Monday, November 20, 2006
The final day
So I know I've said it before, but it truly has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your Mayor. I thank you for this opportunity and will remember it for the rest of my life.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Yesterday's devastating fire in downtown Los Gatos had a positive note. We've talked so much recently about disaster preparedness it was reassuring to see Town staff, from so many different departments, working together with fire personnel, business owners and property owners to get the situation under control. Terrible damage to four businesses, but no one was hurt. And I observed a high level of sensitivity to the emotions and stress of those affected directly and indirectly. I've been asked what the role is of the Mayor in this type of situation. It's to stay out of the way and let the professionals do their jobs. They certainly did well on Thursday, and this community can be proud of them.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Final words about signs [probably]
I also want so share some of the great comments that I have received from supporters. The thief may have taken my signs, but not our spirit. Once again, thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging.
“It made my 'Irish' boil that someone would come into other people’s yards and steal them. I was thinking of trying to teach my cats to bark ferociously!“
“I'm hoping for an over-the-top win for you on Tuesday. Everyone I have talked to or emailed is voting for you.“
“What a cheap shot to steal signs. I am sorry for those people. Believe me, their lives will not work well for them. What goes around comes around. I have sent in my ballot and you are sure to win.“
“Wow, who would think that in bucolic Los Gatos, such a thing would occur? Politics do funny things to people!“
“Stealing of signs of winners seems to have become a tradition. You are a winner and will win!!! I will be making calls and sending my own e-mails.“
“Sorry to hear about your signs, that must be frustrating. Wishing you all the best in the upcoming election; you've done a fabulous job for our town.“
“This is outrageous. A few pilfered signs is one thing, but to systematically take them all is really serious. Dirty tricks in Los Gatos can’t be ignored.“
“It is a shame that such tactics are being done in our local Los Gatos election.“
“I have faith that the voters in LG will return you to the Council---most of them are very smart.“
“I have NO doubt at all that there is a Council chair with your name on it!“
“I knew politics could get Dirty - but didn't expect it in our nice little town of Los Gatos.... I guess that the only positive on something like this is that someone is certainly afraid of your candidacy!“
Monday, October 30, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
A message to a thief
Friday, October 27, 2006
A parallel life
Between Mayor duties and election campaign madness, it’s sometimes easy for me to forget that I have a day job of work that I love. I’ll be celebrating the 25th anniversary of my business on Jan. 1, 2007, and I have been continuously fortunate to work on projects that are challenging and meaningful. For example, yesterday Mercury News columnist SAL PIZARRO and I drove to Tomales Bay to meet T.C. Boyle, author of “The Tortilla Curtain,” the Silicon Valley Reads 2007 book selection. He was there for a writing conference but he carved out some time to tape a 30-minute interview with Sal that we will use in programs throughout Santa Clara County during Silicon Valley Reads Month in February. It was a long drive, but the interview was terrific and I think it is going to spark many discussions about immigration, the ecology of fear, the American Dream, and other provocative subjects. This is the 5th year of Silicon Valley Reads and I have come to learn that it is as much about sharing ideas as it is about reading and literacy. We hurried back in time for me to make it to the ribbon cutting for TERRI HOPE’s new business venture, Los Gatos Gourmet. She has converted the western end of Los Gatos Coffee Roasting into a delicious-smelling deli and wine-tasting station. I think it will be a big success. It’s clear that Terri loves her business and it reminded me how important it is to have passion for your work. I heard RON GONZALES speak on Wednesday at the San Jose Rotary meeting and he said that being Mayor of San Jose was the best job he’s ever had. I’ve got two “best jobs” in my life right now. Overabundance, to be sure, but it is harvest season after all.
