Page 1

Happy Holidays From


Menlo Park Office

Caitlin Darke Gloria Darke Marybeth Dorst Pat Ewart Randy Eyler Ali Faghiri Kyra Gebhardt Nelson John Gerber Mary Gilles Brent Gullixson Mary Gullixson Marsha Gustafson Maggie Heilman Harriet Howell Sally Jones Roy Kellett Peter Kitch Steve Korn Sabina Kroes Gary Kurtz

Samira Amid-Hozour Chris Anderson Jami Arami Nicole Aron Rich Bassin Joe Bentley Judi Beisler Pat Briscoe Gary Bulanti Carol Carnevale Brian Chancellor Imogene Chancellor Courtney Charney Judy Citron Susan Clay Jack Comerford Phyllis Cooper Monica Corman Samia Cullen

Connie Linton Jennifer Bitter-Liske Mara McCain Linda Murphy Michele Musy Joe Merkert Mary Merkert Pat Miller Roseann Miller Dawn Moore Julie Quattrone Steve Quattrone Mani Razizad Diane Rosland Lorie Satzger Deirdre Sauvage Richard Sequeira Robin Sequeira Barbara Slaton Jackie Schoelerman

Lena Sim James Steele Janise Taylor Katy Thielke-Straser Ray Walton Lisa Weber Doss Welsh Leslie Woods Jolaine Woodson Jack Woodson Patricia York Ralph Zak

Woodside Office Ellen Ashley Karin Bird Diane Carr Diane Chesler Vicky Costantini Pam Everett

MENLO PARK | 1550 El Camino Real, Suite 100 650.462.1111 WOODSIDE | 2930 Woodside Road 650.529.1111 2 N The Almanac NDecember 8, 2010

Evelyn Fisher Chuck Gillooley Scott Hayes Heidi Johnson Brooke O'Donnell Nancy Palmer Elizabeth Pollard Wayne Rivas Pam Roberts Jayne Williams Genella Williamson Mary Gebhardt VP/ Manager Menlo Park and Woodside Quetzal Grimm Sales Manager Woodside


Lapdog killed by larger dog in Woodside By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


oe, a 5-pound Shih Tzu lapdog and longtime companion to Woodside resident Linda Bleich, is no more. While Ms. Bleich was taking Zoe and a second Shih Tzu named Anya for a walk at Woodside Elementary School on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 28, a much larger reddishbrown dog, perhaps a pit bull, escaped its owner’s control and attacked Zoe and killed her, Ms. Bleich said. “It happened in a nanosecond,” Ms. Bleich said in an interview. “I kicked (the attacking dog) and it didn’t feel a thing. ... I was kicking and I felt like I was kicking in slow motion.” It almost didn’t happen. “I wanted to (leave) but the kids (her dogs) wanted to go further,” she said, recounting the chronology of the incident. Ms. Bleich had conversed briefly with the man, who was struggling to maintain control of his dog, she said. The dog was 2 years old and had never been outside, the man said. “I don’t

Photo courtesy of Linda Bleich This Shih Tzu lapdog named Zoe was killed by a larger dog on Nov. 28 while on a walk at Woodside Elementary School. Sheriff’s deputies are looking for the large dog’s owner, who reportedly just looked on as the attack unfolded.

think he hurts small dogs,” he added. The dog had a huge head, Ms. Bleich said, adding that the owner was a “slight man” in his 60s, balding and wearing a greenish jacket. “The dog was clearly too much for him,” she said. The man had taken a seat, but the dog broke free and pounced

on Zoe “in a split second,” she said. The man watched the incident unfold, recaptured his dog and walked quickly away to the school parking lot, she said. “You killed my dog!” Ms. Bleich said to him as he passed her, a whiff of alcohol trailing him. The man didn’t turn around but said, “I’m sorry,” over his shoulder, Ms. Bleich said. Deputies from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office are looking for this man, said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Ray Lunny. “I cried and I cried and I cried and I almost fainted and threw up,” Ms. Bleich said recalling the incident. “I haven’t been sleeping. I just wake up every night and it’s just a nightmare. She went with me everywhere I went. I talked to her all day long.” “I want her death not to be in vain,” she said. The dog’s owner “needs to stand up and take responsibility because my dog deserves it.” Zoe has been cremated and his ashes are in Ms. Bleich’s home. “When I go, we can go together and rest,” she said.

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Atherton: Telephone pole may have saved cyclist By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


wooden telephone pole stopped the progress of a wayward car and probably prevented major injuries to a bicyclist traveling north on El Camino Real near Watkins Avenue in Atherton on Nov. 30. An 81-year-old Atherton resident had fallen asleep at the wheel of an Infiniti sedan and veered off the road, police said. The cyclist, a 25-year-old Red-

wood City man, suffered minor abrasions after falling off his bike. He fell after his bike was struck and knocked down by a bus stop sign, which the car hit and sent flying before running into the telephone pole, said Lt. Joe Wade of the Atherton Police Department. The cyclist was able to walk away from the scene, Lt. Wade said. The car might have continued on into the cyclist but for the telephone pole, which did not give way and stopped the car, he

said. Neither the driver nor the car’s one passenger were injured, Lt. Wade said. The driver will not be charged and the matter now goes to the insurance companies involved for payment of damages, according to Lt. Wade. “Obviously if this had been a fatality, we send those up to the district attorney,” he added. “Ultimately, it would have been a crime if something worse had happened.”

Mark Lussier awarded Bronze Star; family has local ties Captain G.W. Mark Lussier of St. Helena has received the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq. Capt. Lussier, a 2003 St. Helena High School graduate, is following in his grandfather’s footsteps, according to his greataunt Gail Whelan of Atherton.

His grandfather, the late Cedric Lussier, was a recipient of the Bronze Star and other decorations during World War II. Dr. Lussier, a well-known local dentist, was awarded his medals as a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter pilot in World War II. He and his wife,

“Sis,” were longtime residents of Menlo Park and Atherton. Capt. Lussier is the son of Mark Lussier, who grew up in Menlo Park. He is a graduate of Norwich University in Vermont, where Ms. Whelan is a trustee emeritus.

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

854-2690 (ext. 213) 854-0677 854-2626 854-3650 854-0858

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

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.

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 ©2010 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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STOUFFER’S MACARONI & CHEESE 4 N The Almanac NDecember 8, 2010



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Outside investigator hired for report-alteration case ■ Jon Buckheit files complaint with police chief, urges “prompt and decisive investigation.” By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


ete Peterson, an outside investigator, was hired last week to conduct a personnel investigation of the alteration of the police report detailing the 2008 arrest of Atherton resident Jon Buckheit during a domestic violence incident at his home, Atherton Police Chief Mike Guerra told The Almanac on Dec. 6. Chief Guerra announced the investigation in the wake of Mr. Buckheit’s revelation last week of who altered the report — information gleaned from a police computer database log. On Dec. 1, Mr. Buckheit sent a letter to the police chief naming

Officer Dean DeVlugt as the person who changed the report, at the same time filing a complaint with the department. A copy of the database log, which Mr. Buckheit obtained during the discovery phase of his federal lawsuit against the town, shows that Officer DeVlugt changed the police report filed by another officer hours after Mr. Buckheit’s arrest. A copy of the log was attached to Mr. Buckheit’s Dec. 1 letter and complaint to Chief Guerra. The change made in the report identifies the young son of the woman involved in the domestic dispute as a victim of a “physical/strong arm” assault, according to the log, a copy of which was obtained by The Almanac.


