Photograph by Paul Myers
Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police officers Sam Wonnell (left)
and Erin Lunsford work with their K-9 unit partners Quarz and
Eddie, respectively. An article in the Los Gatos Weekly-Times
about Wonnell and Quarz prompted a Los Gatos couple to donate
$20,000 so the department could add one more dog to the
The Year in Review 2001
Developing a sense of community
The Town of Los
Gatos Chamber of Commerce found itself without a staff leader as
its executive director, Sheri Lewis, announced her
retirement effective Jan. 15.
Drugs won a double-victory as the Los Gatos Town Council approved
not only opening a store at the Rinconada Hills Shopping
Center, but also allowing the store to offer film-processing
services. Two months earlier, the town's planning commission had
approved the opening but put in a place a ban on film-processing
services in order to protect an existing shop that offered photo
processing. While Longs tried to appeal the ban, Longs' opponent
Edie Morad-Ross fought the approval altogether. Council members
unanimously upheld the approval and voted 4-1 to lift the ban.
construction worker found a child's skull near the intersection of
Soda Springs Road and Weaver Street near Lexington Reservoir. DNA
tests later revealed that the skull belonged to missing Vallejo
girl Xiana Fairchild.
San Jose couple
David and Elizabeth Slavin were sentenced to varying prison or
probation terms after they pled guilty to extortion and
other financial crimes. The Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police
Department and IRS initiated the investigation in late 1998 after
police received complaints that David Slavin had extorted money
from and threatened Los Gatos business owners. Slavin, a
self-proclaimed martial-arts expert, also blackmailed thousands of
dollars from a Monte Sereno woman. The police department's SWAT
team arrested Slavin and his wife in June 1999.
Two-year Council member Barbara Nesbet was unanimously
elected mayor of Monte Sereno. Nesbet replaced Suzanne
Jackson; Councilman Jack Lucas was appointed vice-mayor.
Gatos Town Council said yes to a three-lot subdivision on
Nina Court after a long game of planning ping-pong. Dividend Homes
successfully appealed the planning commission's denial of its
application several months earlier, after council members
expressed a satisfaction with the road conditions and proposed
traffic safety members.
Gatos-Monte Sereno police arrested Santa Cruz County resident Lee
Thomas Bjorn, 54, on 11 counts of child molestation after
he was spotted at the Los Gatos post office. Bjorn was accused of
molesting two Los Gatos girls in the 1970s. He was arrested twice
in January for similar allegations in Santa Cruz County but posted
bail and disappeared each time. Those arrests followed
America's Most Wanted airing of a brief profile on Bjorn.
Gatos preschools planned to close, adding to the preschool
shortage in the area. Shannon Nursery School faced losing most
of its staff; Harwood Hills Country School lost the lease on its
property. Preschool staff attributed the shortage to lack of
interest in the profession as well as an increase in demand in the
Valley Transit Authority released its 2000 congestion management
report, which indicated that most major Los Gatos roads would
receive a letter grade of C or lower. VTA's John Pilger said,
however, that traffic would be alleviated by ramp
modifications on highways 17 and 85 and Lark Avenue. The nine
improvements planned for Los Gatos would total $50 million and
would be funded by a nine-year county sales tax called Measures A
Photograph by Kathy De La Torre
The year was marked by many new faces, as town Manager
Debra Figone put her management team together. Her team includes a
familiar face in a new role--in the spring, Bud Lortz (above) was
named director of community development.
Bud Lortz was
appointed to the fill the position of Los Gatos director of
community development after two months of doing the work on an
interim basis and three years of serving as the assistant
director. Lortz, a Santa Cruz resident, replaced Paul Curtis, who
left the position in late 2000.
saga of the Alma fire station continued as the California
Department of Forestry and landowners discovered that there were
boundary issues on the site. The leaching field for the station
was found to belong to neighboring property owner Jim Rogers.
