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[whitespace] News From Silicon Valley's Neighborhoods

Grounds for Gripes
Saratoga--Neighbors of Argonaut Shopping Center don't want to hear no java jive, especially from insomniac Starbucks customers yapping on the new patio late at night. So last week residents of nearby Blauer Drive testified before the City Council about the evils of Starbucks' proposed outdoor seating addition and the increased traffic they believe will accompany its 1,600-square-foot expansion. The council in turn curtailed the cafe's hours and established an ad hoc committee to take neighbors' concerns to the shopping center's management if need be. The council's decision reins in the Planning Commission's recent approval of the Starbucks expansion.

Take a Hike
Los Gatos--After a year-long dispute, the tenants at El Gato Penthouse are rejoicing because their rents are only going up $250. That's better than the $450 hikes initially proposed by their kindly landlords at Vasona Management to pay for almost $1 million in improvements. Tenants argued that the fabulous new oil paintings and jacuzzi added little to their lives, while the pass-through fees were intended to dislodge them and make way for rich corporate renters. Arbitrator David Finch scaled back the company's rent-raising privileges and ordered it to re-install the old heaters in tenants' apartments if asked (unlike the air conditioners that replaced them, the old heaters emitted heat).

In Cold Blood
Willow Glen--Since the words "senseless violence" are on everyone's lips, it seems proper to invoke them in the case of the Booksin Elementary stepping stones. Last Tuesday, vandals tore the blocks--each inlaid with trinkets schlepped to school by Booksin's 140 kindergarteners--out of the garden, uprooting flowers and breaking tiny little hearts. The parents won't tolerate it, though; they immediately began reconstruction. And may the villain's conscience smite him. Or her.

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Web extras to the June 24-30, 1999 issue of Metro.

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