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OMVNA Newsletter

September, 2001
Volume 13, Number 6

OMVNA General Meeting and Election

OMVNA Slate of Officers

City to Host Central District Neighborhood Meeting

Eagle Alums Gather Oct. 6

We're In the Mercury News

Nightmare on Bush Street

Shoreline Blvd. Open Space

The Newsletter Needs You

Free Remodeling Booklet

The Downtown Beat: Sign Ordinance Now In Effect

Mediation Works!

History Corner: Remembering Mountain View Union High School


OMVNA Steering Committee

OMVNA General Meeting and Election and Free BBQ Lunch

Yes, there is such a thing as a Free Lunch!

Come meet your neighbors, elect next year's OMVNA officers and participate in a Q&A session with State Assembly candidates and Old Mtn. View residents Sally Lieber and Rosemary Stasek.

Sunday Oct. 14 Landels School
Lunch: Noon - 1 pm
Program: 1 - 2pm

OMVNA Slate of Officers

Each year OMVNA elects a Steering Committee of eight individuals to guide the activities of the Association. A nominating committee considers nominations and proposes a list of candidates to be voted on at the General Meeting.

This year's nominees are:
* Chair: Bruce Karney
* Vice-Chair: TBD
* Treasurer: Aaron Grossman
* Secretary: Tim Johnson
* Newsletter Editor: TBD
* Community Liaison: Valerie Harris
* At Large #1: Alison Hicks
* At Large #2: Julie Wrobel

Nominations can also be made by any member of OMVNA during the General Meeting.

Officers serve without pay, and their activities are governed by the Association's by-laws, which were recently posted on the web at

City to Host Central District Neighborhood Meeting

The latest in a series of City-sponsored "listening" meetings will come to our neighborhood on Thurs., Oct. 18 from 7-9 pm at Landels School's multipurpose room.

Since 1995 the Council Neighborhood Committee has sponsored meetings in each of Mountain View's six planning areas to give residents an opportunity to talk directly to City Council members and City department heads about items of concern. Unlike a City Council or Committee meeting, these Neighborhood Meetings provide an opportunity to sound off on virtually any topic and to get immediate answers -- or promises to follow up -- from City staff. The meetings are usually attended by 50-100 residents and ten or more Department heads and elected officials.

These events come to our neighborhood only once every two years, so don't miss this one! For more information, please call Linda Lauzze, the City's Neighborhood Services Manager, at 903-6462.

Eagle Alums Gather Oct. 6

The Mountain View Union High School on
Castro served three generations of residents.

The Eagle Alumni Committee of Mountain View Union High School will host the twelfth annual Alumni Day get-together on Oct. 6 at Cuesta Park from 9 am to sunset. The reunion is for all 57 classes that graduated from the old High School on Castro that closed in 1981.

Invitations are also extended to current and former Mountain View High School and Awalt High School students and teachers.

Alumni Day is an alcohol-free event, and you are encouraged to bring your own food, chairs, and picnic tables. Past reunions have been attended by 400 to 900 people.

Music, a raffle and dancing from noon to 4 pm will highlight the free event. For more information, call Ann Cozzolino at 964-3550.

We're In the Mercury News

The San Jose Mercury News ran a highly complimentary article about Old Mountain View in its Real Estate section on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Reporter Lisa Ann Jackson interviewed OMVNA Chair Jean McCloskey and Secretary Tim Johnson. She noted that "Castro Street may be the center of Old Mountain View, but the community around it is its heart." She drew on several articles from our Newsletter's History Corner to give her readers some idea of what makes our neighborhood so special.

Nightmare on Bush Street

On Halloween the scariest place in town will be the Ross family's computer-controlled Haunted Cemetery at the corner of Bush and Yosemite. This year the Cemetery will be open for walk-by visits from dusk to 11 pm on October 30-31. You can see a map and photos of previous years at:

The driving force behind the gruesome graveyard is 25-year old Brent Ross who has been building and expanding the horror show for 13 years.

The whole thing started with a skeleton and black light he was given by his parents. Now Brent spends $7000 annually and all his free time from May through October on improving the show.

Children: bring your parents if they're brave enough to come!

Shoreline Blvd. Open Space

By Jean McCloskey, OMVNA Chair

The City Council recently voted to have the Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) study the re-zoning of four city-owned parcels on Shoreline Boulevard. The proposal calls for the development of small, affordable houses for uniformed emergency personnel: fire, police and emergency room doctors at El Camino Hospital.

If you'd like to make your voice heard on this topic, attend the EPC meetings on Sept. 19 (7:30 pm) and Oct. 3 (6:30 pm) at City Hall. The exact time when the Shoreline parcels will be discussed is not known at this time.

I'd like to know what you think about this issue, so please send me e-mail with your thoughts. My e-mail address is:

The Newsletter Needs You

Getting this newsletter delivered eight times a year is a big job, and an important one. Think how much you'd miss it if no one took the time to deliver it to you.

Our Newsletter Delivery Coordinator, Julie Lovins, is looking for a few people who can take over vacant routes or fill in as substitutes a couple of times a year. Call her at 964-0368 if you can help.

The route near Calderon and Dana is open, as is a small route on Castro Street.

Free Remodeling Booklet

Thinking of remodeling? Do it in a way that your neighbors will love! You can get a free copy of the 9-page booklet "Old Mountain View Design Guidelines for Single Family Homes" by calling OMVNA Secretary Tim Johnson at 962-8609.

