A special interest group – a Political Action Committee (PAC) – closely affiliated with the local and state Democratic Party, namely Los Altos Community Voices [LACV] — has published a PAID ad in the local paper – Los Altos Town Crier. The ad is their Issues Voting Record Card for the Los Altos City Council Election 2022. It compares incumbent candidates Neysa Fligor, Anita Enander, and newcomer Pete Dailey. It’s their steering committee’s spin on the incumbent candidates’ voting “records” and all candidates’ likely future positions on City of Los Altos policy issues. To say it is cherry-picked is an understatement. It’s more like Dxxinformation or Mxxinformation, words they like to hurl at opponents. The co-publisher of the Los Altos Town Crier newspaper has recently stepped down from his long-time Treasurer role at LACV and has withdrawn from the organization.
Here’s an idea. Don’t take the simple-minded Town Crier Ad seriously. That advice also applies to their publisher Endorsements, “narratives” and “spin.” You may see these on social media and from local Los Altos mailing lists. But maybe — hear me out — you would prefer to think for yourself.
You may want to consider how Los Altos City Council candidates’ policy positions line up with your preferences. Lalah has listened to all the 2022 candidate forums, interviews, etc. Lalah has not watched every city meeting, but a whole lot of them. We use a 10 point spectrum to depict where a candidate stands, not a binary YES/NO.
If you are super-progressive you’ll find your match. If you are a moderate, one of that dying breed, you’ll find an option too.
You can choose up to two candidates on the Los Altos City Council Election 2022 ballot, but in this election consider voting for just one instead.
Correction: Candidate Pete Dailey’s campaign does not have a campaign manager – a legal role that delegates authority for spending. Dennis Young, now co-publisher of the Los Altos Town Crier, has stepped down form his long-time role as Treasurer for LACV and withdrawn.
Upzone all sites in the Housing Element (HE) Plan
Upzone all sites in the Housing Element (HE) Plan
You either agree (10) or disagree (0) that city council members should diligently upzone all the Sites in the Housing Element in the next two years, rather than try to stall. They should accept the Housing Element Regional Housing Need Assessment mandates as law, diligently upzoning the inventory list of sites as necessary – changing density, setback and height requirements, etc., to follow the law, and avoid the legal costs of being prosecuted by the well-staffed Housing Community Development legal team. They should meet the state imposed deadlines for doing so. WHERE ARE YOU ON THIS SCALE?
Lalahpolitico: If you think the quadrupled RHNA numbers were a giant state bureaucracies’ fuxxxxx Up as detailed in the recent California State Auditor Report [a fiasco first spotted by citizen research at the Embarcadero Institute], and you would prefer to litigate the bloated RNHA allocation to Los Altos, there are zero candidates who agree with you. Get used to it. All candidates will UPZONE as mandated.
New Objective Standards to mitigate the HE
New Objective Standards to mitigate the HE
Your either agree (10) or disagree (0) that in the next four years, the City and City Council should continue to invest staff time and City money to craft “objective design standards.” Those would attempt to preserve privacy, landscaping and neighborhood feel as the dense HE housing in the upzoned areas is planned, and perhaps built out. But this will only happen IF there is State and Fed funding or private developer interest in so building. WHERE ARE YOU ON THIS SCALE?
The upzoning of density, setbacks, height and such is a given. The City must. But the kind of design guidance that the Planning Commission once dished out in meetings, is now supposed to be obtained by providing developers documents that clearly define objective standards. Many aspects used to be handled more subjectively. The Objective design guidelines of course get more and more complex, with more and more pages, and more and more Objective photos. Result: the new projects start to look more and more alike.
So how willing are candidates in the Los Altos City Council Election 2022 to take this extra step with the upzoning: more new Objective Design Standards — say for an area rezoned for tall townhomes, a zone which we really don’t have now? Will they add Objective Design to the todo list?
Please know that Anita Enander worked with staff and Design Review when SB9 passed last fall for enactment January 2022. [SB 9 = by right, no design review, single family home lot split/duplex.] The city had been using ‘subjective’ practices and rules of thumb applied in the majority of cases. They were only given a few months to turn those practices used by the Los Altos Design Review Commission into SB9 objective design standards. [Anita Enander has been the Council liaison with the Design Review Commission. ]
Lalah: Fligor would likely go along with paying for more Objective Design consulting for new HE zones. But she doesn’t have the skills to be hands-on.