According to the terms of the department's lease, Rogers' property
had to return to its natural condition by April. While the state
was in the midst of negotiations to purchase the 1 acre from
Rogers for around $400,000 they discovered that there was a second
leaching field on their own property. They then backed out
of the deal and decided to proceed with the existing resources.
man Fallon Woodland, 48, was arrested by FBI agents for sexual
acts with a minor. Woodland had allegedly driven to Los Gatos in
spring 1998 to have sex with a 15-year-old girl he had met on
the Internet. After a five-month relationship, the girl cut
off all communication with Woodland. A grand jury returned an
indictment for traveling across state lines with the intent to
engage in a sexual act with a juvenile, and Woodland was arrested
in his hometown of Roeland Park.
Gatos Town Council agreed to enter into a $76,000 contract with
Kaku Associates for what it said was the downtown parking
study. Consultant Pat Gibson repeated that he was going to
work with the data that had been collected from previous parking
month of picketing that culminated in an overnight mediation
session, teachers in the Loma Prieta Joint Union Elementary School
District received two-year contracts and higher salaries.
Although the teachers didn't receive the 15 percent raises they
wanted, they received retroactive 12 percent raises from the
period that covers Feb. 1 to June 30 and a 13 percent raise after
June 30. They received another raise in September.
members voted 3-2 to approve the design of the bandstand for
the historic Lyndon cupola. The 46-foot-high and 30-foot-wide
bandstand will serve as a venue for musical and theatrical
performances. Town council did not, however, approve a specific
location within Oak Meadow Park for the bandstand because the park
was also being considered as the site for a skatepark.
Photograph by Kathy De La Torre
Former Los Gatos council member Jan Hutchins realized a
dream when he opened the Los Gatos Yoga Center.
Development Corporation's 42-unit apartment complex was
approved by the Los Gatos Town Council after the developer agreed
to some minor changes. The complex, on Blossom Hill Road and
Placer Oaks Drive, included seven below-market-price units.
Council members approved the project in spite of fierce opposition
Gay-Straight Alliance Club at Los Gatos High School wore black
clothing and ate lunch together in silence to mourn the prejudice
faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Club
members called the event "Day of Silence" to symbolically
show how homophobia silences people. Club members said the silence
was both ironic and powerful, in that they used silence to end
silence and promote discussion about homophobia.
Washington transplant and motorcyclist Janice Balfour took
the position of new executive director for the Town of Los
Gatos Chamber of Commerce.
the five members of Monte Sereno's Historic Preservation
Committee resigned in protest after the city allowed a
110-year-old Victorian residence to be demolished to make room for
a 6,000-square-foot home. Committee members said they thought the
city was unwilling to change its ineffective historic preservation
ordinance and develop one with teeth.
state announced the amounts awarded as a result of Proposition
12, a bond act passed in March 2000. Los Gatos was given
$276,000 and Monte Sereno $39,000 to use on projects for local
parks. Because Monte Sereno residents use Los Gatos parks, the
city predicted that the $39,000 would go to Los Gatos.
rare move, the Los Gatos Planning Commissioners approved a
hillside home the first time it came before them. The
applicant, Jay Pochop, had spent time doing extensive research and
sitting in on town meetings before submitting his plans for a
5,000-square-foot, single-story home on Larga Vista Drive.
Commissioners commended Pochop for taking the time to understand
what the commissioners were looking for.
local men were indicted by a federal grand jury on several
different tax-related charges. Los Gatan Yong Uk "Paul" Ko, 44,
was charged with one count of filing false federal income tax
returns and one count of conspiracy. Ko's brother Yong Ho
"James" and co-worker Jungah "Joanne" Choi, both of San Jose, were
also arrested on similar charges. Yong Ho Ko was allegedly the
ringleader of the financial crimes that were committed.
brewed at Los Gatos High School as the dismissal of sprinting and
jumping coach Chioke Robinson led to friction between the
administration and the head track coach. Coach Willie Harmatz
claimed that Robinson had not been dismissed and was still on
campus serving in official capacities, while Principal Trudy
McCulloch said a letter had been sent to Robinson more than a
month earlier, which made the school's actions clear.
