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Five candidates compete for two seats on City Council Page 5

PORTOLA VALLEY This sublimely private estate property embodies the very best of the understated and exclusive Portola Valley lifestyle. The discretely located creekside property spans just over 14 acres, on multiple parcels. Formal gardens and stretches of lawn complement the grand two-story residence, while vast sun-swept meadows and specimen trees create an ambience that is decidedly country. $19,950,000

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2NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNOctober 17, 2012

UP F RONT

Atherton names new city manager By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

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Council meetings as an observer, I am well aware of the major initiatives and of the Town’s operations. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to interface with many of the Town’s staff, so the transition should be quick and smooth.” According to the release, he holds a bachelor’s degree in municipal management from

January. The mayor, Ms. DellaSanta and Councilwoman Kathy McKeithen oversaw the search for a permanent replacement by Bob Murray & Associates. The search firm narrowed the field of candidates from 58 to seven, and the ad-hoc committee then chose three, who were interviewed by the full council in July. The town opted to expand the search after the council failed to agree on a candidate.

tumultuous chapter in Atherton’s history may be drawing to a close with the announcement that the council has finally agreed on a new city manager. The contract to hire 45-year-old George Rodericks, the former city manager in Belvedere in Marin County, goes before the council on Wednesday, Oct. 17. He’ll be one of New finance two new faces joining director upper management. Joining Mr. RoderUnder the contract, icks as a new employee Mr. Rodericks would is Atherton’s finance be paid $160,000 a year director, Robert Barron along with a cellphone III. He arrives from the allowance of $100 a city of Millbrae, where month. He would receive he was financial services $2,500 monthly to help manager. with living expenses Michelle Le/The Almanac Mr. Barron, who began until he relocates to his Atherton job Oct. Atherton or until June George Rodericks, left, named Atherton’s new city 9, has experience as an 30, 2013. That’s on top manager, has spent more than 20 years in municpal assistant city manager of living rent-free in government. New Finance Director Robert Barron III was financial services manager of Millbrae. and finance director in a home owned by the town on Watkins Avenue. Central State University in the California cities of Huron As for time off, the contract Oklahoma, a master’s degree in and Coalinga, said Ms. Dellaprovides for 80 hours of vacation public administration from Cal Santa, who appointed him. Before his seven years of govfor the first two years, increasing State-Long Beach, and a jurist in 40-hour increments up to 160 doctorate from the Concord ernment service, he worked in the private sector as a senior after seven years of service. Sick University School of Law. leave at eight hours per month, Mr. Rodericks was selected assistant controller and senior plus administrative leave of 40 from a pool of 100 candidates. accountant, she said. Mr. Barron hours per year, is also included. “We took a bit longer to make has bachelor’s degrees in finance Retirement benefits fall under a decision than was originally and economics from the University of Notre Dame. CalPERS. He succeeds interim finance Mr. Rodericks counts more than 20 years in municipal gov- Town also names a new director Debra Auker, who was hired in December. ernment, most recently serving finance director. Approximately 40 people for seven years as city manapplied for the permanent ager in Belvedere. He resigned in June for personal reasons, planned, but we believe we finance director job. The town according to the Pacific Sun. found the right candidate, with narrowed the list to six, Ms. He received six months’ pay the right skills and the right fit DellaSanta said, and in August, after stepping down from the for the Town,” said Mayor Bill they were interviewed by a panel $182,700-a-year position. His Widmer in the town’s announce- made up of Atherton Public background includes working as ment. “We are confident George Works Director Mike Kashian assistant city manager, ana- will be able to maintain the wagi, Interim Finance Director lyst, code enforcement officer improvements the Town has Debra Auker, and San Carlos and planner. Perhaps of imme- experienced in both service qual- Assistant City Manager Brian diate importance to Atherton, ity and fiscal management. We Moura. That panel chose three he oversaw construction of two are pleased with our selection candidates to continue. Ms. DellaSanta, Police Chief town center projects. and thankful for the fine job “Coming from a similar Interim City Manager Theresa Ed Flint, and Mayor Widmer town, with similar services and DellaSanta has done for us these interviewed the top three candidates before the position was approaches, I know I can hit the last nine months.” ground running,” Mr. Rodericks Ms. DellaSanta stepped in offered to Mr. Barron. Renee Batti contributed said in a press release issued Oct. after John Danielson, also an to this report. 12. “Having attended several interim city manager, left in

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The faces of change

Two of five candidates for Menlo Park City Council may help usher in a new era for the city By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

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ith the passage of the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan and the arrival of Facebook, the next city council faces an era of change in Menlo Park — an era marked by opportunity, as well as tough choices due to the loss of millions of dollars in state funding. Five residents think they’re the right people to help guide the city through those choices and opportunities. They are competing for two seats on the five-member council. The winners will be elected to four-year terms. Dave Bragg

“Honest, hard-working, driven,” said Dave Bragg when asked to describe himself in three words. He’s a Marine combat veteran turned firefighter whose campaign slogan also boils down to three words — “Born to serve.” His top issues: implementing the specific plan, restoring vibrancy and attracting business to Menlo Park. As the owner of a construction company, Mr. Bragg spoke from personal experience when observing that property owners remain confused about what’s allowed under the new rules installed by the specific plan. And the permit process in Menlo Park — that’s another area crying out for renovation, he said. Speaking from a builder’s perspective, Mr. Bragg shared stories of clients afraid to apply for permits because of the expenses racked up by the city’s drawn-out, ambiguous process. He’s advocating for a streamlined process with a clear-cut checklist, and if the city wants to mandate green building features, great. “When you try to convince clients to spend more to go green, they say, ‘money’s green too.’ If it’s law, that’s easier to do.” Affordable housing is on the minds of many voters as the city works to wrench its housing plan into compliance with state law. “It’s not a matter of opinion; it’s something we have to do,” Mr. Bragg said. “A lot of folks in west Menlo Park don’t want affordable housing with them. ... I got asked, do you want it next to the duck pond in Sharon

Dave Bragg

Catherine Carlton

Carolyn Clarke

Kelly Fergusson

Ray Mueller

Age: 34 Occupation: Firefighter with the Menlo Park Fire Protection District and business owner Experience: U.S. Marine Corps; safety officer on Little League board; youth sports coach; co-chair, Menlo Fire Toy and Food Drive; Rebuilding Together Peninsula volunteer Education: Emergency medical technician; firefighter certification through College of San Mateo and Santa Barbara City College Website: www.davebragg.com

Age: 45 Occupation: Businesswoman Experience: Parks and Recreation Commission; Sharon Heights Homeowners Association; board member, Vista Center for the Blind and Junior League; South Bay Coalition Against Human Trafficking; Menlo Park AYSO; Girl Scouts troop leader; master composter Education: B.A. in communications, Tulane University; MBA, Cass Business School, London Website: carltonformenlopark.com

Age: 57 Occupation: Accountant and small business owner Experience: Housing Commission; Housing Element Steering Committee; founder, Belle Haven Community Foundation; Menlo Park Las Pulgas Committee; Habitat for Humanity volunteer; co-founder, School of Wisdom and Knowledge (Palo Alto charter school) Education: B.S. in business administration, San Francisco State University; CPA Website: clarke4unity.com

Age: 50 Occupation: Clean energy executive for local government market at Siemens Experience: Menlo Park City Council since 2004; board member, Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency; high speed rail subcommittee; business development subcommittee; public safety, transportation, environmental quality and public works commissions for League of California Cities; Peninsula Volunteers advisory council Education: B.S. in applied earth science, M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering, all from Stanford University Website: www.kellyforcouncil.org

Age: 38 Occupation: Attorney Experience: Transportation Commission; San Mateo County Domestic Violence Collaborative; Santa Cruz Avenue Downtown Block Party committee; board member, Las Lomitas Education Foundation; Santa Cruz Avenue Neighborhood Group organizer Education: B.S. in bioresource sciences, UC Berkeley; J.D., UC Hastings Website: muellerformenlopark.com

Heights or in Belle Haven?” He noted that Belle Haven seems less resistant to the idea. As a firefighter, Mr. Bragg might be expected to feel strongly about pension reform. And he does. “It needs to happen. But it needs to be negotiated. We could have done better for the city than Measure L if it had been negotiated,” for example, with a greater employee contribution, he said. Mr. Bragg is a newcomer to city politics. “I’m not a drawnout talker,” he said with a grin when asked what quality he hopes to bring to the council. Catherine Carlton

Catherine Carlton’s personal snapshot: “Good listener, tenacious, smart. Caring, resilient.” Rounding out Ms. Carlton’s list of top issues for the city: the blight of El Camino Real, fiscal responsibility, and creating a better reputation as a city that “wants business to come; Menlo Park has a reputation as ‘difficult.’” Concern for the infrastructure of emergency response ties into that. Without redundant systems in place, “we’re not as well-prepared as we could be,” she said.