Lalah: Dailey, on the other hand seems to have no patience with ‘amateur’ people who like to angst over design finer points. “Leave it to the professionals. An architect designed it.” Furthemore he’d like our future city upzoning ordinances to EXCEED the what is required in the Housing Element, with more height and smaller setbacks, as an INCENTIVE to developers. (See Dailey’s Friends of Los Altos (FOLA) interview! You can’t make this stuff up!)
How qualified are candidates in the Los Altos City Council Election 2022 to take this extra step for additional objective design standards? Anita Enander “led’ the ad hoc Downtown Building Committee, served on the Planning Commission, and as council member has been liaison to Design Review Commission. IN CONTRAST, both Fligor and Dailey come from service on the Parks and Rec Commission.
Support for State Housing Laws that take away local control
You either agree (10) or disagree (0) that the state housing laws are good policy, and effective policy in producing affordable housing at various income levels, AND that taking away cities’ local control is an OK thing. WHERE ARE YOU ON THIS SCALE?
“Support State Housing Bills” was a question Los Altos Residents asking during their one on one Zoom interviews in early October with candidates in the Los Altos City Council Election 2022.
Neysa Fligor: [sic Lalah: At some length Neysa Fligor relates all the great things she has done to provide more affordable housing in Los Altos. It’s all true but she does not answer the question… until]
Lalah: Neysa Fligor goes on to defend the ABAG housing unit allocation process, saying it “has a role to play.” Actually there is not criticism of ABAG’s chosen division method for the RHNA pie, the crticism is about the HUGE size of the RHNA pie.
Pete Dailey: [sic Lalah: Pete Dailey dismisses the question as framed wrong, accusing the interviewer of bias, and finally tersely saying he supports the state laws.
VIDEO: How SB828 caused Housing & Community Development (HCD) to ‘double count” overcrowded & cost burdened households and to ‘change vacancy rate assumptions,’ inflating the RHNA target…”just interpreting the law” say bureaucrats
Anita Enander : The simple answer is no. I do not support Sacramento’s actions.
“This is a complex topic, and it deserves extended public debate. Unfortunately, that isn’t happening. The state, the nation in fact, cities around the world have serious affordability issues. That’s been developing for many years. And it has multiple causes.”
“The state and federal government basically stopped funding construction of affordable housing 10 to 15 years ago and recent funding allocations are just miniscule compared to the need, Trying to force cities who have never built housing, to just build more housing through whatever mechanism, isn’t going to fix the issue.”
“We actually have fewer crafts and trades people to do construction today in California than we had prior to the 2008 economic meltdown. There are literally not enough people to build what Sacramento mandates.”
“It frustrates me that these laws take away the rights of local residents to affect how development happens in their own communities and eliminates the responsibility of city councils to do what is best for their city while doing virtually nothing to fix the problem. The housing market is segmented. More luxury housing is not going to help the affordability issue. Affordable housing requires subsidies.”
“The overwhelming majority of the bills you mentioned do nothing to create affordable housing. They provide no funds to subsidize creation of affordable housing. Instead, they allow market rate and luxury housing that actually makes affordability issues worse. We know things that don’t work. The trickle down doesn’t work. increased density doesn’t work. Building near transit doesn’t work. Accessory dwelling units, Granny units often rent for what luxury units rent for. Gentrification actually destroys affordable housing and harms long existing communities of color.”
“Inflating the RHNA numbers – which the state auditor has now said are not supportable – won’t create more housing. And creating enforcement mechanisms from HCD for bad public policy that is directed at forcing cities to approve more market rate housing does nothing to fix the affordability crisis.”
“The track Sacramento is taking is intended to blame cities for Sacramento’s failure. I oppose the sham game Sacramento is playing by blaming cities, forcing one size fits all rules that do nothing to help create affordable housing. I support a real dialogue to find real solutions that fund affordable housing.”
“Sacramento should stop the blame game and counterproductive legislation and instead engage with local governments on real solutions. Again, I oppose taking away the rights of residents to affect how development happens In their own towns, and eliminating the responsibility of City Council’s to do what’s best for their community, while allowing legislators to ignore their responsibility to do something that works and instead just collect more campaign funds from special interests.”
