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ON ALTO WEEKLY PUBLICATI N VIEW VOICE AND PALO AN ALMANAC , MOUNTAI

SUMMER 2010

Home & Garden Design inside this issue

DESIGNER ADDS

DRAMA

IN PALO ALTO HOME PAGE 16

ALTO I PAGE 4 BARRIER S IN PALO BREAKIN G DOWN IN VIEW I PAGE 8 BOXES IN MOUNTA 25 NO MORE BORING MENLO PARK I PAGE ENHANC ES LIFE IN DRAMAT IC PORCH

T H E H O M E TOW N N E W S PA P E R F O R M E N L O PA R K , AT H E RTO N , P O RTO L A VA L L E Y A N D WO O D S I D E

J U LY 2 1 , 2 0 1 0

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More Music@Menlo

Artistic directors David Finckel and Wu Han are among the performers at the 8th annual music festival [See Section 2]

apr.com Go to open.apr.com for the Bay Area’s only complete online open home guide.

PA LO A LTO Beautifully sited on a prime 30,673+/-sf lot, this stately Tudor residence is distinguished by exceptional detailing and craftsmanship. Built for entertaining, generous formal spaces are beautifully integrated with majestic gardens to create a private oasis in the heart of Silicon Valley. Pool, spa, and tennis court complete the grounds.

$6,475,000

AT H E R TO N Stunning ranch home offers the ambiance of a country retreat. This 2,360+/-sf home is nestled in 52,272+/-sf park-like garden setting. Light-filled home boasts a natural stone fireplaces in living room and family room. 2 large workshops next to garage. Large front porch and covered back patio. Close to the best of urban conveniences.

$2,195,000

M E N LO PA R K Lovely 4bd/3ba home on cul-desac in Linfield Oaks. Large lot with a creek side setting. Privacy and charm with many quality updates. Open family room with cathedral windows overlooking the garden. Fourth bedroom with bath for guests. Close to downtown Palo Alto, Stanford Shopping Center and Burgess Park.

$1,639,000

MENLO PARK OFFICE 1550 EL CAMINO REAL, SUITE 10 0 650.462.1111 WOODSIDE OFFICE 2930 WOODSIDE ROAD 650.529.1111 APR COUNTIES | Santa Clara | San Mateo | San Fracisco | Marin | Sonoma | Alameda | Contra Costa | Monterey | Santa Cruz 2 N The Almanac NJuly 21, 2010

UP F RONT

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Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

Jesus Banda piles usable lumber from what had been a portable building at Hillview Middle School on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park. This deconstruction is part of the initial phase of a school rebuilding project using voter-approved municipal bond funds.

Reconstruction work begins at Hillview Phase 1 of the reconstruction of Hillview Middle School has begun on the campus at the corner of Santa Cruz and Elder avenues. In an interview, Ahmad Sheikholeslami, district director of facility planning and construction, said the first phase will include the removal

of the tennis courts, Tinker Park, the basketball courts, the open field and the parking lot. Mr. Sheikholeslami estimated that Phase 1 will last four or five months, at which time the district will put out another bid for the actual construction of the school. The goal is to have the work

done on weekdays during normal working hours, though there may be “crunch times,� Mr. Sheikholeslami told The Almanac. “If we’re going to work on Saturdays, we will let our neighbors know.� To contact Mr. Sheikholeslami with questions or concerns, call 321-7140 and press option 2.

158 University Ave (at High St.), Palo Alto www.livegreene.com - info@livegreene.com (650) 331-0700

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C U S T O M S O L U T I O N S F O R E V E R Y S T Y L E A N D E V E R Y B U D G E T

City will file opposing argument to pension lawsuit By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor

M

enlo Park’s city attorney will file an opposing argument to the legal challenge by two public employee unions of the citizendriven pension reform initiative, and will ask the court to allow the initiative to remain on the November ballot. City Attorney Bill McClure was given the instruction to proceed with the court filing by a unanimous vote of the City Council during a July 13 closedsession meeting, he reported after the meeting. The unions, AFSCME Local 829 and SEIU Local 521, and

resident Katy Rose filed the lawsuit on June 23, challenging the legality of the initiative. The lawsuit names the city of Menlo Park and resident Ned Moritz, treasurer of Citizens for Fair and Responsible Pension Reform, the group that gathered some 3,100 signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot. The initiative would increase the retirement age for new, non-police employees from 55 to 60 years, and would decrease the pension payments those employees receive. The lawsuit asserts that the pension reform initiative violates Article XI, section 7, of the state Constitution; and provisions of the Meyers-Milias-

Brown Act. It asks the court to decide the issue, and keep the measure off the ballot if it agrees that it’s illegal. N COR RECT ION S

■ In a recent story about debutantes bowing at the 50th Peninsula Ball, one of the names was reported incorrectly. The correct name is Hathaway Moore, not Elizabeth Moore. Elizabeth is her middle name. ■ In a Destinations story entitled, “Beyond Yosemite,� we incorrectly referred to the Sierra Nevada mountain range as the Sierras.

