Monday, March 02, 2009
Saturday, February 28, 2009
My favorite part is that their accomplice was a woman, who lowered a rope ladder from the helicopter and fired at jail guards with a machine gun. Maybe she could teach NOE a thing or two about feminism...
Monday, February 02, 2009
After Kinney gave each member 71 single-sided pages of information,
council member Mike Kasperzak said Kinney needed to "cut down on [paper (sic) waste" with his handouts.
I think Kasperzak has spent the last two years writing and practicing one-liners he'd like to give if reelected to the council.
Monday, January 26, 2009
However, I did read the Town Crier's review of it. Given that the book criticizes the Republican Party, and the Town Crier's publisher is a leader in a local Republican Party organization (a fact once again mentioned nowhere), you can probably guess that the thing did not get four stars.
This is my favorite part:
What the book doesn’t have is a consistent sourcing of the facts Sutherland cites. Considering his indignation over government officials’ so-called lies that the American people have embraced, Sutherland should have meticulously footnoted attributions lest readers suspect he is duping them, too.Considering the Town Crier is consistently unable to point to any supporting evidence (let alone "meticulously footnoted attributions") for many ridiculous claims and assertions while ignoring overwhelming evidence against others, I hope somebody over there got the irony.
At least the review didn't criticize it for being a book.
Friday, January 23, 2009
County should ‘bag’ the bag tax
A recent proposal by the Santa Clara County Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission for paper and plastic grocery and retail bag reduction and a 25 cent per-bag tax received a cool reception from the Los Altos City Council. The issue wasn’t so much bag reduction – in these “green” times, reductions are appropriate. It was the "tax" part of it that council members rejected.
I'm sending both this headline and opening paragraph to the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.
We’re glad they did. Councilwoman Val Carpenter hit the nail on the head when she said the city would be better off implementing incentives for residents using fewer bags than agreeing to impose a tax. And the prospect of another tax in this weak economy is equivalent to hitting the taxpayers when they’re down. Frankly, there are far bigger environmental issues to tackle, such as toxic waste disposal and water conservation.The Town Crier editorial writer may be happy about this, and Val Carpenter did in fact say that, but everything else in this paragraph is wrong.
the city would be better off implementing incentives for residents using fewer bags than agreeing to impose a tax.My idea to give people an incentive to use fewer bags: charge a fee that they can avoid by using fewer bags.
And the prospect of another tax in this weak economy is equivalent to hitting the taxpayers when they’re down.Three issues here: 1) Technically, it would be the tax itself doing the hitting, not the prospect of it, 2) this fee would be especially easy to avoid, and 3) I'm pretty sure Los Altans can afford an extra quarter in the extreme circumstances where it becomes necessary.
Frankly, there are far bigger environmental issues to tackle, such as toxic waste disposal and water conservation.This sentence is particularly egregious. Its premise is a false dilemma that imagines society can either address the problem of plastic bags or deal with other environmental concerns, but not both. It also lacks any evidence for its claims. And given that the Town Crier still pretends that we are not changing the climate, I find it a little hard to trust assertions like this one. In fact, I even question the writer's frankness.
The editorial goes on to argue that the market should magically provide reusable bags, missing entirely the idea that plastic bags are artificially cheap because of the external costs that the market is not capturing. And in a coup-de-grace against both logic and the English language, we get this:
For anyone who’s been in Whole Foods Market, an occasional price break would be quite welcome.
Let's leave aside for now the irony of complaining about high food prices and then letting it slip that you shop at whole foods. Also, let's ignore that one of Whole Foods' main selling points is that the food it sells has fewer associated externalities than does the food from Safeway, Trader Joe's or Ralph's, thereby justifying the higher costs. The main problem with this is that Whole Foods presumably sets its prices in a way that takes into account the discounts it gives shoppers for using renewable bags, essentially taxing shoppers in the same way that the County's proposal would.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Having lost my motivation to write a big angry blogpost after then-President Bush paid tribute to my college teammate and his father in his farewell address, I figured I'd check out the tubes to see how other local groups are marking the occasion. (Oh sure, some people are celebrating the historic nature of Obama's inauguration, but we're not here to spread positive feelings.)
Ed Sheldon (and maybe MoveOn) reserved Civic Center Plaza in Mountain View for a "Goodbye Bush" party this afternoon.
Gimmicky new Castro St. restaurant uWink attempted some old-fashioned profiteering.