Monday, October 23, 2006
What the forms won't tell you
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
An evening of Los Gatos Prepared
The first annual Los Gatos Prepared event was a success! Volunteers staffed information tables in 18 neighborhoods throughout Los Gatos to show neighbors what kind of supplies they should have on hand in case of emergency, so that their families could be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. I visited some of the sites and it was great to see so many residents committed to helping the community. It got pretty dark, and many of my photos were too dark to upload on the blog -- so disappointing. Thank you to CARLA GOWDY, HENRY REDMOND, LEE ANTON, JOANNE HOLLIDAY, LIESA FENTON, FAUSTINO HERNANDEZ, ANAPILAR MCDOWELL, VILMA MERCER, AND MARGE STAKE for helping to make Los Gatos better prepared for earthquakes, fires, pandemic flu and whatever emergency might come our way. And a very special thank you to SGT. KERRY HARRIS of our police department for working so hard to coordinate all of Los Gatos Prepared Month and to CAPT. DAVE GRAVEL [seen in the photo] for taking the time to visit many of the sites last night. We ran into each other a few times and I was beginning to think he'd put a tracking device on my car! Looking forward to an even bigger program next year.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Great ladies of Los Gatos
Last night was the retirement celebration for MARLYN RASMUSSEN, our Clerk Administrator. She has been a mainstay of Town staff for many years and also served on Council in the early '80s. Here she is with MARDI BENNETT BRICK, one of the former Mayors who attended the event. MarLyn is well known in the community for her volunteer activities, especially with the Girl Scouts, and for her annual Halloween party at her Almond Grove home. We will miss her in the office, but I expect we will see her all around town involved in other activities. I had to leave her party early so I could get over to the monthly meeting of the West Valley Federated Women's Club at their Los Gatos clubhouse and present them with a Commendation for 40 years of service to the community. The group just received the 2006 Community Improvement Award from the California Federation of Women's Clubs for their work with Books Aloud. Once again, a lot happening in our community that we may not be aware of.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Signs of the Times
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Behind closed doors
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Bike Rodeo is fun but a serious message
It was my pleasure to attend the third annual Bike Rodeo this afternoon, sponsored by Cub Scout Pack 556. Thank you, JOE MADDEN, for the invitation. The kids took their bikes through tune-up stations and learned about bicycle safety. Then they competed in contests that tested their bicycling skills and control. Here I am with the award winners: SKYLER, BENJAMIN, STEVEN, LYLE, AUSTIN, CONNER, JOSH, JASON, PAUL AND AUSTIN. It was great to see the youngsters and their parents learn more about safety, especially today when Town staff and officials are still in shock about the very serious motorcycle accident a couple of days ago that has put Community Development Director BUD LORTZ in the hospital with multiple broken bones and other extensive injuries. We are stunned and praying for Bud to recuperate fully and as quickly as possible.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
A busy, busy week
You know I’ve got a lot going on when I don’t have time to blog. Layer re-election campaigning on top of Mayor responsibilities on top of working in my business, and you get a sky high pile of things to do. But it’s all good stuff and that makes this frenetic fall pace worthwhile. So, what have I been up to? Special activities this week included a warm welcome to the new group of volunteers who signed up for the CERT [Community Emergency Response Team] training that started Tuesday night at the Neighborhood Center. As they introduced themselves, it's clear that the success of this program is due in large part to the volunteer efforts of BILL MERCER. One person after another said they learned about it from Bill when he came to their service club, homeowners association, workplace, etc. He's here, there, and everywhere apparantly. This week was also a ribbon cutting for a new Los Gatos medical practice on Los Gatos Boulevard -- Kalia Dermatology & Laser Center. Dr. IRIS GIN explained to me that Kahlia means beauty in Hawaiian. The offices are lovely and they were packed with patients and well-wishers. Friday was a double header with the annual Silicon Valley Leadership Group event for CEOs and elected officials. This year it took place at a Monte Sereno home and the special guest was Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER. Then it was off to the Art in the Council Chambers reception. The new show features the work of the Los Gatos Saratoga Photography Club, and it's great. Highlight of the week, though, was probably presenting a Proclamation to ERIC CHILDS and ROGER MASON of the Los Gatos Lions Club for the annual White Cane Days event on Oct. 5 and 6. The little white canes with a red band at the bottom that you will see on many lapels that week are symbols of the generous contributions made by the Lions Club and community members to helping the blind and visually impaired in many countries. So if you see them around town on those days, open your wallets wide to help out. And that's the week that was.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Los Gatos Prepared