CALLING ON THE ALMANAC The Almanac newsroom is at 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025. Classified ads: Newsroom: Newsroom fax: Advertising: Advertising fax:

854-0858 854-2690 854-0677 854-2626 854-3650

N E-mail news, information, obituaries and photos (with captions) to: editor@AlmanacNews.com N E-mail letters to the editor to: letters@AlmanacNews.com

To request free delivery, or stop delivery, of The Almanac in zip code 94025, 94027, 94028 and the Woodside portion of 94062, call 854-2626.

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O U R P E N I N S U L A S H O W R O O M S H A V E C O N S O L I D AT E D. THE ALMANAC (ISSN 1097-3095 and USPS 459370) is published every Wednesday by Embarcadero Media, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 940256558. Periodicals Postage Paid at Menlo Park, CA and at additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for San Mateo County, The Almanac is delivered free to homes in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. Subscriptions for $60 per year or $100 per 2 years are welcome. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025-6558. Copyright Š2010 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

V I S I T U S AT O U R N E W LY E X PA N D E D A N D R E N O V AT E D C A M P B E L L S H O W R O O M . T H E B AY A R E A ’ S L A R G E S T ! C E RT I F I E D

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July 21, 2010 N The Almanac N3

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No vote for you, supervisors say ■ Board rejects proposal that voters decide in November whether to change the way supervisors are elected. By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer

S

hould voters decide how county supervisors are elected? No way, says the supervisors themselves. In a 4-1 vote on July 13, the board rejected a proposal from the county charter review committee that voters decide in November whether the supervisors should be

elected county-wide, as they are now, or by district, the way supervisors are elected in every other county in California. Twice in the 1990s, voters rejected a change in the way supervisors are elected, noted board President Rich Gordon, who cast the sole vote to put the question before voters again in November. (San Mateo County does have supervisory districts. Candidates must live within the district they represent, but they must run county-wide. Mr. Gordon is in District 3, which includes Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley.)

The 16-member county charter review committee, which held 13 public meetings over six months, had recommended on a 14-2 vote to put the question before voters. The committee made other recommendations, including: ■ Changing the methods for filling vacant seats when elected officials resign. The Board of Supervisors agreed to put that on the ballot. ■ Appointing rather than electing the treasurer/tax col-

lector and auditor/controller. The supervisors rejected that recommendation. ■ Reviewing the need for each of the county’s 49 boards and commissions. The supervisors approved this with conditions. Electing supervisors

The charter review committee actually expressed opposition, on an 11-4 vote, to changing how supervisors are elected, but on a 14-2 vote said the question should be decided by voters. They

A L L E Y

were “persuaded that there was enough energy and public debate of the issue that the voters of the county should be allowed to select the method of electing their representatives to the board,” the committee said in its report. Mr. Gordon agreed that the matter “really needed to go to the ballot for the citizens to make the decision.” No, it doesn’t, said his colleagues. “Every resident gets five supervisors and I think that’s the way it should be,” said Supervisor Carole Groom. See CHARTER, page 8

City poised to settle lawsuit involving former Cadillac site on El Camino Real By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor

T

he Menlo Park City Council is poised to approve a settlement agreement with a group called Concerned Citizens of Menlo Park, which in November 2009 sued the city and would-be developers of the property at 1300 El Camino Real after the city issued preliminary approvals for a planned office/ retail project for that site. The council plans to vote on the agreement, which scales back the size of a planned grocery store on the site, at its Tuesday, July 20, meeting. The item is on the agenda’s consent calendar, but Mayor Rich Cline said the council may move it from that section if council members want to discuss it. The Concerned Citizens group filed the lawsuit anonymously, but the settlement agreement names Tony Alexander as the plaintiff’s representative. The document lists an address on Mt. Hamilton Road in San Jose for Mr. Alexander. Former mayor Lee Duboc wrote in her regular Menlo Park’s Future e-mail bulletin, sent on July 18, that Mr. Alexander is the political director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which represents employees of grocery stores including Draeger’s and Safeway. The union’s Local 5 website lists a Tony Alexander as its political director. Mr. Alexander of Local 5, which is headquartered in San Jose, could not be reached for comment before The

Almanac’s press time. Under the agreement, the city will place two additional restrictions on the planned project at 1300 El Camino Real, according to a staff report released by the city. The first restriction states that the maximum size of a grocery store on the property will be limited to 32,000 square feet. The original plan called for a grocery store of nearly 51,000 square feet. That restriction also requires other tenants to limit the amount of retail sales floor space dedicated to the sale of non-taxable items, including food, to 15 percent. The limitation doesn’t apply to small-scale food shops such as Starbucks and Jamba Juice, the staff report says. The second restriction prohibits the “self-checkout of alcohol sales” by any retail business on the site. The agreement requires the developer — Peter Pau, president of Sand Hill Property Management Co., and SHP Los Altos LLC — to pay the Concerned Citizens $38,000 in attorney fees and costs. The developer must also pay “for all city costs and fees associated with processing the project and fees related to the lawsuit and settlement,” according to the staff report. The lawsuit was filed using the California private attorney general statute, which allows private citizens acting as public-interest representatives to sue government entities. It challenged the city’s approval of the project’s

Photo by Dave Boyce/The Almanac

Men at work from the San Mateo County Public Works Department consider a new sidewalk planter box for a sycamore tree along Alameda de las Pulgas in unincorporated West Menlo Park. Previous trees have been run over by vehicles backing out of tight parking spaces.