Photograph by Paul Myers
Luke Hansen moves debris during a ceremony marking the
demolition of Guadalupe College. The property, long uninhabited,
will become six luxury homes and nearly 30 acres of open space.
San Jose police
arrested Lester Bernard Decker, 55, at the 7-Eleven on E. Main
Street. Decker, an outdoor education teacher who lived in
Watsonville, was charged with two counts of attempting to send
harmful materials to a minor via the Internet and one count of
attempted child molestation. Decker had allegedly chatted
online with a 13-year-old boy--in actuality a San Jose police
officer--and set up a meeting with the "boy" to perform sexual
acts. Bail was set at $1 million.
being on the job for a mere 10 months, Larry Perlin
resigned as the Los Gatos director of parks and public works.
Perlin said he was frustrated with the job's long hours and the
administrative duties he was forced to face. He did, however,
agree to stay on as an interim town engineer to oversee several
projects that he had managed as the director.
Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees
authorized the district to borrow $5 million for its
construction projects, after construction workers encountered
unexpected obstacles on the Los Gatos High School campus. Board
members decided to repay the loan with revenues received through
the town redevelopment agency.
Terrace of Los Gatos apartments were sold to Sobrato Development,
leading to an increase in rent of at least $400 for a one-bedroom
unit, to as much as $1,800. The increase on the 30-year-old
complex was made possible through the town's rent
ordinance, which allowed new owners to pass through to tenants
their losses incurred by the sale. Residents said the rent
increase was unreasonable; at the same time, they also said the
new management team was an improvement over the previous
town filled two key positions with the hiring of Monica Pagani
and Steve Conway. Pagani, 33, started working 30 hours a week
as the town's senior case manager. An advocate for Los Gatos
seniors, Pagani was an employee of Jewish Family Service of
Silicon Valley. The town entered into a yearlong contract with the
organization for a part-time senior case manager. Conway, 45, left
his position as controller for the Santa Clara Valley Water
District to become Los Gatos' director of finance and
administrative services. The position opened up in January after
Michele Braucht resigned.
Developer Bill Errico managed to get his Farley Road
mixed-use proposal through the Los Gatos Planning Commission
after promising to reserve three of the six one-bedroom apartments
for teachers. Errico said he would enter into an agreement with
the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District to fill
those apartments. In addition, one of the apartments would rent at
below-market price. The project also comprised a
46,000-square-foot storage building and an existing single-family
took developer Joe McCarthy four years of working with the town
and neighbors to finalize his proposal to demolish the former
Guadalupe College and build six luxury homes in its place.
Planning commissioners approved of the plan after McCarthy
proposed to form an independent mutual water company for the
development, since the homes could not be serviced by the San Jose
Water Company. More than half of the 58-acre property would be
dedicated as open space.
Photograph by Paul Myers
Graduates from the Class of 2001 head for their seats at
the Los Gatos High School commencement in June.
Voters in the
Los Gatos Union School District approved a $91 million general
obligation bond to renovate and repair the aging
40-to-50-year-old schools in the district. The bond passed with an
85 percent vote. A nine-year, $150-per-parcel tax to pay for a
teacher salary increase in the Loma Prieta Joint Union Elementary
School District, however, fell short of the mark.
Gatos Elks Club's idea for a development on the corner of Newell
Avenue and Winchester Boulevard came under heavy fire by residents
of the neighborhood. More than 100 residents signed a petition
opposing the Elks' application for a 7,700-square-foot
office building across the street from the Elks Lodge.
talks went relatively smoothly, as the Los Gatos Town Council gave
the biggest slice of the $23.3 million pie to the Los
Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department, which received 35
percent of it. Part of the money would go toward two new police
motorcycles. The town's parks and public works department was
given 20 percent of the total budget.