The boy had previously been listed as a witness. In his letter to Chief Guerra, Mr. Buckheit called for a “prompt and decisive investigation” of the matter. The personnel investigation is likely to be one of two concerning whether the report’s alteration was a criminal act or legally permissible. Mr. Buckheit told The Almanac that he will reverse an earlier decision and allow the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office access to his police report, which was sealed by the judge who granted Mr. Buckheit a declaration of factual innocence earlier this year. Mr. Buckheit has withheld access to the report since the D.A.’s office was asked to inves-

tigate last March, insisting that it would be inappropriate for that office to investigate because it has a conflict of interest: The county is a defendant — along with the town of Atherton — in a $10 million lawsuit Mr. Buckheit filed last year. Rather than the D.A.’s office involvement, Mr. Buckheit pushed to have the investigation forwarded to another agency, such as the state attorney general’s office. Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said on Dec. 3 that if the report is released, “That will be great. ... We will then investigate the matter.” In a statement posted on the town of Atherton’s blog over the weekend, Chief Guerra outlined the process for an internal investigation, saying that when the department “receives a Citizen’s

Complaint or discovers alleged acts of misconduct from internal sources, the allegations are analyzed to determine if they are potentially criminal in nature and/or alleged violations of the Department’s standards of conduct.” If an alleged violation is possibly criminal, two investigations must be conducted, he said. The facts gleaned in a personnel investigation, however, can’t be shared with the criminal investigator, he added. That’s because the personnel investigator can require employees to talk, setting aside their constitutional protection against self-incrimination, Mr. Guerra explained, adding that an employee who refuses to cooperate can be fired. See BUCKHEIT, page 8

Coach says he’ll re-file lawsuit against Encinal School PTO By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


former volunteer coach for an Encinal School basketball team who is suing the Encinal School PTO and three volunteer parents said he will re-file his complaint after a San Mateo County Superior Court judge ruled on Nov. 29 that his original complaint was insufficient. Lawrence Hecimovich, the father of two boys and coach for two years of his older son’s after-school team, filed a lawsuit last August against the PTO and PTO officers Kelly Perri, Julie Roth, and Leslie Burke after he was stripped of his coaching position. His lawsuit lists libel and slander, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and fraud. In a Nov. 29 court hearing, Judge Gerald Buchwald granted the defendants’ demurrer challenging the legal sufficiency of the claims against them, according to attorney Robert Muhlbach, who represents the defendants. Judge Buchwald gave Mr. Hecimovich a chance to re-file the complaint, which he would have to do by late December. But the judge denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit entirely — a motion based on California’s “anti-SLAPP”

law, which prohibits lawsuits brought primarily for the purpose of intimidating others into making concessions rather than face a costly court fight. Mr. Muhlbach said his clients have up to 60 days to appeal that decision. “We believe the court’s ruling is erroneous, and are considering an appeal,” he said. Mr. Hecimovich, a deputy city attorney for San Francisco, is seeking reinstatement as a head coach in the Encinal basketball program, punitive damages in an unspecified amount, and attorney fees and costs associated with the lawsuit. “I drafted the complaint not to initiate a legal action but rather to initiate a dialogue that the PTO had been avoiding, hoping to avert this dispute and return to coaching this season,” Mr. Hecimovich said in an e-mail. “Accordingly, I did not include much of what happened and in particular did not give a lot of thought as to how to frame the legal claims. “Now that the (PTO) has rejected that overture and filed a cross-action, which the court immediately dismissed, I will proceed with an amended complaint and anticipate that any further motions to challenge the complaint will be denied and we will proceed in court.”

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

Sheldon Breiner of Portola Valley is searching for the sunken galleon he believes is the San Felipe. A slide image of a painting of the San Felipe is projected on a wall at his home.

Search for sunken 16th century ship By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


nductive reasoning. It’s what detectives use to work backwards from evidence at a crime scene to develop a chronology of events that, with luck and diligence, will lead to a suspect. It’s also the modus operandi for Portola Valley resident and

geophysicist Sheldon Breiner and a team of archaeologists and a historian who meet periodically along the Mexican coast of Baja California. They’re investigating the disappearance of a Spanish galleon believed to be the San Felipe. The San Felipe left China in 1576 headed for Acapulco by way of Manila with a cargo

that included silk, beeswax and tons of Ming Dynasty porcelain. Records show the details of the cargo but not the San Felipe’s arrival at its destination, and the Spanish were meticulous with their records, Mr. Breiner says in an interview. Mr. Breiner spoke about this See GALLEON, page 11

December 8, 2010 N The Almanac N5

Sutter Health congratulates

Palo Alto Medical Foundation on being among the top performing medical groups in California. Sutter Health. Award-winning care. Recently, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, a member of the Sutter Health network, was recognized as one of the top performing physician organizations in California by the Integrated Healthcare Association, a leadership group that promotes quality in the health care industry. This award recognizes the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, as well as four other medical groups within the Sutter Medical Network, for excellence in clinical quality, patient experience, coordinated diabetes care and more. When choosing a doctor, quality should be at the top of your list. Make sure you choose a Sutter-afďŹ liated doctor.

6 N The Almanac NDecember 8, 2010



by Monica Corman

Some Signs of Improvement Q: Dear Monica: Everyone is looking for signs that the Christmas shopping season will be better than it has been the past two years. Are you seeing any hopeful signs in the real estate market? Jane E.

In a scene from the film, a member of the Laguna Tribe performs a ritual sacred dance to honor the eagle, the Spirit Bird that carries their prayers.

New Fadiman film: ‘Reclaiming Their Voice’ “Reclaiming Their Voice,” the latest documentary film by Dorothy Fadiman of Menlo Park, will be shown at a special event on Tuesday, Dec. 14, in Palo Alto. The screening is set for 7:30 p.m. in the Fireside Room of the Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 E. Charleston Road. Admission is free. Subtitled “The Native American Vote in New Mexico & Beyond,” the film “documents ways in which Native Americans

have been disenfranchised over centuries, and are now becoming politically active,” according to the film’s website. Narrated by actor Peter Coyote, the film tells personal stories that demonstrate how minority communities are working against injustice through education, activism, and participating more fully in elections. Ms. Fadiman — an Oscarnominated, Emmy award-winning filmmaker who has focused

on issues from abortion rights to election fraud — will attend the screening, hosted by the Peninsula Peace & Justice Center in Palo Alto. According to a press release from Ms. Fadiman’s company, Concentric Media of Menlo Park, the screening doubles as a celebration of Bill of Rights Day, which is the following day. Go to for more information about the film.

Dear Jane: There are definitely signs that the market is heating up. Several properties in all price ranges that have been on the market for months have now sold. Rental properties are getting scarce and rents have gone up about ten percent from this time last year. Good

office space is becoming harder to find, although the market for retail space is still lagging. Is this a trend or just a good Fourth Quarter? At this point it is too early to tell. Depending on the year, November and December can either be very slow or very strong months. Usually buyers who are looking at this time of year are serious buyers. This year buyers seem more serious than they were the previous two holiday seasons. We’ll have to wait and see if this activity continues in the new year.

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

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Menlo man scraps plans for marijuana facility ■ County restrictions on size frustrated proposal’s broader goals. Almanac Staff Writer


edical marijuana is reportedly a godsend to sufferers of chronic pain and other persistent maladies. It could be grown in unincorporated San Mateo County for patients in need, but only if they were members of a “collective.” Such a collective, a term the law leaves open to interpretation, would be “a group small enough that every (able-bodied) member who participates would have an active role in growing and handing out of the marijuana to the participants,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told The Almanac. There are no such collectives to date because none have satisfied that admittedly “conservative” interpretation of state law, Mr. Wagstaffe said, including a recently withdrawn proposal by Menlo Park resident Bradley Ehikian to educate, treat and serve the community. A brochure outlining Mr. Ehikian’s plans shows renderings of a sleek, two-story white building in an industrial section of unincorporated Redwood City along Bay Road just west of U.S. 101. A glass facade fronts a spacious greenhouse. The floor plan includes offices, a nursing station, a farmers’

market, spaces for massage, yoga and classes on topics such as posture and nutrition, and parking for 36 vehicles. Such a facility could handle 500 people a day, “an arbitrary number based on available parking,” Mr. Ehikian said in an interview. Its name would be Sans Souci, French for “without concern.” Asked to explain, Mr. Ehikian said he wanted to encourage patients to have a “without-worry kind of feeling in an industry that has many worries.” The number of participants underlies a key finding in a memo from the county License Board on a decision to grant an operating license to Mr. Ehikian. The memo summarizes an appeal of that decision by Sheriff Greg Munks and District Attorney Jim Fox to the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 30. “If a small number of members conduct the day-to-day work of the collective, and a large number of members merely purchase marijuana, the balance of the concern tips in favor of curbing potential abuse,” the sheriff said. Mr. Ehikian’s model, while honorable, could set a precedent for less honorable proposals, Mr. Munks told The Almanac. Mr. Ehikian withdrew his application before the supervisors

weighed in. He said the logistics of a collective small enough to meet the county’s standard would be too small and informal to meet his broader goals of educating patients on health and nutrition and bringing medical marijuana out of the shadows. His grandmother, a resident of San Francisco, endured cancerrelated pain, nausea, sleep deprivation and anxiety before she died, he said. That she did not take advantage of the city’s permissive medical marijuana law reflected her concern for what her grandchildren would think, he said. “All of (her symptoms) could have been treated with marijuana,” Mr. Ehikian said. “We had her on everything possible and it did nothing for her.” “We need to be able to have a county we can work with,” he said. “It’s been a frustrating experience. They’ll tell you, ‘No, no, no, it won’t work,’ but they won’t tell you what will work.” Mr. Wagstaffe said he looks forward to a state appellate court addressing the definition of collective, and added that he is not opposed to medical marijuana. “I’ve talked with enough people over the years who have seen benefit from it,” he said. A

Peninsula School


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Open House — Nursery, Kindergarten, First Grade Saturday, November 6, 10-11:30 a.m. Children welcome.