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Farewell to a Los Gatos original
Friday, September 01, 2006
Thursday was Hooray for Police Day
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Today is Pascagoula Day in LG
It was my honor to proclaim today Pascagoula Day in Los Gatos to commemorate the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina [Aug. 29] and to recognize the efforts of Los Gatos individuals, organizations and businesses to help the people of our adopted sister city recover from the devastation they experienced last summer. Please visit the website www.losgatoskatrina.org to get more information on how Los Gatos has helped and what still needs to be done. Recovery will take 2-3 years, and Los Gatos is committed to long-term assistance. We had two guests from Pascagoula in town this weekend – Linda Cumbest and Linda Whitmore – and it was fun to see them talking with folks at both the Farmers Market this morning and Music in the Park this evening. And it gave me a great example to talk about at the kick-off reception for the 2006-07 Leadership Los Gatos class this afternoon. The initiative of our residents to step forward and say we want to help – and then making it happen -- is what leadership is all about. Special applause, please, to these individuals who were among the first to care and get involved: TOM CARSON, JOE VAROZZA, DAVE HENDERSON, LEE NEISH and FRANK BERGANDI. More have joined the effort but it was these fellows who were the “early adopters” of the Los Gatos Town to Town Consortium.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Two for one
Two events to talk about, but only one photo since the batteries on my camera decided to die at an inconvenient moment. Thursday evening was the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce mixer at Oak Meadow Park, featuring the Red Cross and several of the wineries that make their home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was a nice hometown crowd. Then Friday morning was the annual Women’s Equality Day Breakfast sponsored by the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women. Lots of Los Gatos people there in and among the 600 guests. Not sure which gave off more energy – big pots of coffee for the 7 a.m. start time…. or the zesty performance of Folklorico Nacional Juvenil … or the high spirits of the women and men in the room celebrating the 86th anniversary of women winning the right to vote. It’s hard to believe that it took until 1920 for women to have the opportunity to participate in America’s democracy.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
The next generation of leaders
Today was orientation day for the 2006-07 Youth Commission and it was my pleasure to deliver an official welcome from the Mayor. They will spend the rest of the afternoon learning about the workings of town government, and beginning to plan what they would like to accomplish this year. These teens are so impressive. No need to worry about tomorrow with their capable hands ready to take the helm. If you know any of them, please say Congratulations and Thank You for serving the Town: REETA BANERJEE, JONATHAN BERTHET, ASHLEY YUKI, OLIVIA COLLIVER, JORDAN KAHLER, LIZ MELLEMA, PETER HADAR, STANFORD STICKNEY, AMY ZHANG, HALLIE BARNES, ELLEN ROCKDALE, BRONWYN STONE, JAN VAN BRUGGEN, NICKY ROBINSON, ZACH HERSBERGER, RACHEL CARSON, SUSAN KAHNG, JASON LOUIE, LINDSAY TRONE, KELSEY HALL. And thank you, also, to Police Chief SCOTT SEAMAN and the team from the Police Department for being such great mentors and liaisons to the Youth Commission.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Happy Birthday to us
It was fitting that about 100 children were at the Los Gatos Library to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Los Gatos Children's Library. It was fun to lead them -- and their parents -- in singing Happy Birthday to the Library. Children in Los Gatos use the Library a lot and check out about a quarter million items a year. Children's attendance at Library programs has doubled over the last 10 years, and we are squeezed for space during storytimes, one of the most popular features. Learning how to use the Library and feel comfortable and welcome there is a great lesson for youngsters.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
A busy day
This afternoon I attended a Town Hall Meeting sponsored by Assemblymember Ira Ruskin on legislative issues pertaining to California’s future energy needs. He graciously invited me to say a few words about the commitment of Los Gatos to protecting the environment, and the timing was great. Did you see the article in this morning’s Mercury News about solar energy production? With 131 solar projects and 568,819 kilowatts produced, Los Gatos was near the top of the list of all cities in the Bay Area. For over 20 years Los Gatos has been on the forefront of promoting sustainable and green building techniques, and that priority is reflected in our General Plan. But I digress. It was an interesting two-hour discussion and you could tell from the questions that the 50+ people in attendance have a passion for conserving resources and leaving Mother Earth the way we found her.
