April 10, 2018

The City Council directed the staff to negotiate an exclusive lease agreement with Children’s Corner, the non-profit drop-in daycare and pre-school in the current Hillview Community Center. A revised Letter of Intent presented to the City Council asks that the renewal agreement extend the current lease until March 2019 before construction on the new community center begins in June 2019. Children’s Corner organization agrees to increase their financial commitment/deposit from $600,000 to $1million to provide funding for constructing the expanded square footage in the new facility. Children’s Corner will provide up to $200,000 for purchase and installation of new playground equipment. The City Council directed staff to reduce the lease to 10 years instead of 20 years. Children’s Corner support helps the current budget for the new building which needs $5-10 million above the $35 million already allocated for renovation of the facility.

Since 1981 Children’s Corner has leased rooms and outdoor space in the Hillview Community Center to assist families within the Los Altos city boundaries, families of city employees who work in Los Altos, and, regardless of residence or employment, low-income and/or military families and special education needs children. Despite criticism both written and expressed during the public comment period that dedicating public land for non-profit organizations is bad policy, the City Council agreed that the benefits to the city outweigh the objections.

April 24, 2018

City Council received a third professional services agreement with an architect to provide design services to renovate the Grant Park Center Commercial Kitchen. Design services costs have increased substantially over the budget limit for the renovation. After discussion of other ways to upgrade the cabinets and equipment, Jeannie Bruins, council member, moved to eliminate the commercial kitchen renovation. It was approved 4 to 1.

City Council heard from Myra Orta, 50 year Los Altos resident, who advocated for gun safety and control actions to council members. The suggestions to alter existing municipal code laws were:

  • Prohibit sale of fire arms for any reason in downtown Los Altos.
  • Motivate ‘gun buy back’ by Los Altos Police Department.
  • Define what vendors may sell at city festivals, by, for example, prohibiting sale of toy weapons.

Council member Mary Prochnow suggested the attorney, Chris Diaz, examine the possibility of prohibition within the entire city limits and the regulations for prohibiting sales of toy weapons at city-sponsored festivals. Council member, Jeannie Bruins, outlined the ‘gun buy back’ policy of Santa Clara County (SCC). She suggested promoting ‘buy back’ police department policies in Los Altos Town Crier and city newsletters and noted that SCC offers gift cards in exchange for the weapons returned. Police chief, Andy Galea, said that Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale are examining the funding issues to promote ‘buy back’ – not to purchase, but staffing etc. Mayor Jean Mordo asked the city attorney to look into laws about prohibiting sale over the internet of weapons parts and equipment to Los Altos residents.

Los Altos Municipal Code requires permits to own a gun, prohibits weapons on public streets, requires a seller to post and give a copy of city gun regulations to purchaser, and allows for police confiscation of weapons, if necessary.

California has an A rating for the six key gun safety policies on the Gun Law Scorecard kept by the Law Trend Watch of the Giffords Gun Safety Foundation.

— Claire Noonan, Observer