County tries new locations for sidewalk trees By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer

S

hady sidewalks are slowly becoming a reality along Alameda de las Pulgas between Avy and Ashton avenues in unincorporated West Menlo Park. And the San Mateo County Public Works Department is again engaged in trying to realize more of that vision. Workers are moving the sidewalk planter boxes slightly to help a new set of young trees avoid the fate of their predecessors: being run over by heedless drivers. The planting in 2004 of some 40 sycamore trees along the twoblock-long commercial district promised an end to sidewalks baked — or blessed, depend-

ing on your point of view — by uninterrupted sunshine. Some merchants objected to the trees, seeing them as hindrances to vehicle parking in what was already a congested scene in a community in which SUVs are popular. It didn’t take long to justify their prediction. About a third of the young sycamores had short lives punctuated by repeated bashings from vehicle bumpers until they lay stretched out on the sidewalk. As did two or three rounds of replacement trees, each of which were tended by Public Works Department workers to help them grow roots sufficient to reach the water table and survive without irrigation. Jeff Grech, a supervisor with

the Public Works Department, was on the street recently to oversee the relocation of the luckless sidewalk planter boxes and their eventual replanting. Would this expenditure of sweat and public funds have a different result? “I’ve photographed a lot of those trees lying on the sidewalk,” this reporter told Mr. Grech. “I’ve picked a lot of them up,” Mr. Grech replied, unfazed. Carpenter Luis Carlos, interrupted during construction of a new frame for a planter box, noted that that stretch of sidewalk will now have one tree instead of two. “Hopefully (the tree) will survive if people will show a little bit of concern about it,” Mr. Carlos said. A

See LAWSUIT, page 9

July 21, 2010 N The Almanac N5

John O’Connor

TOWN OF WOODSIDE

FDR502

MENLO PARK FUNERALS

FD2060

INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR ARCHITECTURAL AND SITE REVIEW BOARD The Architectural and Site Review Board reviews and makes recommendations to the Director of Planning and Building on residential, site design and commercial applications.

NEW # 650-329-8022 menloparkfunerals.com

1182A-Chestnut St. Menlo Park

Interested residents may request information and applications Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-12 noon and 1-5:00 p.m. at the Town Clerk’s OfďŹ ce, 2955 Woodside Road, by telephone at (650) 851-6790, or through the Town’s web site at www.woodsidetown. org. Deadline for applications is Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 5:00 p.m.

A great bike ride! TOUR de MENLO 2O1O METRIC CENTURY Saturday, August 21 65, 46 & 35 mile rides with a few hills Ride Day Registration 8 to 10 a.m.

Meetings are held on the ďŹ rst and third Monday of each month, 4:30 p.m. Appointment is for an unexpired term through January 2011

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Legendary Japanese Butoh company performs its latest work, the enigmatic Tobari.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;An effortlessly charismatic bassistâ&#x20AC;? (NY Times), McBride returns with an acoustic quintet.

Violin virtuosa Midori in an intimate evening of Bach, Mozart, and more.

Menlo-Atherton High School 555 MiddleďŹ eld Road Atherton, CA, 94027

3;/<C3: /F E32 8/< Solo recital: The legendary pianist performs late works of Schubert.

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The Israeli rock legend unites East and West, classical and contemporary, sacred and secular.

;7<5CA 0750/<2 E32!/>@ The iconic jazz composer Charles Mingus lives on in his incendiary namesake ensemble.

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Register online at www.tourdemenlo.com 6 N The Almanac NJuly 21, 2010

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R EAL E STATE Q&A

N E W S

by Monica Corman

Mayor: Public notice should have been given By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor

A

fter coming under fire over a likely violation of the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s open meeting law, Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline said last week that the consortium of cities he heads to address high-speed rail issues will discuss how to avoid future missteps. Mayor Cline heads the Peninsula Cities Consortium (PCC), made up of five elected officials from Menlo Park, Atherton, Palo Alto, Burlingame and Belmont. The coalition advocates for the five cities, which will be heavily impacted by construction of the Peninsula line of the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high-speed rail project. On June 10, Mayor Cline, Atherton City Councilman Jerry Carlson, Palo Alto Mayor Patrick Burt, and Mountain View Mayor Ronit Bryant met with Curt Pringle, chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority board, to take him on a tour of the railroad right-of-way in each of their towns. The tour, preceded by a brief meeting in Palo Altoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s city hall,

flew under the radar of public attention until a local newspaper reported last week that the meeting occurred, and that no public notice was given. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was one of those things where we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even think of it as a meeting,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Cline said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But in hindsight, it was a meeting. ... Technically, it should have been noticed.â&#x20AC;? The technicality was that the tour, organized to give Mr. Pringle a first-hand look at the areas that will be affected, with perspective provided by mayors and a councilman, wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a function of the PCC. But because three of the four elected officials who met with Mr. Pringle are members of the PCC, and represent a quorum of that group, public notice of the meeting would have been appropriate under the Brown Act, the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s open meeting law, Mayor Cline said. The Brown Act requires that official public notice be posted when a quorum of a legislative body meets. The planned tour had been talked about at a public council meeting, Mr. Cline said,