School Tours Oct. 14, Nov. 4, Jan. 6 & 13 beginning at 10:00 a.m. Dec. 2 & 9 beginning at 9:00 a.m. Parents only please. registration not required

For an appointment, please call (650) 325-1584, ext. 5.

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By Dave Boyce

920 Peninsula Way, Menlo Park, CA | 650.325.1584 |

December 8, 2010 N The Almanac N7


Outside investigator hired for report-alteration case BUCKHEIT continued from page 5

Chief Guerra said he believes the internal investigation will be wrapped up “within weeks.” When the judge sealed the police report and other documents related to the matter, there was one exception to the order. In his letter to Chief Guerra, Mr. Buckheit noted that the judge “specifically (and at the request of the attorneys for the Town of Atherton) authorized you to investigate this matter, and have access to any information that was sealed by the factual innocence order to do so.” Although Chief Guerra has now authorized the personnel investigation by an outside party, Mr. Buckheit is urging him to allow a judge or retired judge to appoint an investigator “based on his or her own judgment,” and to supervise the investigation. “In this way, the results of the investigation will be immunized from being challenged as unfair in any way,” he wrote in a Dec. 5 letter to the police chief. Mr. Buckheit told The Almanac this week that if a judge-appointed investigator determines that the police report-alteration was a mistake rather than an intentional criminal act, he would be willing to live with the determination. In his Dec. 5 letter, Mr. Buckheit requested that the chief

arrange to have the city attorney and Robert Carey, Mr. Buckheit’s attorney, jointly submit the matter to a judge. “I believe this is the best result not only for me, but also for the Town of Atherton and its Police Department,” he wrote. “To be clear, if you choose not to adopt my suggestion on how such an investigation should be conducted, I am requesting that the City Council instruct the City Manager to direct you to do so.” The arrest and aftermath

The domestic violence incident occurred on the night of Oct. 19, 2008. Mr. Buckheit called the police for help, reporting that he had been assaulted by his then-girlfriend, who lived at the residence. Although Mr. Buckheit was the person with visible injuries, he was arrested. The District Attorney’s Office soon after decided not to file charges after reviewing the case. Months later, when Mr. Buckheit obtained a copy of the police report after suing the town to get it, he was shocked to see that, in addition to the claim that he had assaulted his girlfriend, the report included a charge of assault against her son. In January of this year, Mr. Buckheit was granted a declaration of factual innocence in San Mateo County Superior Court. Mr. Buckheit’s Dec. 1 letter to Chief Guerra comes nearly one year after Atherton police offi-

Families enjoy model trains in Menlo Park in this 2005 photo.

Model railroad holiday show Dec. 10-12 It’s that time of year again for the West Bay Model Railroad Association’s annual Christmas Show. The association has scheduled the show at the Model Railroad Building located on Merrill Street between Ravenswood Avenue and the Menlo Park train station on the following dates and

cer Tony Dennis testified during the factual-innocence court proceedings that, although the police report bore his signature, the section recommending criminal charges for assaulting the child was not written by him. During the trial, Judge Mark Forcum stated that “there’s absolutely no basis to believe that Mr. Buckheit ever laid a finger on the child,” according to the court transcript.

Directors of Menlo Park Fire Protection District, the San Mateo Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Poplar House for Disadvantaged Adults in San Mateo. He was an enthusiastic fly fisherman, an expert skier, was on the CAL ski team before military service, raised orchids and vegetables, and was a consummate “Mr. Fixit”. In retirement he and Jeannette traveled throughout the world. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son Jeffrey and his wife Debbie and two grandsons, Terence and Dennis; son Stephen and his wife Jo Ann; son Matthew and his wife Brenda and two granddaughters Megan and Hanna and his sister Verna Ogburn Roberts. There will be a family memorial gathering at the Ogburn-Inwood Cemetery in Shasta County later in the Spring. Those who wish may remember him through Pathways Hospice, 585 N. Mary Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94085. Crippen & Flynn Woodside Chapel 650-369-4103 PA I D

8 N The Almanac NDecember 8, 2010

A question of procedure

Apart from whether the report’s alteration was an intentional falsification, another question to emerge is whether department procedures for adding information to the report were followed. When police reports are changed, they often are done so by way of a supplement — a method Mr. Wagstaffe of the District Attorney’s Office

High schools help with food drives

2!9-/.$2/9/'"52. Raymond Roy Ogburn passed away Tuesday, November 23, 2010, surrounded by his loving family. He was 88 years old. A fourth generation Californian, Ray was born and raised in Oakland. As a student at the University of California, he was called up for active duty during World War II and entered the United States Army Air Corps where he became a Second Lieutenant and served as a Navigator on B-29’s. After the war he returned to CAL to complete his degree and met his wife of 62 years, Jeannette Jones Ogburn, who survives him. A long time resident of Atherton where he and Jeannette raised their three sons. Ray was a Vice President, Business Division, of California Casualty Management Company in San Mateo and was a member of the Bohemian Club, San Francisco. He also served on the Board of

times: Friday, Dec. 10, from 7 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 11, from noon to 6 p.m.; and Sunday. Dec. 12, from noon to 5 p.m. This will be the last Christmas Show on the current layout as a new layout is planned for next year, said association member Lauren Mercer. Admission is free, but


Dec. 11 is a big day for Ecumenical Hunger Program, a food bank in East Palo Alto, when more than 100 Menlo-Atherton High School students will distribute food to help hundreds of families get through the end of the year, reports Betty Smith, a spokesperson for the Sequoia Union High School District. “Students are collecting food and monetary donations outside of local grocery stores,” she said. “They’re aiming to collect 60,000 pounds of food (and beat last year’s record of 45,000 pounds).” More than 3,800 items and $350 were collected in this year’s food drive at Woodside High School, Ms. Smith reports. All will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank, she said. “Woodside students remain active during the holidays in their ongoing community service activities, including initiatives to raise awareness of different forms of cancer and the effects of the war in Uganda,” Ms. Smith said.

donations are appreciated, he said. There will be a raffle for a new train set. Model trains in three scales will be on display and operating on a large layout. Railroad memorabilia will be displayed. Go to or call 322-0685 for more information.

describes as “the best way to do it,” although not required by law. In the Buckheit case, the child assault allegation was added shortly after 10 o’clock the morning after the arrest, but the addition was made directly to the electronic report filed by Officer Dennis, rather than with a supplement. Chief Guerra said this week that police reports are typically added to as new information comes in, and are reviewed and edited by supervisors. Some changes don’t require a supplement, he said, adding that often whether a supplement is used to change a report “depends on what stage that change gets made.” For example, he said, once a report is sent on to the D.A.’s office, changes are made via supplements. But he said that when a supervisor changes a report, the report is sent back to the officer who originally filed the report. It is unknown whether Officer Dennis was sent a copy of the altered report. In his testimony during the Buckheit factual-innocence trial, Officer Dennis was asked whether someone had changed the report or added the child assault charge; he responded, “That appears what happened, that appears to be what have happened, yes, because I do not remember putting that in there, nor was that my intention.” Go to to read Chief Guerra’s statement about the investigation. A


