Monday, November 20, 2006


The final day

In just a couple of hours, my year as Mayor will be over. I know we all say that time goes fast each year, but it is especially true for me in 2006. It's hard to believe that it's been 12 months since my fellow Council members selected me to serve as Mayor. What I am going to say tonight at the Council meeting is a giant THANK YOU!!! to the Council, to our incredible town staff, to my supportive family, and to the community who were so kind to me this year and introduced me to so many different aspects of Los Gatos. After 34 years here, I thought I knew this town, but being Mayor brought me into contact with new people, organizations and volunteer efforts that I was unaware of. We are an active community, filled with bright, caring people.

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


Working together

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]

Unless there is a dramatic turn of events -- like the sign thief being discovered and arrested -- I promise this is the last time I will talk about the theft of so many of my campaign signs. Two additional points to make. In my upset state, I forgot to say a public thank you to JOE PIRZYNSKI for spending a couple of hours on Saturday morning with my family searching dumpsters and other locations for my missing signs. He has his own re-election campaign to worry about, and has also had some signs disappear. I don't doubt for a moment that he will be easily re-elected, but it was kind of him to focus on my problems when could have been meeting and greeting voters. Thank you, Joe.

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


Wickedness backfires

If the point of stealing 30-35 of my yard signs Friday night was to put a crimp in my campaign, the effort failed. I am overwhelmed by how kind and supportive people are being with offers of additional donations, prayers, and volunteer time to walk, call, and email voters. One girl made me a homemade sign as a replacement that I will treasure. As one person put it, this lemon is turning into lemonade. So, although it is clear there are a few jerks in the world, this weekend reaffirmed to me that most people have a strong core of values and ethics. I am proud to represent and serve them on the Town Council.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


A message to a thief

Stealing all of my campaign signs from throughout downtown Los Gatos, including the ones in front of my home and off my front porch, is not cool. I have filed a police report. One more sign moves it from petty theft to grand theft. Lights will be burning. People will be watching. Find a better way to entertain yourself between midnight and dawn.

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

Election Day is just two weeks and one day away and it's time to prepare the second set of financial disclosure forms. Every candidate who accepts donations and/or spends any money on a campaign is required to file a disclosure. All donors who contribute $100 or more are listed by name, address, and occupation. What isn't clear from the form is how many people have donated. I AM SO PROUD TO HAVE RECEIVED CONTRIBUTIONS FROM 105 DONORS. It's not about the money. It's about people being committed to my re-election. A very nice feeling. That helps to compensate for less positive feelings about the theft of my yard signs which is still continuing. Why are my signs being the ones stolen? Is it because they are the nicest looking? Is it because someone thinks they'll be collectible items some day worth big bucks? Because I'm a woman? I'm speculating here, with tongue in cheek, but I have to tell you it is annoying -- especially if the thief leaves other signs or repositions them after taking mine away. Obviously, someone is feeling threatened. Play fair! Let the democratic process do its thing!

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


Weekend Whirl

It’s the busy season in Los Gatos. Friday night was the Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Big Deal” event. This year the Chamber partnered with the Alex Smith Foundation. What a nice young man he is [49er quarterback if you are not a football fan], and his foundation to help foster kids who age out of the system is impressive. Saturday morning was the ribbon cutting for Powell’s Candy Store and the kids were lined up waiting. Do you think it was to see the Mayor and Vice Mayor, Mister Jelly Belly or to get a free chocolate bar? Yes, I thought the same. I only got the names of a few of the youngsters who helped us cut the ribbon – BRITTANY RHINE, MEGAN RHINE and BRITTANY KIRWAN. That's Mr. Powell himself standing to the right of me in the photo. He has 4 stores and lives above the one in Windsor. Sweet success story. Sunday was the “Taste of Tuscany” fundraising event for the Los Gatos Education Foundation. Beautiful afternoon with 300+ parents, teachers and community supporters bidding on a lot of goodies. Seems like every weekend in October is packed to the brim.

