Friday, March 31, 2006

 

Mysteries of the black binder

A question I’ve had more than once is about the black binders that Council Members carry into each Council meeting. What’s in them? Staff works for hours in preparing materials for us so that we have complete and accurate information on each agenda item. The binder has numbered tabs that correspond to the agenda. Each agenda item has a staff report, copies of any correspondence [written or email] received from the public, and background material such as architectural drawings, photos, etc. If the item is coming from Planning Commission included is a verbatim transcript of the Planning Commission’s public hearing. The binder is delivered on Thursday evenings before a Monday Council meeting, so we have the weekend to review and prepare. The upcoming Council meeting on April 3 has a long agenda, so the binder is over 3 inches high – a lot of reading, analysis and thinking to do in the next few days.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

Allow me to brag


The best part of being a Mayor is being able to unabashedly brag about your community. In Los Gatos, that could mean multiple postings every day if I were going to try to keep up with all of the good things going on in our town. But I couldn’t resist the opportunity to boast about the successful efforts of some of our residents to help folks in Pascagoula, Mississippi, our adopted city in the Los Gatos Town to Town Katrina Consortium. Today I learned from FRANK BERGANDI that Los Gatos Little League has collected 7 palettes!! of new and used gear for the Pascagoula Youth Baseball. It will make a real difference to the kids in Pascagoula to have the opportunity to “enjoy a little normal” this spring while their community is rebuilding. Go to www.lgll.org to see more photos. And Frank has specifically given credit to MARC MURANO, DAVE BURT, STEVE FERRONI, Moore Buick and LG-Saratoga Girls Softball for their help in making this happen. This is great news to take to tonight's Community Unity meeting. About 20 organizations are expected to attend to talk about how they can collaborate, partner and cooperate on projects to improve the town in general or the quality of life for individuals.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

 

A view like no other

OK, am I the last person to learn about Google Earth? If not, log onto Google and search for Google Earth ASAP! You download a satellite view of the Earth that can focus on any city or specific address anywhere around the globe. It's an incredible view of Los Gatos as well as everywhere else on the planet. What a way to see the world -- and get a new perspective on your own community. In just a few minutes I visited Seattle, Washington D.C., Paris, Sudan, Iraq, Honolulu and Peru. It's not just the Mayor in me saying that Los Gatos looks the best. Now everyone can virtually visit our beautiful town.

Friday, March 24, 2006

 

Van Meter Read-In


This morning it was my pleasure to be one of several adults representing a wide variety of professions to take part in the annual Read-In at Van Meter Elementary School. I was assigned to read “Thank You, Mr. Falker” to MR. HIGHLAND’S 5th grade class. He tells me this is a class that likes to read and write, and several have had letters to the editor published in either the Los Gatos Weekly or the Mercury News. Very impressive group of young people. Last year I read the “Three Legged Cat” to the kindergartners, which sparked a lot of fun sharing about favorite pets. The point of the event is for the students to learn a little bit about different occupations and to hear about how important reading skills are for work and pleasure. Thank you to the volunteers who coordinated this event including ALEJANDRA KRAMER, SIVIA VAN GUNDY, MICHELLE SEGER, CAROL TINSLEY, ROSEANNA BERKOWITZ, NATALIA DAL PORTO, SHEILA HOFFMAN, GINA BOMMARITO, CATHY LARSON, SUE FARWELL, and GAIL BODDY.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

 

Mayors for Meals


Older adults are a growing segment of our community, so it was my pleasure today to join with other Mayors throughout Santa Clara County to deliver hot meals to some Los Gatos residents who are not able to shop and cook for themselves. It was all part of a national program to call attention to the risk of malnutrition among seniors and to publicize the benefits of Meals On Wheels in bringing stay-at-home elderly nutritious hot meals every day. I visited with EUGENIA and ELMARS BLUMBERG and BARBARA BROWDER, all long-time residents of Los Gatos. It is so important for a community to watch out for those who may be isolated and in need of a helping hand. Meals On Wheels does a great job in serving their nutrition needs, but I wonder how many others might be living in our neighborhoods who could use friendly assistance from neighbors. Thank you LINDA GALLO, Los Gatos Senior Services Coordinator, who accompanied me today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

