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Los Altos 60th
Second Term Highlights:
  • Celebrating the 60th
  • Top Priorities as Mayor
  • City Staff Changes
  • City Finances
  • Public Safety and Traffic Calming
  • Downtown
  • Civic Center
  • Parks
  • Honoring My Campaign Promises
  • Council Assignments
  • Community Involvement
  • Thank You
  • First Term Highlights:
  • Celebrating Volunteerism
  • Community Outreach
  • City Staff Changes
  • Downtown
  • Loyola Corners
  • Park Renovations
  • Green Initiatives
  • Best Practices from Industry
  • Honoring My Campaign Promises
  • Val's Swearing In
    Mayor Val Carpenter,
    November 22, 2011
    Los Altos Fun Run 2012
    Mayor Val Carpenter with the winners of the Los Altos Fun Run,
    January 1, 2012
    State and 2nd Streets
    Redone State and Second Street intersection with art (foreground) and Farmer's Market (background)
    Packard Foundation on Second Street
    Boutique Hotel at One Main Street
    Safeway 2013
    The new Safeway on First Street
    400 Main
    New retail/office building at 400 Main Street
    400 Main
    New office building at the corner of San Antonio Road and First Street
    Civic Center
    Civic Center
    Rosita Park opening
    Mayor Val Carpenter,
    November 27, 2007
    Community Volunteers
    Val honoring community volunteers
    LAH Mayor Craig Jones, State Senator Joe Simitian, Los Altos Mayor Val Carpenter, and Ron Labetich at the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce State of the Cities presentation in June 2008

    Second Term Highlights (2010-2014)

    Celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Incorporation of the City of Los Altos

    The City of Los Altos was incorporated on December 1, 1952. A committee of community leaders that I co-chaired with then Mayor Pro Tem Jarrett Fishpaw planned a year-long celebration that began with the 2012 New Year's Day Fun Run and culminated in a Gala dinner on Saturday, December 1, 2012. See www.LosAltosAt60.org for details. View the 60th anniversary video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLRr0H4Slis.

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    Top Priorities as Mayor of Los Altos 2011-12

    • Hire a terrific new City Manager and bid a fond farewell to retiring City Manager Doug Schmitz
    • Move forward with Phase 1 of the Community Center project
    • Welcome two new Councilmembers as David Casas and Ron Packard step off at the end of their second terms
    • Continue to foster the civility and respect that has characterized this Council

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    City Staff Changes

    In September 2011, City Manager Doug Schmitz announced his retirement at the conclusion of his thirtieth year as a City Manager in Los Altos, Lake Oswego, OR and Carmel-by-the-Sea. During his tenure, Doug consistently exceeded the City Council's high expectations of him, and was exactly who the City needed to address its challenges and opportunities. Everything Doug touched is beautiful, and a lasting legacy of his vision, creativity, communications skills and management expertise. He truly transformed Los Altos. We wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement.

    The City Council appointed Councilman Ron Packard and me to manage the search for a new City Manager, and we welcomed Marcia Somers as our new City Manager in April 2012. Her management style fits our community well, and her experience in developing civic facilities will enable her to implement our existing plans, while bringing fresh ideas and perspective to the City.

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    City Finances

    The financial position of the City of Los Altos continues to be sound. We have carefully managed our expenditures over the years, and have in place a balanced budget with no cuts in services or staff, substantial increases in reserves, and significant investments in infrastructure projects.

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    Public Safety and Traffic Calming

    Public safety and traffic calming are the #1 concern of City residents and therefore are a top priority for me.

    We successfully negotiated multi-year contracts with the Los Altos Peace Officers Association and the Santa Clara County Fire Department without any loss of personnel or disruption of services, and put in place a two-tier retirement plan for all new City employees.

    Pedestrian crosswalk warning light systems have been installed at six intersections along San Antonio Road. Raised crosswalks with flashing lights and other safety measures are also now in place near many of our schools.

    A Bicycle Transportation Plan and a Collector Street Traffic Calming Master Plan have been approved. Los Altos has recently been designated a Bicycle Friendly City.