Facebook seeks new home, maybe in Menlo Bookkeeper pleads no contest ■The Oracle campus in Menlo Park is a possibility, but it’s not vacant. to charges of embezzlement By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


ocial networking behemoth Facebook is hoping to connect with larger digs, and Menlo Park’s Oracle campus is one of several sites under consideration. However, contrary to news reports, an afternoon tour showed that the 2.5-million-square-foot Willow Road campus is not yet vacant. Facebook remains mum about its interest in the campus despite a Daily Post story on Nov. 30 that broke the news. Dave Johnson, manager of the city’s business development department, referred all inquiries to Facebook, after sharing this statement: “Facebook is exploring options for a long-term location to fit its growing business needs. They are in the

due diligence phase on potential sites, but it would be premature to offer any specifics. They hope to have more to share in the near future once things have been finalized.� Facebook corporate communications director Larry Yu confirmed there’s not much to report. “Generally we’re looking for a site that can accommodate our growth over the long term,� he said. Mayor Rich Cline suggested not taking the rumors too seriously. “Any rumor about Facebook — given the nature of Silicon Valley — is only a rumor until someone actually signs a deal. Facebook, Google and Yahoo! are probably the center of the most rumors in business,� he said. Oracle declined to comment on when it might vacate the Menlo

Bohannon amends campaign report By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


eveloper David Bohannon filed an amended campaign finance report on Nov. 30 that now includes non-monetary assistance given to several Menlo Park City Council candidates during the first two weeks of October. Planning Commissioner Kirsten Keith, Menlo Park Fire Protection District board president Peter Ohtaki, and incumbents Heyward Robinson and Rich Cline each received an estimated $155 in assistance distributing campaign literature, according to the report.

In the weeks before the election, Menlo Park residents reported receiving copies of the candidates’ fliers enclosed in brochures supporting Measure T, the local ballot measure that would allow Mr. Bohannon to build Menlo Gateway, a nearly 1-million-squarefoot office-hotel complex east of U.S. 101. That’s $621 in total non-monetary assistance reported so far — a drop in the bucket compared to the approximately $14,864 the developer has reported spending on fliers attacking council candidate Chuck Bernstein, who publicly opposed Measure T and was not elected.

Former Portola Valley teacher Karen Ann Hayes dies at 68 A celebration of the life of Karen article on her retirement in the July Ann Hayes will be held from noon 20, 2005, issue of The Almanac to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. noted ,�Every day, Ms. 18, at the Native Sons Hayes commuted from community hall, 112 Pescadero to Portola Stage Road in Pescadero. Valley, never missing a Ms. Hayes died Nov. 12 day despite earthquakes at her home in Pescadero and storms.� after a two-and-a-half She is survived year battle with a rare by her husband of 36 form of neck cancer. She years, Jim; children Karen Ann Hayes was 68. Karl, Andrew, Ryan and A graduate of UC Colin; her mother, GerBerkeley, Ms. Hayes began her trude; and four grandchildren. career in Portola Valley in 1969 as a The family wishes to thank Dr. reading teacher. She taught fifth, a Nguyen and the entire oncology fourth-fifth combination, and third staff of Kaiser Redwood City, for grades before settling into teach- their care. ing kindergartners at Ormondale Memorial donations may be School in Portola Valley. made to the Pescadero High At Ormondale, Ms. Hayes was School, Department of Athletics, known for her Japanese fish prints 350 Butano Cutoff, 94060. Ms. and as a great cook, who shared her Hayes was a strong booster of the recipes with faculty and parents. Vikings and the school’s athletic She retired four years ago. An programs.

Park campus at Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway, formerly a Sun Microsystems site. The company bought Sun Microsystems in January for $7.4 billion. The San Mateo County Assessor’s office decided three months ago that the sale required a reassessment of the property. Reassessment of the campus, now assessed at $355.4 million, could boost or decrease property tax revenues for Menlo Park, but that won’t be known for certain until the process is completed by June 2011. However, any increase won’t replenish the city’s general fund since the campus lies within redevelopment agency boundaries, according to city staff. Any increased property tax would funnel back only into redevelopment projects. A

Measure T passed with 64.5 percent of the vote. Of the four candidates Mr. Bohannon supported, all but Mr. Robinson were successful in their bids for a spot on the dais. The new council members will be sworn in on Tuesday, Dec. 7. A

By Sandy Brundage

retirement plan. Menlo Park police arrested he woman charged with the bookkeeper in July. Ms. embezzling $140,000 from Weiler remains out of jail on a Roger Reynolds Nursery $100,000 bond. According to & Carriage Stop in Menlo Park court records, she’s scheduled pleaded no contest Tuesday, to be sentenced on Feb. 8, 2011, Nov. 30, in San for one count Mateo Supeof felony rior Court. embezzleEvette Chris- ‘If she walks in and makes ment exceedtine Weiler, 31, ing $65,000. full restitution, that’s a of Fremont, She faces a factor in her favor.’ attracted susmaximum of picion after 16 months in CHIEF DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY vendors comstate prison. STEVE WAGSTAFFE. plained about How not being paid, much time and employee health insur- she serves, however, depends on ance lapsed because premiums whether Ms. Weiler returns the weren’t paid, according to the money. The district attorney’s district attorney’s office. She office said sentencing won’t take had worked at the nursery for place for two months to give her almost two years. time to collect the funds. In January, auditors discov“If she walks in and makes full ered “dozens of checks� written restitution, that’s a factor in her to a Fremont business called favor,� said Chief Deputy Dis“When Every Penny Counts,� trict Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. police said. Prosecutors alleged “If she only walks in with $300, that Ms. Weiler concealed the she needs to pick out what seat embezzlement by transferring she wants on the bus to the state money from the nursery’s 401K prison.�

Almanac Staff Writer






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December 8, 2010 N The Almanac N9

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Search for sunken 16th century ship GALLEON continued from page 5

exploratory adventure at Portola Valley’s Historic Schoolhouse on Nov. 16. The town’s Nature & Science Committee sponsored the free event and about 20 people showed up. Shipments of porcelain left China for Spain twice a year for some 250 years starting in 1565, Mr. Breiner says. There is debris indicating that the 100-foot, 400-ton San Felipe may have run aground off the desert coast of Baja. Lying on and under the shifting sands of this corner of Mexico’s Sonoran Desert are about 1,000 artifacts. While the researchers haven’t yet found any silk, which would have been encased in wax, they have found beeswax, some lead sheeting used on the hulls of 16th century ships to discourage underwater pests, and a great many pieces of porcelain scattered along a two-mile-long line in the sand, Mr. Breiner says. Why might the ship have grounded? Strong prevailing winds, scurvy among the crew

Anthropology and History, Mr. Breiner says. Once Mexican specialists of 200, a need for food or water, at matching a design with the isolate and recover the hull or a new mast or spar — the year in which that design was and debris, the pieces will be reasons are not known. Had the current. restored to the extent possible ship reached Acapulco, its cargo Mr. Breiner says he plans to — perhaps a five-year enterprise would have been offloaded and return to the site in February — and displayed in a museum hauled overland to the Gulf of to survey the wreckage in detail in Ensenada, the capital of Baja Mexico and then shipped to and create a grid-based map of California, Mr. Breiner says. Spain, a two-year to three-year the debris field. The magnetomThe joy of a journey like this trip altogether, Mr. Breiner eter can detect ballast stones, one, Mr. Breiner says, is that it says. cannon barrels, and iron spikes takes on a breadth of field of its With hundreds of own. Geology, oceanogthousands of years of raphy and map-making predictable winds, waves are as critical as magThe joy of a journey like this one, and depositions of sand in solving this Mr. Breiner says, is that it takes on netism as reference points, the puzzle. line of debris is readable. The questions Mr. a breadth of field of its own. The team has worked Breiner poses in a paper backward from the locaon the subject are many. tions of these artifacts to place used to hold the ship’s ribs to its Why is the line of debris so the likely remains of the sunken keel. Other items with a smaller straight? Why are there more hull. After scanning the area footprint but still detectable objects at the southern end? with an ultra sensitive mag- include weapons, tools, boxes, How do the answers to these netometer, the team now has furniture parts and personal questions help reconstruct the tracking data showing magnetic effects of the crew. The lack events of the shipwreck? Where anomalies consistent with a of oxygen under the sediment are the ship’s anchors and why buried hull. In short, they have inhibits corrosion. are they where they are? What a strong suspicion as to where it Team members, when they do has happened to the hull over is. speak about this project, hold four centuries? How did the If this anomaly is a sunken back its exact location. Search porcelain stay in relatively good galleon, it may never be known and recovery work is under- condition for hundreds of years for certain whether it is the San taken only with the explicit in such a sandy and abrasive Felipe. Ship owners back then permission of the Mexican environment? did not paint names on hulls, government and in the pres“There’s a lot of informaMr. Breiner says. The porcelain ence of archaeologists from the tion that can come from a well can be dated by experts skilled INAH, the National Institute of understood search and study of

