• Town Council Meeting - November 19, 2012

    TOWN OF LOS GATOS
    TOWN COUNCIL/SUCCESSOR AGENCY MEETING
    MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2012 -- 6:00 P.M. -


    CLOSED SESSION

    CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATOR (Government Code Section 54956.8) Properties: 110 E. Main Street (Former Library Building) Negotiating parties: Town of Los Gatos (Negotiator: Greg Larson, Town Manager) Los Gatos Museum (Negotiator: Executive Director) Friends of the Library (Negotiator: Chair) Under negotiation: Price and terms of lease

    MEETING CALLED TO ORDER

    ROLL CALL

    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

    2012 Santa Clara Valley Science and Engineering Fair Winners: Michael Hand, C.T. English Middle School, Shira Kahn-Samuelson, Kehillah Jewish High School, Hannah Spinner, Los Gatos High School, Sabera Talukder, Los Gatos High School

    PRESENTATION

    Commendations 2012 Santa Clara Valley Science and Engineering Fair Winners Awards > LEED Gold Certification for Town Library > Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (CAFR) (Fiscal Year Ending: June 30, 2011)

    CLOSED SESSION REPORT

    TOWN COUNCIL

    COUNCIL/TOWN MANAGER REPORTS


    > Council Matters
    > Manager Matters
    > Did You Know...?

    CONSENT ITEMS (TO BE ACTED UPON BY A SINGLE MOTION)

    1. Approve Council minutes of November 19, 2012

    2. Accept First Quarter Investment Report FY 2012/13 (July through September 2012)

    3. Zoning Code Amendment A-12-002. Project Location: 114 Royce Street. Property Owner/Applicant: Hallway Partners LLC. Adopt ordinance amending Town Code Section 29-60-320 regarding permitted uses in the C-2

    4. Planned Development Application PD-12-002. Project Location: 626 W. Parr Avenue (AKA 612 W. Parr Avenue) Property Owner: Villa Vasona Ltd. Applicant: Highland Property Development. APN: 406-28-034 Adopt ordinance modifying an existing Planned Development Ordinance to remove existing covenants that are no longer valid on property zoned R-1:8: PD

    5. Tract No. 10129 Located at 16005 Los Gatos Boulevard and 625 Blossom Hill Road (former Swanson Ford site) Adopt resolution approving final map for Tract No. 10129 located at 16005 Los Gatos Boulevard and 625 Blossom Hill Road (former Swanson Ford site), accepting the dedications, and authorizing the Town Manager to execute the contract for public improvements

    6. Hazardous Vegetation Abatement (Weeds)

    a. Adopt resolution declaring hazardous vegetation (weeds) a public nuisance and providing for their abatement and setting a public hearing in order to hear protests
    b. Set January 22, 2013 as a public hearing date on this annual program

    7. PPW Job No. 10-04 - Wedgewood Avenue Improvements (Mulberry Drive To Granada Way) Authorize the Town Manager to execute a Certificate of Acceptance and Notice of Completion accepting the work of Duran & Venables Inc. and authorize recording by the Clerk Administrator

    8. PPW Job No. 11-17 - FY 2011/12 - Curb, Gutter, and Sidewalk Replacement Project Authorize the Town Manager to execute a Certificate of Acceptance and Notice of Completion accepting the work of Bearden Construction Co., Inc. DBA CB Concrete Construction, Inc. and authorize recording by the Clerk Administrator

    9. PPW Job No. 11-02 - Hicks Road And Phillips Avenue Storm Drain Culvert Improvements 461-816-0411 Authorize the Town Manager to execute a Certificate of Acceptance and Notice of Completion accepting the work of SAK Construction, Inc. and authorize recording by the Clerk Administrator

    10. PPW Job No. 11-16 - FY 2011/12 Street Repair And Resurfacing Project 811-9901 Authorize the Town Manager to execute a Certificate of Acceptance and Notice of Completion accepting the work of Intermountain Slurry Seal, Inc. and authorize recording by the Clerk Administrator

    11. PPW Job No. 10-15 Los Gatos Creekside Sports Park 411-831-4402 Authorize the Town Manager to execute a Certificate of Acceptance and Notice of Completion accepting the work of Interstate Grading and Paving, Inc. and authorize recording by the Clerk Administrator CONSENT ITEMS (continued)