They're off and strolling
Just got back from the opening ceremony of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event at Vasona Park. Over the next 24 hours, 374 volunteers will be walking in circles to raise money for cancer research and support services for cancer patients and their families. Vice Mayor JOE PIRZYNSKI was also there, along with one of his Los Gatos students from Mitty High School, ALEXIS REILLY, who was the youth chair of the event. This is one impressive young woman and her story of surviving cancer was truly inspirational.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
It's re-election time
Sunday, August 13, 2006
The happiest birthday
I was honored today to be included in the 100th birthday celebration of Los Gatos resident Russell Wintle! I was hoping to have the opportunity to participate in someone’s centennial party, and so I was pleased to receive the invitation from Faith Lutheran Church. Last week I spent a couple of days at the statewide meeting of sanitation districts learning what’s new in sewers and wastewater treatment [don’t be jealous just because we electeds get all the fun], and former Campbell Mayor Don Burr told me he only had one centurion during three terms as mayor. It’s a rare privilege and I thank the Wintle family for letting me be part of it. I had not met Mr. Wintle before today but it turned out he worked at GE the same time as my mother and remembered her. A small and happy world.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Stand up, sit down
This has been a sit down week with several meetings on meaty issues that I can’t talk about here until they go public at Council meetings. Some were problem solving, some were future focused, and some were devoted to giving staff direction on a variety of matters. The public appearances can be fun and glitzy, but the serious parts of the leadership challenge are played out in weeks like this one.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
A Mayor Milestone
Friday, July 21, 2006
Yesterday I attended the annual BBQ lunch of the Los Gatos Youth Park, along with members of Los Gatos Kiwanis and Optimists. Rotary and Lion members were hosted earlier in the week. The Youth Park has been used by the Boy Scouts since the 1930s, so that is why the guests were greeted so cordially by EVAN KITZMILLER and MATT STAFFORD. The Youth Park is one of those hidden treasures of Los Gatos, unknown by some, beloved by many and supported for decades by dedicated volunteers. And the lunch was delicious – especially the magic beans! Then last night was the annual Chamber of Commerce dinner to install new officers and honor the Businessperson of the Year. The award went to GREG STOWERS which pleased me greatly. Greg is an architect in town and a jewel of the volunteer. I remember the first year we did the July 4th celebration. He was here, there and everywhere all day. Last night was also fun because I got to see old friends like RANDY ATTAWAY, KEITH PLOTTEL and MARIE TALLMAN. Put these activities together with the launch party Wednesday night for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life event [August 19 at Vasona Park], and the ribbon cutting this evening for the new Blossom Dental Office and you understand why I feel like it’s been a busy week.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Vacation is nice, but so is home
I’m back from vacation in Eastern Canada [Montreal, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia] and although it’s beautiful country – see photo -- Dorothy was correct that there is no place like home. Especially if home is Los Gatos. Summer is in full swing here with Music in the Park on Sundays and Jazz in the Plazz on Wednesday evenings. ALLISTAIR DALLAS has started a website on all things Los Gatos [visit www.losgatosobserver.com] and MIKE LOYA, coordinator the teen center, The Venue, received a well-deserved promotion to Recreation Supervisor of Teen Programs. The chair of the General Plan Committee, JANE OGLE, got a new job as COO of Santa Clara Family Health Plan. She was in the inaugural Leadership Los Gatos class, which reminds me that applications are now being accepted for the 2006-07 Leadership Los Gatos program. The deadline is August 17 and info is available from the Chamber of Commerce. We are on the July break for Council meetings, but there are still a lot of meetings and events to keep the calendar full, and August looks even busier.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The play's the thing
Just got back from the Biz to Biz Monthly Networking Luncheon of the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce. The speakers were from the Los Gatos Shakespeare Festival which begins its 5th year on July 14 and runs through August 5 in Oak Meadow Park. There are only a few towns in America lucky enough to have outdoor performances of Shakespeare, and Los Gatos is one of them. Many years ago the California Shakespeare Festival used to perform in the theatre at Old Town which is now Border’s Bookstore. I remember coming to the plays there with friends during my high school years and thinking we were so cool and sophisticated. Now the whole family can be introduced to Shakespeare in a casual, friendly environment that takes full advantage of our beautiful weather and park. MARK PICKENS of the Festival Theatre Ensemble told the Chamber crowd today a little about the background of the festival and actor WILL BROWN gave us a preview of his Hamlet. [See photos of him at Chamber event and in full costume] What a treat! By the way, the organization is in desperate need of about 1,000 square feet of storage space. It can be indoors, outdoors or partially covered. If you’ve got a good idea, please give producer Jennifer Selden a call at 408-504-9605. For ticket info call 800-838-3006.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Living among the wild