an ancient ship,” Mr. Breiner says. One piece of equipment Mr. Breiner has not used and that wouldn’t do much good in this exploration is a metal detector. That device transmits an electrical signal; if something metal is within range, the transmitted signal creates within the metal an electrical current detectable by the device. The magnetometer, by contrast, is passive. It senses the Earth’s magnetic field, which is present everywhere all the time. The device notes anomalies in that field caused by materials that have or do not have magnetic properties. Airport and courtroom devices that screen for metal objects on a person are magnetometers that can sense a belt buckle’s disturbance to the planet’s magnetic field. The device in use by Mr. Breiner in Baja is thousands of times more sensitive. At the shipwreck, grains of magnetic minerals in the sand will provide a uniform background noise, Mr. Breiner says. Any interruption in that noise, such as would be made by a buried nonmagnetic pile of wood and ceramics, will indicate its presence by the absence of that background noise. A

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Fire union weighs ‘last, best’ contract offer Hit-and-run driver sentenced By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


he Menlo Park Firefighters Association has until Wednesday, Dec. 8, to decide whether to accept the fire protection district’s “last, best, and final� offer of contributing $1,500 per month to each employee’s health plan. The district sent a letter on Nov. 29 to union leadership saying it would double the amount put toward health benefits in hopes of coaxing the union back to the bargaining table. In August the firefighters rejected an offer of $750 per month. The firefighters have been working without a contract for almost three years. Negotiations first ground to a halt in 2009 after Menlo Park Firefighters Association Local 2400 filed a grievance

with the state’s Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) alleging unfair labor practices. Contract negotiations between the district and Menlo Park Firefighters Association Local 2400

‘We have to address the economic issues; we have to return to the negotiation table.’ CHIEF HAROLD SCHAPELHOUMAN, MENLO PARK FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

broke down again in October after union representatives asked to meet with the district’s board members individually after refusing to meet with designated negotiators. The board declined the request, saying in a response

letter that it would violate state law. “I understand the need and desire to settle this, we share that,� said Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. “But just as they selected their negotiators, the board also gets to do that. We have to address the economic issues; we have to return to the negotiation table. The answer is at the table.� The district’s firefighters also filed a lawsuit in July for overtime pay for time spent picking up equipment before and after their shifts start. Last year the district decided to replace salaries with hourly wages, leading to the overtime dispute. John Wurdinger, union president, said the association is currently “clarifying some issues� with the latest offer. A

The driver who hit a motorcyclist in Menlo Park, then fled the scene despite the victim begging for help, was sentenced to two years in state prison and ordered to make restitution in San Mateo County Superior Court on Friday, Dec. 3. The victim suffered a broken back. Police arrested Eric Olvera Nieto, 21, at his girlfriend’s home in Ripon, after he fled the Oct. 4 accident scene on foot. According to the incident report, Mr. Nieto rear-ended the motorcycle at a red light, throwing the victim onto the hood of the car. Mr. Nieto was unlicensed, and ran because he was in the United States illegally, according to the district attorney’s office.

TV commercials to get quieter Good news for anyone who’s ever dozed off during a television show, only to be blasted awake by an advertisement: Congress has passed legislation that would require television marketers to turn down the volume on commercials to the same level as regular programming, thanks to a bill sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park. “TV programs use a variety of sound levels to build dramatic effect. But advertisements have been neither subtle nor nuanced,� Rep. Eshoo said in a statement. “My bill reduces commercial volume, allowing them to only be as loud as the decibel level of regular programming. Consumers will no

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longer have to experience being blasted at. It’s a simple fix to a huge nuisance.� President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation, which would make it law. Advertisers must comply with the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act within one year.

Flu shot clinics County vaccine clinics are offering drop-in flu shots and nasal vaccines this month. Two locations will serve Menlo Park. The Belle Haven Clinic at 100 Terminal Ave. will give vaccinations on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. through Wednesday, Dec. 1. The other location is the dining room at St. Anthony’s Church at 3500 Middlefield Road, on Wednesday, Dec. 22, from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Visit or call 5733927 for more information.

Holiday parking now in effect Shoppers may find it easier to browse for gifts in downtown Menlo Park without getting a parking ticket. The police department has now extended the time limit from two to three hours in all of the city’s parking plazas except for the lot behind Draeger’s, which remains at two hours. Street parking still has a onehour time limit unless otherwise posted. Holiday parking hours end on Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. Call 330-6308 for more information.

Wrap around the world Who wouldn’t want a present wrapped with a topographic map? The U.S. Geological Survey office at 345 Middlefield Road in Menlo Park is giving away outdated maps for people to use as gift wrap this holiday season. The 24� by 30� maps are available through Thursday, Dec. 23. Call 688-6327 for more information.

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Photo by Vivian Wong

Two vases by Lundberg Studios found at Shady Lane in downtown Palo Alto. Prices range from $212 to $280.

Deutscher especially enjoys supporting artists who live nearby. “Local is fun,� she said. “That’s what we’re all about.�

Photo by Vivian Wong

he thought of handmade gifts evokes sweet memories of a child’s fingerpainted masterpiece or a great aunt’s knitted sweater. But even for gift-givers who don’t paint or knit, seeking out well-crafted, handmade gifts can lend a personal touch in a world of Big Box stores and mass-produced items. Local shops offer a wide array of handmade items for everyone on your list: For art lovers, multi-color pumpkins in rich hues ($47-$100) from Avolie Glass of Mountain View and handblown vases, paperweights and perfume bottles in contemporary and art deco designs ($212-$380) from Davenport’s Lundberg Studios are among the offerings at Shady Lane in downtown Palo Alto. The store features handmade pieces from Bay Area designers as well as artists from other countries, but proprietor Alice

In a Big Box world, gifts created by artisans and craftspeople offer a more personal feeling

A ceramic birdhouse made by Joy Imai.

Deutscher, her husband and a friend founded the University Avenue store 35 years ago to sell their own handiwork and to give other craftspeople an outlet to offer their wares. The quality and the diversity of the items in the store reflect Deutscher’s artist roots and creative sensibility. Shady Lane always stocks a few Tiffany-style lamps ($249$525) from Santa Cruz artist Jim Forsell, who has pieces in the Smithsonian Institution. The lamps feature brightly colored glass and designs such as flowers and butterflies. “The lamps add an ambiance in colors that make you happy,� Deutscher said. For those preferring a more natural aesthetic, Joy Imai, potter in residence at Special Handling Pottery in the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, focuses on earth tones inspired by the garden. Imai’s wheel-thrown, soda-fired vases ($50-$95) and mugs ($25-$28) display designs of flowers, leaves and birds. Imai expects that her ceramic

birdhouses (about $58) will be big sellers this season. “This area has a really big interest in the environment, and there is a big birding population here,� Imai says. Imai’s Japanese wish boxes ($35-$38) might make a whimsical gift for children and adults alike. “I got the idea from a Japanese childfolk tale,� Imai says. The boxes come in rich colors and feature images from nature, such as sky blue, moss green and amber with dragonflies, flowers and gingko leaves. Inside each box is a piece of rice paper for writing a wish. Special Handling Pottery also sells cards, bookmarks and signs by Inja Ink Calligraphy that could make thoughtful stocking stuffers ($2 and up). Bookmarks painted with watercolors or pastels and inscribed with inspirational quotes like, “With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown,� would complement the gift of a book or add a special

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Porcelain Jewelry by Jayne Thomas

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650-625-1736 or December 8, 2010 N The Almanac N15

