Peter Scott Carter (February 20, 1943-March 7, 2013)
Peter Carter, co-founder of the Los Gatos Social Club, died at his home Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, apparently due to an accidental fall. His wife, Dennise, was reportedly not at home. Peter had just turned 70.
A creative and fun-loving photographer and host, Peter was the veritable nexus of Los Gatos with weekly Social Club dinners, Jazz on the Plazz, the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Foundation, and casual politics. He attended every event in town, it seemed, to take photographs that captured the people and zeitgeist of our town.
Following a long career in public relations in San Jose, Peter turned to architectural photography later in life. He began his career crafting the message of the Mobile Home Dealers Association. He worked with a variety of partners. His firm was variously called Carter Callahan, Carter Waxman, Carter Israel, and Corsi-Carter-Israel. In 1980, Peter became an underwriting member of Lloyd’s of London, which he characterized as financially traumatic at times, but ultimately a stable and lucrative investment. He served on the board of the North American Association of Lloyd’s members.
Peter volunteered to photograph many town events, including Los Perros Day in 2008.
Born in San Diego during World War II, Peter was adopted by his mother’s new husband, Joe Carter, around 1945. The family moved to Los Gatos when Peter was accepted at Bellarmine College Preparatory. He graduated in 1961 and attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. His dorm room was on the same floor as Bill Clinton would occupy a few years later. He became a photo editor, then yearbook editor-in-chief and managing editor of the magazine. With his college press pass, he sat ten feet from Martin Luther King in the Lincoln Memorial witnessing the “I Have a Dream” speech August 28, 1963. He sat behind Chief Justice Earl Warren at Lyndon Johnson’s inaugural, January 20, 1965. He married his first wife, Michelle, in 1963, and they had two children. As his public relations consultancy was winding down, he married Dennise McNulty in 1987.
After graduating Georgetown in 1966, he worked with the American University and established contacts with people like Norm Mineta, Frank Fiscalini, Larry Pegram, Janet Grey Hayes, Ron Diridon, and Tom McEnery who would become important in San Jose politics. Peter’s influence in Los Gatos was profound. The town council received a 2 a.m. e-mail reporting his untimely death.
Peter founded the Los Gatos Social Club with the late former Los Gatos Mayor Patrick O’Laughlin, and others, in the 1990s. The motto, Festivus Epulum Sermo (Fun, Feast, Conversation) informed each weekly e-mail from Peter, announcing the next soiree and presenting humor and photos of the previous event. Social Club members gathered for cocktails, usually at Peter’s home on Broadway, before heading to a local restaurant or other venue for family-style dinner.
Peter helped form The Vesparadoes, shown here with Mayor Barbara Spector in the Christmas Parade.
Peter’s by-laws for the Social Club included remarks such as “Political correctness is not encouraged, but will be tolerated so long as it
maintains a sense of humor.” Under Rules and Regulations in the by-laws, Peter wrote, “We shall endeavor to never establish rules and regulations. Rather we shall be guided by our own wisdom and sense of decorum.” That could describe how Peter conducted himself.
On March 6, the Social Club was scheduled to have cocktails at the Art Museum Gallery and dinner at Gardino’s Ristorante Italiano–a favorite of the club–across N. Santa Cruz Ave. Peter’s e-mail reminded members to “Please bring an artistic and creative bottle of wine to match our surroundings. If that doesn’t work for you, just bring something pricey!” I asked Peter if I could publicize the Social Club, and he asked me not to because the club was oversubscribed. I owe Peter for many things, including suggesting the name of this blog.
I was privileged to see some of the photographs of which Peter was particularly proud–gleaming office buildings at twilight, marble lobbies, but also rustic farmhouses and windswept fields. Peter employed the finest photographic gear and did not hesitate to use Photoshop to full effect, but he was also highly skilled, stitching together panoramic shots without the use of a tripod, for example, aligning the frames by eye.
Peter was gracious, stylish, puckish, worldly, connected, curious, tasteful, remarkable…and irreplaceable.
If you’re like me, you have a collection of dead batteries–AAs, Cs, Ds and 9Vs–somewhere in your house, because you know West Valley Collection & Recycling doesn’t want them mixed with your regular trash. Batteries are classified as “hazardous household waste,” and they are supposed to be disposed of properly.
Dead batteries are household hazardous waste
Good news! Several Los Gatos businesses are as happy to take your dead batteries as they are to sell you new ones. Our collection was so large, I dropped off a few hundred each at Los Gatos Ace Hardware, Rural Supply Ace Hardware, and Radio Shack. In each case, the employees were cheerful and helpful. These neighborly businesses take the batteries for free. The county has a list of drop off spots, and I could also have dropped off my heavy old batteries at Walgreens, Kragen Auto Supply, The Terraces, CVS on Pollard Road, and the Happy Dragon.
I’m coming to dislike Whole Foods as a neighbor, however. They are listed as a drop-off spot on the county’s web page, but they have decided not to accept dead batteries after all. They still take your Whole Paycheck, of course.