    12. PPW Job No. 12-02 University Avenue Sidewalk/Creekside Sports Park 813-0210 Authorize the Town Manager to execute a Certificate of Acceptance and Notice of Completion accepting the work of Bearden Construction Co., Inc. DBA CB Concrete Construction, Inc. and authorize recording by the Clerk Administrator

    13. PPW Job No. 12-01A - Pageant Grounds Retaining Wall Construction Project 411-825-2501 Authorize the Town Manager to execute a Certificate of Acceptance and Notice of Completion accepting the work of Casey Construction and authorize recording by the Clerk Administrator


    VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS (Up to three minutes may be allotted to each speaker to address matters that are not on tonight’s agenda.)

    OTHER BUSINESS

    APPOINTMENT OF MAYOR AND VICE MAYOR

    ADJOURNMENT

    "DEMOCRACY IN ACTION" RECEPTION (Council Chambers Lobby)

    Comments 23 Comments
    1. LGEF donor's Avatar
      LGEF donor -
      For those that sifted through the material here, there is some important information buried in the recording and district materials regarding the District's wish list for LGEF grants:

      1. $400K of donations will be put into reserve. Asking parents to donate money for some vague future contingency is ridiculous.
      2. $600K will be earmarked for Music and Art, despite the Parcel Tax and Home&School money already devoted to these areas. Parents are confused because every fundraiser refers to Music and Art.
      3. $225K requested for school counselors, which is great but clearly not fundable by parent donations.
      4. $700K requested for "STEM" but after listening to the recording, most of it is intended to replace laptops which are working fine and there is no technology plan on whether laptops are the right choice. LGEF plans to hold off on buying laptops because the District will only be replacing laptops with newer, shinier models with no impact on academics.
      5. The second part of the STEM request relates to iPads for math at Fisher...this part might be worthwhile but only if it leads to differentiated instruction.
      6. Only $94K out of the requested $1.8M is clearly tied to science.

      Does anybody believe that LGEF will be able to raise more money with this kind of plan? Didn't anybody pay attention to the results of the LGEF parent/donor survey?

      I encourage the LGEF Board to reject this stupid list of grant requests, and tell the District that parents want to fund some game-changing science programs.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by LGEF donor View Post
      5. The second part of the STEM request relates to iPads for math at Fisher...this part might be worthwhile but only if it leads to differentiated instruction.
      companies like apple loooove ventures like this. they get to condition a future generation of consumers and build a nice bulk-sales channel while providing ABSOLUTELY ZERO tangible educational benefit

      the ipad is designed as a media consumption device that any idiot can use (but not alter). no one will learn anything fundamental about information technology with these devices. or programming. or even hardware design (you can't open it). yes, there are electronic textbooks that can be used with the ipad, but i don't think there is any value to middle school students (an age where kids have poor impulse control) having a textbook that can play angry birds with the flick of a switch.

      students who are exposed to consumption-oriented consumer electronics in the classroom will almost certainly be determined to be achieving below expectations over time. but hey, they got REALLY GOOD at plants vs zombies.

      at one point people thought television in the classroom was a great idea, based mostly on the same flawed supposition that the technology of the day had to be in the classroom. who would put tv in the class today? no one.

      low-achieving public schools will be full of teacher-replacing junk tech in the future, while expensive private schools will retain HUMAN instruction, just watch
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      low-achieving public schools will be full of teacher-replacing junk tech in the future, while expensive private schools will retain HUMAN instruction, just watch
      Really? Private schools are moving toward 1:1 access to technology, and in many cases are already there.
    1. Joe Madden's Avatar
      Joe Madden -
      I support iPads in the classroom, but ONLY IF they are used for differentiated instruction. A personal computing device can essentially allow each student to work at his/her own pace on subjects like math or foreign language.

      LGEF is right to refuse the District's request for new laptops without any plans or purpose. In all of the talk about technology, I have never seen any specifics on how it helps kids learn more.

