Turkish cuisine with warm ambiance WEEKEND | P.13 FEBRUARY 4, 2011 VOLUME 19, NO. 5 650.964.6300 INSIDE: WEEKEND | PAGE 13 MountainViewOnline.com Parents seek larger slice of Shoreline taxes By Daniel DeBolt I MICHELLE LE Share Shoreline members include, from left to right, Page McDonald, Maja Popovic, Jim Pollart, Mark Johnsen, Roxanne Coish and Laura Blakely, photographed at Stevenson Elementary School. Los Altos preschool finds new home LONG-STANDING CO-OP LOSING SITE AT LAHS FINDS SPACE AT COVINGTON ELEMENTARY By Nick Veronin T he generations-old Los Altos Parent Preschool will not be shutting its doors this June, as many feared. Instead, the prekindergarten cooperative will be moving about one mile south, from Los Altos High School to Covington Elementary School, an official from the preschool said. On Jan. 28, the preschool signed a joint-lease agreement with the Los Altos School District, which is renewable every 5 years up, to 15 years. The new arrangement was met with enthusiasm by the preschool and other local education officials. “It’s a huge relief,” said Dara Tynefield, board president emeritus of the preschool. “It’s super, super See PRESCHOOL, page 6 n one of its most challenging discussions in recent memory, the City Council on Tuesday will talk about the possibility of relinquishing to local schools a larger share of property taxes from North Bayshore companies, including Google. A group of parents have organized a formidable campaign, called “Share Shoreline,” to retrieve the funds, which they say are unfairly withheld in a 40-year-old tax district known as the Shoreline Community. City officials say they are sympathetic to the parent’s concerns and are carefully considering a solution. Nevertheless, the City Council chambers is expected to be packed on Tuesday at 5 p.m. with school parents recruited by the campaign’s Facebook page, the shareshoreline.org website and pitches to local Parent Teacher Associations and school site councils. The Mountain View Whisman School Board will also be discussing the issue on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. at Theuerkauf elementary school. Shoreline in a nut shell Special state legislation passed in 1969 allows the Shoreline Community, which is controlled by the City Council, to collect all of the taxes on properties north of Highway 101 in Mountain View, taxes which would otherwise be shared with local schools and the county. The Shoreline Community then pays for the ongoing maintenance and city improvements to Shoreline Park and the surrounding business district, as well as the usual city services of firefighting and police in the neighborhood. Last fiscal year the Shoreline Community brought in $29.1 million in property taxes and had $18.7 million in ongoing expenses. The arrangement has created the 500-acre Shoreline Park and a successful business district that’s home to Google. “Shoreline is in a sense the crown jewel of Silicon Valley. It is one of the most valuable assets in Mountain View. It’s not fair that our schools don’t benefit from that asset,” said Jim Pollart, a Mountain View Whisman parent who is leading the Share Shoreline effort. Despite the success of the special tax district, even some City Council members, including Mountain View Whisman parent Margaret Abe-Koga, find the arguments from school parents hard to counter. The Mountain View Whisman School District alone would see an additional $5.9 million in tax revenue if the tax district were to be eliminated. Mountain View Los Altos high school district would see an additional $3.6 million. City officials were open to the idea of sharing the funds on Tuesday. “We’re not coming from the perspective that we will keep it all for ourselves,” said Assistant City Manager Melissa Stevenson Dile, referring to the Shoreline fund. See SHORELINE, page 7 Joke not funny to council gadfly By Daniel DeBolt S elf-described gadfly Don Letcher is known for his weekly, sometimes daily, accusations of sundry city misconduct to local newspapers and city officials. But this week’s angry rant from Letcher seems to strike at the core of his 13-year tiff with the city. It was spurred by a paraphrased state- INSIDE ment by council member Tom Means in the Nov. 16 City Council meeting minutes: Means “would like council to think about a city/community designation for 788 North Rengstorff Avenue.” That address is Letcher’s property near Old Middlefield Way, which he believes the city has been trying to drive him off of since 1997. “The city of Mountain View takes people’s land,” Letcher said. “It’s the same thing they were trying to do for the Francia property.” But what appears to Letcher to be a proposed “taking” of his property, was actually a joke, said Means. Letcher admits he didn’t hear the comment in person. Means made the joke as he criticized the now-dead proposal to rezone the city’s last DANIEL DEBOLT See LETCHER, page 6 GOINGS ON 18 | MARKETPLACE 20 | MOVIES 16 | REAL ESTATE 23 | VIEWPOINT 11 Letcher’s property on North Rengstorff.