The current race to update the city’s housing plan came about because of a lack of proactive steps by the council, according to Ms. Carlton. She said an argument might be made for adding housing affordable by newly divorced parents, seniors and teachers. The Parks and Recreation commissioner doesn’t favor converting parks to housing or adding sites near gas pipelines or potential areas of liquefaction, but thought “infill seems like an intelligent way to go for some of it” along with counting secondary, also known as granny, units. She’s eager to see what happens with pension reform on the state level. “The elephant in the room is police and fire. I am so in love with the safety of Menlo Park, and would never do anything to jeopardize police response.” Adding more nonsworn personnel rather than sworn officers might be one way to enlarge the police force while controlling costs, Ms. Carlton suggested. She said she hopes the next council has the wherewithal to address issues without leaving that to ballot measures like Measure L. Unions figure large in the

political landscape of pension reform, of course, and as the daughter of a teacher, Ms. Carlton emphasized her empathy and respect for what they do. But one comment during a recent meeting with a union lingered in her memory. “They did say one thing that really stuck with me. That if you said you were going to vote ‘X’, and didn’t, they would give you a call. They let you know without any doubt that they expected you to haul the line. Fair enough, but I lost sleep thinking over it. ... Integrity is important, and I’d hate to sign a statement saying I would always vote ‘X’. I can’t promise that.” Carolyn Clarke

“Kind, passionate, smart, in tune with the community,” was Carolyn Clarke’s self-portrait. Her top three issues: Traffic, affordable housing and finding new revenue streams. “I know people think of affordable housing as the projects, but that’s not what it is. This is housing for working people, for local families,” she said. Ms. Clarke, a housing commissioner, has also been serving on the steering committee charged with identifying sites to rezone

to increase Menlo Park’s housing capacity in compliance with state law. That includes setting aside sites and incentives for developers to build affordable housing. “Getting the buy-in is going to be a challenge, but I’m optimistic.” She analyzed sites based on what type of population would be served, such as seniors, and which are close to transit. It has been about 25 years since a Belle Haven resident last served on the council. As a resident of that neighborhood, Ms. Clarke would like to see that change. “I’d like to see east and west (Menlo Park) get to know each other more,” she said. “I also want to see Belle Haven become self-sufficient” by supporting services such as a credit union, retail, small business owner seminars, and the long-awaited (and still on the city’s drawing board) police substation. Raising the quality of education for the neighborhood’s students to match that of those in the Menlo Park City School District is another area of focus. Ms. Clarke voted against Measure L, the Menlo Park pensionreform initiative that passed by Continued on page 8

October 17, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5

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Menlo Park traffic jam expected to last weeks By Sandy Brundage

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weeks, Mr. Taylor said. Or longer, according to Caltrans. Spokeswoman Gidget ately it’s taking almost an Navarro said the control loops, hour to drive from one end which handle communications, of Menlo Park to the other are routinely damaged during the along a two-mile stretch of El grinding that takes place during Camino Real during commute a paving project, according to hours. Drivers sit staring at green the agency’s engineers. “This is lights and motionless traffic, the procedure in any paving job,� wondering what’s going on. she said. “After they do grindNow they know. Caltrans has ing, they’ll pave and then do the yet to finish repairing the damage loops and striping simultaneousfrom an Oct. 1 misly sometime next hap. A work crew month, probably accidentally severed Caltrans repairs mid-November.� the electrical lines won’t finish until There are 16 that feed into the control loops for traffic light system mid-November. each side of the at the intersection of street. Repairs El Camino Real and Santa Cruz require more specialized equipAvenue, according to Chip Taylor, ment and time than the trafthe city’s public works director. fic signal lines, Ms. Navarro He told the Almanac that while said. Right now the signals are the lights are now working, the on a timer; without functional communications line that allows loops, the lights can’t adjust “on for synchronization of signals demand� to the amount of trafalong the corridor remains bro- fic — a situation leading to the ken. The repairs won’t be fin- snarled intersections now enjoyed ished for another two to three by drivers in Menlo Park. Almanac Staff Writer

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Alleged car burglar busted in Menlo A car’s owner was surprised to see someone else rummaging through the vehicle on Thursday night, Oct. 11. A scuffle ensued, followed by a manhunt capped off by an arrest. Shortly after 9 p.m., the victim confronted the suspect and got shoved to the ground as the man fled. Minutes later Menlo Park police officer Brad Schuler spot-

ted someone fitting the suspect’s description. Police delivered Gary Darnell, a 26-year-old resident of East Palo Alto, to county jail after discovering in his possession a controlled substance as well as numerous items allegedly stolen from other cars parked along the 300 block of Oak Court in Menlo Park.

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N E W S

Measure A would hike sales tax By Dave Boyce Almanac staff writer

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Daly City Catholic hospital is spending big to influence San Mateo County voters on Measure A, a half-cent increase to the sales tax that would generate about $60 million in annual revenues for 10 years for county government. The money would go toward public health and safety, and care for the poor and elderly, proponents say. The campaign raised $991,000 as of Sept. 30, according to finance reports. The biggest donor: $887,000 from the Los Altos-based Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, which manages the Seton Medical Center. The total includes $50,200 in non-monetary contributions of consultant work and staff time. Asked about Seton’s public health profile, Supervisor Don Horsley said the hospital cares for 40 percent of the county’s state MediCal patients, many from the north part of the county where the need is great. Seton also runs the only emergency room and skilled nursing facility on the Coastside. National healthcare reform is expected to increase the public health burden in San Mateo County by about 50,000 people, Mr. Horsley said. If the hospital closed, the county would inherit an obligation of $30 million and $50 million to replace its sub-acote care services alone, he said. “They’re losing money so we want to make sure that Seton Hospital continues to be viable,” he said. “If Seton were to close ... it would be devastating to our

N ELECTION 20 12

health plan.” Because Measure A revenues would go to the county’s general fund, passage needs just a simple majority of 50 percent plus one, a county spokesman said. Other major donors to the campaign: $100,000 from the Sacramento-based California State Council of Service Employees Issues Committee,

San Mateo County seeks half-cent sales tax increase for 10 years. and $5,000 from Labor Organization Local No. 467, in Burlingame. All gifts went to the “Coalition to Protect Critical San Mateo County Services for Children, Families and Seniors, Yes on Measure A,” based in San Rafael. Making do

The county’s expenses for MediCal care exceed state reimbursements, Mr. Horsley said. The county recently cut annual expenses by $9 million by outsourcing management of a longterm care facility in Burlingame to a provider who rehired the 200 county workers, he said. (Some 500 other employees have left county government since 2008 and have not been replaced, he added.) Measure A’s opponents — including libertarians and the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association — argue that the super-

visors cut county staff and services rather than employee compensation, which is the real issue, they say, and “out of control.” And, they add, sales tax increases fall hardest on the poor. The county, they argue, should tighten its belt like everyone else. County Manager John Maltbie notes in his budget message that compensation is the “single largest expense item in the budget.” Employees haven’t had cost-of-living increases for four years, he said. Tax revenues “were essentially flat,” an unsustainable situation, he added. Salaries and benefits have to be consistent with revenues and with comparable jobs in the community, he said. Will campaign literature be a factor? The flier for Measure A lists services that it would pay for but not what is being sought: a half-cent increase in the sales tax for 10 years. Asked to explain, campaign spokesman Fred Muir said the ballot language “makes it pretty clear what this measure is. It’s a sales tax.” The media isn’t talking about county obligations, he said. “Those are the things voters need to know about,” he said. “There’s an art and a science to communicating in a campaign.” Asked about the flier’s omissions, Mr. Horsley essentially agreed with Mr. Muir. “I would say that the voter handbook is pretty clear. I have a lot of confidence in the average voter and I think they pretty much know it’s a funding measure.”

N ELECTION B RIEFS

districts are new and represent the work of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which voters mandated in 2008 to take redistricting out of the hands of politicians. The League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County is hosting the forum. For more information or transportation assistance, contact Ellen Hope at ellenjhope@aol.com or 839-8647.

Supes debate on Oct. 22 Candidates for the 4th District Board of Supervisors seat have been invited to an election debate on Monday, Oct. 22,

by Gloria Darke

ESCROW Q. Dear Gloria, there have been several hang-ups causing delay on the closing of our home. Why can’t escrow closing be predicted more accurately? — Mary A. Dear Mary, From the relatively calm manner in which you ask the question, it would appear that you don’t have several other closings dependent upon your closing. I have had escrows where there were five moving trucks at five different properties waiting for one of the five escrows to close! Problems do arise at the last moment and they need to be dealt with in a satisfactory manner before both parties witll give the escrow officer the go-ahead to close. It could be one of several things. The seller may have agreed to have something repaired prior to close and didn’t do it, which

is only discovered on the walk thru. More commonly, the lender gets delayed either because the appraiser was backed up or the buyer didn’t furnish necessary documentation. And there may be lien-holders who are discovered at the last minute and not sufficient funds to cover. Most of the escrow officers in this area will go the extra mile for a realtor they have a working relationship with. I have people who have worked on week-ends to get problems solved and the escrow closed. I even had one who worked with me up until the wee hours to get an escrow closed on New Years Eve before the tax laws changed! Always deal with an experienced agent who will ride herd on the numerous details for a successful and timely close.