      I have tried some of the educational apps on the iPad. Some are good, and some are just video games. We need a technology plan before we just let the kids play with these toys.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      why do we always talk about ipads whenever the subject of science comes up? ipads are not a science program
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      Really? Private schools are moving toward 1:1 access to technology, and in many cases are already there.
      that isn't true at all. go across the bay area and you will find many well-regarded private schools that explicitly keep consumer-grade technology out of the classrooms

      yes, there are some schools that stock up on tech, but i know of very few that are blindly thrusting them into students' hands like you see in the public system, where tech-in-the-classroom seems to be almost universally lauded
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      why do we always talk about ipads whenever the subject of science comes up? ipads are not a science program
      because ipads kill many birds with one cheap stone:

      - makes the school look progressive and forward thinking to naive parents

      - helps reduce the requirement human involvement...i.e. they are a cost-cutting measure

      - makes the kids happy because they get a freebie - a toy in the classroom that mom and dad think is teaching them something

      all for the low-low price of $300 per student.

      bookmark this and come back in ten years...no one will think putting this stuff in the classroom is "educational"....tech education will instead by consistent with environments where humans no longer care (i.e. low income/low achievement schools)
    1. Terry McBriarty's Avatar
      Terry McBriarty -
      I disagree with a lot of these comments but am confused as to what this has to do with the Town Council Meeting.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      The original poster mistakenly started the thread here. It has nothing to do with the Town Council. Sharp eye!
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Did anyone attend the LGEF kickoff with the speaker on preparing our kids for the 21st century? Have you been to p21.org and taken a look at the work done there? Have you read the California and National education standards? Do you understand the skills our kids will need when they graduate? Do you understand the skills today's employers are looking for?

      The 3 Rs will only go so far. Creativity, collaboration, leadership, global awareness....these skills and more are crucial for our kids. The iPads are not a toy, they're a tool to help change the way our kids learn and work together. Are they ideal? Probably not. Are they a step in the right direction? I believe so. Time will tell and, of course, technology is only one small piece of the puzzle.

      I don't think we should march on without a plan, but believing that technology is only to replace teachers in a environment where adults don't care is uninformed and counter to everything pedagogy currently shows. Please get involved in helping our kids succeed and don't write off the technology without giving valid observations.

      BTW on the subject of science California gets an A for its science curriculum in schools. Compare that to every single other state that gets a lower grade. As far as I can see our science lessons are extremely successful in the class so we appear to be implementing the lauded Calfornia science standards. Why, then, do some think science is an issue in our schools. What am I missing? This is a serious question. Please be respectful with your response. Hey I can ask can't I
    1. Joe Madden's Avatar
      Joe Madden -
      To Unregistered 11:41:

      Thanks for asking a serious question. Here's a serious answer. I have 5 kids and three have gone all the way through LGUSD....two are still there. After many years of experience, I have noticed some things:

      A. The "Science" programs that you say are successful are good for QUALITATIVE science. Take this mineral sample and try to scratch glass with it. Take these magnets and notice how there is a North and a South. Build a Rube Goldberg machine. Okay, these are hands-on activities. But they barely qualify as Science. A Scientist will make a hypothesis, take QUANTITATIVE measurements, and then compare his/her prediction to the result. This is done very little at Fisher, and not at all in K-5.

      B. Using iPads does not help kids to learn any hands-on practical skills. In the iPad apps that I have tried out, science experiments are simulated...for example, a cartoon balloon can be pumped up to different pressure levels quickly and easily. It saves time and that is valuable. But the kids have not learned about measurement error or the practical need to execute an experiment well.

      C. The computers used in the classroom for K-5 are generally not doing much for the kids. They do Powerpoint slides and other art projects on them. I suppose that some kids get to practice on a mouse and keyboard, where they cannot at home. But the vast majority of kids could do the same Powerpoint work on Mom's laptop at home. I have seen a few teachers with good lessons about how to perform critical, skeptical research on Google and Wikipedia (not accepting any one site as truth) but most teachers use the PCs as the art center.