Anita Enander and Lynnette [sp?] Lee-Eng have been active – in a Council Legislative Subcommittee – in facilitating our city’s co-signing of letters from the Bay Area Cities Association to Sacramento legislatures, For and Against proposed bills, including housing bills. Lalah: The council majority – Fligor, Weinberg, Meadows – seems to want to shut down, reign in, or at least hamper the Subcommittee’s efforts to influence the state legislators who make these shoddy laws.
Permanent Restaurant “Parklettes”
on Downtown State St. and Main St.
You agree (10) or disagree ( 0) candidates in the Los Altos City Council Election 2022 should permanently allow open air dining, occupying the roadways on State and Main Streets. AND you agree the City is at least partially responsible for developing, and maintaining these “restaurant parklettes” including improving them for aesthetics. The city should also assist with providing sanitation including regular roadway hose downs and vermin abatement (a new problem downtown). AND you agree or disagree the extra sales tax revenue will cover the extra maintenance costs borne by the City. WHERE ARE YOU ON THIS SCALE?
Permanent Restaurant Parklettes –
Actual Truth : Earlier this year at a council meeting, Mayor Anita Enander made a motion to extend the temporary COVID parklette program for one year to take some time to evaluate how best to make it permanent; it was voted down 2 to 3. The majority made a motion to make the roadway “parklettes” permanent, and it passed 3 to 2. The minority made a motion to have the permanent parklette program come back in one-year for review of progress in addressing sanitation, traffic safety issues; this passed 5-0. Lalah: Pete Dailey’s campaign and the LACV ad is lying by omission when they say simply – without the whole context – that Anita Enander voted against permanent parklettes. Lalah:Tell me the truth, the WHOLE truth!
Cause of Past High Legal Fees / And Forecast
Cause of Past High Legal Fees
Lalah: If you listen to our New City Manager’s “State of the City” presentations of Jan. 12, 2022, you’ll learn that apparently the former staff needed micromanaging and didn’t get enough of it! They left us in quite a sad state.
You either agree (10) with insinuations that Anita Enander caused and will continue to cause high legal fees or that (0) it was errors of former staff and the former city attorney that caused high fees — so with new staff, fees will decrease. WHERE ARE YOU ON THIS SCALE?
Sorensens’ 40 Main St. Downtown
Lalah Correction: The original section here referred to SB330, but SB35 is the relevant law. The section has been rewritten for clarity and to incorporate some new information.
Background: Sorensens’ 40 Main has been bringing designs to the City for almost over a decade. (Was it 4 times, 5 times? LaLah has lost count.) The zoning has been changing with the times and with more lenient state zoning laws, the 40 Main designs got taller and more massive, again and again. People who know say every one of the revised, new 40 Main plans exceeded whatever the contemporary zoning rules were. “They never had ‘legal’ plans that met our local codes including the last one.” [Lalahpolitico’s faulty memory thinks that for the last plan, the driveway opening in/out the underground parking was too low? And too short? And too winding? And impacted Lot 10? Or was that the next to the last one?]
Apparently the only reason that the city could be sued by the Sorensens under SB35 was because the city’s RHNA reports got out of compliance—basically a former staff manager failed to file an annual report on time. As Lalahpolitico recalls it, the out-of-town CARLA organization was looking to support a SB35 test case; somehow the Sorensens and CARLA found each other to jointly pursue 40 Main’s permit denial by city staff and city council.
Our attorney at the time did not realize that an obscure clause in SB35 applied, nor that a HCD report had not been filed.
First, city planning staff denied the Sorensens’ application for a permit for their 5 story development.
The city attorney told the Sorensens they would have to Appeal the staff decision to City Council in an open hearing before they could file suit. Sorensens were not happy.
SB35 was new and there was no case law. Both the city attorney and development director at the time recommended scheduling and holding a Council Appeal hearing. Council voted 5-0 to support that staff recommendation and have a Council appeal hearing on the staff permit denial.
The hearing was held, and the the 5 denied the Sorensen’s appeal to Council. [In retrospect, the attorney advice to hold that council appeal hearing was bad advice.]