Monday, June 19, 2006
Maybe you read my quotes in the newspaper about the expansion of one of our auto dealers. Silicon Valley Auto Group -- the folks on Main Street with Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls Royces – will be opening a new Lamborghini showroom about a mile away on the corner of North Santa Cruz and Bachman. One motivation is to find more space for their newest car: the Bugatti Veyron, one of the world’s most exclusive supercars with a price tag of $1.3 million. That is a long way from my first new car, a cherry red Mustang with black interior that I bought at Swanson Ford for $2,500. Not only will these expensive cars bring us much-needed revenue [the Town receives one penny in sales tax for every dollar spent in Los Gatos, and sales tax contributes about 30% of the Town's Operating Budget], they bring visitors to town who will dine and shop before and after their test drives. This business has become a tourist landmark in Los Gatos, and it's rare to go by there without seeing folks drooling over these elegant motor machines. To read a Los Gatos dateline story about this car in USA today, go to http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/life/20060614/d_cover14.art.htm. The confirmation of the new Lamborghini showroom means that downtown Los Gatos retail commercial space is now 98.5% full! There aren’t many downtown areas that can boast about such a small vacancy rate. It’s a tribute to the unique character and charm of Los Gatos.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
I have to miss the annual July 4th celebration in town this year. We had some problems scheduling our flights for our vacation so we’ll depart earlier than intended. [Fortunately, our house sitter's schedule is flexible.] But I hope you all have a chance to come down to Patriot Plaza [the Civic Center] and enjoy the entertainment, games for kids, bingo, banjos, lemonade and All-American feel of a small town celebration. I remember well the first year of the Town’s July 4th celebration in 2001 because I was the community volunteer who was Chair. The idea for the event came out of the Chamber of Commerce Board Retreat when I was president of the Chamber, and then Mayor JOE PIRZYNSKI jumped on it. The concert on the high school lawn had been going on for several years, so the thought was to make that the centerpiece of a full day of activities for all age groups. Lots of people go out of town for the holiday, so we weren’t sure how many would attend. Turns out the Town isn’t exactly empty on Independence Day since we estimated about 5,000 in the crowd. It was very hot and I worked the information booth all day, but it was worth all the effort that evening to see families dancing in the twilight as a giant new moon rose over the mountains. What a vivid memory. Now the coordination of the event is handled by Town staff and all of the partners – LGS Recreation, the Chamber, the service clubs, etc. – have it as a regular part of their annual schedule. Norman Rockwell would love it. Hope you do, too.
Friday, June 09, 2006
About closed sessions
Saturday, June 03, 2006
The week that was
It’s been a fast-paced 10 days for the Mayor of Los Gatos, but with lots of good things to talk about. First on the list is a great visit to Villa Vasona, an affordable housing complex for seniors on low and very low income and other adults with disabilities. Council member MIKE WASSERMAN joined me in serving lunch to many of the 125 residents and then we toured a few of the studio and one-bedroom units. The residents were so gracious including MORREY CORT, pictured here in her comfortable home that has a plant-filled balcony with a view of our beautiful mountains. Another significant recent event was the annual Town Council-Planning Commission retreat. We focused our discussion on “best practices for excellence performance” and all shared our thoughts on how we can achieve and sustain outstanding results for the town. The dedication of our Planning Commissioners is awesome. They spend hours and hours every week in preparation and public hearings. Thank goodness, we have people willing to step forward and make this huge commitment to our community. If you see any of them around town – JOHN BOURGEOIS, D. MICHAEL KANE, PHIL MICCICHE, TOM O’DONNELL, LEE QUINTANA, STEVE RICE, and JOANNE TALESFORE – please say thank you. And then there was yesterday when we celebrated two significant events in Los Gatos: the graduation of the 5th Leadership Los Gatos class and the announcement of the Senior of Distinction award, co-sponsored by The Terraces and the Los Gatos Weekly Times. This year’s Senior of Distinction award went to RAY COBB, past president of the Los Gatos Rotary and a dozen other local organizations and a key organizer of one of the groups of local residents who went to Pascagoula, Mississippi to help rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. You’re probably tired of hearing me say what an amazing community we have, but it is true that we are blessed with an abundance of individuals who care so deeply about the quality of life of others and are willing to put forth an extraordinary effort.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Turn around bright eyes