 

Music in the Council Chambers



How school districts are organized in California is confusing. There are elementary districts, high school districts, or “unified” districts that span kindergarten through 12th grade. District boundaries do not line up with city/town boundaries. So, in Los Gatos many of our youngsters attend a school in Los Gatos Union School District (K-8) or Los Gatos Saratoga Joint Union High School District. But we also have a lot of residents whose homes fall within the borders of Loma Prieta Joint Union District, Union School District, and Campbell Union High School District. That’s why it was so nice to present a Commendation last night to Leigh High School. There are about 1700 students enrolled at Leigh and a third of them of are Los Gatos residents. The performing arts program at Leigh is outstanding, especially the marching band which one proud parent told me is the “winnigest” band in Santa Clara County. A few members came into Council Chambers to play the National Anthem and give us a glimpse of their award-winning style. It was a wonderful way to start a Council meeting, and I thank them for taking time to visit us. If you see them around town, please congratulate Drum Major: KENNY ENEBOE; Trumpet: JEFF WELLS; Snare Drum: DAN DEHAAN; Cymbals: KOSUKE OKAMURA; Color Guard: EMILY GRAY; Color Guard: ETHAN BROOKS, DEVIN HINZO, KATIE WOLLBRINCK, KARLA OSORIO, and Band Director CHRIS NALLS.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

 

Juggling and balance


How much time does the Mayor role take? Is it difficult to fit in both your regular job and Council duties? Do you get to have a personal life during the year that you serve as mayor? I get these kinds of questions all the time, and the answers change depending on what kind of week I’ve had. Even though the Mayor title is largely ceremonial, it does take extra hours beyond that of a Town Councilmember. Yes, it can be hard to take care of the business of McNutt & Company, Inc., my public relations consulting firm, and also fulfill civic duties, but since the salary for Town Council is a whopping $150 a month, plus $50 a month for travel expenses, it’s not feasible to take a sabbatical from my day job. I’m pretty used to keep a lot of plates spinning, so most of the time it’s not a problem. This week was more difficult because there is no time in my schedule to be sick, so a lost couple of days can play havoc with my to-do list. It’s also important to me to try to stay connected to important elements of my personal life such as spending time with family and friends, attending church and making it to as many book club meetings as I can. Last night my husband and I enjoyed the annual St. Patrick’s Day party at the home of long-time friends AANA [MAHONEY] and LARRY PREGLIASCO. The price of admission to their delicious home-cooked corned beef and cabbage dinner was an Irish joke. Thank you LISA RICHARDSON for providing me with a riddle. [What’s Irish and stays outdoors all summer? Paddy O’Furniture, of course.] And this morning I attended the 25th anniversary mass of the San Jose Diocese at St. Joseph Cathedral in dual roles – as Mayor and as a member of St. Mary’s Pastoral Council. St. Mary’s started as a mission in Los Gatos in 1880 and has been a parish church in town since 1912, making it one of the oldest of the 52 churches and missions in the San Jose Diocese. It was a beautiful ceremony with many visiting bishops in attendance and His Eminence Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles. They had special seating for civic leaders so I was seated with mayors from San Jose, Saratoga, Santa Clara and other elected officials. A truly memorable experience that was shared by several others from Los Gatos including ROSE HIGASHI, CHRIS MILLER, TERRI TROTTER, FR JUSTIN, and probably others I didn’t see in the standing room only crowd.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

 