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touch to a holiday card. Animal lovers might enjoy the variety of quirky, handmade gifts at the Carriage Stop at Roger Reynolds Nursery in Menlo Park, where Sophie, the fluffy, white dog that belongs to store owner Sally Halstead, greets customers. There are felt pillows decorated with Scotty dogs and bones ($33) and dog angel ornaments — dogs with wings holding hearts and Christmas trees ($12). The Carriage Stop also sells fanciful ceramics and small, decorative boxes created by Southern California artisan Abby Peterson, who grew up on a farm. Her ĂŹChicken Snowman BoxĂŽ ($25) and red-and-green checkered box topped with a smiling, sweater-clad bear ($25) could be used for storing trinkets like spare buttons or paperclips. For those seeking a bit of fun, the University Art Annex in Palo Alto carries playful gifts, such as froufrou-trimmed, fingerless gloves ($25), brightly colored felt hats made by RobinĂ­s Hoods, adorned with flowers and jewelry ($50-$150) and ĂŹparty hatsĂŽ by Pink Toffee — metallic headbands topped by items such as 3-D decorated Christmas trees and pink cupcakes with ballerinas. For an ecologically friendly gift, the Annex carries Attic Journals, mostly blank books with covers and a first few pages from old books that have been recovered from estate sales and libraries. The one-of-a-kind journals have titles like “Better Homes and Garden Afterwork Cookbookâ€? and “The Custom Look,â€? which features interior designs from the ‘70s. For the best gal pal on your list, how about a hand-tooled, vibrantly colored leather owl purse ($89) by Sunf lower, perhaps matched with an owl, cat or pineapple coin purse ($18)? Both are sold at Therapy on Castro Street in Mountain View. Therapy also offers small leather goods ($32-$118) handmade by Hobo Bags. “They come out every season with a unique palette,â€? said sales associate Nika Clelland. “They are such high quality that everyone who works here owns one. Something like a wallet is the perfect gift for a husband to get his wife because every time she takes it out, she will think of himâ€? — giving new meaning to the phrase: “It’s the thought that counts.â€? N Kathy Cordova is a Palo Alto freelance writer.



The (white) elephant in the room Office gift-giving can be fraught with hazards, but local employers have found ways to foster holiday cheer

by Jocelyn Dong


not be obvious. An attempt at humor might be taken as an insult. A present that is a mite too personal can lead to misunderstandings. Trepidation over office etiquette during the holidays has spurred more than a million articles online offering advice, including’s “Office gift giving: Proceed with caution.” Some workplaces seek to find a happy medium — fostering camaraderie but avoiding awkwardness — by hosting a “white elephant” gift exchange. In that tradition, co-workers bring wrapped “white elephant” gifts, a term used to describe an unwanted and often outrageous item that isn’t supposed to please. The gifts are chosen one at a time, and the recipient is allowed to trade the gift for one already opened by someone else. Bob Cable, public relations

Veronica Weber

or the holidays one year, Diana Turner got a box of cat litter-box liners from a co-worker. And she loved it. Turner, group wellness director for the Palo Alto Family YMCA, explained that the Y’s leadership team used to engage in a little gift-giving tradition: After a holiday lunch at Pizz’a Chicago, everyone would choose a fellow team member’s name out of a hat, receive $5, and go across the street to shop at the Palo Alto Goodwill. There, they’d have to stealthily find and purchase just the right item, hiding it from the intended recipient, who was also trying to sneakily buy a gift for someone. “It was a fun and endearing tradition,” Turner said of the practice that also benefited another nonprofit. (For the record, Turner does own two cats.) Turner was one of the lucky ones. As many company employees have experienced, gift exchanges among co-workers don’t necessarily turn out merry and bright. Whether one is on the receiving or giving end, office gift-giving can be fraught with hazards. It’s especially so when participating in a “Secret Santa” exchange, in which the gift giver is randomly assigned a recipient — whose tastes may

The “white elephant” gift is described as an unwanted — and often outrageous — item that isn’t supposed to please.

manager for Stanford Lively Arts, calls his department’s annual white-elephant gift exchange

“a nice morale builder for the staff. It’s fun. It gets people in the mood for the holidays.”

“One of the (gifts) I remember is the Blooming Onion Maker — ‘As Seen On TV,’” Cable said. “They bring it back every year. It recirculates.” Another popular gift that made the rounds: the “High School Musical” alarm clock. By far the most unusual gift — though one might argue the most appropriate, given the “white elephant” name — was given last year: a journal made from elephant dung. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it came back this year,” Cable said. Continued on next page


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H A P PY H O L I DAYS Continued from previous page

Cable himself brings what he calls “silly� gifts — a cute pen or something with a bit of originality. When it comes to non-whiteelephant gifts, Cable has advice on what not to give a co-worker: “Nothing that veers toward sexuality or politics; there’s awkwardness that lingers on. No lingerie.� Still, the luckiest employees may be those who pick the name of an easy-going recipient like Turner, who has appreciated more than one item someone’s bought her. On her desk at the Y, she has a picture of a little boy in shorts with his chubby tummy sticking out. Where did it come from? Goodwill, of course. N Managing Editor Jocelyn Dong can be e-mailed at


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Menlo Park man pleads no contest to fraud Described by police as a “lifelong con man,” Roger Steven Miller, 67, of Menlo Park, pleaded no contest Dec. 2 to felony check fraud and grand theft charges. Mr. Miller was on probation for a 2007 conviction on fraud and grand theft when police arrested him on Sept. 21 in a Safeway parking lot for selling thousands of dollars in non-

existent Apple stock. A resident of Menlo Park, he and his 59-year-old Menlo Park victim met at a mutual friend’s party, according to police, and he later brokered the purchase of 404 shares of “discounted” Apple stock for $26,000, conveniently paid via cashier’s check. But when the stock certificates never arrived, the victim got suspicious. Mr. Miller wrote a

refund check on a closed Union Bank account, and then police got involved, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Mr. Miller’s criminal record in San Mateo County spans nearly two decades, and includes a federal fraud conviction for trying to sell the Golden State Warriors basketball team, according to court records. Judge Lisa Novak sentenced him to two years and eight months in state prison for the latest crime and ordered him to make restitution to the victim.

N P O L I C E C A L LS 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. ATHERTON Residential burglary report: Home broken into via side door and jewelry stolen, 200 block of Oak Grove Ave., Dec. 1. Fraud reports: ■ Unauthorized use of credit card, reported at Atherton police station, Nov. 29. ■ Unauthorized use of Social Security number, first block of Maryland Ave., Nov. 30.

PORTOLA VALLEY Theft report: Loss estimated at between $3,000 and $5,000 in theft of jewelry, 200 block of Golden Oak Drive, Nov. 17. Auto theft report: Window smashed and $200 in cash stolen along with blouse and other contents of wallet, 300 block of Wyndham Drive, Nov. 30.

LADERA Theft report: Items valued at $200 stolen from unlocked vehicle, 200 block of South Balsamina Way, Nov. 28. WEST MENLO PARK Residential burglary report: Items valued at $15,700 stolen via unlocked front window, 3000 block of Alameda de las Pulgas, Nov. 1.

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MENLO PARK Commercial burglary reports: ■ Loss estimated at $400 in theft of two power tools, Modular Technology, 3723 Haven Ave., Nov. 19. ■ Loss estimated at $1,900 in theft of three laptop computers, Computers for Everyone at 3723 Haven Ave., Nov. 19. ■ Loss estimated at $400 in theft of computer monitor and books, Healthonomy at 3723 Haven Ave., Nov. 19. ■ Loss estimated at $1,000 in theft of computer, East Palo Alto High School at 475 Pope St., Nov. 22. ■ Loss estimated at $330 in theft of guitar and supplies, German American School at 275 Elliott Drive, Nov. 29. Residential burglary reports: ■ Losses estimated at $1,650 in theft of four computer game consoles and 15 games, 1000 block of Noel Drive, Dec. 1. ■ Loss estimated at $1,350 in theft of laptop computer and day-planner calendar, 1100 block of Almanor Ave., Nov. 22. ■ Losses estimated at $850 in theft of tools from shed, 400 block of Central Ave., Nov. 19. Auto burglary reports: ■ Losses estimated at $3,200 in theft of laptop and projector, 100 block of Independence Drive, Nov. 22. ■ Cable attaching tool box to vehicle cut and losses estimated at $1,425 in theft of tools and extension cords, 4000 block of Bohannon Drive, Nov. 27. ■ Satellite radio with estimated value of $400 stolen, 1100 block of Henderson Ave., Nov. 26. ■ Stereo with estimated value of $150 stolen, 700 block of Pierce Road, Nov. 22. Grand theft report: Loss estimated at $415 in theft of flatware and cooking utensils, 1000 block of Lassen Ave., Nov. 26. Fraud reports: ■ Loss of $736 in unauthorized use of credit card, 1000 block of Marcussen Drive, Nov. 30. ■ Loss of $340 in unauthorized use of credit card, 800 block of Arbor Road, Nov. 19. Stolen vehicle reports: ■ Silver 2002 Dodge Caravan and maroon 2000 Toyota Corolla, 1100 block of Hollyburne Ave., Nov. 22. ■ White 2008 Honda Civic, 200 block of Terminal Ave., Nov. 29. WOODSIDE Auto burglary report: Window smashed and Apple iPod, gym clothes, towels and cosmetics stolen, Park-and-Ride lot at Woodside and Lindenbrook roads, Nov. 27.