Karen Meredith mooned her tv.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
... police and fire department officials responded to a pedestrian accident and alleged fraud at US Bank. Los Altos police arrested a woman on suspicion of attempting to cash a fraudulent check, according to Detective Wes Beveridge.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Catcall-inspired HotChixDig is a burlesque modeling site that purports to raise money for environmental protection. These local envirosluts really know how to turn a fella on... to the value in replacing his water heater or clumsily attempting to fix his decades-old alarm clock.
Non-profit pimp Avida Verde who maintains a blog on the site, reports that an increasing number of prospective Hot Chix are lining up to be photographed half-naked. She indicated that she may "auction off the privilege of having the shoot at someone's house," and is currently editing video to put on the site.
Friday, January 09, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
UPDATE: Karen, who has plenty of experience dealing with the army's bureaucratic errors (not to mention its substantive errors), puts it in perspective on her blog:
This "Dear John Doe" error is not the worst thing the Army has done and sadly if won't be the last "unfortunate mistake" they make. These kinds of errors, however unintentional, are so painful to a family member who lost a loved one. I wish the Army could get it right the first time. We deserve better.
Friday, January 02, 2009
It's time to dispense with that idea. Los Altos is a place with many problems. But I am happy to report that Republicanism is not one of them.
Since the 2000 election, the margin by which Los Altos voters have favored the Democratic candidate for President has tripled, with Barack Obama pulling in more than twice as many votes as John McCain this year.
In Los Altos Hills, the margin is slightly smaller, but the trend is the same.
The local electorate's take on Prop. 8 is further evidence of the city's liberal tilt: despite the Town Crier's courageously bad endorsement of the measure, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills strongly rejected it (63-37 and 60-40, respectively).
Nationwide, voters with postgraduate degrees went Democratic by as much as 64-36 margin. (This is not surprising given their choice between a former law professor with Joe Biden as a running mate and Warren Buffett as an economic advisor and, on the other hand, the trio of a gas tax holiday advocate, Sarah Palin and Joe "the Plumber"). With 40% of its population over the age of 25 holding advanced degrees, Los Altos is likely lost to the Republicans for the foreseeable future. It may not be long before reporters are referring to its rich Democratic history.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The neighbors complained about a large sign proposed the front of the facility which would list the center's fax number and Web site address. There were other proposals they also didn't like: a bike rack large enough to hold 32 bikes, the lack of a front porch, a lack of parking and a bench that made the area look like a "bus stop."*Sigh*
In Mountain View, the city is again facing $5 million or more in budget cuts, and the day worker center must divide among a hundred or so workers job requests that number in single digits. When one employer wrote a bad check after hiring several workers and declined to make good on it, the director drove all the way to Monterey County to collect. Things have become so bad that day workers are giving up and going back to Mexico and other home countries.
And in Los Altos, the house at 47 View St. appears to have been taken off the market after its list price was knocked down from $27 million to $19.9 million. (The absurdity of this property revealed itself again on Thanksgiving night, when a homeless veteran died in a bus stop just one mile away).
Some of you may need special encouragement to open up your wallets for charity this year, so here it comes:
It is time for NOE readers (and contributors) to support the best thing the local papers do all year -- the Holiday Fund drives through which the Voice and Town Crier fund a combined 22 local charities. The economic downturn is doubly painful for those who rely on these charities, as an increasing number of clients must share fewer resources. Even the Holiday Fund drives themselves have suffered, both at about 60% of last year's total. Please go to the websites now, read the profiles of the charities, and make a donation. For further inspiration, you can look to the example of Bob Schick, who made his dedicated his donation to the Voice fund to the memory of the prune trees in Cuesta Annex.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Kudos then, to the Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade Association for recognizing that the free-for-all claiming of space on downtown sidewalks in advance of the Festival of Lights parade presented a commons problem that would inevitably descend into mayhem without some form of regulation or management.
The Town Crier did an impressive job of publicizing the new rules, and its follow-up report (which seems to be at least temporarily inaccessible online) indicated that people followed them, if somewhat reluctantly.
As much as I would like to congratulate last year's civic clean-up squad for helping spur this development and ensuring that Los Altos no longer looks like an emergency shelter, I am disappointed that I won't get to see Erik Koland tape off all downtown sidewalks using Spanish surnames. Just imagine the reaction that would have elicited.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
The back of Sgt. Scott McCrossin's trading card hopefully already credits him for hosting the most boring ridealong in the history of journalism, as well for convincing a judge that it was perfectly reasonable of him to pull a guy over for hanging an air freshener from his rearview mirror.