Pascagoula revisited


DAVE HENDERSON, a local resident and a member of the Los Gatos Town-to-Town Katrina Consortium steering committee, recently made a quick trip to Pascagoula, Mississippi to see firsthand how this community is recovering from the devastating effects of last summer's hurricane. In this photo he is visiting with the high school vice principal who is grateful for Dave's donation of four dozen baseballs so that the team can play this spring. Dave's visit was two months after I was there, but our photos look alike. The rebuilding of Pascagoula will take years. Businesses still closed. People living in small trailers while they figure out how to repair and/or totally rebuild their homes with very little money. Insurance settlements are tending to be small and they still have to make payments on a mortgage for a house that make not even exist anymore. Many lost all of their belongings as well, and need to replace all of the household items we take for granted for daily life. Several groups in Los Gatos have fundraising efforts underway for specific projects. St. Mary's, for example, will be raising money to buy Resurrection School a new stove. Right now they are preparing lunch for 300 students using crockpots! If you would like to make a donation to help the people of Pascagoula, please send it to: Los Gatos-Katrina Fund, LGS Recreation, 123 E. Main St., Los Gatos, CA 95030.

Friday, March 10, 2006

 

women power circa 2030


Thank you Girl Scout troop 61, 4th graders from Daves Avenue School, for serving as our Future Leaders at the March 6 Town Council meeting and helping us with the Pledge of Allegiance. It won't be too many years before these young ladies will be on the dais as our community leaders. From left, our Future Leaders are DINU ABEYWICKREMA, OLIVIA AHMED, HANNAH CHEN, BROOKE AHMED, PAIGE KLATT, CODY MOLHO, RACHEL VAIS, and ELLEN CHURCH. Also thank you to mom RANDI CHEN for sharing the photo.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

 

Character education

Wednesday was the second meeting of the Character Education Task Force, an initiative being led by the Los Gatos Union School District that also involves the high school, LGS Recreation, CASA, Town government representatives and other community leaders who are interested in how we can achieve the next level of excellence in educating and nurturing our children. Guest speaker today was from Project Cornerstone which is a County-wide collaborative that uses 40 nationally-recognized “developmental assets” that are needed for young people to thrive. Half are internal assets like honesty, integrity and responsibility, but half are external -- the support that a child feels from family, school, neighborhood, faith organizations, and the community as a whole. The statistics are startling. There is a significant correlation between the absence of developmental assets and risk-taking behaviors. In other words, the kids who are fortunate enough to be growing up in a positive environment are less likely to use alchol or drugs, experiment with sex, commit violence or crimes, or experience depression. The studies also show that the presence -- or absence -- of developmental assets has nothing to do with the demographics, affluence, or education levels of the community. It's fascinating and important material and I'm looking forward to learning more about how we can incorporate this into Los Gatos. For information on Project Cornerstone go to www.projectcornerstone.org

Friday, March 03, 2006

 

Young at art





Last night I attended the opening reception for this month's “Art in the Council Chambers” exhibition that serves the dual purpose of showcasing talented local artists and adding color and energy to the dark brick walls of the room where so many of us spend hours. The program is organized by the dedicated members of the Town's Arts Commission. This month features oil and acrylic paintings from students at Los Gatos High School. Their teacher, enthusiastic THAD SMITH, selected 23 works that include landscapes, still lifes, and replicas of masters. Four of the young artists were at the reception with me: SALLY STANLEY, KAITLYN HILL, KELSEY TRIGG, and ASHLEY SWEET. For someone who can barely draw a stick figure [that would be me], it is amazing to see their skill. Thad is in his first year at LGHS and says that he is finding Los Gatos students to be “motivated and inspired, and that shows up in the quality of their work.” Several of his students plan to attend fine arts colleges after high school to further develop their talent. The public can visit the Council Chambers to view the art during March. Other students whose work is exhibiting include: SUSAN KASPER, DANIEL MAHER, XIAU-FONG WEE, MICHAELA SIMMONS, KATE BRAHAM, STEPHANIE WILCOX, KELLY ESREY, ANDREW EMMONS, DANNY DILL, KEELY SNOOK, SUSAN ALFS, ROSE MONAHAN, AMANDA PAYNE, JAYINEE BASU, DYLAN SCHER, and KATHLEEN LEARY.

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