December 8, 2010 N The Almanac N19

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20 N The Almanac NDecember 8, 2010

Photo by Carly Crittendon

This picture of Thomas and son Marcus was selected as the poster image for this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s holiday food and fund drive.

Helping families cope with the economy Submitted by Poppy Pembroke, communications manager, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

While watching Marcus during the day, Thomas looks for work to help break the cycle of poverty in which he and Andrea grew up in. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was doing an internship for four months and ecently, 18-month-old Marcus and his par- there was supposed to be permanent employment ents, Thomas and Andrea, toured the San after the training was over, but the job opporJose warehouse of Second Harvest Food tunity just didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen,â&#x20AC;? Thomas recounted, Bank of Santa Clara and San explaining how county budget Mateo Counties, where they met N HOL I DAY F U ND cuts affected the outcome of the with CEO Kathy Jackson. internship. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The time I spent in The young family told how they Donations to the Holiday Fund training is good for my resume, have been hard-hit by the down- benefit Second Harvest Food but I could have been looking for turn in the economy. Formerly Bank and nine other commu- a job instead.â&#x20AC;? employed, Thomas is now a stay- nity-service organizations. Thomas and Andrea are dedicatat-home dad looking for work, ed to setting a positive example and Andrea takes as many hours for Marcus and their commuas she can at the womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clothing store, where she nity. Thomas is often asked by older family memis employed â&#x20AC;&#x201D; although, often, her part-time hours bers to â&#x20AC;&#x153;preach to the kids,â&#x20AC;? as he says, about how are cut down to just a couple a day. he was able to turn his life around at the age of 17. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A few hours here and there at $8.50 an hour For Thomas, every day is another opportunity to just isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t enough,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Without the food be a great dad, and the impact of that shows in his assistance, life would be very hard. We wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gregarious spirit. be able to eat.â&#x20AC;? Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re so thankful to have met Thomas, Andrea Currently, they reside with Andreaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s grandfa- and little Marcus. It helps us put a face on what ther, but the money they save is not enough to pay local hunger-and hope-looks like. the bills and buy the food they need. Thomas said More than 231,000 people received food every that he and Andrea have often had to go without month last year through Second Harvestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s extenmeals so Marcus has enough. sive food distribution network, each with their â&#x20AC;&#x153;We first went to Sacred Heart [one of the Food own story. Bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s partner agencies] when Marcus was 3 This holiday season, the numbers of those reachmonths old. We got great food and winter clothes ing out for help continue to rise, and are expected â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it all means a lot to us,â&#x20AC;? Andrea says. to grow to over a quarter million per month. Thomas and Andrea are now signed up for the Food Bankâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Family Harvest program, and are Visit for more information. Donations to waiting for their Food Stamp application to go the Holiday Fund benefit Second Harvest Food Bank through. and nine other community-service organizations.




Project Read-Menlo Park changes lives through literacy Submitted by Roberta Roth, literacy outreach specialist for Project Read-Menlo Park.

As a Project Read learner, she has had opportunities to volunteer at Connoisseurs’ Marketplace, wrapping gifts couldn’t imagine that an at Kepler’s, at the firefighters’ angel would come into open house, and at the Project my life. Learning English Read fundraiser, “making new by the help of Project Read and friends, making my life happier, my tutor has transformed my and improving my English,” she life.” These words were spoken says. by Cleire Neves, a student with Since 1985, Project Read has Project Read-Menlo Park, at served the Menlo Park comour “Taste Desserts for Literacy” munity with a free volunteerevent in September. driven, library-based literacy Cleire started working with program that enables adults and her tutor Jessi four years ago, families to improve their basic and the experience, she says, has reading and writing skills. Since greatly improved her speaking its inception, Project Read has as well as reading skills. helped more than 3,000 adults Before her work with Project and trained over 1,400 volunRead, she says, it was embar- teers. rassing to go shopping, go to Project Read-Menlo Park the bank, or do other simple recently established a nonthings. profit arm, Project Read-Men“Now it is different,” she says. lo Park Literacy Partners, to “I have conincrease our fidence and funding base I can express N HOLIDAY FUND and ensure myself and susta inable Donations to the Holiday Fund understand funding for benefit Project Read-Menlo what they say the future. Park and nine other communito me. I can Ind ity-service organizations. go to a job viduals and interview by groups can myself. I work get involved as a babysitter and I can take with Project Read in a variety the two kids that I take care of of ways: become a one-to-one to the dentist, classes, a haircut, tutor, volunteer in our Comsimple everyday things that I’m puter Lab, host an outreach able to accomplish with pride.” presentation, refer your employIn addition to her one-to-one ees who want to improve their weekly tutoring sessions, Cleire English skills, and volunteer for has taken advantage of oppor- special events. tunities for leadership developOur next tutor training begins ment and civic engagement. Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, and runs “Project Read has given me from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Training many opportunities to improve is also available via videotape my English. One example is and DVD. We hope to offer the chance to graduate from online training in 2011. No the Adult Learners Leader- prior tutoring experience is ship Institute. At the Institute, necessary, and we supply all the I practiced how to be more materials. confident to speak in front of a group. Visit “Before the Institute, I wasn’t for more information. Project able to speak in front of a group. Read-Menlo Park is located at the And now I am here in front of Menlo Park Library, 800 Alma you, maybe not without mis- St., Menlo Park, CA 94025. takes, but I am here.”


Kiwanis Club, Nativity School sell Christmas trees for good causes For more than 55 years, the Kiwanis Club of Menlo Park has been selling Christmas trees. The lot is located on El Camino Real at Embarcadero, in front of the Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto. Members volunteer to work at the tree lot, which is open from 2 to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends through

Dec. 24. Proceeds benefit youth, seniors and the underprivileged in the community. Nativity School also will be selling Christmas trees from its lot at 1250 Laurel St. in Menlo Park. Hours are 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Giving to the

4[XUPMe 2aZP

Your gift helps children and others in need


ontributions to the Holiday Fund go directly to programs that benefit Peninsula residents. Last year, Almanac readers contributed about $100,000, and with available matching grants, nearly $130,000 was raised for 10 agencies that feed the hungry, house the homeless and provide numerous other services to those in need. Contributions to the Holiday Fund will be matched, to the

extent possible, by generous community corporations, foundations and individuals, including the Rotary Club of Menlo Park, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. No administration costs will be deducted from the gift, which are tax-deductible as permitted by law. All donations to the Holiday Fund will be shared equally among the 10 recipient agencies listed below.

This year, the Almanac's Holiday Fund will support these nonprofit organizations in the community ■ Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula Provides after-school academic support and enrichment activities for 1,000 youths each day, ages 6 to 18. Operates clubhouses in Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood, East Palo Alto and Redwood City, and after-school programs at schools in these communities designed to extend the learning day and supplement the school's curriculum.

■ Ecumenical Hunger Program Provides emergency food, clothing, household essentials, special children's programs and sometimes financial assistance to families in need, regardless of religious preference, including Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for more than 1,500 households.

■ Project Read-Menlo Park Provides free literacy services to adults in the Menlo Park area. Trained volunteers work one-to-one or in small groups to help adults improve their basic reading, writing and English language skills so they can achieve their goals and function more effectively at home, at work, and in the community. In 2007-08, a total of 120 tutors assisted more than 300 students. ■ Ravenswood Family Health Center Provides primary medical care, behavioral health services and preventive health care for all ages at its clinics in Belle Haven and East Palo Alto. It also operates a mobile clinic at school sites. Of the 22,700 registered patients, most are low-income and uninsured. ■ St. Francis Center Provides services for families in need with the goal of helping them to live in dignity and become self-supporting community members. The center assists some 2,000 people each month with such services as low-income housing, food and clothing, shower and laundry, counseling, community garden, and education.