    The City Council authorized hiring a traffic consultant to assist the staff with expediting Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) applications so that permanent traffic calming solutions can be installed on our residential streets. Speed humps have been added to the NTMP traffic calming toolbox. We are also working at the State level to address the infamous 85th percentile rule that in effect sets speed limits that can be enforced by radar based on the speeds of the fastest drivers.

    We have received additional Safe Routes to Schools grants totaling nearly $1 million since the project on El Monte near Almond School was completed several years ago, bringing the total amount of grant monies invested in traffic calming in our community to $2.3 million.

    The City also pays for and manages crossing guards at many of our schools, investing over $100,000 annually to provide this additional safety measure for children walking and biking to and from school.

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    Four downtown zoning committees, chaired by former Mayor Ron Packard (Downtown Zoning I and II) and me (Downtown Zoning III/Development and Downtown Zoning IV), worked diligently to review the zoning regulations for the downtown triangle, with the twin goals of maintaining the charm of Main and State Streets while enabling redevelopment around the downtown perimeter to support existing businesses and attract new ones. Updated ordinances were approved by the City Council and are now in effect.

    As a result, nine new projects have recently or will soon be completed in downtown Los Altos: the new Packard Foundation corporate office, a mixed-use development combining retail, office and residential on Third Street, a 20-unit residential condominium development on the old Adobe Animal Hospital site on First Street, a brand new Safeway that is twice the size of the prior store on First Street and adds 129 90-minute public parking spaces on their property, a 48-unit residential condominium development on the old Post Office site on First Street, the first-ever downtown hotel at One Main Street, a retail/office building at 400 Main Street, an office/20-unit residential condominium development on Third Street, and an office development at the corner of San Antonio Road and First Street.

    Over the past few years, the City has invested nearly $11 million to date in downtown infrastructure improvements. It has undergrounded utilities along First Street between Main and West Edith, and has completed streetscape improvements on First Street between Main and Shasta, at the intersections of Main and State with Second and Third Streets, and on San Antonio Road between West Edith and First Street. A grant to fund undergrounding utilities along First Street between Main and San Antonio Road has been approved. A Downtown Parking Management Plan has been approved and is being implemented.

    Several long-standing businesses have recently been sold to new owners and remain open, while new retailers and restaurants continue to choose to locate in Los Altos.

    The City staff and Council are committed to keeping downtown inviting to merchants and customers. The City provides pro bono or subsidized staff services for many downtown events organized by the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce, Los Altos Village Association, and other community groups, and has provided funding for additional sidewalk cleaning and seasonal flower displays. Increasing the time limits in the public parking plazas and the "From A to Z, you'll find it in Los Altos" marketing campaign to encourage people to eat, shop and patronize services in all of our commercial districts are other examples of the City's proactive support of our business community.

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    Civic Center

    The City hired an architectural firm to design a master plan for the 18-acre civic center site bounded by San Antonio Road and Hillview Avenue. A 28-member master plan advisory committee, co-chaired by former Mayors Lou Becker and David Casas, worked closely with the city and the design firm in an 18-month public process. The Community Center Master Plan and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) have been approved by the City Council. Designed in four phases, it includes a new police station, recreation center, city hall, community swim facility, soccer field, regulation baseball field, library, and performing arts center, with both surface and underground parking. The History House, the History Museum and the Neutra House remain in their current locations. A new apricot orchard will be planted next to the History Museum to honor Los Altos' agricultural heritage.

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    Upgrades to Rosita Park to replace two and add a third tennis court, as well as a playground, public restrooms, concession stand, par course, paths and street improvements have been completed. The City acquired parkland to connect Shoup Park and Redwood Grove along Adobe Creek; the path is open now. A Parks Plan for all City parks has been approved.