For answers to any questions you may have on real estate, you may e-mail me at gdarke@apr. com or call 462-1111, Alain Pinel Realtors. I also offer a free market analysis of your property.

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Forum for state Senate, Assembly candidates Candidates for local state Senate and Assembly races have been invited to participate in an election forum from 7 to 9:30 p.m Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Civic Center. Running for the Senate District 13 seat are Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and Sally Lieber, a former Assembly member. Assembly candidates in District 24 are incumbent Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, and challenger Chengzhi “George” Yang, a Republican from Menlo Park. Both districts include Menlo Park, Woodside, Atherton and Portola Valley. These legislative

R EAL E STATE Q&A

organized by North Fair Oaks neighbors, said David Bui, one of the organizers. Candidates Shelly Masur and Warren Slocum are in a run-off election for the four-year seat. The debate will run from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fair Oaks Community Center at 2600 Middlefield Road Following two-minute opening statements, the candidates will be questioned by a moderator and will have 90 seconds to answer. There will be a 30-second rebuttal and two-minute closing statements. Eight questions will be prepared, followed by three questions from the audience that have been screened by the moderator, Mr. Bui said.

The online guide to Menlo Park businesses

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Menlo council race continued from page 5

72 percent. She supports pension reform, she said, but thought putting it in the hands of the voters was a mistake because voters don’t have as much information as the council does, and in the meantime no one knows how state reform efforts will play out on the local level. “Pension reform needed to happen, but I had a problem with the process.” Kelly Fergusson

Asked to describe herself in three words, incumbent Kelly Fergusson said, “Disciplined, hard-working, accessible, friendly, analytic, both sides of the brain.” She ticked off land-use planning, service levels and the quality of schools and neighborhoods as the city’s top issues. Ms. Fergusson touted her advanced degrees from Stanford as relevant to figuring out the city’s future. “There’s unfinished business, we still have land-use issues to sort out.” Affordable housing is one of those issues. “I think workforce housing is important,” she said. “Working families want to live near their jobs. We all do.” That housing could reduce traffic congestion, but must be balanced with increased demand

on local schools, according to Ms. Fergusson. The current housing element update is driven by state mandate, a situation that doesn’t appear to sit well with the councilwoman. She listed public safety — police and fire services — as a higher priority. “I’m here to serve the residents, not the state.” Determination to win a third term, despite a lack of endorsement from any current council member, underlined Ms. Fergusson’s responses. She declared herself willing to do whatever it takes. When asked about the Brown Act violation that led to her resignation as mayor in 2010, Ms. Fergusson responded: “I’m glad it’s over and the issue is behind us. I’m pleased the district attorney found there was no wrongdoing and the city properly handled the cure.” City Attorney Bill McClure had confirmed the violation, a serial solicitation of votes from two council colleagues conducted outside the public’s knowledge. Rescinding the original vote, which named Ms. Fergusson mayor, provided a sufficient civil remedy, according to a statement from the district attorney.

First round of campaign finance reports By Sandy Brundage

■ Kelly Fergusson: $9,976 plus a

Almanac Staff Writer

$5,000 loan from herself. How much is she willing to invest in her third run for council? “$30,000, potentially more if I need to respond to negative campaigning.” ■ Ray Mueller: $6,304, plus a $2,700 loan from himself. “When I started to run, I was told I needed $30,000. I don’t think that’s true,” Mr. Mueller said. He set some limits — no more than $500 from any single donor, and no funds from employee unions, although he would accept their endorsement. ■ Carolyn Clarke: $2,230. The seven donors listed on her report include former mayor Steve Schmidt, who has endorsed her,

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e may not have the longest list of endorsements, but so far firefighter Dave Bragg has the most generous donors of the five candidates running for Menlo Park City Council. According to reports filed Oct. 8, he’s raised $11,277 in contributions. The California Professional Firefighters Political Action Committee helped out by donating $1,000 for printing services. The rest of the field: ■ Catherine Carlton: $10,930 plus a $5,000 loan from herself. “I am asking everyone, really, to donate. Friends, family, random strangers I just met at the Farmers’ Market,” she said.

Ray Mueller

“Family, dedicated, energetic, investigative,” was Ray Mueller’s brief self-portrait. “Creative.” An attorney, Mr. Mueller demonstrated a willingness to research issues during his time on the Transportation Com-

Minnette Deloach Tittle October 15, 1927 – September 30, 2012 With saddened hearts, we announce the passing of Minnette Deloach Tittle, a cherished wife and adored mother, grandmother and greatgrandmother, who passed away in her sleep on September 30, 2012, in Atherton, California. She was born in Marshall, Texas, on October 15, 1927, to Arthur and Minnie Deloach. She attended East End School in Marshall, Texas, where she was a Princess of the May Fete and met her husband to be. She attended Marshall High School and the University of Arkansas before her marriage to her high school sweetheart, Y.A. Tittle. Minnette is survived by her husband, Y.A., to whom she was married for 64 years. She is also survived by her daughter, Dianne Tittle de Laet of Menlo Park, her sons, Patrick Allen Tittle and John Handley Tittle, as well as her seven grandchildren: Elisa, Michael Christian, Laura, Mera, Luke, Kelly and Jack, and her 4 greatgrandchildren: Ayla, Taj, Huck and Baby Ben. She was predeceased by her firstborn son, Michael Deloach Tittle, and her brother, Arthur Deloach. As a young mother, Minnette served as a community-volunteer, working both with young children and with veterans at the Veterans Hospital in Menlo Park, California, while

supporting her husband’s career as a professional football player as his number 1 fan and critic, before his career in the San Francisco Bay Area took the family to New York City, New York. In later years, she gave rein to her own passion for art and travel, served on the board of Folk Art International, the advisory board of The Arete Fund, and collected both American and Primitive Folk Art. An avid sportswoman in her own right, Minnette enjoyed tennis, golf and running into her late sixties, and in spite of illness, persevered into her eighties with sleepovers and scary stories for her great-grandchildren and shopping trips for one and all of her loved ones. Wise, passionate, generous, and “fierce” loving, Minnette was remembered at a private, family service at Alta Mesa Funeral Home on October 5, 2012, for a life rich in family and friends, and marked by a spirit of adventure and respect for the differences in culture, the oneness of people, as she travelled to more than 100 countries of the world with her boyfriend from grammar school days. Donations be made in her memory, to The Arete Fund, a 501(c)3 an educational fund, and sent to 1030 Cambridge Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025 or donate online at www.aretefund. net.

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Other highlights

Developer David Bohannon

mission, and that remained in evidence during the Almanac interview — he was the only candidate to bring his homework, in the form of documents and binders for reference, to the meeting. His top-three issues: Increasing revenue and the long-term financial health of the city; housing; and the environment. “We do need affordable housing. I like to call it ‘economic diversity’,” he said. “It makes a community healthy.” Ideally that would be located in pockets all over the city, near transit centers. Now about that revenue: Mr. Mueller said his research shows that start-up businesses leave Menlo Park on the cusp of producing money for the city because the planning process leaves them unsure as to whether they’ll get a use permit upon expansion. The city’s seen a 41 percent drop in revenue over five years, according to

is not playing favorites; he donated $500 to each candidate. The California Real Estate Political Action Committee gave $500 to Mr. Mueller and $1,000 to Ms. Carlton. They share other donors — former councilman John Boyle ($200); former councilwoman Lee Duboc ($100); downtown property owner Nancy Couperus ($50); and developer Kim LeMieux ($250). Ms. Fergusson showed more donations from those outside Menlo Park than the other candidates. Burlingame councilwoman Cathryn Baylock gave $100; Novato councilwoman Madeline Kellner donated $50. Residents of Palo Alto, Oakland, Los Altos and East Palo Alto added to the geographic diversity.

that analysis. The solution? Streamline the permit process, and revitalize the M2 business districts on the city’s east side. “I’m not Pollyannaish. This is going to be a political discussion and it’s going to be energetic, and that’s fine,” Mr. Mueller said. “I’ve been banging this drum for two years.” Bring in the contract planners, if there’s insufficient staff. Spend the political capital. Mine the city’s proximity to Stanford University and venture capitalists to create a diversified economic engine that doesn’t put all its eggs in the Facebook basket, he said. Like Ms. Carlton, he’d like to see where the state ends up with pension reform “so we know where we are.” Mr. Mueller said he’s “not anti-union, not at all, but the system is unsustainable. It’s not all the union’s fault” given that jurisdictions took unwise steps with employee compensation. A

Housing plan public hearings Menlo Park’s City Council will soon take a look at the proposed update to the city’s housing plan. The city has no choice about adding enough high-density housing zones to accommodate space for 1,000 units as part of a lawsuit settlement in May over its non-compliance with state law. While the city is not required to actually build the units, the settlement dictates that it must provide incentives for developers to do so. State law requires cities to assess and plan to meet their

fair share of regional housing needs, which includes affordable housing, every seven years. Menlo Park hasn’t met the state requirements since 1992, but now has only until Oct. 31 to send a draft update to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Go to tinyurl.com/MP-housing to peruse the proposed update. The council will hold its review at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.