Then the Sorensen’s proceeded to file suit in court – along with CARLA. The judge ruled that the City violated SB35, that the development permit should have been ‘ministerially approved’ at the planning counter, and therefore because the City put the Sorensen’s through the ordeal of a City Council appeal hearing, she ruled that the City had violated SB35 in bad faith.
Council Council promptly voted 5-0 to approve the Sorensen development permit for the 5-story. [ There was no damages award.]
Many months passed; there was a new council; Sorensens indicated they thought they could still file in court for damages because of the original permit denial. Council and staff looked into what a new trial could cost the City. Because of the “bad faith” ruling, the costs of bonding – insuring against losing a new case – were extremely high. Eventually the Council unanimously agreed to avoid going to court.
Instead Anita Enander and Sally Meadows constituted the City subcommittee that negotiated with the Sorensens for a ‘small’ settlement amount, invited them to submit a permit application again, and offered that the city would forego fees. [Neither the approved 5-story nor a different 40 Main plan has been brought to the city.]
So is Anita Enander a villain in the Sorensen 40 Main case? Maybe a hero with Sally Meadows?
Wireless Services Infrastructure
Lalah Correction: This has been revised to incorporate new information.
It was about two years ago when the telecom carriers wanted to start rolling out small cell wireless “tower’ deployments to support new internet offerings and improve residential service dead zones. In response, the City of Los Altos staff wrote its first small cell tower ordinance. As Lalah recalls it, Verizon made 1 application and ATT made multiple applications.
The city denied all the applications, as not conforming with its staff designed wireless tower ordinance.
Both the carriers filed lawsuits. Covid hit and courts were closed for months and months. There were no court appearances; there were no rulings.
In this interim the council hired an expensive telecom law consulting team and began to craft a new ordinance.
After TWO iterations of city council hearings – the Fligor, Meadows, and Weinberg majority still didn’t like the consultants’ twice revised ordinance and voted it down 3-2. That meant the council, by dragging it out, was facing a parliamentary violation about exceeding the number of allowable hearings. Anita Enander did some research and found an obscure parliamentary procedure and suggested that City Attorney Jolie Houston take a look at it. Houston agreed to it, and Council was able to have two more meetings in rapid succession, spitting out a final ordinance 5-0.
Why was finishing a new wireless ordinance pronto so important? It was important because the ATT/Verizon original case(s) were finally scheduled for trial by the Judge hearing the Theranos case. When she was done with Theranos and ready to hear Los Altos vs. ATT/Verizon, it would be prudent to actually have a new different wireless ordinance.
That judge threw out the existing ATT and Verizon cases as “moot” as the old ordinance was gone. She told the companies to try to apply again under the new ordinance. (At least one carrier did not appeal. We just learned [October 2022] that ATT is going to appeal, unfortunately. Nonetheless, the city still has paid only legal fees and no damages — thanks to Anita Enander for not dawdling like the majority 3 dawdled and for getting the new ordinance done in time to make the original cases legally moot.)
Climate Action Adaptation Plan (CAAP)
Climate Action Adaptation Plan (CAAP)
Where do candidates in the Los Altos City Council Election 2022 stand? You fully endorse (10) the new March 2022 updated CAAP Plan as approved by the Environmental Commission (EC) and Council 3 to 2 or (0) You think the CAAP should be rolled back to 2045. The new CAAP moved all major goalposts for “decarbonization” etc. from 2045 to 2035. It added that the Los Altos EC should start to plan in 2022 for how to transition existing homes with gas appliances to all electric, gradually “banning gas” by 2035. [By the way…At the state level, gas appliances will no longer be available to purchase after 2035.] WHERE ARE YOU ON THIS SCALE?
“Building Electrification” Reach Codes
You fully endorse (10) the Los Altos Environmental Commission Reach Code subcommittee bringing forth a Los Altos City ALL ELECTRIC Reach Code (a building code for the time being limited to NEW CONSTRUCTION and 50% REMODELS ] every two years that exceeds requirements of the State Code which itself ratchets up every 2 years or you prefer the less stringent state code (0). [In the graphic below, just for fun, Lalah added in two of the council members who aren’t running in this election Weinberg, Meadows]
The 100 + page City of Los Altos CAAP has about a dozen or more “Action/Adaptations,” and Building Electrification/Reach Codes are just one. The CAAP contains actions that the city is supposed to actually DO eventually. It’s more than just ink.
