League News

Los Altos City Council October 2020

October 13, 2020

Nine Los Altos residents were appointed to the Citizen’s Police Task force. A report will be delivered to the City Council at the November 24 meeting about school resource officers’ role at the MVLA Union High School District.

City Council considered the repeal and replacement of the Los Altos Municipal Code regulations for Accessory and Junior Dwelling Units by adopting a zoning amendment. In addition, the Council reduced permit fees for ADU dwellings for twelve months after the final adoption of new regulations. The Council also directed the staff to prepare an annual ADU rental income survey for the city which can be sent to the state to meet Los Altos’ Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) housing element figures. Final decision will be made on the zoning amendment at the October 27, 2020 meeting.

To continue financing for the Community Center construction the City Council authorized the City Manager and Council to pursue an agreement for a $10 million loan on behalf of the City with Sterling National Bank. The staff will return to the Council with the final agreement and resolution for approval at the council meeting on November 10, 2020.

October 27, 2020

City Council confirmed the repeal and replacement of the Los Altos Municipal Code regulations for Accessory and Junior Dwelling Units by adopting zoning amendments that provide details on the ADU and Junior ADU requirements. The main purpose of the proposed amendments is to ensure compliance with new state laws affecting the development of accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units in the residential zone districts of the City.

Every three years, the State of California adopts new building standards that are organized in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations, referred to as the California Building Standards Code. The Los Altos Environmental Commission recommended the City Council adopt building electrification and electric vehicle REACH codes, which amend the 2019 California Building Standards Code that had been adopted and became effective on January 1, 2020. The ordinances would put into effect requirements for newly constructed buildings.

New development would be all-electric with exceptions and include the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure for new construction. The adoption of the new regulations would reduce carbon emissions associated with new construction, reduce costs of new construction, improve indoor air quality and building safety, support affordable housing, and increase adoption of electric vehicles, all qualities to improve the quality of living in Los Altos. The Council discussed possible exceptions. A second reading and discussion of adoption is scheduled for the November 10, 2020, council meeting.

The City Council authorized the City Manager to enter a Memorandum of Understanding between Los Altos and Santa Clara County to agree to the purchase by the county of property for developing a 90 unit affordable housing site at Distel Court in Los Altos. In addition, the council agreed to waive park-in-lieu fees and traffic impact fees for the development. Three-quarters of the site units would be low-income level units which improves the Regional Housing Needs Allocation of affordable housing for the city.

Los Altos City Council September 2020

September 8, 2020

The City Council adopted a zoning text amendment to the Municipal Code to ensure compliance with new state laws affecting the development of accessory dwelling units, junior accessory dwelling units, and multi-family accessory dwelling units in the residential zone districts of the City.

The City Council directed staff to start processing an amendment to the zoning for the General Plan Land Use designation for Civic Center lands. The amendment would limit the City’s ability to sell, transfer fee ownership, or re-designate lands of the Los Altos Civic Center. The goal is to preserve park and open space areas within the Civic Center Complex.

On July 28, 2020 a virtual Police Town Hall Meeting took place with Los Altos residents, Mayor Jan Pepper, Vice Mayor Neysa Fligor, City Manager Chris Jordan, and Los Altos Police Chief, Andy Galea. The City Council offered support for a Citizen’s Task Force that would provide recommendations on the School Resource Officer (SRO) program at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools, however, the decision to approve the formation of such a task force was postponed to the September 22 meeting. If the proposed task force resolves the SRO issue, the group might address other concerns brought forth from reflections in America about systemic racism that affects all communities big and small.  The task force would include citizens of varied age groups and races.

Also, the city manager and police chief were instructed to expedite the collection of ‘police stop’ data under the Racial Identity and Profiling Act to provide more information since current data is not complete enough to draw significant conclusions.