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

We are now less than 5 weeks away from Election Day and campaign signs are starting to appear everywhere you look in Los Gatos. Last night was the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum which will be broadcast several times on KCAT between now and November 7th. Hope you can watch it. Also be sure to read the interview of me in this week’s Los Gatos Weekly Times for more background on my involvement in the community. Campaigning takes a lot of time and work and Mayor responsibilities don’t take a holiday, so my schedule is pretty jammed right now. I have 60 events or meetings already on my calendar for October, and the calls just keep on coming. But it’s all good stuff and the days will fly by. By Thanksgiving, campaigning will be over and so will my year as Mayor. A special year in my life, and I hope you are enjoying sharing the experience.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Behind closed doors

As I went this week from event to event, I was reminded about what an active community we are – probably more so than any one of us realizes. Our residents are involved in so many activities and community service projects, and a lot of them are not publicized. Yesterday, for example, I went from the Character Education Task Force meeting at the school district office to the September meeting of the Assistance League of Los Gatos-Saratoga. President TERRI SPICE and I have known each other through our professional careers for many years. Now she’s retired and leading this energetic group of women and their programs for children, seniors and new mothers. Did people driving down Ferris Avenue on Wednesday morning know that 50 ladies were inside making plans to provide 12,000 hours of service? My guess is that there are meetings all over town every week of groups quietly working hard to make our community better and to take care of those who need a helping hand. Way cool, I think.

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

The only disaster in Los Gatos over the weekend was the possibility of running out of lobster at the wildly successful Claws for a Cause event sponsored by the Los Gatos Morning Rotary Club. Emergency avoided – all of the hundreds of people who attended got enough to eat! But the fact is that a disaster could occur at any time, especially in Earthquake Country. Of course today, on the 5th anniversary of September 11th, we have a different kind of disaster on our minds. There are lots of possible big-scale emergencies that could happen, and that is why I am so proud that the Town of Los Gatos is launching a public education/outreach project called “Los Gatos Prepared.” I am proclaiming October as Los Gatos Prepared Month and we will have information and displays throughout the town. We are encouraging neighborhoods to have get-togethers on October 17th [the anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake] and Town staff and/or volunteers will be available to come by and provide detailed info on how to be self sufficient for at least 71 hours after an earthquake or two to four weeks in the event of a pandemic flu. Some neighborhoods are already organizing pot lucks, BBQs, and ice cream socials. More information is available on the town website

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Farewell to a Los Gatos original

Today was the memorial service for one of Los Gatos' best known residents, JOHN MESA. St. Mary's Church was packed with people who knew him from Los Gatos High School, youth sports, his restaurant/bar businesses, and his career in real estate. His friends and family did a great job with the eulogy -- capturing Johnny's unique personality and the lasting memories he leaves behind. All of Los Gatos will miss him.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Thursday was Hooray for Police Day

I forgot my camera on Thursday so you're not going to see photos of yesterday's nice event -- the annual police recognition event that has been sponsored by Rotary for the last 17 years. Until this year it was a dinner or lunch at a hotel or the country club. This time it was a BBQ picnic in Pageant Grounds park behind the Civic Center. I liked this format because there was more opportunity to move around and personally say thank you to the men and womenn we count on to be there to help and protect us. Police Chief SCOTT SEAMAN did a great job in singling out the accomplishments of every person in the department. The community policing vision he has -- knowing every person who lives in town -- is ambitious but is at the heart of the community policing philosophy. We are lucky to have these outstanding folks working on our behalf.

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 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

You may have seen in the newspaper that I have filed for re-election to the Los Gatos Town Council for a second, 4- year term. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7, and I would appreciate your vote. I am not going to use this blog for campaigning, but if you are interested in learning more about why I want to continue my work on the Council, please visit my campaign website at This currently has basic information and more will be added as we get into the campaign season.