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Measure K would hike hotel tax By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

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ax increases, although a time-honored way to generate more money for government, often face a stiff fight for approval by residents tired of watching more and more money vanish from their wallets. San Mateo County saw two proposed increases fail in June. But come Nov. 6, Menlo Park’s Measure K may prove an exception. Measure K would raise the hotel tax to 12 percent (from the current 10 percent) effective Jan. 1 if approved by a simple majority of voters. Otherwise known as the transient occupancy tax (TOT),

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the new rate would match that of neighbors Redwood City, East Palo Alto and Palo Alto and generate approximately $600,000 in revenue for Menlo Park annually. That would help make up for at least some of the $1.2 million annual loss triggered by the state dissolving the city’s redevelopment agency (RDA). And according to the candidates running for Menlo Park City Council — local hotel owners are now OK with that, despite the defeat of a similar measure in June brought by the county. The current council unanimously voted to place

the proposed increase on the ballot. “This past year has been a difficult one for Menlo Park. Although the city has worked hard to reduce expenditure budgets and revenues are showing signs of recovery, the dis-

Menlo Park council seeks to increase tax to 12 percent. solution of the RDA ... is a severe blow to the city’s efforts towards a sustainable budget for the long-term,” Mayor Kirsten Keith said, presenting the argument for Measure K in

Wednesday: Meeting on plastic bag ban On Oct. 23, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to adopt a reusable bag ordinance. If approved, the ordinance can then be adopted by 24 participating cities such as Menlo Park. The City Council is expected to vote on the ban in January, according to staff. The ban targets single-use bags, except those used by restaurants and for produce, and would implement a 10-cent fee for paper bags until Dec. 31, 2014, and then hike the fee to 25 cents per paper bag. The first of two informational meetings about the ordinance starts at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center at 701 Laurel St. Another will be held in December.

Willow Road/101 interchange project As if there’s not enough civic activities this week, the California Department of Transportation and the county will host a scoping meeting Wednesday, Oct. 17. Caltrans, in partnership with the county, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, proposes to reconstruct the U.S. 101 and Willow Road interchange. The redesign aims to “address deficiencies impacting motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians by eliminating traffic weaves and providing adequate

N BR IEFS

space for vehicles to stack on freeway off-ramps,” according to the agency. The scoping meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Menlo Park Senior Center at 100 Terminal Ave.

Free to good home: cats and kittens The Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA is now waiving adoption fees for cats and kittens. Previously the fees ranged from $50 to $95. The shelter spays or neuters all cats prior to adoption, vaccinates, screens health and behavior, and adds microchips. The shelter currently has close to 80 cats and kittens looking for homes, with more held at the Coyote Point intake facility. “Our goal is to get a few hundred cats and kittens into new, permanent loving homes by Christmas,” said spokesperson Scott Delucchi. “We will gladly trade adoption fees for those homes.” Go to phs-spca.org to download an adoption application and see a sampling of available cats. The new adoption center is at 1450 Rollins Road in Burlingame. It is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends.

a video produced by the MidPeninsula Community Media Center. The revenue will help maintain city services such as police services and infrastructure maintenance, she argued, describing the measure as a “market adjustment” to bring Menlo Park in line with other Peninsula cities. The rebuttal argument was authored not by a coalition of hotel owners, but by the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association. The rebuttal questions whether the money would actually go to services. “The thinking of the average politician goes like this: I want to spend someone else’s money for this or that. Whom can I get it from?” asked Executive Director Elizabeth Brierly, in a video produced the MidPeninsula Community Media

Center. “Well, it’s not fair to target one type of service — hotels.” She outlined potential consequences that include reduced business at local establishments; loss of a competitive edge in a tough economy; and a trickle-down effect. “Your favorite takeout may count on business from these convention visitors. Your hairdresser’s husband may be a desk clerk. Real people, really impacted,” Ms. Brierly said. The city disputes that in its rebuttal. “Occupancy rates are close to 80 percent for Menlo Park and Palo Alto. Palo Alto already charges a 12 percent hotel tax,” it noted. According to the city, the competitive edge lies in the quality of services rather than a tax that visitors don’t pay attention to when choosing hotels. A

The Mix closes in Menlo Park The Mix, a frozen yogurt “treatery” located at 3536 Alameda de las Pulgas in West Menlo Park, is closing Friday, Oct. 19. As a last day special, the store will serve medium yogurts in Mix mugs (while they last) as memorabilia. Owners Jamie Schein and Susannah Albright opened their frozen yogurt shop in 2010. Both women were Menlo Park residents, active in local schools and the community. Ms. Albright moved to Florida in August. An e-mail from the partners to The Almanac says: “Time has flown by and, as is typical in our fast-paced community, a lot

has changed. ... As we evaluated the options for our partnership going forward we received a business offer that we have decided to accept.” The women did not divulge information about the new business, but said it was not another yogurt shop. In the June 2 , 2010, issue of The Almanac, the article “Frozen yogurt face-off ” raised the question: “Is this town is big enough for four yogurt stores?” Now there are three: Wildberry at 325 Sharon Park Drive, Miyo Yogurt at 842 Santa Cruz Ave., and Yogurt Stop at 401 El Camino Real.

Fifth-grader raises funds for homeless animals By Jane Knoerle Almanac Lifestyles Editor

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t age 10, Helen Horangic of Menlo Park is “a tireless and passionate advocate for neglected and needy animals of all kinds,” says her mom. Helen, a fifth grader at Phillips Brooks School, lives in Menlo Park with her parents, Caroline Hubbard and Basil Horangic, and an older sister and brother. Because she is still too young to volunteer with any local animal rescue agencies (you have to be 13), she decided to launch “Helen’s Hope for Homeless Animals” and raise funds for the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA in Bur-

lingame. Helen’s goal was to raise $500 for the shelter and to acquire as many items as she could from their Helen Horangic published wish and Charlie list. She sent out an e-mail to family, friends, and members of the community asking for donations of money or supplies. In addition to the online campaign, she prepared fliers and solicited donations door to door. It worked. She surpassed her $500 goal, raising $1,595 in cash donations, as well as many

supplies needed at the Burlingame facility. She will present her check and supplies to the Peninsula Humane Society on Sunday, Oct. 28. She will also receive a private, behind-thescenes tour of the society’s Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion, where all adoptable animals are housed. What caused a 10-year-old to become an animal advocate at such an early age? It’s likely she was inspired by her aunt, Linda Lloyd, who is with a dog rescue organization in Canada, says her mom. “Whatever her future holds, I know Helen wants to be involved with animals.” A

The online guide to Menlo Park businesses Visit ShopMenloPark.com today October 17, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN9

A community health education series from Stanford Hospital & Clinics

When Fading Memory Raises Questions, Neuropsychology Can Point To Answers

Many of her friends’ mothers were about the same age, she said, “and they would tell me, ‘My mom asked me the same thing 5,000 times.’ That’s why I didn’t think anything was too different.” Harvell’s husband, Dave Baker, became concerned when he saw that his highly intelligent wife wasn’t just asking him the kind of computer questions that all non-technical folks ask; instead, she was posing questions about content. Her emotions around her work had altered, too. “She’d been a very confident, capable individual and she was becoming more anxious and upset and worried,” he said. “It started to become obvious that something was changing.” Baker was like many people who notice such differences, and begin to look for answers, especially as advancing age begins to interfere with the dozens of daily tasks once youthfully taken for granted. In the United States, more than 40 million people are over 65 years old; another 80 million are age 45-64. Of all the diseases related to age, dementia may be the most feared—a condition that attacks the core of all those qualities that distinguish one person from another and erodes those memories that bind together families and friends.

Dementia can take many forms; Alzheimer’s disease is the most often diagnosed variety and its toll is rapidly rising. The Alzheimer’s Association estimated that in 2011 5.4 million Americans—about one in eight of those 65 or older—were living with its consequences. Researchers have yet to understand what triggers the imbalance in brain chemistry that degrades its normal function, shrinking its overall size, and depositing tangles and plaques that block the millions of daily neuronal interactions. Progress has been made, however, in diagnosing the disease. Until recently, physicians were left only autopsy for definitive diagnosis. Now, at facilities like Stanford Hospital & Clinics’ Center for Memory Disorders, where Harvell was advised to seek care, patients have new options that, in combination with traditional tests, provide a much earlier sense of direction.

Looking for answers “My job is to try and figure out first if there’s anything we can fix right away,” said Geoffrey Kerchner, MD, PhD, a behavioral neurologist who became Harvell’s doctor. “When a patient comes to me with a complaint about memory, my approach is like that of any physician—I have to understand what medicines they’re on, what surgeries they’ve had, what their thyroid function or vitamin B12 levels are—to try to discover what the cause could be.” Harvell’s tests included an MRI to look for signs of a stroke or other brain injury. All came back with no obvious cause for her cognitive struggles. The next step, Kerchner said, was objective neuropsychological assessment, a set of tests that solve the dilemma for many who wonder if their memory lapses are something to worry about.

Norbert von der Groeben

“She’d been a very confident, capable individual and she was becoming more anxious and upset and worried,” said Harvell’s husband, Dave Baker. “It started to become obvious that something was changing.”