Thursday, May 18, 2006
History on the Boulevard
Do you know that feeling when you visit someplace for the first time and you immediately know that it is a friendly, joyous environment? That was my experience on Wednesday when I attended the inauguration of officers of the History Club of Los Gatos. I have been to the History Club many times through the years for wedding receptions and other special events, but it was my first time to meet the members of the club that goes back to 1897. There are now close to 100 members and many of them were in attendance this week to enjoy a refreshing homemade ice cream dessert and applaud the new officers: CAROL BURT [president], MAXENE BLOOD, MARGE ULRICH, THERESE WIESE, HARRIET FISHER, FAUSTENE HEILMAN, MARGE RICE, JUBIE JARAMILLO, KATHY CUSICK, LYNNE DAHMS, MARGARET SCHU, MARYON HICKS, and GWEN DAVIS. It was also wonderful for me to talk with SARA MORABITO who worked with my mom for many years at General Electric. Brought back a lot of great memories. The ladies of the History Club of Los Gatos told me I’m welcome to come back any time, and I surely hope I will be able to do so soon.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
A new view
Last night I attended the annual Window on the River Park event that celebrates Guadalupe River Park & Gardens. I’ve been involved with the river park on and off for many years and last year it was my pleasure to handle the grand opening event [50,000 people – were you there?] as part of my day job – president of McNutt & Company, Inc. Public Relations. The Window event was held on the 16th floor terrace of Jeppesen, a company you may not have heard of, but one that probably affects your life. It supplies pilots all over the world with the aeronautical charts you see them carting onto the plane in those black briefcases. The local office – which was located in Los Gatos until about 5 years ago – handles corporate and private flight plans. You may recognize the names of a couple of their best clients: John Travolta and Dolly Parton. It was fascinating to tour their office. It operates 24/7 to put together flight plans and accurate weather forecasts for every possible route around the globe you can think of. I hadn’t thought about the need for pilots to get permits to fly over countries and was surprised to learn that they are charged a fee for every minute they are in foreign air space. Looking at the view of the valley from the terrace reminded me of the geography lesson I used to give to my daughter. I always told her that you can’t get lost in Santa Clara Valley. All you have to do is look up. If you see brown mountains, you’re looking east. If you see green mountains covered with trees, you’re looking west. And if you look to where the green mountain foothills dip down to make a V, you’ve found Los Gatos. And this is my husband pointing the way home.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
A dare that's good for us all
DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a national program for 5th graders in which a police officer leads a series of classroom lessons about how to resist the pressures to experiment with drugs and alcohol. At the Council meeting this week, we had three students from Blossom Hill School who were DARE essay contest winners help us with the Pledge of Allegiance – JESSIE BLUMENFELD, HOLLY HOLLAND, and COLE FERGUSON. KELSI KRANDEL, another essay contest winner, could not be present. It was an appropriate time for them to visit Council Chambers since we also that night celebrated our Police Department’s most recent honor – the James Q. Wilson Community Policing Award. Chief SCOTT SEAMAN and several officers were on hand to receive our congratulations for their outstanding efforts in serving our community. Thank you to HELEN BURGAND, Cole’s grandmother, for providing me with a copy of the photo of the essay winners and the Chief, and to PAM FERGUSON, Cole’s mom, for sharing his winning essay, titled Dreams, with us. Here is an excerpt: “Most kids like me have dreams of becoming famous or to become known for doing something brave, but if you smoke, drink, or do drugs your chances will be ruined. In life you have two big choices, which are either eat healthy, don’t smoke, drink, and don’t do drugs, or you can do the opposite…I will never ever take harmful drugs or smoke in my life because I want to full fill my dreams and live long.” Good words to live by for us all.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
It's good to have friends