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

Years ago I had a law firm as a client in my business and I learned there are two kinds of lawyers: “stand up” [litigators like criminal and personal injury] and “sit down” [corporate, real estate, estate planning, etc.]. I thought about that this week because mayors have both stand up [public appearances] and sit down [behind the scenes meetings and policy work] duties.

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

I passed another couple of milestones this week. I am now 75% of the way through My Year As Mayor, and the number of mayor events/meetings so far surpassed 250. That translates into an average of 9 per week and doesn’t include the hours spent on phone and email communication or preparation for Council meetings or other events. I work in a billable time business, so I’m used to keeping track of where my hours go. But even so, I am surprised to look back and fully appreciate the time commitment of the role as Mayor, which I estimate is a minimum of 30-50 hours per week. If I didn’t work full time, and took advantage of every opportunity to be in the spotlight, I am sure that practically every day could be full of mayor-related things to do. I use a triage system for allocating time. It is part of my responsibility as a Council Member and Mayor, such as Council meetings, listening to the concerns of constituents, or briefing sessions with staff? Does having “The Mayor” be there add value to the event for participants, such as the installation dinner of the Los Gatos Yacht Club, the Senior of Distinction award ceremony, or the kick-off reception for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life program? Does it conflict with work appointments that cannot be changed, such as when I had to pass up the opportunity for national TV exposure on the American Inventor finale because I had been long-booked to lead a strategic planning workshop for a nonprofit board of 30 people at exactly the same time? I strongly believe that a small community like Los Gatos does not need Council members who are paid as full-time positions like they are in large cities like San Jose and San Francisco. We have an excellent professional staff to run the town day to day. And I think having individuals with a variety of day jobs and professional expertise adds to the quality of our decision-making. But I can’t count how many times people have told me this year that they could never serve on Council because the sacrifice they would have to make to their families, careers, and personal interests is too great. Of course, I also can’t count how many times people have thanked me for doing this job and taking care of things in the community so that they don’t have to. Bottom line, I guess, is that every member of Town Council works countless hours for a salary of $150 per month. That is what public service is about.

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] 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


Numbers count

Wow. According to the site meter attached to this blog, I have now had over 1,000 visitors to the online pages of My Year As Mayor since I started keeping a count in late February. I wonder who you are. Very few have posted public comments, but I have received many private emails and calls about the blog. Although I started this with the intention of sharing this special year of my life with the community, I’m finding it a fun and meaningful way for me to keep track of the moments and memories of My Year As Mayor. Thanks for visiting and please come back again

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

The other day I was complaining to a friend [who does not live in Los Gatos] about the deer eating the agapanthus in front my house. Every time they start to bud I go out and find them nibbled away. So my friend gets this quizzical look and says, “But you live in downtown. You have deer in your neighborhood?” Visitors don’t seem to realize how much Los Gatos is nestled into the hillside of the Santa Cruz mountains. One or two blocks off of Main Street and you’re into canyons and nature. Over the years, we’ve had many wildlife visitors to our home – raccoons [Who can forget the time my husband opened the door to the garage to see 5 raccoons on our cars. That was when we eliminated the cat door to the outside world.] … opossum … lizards … one snake … an injured hawk that we had to rush to the Wildlife Center … countless crows…roof rats ... … and an unfortunate backyard encounter between our dog and a skunk. We walked the dog to the groomer to save our cars, but 3 baths were only able to partially tone down the smell. It’s an interesting experience to walk across town with a dog that’s been skunked and watch people turn around to see where that odor is coming from. We think it’s the best of both worlds – you walk one way out our front door to a world class charming downtown and the other direction to feel as if you’re miles away from metropolitan life. I guess agapanthus blooms are a small price to pay.