Battery organizer/tester $22 from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Solutions-Battery-Organizer-Tester/dp/B00474DBE2
The county’s program helps you get rid of fluorescent bulbs, used motor oil, household sharps, and other hazardous waste. Spring cleaning, here we come!
The renovation of the nearly 100-year-old Los Gatos Theater is ongoing. A week ago, we noticed that the neon “GATOS” sign had been removed. This morning, the projecting marquee is gone. Looking through the second floor windows, daylight is visible where the roof and ceiling used to be. The new theater will eventually adorn downtown as before, but during construction, the skyline of Our Town seems strangely different.
First, the signature “GATOS” sign disappeared…
…then the projecting marquee was gone.
Artist Barney Davidge’s rendering of Gary Kohlsaat’s design.
The new theater has its own website with architect Gary Kohlsaat‘s preliminary plans for the building on public display. The new complex will feature a single, large motion picture theater in place of the twin theaters, as well as a second floor screening room and lounge with a balcony that will double as the marquee. As the rendering (by Barney Davidge) shows, the new theater will be similar to the old look, but updated and improved. The new facility is supposed to re-open this summer.
Daylight is visible through the second-floor windows
The Festival Theatre Ensemble, the fine folks who bring the works of Shakespeare to Oak Meadow Park each summer, has announced its lineup for 2013:
The Tragedy of Hamlet
The Comedy of Errors
The Further Adventures of the Three Musketeers
Hamlet will be presented traditionally, but The Comedy of Errors will be set in gangland Chicago of the 1920s. This will be the world premiere of The Further Adventures of the Three Musketeers. Set in the decadence of the early 1600s, this new play was commissioned by FTE from Mark D. Pickens.
Calling all Thespians
FTE features a core group of actors, but they are always looking for new talent. Auditions will be held January 19 and 20. Interested parties are invited to contact Artistic Director Bruce De Les Dernier for more information and to arrange an audition.
Looking for Rehearsal Space
The troupe’s rehearsal space is being sold, and they are looking for about 20 x 30 feet with a bathroom and parking to replace it. Rehearsals are Monday through Thursday, 7 to 10 pm, February 11 to May 9. FTE can afford a modest per-use fee.
A multi-day rain and wind storm could have been worse, had it not been for dedicated individuals working behind the scenes and around the clock. Trees fell and power was knocked out, but crews from PG&E were out in force, often in the middle of the night, keeping outages, for the most part, brief. Night-shift police officers who normally deal with Apple Store burglars or belligerent drunks were instead clearing storm drains at 3 a.m.
Park Services Officer Dave Gray works with town crew to clear a fallen oak, and what looks like a well-built tree house, from Lansberry Court.
Los Gatos/Monte Sereno police have released a sketch of a white or Hispanic male adult, one of several people believed to have been involved in the murder of Raveesh Kumar “Ravi” Kumra at his home on Withey Road in Monte Sereno. The suspect is described as approximately 23 or 24 years old, about six feet tall and skinny, with black hair, dark eyes and a light complexion.
The suspect and his accomplices beat and tied up Rani Kumra, 63, but she was able to call 911 as soon as they left. She told the operator that she was afraid her husband was not breathing. Arriving officers confirmed that the house had been ransacked. Officers from Campbell, Santa Clara County, and other agencies assisted in securing the crime scene around 2 a.m. Friday morning during a howling rain storm. Officers, and police dog Berko, combed the grounds of the three-acre, gated estate, as well as the attic and crawl space of the 7,000-square foot home and two auxiliary buildings, for suspects and clues.
This brazen attack was the first murder in Monte Sereno since 1972.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “Rani,” Harinder Kumra, 63, filed for divorce in 2006 and it was finalized in 2010. The Saratoga News reported that Ravi Kumra was arrested in 1998, accused of assault and battery, two counts of making annoying or threatening phone calls, and one count of making terrorist threats. The charges stemmed from a dispute with Villa Montalvo staff who were operating the Mountain Winery at the time. The matter was complicated by the fact that Kumra was then on probation for a number of traffic violations, including drunken driving resulting in injury, and hit-and-run.
Ravi Kumra (1946-2012)
Mr. Kumra was born in Kartharpur, India in 1946. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology and came to the United States in 1970. He returned to India in 1974 to marry Rani in Ludhiana. A venture capitalist, he bought the Mountain Winery in Saratoga about the same time he and his wife moved to the house on Withey Road in 1995. He sold the Mountain Winery in 1999. He was described as a multimillionaire and owner of Western Cellular Management.
In addition to Rani, Mr. Kumra is survived by his daughters Raina and Anisha, his brothers Bharat and Rajesh, his sister Renu Duggal, and his father, Ram Kishan Kumra. In lieu of flowers, the family is accepting donations to the Ravi Kumra Memorial Fund.
Police are not releasing any additional details about the case as the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information for the police is asked to contact Sergeant Mike D’Antonio at (408) 827-3219, or call the main police number, (408) 354-8600.