The City paid some $70 K for a consultant – who with the EC – put together revised CAAP goals and assessed progress so far. City success in meeting its goals/action to reduce carbon were pretty good – but over 80% of it was because ~90% of residents and business switched from PGE to Silicon Valley Clean Energy. Lalah: that switch was a one-time thing, And it mostly just moves the dirty energy consumption from Los Altos to another area. Clean Energy Generation capacity and Electricity Storage capacity are growing but have a ways to go to meet total power demand. It that likely by 2035? Hmmmm.
When the CAAP came before council for approval in March, Anita Enander and Lee Eng said they did NOT concur with SOME of its goals – including starting planning for a mandate that existing homes transition existing appliances to all electric –and especially with changing the timeline from 2045 to 2035. They complained that the “public outreach requirement” was not fulfilled well enough. Lalah agrees with that complaint. There were no amendments. The March 2022 CAAP vote was 3-2.
Anita Enander said paraphrasing, “I cannot vote for the CAAP, because I would not [want?] anyone to think I endorse ALL the actions in it. I do not. Though many things in it I do support.” Lalah: She is especially keen on the ADAPTATION actions such as preserving and extending tree cover and greenery, helping residents with switching to more drought tolerant tree species, and with homeowner greywater projects, and drought education.
Lalahplitico: The recent brouhaha about a local group – Los Altos Residents LAR – “dishonestly” spreading “disinformation” in its mailers is pure political theater. LAR was alerting their list not just about the Reach Code process, but also to the fact that residents had not noticed and weighed in on the CAAP last March. There was deficient public outreach and engagement at that time. To now claim it is “dishonest” for LAR to enable people to comment belatedly about the CAAP, just because the Sept. 6 meeting agenda item was technically confined to Reach Codes, seems like faked outrage. AND an ugly effort to muffle/silence opposing opinions. EC is fooling itself if they think they have broad mainstream support for a 2035 CAAP deadline.
Image: The Majority 3 Council “Lied” in plain earshot about actually supporting the “Proposed” 2022 Reach Code!
Lalahpolitico: As for the Reach Code, there was plenty of council member political theater at that Sept. 6, 2022 Council meeting.
The majority 3 (Fligor, Meadows, Weinberg) – out of one side of their mouths said they support CAAP and the Environmental Commissions’s 2022 Reach Code recommendations as presented with its more stringent gas limitations.
But out the other side of their mouths at the same meeting, the majority 3 ALSO ALL SAID THEY WOULD CARVE OUT PRETTY MUCH ALL THE SAME EXCEPTIONS FOR GAS AS in the 2020 Reach Code – so for new. construction and ” 50% remodels” YES, to gas lines for gas stovetops, probably yes, to gas indoor fireplaces, definitely yes for outdoor pools and barbecues allowing new gas lines, etc. And Neysa Fligor wants you to know propane tanks will definitely continue to be allowed!!!
LISTEN for yourself on the City YouTube of the council meeting of 09/06/22 from 4:58:07 to 4:59:00
You can hear Neysa Fligor list the possible exceptions [allow gas] that council will consider when the Reach Code item comes back in November 2022. “…firepits, stovetops, pools, a different definition of 50% remodel as a trigger for ALL ELECTRIC … only if a kitchen or laundry room is involved as suggested by Lee-Eng … these are things I would support changing …” You can hear vice-mayor Sally Meadows from 4:56:20 to 4:58 50 talk about ‘exceptions’ twice, “exceptions will be very important … then can carve out exceptions …” Finally, Weinberg chimes in at 4:58: 55 with “I agree with everything the vice-mayor just said.”
Lalahpolitico:How do these meeting events and actual votes let people insinuate Anita Enander is a “climate change denier”? Then I guess NeysaFligor is a denier also because she said she would ‘consider’ carving out all those Reach Code 2020 exceptions when the 2022 Proposed Reach ordinance comes back. Meadows and Weinberg said “Me, Too.” Neysa Fligor’s two-faced support of the FULL Environmental Commission Recommendation … omitting all the gas exception carve outs for the time being … lets her gain more election support fromthe Climate Activists than she deserves. GOTCHA: The Town Crier can write that Fligor voted FOR the staff recommendation to bring back the Commissions’s complete stringent Reach Code Recommendation. And that Anita Enander voted AGAINST. Even though all 5 pretty much signaled they will make the usual gas exceptions at a future council meeting.
