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2020 Local Election for the Town of Los Gatos

Patriot CatIt’s a big election year – are you ready for it?

Registered voters in California will begin to receive ballots in the mail on October 5th – that’s less than 2 weeks away! So let’s have a look at what’s going on in the local, Town of Los Gatos this voting season.

The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce wants to make sure your voice is heard. Their campaign, Vote LG, and it’s web page are set up to answer all of your election questions. Visit that page for a timeline of important dates, links to register online, information on candidates and measures, and most importantly how to vote whether you submit your ballot in-person, by mail, or by drop box.

Another resource for the local election is the League of Women Voters Southwest Santa Clara Valley division which hosts a variety of events for voters. Coming up on October 5th, they will have a non-partisan discussion of the Pros & Cons of the state propositions, county, and local measures that affect this area. Recordings of their past Candidate Forums for this election year are also available online.

Town of Los Gatos Election

This year, voters for the Town of Los Gatos have 3 open seats to fill in the Town Council and 2 Los Gatos specific measures in addition to a few County measures, state propositions, and federal elections to consider. But let’s just focus on the Los Gatos election. Who’s running and for what position?

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Los Gatos Election: Virtual Candidate Forum

Patriot Cat Vote the Los Gatos ElectionIt’s an election year for the Town of Los Gatos! The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual seminar for voters to meet the candidates. This is a free event, but you must sign up to receive the link to view. Public questions can be submitted at registration (one question per registration) and all questions will be curated for relevance to the topic of focus:  local business and economy. This is not a town-hall style meeting, but a moderated forum presented in a Zoom webinar.

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

7pm – 8:30pm

For information, changes, and registration, please go to the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce page for this event, called Candidate Forum or through the URL listed below.

https://www.losgatoschamber.com/events/details/candidate-forum-14798

 

If you missed the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum for the Town of Los Gatos that happened on September 21st and you would like to view it, a recording of the session is available on the LWV Southwest Santa Clara Valley Youtube page through this link.

And remember to cast your vote on November 3rd or sooner!

One-way pilot program

This summer, the town of Los Gatos will begin a one-way pilot program along N Santa Cruz Avenue, in the south bound direction, between Bachman Avenue and Elm Street. The trial will run from July through October and will also include the addition of a southbound bike lane, angled parking on the east side of the street, and 7 parklets. Parklets are spaces carved out of the roadway for people to gather and dine, along the lines of a sidewalk cafe. To learn more about what’s coming, please see all the details on the town’s website:

Experience Los Gatos – Town of Los Gatos summary of changes coming this July – October

Town of Los Gatos: One-Way Pilot details

One way pilot FAQs – a PDF on the town’s website

When I first heard about this program, I wondered if it was intended to address the problem with beach traffic. The FAQ page, though, states that “This project provides an opportunity to envision a future downtown with wider sidewalks (demonstrated by parklets) which leads to areas for sidewalk dining and casual gathering. Combined with other placemaking efforts, the goal is to provide for a vibrant downtown.” The downtown businesses do suffer each summer when traffic makes the area difficult to access, so perhaps this will be helpful to bring more cyclists and pedestrians into the beautiful downtown area (and perhaps the foot traffic will discourage cut-through motorists?).

Los Gatos pilot one-way program

Los Gatos pilot one-way program

Water heater bracing requirements in Los Gatos

Water Heater straps too close to the controls

The lower strap is required to be at least 4 inches away from the controls. This is an example of one that is improperly done as the controls are closer than 4″.

The state of California has water heater bracing requirements for both gas and electric water heaters, but so do individual cities and towns. Some of those municipalities have rules that go beyond what is required by the state.  (Permits and finals are required everywhere, by the way.)

Recently I found the requirements for the town of Los Gatos, and a couple of them surprised me, so I’m sharing the link here in case I’m not the only one caught a little off guard by it:

TOWN OF LOS GATOS WATER HEATER BRACING REQUIREMENTS (link to the town’s page)

San Jose’s requirements can be found here (for comparison and because they are pretty thorough by comparison to ours):

City of San Jose requirements for water heater installation (strapping, bracing, anchoring, blocking, etc.)

One concept that seems to differ between Los Gatos and San Jose has to do with the pressure release valve.