The hospital’s neuropsychology service, where Harvell was evaluated, does assessments on adults and children. It is focused on the cognitive and behavioral effects of conditions including head injury, cerebrovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, dementia, brain tumor, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and attention deficit/hyperactivity. Its expertise is essential in the diagnostic process.

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Harvell “is vibrant and carries on a lively conversation,” Kerchner said, “and it’s difficult in the course of a routine medical appointment to see that there’s anything the matter.” “When we look at behavior and Susan Harvell “is vibrant and carries on a lively conversation,” said her doctor, Stanford the brain, we behavioral neurobiologist Geoffrey Kerchner, MD, PhD, “and it’s difficult in the course of find there’s a a routine medical appointment to see that there’s anything the matter.” complex inner relationship,” Sometimes people with different kinds said Stanford neuropsychologist Gayle of dementia may seem to be less careful Deutsch, PhD. “A lot of our behaviors about reading social cues. Or they may become automatic over our lifetime, but become apathetic and show no interest when we break them apart, there is a in activities. That can’t always be meagreat deal of complexity.” Deutsch began sured in a standardized test.” the process of teasing apart the components of cognition to ascertain where Harvell’s problems truly began. That territory includes intellectual and executive function, language skills, visual-spatial Going through a full evaluation is really abilities, attention, memory, motor skills the only way to pinpoint what’s going on, and mood. Deutsch begins with a set of Deutsch said. “You can have a quick astests that take into account a full range sessment in a doctor’s office—and that’s of demographic information used to disgood, but it’s not as sensitive as the tinguish those changes that emerge with whole battery of tests you get in a neunormal aging and those linked to neuroropsychological evaluation. And having degenerative conditions. that knowledge puts you and your family in the right direction to get the right treatment.” “You can have a quick assessment

Norbert von der Groeben

Susan Harvell’s daughter, Claire, can’t list specific moments when her mother, a longtime human resources executive in her early 50s, seemed to be off her game. “It wasn’t anything drastic,” she said. “She could tell you a million stories about when I was 3 years old, but if I told her I was going to do something, she’d ask me five minutes later if I was going to do something.”

What the data showed

in a doctor’s office—and that’s good, but it’s not as sensitive as the whole battery of tests you get in a neuropsychological evaluation.” – Stanford neuropsychologist Gayle Deutsch, PhD The tests themselves are designed to evaluate, in the most straightforward way, how the mind is working. Just reading out loud, for example, won’t show much. “Pronouncing words is something that is less sensitive to age-related cognitive decline,” Deutsch said. A hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, however, is a decline in the brain’s ability to retain new information, so the tests Deutsch administers challenge how long someone can remember a list of words or reproduce a set of shapes, or follow directions. As Deutsch moves to test executive function, she will engage a patient’s family and friends for their observations. “Our tests are good at measuring conceptual reasoning and problem solving,” she said, “but it’s also important to look at everyday behavior. Are people showing social skills appropriate for their age?

While the tests Deutsch conducts allow very specific measurements of brain dysfunction, standard brain imaging doesn’t show the atrophy classic to dementia until middle to late stages of the disease. But two new tests are now available that analyze levels of two proteins in the body associated with Alzheimer’s disease—amyloid beta and tau. “The cerebral spinal fluid test is an example of a new test that actually looks for abnormalities that are caused by the disease itself,” Kerchner said, “so it can provide positive evidence of the disease.” A second test, just approved by the FDA, uses radioactive particles that seek out and mark amyloid plaques in the brain. Those two tests, he said, are so sensitive to Alzheimer’s that for select patients they may reduce the need for other tests. Susan Harvell’s Finally came the moment when, as Harvell remembers it, Kerchner “got nose to nose

seemed to be o you a million s do something,

special feature with me, got very serious and told me I wouldn’t be working anymore,” that she had early onset Alzheimer’s. She was 53. “He was very thorough about outlining the tests they’d done and what each test meant and how he came to his conclusion that she had Alzheimer’s,” Baker said. “There wasn’t a lot of doubt when he said it.”

Could You Have Alzheimer’s Disease?

“I was upset at first,” Harvell said. “I was surprised. I was in denial. I thought the whole party was over—work and everything. I can’t work. I can’t drive. It was like everything was going past me. It’s hard.”

Norbert von der Groeben

“Having an answer helps a patient understand more about their prognosis and what’s likely to happen in the coming years— and we have a lot of data and understanding about that.” – Stanford behavioral neurobiologist Geoffrey Kerchner, MD, PhD

“Having a garden and a dog is really healthy if you’re going through something like this,” said Susan Harvell. “I read. I paint. I have things to do. I have great friends.”

Baker said, “The day we got the diagnosis we came home and Susan’s sister and brother-in-law had come to visit and we didn’t know whether to tell them or not. We were kind of just sitting there in shock, and I think for a number of months there was this shock, and this mourning. We did a lot of crying and mourning and a lot of being upset. We’ve moved through that now and we’re just looking for the positive sides, for how we can help other people going through this disease, how Susan can help with research and how we can just enjoy ourselves in our day.”

keeps losing his cell phone, for instance. Your scores could mean you’re completely within the norm for your age. Or, it could mean that you started out life being very smart, so the testing can be insensitive as to whether it’s a decline for you. In that case, having those tests done can be extremely valuable as a baseline.”

Finding peace Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s “is a big hit,” Kerchner said, “but by the time a patient has a physician tell them, ‘I think you have Alzheimer’s disease,’ it’s not a mystery to them that something’s going on with their brain. They know it and they’re worried. Having an answer helps a patient understand more about their prognosis and what’s likely to happen in the coming years—and we have a lot of data and understanding about that. I think people achieve a lot of peace of mind in having a name on what they have and in being acknowledged by the medical community.”

Kerchner agrees with others in the memory disorder care community that within a decade biomarker tests, such as the ones that show elevated levels of Alzheimer’s particular chemistry, will likely become part of standard screening tests, as colonoscopies are now part of every 50-year-old’s health exams. Until then, the current combination of physical and neuropsychological exams will remain the best and most critically important avenue to diagnosis, especially “with the rising prevalence of concern,” Kerchner said. “We get more and more referrals from people with mild symptoms who are worried—the husband who

Norbert von der Groeben

s daughter, Claire, can’t list specific moments when her mother off her game. “It wasn’t anything drastic,” she said. “She could tell tories about when I was 3 years old, but if I told her I was going to , she’d ask me five minutes later if I was going to do something.”

“Having a garden and a dog is really healthy if you’re going through something like this,” Harvell said. “I read. I paint. I have things to do. I have great friends. My job right now is to go to Stanford and do what I need to do with Dr. Kerchner, to be there for somebody, to have conversations. It’s good to connect with someone else who’s going through what you are so you don’t just feel like, ‘Oh, it’s just me. I’m the purple goose going down the street.’ I want to get it out and talk about it—to be a waving flag for Alzheimer’s and for Stanford.” The garden in particular gives her a sense of purpose and reward. “I see the color every day and I’m like, ‘Life is beautiful.’”

Worrying about Alzheimer’s is something more and more of us are doing. Age-related cognitive decline happens to most of us: As we get older, we might forget why we went into the kitchen or the name of a character in a movie. That’s normal. Some of us might do that more than others, but typically, that’s about as far as our forgetfulness goes. Here are some basics about Alzheimer’s and dementia to consider: t Alzheimer’s affects short-term memory most dramatically. Asking the same question over and over again is a hallmark of that loss of function. t Brain scans might show some physical changes indicative of Alzheimer’s, but cognitive tests are the only way to objectively measure functional changes. t Memory loss is often accompanied by a loss of executive function: the ability to plan a task and then complete it. Losing the ability to call things by their names is another indicator. t Changes in personality also emerge. Someone once very calm and steady may become irritable, sad, anxious, impulsive or apathetic.

What Else Might Cause Cognitive Impairment? t Medications, on their own or in combination, may produce dementia-like symptoms. These symptoms can appear suddenly or over time. t Thyroid imbalance, hypoglycemia, too much sodium or calcium, dehydration and nutritional deficiencies can also trigger changes in cognition and emotional state. t Brain tumors and bleeding between the brain and its lining can interfere with brain function; so can lack of oxygen to the brain, originating with heart and lung problems. Other health issues, including smoke or carbon inhalation or coma, can have an impact on brain function.

What Tests Can Help t Physical exam, including blood and organ function tests, along with a complete medical history, is helpful in ruling out a treatable medical condition. t MRI, CT and PET scans provide more detail; an EEG (electroencephalogram) tracks electrical activity in the brain through electrodes attached to the scalp. Spinal fluid may also be tested. t Neuropsychological and psychiatric evaluation complete the picture. For more information, call 650.723.6469 or visit stanfordhospital.org/ memoryclinic Join the Stanford Hospital & Clinics team at the Oct. 20 Walk to End Alzheimer’s. For more information visit stanfordhospital.org/events Join us at stanfordhospital.org/socialmedia. Watch the new Stanford Hospital Health Notes television show on Comcast: channel 28 on Mondays at 8:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. and Fridays at 8:30 a.m.; channel 30 Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. It can also be viewed at www.youtube.com/stanfordhospital.