The Reach Code issue is expected back before council in late November 2022. [During that Sept. 6 council meeting, Mayor Anita Enander tried to suggest to the council that it appeared the 5 could agree to do usual Reach Code exceptions there and then … so they wouldn’t have to be studied for “cost efficiency.” But the majority wanted to continue to pretend they support the unadulterated EC Recommendation .]
Policing-Less of it vs. Keep the same
… following new state and federal regulations
Where do the candidates in the Los Altos City Council Election 2022 stand? You fully endorse Defunding the Police, reducing their budget and headcount, and NOT replacing the police building OR you Fully Disagree or somewhat disagree with some or all of those actions. WHERE ARE YOU ON THIS SCALE?
Everybody is all for policing now. As candidate Pete Dailey has pointed out, it’s 50% of the annual City budget. There is not even a whisper of “defunding the police.” However asking the County for more metal health interventions is still talked about. We still want to count their “military guns and battering rams”. We ponder whether encrypting police radio transmissions is a good thing (criminals can’t hear) or a a bad thing (citizen watchdogs can’t hear the police malfeasance in progress).
City Manger Gabe England, upon the prior chief’s retirement, has hired a new police chief, a black woman who rose to Deputy Chief at BART. During the BLM spasm, talk of a new police station stopped for a while, but now we all are on board for it again because it has been so decrepit for years and years. Early in 2022, Council members Jonathan Weinberg and Sally Meadows were looking into a Bond Measure for a new police station, but the inflation/recession has iced that effort for now.
Back in those national BLM spasm times in 2020, even in tamest of hamlets like Los Altos, there were hundreds of voices – many, many of them out-of-towners – demanding the City publicly scrutinize our Los Altos police. So we did. After a Townhall, the then council agreed to appoint a citizen’s Police Task Force and to limit its study to two things: 1) making it less scary to file a complaint about a police incident, and 2) whether the School Resource Officer (SRO) program did more harm — “traumatizing” youth — or good — diverting youth from “getting into trouble.”
The Police Task Force came back to Council with 5 recommendations. Enander and Fligor were on that council. Let’s look at the vote.
Video of Vote on Police Task Force Recommendations 1 to 4
Video of Vote on Police Task Force Recommendation 5 – Remove SRO
Anita Enander voted NO only on the the 1st Recommendation — aka to have a party other than the police to collect complaints. All 5 had agreed to change the terminology from 3rd party “Auditor” to 3rd party “Independent Intake Portal” for this the first recommendation. Anita Enander called it a clerical role and a “kind of a sham” because “all investigations are to be still handled by the Police Department.” Lee-Eng thought it was just another cost. The vote was 3 Yes, 2 No. [See time 13:07 in first video link above]
Anita Enander voted YES on the 2nd Recommendation. It said that the Portal Clerk and the Police Department would share complaints in a “reasonable amount of time”. The vote was 4 Yes, 1 No (Lee-Eng). The attorney, Jolie Houston, was concerned about how the new “public” database might be subject to the public records act, or violate police union rights to employee privacy. It seemed she would look into it. The voting continued. Anita Enander votes yes for all the others.
The next 3 Recommendations, including the schools SRO, passed unanimously 5-0. Therefore, Anita Enander voted YES for 4 of 5 Police Task Force Recommendations.
Lalah: It is just plain DISHONEST to run a political ad in the Los Altos Town Crier that says Anita Enander “Voted against our police task force recommendations.” Tell me the truth, the whole truth. She voted for 4 out of 5 of them. In case you haven’t heard, her brother-in-law is a black man.
Traffic / Public Safety/ Complete Streets/
El Camino Bike Lanes
You fully endorse (10) the idea that painted bike lanes on El Camino will be UNSAFE for bicyclists and that businesses there need street parking OR, You fully endorse (0) the painted bike lanes on El Camino are a GOOD thing; they allow more people to get out of their cars and bike instead – decarbonize the climate. WHERE ARE YOU ON THIS SCALE?
The newest draft of the Complete Streets Master Plan is still pending, due before council this year 2022. [Complete Streets is the new name for the old Transportation Commission back when there used to be a separate Bike & Pedestrian Commission.]