Los Gatos requirements for the pressure release valve state:

“Pressure relieve valve shall terminate to the exterior, 6 in. to 24 in. above grade with a nothread fitting pointing downward. Minimum ¼ in. per foot downward slope shall be maintained at pressure relief drain line.”

San Jose requirements for the pressure release valve:

There is a full page, and 12 numbered requirements, for the temperature & pressure relief value (T & P). Item 6 conveys that if the water heater is in a garage, the T & P does not have to drain to the exterior: “When a water heater is located in a garage, the T&P drainpipe may terminate in the garage. The piping must extend from the valve to within 12 inches but not less than 6
inches above the floor and point downward.”

Los Gatos has no such exemption for water heaters located in the garage!

BOTTOM LINE:  if you are replacing your Los Gatos water heater, you might want to double check the town’s requirements to be sure that yours will be in line with the requirements of the town. There are a lot of odd water heater strapping cases around Santa Clara County, don’t let your home be one of them!

Wildfire Evacuation Route signs being installed

Wildfire Evacuation Route in Los GatosThe Town of Los Gatos takes its responsibility for minimizing risk from flood, fire, earthquake, or other disasters seriously.  A few months ago, I began to notice “Flood evacuation route” signs.  First I noticed it along Blossom Hill Road, close to the Highway 17 over crossing, and later on Lark Avenue.  (Lexington Reservoir  is located further down the highway and a break in the dam would bring tons of water screaming down the highway 17 corridor.)  Seemed like a wise idea, given that we have that and also Vasona Lake right here.

Additionally, though, last week I saw a “Wildfire Evacuation Route” sign too.  It was located on Prospect Avenue and Kimble Avenue, across from the new Sorellas housing development which is currently under construction by Summerhill (formerly the Holy Names Sisters convent and Casa Maria Montessori School).

If you live in a woodsy or mountainous area, the odds are good that your property is located in a zone earmarked as high risk for wildfires, and you’ve been notified that brush must be cleared 100 feet away from your house or structure annually to create “defensible space”. (Some of the best Los Gatos real estate can be found in those areas!) What isn’t always so apparent is where to go in the case of a wildfire.  These new signs should help to improve safety in case of a serious fire.

You may not know that the town has some helpful resources online, too.  You can find them here:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/1359/Fire-Safety-and-Wildfire-Preparedness

CalFire flier on creating 100′ of defensible space around your home (pdf)

Other helpful info:

Flood evacuation information on the town’s website

72-Hour Emergency Preparedness Kit Checklist (pdf)

“Los Gatos Prepared” revised

Statement of purpose on the Los Gatos Prepared page:
Empowering Community Self-Sufficiency towards the ultimate goal of every resident and business in Los Gatos having the awareness, skills, and resources necessary to be self-sufficient in the event of an  earthquake, fire, flood, or possible flu pandemic

Should Los Gatos outsource its police services?

The Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department has a bit of a struggle over a $200,000 or more “bill” that Los Gatos handed to the city of Monte Sereno for overtime and other expenses relating to the  murder investigation of Ravi Kumra.  Monte Sereno feels that the contract it has with the town of Los Gatos covers those inevitable overruns so has refused to pay. As a result of this financial burden, it’s being suggested that Los Gatos outsource its police services to the county sheriff’s office.

Is that a good idea?

Many locals don’t seem to think so, and state that if outsourced, the quality of policing in town will fall.  “The police won’t really know the areas or the community”, said one neighbor of mine.   Other objections include the lack of ties to the community, slower response times projected, and potentially higher costs, too.

What do you think?

The issue will be addressed at the April 21st 2015 Town Council meeting, located at the Los Gatos Civic Center Council Chambers. 110 E. Main Street Los Gatos, CA 95030.  I’d bet that it will be the most packed meeting Los Gatans have ever seen.

 

 

Additional information

The Los Gatos Town Council meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 7pm in the council chambers. http://www.losgatosca.gov/16/Town-Council

Link to the town’s Police Dept page: http://www.losgatosca.gov/43/Police-Services

San Jose Mercury News Article:    Los Gatos: Police outsourcing issue delayed

More information can be found under the Los Gatos Town Council’s agenda’s on the town’s site.  May take some time to find and read all of them – the site isn’t entirely intuitive.