“I know there’s a lot more in our future around this, too,” Baker said. “Every day we just get up and do the best we can, and where we end up is in somebody else’s hands.” Baker was diagnosed with heart failure several years ago, and his condition has been stabilized. “There were some advances “I know there’s a lot more in our future around this, too,” said Susan Harvell’s husband, in therapies and Dave Baker. “Every day we just get up and do the best we can, and where we end up is I’m still around,” in somebody else’s hands.” he said. “We’re really hoping the same thing can happen for Susan’s get there for all the people who have Aldisease—and that at least we can help zheimer’s as well.”

Stanford Hospital & Clinics is dedicated to providing leading edge and coordinated care to each and every patient. It is internationally renowned for expertise in areas such as cancer treatment, neuroscience, surgery, cardiovascular medicine and organ transplant, as well as for translating medical breakthroughs into patient care. Throughout its history, Stanford has been at the forefront of discovery and innovation, as researchers and clinicians work together to improve health on a global level. Stanford Hospital & Clinics: Healing humanity through science and compassion, one patient at a time. For more information, visit www.stanfordhospital.org.

October 17, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11

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Ford Field oak to be cut down By Dave Boyce Almanac staff writer

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WE LIVE OUR LIVES. We Know Our Risks—And Our Options The strongest predictor of developing breast cancer is a family history of the disease. Stanford physicians and researchers have been instrumental in developing many

he advancing decay of the oak tree that overlooks and threatens a Little League dugout at Ford Field is serious enough that the tree will be cut down within 45 days, the Portola Valley Town Council decided on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in a unanimous vote. The council was acting on the advice of the town’s Parks & Recreation and Conservation committees, the Public Works Department, and reports from an arborist and the town’s insurer. The dugout has been closed since April 2008, when the council voted to save the tree pending a pruning and support from a metal brace. The tree reportedly once survived a lightning strike and earned the name “Resurrection Tree” by some in the community. Somebody should gather acorns and sprout them, said Councilman Ted Driscoll, a leading advocate for the tree in 2008. “Give the children a chance to survive what the father couldn’t,” he added, “or what the mother couldn’t.” Lay the trunk on its side some distance away and let nature take its course with it, suggested former mayor Jon Silver from the audience — an idea that seemed to have a consensus. “In my mind, it’s pretty clear we’ve reached the end of the road for the tree and that’s all I’m going to say,” said Councilwoman Ann Wengert. “I’m sad about it, but it’s the right thing to do,” said Mayor Maryann Derwin. “It’s always important to protect our trees,” Public Works Director Howard Young responded. “Fortunately, we have thousands,” Mr. Driscoll added. A

of the leading technologies used to understand and screen for hereditary cancer syndromes. The Stanford Cancer Genetics Program provides genetic counseling and testing to anyone concerned about the risk of an inherited cancer predisposition, and our expert specialists offer personalized plans for managing cancer risk.

For more info, call 650.498.6004 or visit cancer.stanford.edu/breastcancer

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Teen gift to PV The Teen Committee in Portola Valley, a sponsor of dances during the school year, collected $500 in donations from the dances and gave it to the town’s Open Space Acquisition Fund at the Blues & Barbecue Festival, according to committee chair Sharon Driscoll. Revenues from the festival go to buy and maintain open space in town. The Teen Committee gift was “in remembrance of the late Bill Lane and his wife Jean in honor of their dedication to the town and its open spaces.”

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Menlo Park axes tree plan for Bedwell Bayfront Park By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

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t seemed like a good idea at the time, but not any more: The Menlo Park City Council voted 5-0 to axe a plan to plant 1,000 native trees and shrubs in Bedwell Bayfront Park despite winning a $350,000 state grant for the project. City staff will attempt to renegotiate with the state to allow the money to go toward planting trees in Belle Haven instead. The Bedwell Bayfront Park plan was approved by a 3-2 vote in 2011, with Andy Cohen and Kirsten Keith dissenting. But in light of recent studies suggesting the former landfill’s soil isn’t deep enough to support the landscaping, and dissent from the nonprofit

Friends of Bedwell Bayfront Park, the council decided to reconsider. No one spoke in favor of the park plan during public comment at the Oct. 9 council meeting. The Belle Haven option, however, garnered a show of support. “For many years one of the things we’ve had on our list of civic improvements has been to line the Chilco corridor with trees,� said Matt Henry. The benefits of landscaping along Chilco Street as well as near the railroad tracks would cut noise, dust and liven up the scenery, according to the Belle Haven Neighborhood Association president. Councilman Rich Cline, who initially voted for the project and declared himself skeptical about the possible success

of renegotiating the grant, reversed his position, noting that he thought he didn’t have

City will seek state funds for Belle Haven trees. a single letter from the community in favor of the planting. Colleague Kelly Fergusson

said she had seen the proposal as “a magnificent opportunity to bring natives� to the park, and urged the Friends to come up with a new vision for landscaping. She cautioned that renegotiating “carries no guarantee of success.� Public Works Director Chip Taylor agreed. He pointed out that planting trees in Belle Haven has its own downsides — namely, increasing maintenance costs for the city and the potential for conf lict

L U C I L E PA C K A R D

with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which does not want planting done around water pipelines running through the area. Menlo Park will need to pay back $1,300 in reimbursements received from the state, and forfeit recovering approximately $5,000 to $7,000 for staff time already spent on the park proposal, according to Environmental Program Manager Rebecca Fotu. A

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N E W S

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Portola Valley theater group stages the play, ‘Distracted’ The Portola Valley Theatre Conservatory will present “Distracted,” a play by Lisa Loomer Oct. 19-21 and Oct. 26-28 at Lane Hall Theatre, located on the campus of Valley Presbyterian Church, 945 Portola Road in Portola Valley. The story centers on a mother struggling to raise a son with a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The mother finds herself at the center of it all, trying to make it right for everyone, especially her son. She consults doctors, psychi-

atrists, homeopaths and new age healers, agonizing over the right course for her 9-year-old son. Leading roles are played by Mary Moore as Mama, Kevin Kirby as Dad, and Shane Turner as Jessie, their son. Featured roles are played by Juliet Green, Dorian Dunne, Betsy Burdick, Andrew Saier, and Alanna McNaughton. Director is Noelle Goodman-Morris Gibbs. For those interested in discussing the challenges raised by a show, a brief talk-back session with the actors and director will follow each performance. Due to its mature theme, “Distracted” is recommended for sixth-grade students through adults. Visit pvtc-ca.org online or call 851-8282, ext. 105, to purchase. Tickets range from $10 to $40.

Miriam Roth MacKenzie Miriam Roth MacKenzie passed away Oct. 3, 2012, at her home in Menlo Park where she had lived for 62 years. She was born in San Francisco on Jan. 8, 1917, and lived most of her life on the Peninsula. She was the daughter of Almon E. Roth and Mildred Hayes Roth and the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Hayes of Edenvale, San Jose. She grew up living on the Stanford campus where her father served as Comptroller of the University for 18 years. She attended Castilleja School in Palo Alto and graduated from Stanford in 1938. There she was president of her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, graduated with Great Distinction and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa National Scholastic Honor Society. In 1941, she married Alexander Scott Gray MacKenzie who was then in Stanford Medical School. He served for three-and-a-half years in the Navy Medical Corps in World War II, after which he returned to Stanford Hospital for his surgical residency. In 1950, he joined the Palo Alto Clinic and the family established a home in Menlo Park. Life was never dull in the MacKenzie household and Mrs. MacKenzie lived an extraordinarily busy but very happy life occupied with the raising of her six children and participation in their activities. She also provided a home for two grandparents for 23 years and nine foreign students who came and went. She served as President of the Stanford Mother’s Club (now Parent’s Club) and volunteered for auxiliaries to Stanford Children’s Hospital (now Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital). When her children were grown, she transferred her energies to her garden, creating and maintaining such a beautiful one that it was enjoyed by many. The family’s love of the High Sierra resulted in many wonderful summer experiences in the High Country. Dr. MacKenzie died in 2000. His wife is survived by her daughter, Alexandra Standing (Douglas) of Sunnyvale; her five sons, David (Helen) of Palo Alto, James (Janet) of Atherton, William of Menlo Park, Duncan (Phyllis) of College Station, Texas, and Donald (Janice) of Newark; eight grandchildren; six great grandchildren and her brother William Roth (Deborah) of Palo Alto. Private services will be held. The family requests any memorial donations be made to the Peninsula Open Space Trust, 222 High St., Palo Alto, CA 94301; or the Roth Auxiliary at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, 725 Welch Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304. PA I D

14NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNOctober 17, 2012

O B I T UA RY

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Sudden oak death persists locally Submitted by Ted Haynes of the Atherton Tree Committee. Results of the 2012 survey of sudden oak death (SOD) infection, conducted by volunteers throughout the Bay Area, show the disease persists on the Midpeninsula. Of the trees sampled, infection rates were 15.7 percent in Woodside, 14 percent in Portola Valley, and 3.2 percent in Atherton. Visit matteolab.org for more information on the results from the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology lab. Dr. Matteo Garbeletto, head of the lab, will conduct community meetings to present the survey results. For Woodside, Portola Valley, and Emerald Hills, the meeting will be held at the Woodside Town Hall, 2955 Woodside Road in Woodside, at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. For Atherton and Los Altos, the meeting will be at the Los Altos Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road in Los Altos, at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. Field meetings to discuss SOD management and demonstrate treatment will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Portola Valley Ranch and at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Oak Grove Picnic Area in Foothills Park, 3300 Page Mill Road in Los Altos Hills. Year-to-year comparisons and interpretation of survey results will require Dr. Garbeletto’s expertise because the specific trees sampled vary from year to year and, in some cases,

Free flu shots Free flu shots will be available from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the main fire station of the Woodside Fire Protection District at 3111 Woodside Road in Woodside. Appointments are not necessary. Flu shots are recommended for people 60 or older and anyone with a long-term health concern, including diseases affecting the heart, lungs and kidneys and the immune system. They’re also useful to avoid catching the flu. Children 6 months or older can be vaccinated. For information on influenza and vaccinations, call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 800-232-4636. For information on the Woodside clinic, call 851-1594.

residents have removed both infected and uninfected trees. In Atherton for example, three out of 19 trees sampled in 2010 were infected (16 percent infection rate), six out of 41 trees were infected in 2011 (15 percent), and only one of 31 trees was infected in 2012 (3 percent). The pathogen that causes sudden oak death, Phytophthora ramorum, can infect 107 different plants, including camellias and rhododendrons. Most plants survive but some, especially bay laurels, spread the disease to oaks. The annual survey, known as the “SOD Blitz,� focuses on California bay laurels in order to best measure the spread of the disease. Once infection is detected in an oak, it is generally too late to save the tree.

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October 17, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN15

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Portola Valley seeks volunteers for commission seats Support The Almanac’s coverage of our community. Memberships begin at only 17¢ per day Join today: SupportLocalJournalism.org

The Portola Valley Town Council is seeking volunteers with a serious and sustained interest in the town’s residential character for positions on two panels central to the life of the town: the Planning Commission and the Architectural & Site Control Commission (ASCC). Both commissions have five members and both advise the Town Council, but on different matters. The Planning Commission concerns itself with policies about land use and develop-

ment, including applications for variances and the hearing of appeals by property owners over decisions made by Town Hall staff as they administer zoning and subdivision ordinances. The Planning Commission’s decisions may be appealed to the Town Council. The ASCC administers the town’s residential design guidelines and oversees significant new residential and commercial development in town, including major additions and changes of

use. The ASCC, according to its mission statement, is principally responsible for “the visual character of the community, minimizing disturbance to the natural setting and ensuring that improvements are properly related to their site and adjacent uses.� Membership on these commissions requires a major commitment of time, both behind and away from the dais. The terms are for four years and the commissions typically meet

twice a month in the evening, the Planning Commission on the first and third Wednesdays and the ASCC on the second and fourth Mondays. Each commission will have three openings for four-year terms in January. Applicants should send a letter indicating their interest to the Town Council by Friday, Nov. 9. For questions or more information, contact Interim Planning Manager Steve Padovan at 851-1700, ext. 212.

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16NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNOctober 17, 2012

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Semifinalists named in National Merit competition Local high school seniors showed their academic talents by being named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. They now have the opportunity to compete for some 8,300 Merit Scholarship awards, worth more than $32 million. Winners will be announced in the spring. The semifinalists were among the 1.5 million high school juniors across the country who took the Preliminary SAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test last spring. They scored among the highest entrants in the state. Semifinalists, listed by schools, are: N PO LI C E C A L L S

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This information is from the Atherton and Menlo Park police departments and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. Under the law, people charged with offenses are considered innocent until convicted. MENLO PARK Residential burglary reports: ■ Unknown losses in break-in, using drill, through front window and theft of two laptop computers, miscellaneous jewelry and silverware, O’Keefe St., Oct. 9. ■ Losses estimated at $100 in break-in by smashing side window and theft of two purses, Carlton Ave., Oct. 5. Auto burglary reports: ■ Estimated losses of $7,785 in break-in by smashing windows of three vehicles and theft of four laptop computers, Apple iPad, three laptop/messenger bags, computer cables and clothing, Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel at 2825 Sand Hill Road, Oct. 9. ■ Unknown loss in unsuccessful attempt to pry open side window, Alma At., Oct. 10. Theft reports: ■ Losses estimated at $925 in theft from purse of wallet valued at $800 containing $125 in cash, 500 block of El Camino Real, Oct. 5. ■ Loss estimated at $800 in theft of Apple iPad and iPhone from open office, Constitution Ave., Oct. 7. ■ Losses estimated at $450 in theft of locked adult tricycle from front of victim’s apartment, Bay Road, Oct. 8. ■ Losses estimated at $300 in theft of unlocked bicycle from driveway, Laurel St., Oct. 5. Vehicle fire report: Arrest made on charges of having lit on fire a 1989 BMW 325i after a domestic dispute with car’s owner, Willow Road, Oct. 10. Fraud reports: ■ Unauthorized online purchases of $17,000 made from victim’s credit card, Mansion Court, Oct. 8. ■ Losses estimated at $295 when someone sent two Western Union money transfers for purchase of puppy that was to be flown in overnight, Carlton Ave., Oct. 6. Child Protective Services report: Van Buren Road, Oct. 11. ATHERTON Theft report: Unknown losses in theft of over 100 apples and persimmons picked from trees, Oak Grove Ave., Oct. 7. Elder abuse report: Possible case, Elena Ave., Oct. 7.

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October 17, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN17

Serving Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, and Woodside for 44 years. Editor & Publisher Tom Gibboney

Newsroom Managing Editor Richard Hine News Editor Renee Batti Lifestyles Editor Jane Knoerle Staff Writers Dave Boyce, Sandy Brundage Contributors Marjorie Mader, Barbara Wood, Kate Daly Special Sections Editors Carol Blitzer, Sue Dremann Photographer Michelle Le

Design & Production Design Director Shannon Corey Designers Linda Atilano, Lili Cao, Diane Haas, Rosanna Leung, Paul Llewellyn, Scott Peterson

Advertising Vice President Sales and Marketing Tom Zahiralis Display Advertising Sales Adam Carter Real Estate Manager Neal Fine Real Estate and Advertising Coordinator Diane Martin Classified Legal Advertising Alicia Santillan Published every Wednesday at 3525 Alameda De Las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025 Newsroom: (650) 223-6525 Newsroom Fax: (650) 223-7525 Advertising: (650) 854-2626 Advertising Fax: (650) 854-3650 Email news and photos with captions to: Editor@AlmanacNews.com Email letters to: letters@AlmanacNews.com The Almanac, established in October 1065,

Viewpoint IDEAS, THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS

ABOUT LOCAL ISSUES FROM PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY. EDITED BY TOM GIBBONEY

Endorsements Clarke, Mueller for Menlo Park Council

W

hat’s next for Menlo Park? With two council seats open, the direction of the city could change significantly next year, or simply make a mid-course correction. A diverse field of five candidates includes incumbent Kelly Fergusson and newcomers Dave Bragg, Carolyn Clarke, Catherine Carlton and Ray Mueller who are hoping to win one of the two open seats on Nov. 6. All but Mr. Bragg, a firefighter and contractor, are serving on the council or a city commission, a good training ground for future council members. And all are certainly qualified to serve on the council, making our endorsements a difficult choice. Who among these five could play a leading role in implementing the city’s new downtown plan, making sure that Facebook’s expansion conforms to the city’s guidelines, and that the city’s affordable housing obligations are met? Which of the challengers will work hard to keep employee labor and pension costs in check while negotiating the labor contracts that come up for renewal? Who will support adequate capital improvements for Belle Haven despite the loss of funds when Gov. Jerry Brown took away the redevelopment agency? How these and many other issues are resolved will have a major impact on the look and feel of Menlo Park. In our view, Housing Commissioner Carolyn Clarke and Transportation Commissioner will best serve all the citizens of Menlo Park. Ms. Clarke, from Belle Haven, would be the first council member to represent her neighborhood since Billy Ray White some 25 years ago. And Ray Mueller has proven that he cares deeply about the city and will work overtime to advance its prospects. Also, while we appreciate the service of council member Kelly Fergusson, we believe two terms is enough, given her misguided effort to line up votes for mayor — a Brown Act violation — and her changing position on Measure L.

