Mountain View High appoints new athletic director

Veteran educator and athletic director Tim Lugo has been appointed to serve as Mountain View High’s athletic director effective next week. Lugo succeeds Shelley Smith, the school’s athletic director, head football coach and physical education teacher for the past 9 years.

Smith is retiring later this year.

“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Spartans’ athletic family,” Lugo said in a district press release. “I look forward to building relationships with the MVHS community and helping to build upon the sports legacy for which this school is historically known.”

Lugo most recently served as athletic director, head football coach and physical education teacher at Saratoga High School, and previously worked as a physical education teacher, assistant football coach and head baseball coach at Evergreen Valley High School. He has a total of 15 years of experience.

Tim Lugo. (via Mountain View–Los Altos Union School District)

Lugo holds a bachelor’s in kinesiology from San Jose State University, a master’s in kinesiology-exercise science from St. Mary’s College and a teaching credential in K–12 physical education.


Two new dog parks are coming to Los Altos

Two new fenced-in dog parks are coming to Los Altos in the near future, following a motion passed by the city council on Tuesday evening. The two parks will be located on Hillview Ave., adjacent to Center Soccer Field, and McKenzie Park West. The project will cost a total of $100,000 and will be complete in roughly three to four months. 

Not all residents will be happy with the project. Last April, the city implemented a pilot program that allowed dogs to be off-leash in the unfenced area of the Hillview baseball field, which solicited a number of complaints from residents.

“Some of the concerns that we heard had to do with upkeep and cleaning up the fields,” said Councilmember Neysa Fligor.  

To avoid eliciting similar concerns, the council used the following criteria to determine the locations of the two new dog parks: size, parking, buffer from residential homes, access to water, not being on a shared-use field and amount of shade. Rosita Park and Heritage Oak Park were considered as alternate sites. 

Although council members unanimously agreed upon the two locations, there was disagreement over whether or not the two parks should open at once. Filgor — the only one to vote against the motion — argued that the McKenzie Dog Park should be established after the Hillview Dog Park. 

“My preference is to do at least one year of Hillview [Dog Park]. Then we can assess, look back, learn, and then move forward with McKenzie,” Fligor said. “That’s why I will not be supporting the motion, because I do not support doing them at the same time.”

Vice Mayor Sally Meadows, on the other hand, thought that staggering the opening of the two parks would put too much pressure on one park. 

“I think it’s an unfair assessment to put all of the burden on one site. We saw this in the pilot where all of the dogs were in one place,” Meadows said. 

The council ultimately voted to establish the parks at the same time. 

Pat Burt and Lydia Kou elected mayor and vice mayor of Palo Alto, rotating election system to be considered

Pat Burt and Lydia Kou were elected mayor and vice mayor, respectively, at Tuesday’s Palo Alto City Council meeting. 

Burt was elected into office with a 6–0–1 majority, with all Councilmembers except for Greg Tanaka (who abstained) voting for Kou’s nomination of Burt. Kou, who turned down Councilmember Alison Cormack’s nomination for mayor, was unanimously elected to the vice mayor position. 

A veteran of local government, Burt will be leading the council as mayor for the third time over his roughly 15-year career with the Palo Alto City Council alongside Kou, who will be serving the council as the vice mayor for the first time in her six-year city council career. 

Councilmember Alison Cormack originally nominated Kou, who declined the mayoral nomination, saying she thought Burt was better suited for the job.

“I really believe in the progression system,” Kou said during the meeting. “Pat [Burt] has … 8 years in the planning and transportation commission … he was elected to the city council, where he spent 9 years. [Burt was also] reelected again in 2020, having served 1 year, is on to 18 years.”

Despite the generally undivided votes for the new positions, Cormack raised questions about the efficiency of voting protocols at the meeting.

“This process is opaque, and it’s frankly become odious and it’s unnecessary,” Cormack said during the meeting. “Councilmember Kou every year suggests that we have a rotation process for mayor, and I will be supporting that this year at the retreat as I have before … It’s more straightforward.”

The specifics of such a rotation process are unclear, as different cities have varying term limits and procedures, but the council may clarify the specifics after its annual retreat on Jan. 30. 

(As a side note, Palo Alto residents can input priorities they think are relevant for the council to discuss during the retreat here.) 

Rotation processes in city council elections usually cycle councilmembers through the mayor and vice mayor slots every term,  ncreating a greater possibility of equal mayor terms amongst the council.

Tanaka supported this idea, saying he thought it made “a lot more sense” and resulted in “a lot less drama.” Former mayor Liz Kniss, who made a statement during public comment, also voiced her support for a rotational process for mayor during the election.

“I very much support the idea of a rotation,” Kniss said. “Greg [Tanaka] mentioned it tonight [and] it’s been mentioned many times in the past, maybe this is the year it will happen.”