His stats just got even gaudier. On October 30, he became the first Los Altos police officer to use a Taser on a suspect.By comparison, Mountain View police have had Tasers about twice as long (four-plus years compared to two in Los Altos) and used them 34 times. (I covered the the first nine of those times in one of my favorite stories ever.)
The circumstances of Los Altos getting onto the scoreboard are a little ironic:
Los Altos Police responded to a single-vehicle crash at El Monte Avenue and El Camino Real at approximately 1 p.m. Oct. 30 and observed the driver grow “combative with a Mountain View police officer ...”
You might think that having Tased people 34 times, Mountain View police are pretty set as far as their Tasing needs go. Keep in mind, though, that Mountain View has more than 34 officers, so not all of them have had the pleasure of pumping electricity into a suspect's body. Still, I wonder what happened afterward. Did the MV officer get angry about McCrossin stealing his Tasee? Or did he shed a tear about how much Los Altos police officers are growing up? Maybe share a tip with McCrossin on the best grip to use when electrocuting a suspect?
I of course haven't bothered to try to find out the facts of the case, making it hard to judge from the story what "combative" means, and in turn exactly whether the use of the Taser was appropriate. Detective John Korges told the Town Crier that it was “definitely within policy, and definitely a prudent use of the Taser.” It seems this was good enough for the Town Crier, but a routine departmental investigation is reportedly underway anyway.
More on this, perhaps, after finals.
UPDATE: The Center for Investigative Reporting has been kicking Taser's ass this week, mainly by letting company officials talk. National litigation counsel Michael Brave is quoted in California Lawyer maintaining that "Exercise is far more harmful to you." In this week's Columbia Journalism Review, Taser defends the claims it made to analysts and the SEC that it somehow has a right to review news stories about it before they are published.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
When you're voting for Dog Commissioner, and you have no information about the candidates, you might well go with whomever your local paper decides to endorse. In a race like Obama-McCain [or a 14-word measure like Prop. 8], on the other hand, you already have all the information you could ever want, and probably have established a fairly strong preference for yourself.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
San Francisco police are investigating Sgt. Mike Evanson after his weapon discharged at a Los Altos-area Halloween party for children and adults. Moments earlier, the host had asked Evanson not to micturate on the lawn.
Evanson, who was off-duty at the time, has previously made news for his role in a neither funny nor offensive Christmas video that tried to mock women, blacks, Asians, gays, the transgendered and the homeless. (Segments of the video are preserved in the CBS5 video library, dated Dec. 7, 2005). The department suspended Evanson and 19 other officers who participated in the video. They have since sued the city for its preferential treatment of the Asian officers involved.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
In a studious, point-by-point analysis, the board argued, "why not shop and spend downtown and in our other shopping districts? The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. For starters, there’s available parking."
"Shoppers may choose from 11 women’s clothing stores, eight jewelry stores, five children’s stores and a toy store," the Town Crier writes, "the downtown also has two shoe stores and two pet stores."
The decision of where the town's residents will shop may have impact on retailers from Stanford Shopping Center to as far as the Gilroy Premium Outlets.
"We're beyond humbled," said Phyllis Dreer, 78, of Main Street Antiques. "It would have been easy for the Los Altos Town Crier to have urged Los Altos to do most of its shopping outside of Los Altos."
The editorial also reiterated one of its long running themes: Los Altans have more money than some other people who live nearby. "Residents from our communities will be shopping and spending more than other areas," writes the editorial.
After reading this, 36-year-old Mountain View resident Miguel Sanchez (pictured at right), an illegal immigrant living with 13 of his illegal immigrant relatives, could only cartoonishly shrug as he pulled out the insides of his pant pockets to reveal that they were completely empty.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The new bar is cool. I definitely like the layout and the fact that there are a bunch of tables. There also are back rooms for when we go there with groups and aren't feeling like mingling with other people. The price of beer is good too; if I remember correctly, Sierra Nevada's were only $4 — maybe $4.50, but still less than the $6 you pay at Bandera’s [Los Altos Grill]. So that's a plus.
Right now it is the new thing and everybody in Los Altos wants to go there, so it's a little crowded, and unfortunately the crowds are old people trying to be young again. I'm all for partying with adults, but, at least when I was there, it seemed like there were a lot of people with a "I'm too young for Bandera's" attitude, when in reality they fit right in at Bandera's. Hopefully it will be nice when the crowds die down and it becomes a quieter place, not as crazy as it is now.