VOTER GUIDE

is delivered each week to residents of Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside and adjacent unincorporated areas of southern San Mateo County. The Almanac is qualified by decree of the Superior Court of San Mateo County to publish public notices of a governmental and legal nature, as stated in Decree No. 147530,

a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. We believe she could bring a city-wide perspective while on the council, but also speak up for the Belle Haven residents who are simply trying to attract basic services like a bank and grocery store to their neighborhood. She is a strong advocate for affordable housing in the city “for regular working people” and senior citizens who retire and sell their home but want to keep living in Menlo Park. She supports building housing near transit, citing the downtown-El Camino corridor as a good location and serves on the committee that is identifying sites to rezone for additional housing in the city. Ms. Clarke supports pension reform but said she had a problem with process used in passing Measure L. She worries that lower-tier pensions could be cut, she said, although she has no problem if higher pensions are reduced. Pension reform needs to happen, she said, but she believes the City Council is better equipped to make that decision than voters. The Almanac urges voters to support Carolyn Clarke for City Council.

Carolyn Clarke Carolyn Clarke is an accountant who operates her own small business, but also worked for Stanford and the Kaiser Foundation. She is the founder of the Belle Haven Community Foundation and

Ray Mueller Ray Mueller has never been shy about digging into issues confronting the city. For example, ever since he began his campaign for the Menlo Park City Council back in May, he has advocated a zoning policy that would bring more companies to the M-2 industrial zone of the east side of the city. He rightfully worries that while many small start-up companies find a home at the Tarleton incubator park off Willow Road, as they grow and need manufacturing space they leave the city for other areas due to uncertainty about winning zoning approval for their projects. As a council member he said he would work to provide incentives for these companies to stay in Menlo Park, which could create good-paying jobs for Belle Haven. Mr. Mueller is a strong supporter of affordable housing, which he says encourages supports economic diversity and makes for a healthy community. He is concerned that at least many of the initial locations chosen were not distributed equally around the city. On pension reform, he favored waiting for further action until he sees more of the state’s plan. Rather than have small jurisdictions act on their own, he said he would rather see a more united effort that could produce a long-term solution. The Almanac urges voters to support Ray Mueller for City Council.

issued December 21, 1969. Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years.

L ET TERS Our readers write

DA has conflict on death penalty ■ WHAT’S YOUR VIEW? All views must include a home address and contact phone number. Published letters will also appear on the web site, www.TheAlmanacOnline.com, and occasionally on the Town Square forum.

TOWN SQUARE FORUM Post your views on the Town Square forum at www.TheAlmanacOnline.com EMAIL your views to: letters@almanacnews.com and note this it is a letter to the editor in the subject line. MAIL or deliver to: Editor at the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

CALL the Viewpoint desk at 223-6507.

Editor: Stephen Wagstaffe, the district attorney of San Mateo County, has sought the death penalty for an individual convicted in 1989 for the horrific crimes of torture, sexual assault and murder. Questions can be raised about the ethics or prudence of Mr. Wagstaffe accepting a co-chair position in a coalition seeking to defeat Proposition 34. The substance of this proposition falls squarely within the prosecutorial mission of his office. Should not his professional obligation be to “execute” the law, and not attempt to influence its formation and enactment? There is considerable discusContinued on next page

18NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNOctober 17, 2012

Portola Valley Archives

Our Regional Heritage Hay is harvested in this undated photo taken at Ormondale Ranch, near today’s Solana and Westridge drives in Portola Valley. The hay was needed to feed some 200 horses housed on the ranch.

V I E W P O I N T

L ET T ER S Our readers write

Continued from previous page

sion on both sides of the proposition on the financial cost of the death penalty. Mr. Wagstaffe states, “We shouldn’t be deciding it (the death penalty) on the money, we should decide whether its right or wrong. ...� He is correct. Rightness or wrongness is a moral issue, and falls in the domain of organized religion, especially those with the evangelical “pro-life� agenda. This pro-life spectrum spans from birth to “natural death.� Executing an individual can hardly be considered “natural death.� Yet leaders of organized religion have been relatively docile in opposing the death penalty in California. I urge those who believe in the sanctity of life to vote Yes on Proposition 34. Henry Organ Euclid Avenue, Menlo Park

No need to build expensive county jail Editor: I am chagrined but not surprised to learn that San Mateo County public officials are neglecting to consider three

Voters urged to back Little League field By Jeff Morris

A

therton Measure M is a generous that play softball, soccer, lacrosse and offer from the Menlo-Atherton other activities that require a safe field. The Little League that deserves all of Menlo-Atherton Little League will also our support. The Little League submitted take on the responsibility for the ongoing a plan to enhance and beautify the baseball maintenance of the fields so that they are field area at Holbrook-Palmer properly maintained at no cost to Park. The renovated field will the city. increase the safety of the field We are fortunate to have for the children who play on it. generous private citizens who The current field is in need of want to renovate and upgrade the upgrading since it has not been fields. As someone who oversaw properly maintained by the town the city approvals, fundraising of Atherton. In addition to renoand construction of the Little vating the Little League field, the League field at the park over a GUEST proposal includes resurfacing decade ago, I am delighted that OPINION the tennis courts, adding public the next generation of families restrooms, and enhancing the is offering to make these badly landscaping. The proposal calls for the needed improvements. addition of seating behind the backstop to Parks are central to any community. accommodate the families and friends of They provide families a place to gather, the children who attend the games. All of get to know each other, and play outdoors. these improvements will be fully funded Recreational youth sports are pillars of the by private donations. community. Sports teach children valuable The fields can also be used by children life lessons, build friendships, and help

reports that they themselves commissioned regarding solutions to their jail overcrowding situation. Most poignant is the July 2011 report by a research group of the U.S. Department of Justice which found that 73 percent of San Mateo County’s jail inmates (700 inmates on any given day) are not convicts, but people

awaiting trial who cannot afford bail. Maybe they have an explanation, but San Mateo County public officials need to make clear why spending $100 per day incarcerating non-violent pretrial individuals is superior to spending 75 cents per day keeping them on electronic monitoring. Residents deserve an answer to

Atherton police tactics raise questions By Walter Sleeth

T

he present contract with the Atherton naire that the APOA asked all candidates to police expires in 2013 and the nego- complete was: tiations with the Town will begin soon. “Do you believe in protecting police officers’ A good case can be made that the Teamsters retirement plans and health benefits regardless through the APOA (Atherton Police Officers of state and/or city budget deficits?� Association) are attempting to buy influence One might first question the chutzpah of the on the Town Council by supporting two can- union in asking such a question, including the didates in the upcoming election and trying to phrase “regardless of state and/or city budget intimidate homeowners by sending fliers and deficits.� The answer to this question is suppostelephone calls with lightly disguised edly confidential, but is there much threats, warning residents that if they doubt as to how these candidates do not vote for Elizabeth Lewis and answered? While the tactics of the Cary Wiest their home security and APOA may be legal they are, in my safety may be at risk. opinion, unethical and the endorsed In order to try and ensure that their candidates have been tainted. These chosen candidates are elected, they candidates have publicly stressed have supported these candidates with transparency and ethics. How much signs and “robo� calls costing so far, hypocritical behavior, even on the GUEST over $3,000. (See the APOA’s Form 460 local level, does our society now conOPINION at the City Manager’s office.) While done? under the “Citizens United� case, this This Atherton election should is presumably legal, a concerned citibe about representing all residents on zen would ask if conducting our Town election many difficult issues and not electing candithis way is in the interest of either the candidates dates who may be perceived to be in the pocket or the union. The tactics of the APOA are short- of any one interest group, including the APOA. sighted in light of Proposition 32 being on the Walter Sleeth lives on Catalpa Drive ballot. in Atherton. Should these candidates be elected they will have a perceived conflict of interest and would Editor’s note: Candidate Elizabeth Lewis has ethically recuse themselves from any involveposted her answers to the APOA questionnaire ment in contract negotiations with the Teamon her website. ■ Visit tinyurl.com/Lewis-101 to find a link to sters. This result is not a good scenario for either those answers. the union or the Town. One question in the endorsement question-

keep them active. Little League baseball is a popular youth sport and thousands of kids in the town of Atherton have participated in our Little League. The baseball field will remain in the same location, the new seats behind the backstop will be understated and architecturally consistent with existing structures, and there will be no additional seats along the foul lines. The plans are beautiful and an upgrade from the original field installation. The renovation of the fields does not conflict with the outcome of the election for the proposed library. Youth sports can be played at Holbrook-Palmer Park regardless of whether a library is approved and constructed in the future. Please do not confuse the library issue with your support for youth sports in Atherton. Please vote “yes� on Measure M to support children and families in Atherton. Jeff Morris is a longtime Little League coach who lives in Atherton.

this question before they spend $155 million on a new jail and $30 million per year to run it. Kaia Eakin Redwood City

There is income from Atherton park Editor: There have been a number of statements circulated lately about how Atherton’s HolbrookPalmer Park could not generate income. A few months ago Steve Tyler, Atherton public works department superintendent, did an

analysis for the council of a year’s income-producing activities in the park based upon present staffing. After deducting all costs, including depreciation, there would be a surplus of $86,000 available for the town’s treasury. Also, a few individuals have questioned the location of the present library near the railroad tracks in relation to the location proposed in the park. Look at the neighboring cities of Menlo Park and Redwood City, which both have libraries located next to the railroad tracks. Earl T. Nielsen Burns Avenue, Atherton

    

       

  

  

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October 17, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN19

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20NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNOctober 17, 2012


The Almanac 10.17.2012 - section 1