Gallo became the town's first senior coordinator, hired to
develop a senior program for the town and to work with other
required by law, Santa Clara County redrew its supervisorial
district boundaries in order to distribute the population equally
over all five districts. It was proposed that Monte Sereno be
shifted from Supervisor Don Gage's district--which included Los
Gatos--into Supervisor Liz Kniss' district, encompassing Palo
Alto, Saratoga and Los Altos. Monte Sereno Mayor Barbara Nesbet
criticized the redistricting process, saying the city had
received insufficient notice. Nesbet pointed out that the city
identified with Los Gatos more than it did with Saratoga.
major projects were approved by the Los Gatos Town Council with
little to no controversy. Local teachers scored when developer
Bill Errico's mixed-use development on Farley Road passed
muster--three of the six apartments would be reserved for teachers
from the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint High School District and the Los
Gatos Union School District. An additional apartment would be
rented out at below-market rate. The commercial component of the
project was a 46,000-square-foot storage facility.
Photograph by Paul Myers
Some 3,000 Los Gatans participated in the town's first ever
all-day downtown Fourth of July celebration that included games at
the civic center.
celebrated the Fourth of July with a big old-fashioned patriotic
celebration. The town spearheaded the event and received a lot of
support from the Chamber of Commerce and a number of community
organizations and service clubs. The activities started early and
lasted through an evening of Yankee Doodle Dancing. The day
began with lunch, entertainment and games at the civic center,
followed by the traditional pop concert on the Los Gatos High
School lawn. Following the concert, the Chamber hosted an
ice-cream social, serving some 2,500 people. Twilight concert and
dancing followed from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Town Plaza. An estimated
3,000 Los Gatos residents participated in the day's activities.
Transportation Consulting held a community meeting to discuss the
proposed Union Pacific Railroad trail through Los Gatos,
Campbell, Saratoga and Cupertino. The trail would start near
Highway 280 and Foothill Boulevard on the northernmost point and
end at Winchester Boulevard, near the Los Gatos Creek Trail. If
approved, the trail was expected to serve as a transportation
corridor for commuters and De Anza and West Valley College
Los Gatos High School softball coach Todd Lafferty, 27, waived
his rights to a preliminary trial for the charges against him
of sexual acts with minors. The preliminary trial would have been
an opportunity for the judge to determine whether or not there was
sufficient evidence to proceed with a formal trial. Lafferty was
arrested in September 2000 for sexual crimes involving four
underage girls from Los Gatos High School and Westmont High
Development came to the town's conceptual development advisory
committee with its proposal to build 100 new housing units and
rent 123 existing apartments at below-market rates. Riviera
Terrace of Los Gatos, a Sobrato-owned complex off University
Avenue, was at its maximum land density. In order to add more
housing on the site, Sobrato had to provide a significant benefit
to the town--which was to add 123 apartments to the town's
low-income housing pool. Members of the committee, however,
said the traffic and other effets on the surrounding neighborhood
would outweigh the community benefit.
trees on the 1,071-acre Bear Creek Open Space Preserve near the
Lexington Reservoir were caught in a struggle between a Los Gatan
and the open space district. Midpeninsula Regional Open Space
District had acquired the land in June 1999, and the timber rights
to the land had been sold under the old owner to Big Creek
Lumber Company. Los Gatos resident Candi Wozniak was enraged
by Big Creek's plan to harvest 460 acres of redwoods. Wozniak
attempted to negotiate several agreements that would save 45 trees
near her property, with no success and eventually got a temporary
restraining order against Big Creek. Finally, Wozniak paid the
lumber company $50,000 not to touch the 45 redwoods.
Photograph by Paul Myers
Georgette Sanchez, and her husband, Jess, listen as Los
Gatos-Monte Sereno police talk to an audience in the Los Gatos
Town Council Chambers about the disappearance of their daughter,
Jeanine Sanchez Harms.
Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department added a second K-9
unit when officer Erin Lunsford partnered up with 20-month-old
German shepherd Eddy von Pinienwald. Lunsford was selected as dog
handler after a series of interviews early in the year. A Los
Gatos couple read about the first K-9 unit, officer Sam Wonnell
and Quarz, and donated $20,000 of the $50,000 that it cost to
Greenbriar Land Company's application to build 19 homes
on an 80-acre hillside parcel was denied by the town, even
though the developer scaled back its initial 30-home plan. The Los
Gatos Town Council instead sent the project back to the town's
planning commission, recommending that Greenbriar put a maximum of
14 homes at the Shannon and Hicks roads site. Greenbriar's plan
was to set aside 46 of the acres as open space.
Campbell native Jeanine Sanchez Harms, who disappeared
from her Los Gatos home in July, was described by friends and
family as outgoing and responsible. Harms, 42, was a purchasing
manager for the Sunnyvale company Amdahl and lived in a duplex on
Chirco Drive. She spent an evening socializing in Campbell, went
back to her home with an acquaintance, and has not been heard from
Longtime Los Gatan and former town manager Russell
Cooney, 87, died in a Los Angeles nursing home of natural
causes. Town manager from 1967 to 1976 and Los Gatos resident for
more than 30 years, Cooney was involved in several town committees
and social organizations. Friends and family eulogized Cooney as
"outstanding," "straightforward," "knowledgeable" and
Gatos Mayor Joe Pirzynski and Los Gatos Cinema owners Jack NyBlom
and Jim Zuur worked on the concept of creating the inaugural
Los Gatos Film Festival, a free, two-day event for the
community. Pirzynski pitched the idea to his fellow council
members, saying the event would "enhance the community." The
initial proposal was to reserve a Friday evening and Saturday
during the fall or spring, using Oak Meadow Park and Los Gatos
Cinema to show family-friendly films. Zuur and NyBlom envisioned
an event similar to one evening of the Telluride Film Festival,
which had locals watching movies under the stars.
town made preparations to hold its first Leadership Los
Gatos program, intended to increase participation in the
community. The nine-month program was focused on getting people
involved in town committees and commissions. Participants would
meet once a month and learn about town issues and institutions
such as education, the police department and media relations, at a
cost of $250 per person.
Sentinel held an informal mediation session between management and
resident representatives of Riviera Terraces of Los Gatos
apartments. Most tenants had received notices of a $429 rent
increase since the complex was purchased by Sobrato Development in
April. According to the tenants, the rent was too great for the
quality of the apartments, and such a rent increase was
unreasonable with the current economic condition of the area.
gateway project for Los Gatos was more complicated than it looked
because its location on Los Gatos Boulevard and Burton Road
brought a host of town development issues and transportation
questions. As a result, Los Gatos planning commissioners decided
to postpone making a decision on developer Bill Errico's plan
for a two-story office and retail building until more
research was done on the Valley Transportation Authority and town
less than five months on the job, Janice Balfour resigned
as the Town of Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce executive director.
Balfour's abrupt resignation came because of personal reasons and
not an unhappiness with the job, said her temporary replacement,
SummerHill Homes' application to build two homes in its
existing development took a strange twist at a Los Gatos Planning
Commission meeting when development residents said SummerHill
was not to be trusted. The Heritage Grove homeowners spoke of
poor construction and maintenance of their homes by SummerHill. A
motion to approve SummerHill's application was tied, with only
four of the seven commissioners present, leading to a rescheduling
of the hearing.
Photograph by Paul Myers
First-graders at St. Mary's School participate in a morning
prayer service on Sept. 12 for victims and families of those
affected by the terrorist attack on Sept. 11.
Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation held a press conference
to announce its contribution of $5,000 to Jeanine Sanchez
Harms' reward fund. Harms, a Los Gatos resident, had been
missing for more than a month when the announcement was made. The
foundation was named after the Modesto woman who, along with her
daughter and a friend, was killed by Yosemite man Cary Stayner in
Millennium Foundation held its first-ever fundraiser to raise
$250,000 for construction cost overruns and new classroom
supplies at Los Gatos High School. The foundation's fundraising
weekend, held the same weekend as two class reunions, included a
reception for alumni football players and a silent auction after a
varsity football game. At the game, Town Manager Debra Figone
proclaimed the weekend "New Millennium Foundation Official Reunion
Consultant Pat Gibson presented the findings of a six-month
study on the parking situation in downtown Los Gatos to the town
council, resulting in passage of several parking measures.
Council members voted to consider changing the parking
restrictions around the high school and in the Almond Grove area,
increasing the cost of parking tickets to $35, and doing some lot
restructuring to gain more spaces.
Lafferty, 27, pleaded guilty or no contest to sex charges
involving four underage girls. The former Los Gatos High School
softball coach entered in the pleas more than a year after
he was arrested for crimes with girls ranging from 15 to 17 years
United Airlines flight 93 went down in Pennsylvania from a
terrorist hijacking, two Los Gatos High School graduates perished
with it: Mark Bingham, 31, and Todd Beamer, 32. Bingham, a
public relations executive who commuted between San Francisco and
New York, spent his teenage years in Redwood Estates. He graduated
from Fisher Middle School and Los Gatos High School in 1988.
Beamer only lived in Los Gatos for the 1986 to 1987 school year
but established a name for himself as a basketball and baseball
Sereno hired a consultant to come up with a plan to build 76
housing units as required by state law. The state required
each jurisdiction to have a certain amount of housing and for a
plan to meet that amount to be contained in the jurisdictions'
tensions from the terrorist attacks hit home when Los Gatos
business owner Jahan Dohkt Hill received several strange phone
calls and her car was vandalized. Hill, who is Iranian by
birth, was told in anonymous phone calls to leave the country.
Her Land Rover was also damaged, evidently on purpose and singled
and family members of West Valley student Nicole Miller
moved shakily forward in the aftermath of her death on Sept.
11, holding on to the relationships they had built with her in her
short life and the fact that passengers on her Flight 93 had
thwarted another major disaster by forcing the plane down in rural
Photograph by Paul Myers
Emilia Zanardi (right, back) and her friend Meg Franklin
get the giggles while carving pumpkins at Franklin's house in Los
Los Gatos and
Monte Sereno were at odds over which traffic improvements were
needed at the intersection of Winchester Boulevard and Daves
Avenue. At a Los Gatos Town Council meeting, council members
voted to install a stoplight at the intersection, despite
opposition from residents. Two days later, the public successfully
lobbied for Monte Sereno to consider other alternatives, such as a
roundabout. Both jurisdictions were paying for half of the $25,000
traffic engineering study of Winchester Boulevard, between
Vineland Avenue and Blossom Hill Road.
Clara County Superior Court judge sentenced Todd Lafferty, 27, to
two years in a state prison and three years' probation. In
September, former Los Gatos High School softball coach Lafferty
had pleaded guilty or no contest to seven charges of sexual crimes
involving four minors. The father of the victim known as Jane Doe
Three said he had hoped for an apology from Lafferty at the
sentencing, but Lafferty did not apologize.
the town's biggest development to date, Sobrato's 12.3-acre
mixed-use project, came before the Los Gatos Planning
Commission. The proposal included a 328,000-square-foot research
facility and 105 apartments. The major benefits of the proposal,
Sobrato representatives said, was that it would add affordable
housing to the town and its location at Winchester Boulevard and
Highway 85 would facilitate the anticipated light rail station.
