Community briefsKladde resigns
About five months after resigning from the board of directors of El Camino Hospital in order to spend more time with his family, Uwe Kladde has announced he will also be leaving his elected post on the hospital district board for the same reason, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
The district board is currently looking into the process for replacing Kladde, who first joined both boards in 2008, said Chris Ernst, a hospital representative. The board has the option of holding a special election or appointing a replacement. Should the district board decide to appoint a replacement, that individual would be required to run in the November election to maintain his or her seat, as Kladde's term was set to expire at the end of this year.
District board members are elected by residents living within the hospital district. Hospital board members are appointed by the district board.
The two boards have traditionally been composed of the same five members, with the district board members appointing themselves to the hospital board. However, by the end of June, the hospital board is scheduled to expand from its current composition of five board members plus El Camino's CEO to a new arrangement — eight members plus CEO Tomi Ryba. The district board will remain a five-member governing body.
The hospital board meets monthly to discuss and make business decisions, while the district board meets quarterly and rules on matters pertaining to the taxpayer-funded El Camino Hospital District.
Deal on roof-top patio
It took three weeks of discussion, but downtown residents announced Monday, May 14, that they finally settled a dispute over a four-story roof-top patio on the Madera apartment building under construction at the former Minton's Lumber yard site.
After outcry from neighbors over potential noise coming from parties and a TV, Prometheus Real Estate Group agreed to neighborhood demands to not allow any audio or video devices with "externally audible" speakers on the roof, and to reduce the effective size of 2,200 square foot patio with planter boxes to create "distinctive circulation areas," said Robert Cox of the Old Mountain View neighborhood Association in an email.
Prometheus also agreed to not allow more than 50 people on the patio, to post rules, to restrict access to those with keys, to allow only special events hosted by Prometheus or residents and will have management or security officers available to handle complaints on a 24-hour basis. The patio will be closed from a 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. daily
Cox thanked planning director Randy Tsuda for working with a committee of neighbors on the deal, which allows "future residents the opportunity to enjoy this amenity while providing a minimal impact on the surrounding neighborhood."
Foundations gives $1 million to MVLA
The local high school district accepted a record-breaking $1 million grant this month from the district foundation.
The money will be used to keep freshman English and math class sizes low, to expand tutoring programs at both Mountain View and Los Altos high schools, purchase extra textbooks, extend library hours and improve Internet connectivity throughout the district. It was also go toward bolstering college prep and career training programs and technology, according to a press release announcing the donation to the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District .
It is the largest grant that the Mountain View-Los Altos High School Foundation has ever given to the district, according to Superintendent Barry Groves, and it could scarcely have come at a better time.
"The state has become an unreliable partner in providing resources to public schools," Groves noted. "So we need the public to step up and help support public schools."
And that is exactly what the public did, he continued, noting that the foundation raised much of the money through contributions from individuals living within the MVLA district.
Groves emphasized the importance of keeping class sizes low for freshman, especially in the cornerstone subjects of math and English. He also noted that the addition of textbooks would likely be appreciated by students in those classes that will now have a dedicated classroom set of books, meaning that they will not need to lug the heavy volumes to and from school anymore.
College district refinances bond
The local community college district is refinancing, ensuring those who own property within the district will pay lower rates on one of the district's bonds.
On May 3, the Foothill-De Anza Community College District's board of trustees finalized a the refunding — or restructuring — of the Measure E bond, which will reduce the tax burden of property owners living within the district, according to Becky Bartindale, a college district spokeswoman.
The board originally authorized the restructuring of two bonds — Measure E and Measure C — but after all was said and done, only Measure E was refunded.
The process of bond refunding is similar to that of refinancing a home. And with interest rates for tax exempt bonds (such as Measure E) at or near all-time lows, Bartindale said the time was right for the district to act.
"While these savings do not come to the district, they will benefit property owners who support Foothill-De Anza's bond program," board President Joan Barram said in a March 7 district press release. "We are delighted to have this opportunity to return money to our local taxpayers."
The $248 million Measure E was approved in 1999 and the $490.8 million Measure C was passed in 2006.
A second Measure E — which was a parcel tax, not a general obligation bond — and which asked for $7 million over six years on the November 2010 ballot, fell short of the votes needed to pass.
Though the savings per parcel is small — 69 cents for every $100,000 of assessed property value — it is estimated that the total combined savings of every property owner in the district should amount to about $13.1 million over the next 18 years.
Spare the air starts
More than just a prelude to summer, the beginning of May is also the start of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's summer Spare the Air season.
The air alerts are issued when weather conditions and pollution levels combine to high levels of ground-level ozone or smog, which can cause throat irritation, congestion and chest pain. The smog can also trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema, according to the air district.
Ozone is formed when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides from motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, industrial emissions and household chemicals combine with oxygen in the presence of heat and sunlight. According to the air district, tailpipe exhaust from millions of cars on Bay Area roads is the largest contributor to smog.
"Reducing the number of cars on our roads remains the biggest air quality challenge we face in the Bay Area," Air District Executive Officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement Tuesday.
On Spare the Air days, people are encouraged to take public transportation, work from home, or bike or carpool to work. Outdoor exercise should be performed in the morning on those days, when ozone concentrations are lower. Using electric-powered lawn and garden tools and linking errands to reduce driving can also help reduce pollution.
The air district encourages people to drive less year-round, but particularly on Spare the Air days.
"We are urging residents to re-think their commute and leave their car at home at least twice a week," Broadbent said. More information about the air alerts can be found at sparetheair.org or 511.org.
—Bay City News Service
New carpool lanes
Work has begun to create double carpool lanes on the 3.2-mile stretch of Highway 101 between Highway 85 in Mountain View and Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto.
The work will include merging lanes and a second carpool lane in both directions of 101, according to the Valley Transit Authority.
The $72 million project will include widening the southbound Oregon Expressway onramp, adding a lane on the southbound Old Middlefield Way onramp and adding meters the northbound Ampitheatre Parkway and San Antonio Road ramps.
Completion of the project is planned for late summer 2013.
—Eric Van Susteren