      Overall, I personally feel that California could do much better, and Los Gatos should do a LOT better with our place in Silicon Valley. Science is not knowing how to use a touchscreen, it's knowing how to measure things and learn from measurement.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joe Madden View Post
      To Unregistered 11:41:

      Thanks for asking a serious question. Here's a serious answer. I have 5 kids and three have gone all the way through LGUSD....two are still there. After many years of experience, I have noticed some things:

      A. The "Science" programs that you say are successful are good for QUALITATIVE science. Take this mineral sample and try to scratch glass with it. Take these magnets and notice how there is a North and a South. Build a Rube Goldberg machine. Okay, these are hands-on activities. But they barely qualify as Science. A Scientist will make a hypothesis, take QUANTITATIVE measurements, and then compare his/her prediction to the result. This is done very little at Fisher, and not at all in K-5.

      B. Using iPads does not help kids to learn any hands-on practical skills. In the iPad apps that I have tried out, science experiments are simulated...for example, a cartoon balloon can be pumped up to different pressure levels quickly and easily. It saves time and that is valuable. But the kids have not learned about measurement error or the practical need to execute an experiment well.

      C. The computers used in the classroom for K-5 are generally not doing much for the kids. They do Powerpoint slides and other art projects on them. I suppose that some kids get to practice on a mouse and keyboard, where they cannot at home. But the vast majority of kids could do the same Powerpoint work on Mom's laptop at home. I have seen a few teachers with good lessons about how to perform critical, skeptical research on Google and Wikipedia (not accepting any one site as truth) but most teachers use the PCs as the art center.

      Overall, I personally feel that California could do much better, and Los Gatos should do a LOT better with our place in Silicon Valley. Science is not knowing how to use a touchscreen, it's knowing how to measure things and learn from measurement.
      Thanks for the response Joe. I personally don't equate technology with science. I understand your point. Do you see the problem as being a fundamental flaw with the FOSS kits that we use or with the way in which we use them? I'm asking from a K-5 perspective as I have no knowledge of anything over that.
    1. Not Joe's Avatar
      Not Joe -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      Thanks for the response Joe. I personally don't equate technology with science. I understand your point. Do you see the problem as being a fundamental flaw with the FOSS kits that we use or with the way in which we use them? I'm asking from a K-5 perspective as I have no knowledge of anything over that.
      As my name suggests, this is not Joe. But I wanted to add that from my perspective (also K-5 only) the FOSS kits are fine, as PART of a science program. It seems we have created a system where they ARE the science program. Also, it seems to vary widely how much they are used, and how deeply they are explored, depending on who your child's teacher is, year to year. It's a "thin layer" as I heard at the LGUSD/LGEF meeting. Saying we use FOSS kits is great, but when I look at what is supposed to be covered each year by the CA standard, it's not being completely covered in my child's classroom.

      Real Joe - your thoughts?
    1. Joe Madden's Avatar
      Joe Madden -
      I don't think the FOSS kits are flawed. They are great, but we have three problems:

      1. A lot of K-5 teachers are not trained as scientists. Most have not worked for a technology company and do not have an appreciation for quantitative science. So they choose the easy activities in the FOSS kits and the more rigorous experiments sit on the shelf.
      2. It's not easy to run a hands-on science experiment with 29 kids. Class sizes are too big for a single teacher to be effective in a truly quantitative science lab.
      3. Somehow we think that teachers need help in Art and Music, but they should just teach Science because somehow that is easier. Without anybody watching over them, some teachers just take the easy approach and make their experiments "fun" instead of a "lab".

      My suggestion: LGEF should be funding 3-4 Science specialists for K-5, to run real quantitative experiments, to hold a real Science Fair every year, and generally teach the true Scientific Method.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      so instead of LGEF wasting $1,225,000 this year on reserves, music, art, and counseling, we could easily hire 4 science teachers. go joe!
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      Creativity, collaboration, leadership, global awareness....these skills and more are crucial for our kids.
      what does any of this mean? sounds like a bunch of empty marketing platitudes, not educational goals

      draw me a line between an ipad and "leadership".

      "global awareness"? what is that? speaking mandarin? if that is what you mean, just say it. do students in LG schools learn mandarin?

      i'm seriously not trying to be impolite, i'm just wondering how you forge a curriculum out of such empty abstractions
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Well as I'm not a marketing person it certainly wasn't intended as a bunch of marketing platitudes. It made sense to me as someone who's spent 20 years in a combination of corporate American and small business ownership. Rather than regurgitate the entire p21.org site can I ask you to take a look at it in order to understand what I'm talking about. Take a look at the Framework for 21st century skills in particular.