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    Honoring My Campaign Promises

    As I promised during my 2010 campaign, I continue to focus on maintaining balanced budgets and increasing reserves without cutting services. For the remainder of my second term, my priorities are:

    • prudent fiscal policy
    • safer streets
    • a thriving downtown
    • community resources
    • neighborhood character
    • a strong local economy

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    2014 Council Assignments

    In addition to serving on the Los Altos City Council itself, each year the Mayor assigns to Council members a number of additional responsibilities in our community and our region. In 2014, I serve as the Council's representative to the following organizations:

    • Los Altos Sister Cities Board of Directors
    • Wayfinding Task Force
    • Los Altos/Los Altos Hills Joint Community Volunteer Service Awards Committee
    • Redwood Grove Committee (with Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins)
    • Assemblymember Gordon's Housing Element committee
    • Santa Clara Valley Water Commission Chair
    • Association of Bay Area Governments - alternate
    • Santa Clara County Library District JPA Board of Directors - alternate

    Previous Council Assignments

    • Council Personnel Committee (2006-2013)
    • Santa Clara Valley Water District Lower Peninsula Flood Protection and Watershed Advisory Committee Vice Chair (2012-2013)
    • 60th Anniversary of Incorporation Planning Committee (Co-Chair with Mayor Pro Tem Jarrett Fishpaw) (2011-2012)
    • Cities Association of Santa Clara County Board of Directors (2011-2012)
    • Cities Association of Santa Clara County City Selection Committee (2011-2012)
    • Santa Clara County Library District JPA Board of Directors and Finance Committee (2011-2012)
    • North County Library Authority (NCLA) JPA Board of Directors (2011)
    • Downtown Development Committee Chair (with Vice Chair and former Mayor Lou Becker) (2008-2010)
    • Los Altos Chamber of Commerce Business Roundtable (2010)
    • Santa Clara County Housing and Community Development Advisory Committee (2009)
    • Stevens Creek Trail Feasibility Study Task Force and Joint Cities Working Team (2006-2009)
    • Los Altos Sister Cities Board of Directors (2006-2008)
    • Los Altos/Los Altos Hills Joint Community Volunteer Service Awards Committee (2008)

    At the State level, I served 2-year terms as the League of California Cities Peninsula Division representative on their Housing, Community, and Economic Development policy committee (2010-2011) and their Community Services policy committee (2008-2009).

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    Community Involvement

    • Los Altos Chamber of Commerce (2003-present)
    • Rotary Club of Los Altos (2003-2015)
      • Fine Art in the Park Mayors' Choice awards program chair (2009-2014)
      • Program Committee (2010-2012 and 2014-2015)
      • Fine Art in the Park neighborhood liaison (2006-2012)
      • Scholarship Committee (2003-2011)
    • KMVT 15 Silicon Valley Community Media Board of Directors (2013-2015)
    • Los Altos Village Association Board of Directors (2008-2010)
    • Los Altos Community Picnic Planning Committee (2002-2009)
    • Los Altos Community Foundation Founder (2005)

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    Thank You

    Thank you for the opportunity to serve our community.


    Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Val Again

    10. As a Los Altos City Councilwoman, two-time former Mayor of Los Altos, former Los Altos Planning Commissioner, former Los Altos Historical Commission Chair, and active community volunteer, I've worked effectively with my colleagues, the city staff, and community members on a broad range of issues for thirteen years.

    9. As a Silicon Valley executive, I've been responsible for departmental budgets the size of the city's annual budget. I know how to set priorities and make tough trade-offs.

    8. As a mother who raised her children here, I understand the needs of families for outstanding schools, safe streets, nearby parks, and recreational programs for all ages.

    7. As a Stanford MBA and owner of a small business based in town, I place a high priority on conservative fiscal policies and a strong local economy.

    6. As a Lifetime Girl Scout, I'm known for doing my homework and treating others with courtesy and respect.

    5. I actively seek out different points of view and bring people together to share their ideas.

    4. I'm a good listener and a creative problem solver who gets things done.

    3. I break down complex issues into individual components, identify specific solutions for each, and build support to get them implemented.

    2. I've demonstrated thoughtful leadership and dedicated commitment in addressing the issues our community faces.

    1. My re-election received broad support. I was endorsed by the Los Altos Town Crier, The Daily News, and the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR). Current and former mayors, regional elected officials, commissioners, and over one hundred community members also endorsed me for re-election in November 2010.


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    First Term Highlights (2005-2010)

    Celebrating Volunteerism

    As Mayor of Los Altos in 2007-2008, I celebrated volunteerism by recognizing over 30 people and organizations that share their time and talents with our community. Volunteers are the heart of our community and make Los Altos the wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family that it is. Thank you all for everything that you do.