The Downtown Beat: Sign Ordinance Now In Effect

By Julie Lovins (964-0368,

The Downtown Committee is recommending to the Council that money in the City's Facade Improvement Program be used to help downtown businesses upgrade their storefront signage to comply with the sign ordinance that went into effect in June. While the ordinance made no real changes in signage rules, the rules are now enforceable for the first time. City staff estimates that half of the non-conforming signs can be brought into compliance at no cost to the business owner.

Many residents may not know that we have a Parking Permit Program, which was set up a long time ago to try to assure a supply of customer parking downtown. The basic idea is that downtown employees are supposed to buy permits and park only in designated areas, which include most of the public lots and part of the public parking structure. No current residential structures east of Castro are in the "permit area" except for one small apartment building that has its own lot. However, the new and future housing along Bryant and part of Franklin (all of which also has its own parking) will be in the "permit area." The Downtown Committee has recommended putting serious enforcement in place, along with a substantial fee increase.

An unalloyed piece of good news is that the City Traffic Engineer proposes to make it easier to cross Castro Street on foot by providing "zebra striping" where necessary, instead of the less visible paint design now used for some crosswalks.

Mediation Works!

By Sharlene Gee

Hundreds of residents have used Mountain View's free mediation services to resolve problems with neighbors, landlords, tenants or small businesses. Problems have been solved about pets, roommates, fences, trees, parked vehicles, cleaning deposits, noise, broken leases and many more topics.

One case involved a senior citizen who was requested to vacate an apartment in Old Mountain View. In mediation the landlord and the tenant reached an agreement to allow the tenant sufficient additional time to find a suitable alternative. In another case, neighbors in Old Mountain View successfully mediated with a contractor to set limits on construction activity in order to minimize the impact on them.

Solutions that result from mediation can be as creative as the people involved in a dispute. "Carol" had a problem with her neighbors' barking and howling dog. Carol didn't know the "Whites", so was reluctant to approach them. She left a note; she called the police; finally, she called the mediation program. During the mediation at City Hall, the mediator, as a neutral third party, was able to help both parties really hear each other. The Whites could then understand that Carol was recovering from an illness, and Carol learned that their beloved dog was old and blind and cried when left alone. Working with the mediator, they brainstormed several possible solutions to their mutual problem. The winning solution was when Mrs. White's boss agreed she could bring the dog to work and have it stay under her desk. Everyone won!

Mediation can work for you, too! For more information or to request a mediation, call 960-0495.

History Corner: Remembering Mountain View Union High School

By Nick Perry

In 1924, Mountain View residents proudly opened the doors to their new high school on Castro Street: Mountain View Union High School (MVUHS). Its colors were blue and gray, its mascot was the eagle, and it served students from the entire Mountain View and Los Altos area.

When Los Altos built its own high school in 1956, the district was split and an intense rivalry between the two schools began. In sports and activities, the Eagles became the underdogs, going up against the more polished and affluent Knights of Los Altos. Rivalries grew when a third high school, Awalt High, was built in 1962.

By the 1970s the high school had no racial majority, three decades before newspaper headlines declared the same for our entire county. Meanwhile, the two other district high schools served students from predominantly affluent Caucasian neighborhoods. Students who went to the high school during this era say there was some stigma and prejudice directed towards Mountain View from students at the other two high schools. But instead of letting that bother them, they worked to find pride and unity in their diversity.

By the 1980s, MVUHS was a school steeped in tradition. It was deeply connected with the community of Mountain View, and its diversity was celebrated. It represented Mountain View's past, present, and future and was a source of community pride. All this came to an abrupt end when the School District decided to close the school.

The district as a whole was facing declining enrollment, and three high schools were no longer needed. MVUHS was chosen for closure due to seismic upgrade worries and the value of the downtown land. Half of the students were transferred to Awalt and half went to Los Altos High.

Awalt's name was changed to Mountain View High School. Los Altos High replaced its mascot and school colors with those of Mountain View. Both Los Altos High and Awalt immediately grew more racially and economically diverse after students from MVUHS arrived.

The School District decided to sell the old High School property four years after its closure. Despite objections from alumni, all of the historic Mountain View Union High School buildings were destroyed in 1987 to make way the Park Place and City Centre developments. The City opted to buy the athletic fields of the school and turned them into Eagle Park.

Going back to your Alma Mater, for a reunion, to see a football game, or just to reminisce is something most people think they'll be able to do after graduation. But for the 57 classes that graduated from Mountain View Union High, that opportunity has been lost.

For those who remember when the High School was in the heart of the city, its strange to think that now Los Altos High is the closest public high school to most Mountain View residents. Mountain View students no longer have a high school of their own, and because of this some say the city has lost a part of its identity. But the memory of old Mountain View Union High School lives on and its spirit should be celebrated. It was a place that Mountain View was proud of, a place that should always be remembered.

(Nick Perry graduated this Spring from St. Francis High School. His parents are MVUHS alumni. His excellent web page devoted to the history of MVUHS is at


The OMVNA Newsletter is published and distributed to more than 2000 homes by the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the OMVNA Steering Committee.

Let us know what you think!

Editor:Bruce Karney

Columnists: Julie Lovins, Lisa Windes

Phone: (6 - 9 PM only) 964-3567


Mail: OMVNA Newsletter, PO Box 987, Mountain View, CA 94042-0987

OMVNA Steering Committee

Chair: Jean McCloskey

Vice-Chair: Alison Hicks

Treasurer: Aaron Grossman

Secretary: Tim Johnson

Community Liaison: Julie Lovins

Newsletter Editor: Bruce Karney

At Large #1: Garth Williams

At Large #2: Philippe Habib

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Last updated: 9/11/01