The food is good too. I tried the wings, a classic bar food, and they were good. The Boardwalk has better, and these wings were a little smaller than usual, but overall I enjoyed them. I also had a burger there, which was good as well. The garlic fries were delicious, not like at a Giant’s game, but still really good. Our waitress was pretty retarded and one of our meals came out later than the rest, not even to the point of any of us complaining, but still later. She ended up taking it off the check without us saying anything at all. So that was really nice.
Overall, I give it my approval. I think it's a really fun place to go and obviously it's great because we can walk to and from. I will be spending many a night there in the future. I talked to the owner that night, just real quick, and asked him what time they close and he said that it's usually between 12-1 AM, but that's only because people are leaving. If people stay and are partying, they will stay open until 2 AM, which is really nice. I don't know what it's like after midnight; had a late dinner there and hung out for a bit afterwards, but didn't stay late to close the place down. I really want to do that and see what it's like, but that most likely won't be until the night before Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Johnson quickly backtracked from what was most likely a verbal misstep. She was, after all, referring to suspects described by witnesses as bandanna-wearing black men and thought to be responsible for a rash of localized robberies. But that failed to stem the outcry against her. East Palo Alto residents organized a protest march. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Mayor Larry Klein condemned the remarks. The Weekly called for her to resign.
Does anybody seriously think this backlash would have happened in Los Altos?
On the ridealong I did in high school, the police officer made no secret that he was tailing people based on their race, nobody raised an eyebrow. When the city banned day workers from standing on the street, there weren't exactly a large number of people wearing paper bags over their heads. (It was a standing-room-only crowd, though, as perhaps a hundred people turned out to stop a pool from being built in their neighborhood).
If you're interested in reading more about this overblown story (or kerfuffle, if you prefer), I highly recommend the Town Square threads on Palo Alto Online. My favorite comment suggests that racial profiling would be unnecessary if black people were more like Will Smith, or perhaps his character in "The Pursuit of Happyness." It tops even the recent comment from "PA Resident" on the Voice website suggesting that Proposition 8 was justified because "the gay person I know" is happy with the way things are.
Monday, November 10, 2008
This is a long way of saying that I have at least a plausible excuse for waiting so long to post an election recap. With the possible exception of Measure B (more on that later), the local elections finally appear set. Based on results posted as of 11:00 a.m. Monday morning, it seems safe to say that all incumbents won. But why stop there? This is local politics, after all, and therefore calls for some snide analysis.
Los Altos Hills "Town" Council: Beating John Vidovich
|Complete Precincts 9 of 9|
|JEAN (JOHN) H. MORDO||19.91%||2,354|
|TONI C. CASEY||13.18%||1,558|
Three-time mayor Casey, whom some observers have compared Saruman, returned to the local political scene (over the polite objection of the Town Crier) to complete her downfall. The strict property rights, anti-Barn (but, she stressed, pro-Little League) agenda on which she and Abraham ran carried the endorsement of the Palo Alto Daily News but not, to its credit, the Town Crier. She called for an unenforceable moratorium on campaign signs, as they are out of keeping with the city's character. (That character, the Town Crier immediately reminded readers, is "pleasant"). She also claimed the endorsement of both a deceased resident and, less impressively, the organization of which she is president. And, as the Town Crier accurately predicted, her organization attacked Mayor Mordo with last-minute mailers that wrongly accused him of breaking the law and labeled him as arrogant after he publicly apologized for false statements he had made.
She finished behind every other candidate except for Vidovich, who didn't spend a dime on his campaign despite the million dollars in unwanted federal subsidies he had lying around. It's refreshing to see not even Los Altos Hills is conservative enough that affiliation with the Bush Administration is a winning platform. Perhaps the town is becoming an ideopolis.
Mountain View City Council: Read NOE, win a seat
|Completed Precincts 43 of 43|
|JOHN R. MCALISTER||10.21%||7,666|
Maybe it's an infinitesimally small sample size (I'm still waiting for new correspondent Happy to run the appropriate regression analysis), but if there's one trend that jumped out at me from the Mountain View returns, it's that the winners tend to read NOE, at least occasionally. The Professor, a regular commenter, and Macias, who once called this post "smarmy" (which I still choose to take as a compliment), cruised to reelection. Kasperzak finished third, returning to the council as a Democrat. I don't have any evidence that fourth-place finisher John Inks is a NOE reader, but I also don't have any evidence that he isn't.