September 22, 2020

The City Council approved the formation of a Citizen’s Task Force to review and make recommendations on the services of a School Resource Officer (SRO) and for a method to receive complaints about an SRO. The Task Force will serve for six weeks, ending on November 24, 2020. The services of the group are limited to recommendations on the role of an SRO at the high schools. A Task Force is a first attempt to resolve questions raised at the July 2020 Town Hall.

The City Council approved new amendments to the City municipal code which conformed in 2019 to the California Building Standards Code. Called Building Electrification and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (Reach Code), it mandates newly constructed buildings to be all-electric with certain possible exceptions and electric vehicle charging infrastructure installed. According to the City Environmental Commission which has studied research since early 2019, these new regulations to the building codes are aimed to reduce carbon emissions which are part of the City’s Climate Action Plan. In addition, the changes will improve indoor air quality, support affordable housing, and place Los Altos City in sync with construction changes in other communities. Of thirty public comments, most were positive to the amendment. There were three top reasons for opposing the changes. One, Reach Code is governmental overreach. Two, greenhouse emissions reduction may be limited (not supported by the Environmental Commission research). Three, residential and consumer choice is rejected. In the end, adoption of the regulations mean that new building construction will be all-electric with the exemption of cooking appliances and fireplaces. Infrastructure for electric vehicles is part of the adoption. The amendment pertains to new residential, commercial, multi-family, ADU, and mixed-use buildings.

Vote with the League 2020

The League of Women Voters takes positions on issues and will support or oppose ballot measures that align with our League positions. Once we have studied an issue and taken a position, we take action and advocate for or against particular policies or laws related to that issue. If we do not have a studied position on an issue, we will not make a recommendation.

After careful study and analysis, the League of Women Voters of California and the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area offer these recommendations:

League of Women Voters California recommends:

NeutralProp 14: STEM CELL RESEARCH
SupportPROP 15: SCHOOLS & COMMUNITIES FIRST
SupportPROP 16: OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL
SupportPROP 17: RESTORE VOTING RIGHTS
SupportPROP 18: VOTING RIGHTS FOR 17-YEAR OLDS
OpposePROP 19: PROPERTY TAX BREAKS
OpposePROP 20: ROLLBACK ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS
NeutralPROP 21: LOCAL GOVERNMENTS & RENT CONTROL
No PositionPROP 22: RIDESHARE AND DELIVERY DRIVERS
NeutralPROP 23: KIDNEY DIALYSIS CLINICS
OpposePROP 24: CONSUMER DATA PRIVACY
SupportPROP 25: END CASH MONEY BAIL

League of Women Voters Bay Area

Support Prop RR: PRESERVE CALTRAIN SERVICE

Are you ready for the election?

Here are some steps that you can take to be prepared.

Be Informed:

LWV Election Events 

Attend LWV candidate forums and hear where the candidates stand on the pertinent issues. Do you have questions about our state and local ballot initiatives? Attend one of the LWV Ballot Initiative Pros and Cons or question answering sessions and get unbiased information and analysis.

Voter’s Edge

Look up your personalized ballot to find in-depth information about your candidates and ballot initiatives. Learn who are the endorsers and also see where the funding comes from. Start checking mid-September but check back as we will continue to add candidates’ information as it becomes available.

Easy Voter Guides

Nonpartisan information about why to vote, how to vote and synopses of statewide ballot initiatives. It is available in five languages.

Encourage your friends and family to stay safe and vote by mail. 

 

 

Racial Equality

LWVUS President’s Message

LWV’s Commitment

We Resolve First:
That the League advocates against systemic racism in the justice system and, at a minimum, for preventing excessive force and brutality by law enforcement.

We also call for prompt actions by all League members to advocate within every level of government to eradicate systemic racism, and the harm that it causes;

We Resolve Second:
That the League help our elected officials and all Americans recognize these truths to be self-evident; that Black, Indigenous and all people of color (BIPOC) deserve equal protection under the law; and that we demand solutions for the terrible wrongs done, so that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and gender identity or sexual orientation we may truly become a nation “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.