Planning commissioners had concerns with traffic, land density and
Sobrato's assumption that light rail was a sure thing, and
continued the hearing to Jan. 9.
pipeline near Lexington Reservoir forced the San Jose Water
Company to close part of Los Gatos Creek Trail for five
months. The closed area started just south of Main Street and
ended at the reservoir. Along with fixing the pipeline, the water
company improved the trail by planting additional trees, smoothing
the walking path and installing benches.
study session, Los Gatos Town Council decided that developer Barry
Swenson's housing proposal would not justify demolishing the
Los Gatos Mobile Home Park. Swenson wanted to replace the 71
mobile homes with 53 single-family homes and eight apartments.
Swenson's decision to make 16 of those units below market price
was not enough of a community benefit to get rid of the 71
existing affordable housing units, the town concluded.
of state redistricting, Los Gatos and Monte Sereno were moved into
new state Assembly and Senate districts. Monte Sereno was
also moved into a new congressional district. Those changes would
not take place until after the next election in each district,
some in 2002, others in 2004.
Curtis, 60, left his position as Belmont's public works director
and became Los Gatos' new director of parks and public
works. The Redwood Shores resident had a track record for
bringing stability to the job.
Developer Bill Errico's proposal for a gateway
project on Los Gatos Boulevard and Burton Road hurdled through
the Los Gatos Planning Commission with little controversy.
Commissioners approved the design of the office and retail
building and recommended that the town council approve the
requested zone change.
postponed a decision on a hillside residential application that
could have necessitated moving the Alma fire station's
helipad. Developer Jim Rogers' proposal to build two luxury
homes directly under the flight path of the CDF helicopter enraged
locals and town officials, who said the helicopter was essential
to the safety of the town. The town asked the county to consider
allowing the helicopter to remain and to require an environmental
impact report of the condition. The county held off making a
decision until it checked out the legality of the town's requests.
debate among West Valley and Mission College District board
members over the placement of flags in classrooms spread to
national radio and television talk shows. Trustee Don Wolfe's
proposal to make flags mandatory in all classrooms at both
colleges failed in a 4-3 vote of the trustees. Another vote to
make flags available to all instructors at the college's expense
was approved by the trustees. But Wolfe and several residents in
attendance argued that the original vote was unpatriotic and
alerted the Bay Area and national media.
inflicted on Santa Rosa Drive homes led to the town's receiving
permission to shoot and kill feral pigs that dug up town
property. Approximately 15 pigs caused hundreds of dollars' worth
of damage to front yards and landscaping in the neighborhood. Town
ranger David Gray applied for and was granted a depredation
permit, allowing the town to remove any feral pigs from town
Residents came before the Los Gatos Parks Commission with a
proposal for an off-leash dog park at Belgatos Park. The
Unchained Love Project proposed to change the upper meadow of
Belgatos into a fenced-off enclosure for dogs. The facility would
include water fountains for canines, an agility center and plastic
bag dispensers. In response, the parks commission formed a
subcommittee to work on the proposal.
town-conducted car count of the vehicles leaving Hillbrook School
indicated that Hillbrook had gone over its maximum allowable
number of cars and violated its conditional-use permit.
Hillbrook parents and staff gave reasons for the violation, but
Los Gatos Planning Commissioners said the school was making
excuses. The commission gave Hillbrook one month to bring the
numbers down or face revocation of the permit.
annual changing of the mayorship gave Randy Attaway, 52, his
third term as mayor of Los Gatos. Attaway said his primary
goal was to ensure that the town's capital improvement
projects--such as the Town Plaza Park renovation and intersection
work--were completed in 2002. Councilwoman Sandy Decker, 60, was
appointed vice mayor. Former Mayor Joe Pirzynski, 57, ended his
term by thanking his wife, town staff and the community.