The surprise, according to both the Voice's analysis and this theory, is that Miz Crank did not fare better. This is somewhat of a shame for the city. Perhaps her emphasis on public safety resonated less as economic shocks and other big news made the six homicides earlier this year fade from the collective conscience. As it happens, it's beginning to look like that spike in the murder rate was more statistical noise than some kind of violent crime wave. I can't say I'm sorry about that, but it might have been better for Miz Crank's campaign had that not been the case.
Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District Board: Forgiving Phil Fallaice
|Completed Precincts 76 of 76|
Sweeley ran away with the board's first contested election in years, overcoming an unfortunate paraphrasing about the achievement gap in a Voice profile. I'd like to think that the difference in support between Sweeley and fellow incumbent Faillace is a result of people remembering the latter's effort to ruin the science curriculum at the high school back in 1997 (an effort which in turn forced me to give a speech to the student body in protest, taking off my shirt only when the closing lines didn't go over as well as I had hoped). I think a much more likely explanation is that the district has 6,000 voters who vote like my mom.
Santa Clara County Measure B: Not forgiving BART-to-San-Jose
|Completed Precincts 1,142 of 1,142|
BART-to-San-Jose looks headed to defeat, again, no thanks to the local papers. The most mystifying twist this election was that so many of them finally caved in and endorsed this misguided project. It seemed almost like they were sick of having to argue against it. Or perhaps they were adhering to Koland's stance on high-speed rail: 'We waste billions of dollars on a lot of these, and we usually don't get anything cool in return.'
The only thing about this proposal that has changed since local papers and county voters rejected it in 2006 is that BART boosters had the decency not to hold hospitals and social services hostage this time. It's not as if tunneling under downtown San Jose to pick up a small fraction of riders at a huge portion of the cost suddenly became a good idea. Of course, defeat at the polls hasn't stopped the project before, and it probably won't stop the project this time. But that's no reason to endorse it.
Loretta, who last appeared on the blog two years en route to her crushing defeat of Tan "Rusty Shackleford" Nguyen, provided my favorite moments of the lecture:
- Justifying her decision to interrupt herself mid-sentence and get up from her seat to step on a cricket: "I thought it was a cockroach"
- Describing her parents' impression of her childhood intellect compared to her older brother's: "The retard."
- Recounting her decision to run against "B-1 Bob Dornan" in 1996 after he refused to meet with her: "Screw you."
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
I love the postal service as much as anyone, except maybe my college friend Addorio. I mean, just think how mind-blowing it is that you can put a letter in a box in Los Altos and for 42 cents have it probably show up in a box you've chosen 3,000 miles away. (And nevermind the fact that you could do the same thing much faster for free via e-mail). But: really? Still no mention anywhere on the site of the fact that Obama won?
The Town Crier isn't ignoring the election entirely. It has the results of the high school board election, although for some reason not the Los Altos Hills City Council race. (More on both races in a later post). Also, this:
This year’s presidential race and state propositions have engendered hurt feelings that go beyond the election results.Also, with help from the Town Crier, they've engendered hurt feelings that are directly attributable to the election results. Of course, it hurts more to lose a campaign sign than to lose a fundamental right.
In fact, its quite the opposite.
Good to see that Lawrence Summers hasn't lost any respect from the people in power after his humiliating, forced resignation from his post as president of Harvard in the wake of ignorant, sexist comments.
Throngs of queers, queens, and quacks queued up on the streets of Los Angeles today to collectively piss on the outcome of Tuesday's election. Angelenos who had forgotten about the political predispositions of Orange County and most of Central California gathered outside the three-hundred foot Mormon Temple, made of white Utah cement by men in ordained undergarments, to protest the decision to amend the Golden State's constitution to prevent these crudes and creeps from slipping rings onto each others fingers for a change. The irony of exercising their constitutionally-protected right to free assembly was indeed lost on this crowd, as they were more concerned with displaying their wit and verve with signs like Shame on You, Joseph Smith: Prophet Polygamist Pedophile, and You Have Five Wives I Want One.