The Children’s Holiday and Christmas Parade will go on as planned tomorrow, Saturday, December 1, at 11 a.m., continuing a long “rain or shine” tradition.
Tonight’s planned tree lighting event, however, has been postponed for a week due to the current storm. Sharon Childs, Executive Director of the Los Gatos Community Foundation, made the following announcement:
Due to the current storm hitting the town of Los Gatos and the Town Plaza being flooded tonight’s Tree Lighting has been postponed to next Friday, December 7th.
Todd Capurso, Director of Parks and Public Works just announced the Town Plaza is flooded. He stated, “we could still hold the ceremony, but it is a mess at the Plaza not to mention every place in town and it wouldn’t be a fun time for the few people who would attend in this storm.”
The Los Gatos Community Foundation and the Town of Los Gatos had to make the tough decision to reschedule tonight’s Tree Lighting event to next Friday, December 7th. The festivities will begin at 4:30 with the lighting of the tree at 6:00 and Santa arriving at 6:01.
“We wouldn’t have the Los Gatos High School band or the Fisher band tonight due to the rain”, said Jackie Rose, Town Community Outreach Coordinator who is co-chair with Sharon Childs, Executive Director of the Los Gatos Community Foundation.
It is important that people know this does not affect tomorrow’s parade. The Los Gatos Lion’s Club and the Los Gatos Saratoga Recreation department will start the parade at 11:00 as scheduled.
Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police have confirmed that a man was killed and his wife injured when robbers broke in and ransacked their home late Thursday.
The family was attacked in their home near Beck Avenue in Monte Sereno around midnight Thursday; the coroner’s office was called after Los Gatos/Monte Sereno police officers cleared the scene for paramedics to enter. The deceased man’s wife, who was finally able to call 911, was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
About a dozen police officers responded in the early hours of Friday morning, calling on mutual aid from surrounding cities. Campbell Police Department sent several officers immediately, as they did after the March 2008 murder of Mark Achilli. The Sheriff’s Office also assisted. Officers combed the grounds of the extensive, gated estate in the pouring rain and howling wind. Berko, the police dog, helped search the crawl space under the home.
This week, the media covered the trial of Maurice Ainsworth, accused of a brutal home invasion in the Summit Road area in March 2009.
The storm, the worst so far this season, brought down power lines on Shannon Road near Shannon Park earlier Thursday evening. The wires reportedly made sparks as the wind flung them around. Electricity went out several times, darkening Alpine and Johnson Avenues at times. A report that solar panels had blown off the roof of the Police Operations Building on Los Gatos Boulevard appeared to be incorrect, but it was a dark and stormy night.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Sergeant Mike D’Antonio at (408) 827-3219 or call the general police number (408) 354-8600 after hours.
The police promised to release further details of the crime Friday.
Limited-edition ornaments available from losgatosstore.com.
Local artist Curt Walton has opened an online store, www.LosGatosStore.com, where he will be selling limited-edition, hand-engraved, ornaments commemorating the town’s 125th anniversary. There are eight products currently, but more are planned. Four of the offerings will be limited to 125 numbered copies, each with a certificate of authenticity. Shipping is free until the end of the year.
(I can’t vouch for the new business, but I promise not to accept merchandise in exchange for publicity.–/alastair/)
Update 11/28/2012:The Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department’s thorough investigation of the robbery turned up a car in the Miles Ave. parking lot with a small amount of the stolen jewelry inside and outside the car. The thieves may have switched cars or fled on the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Anyone getting sandbags or using the trail around 12:10 p.m. yesterday who observed anything suspicious are asked to contact the investigators. Police released the 75-second video from the surveillance camera:
A witness described the getaway car as a blue Acura with a Washington plate; the car found was a gray Volkswagen Jetta, with a North Carolina plate but the license number matched what the witness provided. The Jetta was an unreported stolen vehicle and the license plate had been stolen from a different vehicle.
Blacy’s Fine Jewelers was robbed at gunpoint just after noon today by two men wearing ski masks, gloves, and brandishing semi-automatic pistols. The suspects allegedly smashed display cases as they held the employees at gunpoint. They made off with an unspecified quantity of jewelry, but no one was hurt.
Surveillance video shows robbery suspects storming the jewelry store
Two armed robbers struck Blacy’s Fine Jewelers at 51 University Ave. Tuesday at noon.
Witnesses told police that the two men were Hispanic or Asian, 25 to 30 years old, 5’6″ or 5’7″ with average builds. They wore gray hoodies, dark pants (possibly blue jeans), black gloves, and the dark-colored ski masks. Each carried a black, semi-automatic pistol.
The men reportedly pulled up in a blue Acura, pulled on their ski masks after they got out of the car, and entered the jewelry store. After the robbery, they headed northbound on University Avenue.
Anyone with information about the robbery or the suspects is asked to contact Sergeant Mike D’Antonio of the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department at (408) 827-3219 or call the police department’s general number, (408) 354-8600, after hours.
Anyone with any information about these men or this afternoon’s robbery is urged to call Mike D’Antonio of the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department.