Photograph by Tsutomu Fujita
Los Gatans kept watch during the year of the progress of
the Los Gatos Hotel on E. Main Street.
developer Pete Denevi was awarded a judgment of $10 million
against San Jose developer Barry Swenson, after a judge determined
that Swenson had failed to make payments on Denevi's golf course
land deal. Denevi had planned to turn 210 acres of land near
Lexington Reservoir into a country club and golf course. Denevi
argued that he lost the property because Swenson, Denevi's
partner, failed to make a payment to Arlie Land and Cattle Co. As
a result, Denevi lost the land when Midpeninsula Regional Open
Space District acquired the property and turned it into the Beer
Creek Open Space Preserve.
pediatric specialist Richard Fox, who spearheaded a drive two
years ago to build a children's hospital in the undeveloped
area of town known as the North Forty, returned with a scaled down
version of a children's health clinic that could be up and running
in short order and at considerably less cost. Fox said the
proposal was to renovate the former Akamba Corporation
headquarters on Los Gatos Boulevard beginning in January. Problem
was, he had not sought town approval for the change in land use.
Gatos General Plan Committee voted to recommend denial of the
Los Gatos Elks Club's requested zone change. Although the
Elks changed their Newell Avenue project from an office building
to an office building with four apartments, neighbors and
committee members were still unsatisfied. Committee members said
they would only make a positive recommendation if the project
showed more of a community benefit or if it was residences only.
Esparza's ability to multitask was one of her attributes that got
her the job of new executive director of the Town of Los Gatos
Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, Esparza, 47, was the San
Jose Jazz Festival's director of festival operations.
Lucas, 71, was named mayor of Monte Sereno for the fifth and
final time. Councilman Erin Garner opposed his nomination,
saying either he or Councilman David Baxter would lose a chance to
become mayor if Lucas was mayor again. Fellow council members,
however, disagreed with Garner and voted for Lucas. Baxter was
nominated as vice mayor.
car counts on Hillbrook School's campus indicated that the school
was again in compliance with the town's requirements.
Although Los Gatos planning commissioners let Hillbrook keep its
conditional-use permit, neighbors complained about speeding,
excessive use of the school and parents who dropped students off
in nearby locations to avoid being included in the car count.
Commissioners recommended that the neighbors call the police when
such incidents happened.
Lincoln Mercury, a Los Gatos business for 33 years, closed the
doors of its Los Gatos Boulevard location and Swanson Ford moved
in. Harlan McHugh said he moved his dealership to Capitol
Expressway because he was given the chance to have a 3.5-acre
space, instead of the Los Gatos Boulevard 2.1 acres. McHugh struck
a deal with the Swanson dealership to take over the property,
allowing Swanson to expand its dealership at Blossom Hill Road and
Los Gatos Boulevard.
Representatives from the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community
Center presented plans to demolish the existing buildings on
its Oka Road property and build one large building in its place.
Planning commissioners and residents agreed that the community
center was an asset to the community; however, commissioners had
some reservations about traffic, facility use and design and
continued the hearing to Feb. 27.
Gatos Councilman Steve Glickman and other town officials showed
the county parks and recreation commissioners the town's plans for
a skatepark at Vasona Lake County Park. Commissioners gave
mixed reviews of the proposal, saying although a skatepark would
be a good thing, Vasona may not be the right place for it.
Commissioners decided to tour the park together in January 2002
and review the application at a February meeting.
worked with various town officials in the past, Marty Woodworth,
45, was excited about becoming the town's first redevelopment
agency manager. Woodworth knew Town Manager Debra Figone and
Finance and Administrative Services Director Steve Conway while
each was working in San Jose and Campbell, respectively.
Woodworth's new duties included focusing on development and
infrastructure in the downtown area, helping the business
community in Los Gatos and working on affordable housing in town.
Gatos Town Council approved spending $1.5 million on
designing and constructing improvements for Town Plaza Park, more
than twice the previously budgeted amount. The difference in cost
was attributed to inflation over time and added improvements,
including a new fountain. Town staff said they would come back to
the council in February 2002 with a finalized design for the park.
The Year in Review was compiled by Gloria Wang, with assistance
from Oakley Brooks and Rebecca Ray.