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Rolls are stars at Joy Sushi weekend | P.19 September 30, 2011 VOLUME 19, NO. 37 650.964.6300 INSIDE: Movies | PAGE 22 Council OKs outsourcing golf course City hopes savings from new operator will pull course out of fiscal hole By Daniel DeBolt S Veronica Weber President Barack Obama answers a question at a town hall meeting at the Computer History Museum on Monday. Obama praises Mountain View President’s town hall meeting at LinkedIn draws a range of queries on economy By Daniel DeBolt B efore president Obama’s town hall meeting in Mountain View on Monday, May- or Jac Siegel said Obama had some flattering words about this small city of 76,000 upon his arrival at Moffett Field on Sunday evening. “I know a lot about your city,” Siegel recalled Obama saying during their meet and greet. “It’s one of the few cities in the country that has escalating real estate and is See Obama, page 10 MVHS grad’s movie in African film fest Local festival grows in its second year at CSMA By Nick Veronin A documentary by a filmmaker with local ties will be among the nearly three dozen films featured in this year’s Silicon Valley African Film Festival. Opening at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View on Friday, Oct. 14, and running through Sunday, Oct. 16, the festival celebrates African filmmakers and the culture they seek to capture in their works, said Chike INSIDE C. Nwoffiah, the festival’s director. Now in its second year, the festival has grown substantially since last year, he said. Nwoffiah said he is encouraged by the growth of his festival. This year, festival organizers received about 70 film submissions, which they whittled down to a bit more than 30. Last year, Nwoffiah said, only about 50 films were submitted. This year, the festival will also feature a handful of documentaries — a genre that was absent from last year’s event. One new face at this year’s Silicon Valley African Film Festival may be recognizable to the Mountain View High School class of 1998 — Ekwa Msangi-Omari. Msangi-Omari was born in Oakland in 1980 and lived in Palo Alto until she was 5, when her parents, who had been Fullbright Scholars at Stanford, moved back to their native Africa, to Kenya. She moved back to the Peninsula in 1997, living with her brothers and attending Mountain View High School for the second half of her junior year and all of her senior year. The budding writer, director and producer took her first film class See Film, page 6 GOINGS ON 24 | MARKETPLACE 25 | REAL ESTATE 27 | VIEWPOINT 18 aying they were forced to do so by difficult circumstances, the City Council approved on Tuesday the outsourcing of Shoreline Golf Links management to Touchstone Golf, a Texas-based golf course operator. The council voted 6-1 for the deal as the course was set to lose as much as $1 million this year alone, and as much as $6.3 million over the next five years if no changes were made. Council member Margaret Abe-Koga was the only opponent, saying it seemed arbitrary that the city couldn’t subsidize golf when it subsidizes so many other recreational activities. “I’m prepared to support this because we’ve run out of time,” said Council member Ronit Bryant. “We’ve talked about it and talked about it. We’re at the point where reserves are gone. We’ve possibly waited too long.” City staff said 14 golf course employees would lose their jobs at the course, but Mayor Jac Siegel said a big factor in his decision was that the city could absorb 12 of the employees into other vacant positions in the city. Touchstone also expressed interest in hiring the workers, but what they would be offered “does not mirror or come close to matching the salary and particularly the benefits,” paid by the city, said Community Services Director Dave Muela. City management believes that Touchstone could bring the city $237,000 in revenue next year and $2.5 million over the next five years with revenues increasing steadily, helping to fund core city services. The deal is structured so that the city receives all golf course revenue and pays Touchtone a percentage, depending on revenue levels. The city will retain control over the land as Touchstone won’t be leasing the course. Mark Luthman, Touchstone executive vice president, said the company would use an aggressive marketing and online presence to bring in more golf reservations, adding that revenues were growing at all 20 of Touchstone’s courses around the country. User fees for the course will remain the same. Touchstone will continue the city’s fight against the flocks of Canada geese and American coots that are keeping golfers away. Council member Tom Means, a frequent golfer, said he’s seen “foxes, coyotes and turkeys” at other courses, “but they don’t sit there in the middle of the course and crap all over everything.” The city has tried an array of methods to drive off the geese, including strobe lights, special sprinklers, fake alligator heads and remote control boats in the course’s ponds. Touchstone will also have to work with the city to preserve habitat for the rare burrowing owls that like to live on the golf course. Council passes on alternative City staff created an alternative involving pay cuts and accounting moves to keep the course city-run and bring in a modest profit of $200,000 over the next two years. But the course would begin losing money again in six years if fiscal trends continue, city management reported. In that plan, $487,000 in savings were agreed to by the unions which represents the golf course workers, Service Employee International Union and the mid-level See Golf, page 7

The Mountain View Voice 09.30.2011 - Section 1

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