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 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


July 4th

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

Several people have asked me about the Council’s closed sessions and wondered if this is where “the real decisions are made.” The quick answer is no, that is not the purpose of closed session. Let me explain. The Brown Act, also known as California’s “sunshine law,” prohibits a quorum of elected officials from discussing the public’s business in private. In Los Gatos, this means that each of us can talk to one other Council member about a subject outside of a Council meeting – but only one – because three would be a majority. The purpose of the Brown Act is to make sure that the public process is transparent and that there aren’t any old-time-politics backroom deals. Closed sessions, therefore, are confined to those subjects that require privacy: personnel matters, pending litigation, and the purchase/sale of real property. Inspiring trust and confidence in local government is a high priority for me. I want the public to understand the public process of municipal government and to believe that their elected representatives are acting as fair and impartially as we can. People need to know that we come to each Council meeting not knowing how we are going to vote on the agenda items before us. If we have a personal connection to the issue (for example, if it is a land use decision on a property close to our homes) or if we have such strong opinions that we don’t think we can be objective and unbiased, then we must recuse ourselves from the discussion. Whether we are acting in our role as legislators setting policy or making budget decisions, or in our quasi-judicial role where we are acting as judges to make a decision on a specific case, such as an appeal from the Planning Commission, our ethical standards must remain high. So, this was a long answer to a short question, but I hope it helps to clarify how the Council does its work.

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 I attended the annual Turn Around Scholarship presentations from the Los Gatos Kiwanis. This event gives $1,000 scholarships to 10 students in the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District who have overcome all types of difficult challenges. Congratulations to EVELYN BLESSING, DYLAN BURKE, JONATHAN MOULTRUP, ADAM NUDELMAN, RENE STEPHEN, and VALERIE VOLPIN from Los Gatos High School, LORRAINE LOREN from NOVA and LAWRENCE BURGESS, JUSTIN LARZELERE, and KELLY SLABAUGH from Saratoga High School. And, congratulations also to MARY BARTLETT, president of the Los Gatos Kiwanis and all of its members for organizing this outstanding program to recognize young people in our community who have found strength deep within themselves to overcome obstacles and excel. The experience made me think of a quote on a wall plaque that is a key element in the movie “Akeelah and the Bee,” about a girl from South Central L.A. who makes it to the national spelling bee. The quote intrigued me and I tracked it down on the Internet. Here is an excerpt: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? … It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” There were tears and smiles all around on Thursday, and everyone left the Kiwanis luncheon feeling inspired by what these teens have achieved.

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

Last night was the annual Volunteer Recognition Reception to honor the residents who devote time to supporting the Town and its programs and activities. It’s part of National Volunteer Week which was started in 1974 to celebrate all that volunteers do to improve communities throughout the nation. In Los Gatos, we have more than 600 adults and youth who last year donated about 45,000 hours of time and talent to the town. They do everything from reading to kids in the library … to stuffing envelopes … to serving as reserve police officers … to helping with events like July 4th and Screen on the Green. Their contributions have an estimated value of more than $1 million! Wow.

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 [105] 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 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


Play ball!

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.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


On the look-out for a book

I read a lot – about 100 books a year. Maybe a few less in 2006 since the Mayor role takes up quite a bit of time. But reading is still part of my daily routine, especially early in the morning while I’m waiting for the newspapers to arrive. I read a lot of mysteries, but I am also fond of books centered in small towns. If you’re already familiar with Mitford, Covington, Pickax, Lake Emily, Alpine, Abbotsville, Partonville, Crozet and Long Piddleton, you’re my kind of reader. The problem is that my favorite authors can’t write as fast as I read, so I’m always looking for new writers to enjoy. If you have a recommendation, I would welcome it. One good thing about being at the Civic Center several times a week, it’s very convenient to take full use of the Los Gatos Library. I comb the book review sections and place my name on the waiting list for bestsellers. It’s exciting to get that notice in the mail that one of my reserved books is available for pick up. Shareholders in Borders and amazon are probably sad, but my bank account and already filled-to-the-brim bookshelves are happy to see me take advantage of the wonderful service available FREE to all of us. Yeah for public libraries!

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