and the PCC members had no intention of trying to hide the information. He said the consortium will discuss the issue at its July 23 meeting. Members also will try to tackle a â&#x20AC;&#x153;broader challengeâ&#x20AC;? that they face as members of a multicity coalition of elected officials: When they meet on matters other than high-speed rail, representing their own jurisdictions, and a majority of them happen to attend the same meeting, is there a legal requirement to post a public notice in advance? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really blurry now,â&#x20AC;? Mayor Cline said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We need to review it (to set a policy) for the PCC to make sure we tighten it up.â&#x20AC;? Another problem for the group is that there is no official staff member to take care of administrative details and tasks. Because Mr. Cline is the chair at this point, Menlo Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s city clerk sends out agendas, and staff members from other towns might take care of other tasks on a rotating basis. But thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no one providing the more complicated administrative support typically given to elective bodies, he said.

The number of single family homes sold in Mid-Peninsula towns around Stanford during the first half of this year has increased substantially over the same period last year. The highest increases were in Los Altos (up 58%), Woodside (up 50%) Portola Valley (up 33%) Palo Alto (up 21%) and Menlo Park (up 14%). Average prices were also mostly higher than during the same period last year. Townhomes and condominiums saw an even great rise in the number of sales this year over last. Menlo Park sales were up 75%, Palo Alto 51%, and Los Altos 22%. Average prices this year over last stayed about the same overall. The real estate market has been active

but cautious this year, in spite of continued very low interest rates. It is a buyersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; market and sellers must meet buyersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs in order to make a sale. The mood of the country is cautious as well, reflected not only in the stock market but in the consumer spending patterns. There are still high unemployment rates and these must go down for the real estate market to show real sustained growth. If you are a buyer, it is a very good time to buy. Prices are down and mortgage rates are very low. If you are a seller who has equity in your home and can pay off your mortgage with the proceeds of a sale, it is a fine time for you to sell as well while interest rates are very attractive.

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

FREE DELIVERY

Six cited for sale of alcohol to minors Six adults were cited Friday (July 16) for the sale of alcohol to a minor in Menlo Park, police reported. A seventh was cited for buying alcohol for a minor. The six citations were made under the departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decoy operation in which a minor under the supervision of the police attempts to buy alcohol from businesses in Menlo Park that are licensed to sell alcohol. Officer James Luevano said a minor decoy was able to purchase alcohol at these Menlo Park locations: Cafe Borrone, Bistro Vida restaurant, Amiciâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s East Coast Pizzeria, and Carpaccio restaurant. In another program, a minor decoy stands outside a liquor or convenience store and asks adults to purchase alcohol for them. If an adult buys alcohol for the minor, investigators arrest the adult and cite him or her for furnishing alcohol to a minor. A minor decoy was furnished alcohol by one adult during this operation, and the adult was cited, police said. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a fine and can include community service, Officer Luevano said.

Mid-Year Report

(with min. order)

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A VISION OF THE FUTURE? If you thought that the night-vision goggles worn by the military were advanced pieces of technology, you may be surprised to learn that scientists are working on even more advanced technology that may be adapted to eyeglasses of the future. By adapting technology that is currently found in flatscreen TV sets, scientists have developed a film that transforms infrared light into visible light. This new technology eliminates the vacuum sealing, heavy glass lenses and high energy needs of current nightvision goggles and instead utilizes layered film that

(Next to Pacific Athletic Club)

both detects infrared light and generates enough electricity to convert the signal to visible light. This technology could be applied to eyeglasses so that drivers would find it easier to see at night. Driving at night can be a visual challenge for some people because headlights from other vehicles can create distracting double images. Technology form the military and TV industry may transfer into optical lenses to help night drivers. Bring your eyewear prescription to MENLO OPTICAL at 1168 University Drive, on the corner of Oak Grove and University Drive. We prescribe lenses that reduce annoying glare caused by reflected light in either daytime or nighttime conditions. You will also find sports and protective glasses designed for various occupations. Please call us at 322-3900 if you have questions about eyewear. P.S. Until advanced night-vision technology comes along drivers may want to investigate lens coatings that reduce glare. Mark Schmidt is an American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners Certified Optician licensed by the Medical Board of California. He can be easily reached at Menlo Optical, 1166 University Drive, Menlo Park. 650-322-3900.

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Hundreds of people, organized by the California Nurses Association, demonstrated in front of the Atherton home of Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman.