I could not make it to the annual Arbor Day ceremony in Oak Meadow Park on Friday [schedule conflicts seem to be my life nowadays], but my fellow Council Members BARBARA SPECTOR and MIKE WASSERMAN did a great job in talking about the history of Arbor Day and bragging a bit about Los Gatos being a Tree City, USA for 25 years. Our record beats out the other 7 cities in the Valley who also have Tree City status and 5 that haven’t yet qualified for this honor bestowed by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. It was a special ceremony because a tree was planted that day in honor of the late Joseph Pirzynski, father of Vice Mayor JOE PIRZYNSKI. [Memorial trees can be donated by family or friends as a long-lasting tribute.] We are elected to Council as individuals and we continue to act as independent thinkers and decision-makers, but it is nice to develop personal friendships with the people that you spend so much time with. We are all different, but we share a commitment to the community and respect for each other. And I have to say that makes a tough job a little easier.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
On a beautiful Saturday morning
Are you having fun being mayor? I hear that question every day and -- most of the time -- the answer is Yes! As I’ve said before it’s an experience that few get to enjoy, and I’m making memories all the time. This morning, for example, was Los Gatos Little League Day – the official opening of the season. I got to throw out the first pitch [thank goodness that pitiful effort was not televised] and, more importantly, helped to acknowledge the amazing efforts of Little League parents and supporters in collecting 1400 pounds of sports equipment for Pascagoula youth. FRANK BERGANDI went to Pascagoula last weekend for their opening day ceremony and threw out the first ball with Pascagoula Mayor Matthew Avarra [see photo]. He brought back a plaque of appreciation and presented it this morning to MARC MURANO, who was a pivotal person in the collection effort. It was fun to look around at the hundreds of Little Leaguers in Los Gatos on a beautiful Saturday morning and know that in Mississippi there are kids playing baseball and softball today as a result of our community’s generosity.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Applause for our volunteers
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Friends are everywhere
Every Wednesday the Neighborhood Center is filled with 55+ residents who spend the morning playing cards and board games and then enjoy a delicious lunch. The mayor is invited to speak there every year, and it was nice to visit and to see old friends such as ANITA and DON WOLF [who may be beaming in this photo because of their grandbaby triplets!!]. Don sold me my first personal computer in the early ‘80s when he owned Wolf Computer on North Santa Cruz Avenue and Anita was a member of our inaugural Leadership Los Gatos class. I also ran into CHERYL HALLBERG, who I knew years ago when I was the faculty advisor of the Certificate in Marketing Communications program at San Jose State University. I stopped teaching when I was elected to Town Council in 2002, but I continue to cross paths with some of the students who were enrolled in the professional development classes. Many worked for high tech firms at the time and are now enjoying a different type of career that is less volatile but still uses some of the skill sets they developed in marketing communications. Anyway, it's nice to unexpectedly run into people you know -- one of the many advantages of living in a small town.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Putting their best foot forward
My intent was to be a cheerleader last Thursday for the Los Gatos Morning Rotarians who took part in the YWCA “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” event in downtown San Jose. These brave men – and a couple of hundred others – put on high heels and walked a mile to raise money for the YWCA Rape Crisis Center. Thank you, GREG STOWERS, for sending me a photo of what I missed when my schedule changed at the last minute. And thank you, CHRIS MARTINEZ, ERIK WILHELMSEN, CURTIS WRIGHT, TIM LUNDELL, JIM MEALEY, DAN WHITE, BARRY KRUPP, and JOHN CURTIS for enduring the misery of ladies shoes in order to call attention to a serious matter. When I became Mayor of Los Gatos I asked staff if they could give me a few facts and figures from each department that might startle people. Mixed in with the statistics on such things as how many miles of public streets we have  and how many public contacts are made to the Community Development Department [38,200] was the notation that our police department responds to an average of one domestic violence case every week, and that there were 8 rapes in town in 2005, up from 5 in 2004 and 2 in 2003. Even in paradise, there is trouble behind closed doors. Thank goodness for our PD, for the YWCA, and for concerned residents like the Los Gatos Morning Rotarians.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Cutting the red ribbon