      I'm not sure I could draw you a line between an iPad and leadership but I could probably draw you a line between an iPad and "chatting" with kids in other parts of the US, China or anywhere you can imagine. I don't equate Global awareness to speaking Mandarin. I equate it to our kids getting a glimpse of the world outside Los Gatos, in real time, with real world interaction. I equate it to collaboration by allowing our kids to work together on a project even if they're not physically in the same place. It's not intended to replace human interaction, but it might just facilitate more varied interactions and experience. Hopefully this is where our technology usage will take us.

      Also, I don't consider spending LGEF money on music and art a "waste". I really value this aspect of education for my kids and that's why I donate to LGEF. I want my kids to be creative, well rounded individuals and it's important to me that they have those opportunities in school. I chose Los Gatos because of it's commitment to educating the whole child and to me that means art, music, languages in addition to math, science, language arts etc. Some of my kids love art, some enjoy music, others are sporty, one is a bookworm, one a tech geek. One loves Math but will do anything to avoid homework. Another finishes homework in record time in order to go outside and play. A school without music, art, choir, band, PE, sports, would be equally as abhorrent to me as one without Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies.

      On the subject of LGEF I do agree that the reserves should have been built up over a period of years rather than created in 2 years as this places a heavy burden on current givers. Reserves usually are built up over time in my experience.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joe Madden View Post
      I don't think the FOSS kits are flawed. They are great, but we have three problems:

      1. A lot of K-5 teachers are not trained as scientists. Most have not worked for a technology company and do not have an appreciation for quantitative science. So they choose the easy activities in the FOSS kits and the more rigorous experiments sit on the shelf.
      2. It's not easy to run a hands-on science experiment with 29 kids. Class sizes are too big for a single teacher to be effective in a truly quantitative science lab.
      3. Somehow we think that teachers need help in Art and Music, but they should just teach Science because somehow that is easier. Without anybody watching over them, some teachers just take the easy approach and make their experiments "fun" instead of a "lab".

      My suggestion: LGEF should be funding 3-4 Science specialists for K-5, to run real quantitative experiments, to hold a real Science Fair every year, and generally teach the true Scientific Method.
      I would love to have Science specialists in the school just not at the expense of losing music and art which are important to me too. 3-4 Science specialists would be 200 to 300K I believe, judging by previous conversations on teacher costs. That's about $30 per parcel in Los Gatos if we're willing to increase the parcel tax. Add in materials and teacher training and we could probably round that to $35.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      in the LGEF survey an overwhelming majority prioritized science over art. but we don't see our money moving in that direction. also why not just say no to the reserves and do science instead?
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      Well as I'm not a marketing person it certainly wasn't intended as a bunch of marketing platitudes. It made sense to me as someone who's spent 20 years in a combination of corporate American and small business ownership. Rather than regurgitate the entire p21.org site can I ask you to take a look at it in order to understand what I'm talking about. Take a look at the Framework for 21st century skills in particular.
      i went to the site. please see in particular:

      http://p21.org/about-us/our-history

      look at the member list

      this group clearly exists to promote SALES of technology to schools, regardless of actual merits. i'm sure they got the dept of education to endorse them for some discounts on networking hardware. and who is "cable in the classroom"? they are a member too, everyone who wants cable tv in LG school classrooms, raise your hand.

      were you actually taken in by their pitch? or are you associated with them?

      i can point you at "environmental interest" groups actually funded by oil companies that advocate drilling. or maybe some nonprofit "nutrition consulting agnecies" that are shadow-funded by soda makers....p21 is cut from the same cloth...a veneer of social interest in order to pursue a sales goal

      i urge everyone to look at WHO funds these orgs and what their vested interests are. media and tech companies have a vested interest in "wired schools", but its a financial interest. no wonder they offer up a worthless "skills framework" more reminiscent of a curriculum of a night-school MBA program from a third-tier for-profit university

      NO THANKS!
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