Looking Back: The merging of the commissions has been good. There have been many improvements: the “flashing” crosswalks; intersection rebuilds (Foothill & El Monte, arguably not better for cyclists), more experiments with localized “traffic calming” (Cuesta with its “too tall” speed bumps a recent ‘fail’ and redo), much better bike and pedestrian safety near schools, including more crossing guards, and refreshed Safe Routes to School maps. Berry Street got a major facelift making Loyola School much safer. Bike lanes on collector streets seems better marked. And some are about to be marked again, with yellow plastic markings instead of paint … to meet new standards for streets near schools.
Recent brouhaha: El Camino Real – bike lane. Santa Clara County is planning a repaving of El Camino and has invited cities to REMOVE STREET PARKING in order to PAINT BIKE LANES. Such BIKE LANES ARE NOT IN OUR CURRENT LOS ALTOS COMPLETE STREETS PLAN.
Lalahpolitico: Bike Lanes on El Camino kinda sound good, but then I had to think, would I ever use it myself for more than 1 block? Hell no, too dangerous, and all the bus traffic and bus stops. How do you go around when the bus has stopped in front of your bike? You weave out into the car lane? Small businesses lose parking. Most businesses I frequent along El Camino have some kind of lot on the side of or behind their building, but not all. Yeah, I know the REGIONAL PLANNERS of the EL CAMINO GRAND BOULEVARD have been planning for over 20 years to scoot all retail off of El Camino to major intersections every 2 miles apart or so. Around here San Antonio and Castro got the OK to remain retail centers into the future. Every thing else is supposed to become multistory housing. Can some retail coexist with housing in the same building a la Santana Row? People say that’s what will happen to our local Walmart. Where will the “poor” shop?
Los Altos Council Voted 3 to 2 to accept the County Painted Bike Lane
Anita Enander and Lynette Lee-Eng were NO votes. “Telling businesses there to get out of our town,” bothered them. Anita Enander said the painted bike lanes just provided a “false sense of safety” to bicyclists.
Remember that on the other big traffic item recently – redoing the “traffic calming” Cuesta speed bumps – city council was in 5-0 agreement.
Lalahpolitico: Someday… the El Camino bike lanes could become more than paint, an actual physically separated lane. That would be safe – ish. But there is no money for that now. People of goodwill can disagree about whether painting the El Camino bike lanes now is a good first step to reducing the use of cars, or is just leading the lambs to slaughter? Are they SAFE lanes as asserted in an election mailer? Is it ok to vote against UNSAFE bike lanes?
There are a couple of other hot button issues in in the Los Altos City Council Election 2022 that have many fewer people who care one way or another.
ONE ) The possible restoration of Halsey House in Redwood Grove Nature Preserve.
It’s being ‘mothballed’ for up to 10 years. This is year one. Pete Dailey is on record as wanting to tear it down. But that is not legal for now. Neither Neysa Fligor nor Anita Enander think it is high up the list for $$$ ‘improvements’ any time soon. Lalah forecast: just more mothballs at $100K(?) a year.
TWO) The future of the city-owned Bus Barn Theater building and its long-time tenant – Los Altos Stage Company.
The Stage Company group would like to move onto a city parking lot downtown, and have the city contribute to construction costs of a new theater building there. Neysa Fligor voted YES to kick $38K of city money from a City park-in-lieu fund to the group for a feasibility study. Anita Enander voted NO. The local pro-housing group likes to point out that if a plaza were to become ‘surplus,’ it would have to be first offered for an 100% affordable housing development. And in fact, our new Housing Element plan lists a city parking plaza as plausible site for such a development. Pete Dailey is on the Los Altos Stage New Theater Committee – so a big advocate for City involvement and probably City spending. [Shouldn’t Dailey recuse himself? Obvious conflict of interest.]
Lalah: Let’s recall how the History Museum got built on the City-owned civic center land. Donors raised ALL the construction money, built it, and deeded it to the city when complete. The City does not subsidize its annual operation except for $60k (?) towards the Executive Director’s salary.
Oh my, all our first world problems here in the ‘hood! Lalah feels foolish pondering all this City Council 2022 Election rivalry & skullduggery … while the whole world spins out of control in so many ways … while national politics gets more and more partisan and radical … further trickling poisons down into our state and local civic behavior.