FOOD FOR THOUGHT WEEKEND | P.16 FEBRUARY 3, 2012 Volume 20, NO. 2 650.964.6300 INSIDE: MOVIES | PAGE 18 MountainViewOnline.com City officials upset at loss of tax district By Daniel DeBolt A COURTESY RICK KRAMER Mountain View High School students don’t let winter weather keep them out of the new pool. MVHS debuts new pool with a splash By Nick Veronin T he local high school district marked the completion of a major Measure A-funded construction project on Tuesday morning — with a splash. District officials and a group of students gathered at the Mountain View High School campus on Jan. 31 to celebrate the opening of a new 30-meter swimming pool and weight room facility, which was finished on time and on budget, according Joe White, superintendent of business services for the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District. Despite the chilly weather, after a brief dedication ceremony a group of swimmers and water polo players plunged into the pool, which will allow Mountain View High School to hold swim meets and water polo games for the first time in its history, said White. The old pool, originally built in the 1960s, was “too small to host swimming competitions and too shallow for official water polo matches,” according to a district press release. The new pool has space for 10 regulation-size swimming See POOL, page 14 Hacker Dojo’s doors to stay open FUNDRAISING EFFORT BEGINS WITH $250,000 GOAL By Daniel DeBolt A fter the city threatened to shut Hacker Dojo down on Jan. 31, a fire alarm being installed at the last minute will allow computer programmers to use the gathering space as long as a continued effort is made to meet city codes. Hacker Dojo hired Statcom to install a fire alarm, but the contractor couldn’t get it done before INSIDE the city’s deadline. “We feel they are acting in good faith,” said City Attorney Jannie Quinn on Monday, explaining the decision to extend Hacker Dojo’s deadline. If the Dojo doesn’t follow through with installing the fire alarm, a hearing could be set for March 6 where an administrative law judge will decide whether to shut the Dojo down or give it more time, Quinn said. Dojo directors announced Monday that they were kicking off a campaign to raise $250,000 for a “triage” list of building requirements: fire sprinklers, fire exits and bathrooms that meet the requirements of the American Disabilities Act. “The fire and safety systems are a top priority,” said Katy Levinson, one of the Dojo’s direcSee HACKER, page 10 GOINGS ON 19 | MARKETPLACE 20 | REAL ESTATE 22 | VIEWPOINT 15 “Many of the schools think they are going to be getting a windfall, but all this means is the state is no longer is going to be back-filling” school budgets, Kasperzak said. “They’ll be getting the same money, from a different source. It’s going to be a big surprise to people. People will say, ‘Where is the money?’” state-ordered shutdown of Mountain View’s Downtown Revitalization Authority took effect Wednesday, and city officials are not happy. “Midnight tonight is the execution, no more redevelopment authorities tomorrow,” said Mayor Mike Kasperzak on Lost funds, lost Tuesday. “I am infuriated by property what the Legislature has done,” The law disbanding redevelhe said, questioning the ben- opment agencies also nullifies efits. the last-minLike 400 other ute transfers ‘Taxpayers are of downtown redevelopment agencies in the property (an going to get the acre estimated state, the City Council-conto be worth $5 short end of trolled downtown million) and Authority will stop funds ($5.5 the stick.’ receiving property million) from taxes Wednesday, the Authority MAYOR MIKE KASPERZAK some $4.4 milto the city last lion a year from March, not long a 16-block area of downtown. after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed The 1969 tax district is credited to shut redevelopment agencies with transforming Castro from down. The move was part of a a nearly deserted street to a pop- wave of last-ditch efforts by citular, vibrant destination. City ies before Brown’s proposal was officials had hoped to do more approved by the state Legislawith the money, such as improve ture. broadband access downtown, The oversight committee could assemble more properties for uphold the transfer, but the posredevelopment and fund the sibility of losing the property, facade improvement of Ava’s now pieces of parking lots on Downtown Market, which is Bryant and Franklin streets, in a struggling to transform itself state-ordered “fire sale,” is frusinto the popular downtown trating to city officials. grocery store residents have “Investors are going to get a demanded for years. steal and taxpayers are going to As was Gov. Jerry Brown’s get the short end of the stick,” intent, the Authority’s money Kasperzak said. “It’s nuts.” will now be distributed to The Authority had been assemlocal schools and government bling the six parcels downtown agencies, and used to pay off for redevelopment since 1989. the Authority’s $36 million in The properties include half of debt until 2019. But it remains the parking lot at California and unclear whether there will be a Bryant streets (.67 acre), and a benefit for schools. Kasperzak, piece of a parking lot on Franklin also president of the League of Street between Dana and Villa California Cities, claims there See RDA, page 9 won’t be.