Character [on their lawn signs].
Preserve and protect our community’s small-town character [on their website].

The home page of their web site displays a photo of the crowns of some Pistache Street Trees on downtown State Street. Huh, so Measure C is about the Pistasche trees? Where are the people in this photo? There aren’t any. I think that means something.

A good downtown, the downtown they want, is not for tourists and has NO PEOPLE there. It has some nice Pistache trees though.

 

Measure C Resources

Video – LWV Gary Hedden on Measure C. At the Los Altos Community Coalition.

Video – KMVT Debate on C – Ron Packard, Anita Enander vs. Cathy Lazarus, Bill Sheppard

Our April article about Measure C impacts. Some things you won’t read elsewhere!

The City Clerk received the 15- page Los Altos proposition, which makes numerous amendments to our “city constitution” aka the “General Plan 2002-2020,” on March 28, 2018.

Photo: A four story ‘office-like’  Building on Civic Center land

A 2016 scheme floated by LASD Trustee Tarara Logan. It is a scheme to locate the 900 student Bullis Charter School on Civic Center land. City Hall would be on the Ground Floor – BCS on floors, 2,3,4. Council gave it a bit of astonished, but polite consideration…till they realized LASD has much more land than the City. Is is 116 acres to 70ish?

 


ADDENDUM:

Los Altos City Council
Candidates 2018
Personnel /Personal matters

Jean Mordo – A Sexist?

Mr. Mordo was attacked in digital print by Ron Packard’s Friends of Los Altos Group as a sexist! Mordo is a man whose best friend and strategic advisor is his wife and who has only daughters! Sexist? I don’t think so.

Once you know FOLA’s policy preferences, one can understand FOLA’s dislike of Mordo’s progressive stance on downtown vibrancy and parking reforms. It’s legit for FOLA to find fault with Mordo’s policies. But suggesting that Mordo’s being gruff, sarcastic and sharp when …shall we say arguing … with women colleagues on Council or city staff is “sexist” bullying is very out-of-bounds.

It’s a fact women can be aggressive, and dare I say bitchy.  Then there is the plotting, sneak attacks, and passive aggression!

Lalahpolitico: It would be awful to have a Council with 100% women on it. Re-elect Jean Mordo!


Handling the Council Work Load / Family

Jean Mordo, Nancy Bremeau, Anita Enander, and Teresa Morris are either retired or self-employed so they won’t be stressed out by their career. Neysa Fligor is employed as an attorney by Hewlett-Packard, but that is an employer that is famous for cutting a lot of slack for employees who get elected. Former Mayor Megan Satterlee was a HP employee and served on council for 8 years.

I did notice that at the Eagle Auditorium event the answer to “how many hours a month do you expect to spend on Council business” ranged from a high of 200 by Nancy Bremeau to a low of 50 hours by Neysa Fligor. Other answers were 60-80, 100, 120.

Only two Los Altos City Council Candidates 2018 have children in the home. Nancy Bremeau has a teen son at LA High who looks old enough to be heading off to college soon. Neysa Fligor has two children who are in the elementary grades.

Teresa Morris is married to Mr. Ferry who is one of the key proponents of Measure C.

Anita Enander lives virtually nextdoor to Jim Jolly who is one of the key proponents of Measure C.  In the past they have worked together on one-story overlay district elections.


Other Political Opportunities

Some people say that Neysa Fligor has been tapped as a rising star in the California Democratic party which as we know holds around 80% of elected offices in the state.  She definitely has democratic endorsements out the kazoo. Some people worry, “She won’t stick around for a second 4 years if she gets a better offer.”

Well, people do quit after one term from time to time for various reasons. In fact, current council member Mary Prochow has just decided a single 4-year term is enough! But she is not running for County Supervisor or State Assembly as far as I know!

Residence – lives within 500 feet of something?

I believe that candidate Nancy Bremeau lives with 500 feet of Shoup Park. This is much like Lynette Lee Eng, elected 2016, who lives across the street from Grant Park. Teresa Morris is the only candidate who does not reside in North Los Altos. She is near Loyola Corners and MacKenzie Park but not within 500 feet of either as far as I know.

 


APPENDIX:

Here follows the DECEITFUL April 2018 Message in the Mailer for Signature Gathering.

Just this morning, I heard another story from yet another friend about being beguiled by a ‘neighbor’ into signing what appeared to be ‘an innocent petition to save parks’. -Lalahpolitico

 

“Preserve Public Property for Public Uses.

New Initiative Proposal will do that.

You can sign the petition at

Woodland Library, on Sunday, April 29th, 2018
again May 6th (last day)

Our public parks and land are among our most valuable assets.

They enhance our small-town character and civic culture.

Natural settings are an important community resource providing recreational and leisure opportunities.

Los Altos has the smallest amount of parkland per resident of any city in the area

 

If passed, the measure will require a majority of vote of Los Altos voters to:

Sell or transfer any city-owned parks, open space or other land

Lease the land for 180 days or more

Change the land use

Change the permitted uses of parks, open space, or land (per the General Plan)”

 

Lalahpolitico Conclusion: Well, that above message was clearly about parks.  Who would lease a park for even 1 day? I see nothing about protecting downtown parking plazas…which are the latest message.

If you look at the original COMPLETE 7-page long petition, it talks about 3 zones: parks, open space, and public&institutional.  Attachments include a map which clearly shows that Hillview Community Center and the Civic Center are public&institutional.

 Yet, the signature gathers seldom if ever talked about the effect on public&institutional land or about the ban on new leases without a vote.


PHOTO:

I highlighted the original text in yellow. The non-highlighted text is Lalahpolitico remarks.


April Yes on Measure C Los Altos, April 2018 mailer whipping up people to save parks by signing a petition

April 2018 mailer whipping up people to save parks by signing a petition

About the author

lalahpolitico

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 couple of years.