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    Community Outreach

    I believe that local elected officials should be accessible. For twelve years I have met with hundreds of residents and other stakeholders in our community to understand their issues. As Mayor, I held several public meetings in both South and North Los Altos to provide opportunities for residents to share their views with city council members and to ask questions in a more informal setting. I also organized joint meetings with our local school boards, including the Los Altos School District and the Mountain View-Los Altos Unified High School District.

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    City Staff Changes

    In 2007, our city manager and police chief retired and public works director resigned. The City Council appointed former Mayor Lou Becker and me to manage the search for a new City Manager, and Doug Schmitz started in September 2007. Doug's initiatives significantly enhanced our city. Doug hired Police Chief Tuck Younis and other senior staff members; realigned key staff responsibilities; fostered a new level of communication among the city council, the city staff and the community; and directed the addition of the trees, flowers and other cosmetic improvements that noticeably improved the appearance of San Antonio Road and downtown.

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    The Downtown Development Committee, comprised of 12 community leaders and staff members appointed by the City Council, and on which I served as Chair and former Mayor Lou Becker served as Vice Chair, accomplished the following tasks during a two-year public process:

    • created Downtown Design Guidelines now in use
    • clarified the zoning for the CRS/OAD zone
    • simplified the zoning on First Street, including eliminating the Commercial Services (CS) zone, extending the Commercial Retail Sales (CRS) zone from Main Street through the Draegers and Safeway properties, and creating a new CD/R3 zone at the north and south ends of First Street to allow retail, office or residential uses on the ground floor and buildings up to 45 feet in height
    • reduced the office parking ratio per thousand square feet from 4 to 3.3
    • increased the building height from 40 to 45 feet in the Commercial Downtown (CD) zone and eliminated references to the allowable number of stories
    • rezoned 5 parcels along the south parking plazas from Commercial Retail Sales (CRS) to Commercial Downtown (CD) while requiring that existing retail space of 5,000 or more square feet remain retail
    • developed the Downtown Parking Plazas Opportunity Study, for which an Environmental Impact Review focused on traffic impacts was completed and approved

    These substantive changes, in combination with the City streetscape projects, have encouraged redevelopment in the north and south areas of the downtown triangle while preserving Main Street's cherished appeal. Additional office space, housing, and the new hotel are bringing more people downtown to support our existing restaurants, shops and services, and attracting new retailers and restaurants.

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    Loyola Corners

    A specific plan for historic Loyola Corners was developed some years ago. The City has developed a streetscape plan for Loyola Corners in an effort to enhance its appearance and attract new business energy to this neighborhood, with a particular emphasis on traffic circulation, bicyclist and pedestrian safety. Santa Clara County is currently constructing improvements to the bridge across Foothill Expressway at Fremont.

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    Park Renovations

    The City has completed an ambitious project funded through a major grant for replacing all of the aging and non-ADA compliant playground equipment in our City parks. The new equipment meets current ADA requirements and was designed by the Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission in partnership with the City Recreation Department staff.

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    Green Initiatives

    The Los Altos City Council has taken important steps to make our community more environmentally sustainable. Several years ago, Council passed a green building ordinance that is now in effect and has recently won an award. As Mayor in 2008, I signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement with the unanimous support of all Councilmembers. While I was Mayor, Council funded the City's participation in a regional program to measure municipal greenhouse gas emissions. The City's new waste management contract incorporates many environmentally-friendly practices.

    On a personal note, in 2010 my husband and I installed solar panels on our home to reduce our energy consumption.

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    Best Practices from Industry

    As a former Silicon Valley executive, I work with my colleagues on the City Council to bring best practices from industry to City government, including annual written performance reviews and salary adjustments based on merit for City staff, appointment of residents representative of the community to City commissions and committees, personalized business cards for all commissioners, and a PowerPoint presentation for the annual commission and committee training session.

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    Honoring My Campaign Promises

    As I promised during my 2005 campaign, I continue to work to:

    • Manage city finances conservatively, with balanced budgets and sufficient emergency reserves
    • Maintain the character of our residential neighborhoods
    • Improve public safety and calm traffic
    • Support community resources like a public swim facility
    • Promote vibrant business districts with convenient parking

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    Thank you for the opportunity to serve our community.