It is always a pleasure to attend the grand opening of a new or expanding business – even more so as Mayor when I get to help the business owner with the ceremonial ribbon-cutting. There is such excitement and optimism about the new venture. Friday night I was at the opening of Natural Expressions at 18 N. Santa Cruz Ave. with owners MEGAN ERK and CICEK HERRERA, and Chamber leaders PATTI RICE, BRENDA HAMMOND and PHIL JOHNSON. Afterwards my husband and I strolled the avenue and talked about how many kinds of businesses there need to be in a community to provide the goods and services we need for our personal and business lives. Years ago I did a work project for the City of Alameda where the residents constantly refer to the fact that they live on an island. Their priority was making sure that almost everything they could need or want was available without crossing a bridge or navigating an underwater tunnel. Ever since then I’ve thought about what types of businesses we are missing in Los Gatos that we would need to be a true “full service” town. Someday it would be interesting to see the results of a sales tax leakage to find out how much of our money is being spent in neighboring communities, and if it is because our residents can’t buy everything they need close to home. At Saturday morning’s annual Council-Commission retreat [where we meet with representatives of our Commissions to get face-to-face updates on their achievements and goals for the coming year] JACQUI KEMP, chair of the Youth Commission, told us about a quick survey they did asking Youth Commissioners where they shop. Many take their dollars out of town because we don’t have the products, brands, or price points they prefer. More research on the buying power of Los Gatos teens would be valuable information for current businesses who may be overlooking a profitable market segment, and for property owners and commercial real estate brokers as they recruit new businesses for our neighborhood shopping centers and downtown.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Say hey to the Greats
They are called The Greatest Generation, and we are losing every day some of the men and women who lived through World War II. That is why the Stories of Service project is so important, and why it warranted a special Commendation from the Town of Los Gatos this week. Stories of Service links teens, such as CHRIS SHELDON, a sophomore at Los Gatos High School, with veterans who are encouraged to tell their stories in short videos that can be preserved for future generations. There are more than 500 of these digital stories now completed, and some are in the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. I was happy to see so many of the participants in Council Chambers and proud we could honor them. And if you see any of these folks around town, ask them about their story, or go to the website www.stories-of-service.org. Thank you [back row from left] ROBERT CORPUS, PAUL FERDINANDSON, PHILLIP PARHAM, CHRIS SHELDON, DEAN JOY, NICK MOLLE, STAN PETERSON, DANIEL MOLLE [front row from left] MARY ELLEN LOCKE, MARSHA PARHAM, JANET RADONICH, PETER RADONICH, ANN JOY, LAVADA PETERSON, MELANIE MOLLE.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
April 29 is Little League Day in Los Gatos so it was appropriate to have a few representatives of local teams help us with the Pledge of Allegiance at this week’s Council meeting. Thank you to STEPHANIE HIBBITTS for this photo of me with the players: MATT BERGANDI, JOEY BERGANDI, KYLE KEVORKIAN, CLIFFORD HIBBITTS, CLAY HIBBITTS, and LYLE HIBBITTS. It brought back fond and not-so-fond memories of the days when I was attending games at Balzer Field to watch my stepson play first base for the Los Gatos Little League minor division Dodgers team. The not-so-fond part is remembering what it is like to have Snack Shack duty while pregnant with my daughter (who participated in softball while at Van Meter). Gooey nachos is not such a good thing when you’re fighting morning sickness. I’ve also included here a photo sent from Pascagoula, Mississippi showing the gleeful girls’ softball team and their coaches unpacking the 7 pallets of equipment donated by parents and friends of Los Gatos Little League. The kids in our adopted Katrina-ravaged city will have a great spring season, thanks to the generosity of Los Gatos residents.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Arias to start the day
This morning I spoke to the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors - Los Gatos group. It’s one of the traditional stops on the Mayor’s “speaking circuit” and I was happy to spend some time with them to talk about the future of Los Gatos. It was a lively meeting at Willow Street Pizza that started with fabulous music from opera singers SANDRA RUBALCAVA and CHRIS BERGOCHEA, compliments of BILL ANDERS, a former Los Gatos High School football quarterback and now owner of Factory Direct Carpets. I talked about how people are often surprised to learn the demographic profile of our town. We are family focused, and yet only 28% of our households [according to the 2000 census] have children under the age of 18. Who else lives here? Singles, married without children, empty nesters, seniors. At the time of the count 27% of our population was 55+ and that percentage grows every year as the Baby Boomers move towards retirement. What does this mean for the community? In my mind it underscores the importance of having variety in our housing stock so that every resident – at each stage of life – has options for how to define “home.” Thank you to MIKE MORESCO for inviting me and to District Chair BRIAN BERNASCONI for the making me feel so welcome.