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Nurses union stages protest in Atherton By Georgia Wells Special to The Almanac

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noisy but respectful crowd of protestors, organized by the California Nurses Association, filled the street in front of the Atherton home of Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman on Thursday afternoon, July 15. Many of the hundreds of protestors carried signs reading â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nurses say no to Whitman,â&#x20AC;? and some chanted: â&#x20AC;&#x153;You take on one of us? Then youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll take on all of us.â&#x20AC;? The nurses union has accused Ms. Whitman of union-busting tactics and plans to cut thousands of state jobs. The Whitman for governor campaign issued a statement that quoted retired nurse Alice Hansen, who it said has joined a new Nurses for Meg Whitman CHARTER continued from page 5

And the voters? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Board of Supervisors decides what goes to the voters and the board has made its decision,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why clutter the ballot?â&#x20AC;? Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson did not respond to an interview request. The committeeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recommendations, said Supervisor Adrienne Tissier, are the boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to â&#x20AC;&#x153;accept or reject. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feel the need to change (the election procedures).â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The board has the discretion to make decisions to not put a particular matter on the ballot,â&#x20AC;? said Supervisor Mark Church. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are elected to make these kinds of decisions.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Wow. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surprising,â&#x20AC;? said Woodside mayor and committee member Dave Burow upon

coalition: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The radical leadership of this union does not represents the vast majority of California nurses. ... According to reputable polling numbers, 40 percent of all nurses in California support Meg Whitman for Governor. ...â&#x20AC;? The statement said Ms. Whitman supports nurse staffing ratios and has a plan to address the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nursing shortages. At the time of the demonstration, Ms. Whitman was at a campaign event in Ontario, California, her campaign said. At the Atherton protest, a small number of people lined the street, some holding signs that read â&#x20AC;&#x153;Firefighter families for Jerry Brown.â&#x20AC;? (Mr. Brown is the Democratic candidate opposing Ms. Whitman in the governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s race.) Several older people in wheelchairs cheered and shook plastic bottles filled with coins. An actress playing â&#x20AC;&#x153;Queen

Megâ&#x20AC;? said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Meg Whitman is not our friend. She canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be trusted. She wants to cut the pensions of nurses.â&#x20AC;? The crowd booed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As nurses, we are having a hard enough time as it is,â&#x20AC;? said Pier Blandon, who said she has been a nurse at Kaiser hospital for 28 years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of us are getting burnt out, which is affecting patient care. We have patients that havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fully recovered, and are being pushed out of the hospital before they should be.â&#x20AC;? There were no arrests or confrontations with police, California Highway Patrol Officer Jeff Egeline said. The protest lasted about 30 minutes. By 1:45 p.m., the wellorganized crowd was boarding buses back to Canada College in Woodside, where they planned to hear speeches on nursing issues. Go to is.gd/dvVAP (case-sensitive) to see a related story.

learning of the boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vote to not authorize a ballot measure. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Obviously, as a committee member, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m disappointed.â&#x20AC;? As was Portola Valley Councilwoman Maryann Derwin, who reported on the boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision at the June 14 meeting, and added, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m very disappointed.â&#x20AC;?

noting that expertise in particular areas, if needed, can be hired. These officials are now accountable to voters, Mr. Church told The Almanac. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You lose that accountability if that position is appointed.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think it would put too much power into the hands of the county manager,â&#x20AC;? Ms. Tissier said. The board had approved in February an ordinance setting qualification standards for the county treasurer, but the standards wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be effective until the 2015 election, Supervisor Groom noted. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was in favor of putting them into effect now,â&#x20AC;? she said. In addition to supporting bydistrict elections for supervisors, Woodside Mayor Burow wanted these finance officials appointed. A final comment? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I guess thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just strong support for the status quo,â&#x20AC;? he said.

Accountable to voters

On the issue of changing the county treasurer and auditor to appointed, rather than elected, positions, the charter review committee noted several concerns, including whether these officials should be accountable to voters or county officials. An argument for appointment is that a for-hire official would have to demonstrate expertise in a job interview, for example. The supervisors voted unanimously to keep things as they are,

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Rich Cline says he will seek second term By Renee Batti

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ayor Rich Cline will run for a second term on the Menlo Park City Council, he told The Almanac this week. Saying that being a council member is a tough job but “a very rewarding experience,” Mr. Cline said in a written statement that the current council “has an ambitious agenda and we need to continue to tackle some big challenges facing our town.” Among those challenges, he said, are long-term planning of the downtown area, managing the planned high-speed rail’s

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EL E CT O N S ( 10 ( (2 0 impacts on the community, and establishing “an equitable and sustainable employee compensation model for years to come.” Mr. Cline’s is one of three seats up for election on Nov. 2. Councilman John Boyle said he will not seek re-election, and Councilman Heyward Robinson said he will seek a second term. The period for filing candidate papers ends on Friday, Aug. 6, but will be extended until Aug. 11 for the council race because

an incumbent, Mr. Boyle, isn’t running. Mr. Cline, who served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission before running for council in 2006, said he’s proud of what the current council has accomplished. “I recognize that by serving on (the council) for such a highly intelligent community as ours, my position requires more listening, more intellectual rigor, and an ability to make decisions on information and data, not just upon my own personal values,” he wrote. “I have worked hard to meet that high bar.” A

Four take out papers for Atherton City Council race years, serving as chair during some of his tenure. Mr. Widmer sits on the town’s audit committee, and has been involved in other town matters, he said. Mr. Lively, a longtime planning commissioner, applied for Bill Conwell’s seat on the council when Mr. Conwell died in December 2005. He was one of 11 applicants, and one of two finalists under consideration by

the council, which ultimately appointed Jerry Carlson. Councilman Charles Marsala announced several weeks ago that he won’t be running for another term. Councilman Jim Dobbie’s term also expires this year, but he could not be reached before The Almanac’s press time for comment about his plans. Because at least one incumbent is not running, the candidate filing period will be extended to Aug. 11.