The party soon began sauntering up Westwood Boulevard in search of more impressionable citizens to molest and riot police to dance in front of. It wasn't long before the honking horns and gawking onlookers weren't enough attention and the whole gaggle decided to sit in the road and pout, flashing a red pair of ass-less chaps at the shield-and-jack boot bulls. Unfortunately for those of us looking for simple, animal entertainment, once the Freedom-Protector-in-Charge bellowed for everyone to move along, the crowd responded as if someone had muttered the safe word through a ball gag. Once it became clear that the leaders of the protest weren't going to spill any precious bodily fluids in the name of civil disobedience, the whole scene took on the flavor of a Gay Pride parade, but without the clever outfits. And that's when the author and his male coed compatriot got the balls out.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Its a sad thing when 1) there is a vote to deny rights to a certain sector of the population and 2) when it passes.
At least Toni Casey lost.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Bill Bluth, 76, openly admired the City Council's dedication to cost savings, exemplified by the decision to leave the remaining 40 percent of the 6' x 10' high-resolution printed color sign uncovered.
"They covered the most important part," he said. "We have absolutely no idea how many acres of possibilities there could be."
Onlookers offered various guesses.
"They're using an exclamation point, so I figure it's at least 10,000," said Jarvis Whitaker, 73.
A woman in her 60s, who declined to give her name, took the unveiling in a more serious fashion. "I've had a life of misery, and frankly, I can't take another disappointment in my life. As long as there are no fewer than 19 acres of possibilities, I think I'll be OK."
Many were simply happy that the unveiling was covered by Town Tube, the Los Altos Town Crier's new video endeavor.
"I'm just so thrilled that this going to be on Town Tube," said Phyllis Dreer, 78. "They really don't have much in the way of compelling content. Most of the videos are just pleas from Bruce Barton to submit videos."
Edward Landis, 82, quickly interjected, "Oh, and then there's that video of the (Los Altos) pet parade. It's like a minute long and it's all kids. I didn't even see a damn pet in it. What the fuck was that about? It makes our town look retarded."
Mayor Val Carpenter pulled back the construction paper to reveal 18 acres of possibilities.
Friday, October 24, 2008
We think it is time to stop the courts from making our laws. That’s why we elect a representative government. The ripple effect of letting the current court ruling legalizing gay marriage stand will be endless lawsuits, especially regarding tax-exempt status for churches and educational institutions.If I were more mature, I could write several law review comments on all the things that are wrong about these three sentences. Instead, I'll do this my way.
We think it is time to stop the courts from making our laws.The Supreme Court upheld the decision under due process and equal protection law. Other examples of courts "making our laws" under these doctrines include:
- Skinner v. Oklahoma, 1942, preventing the forced sterilization of a robber
- Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, desegregating public schools
- Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965, allowing married people to use contraception
- Loving v. Virginia, 1967, striking down bans on interracial marriage
- Roe v. Wade, 1973, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 1992, protecting women's right to reproductive autonomy
Obviously, it is time to put a stop to this nonsense.
That’s why we elect a representative government.The California State legislature has voted twice to allow same-sex marriage. The governor vetoed the bills both times, saying he would prefer the courts to sort out the constitutional issues. The proposal that the Town Crier is endorsing circumvents representative government by asking the entire electorate to amend the Constitution in a way that would eliminate certain due process and equal protection rights for one group of people.
The ripple effect of letting the current court ruling legalizing gay marriage stand will be endless lawsuits,It was not the gays who brought the original lawsuit; and, to repeat, they based their argument on due process and equal protection rights. Those are not the kinds of lawsuits we should fear.
especially regarding tax-exempt status for churches and educationalThis is a particularly obnoxious claim that basically threatens that churches and religious schools will illegally take political stances against the Constitutionally protected rights of gay people, and implies that the right itself is to blame, rather than the people consciously breaking the law.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
If any city has reductions to make, it's Los Altos Hills, where the residents use twice as much per capita as the rest of the Bay Area. At least, I suppose, they're not slobs.
Responding to California’s second year of below-average rainfall and the driest spring on record, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a proclamation in June, officially declaring that the state is facing drought conditions and calling on citizens to reduce their water consumption by 10 percent voluntarily.
While the 27 water district agencies that serve the Bay Area have reduced water usage by 13 percent, Purissima Hills Water District, which serves two-thirds of Los Altos Hills residents, has cut back its water usage only 2 percent, according to data from the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency.
Mom, maybe it's time to talk about those five lawns again.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
In my experience (which includes extensive research into France's former and present colonies), the French just can't imagine why people wouldn't like them as colonial masters and why people might harbor some hard feelings about their colonial legacy and their current situation as immigrants in France. Its the same pompous, self-righteous attitude that when confronted with major riots by minorities in the fall of 2005 that led French politicians to a botched response that failed to address the underlying causes and allows those social tensions to continue to simmer and make people want to boo La Marseillaise.