League of Women Voters National Convention (June 27th, 2020)

Los Altos City Council June, 2020

June 9, 2020

City Council resolved that the next general municipal election will be November 3, 2020 to consolidate with Santa Clara County, state, and national elections. Candidates will campaign for three City Council seats.

City Council authorized the closure to car traffic on Main and State Streets from Thursday to Sunday beginning Thursday, June 11, 2020. More businesses can reopen downtown while customers maintain social distance when walking and dining. If deemed successful, downtown streets will be closed to car traffic on certain days until the end of September.

June 23, 2020

City Council authorized a conditional use permit with modifications to the Los Altos Municipal Code to the design for a new pre-school at the site of St. Simon’s Catholic Church at the intersection of Grant Road and the Foothill Expressway, 1860 Grant Road. The project, approved by the Los Altos Planning Commission, includes a one-story pre-school plus two shade structures for outdoor play and a covered walkway to a new multi-use building at the St. Simons school. The main problem, now resolved, is possible traffic backup during drop-off and pick-up hours. The exit driveway will only allow right turns to avoid holding up traffic movement at the intersection.

Despite current events across the nation, City Council delayed a vote to set up a sub-committee of the mayor and vice mayor plus a Citizen Task Force to review and make recommendations regarding Los Altos Police Department policies and procedures.  

Instead of a Citizen’s Task force, a town hall meeting will convene in the middle of July 2020. It is probable that an expert consultant will be hired to facilitate the study. The city staff is to provide administrative assistance and the city attorney is to provide legal assistance. It is expected that four-six meetings are required to produce a report by the end of November 2020.

2020 Annual Meeting

The League’s end-of-year business meeting, Annual Meeting, took place on June 20 via Zoom. Thirty five members attended and helped pass a budget for 2020-2021, the slate for a new board, by-law updates and our program priorities for next year. 

Highlights:

  • Our priorities for next year are housing, voter services and climate change. Each of these issues has a committee and always welcomes new members.  
  • Our speaker was Jerry Hill, State Senator, who spoke about the state budget, Covid-19, e-cigarettes, the future of PGE and social justice. 
  • Dues will remain the same – $75 individual, $110 household and $5 young people between the ages of 16 and 25.
  • Our League is in good financial standing due to prudent budgeting and a generous donation from Erika Richards. 

The Annual Meeting Kit is available online and was emailed on June 1st to the membership.

Below is a video of the 2020 Annual Meeting:

Fight Today for a Better Tomorrow

Fellow League Members:

On May 25, George Floyd was murdered by an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department. He is only one of too many names on a list that should not exist. It is time that the League of Women Voters take a stand for social justice for Black lives in America.  

Over the years we have watched Black men, women, and children lose their lives at the hands of people who benefit from a system that protects them. Today we witness the rage of those who are tired of due process being a privilege not afforded to Black people.  

The League is committed to expanding our voice beyond the statement we released last week. We are joining our partners who serve in the civil rights community in fighting for policy reform that will dismantle systematic racism. We joined coalition partners on a letter calling for congressional action on police violence, and in the weeks and months ahead, the national office will be stepping up our commitment to racial justice. Virginia Kase wrote a blog, Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community, to share how the League plans to proceed as allies in the social justice space.  

 As allies in the social justice space I encourage us all to do our homework and learn more about the iniquities that Black Americans face, without leaning on Black people to educate us.  

We encourage you to continue your get-out-the-vote and voter education efforts. This is a time to highlight the power of voting, especially in local elections, and informing voters where candidates stand on issues that are important to them.

Lastly, we acknowledge that the League hasn’t taken such a strong stance against racism in the past, and as we move into the next century of work, we hope to play a bigger role in fighting for social justice. I hope you’ll join us.  

In League,

Chris Carson, President

League of Women Voters United States

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