School board candidates toss in hats

incumbent Jay Siegel and Richard Ginn, a managing director and the chief financial officer of Costella Kirsch, a venture capital firm in West Menlo Park. For the Menlo Park district, incumbent Laura Linkletter Rich is running again, as is former board member Terry Thygesen. Community volunteer Joan Lambert is the third candidate for this board.

Councilman Jerry Carlson, and residents Phil Lively, Mike McPherson, and Bill Widmer have taken out candidate papers to run for a seat on the Atherton City Council. No one had filed the papers before The Almanac’s press time on July 19. Mr. McPherson is a member of the town’s Rail Committee. He had been on the Parks and Recreation Commission for many

The candidate rosters have begun to fill for the elections in November to determine the make-up of the governing boards for the Menlo Park and Las Lomitas elementary school districts, according to the website for the San Mateo County Registrar of Voters.

Each school district has a fivemember board with three seats to fill. For the Las Lomitas district, which covers western parts of Menlo Park and Atherton as well as Ladera and other unincorporated communities, the candidates as of Friday, July 16, were

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Woodside Village Church 3154 Woodside Road Woodside, CA

WEST BAY SANITARY DISTRICT NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE IS GIVEN pursuant to Sections 5473, et. seq. of the California Health and Safety Code that the District Board of West Bay Sanitary District has, by general regulation, elected to collect its charges for sewer services for FY 2010-1011 on the tax roll in the same manner as general taxes and will cause to be filed with its Secretary a written report containing a description of each parcel of real property receiving sanitary sewer service from the District and the amount of the charge for each parcel. NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that on Wednesday evening, July 28, 2010 at the hour of 7:30 p.m. at the meeting room located at the District’s offices, the District Board will conduct a Public Hearing to hear and consider all protests and objections, if any, to the report. Anyone wishing to address the District Bord concerning these matters may do so in writing at or before the date of the Public Hearing or may be heard at the time of the Board’s meeting. Dated: June 30, 2010 /s/ Phil Scott District Manager

MP district firefighters sue over overtime, extra trips By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer

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urprised is how Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District said he felt upon learning that the district’s firefighters had filed a lawsuit in federal court on July 15. The issues, said John Wurdinger, president of the Menlo Park Firefighters Association, are whether firefighters should be paid for traveling to and from their home stations to pick up LAWSUIT continued from page 5

environmental impact review. The property is the former site of a Cadillac dealership. In 2008, when details of — and rumors about — the planned

equipment such as personalized protective gear and emergency medical kits, and how much they should be paid for overtime. Chief Schapelhouman would not talk specifically about the district’s position. “I was perplexed because we’ve been having a dialogue,” he said. “There was no indication that it was not satisfactory or adequate, nothing that said, ‘I can’t agree with you and we’re going to do X.’” Firefighters have been complaining about the issues since September in connection with the

district’s decision last year to pay by the hour instead of by salary, Mr. Wurdinger said. The firefighters predicted the change would open up the district to liability on pay-related issues, he said. Menlo Park firefighters have been consulting with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) in Washington, D.C. The IAFF has offered to take this case pro bono, an indication that its attorneys think they will prevail, Mr. Wurdinger said, adding that he is hoping to settle out of court.

development of the abandoned site started circulating about town, several business owners expressed concerns over talk that a Whole Foods specialty grocery store would open there. Among them was Richard Draeger, who told The Almanac that his familyowned store, Draeger’s market,

could become “unfeasible” if Whole Foods moved to town. After the lawsuit was filed last year, Mr. Draeger said his store was not involved in the litigation. Whole Foods told The Almanac in August 2008 that it had no plans to open a store in Menlo Park.

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July 21, 2010 ■ The Almanac ■ 9

Serving Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, and Woodside for 44 years.

Editor & Publisher Tom Gibboney

Editorial Managing Editor Richard Hine News Editor Renee Batti Lifestyles Editor Jane Knoerle Senior Correspondents Marion Softky, Marjorie Mader Staff Writers David Boyce, Sandy Brundage Contributors Barbara Wood, Kate Daly, Katie Blankenberg Special Sections Editors Carol Blitzer, Sue Dremann Photographer Michelle Le

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Advertising Vice President Sales & Marketing Walter Kupiec Real Estate Manager Neal Fine Real Estate and Advertising Coordinator Diane Martin

Published every Wednesday at 3525 Alameda De Las Pulgas, Menlo Park, Ca 94025 Newsroom: (650) 854-2690 Newsroom Fax: (650) 854-0677 Advertising: (650) 854-2626 Advertising Fax: (650) 854-3650 e-mail news and photos with captions to: Editor@AlmanacNews.com e-mail letters to: letters@AlmanacNews.com The Almanac, established in September, 1965, 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, issued November 9, 1969. Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years.

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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 854-2690, ext. 222.

Ideas, thoughts and opinions about

local issues from people in our community. Edited by Tom Gibboney.