Even Americans aren't so stupid as to be shocked and demand an official investigation when their anthem is booed.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
After France, the US and several other nations decided to begin patrolling waters near the Somali coast, NATO now wants a piece of the pirates.
So far this year, our favorite bad guys have cost "up to $30 million." No word yet on how much this NATO deployment will cost. My guess is that it'll be a little more than $30 million.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
So, leaving aside the question of whether "Matt Wiener" is actually my brother, congratulations to him on his award.
(Also, so long as we're talking about important stuff: go Sox.)
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Here is a sampling of quotes from the meetings, helpfully provided by the Town Crier.
Councilman Ron Packard:
"We want to encourage bicycling on the whole Peninsula. On the other hand, do we want to become part of a bigger community?"Resident David Lambourne:
"It’s hard to support any plan in which a path runs in and out of our city."
Mayor Val Carpenter, paraphrased:
Packard again, paraphrased:
Mayor Val Carpenter said the project had already eliminated multiple street parking spaces, and that she was loath to remove more for a bike lane, noting that she observed many cyclists using downtown as a launching point for regional travel rather than a family-oriented destination.
City Councilman Ron Packard referenced the city’s Fremont Bridge remodel as a project that sacrificed charm for bicycle friendliness, and suggested that he didn’t want to make the same choice for First Street.The takeaway from all of this: the City Council finds parking spaces charming, but not bicycle facilities, especially if they somehow connect to places outside of Los Altos.
Yes, Los Altos has a proud history of treating bicyclists like they were Gypsies. Perhaps that is what the Town Crier was getting at.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
On the other hand, Duffy Price, who leads the town activist group Hills 2000 and is helping Mordo’s campaign, noted that council candidate Toni Casey is listing endorsers on her materials who are, in fact, not endorsing her. One resident, Lou Antonioli, said Casey listed her husband, who has been dead 10 years.
She "took full responsibility for the error," but that hasn't mollified the town vandals.
Casey showed me campaign cards that had been defaced, with devil’s horns and a mustache drawn over her image, saying things like, “She has caused enough damage to LAH.”
It occurs to me that a certain of our correspondents is currently neither in Argentina nor in England.
It has been a busy few weeks: a certain individual visited, and I earned my first ever red card this Sunday while politely explaining to a referee why he had misapplied a well-known rule.
Speaking of mistaking reasoned analysis for anger, the Voice celebrated the unveiling of Mountain View's new child care center in Rengstorff Park, crediting "cooler heads" for the completion of the project. Readers familiar with the project may remember that city used millions in taxpayer dollars and eliminated an acre of parkland in the part of the city that can least afford it in order to subsidize one private company over others in the same industry.
Being cool-headed himself, perhaps The Professor can explain why we shouldn't use the word "boondoggle."
UPDATED UPDATE: To be fair, for once, the Voice refers specifically to Jac Siegel's concerns about parking and Matt Pear's "grumbling" about liability, presumably for the cost of the loan should the operator go belly up. While those are hardly the best arguments against the project, I don't think they indicate a lack of cool-headedness. Pear's previous complaints that the project was "cradle-to-grave" socialism, on the other hand, might qualify.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Oh yeah, when my email and phone are jammed with emails and calls on November 5th, make sure to mention the NOE blog and I'll give you guys priority...
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
By contrast, over in Los Altos, this typo is really funny.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
So now, a year and a half later, the UN is calling on people to reign in on their carne consumption.
I'm just waiting for our patriotic backlash against this call and stereotyping to begin because the UN official making the call is an Indian (most likely a Hindoo).
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Los Altos police have accused three people of trying to blackmail a Silicon Valley businessman by threatening to publish video of him having sex with an alleged prostitute.
The alleged extortion ring probably had other victims as well. Police searched the home of one of the suspects and found cell phones, cameras and computers with footage of other men visiting prostitutes, said Detective Sergeant John Korges of the Los Altos Police Department.
"How many more victims are out there who don't know they're victims?" he said.
Probably not too many, but just in case, if any readers have recently had sex with a prostitute you met on a social networking site and faced demands to pay a lot of money or have videos of the encounter posted online, you might be a victim.
The alleged scam began when the businessman, whose name is being withheld by police, contacted the prostitute on a social networking web site, police said. They arranged to meet, and had sex in a Palo Alto hotel room.