Supervisors make bad call on elections

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an Mateo County’s one-of-a-kind system of electing supervisors by a countywide vote will continue indefinitely following a decision last week by the five-member Board of Supervisors. As the only one of the state’s 58 counties that does not elect its supervisors by district, San Mateo County has been under pressure to reassess its position, which requires supervisors to live in a district but be elected by all county voters. But last week, supervisors voted 4-1 to turn down a recED ITORI AL ommendation by a charter The opinion of The Almanac committee to place the election issue on the November ballot, thus killing the idea for the foreseeable future. The problem with this incredibly arrogant decision, which takes away the public’s right to weigh in on the matter, is that supervisors have an inescapable and very obvious conflict of interest. If voters decided to support district elections, these sitting supervisors would be much more likely to face spirited local opposition, rather than the often uncontested races that have marked elections for many years. Only outgoing Supervisor Rich Gordon, who has won the Democratic primary for state Assembly, opposed turning down the vote-by-district measure. He said the “matter really needed to go to the ballot for the citizens to make the decision.” Supervisor Mark Church, who was just elected in an uncontested bid for assessor-clerk-recorder and will take office in January, disagreed. He told the Almanac: “The board has the discretion to make the decisions to not put a particular matter on the ballot. We are elected to make these kinds of decisions.” Supervisor Adrienne Tissier said the charter committee’s rec-

ommendations are the board’s to “accept or reject. I didn’t feel the need to change (the election procedures).” Supervisors must approve any issue that goes on the ballot, but in our view, the charter committee recommendation was different. Its 16 members did yeoman’s work, meeting 13 times in a six-month period to study the county’s election laws. Its recommendation to put the district election issue to a vote came after its own members voted internally to retain the current system. But despite their own sentiment, the committee urged supervisors to allow voters to make the final decision. The majority on the board would have done well to take its lead from the committee on this matter. To their credit, the supervisors did agree to put a measure on the ballot that would force an election if a supervisor left office within the first 33 1/2 months of a four-year term. After that, the board could decide to fill the position by an all-mail ballot or by appointment, or to the board could leave the seat vacant until the next election. The process could begin as soon as a resignation letter was submitted. It is a pity that supervisors did not extend voters the same courtesy to vote on district elections as they did on filling board vacancies. In our view, the public has a right to state its preference on both issues. One way for supporters of district elections to prevail is to force the question onto the ballot by the initiative process. In our view, the supervisors’ action was an incredible affront to the hard-working charter committee, as well as county voters. San Mateo County residents deserve an opportunity to consider electing their supervisors by district. If it’s done that way in every other county in the state, the supervisors should investigate why that is and offer the voters a chance to give it serious consideration.

L ET TERS Our readers write

Disheartened by conflict over high-speed rail Editor: In September my partner and I will to travel to France for a cycling tour in Provence. One of the things we are looking forward to is a ride on France’s high speed rail system, called the TGV, which will whisk us from Paris to Avignon, 400 miles in two hours and 40 minutes. Here, we read about problems getting high-speed rail off the ground in California. I don’t know which is more disheartening; that the United States has become the country that used to know how, having fallen behind Japan, France and Spain (Spain!), or that so many people here really want high-speed rail to fail. Robert Cronin Marmona Drive, Menlo Park

10 N The Almanac NJuly 21, 2010

Portola Valley Archives

Our Regional Heritage Unfortunately we don’t know what kind of program these Portola Valley youngsters presented in 1924, although it surely was patriotic. None of the students is identified. Note the boy on the left, who looks happier to be photographed than most of his classmates.

V I E W P O I N T

Why county needs district elections By Maryann Moise Derwin

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ereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a message for my friends on the Board of Supervisors in response to the decision to block voters from determining how supervisors are GUEST elected: Are you kidding? OPINION Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m referring to the Charter Review Committeeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recommendation, stemming from a 2009 grand jury report, to place an amendment on the November ballot changing the system of electing supervisors from countywide to district. The recommendation failed by a vote of 4-1, with Rich Gordon dissenting, the majority giving the metaphoric finger to two independent review boards and effectively closing the door on the peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right to choose their representative. This, with full knowledge that San Mateo County is the only county in the state that does not elect supervisors by district, and by failing to do so, may wind up in court charged with a violation of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 2001, as did the Madera Unified School District last September. The Lawyerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Committee for Civil Rights has already put the county on notice. With 712,000 county residents, a supervisorial candidate must cover a region that surpasses that of a Congressional candidate. To reach a third of the 357,000 registered voters with one mailer costs $60,000. In terms of retail politicking, a candidate must pop up at gatherings from the Daly City Filipino American Friendship Celebration to Portola Valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Blues & BBQ and everything in between. If this isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t enough to discourage the most determined fresh face for a chance at the plum six-figure-plus-

benefits position, the candidate must also grease the skids of the county political power structure, an old boy/girl network not easily accessed by those without deep pockets or good connections. How much does it cost to run for supervisor? In the current race for the third district seat, front-runner and former county sheriff Don Horsley raised more than $250,000 before the June primary and his runoff opponent, April Vargas, $65,000. Factoring in the upcoming November election, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s anyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s guess as to how high the dollars will go. One thing for sure: the expense of running a countywide campaign severely limits the candidate pool and a grass-roots hopeful, no matter how smart, innovative and capable she may be, faces an uphill battle. Unlike the current system that benefits incumbents and discourages newcomers (an incumbent has been unseated only once in the past 30 years), district elections, easier to manage and one-fifth of the cost, encourage a more diverse range of candidates, a more focused debate about real local issues, and actual contested elections. (The Horsley-Vargas race is the first competitive contest since 1997. The last five seats were filled without an election.) Facing the voters every four years better assures a supervisorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s accountability. Down here in the hinterlands of South County where, for example, transportation dollars never seem to trickle, district elections might encourage a dark horse to run, giving us a voice at the table. As it is, that candidate will likely remain in the dark. And critical decisions such as the district election question will continue to be made in a manner more reminiscent of 20th century Chicago politics than the open, transparent government we desperately need. Maryann Moise Derwin is a Portola Valley council member.

Alliance sees trouble in downtown plan

By Nancy Couperus

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p and down the state, city councils are looking at increasing density in downtowns by allowing mixed-use developments (shops or offices on the GUEST ground floor with apartments, conOPINION dominiums, townhouses above). In some cases, where no such housing is found in the downtown area and an aging population requires close access to services, this might make sense. In Menlo Park where there is an abundance of such housing surrounding the downtown, it does not. This new wave of planning has had some dire consequences for retail businesses in some cities. Redwood Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s $50 million downtown redevelopment project around the court house has produced palm-lined streets with beautiful buildings, but retail has been so damaged in the process that the City Council recently gave the go-ahead to fill the empty storefronts with offices. While night life may be â&#x20AC;&#x153;vibrant,â&#x20AC;? the retail downtown has been devastated. The Menlo Park Planning Department is asking the City Council to change the downtown zoning to allow for a change from the current 30-foot height limit to 38 feet (from two to three stories) along Santa Cruz Avenue and conversion of portions of the surface parking plazas to garages and private uses. The latter could significantly reduce the number of convenient surface parking spaces that shoppers and Sunday farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; market customers now enjoy, and replace them with spaces in parking structures up to four-stories high in portions of the parking plazas. Downtown property and business owners continue to be told that infill development and height changes will not take place overnight and will be an

ongoing process over many years. While this may be true, once the proposed zoning changes have been approved by the City Council, the necessary mechanism will be in place for such development to occur. These changes will most assuredly alter the small-town character of the downtown and the surrounding community. The community of Saratoga, perhaps closer in character to that of Menlo Park, is facing a similar challenge. In April the City Council there passed changes that removed the two-story limit for mixeduse and most commercial projects, a change from two- to three-story buildings downtown. After residents reacted by creating an organization called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Restore Saratogaâ&#x20AC;? and launching a petition drive, the City Council agreed to a compromise and a ballot measure on a two-story limit, which puts the decision in the hands of residents rather than the City Council. The Menlo Park Downtown Alliance is a group of business and property owners who have put forward a proposal that would allow for a modest two-story parking structure and wider sidewalks, if certain criteria, such as a smaller footprint or increased street set-back could be achieved. To date, the City Council has declined to respond to the proposal. The City Council should follow Saratogaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s example and directly engage with the Alliance to identify a reasonable compromise. The draft specific plan for downtown Menlo Park lays the groundwork for a fundamental change to the character of our downtown. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time for the City Council to recognize the magnitude of these changes and to reflect upon whether they would truly benefit our small town. Nancy Couperus is co-chairman of the Menlo Park Downtown Alliance.

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WEST BAY SANITARY DISTRICT NOTICE OF REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL West Bay Sanitary District (District) requests proposals from Human Resource consultants and firms to conduct a District-wide Classification and Compensation Study by February 2011. A pre-proposal meeting will be held at the District Offices located at 500 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, CA on July 28, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. to review the scope of work. An addendum will be issued with a conference call number for those who wish to join the meeting by phone. A RFP may be examined and obtained from the District between 8:00am â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 4:00pm, Monday â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Friday, or go to www. westbaysanitary.org to download a copy of the RFP, or call (650) 321-0384. The District invites qualified human resource and compensation consultants and firms to submit proposals to contract with the District to perform a Classification and Total Compensation Study and provide a comprehensive report to enable the District to evaluate and implement the recommendations made by the consultant, as the District deems appropriate. All interested parties are required to deliver their respective proposals in a sealed envelope marked â&#x20AC;&#x153;PROPOSAL - Human Resource Consultant for Job Classification and Total Compensation Study 2010-11â&#x20AC;?. Proposals must be delivered to the District Manager, no later than August 18th, 2010 at 4:00PM at the following address: Phil Scott District Manager West Bay Sanitary District 500 Laurel Street Menlo Park, CA 94025 The District retains the right to reject any or all proposals, at its sole discretion. If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact Phil Scott, District Manager, at (650) 321-0384 or by e-mail at pscott@ westbaysanitary.org. West Bay Sanitary District Board of Directors San Mateo County, California /s/ Phil Scott District Manager Dated: July 15, 2010 July 21, 2010 N The Almanac N11

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The Almanac 07.21.2010 - Section 1