About a week later, the man received an e-mail containing explicit photos of the encounter and demanding $250,000.
The businessman - who Korges said is in his 50s, married and has children - contacted police. Acting on their suggestion, he arranged a meeting on Thursday with the alleged extortionists at Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, a location police chose to minimize the number of people nearby. He also haggled with the alleged extortionists, convincing them to lower their demands to $50,000.
Police said they have not located the prostitute.
It's hard though, given sentences like this:
At a time when it seems like “whatever” can be a response to everything from “Soup or salad?” to “Atrocities are being committed in Darfur and the Congo,” there is nothing more gratifying than witnessing someone care a lot and/or express joy.
If my hometown doesn't have a motto (and I can't seem to find one anywhere online if it does), I propose that we adopt "Los Altos: Where "whatever" can be a response to genocide."
Loyal readers may remember that it can also be a response to earthquakes in China and flooding in Buurma.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Imagine for a second that the hangar never existed. Now imagine that somebody offers to pay the Navy $500,000 for the right to build a giant steel skeleton that is going to cost somebody -- either the public or some enterprising business -- more than $10 million to either use or demolish. Is that a deal the public wants the Navy to take?
The Navy announced last month that it could strip the hangar's contaminated siding and clean its steel frame for about $500,000 less than it would cost to take down the whole thing. (Notably -- and I'm only pointing this out to needle my sister's fiance -- the costs of demolition are more than twice the Navy's original number, but the estimated costs of fully restoring the hangar are also much higher than previously suggested).
That simple comparison tends to obscure the point, though. If the Navy goes with its preferred option, at some time in the future somebody is going to have to put up a whole lot more money either to replace the siding or to take the structure down.
Anna Eshoo, resisting calls to get the federal government to be this somebody, framed the issue to the Voice's Daniel DeBolt as follows:
Further appropriations money "would have to come up in a new Congress," she said. "I don't think it's news to anyone that dollars are scarce. When the country is spending $2.5 billion a week on the war it really hits home. Funding for infrastructure, funding for education -- as sad as it sounds all of these areas are really pushed. If this is to be a priority I will work on it. But it's tight, everything is tight."I'm not ready to admit that tearing down Hangar One is the best option, but it is refreshing to see a Democrat actually stand up against earmarks. I suppose that it is a little easier to do so when nobody is even in place to benefit from this one.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
A while back I posted about local scholar David Grewal's new book Network Power and how the LATC probably would not cover it. Well, either LATC staff reads this blog or they actually flipped through the copy Yale University Press sent them a few months ago, because this past week someone "special to the Town Crier" decided to review it. But don't worry folks, the LATC hasn't lost its touch. The reviewer complains that it was over her head and makes a comparison of the theory of network power to that of String Theory. She wishes Grewal could use "techniques of creative nonfiction" to clarify his argument. If anyone knows what "techniques of creative nonfiction" are, please let me know.
Oh yeah, and for a more educated review of Network Power, check out today's Boston Globe.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Ironically, just days after her piece aired, I remained alone among my family members in both knowing of and heeding the brown apple moth quarantine, which, as a reminder, prohibits moving fruit out of yards in Los Altos, Mountain View, and most parts of Los Altos Hills.
Friday, August 15, 2008
1. Cut off its tail, shave, bleach and dye it green, then set it on fire and leave it on the side of rural country road.
2. Put the "creature" in a freezer, call it Bigfoot, then drive the frozen carcass to Palo Alto for a press conference.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Water rates - (sic) don't reward the slobsUnbelievable. We Los Altos citizens who keep our town looking nice by keeping our lawns and trees green plus adding the very essential element, oxygen, to the atmosphere are to be penalized for doing so, while the slobs among us get rewarded for letting their properties dry up and go to seed and blight our town. Unbelievable!Suppose we all get together and let the town revert to a desert. Swell, I can just imagine the uproar.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Violence has been reported in the Georgian city of Gori. Gori, is the hometown of Russian hero Joseph Stalin and high on the Foreign Correspondent's list of places to visit since Gori boasts what is presumed to be the world's last standing statue of Joe Steel. So far there has been no mention on any damage to the statue...
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
I had the privilege of joining Ken's other Karen Meredith along with other family and friends Saturday at Cuesta Park, who gathered to hear stories and release gold balloons in his honor. This somber annual tradition is documented in Neil Young's new film "CSNY: Deja Vu," now playing at the Aquarius in Palo Alto.