■ Second Harvest Food Bank The largest collector and distributor of food on the Peninsula, Second Harvest Food Bank distributed 30 million pounds of food last year. It gathers donations from individuals and businesses and distributes food to some 162,000 people each month through more than 700 agencies and distribution sites in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. ■ St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room Serves hundreds of hot meals six days a week in a social and friendly atmosphere to anyone in need. Funded entirely by contributions from the community, St. Anthony's is the largest soup kitchen between San Francisco and San Jose. It offers groceries to take home and distributes clothing to families. ■ Shelter Network Provides short-term shelter and transitional housing services to more than 3,700 people and children each year. Offers programs for families and individuals to become self-sufficient and return to permanent housing. ■ The Art of Yoga Project Offers incarcerated teen girls a rehabilitation program of yoga and creative arts to instill greater self-awareness, self-respect and self-control. The project serves over 500 girls annually at four local sites, including San Mateo County’s juvenile detention centers. ■ Youth and Family Enrichment Services Provides many programs to help people who struggle with substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health, relationship and communications issues. Helps strengthen youth, families and individuals to overcome challenges through counseling, education, and residential services.

Name of donor ______________________________________________Amount $ ______________ Street address _______________________________________________________________________ City _____________________________________________State _______________ Zip ____________

Q I wish to contribute anonymously.

Q Don’t publish the amount of my contribution.

I wish to designate my contribution as follows:

Q In honor of: Q In memory of:


TO DONATE ONLINE GO TO: PLEASE MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: SILICON VALLEY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION Enclose this coupon and send to: The Almanac Holiday Fund C/O Silicon Valley Community Foundation 2440 W. El Camino Real, Suite 300, Mountain View, CA 94040 By Credit Card: ❏ Visa or ❏ MasterCard No. _______________________________________ Exp. Date ________________________________________________________ Signature _________________________________________________________ The organizations named below provide major matching grants to the Holiday Fund.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Rotary Club of Menlo Park

The Almanac will make every effort to publish donor names for donations received before Dec. 31, 2010, unless the donor checks the anonymous box. All donations will be acknowledged by mail.

December 8, 2010 N The Almanac N21

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

Design & Production Design Director Raul Perez Designers Linda Atilano, Gary Vennarucci

Advertising Vice President Sales & Marketing Walter Kupiec Display Advertising Sales Heather Hanye 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 (ext. 213) Newsroom Fax: (650) 854-0677 Advertising: (650) 854-2626 Advertising Fax: (650) 854-3650 e-mail news and photos with captions to: e-mail letters to: 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.

Ideas, thoughts and opinions about

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

Finally, Atherton orders police probe


esponding to increasing public pressure, Atherton Police Chief Mike Guerra shared the welcome news Sunday that he has hired an outside investigator to determine if one of his officers intentionally added false information to a police report on Jon Buckheit, a resident who is suing the town for $10 million over his arrest in 2008. The announcement came following a whirlwind of activity in the case, which began Dec. 1 when Mr. Buckheit upped the ante by revealing records that show Officer Dean DeVlugt added an allegation of child assault to the police report after Mr. Buckheit’s arrest. Whether Officer DeVlugt did ED ITORI AL illegally falsify the record is of The opinion of The Almanac critical importance in the lawsuit Mr. Buckheit has filed against the town. It is not clear why Chief Guerra has not ordered an investigation until now. Although the arrest record was sealed after Mr. Buckheit won a declaration of factual innocence in a San Mateo County court, the judge ruled that the Atherton Police Department was to be given access to all the essential records. Nevertheless, after months of silence on the matter, Chief Guerra issued a long press release over the weekend explaining why he was moving forward. In an interview with The Almanac on Monday, he said he believes the internal investigation will be finished within weeks. But before we can applaud the chief for finally moving forward, we highly recommend that he follow Mr. Buckheit’s suggestion that he arrange to have a judge or retired judge appoint an investigator “based on his or her own judgment,” and to supervise the investigation. If Chief Guerra wants to make sure that his decision is respected by all parties, including Mr. Buckheit, he must follow a protocol that is beyond reproach. This case began in October 2008, when Mr. Buckheit called police, claiming he was the victim of a domestic assault by his live-in girlfriend. But instead of arresting the girlfriend, officers Tony Dennis and DeVlugt arrested Mr. Buckheit. He was never charged, and later won a declaration of factual innocence from a San Mateo County judge. During the trial, Officer Dennis testified that his police report had been altered by someone else. Mr. Buckheit ascertained who

changed the report through the legal discovery process in his civil case. Since the report-alteration matter came to light about a year ago, Mr. Buckheit has pressed Chief Guerra to investigate and make public who altered the record, and to discipline that officer. But the chief has stonewalled, although by court order he had access to all the essential records. On another front, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, who has said he can’t investigate because records in the case were sealed, will also get a copy of arrest record, Mr. Buckheit said last week. In our view, it is critically important for Atherton to get to the bottom of this issue, given that Mr. Buckheit’s lawsuit could be very damaging to the town if the plaintiff prevails. In addition, Atherton residents must be assured that if corruption has found its way into their police department, it will be weeded out. We also strongly urge Chief Guerra to make his findings public at the earliest possible time so the rumors and innuendoes about the case can be put to rest. We would also urge the City Council to once again consider establishing a police oversight committee. It has been nearly a year since the council looked at the idea, but on a 4-1 vote in March, the matter was tabled, with a promise to look at it again in a year or so. The Buckheit case is more than enough reason to give the idea serious consideration. If such a committee were in place now, the Buckheit case could have been resolved long ago. Many years ago the Atherton Police Department had a solid reputation as a service-oriented organization dedicated to protecting residents and their homes. But that has changed. Now, with the pending Buckheit case, the apparent police harassment of former finance director John Johns, and several other incidents, the department has lost its luster. And many residents still remember the troubled tenure of Chief Steve Cader, who left the force in 2000 after facing charges that he voted in an Atherton election although he wasn’t a resident. Atherton’s sworn police officers are paid handsomely for their service — an average of more than $100,000 a year. With about 50 percent of the town’s budget invested in police officer compensation alone, residents have a right to demand a top-notch police force, and they are not getting that today.


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Our readers write

Critical decision for Menlo Park mayor N


All views must include a home address and contact phone number. Published letters will also appear on the web site,, and occasionally on the Town Square forum.

TOWN SQUARE FORUM POST your views on the Town Square forum at EMAIL your views to: 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.

Editor: On Tuesday evening, Dec. 7, the Menlo Park City Council will select the mayor for 2011, and whatever the result, it will be controversial — this year nothing is quite “normal.” (The mayor sets the weekly council agenda, and also represents the city to myriad neighboring agencies.) The city “policy” for mayor selection is not so helpful this year as the vice mayor didn’t run for re-election and none of the five members meets the initial test of selection. The bottom line is, council will have to make this selection outside of its normal “policy.” But something is clear to

22 N The Almanac NDecember 8, 2010

See LETTERS, next page

Portola Valley Archives

Our Regional Heritage Judge James Allen built this house on 80 acres off Alpine and Los Trancos roads in Portola Valley in the 1880s. Called The Hawthornes, the property has been owned by only two families until recent times.


L E T T ER S Continued from previous page

the 72 percent of voters who approved Measure L pension reform: the one council member who opposed the initiative — she even co-lead the opposition — should not be setting the council agenda. Pension reform remains the single most important fiscal issue in our city, and the council must carry it forward with commitment, or we will have accomplished little. Meanwhile, our city is in the throes of hugely important transportation and planning efforts, in one of which the residents have had up to three years of input; for once, we need rational continuity, not disruption. With due respect to “policy” guidelines, council members this year need to look at qualifications for continued city leadership. This may not sit well with some, but I believe Rich Cline is that leader, with election winner Peter Ohtaki vice mayor. It will be a critical decision — I wish all our leaders the best. Henry Riggs Callie Lane, Menlo Park The writer is a member of the Menlo Park Planning Commission and was co-chair of the Measure L pension reform campaign.

Please, don’t make downtown Menlo into Santana Row Editor: D. J. Brawner’s letter about the downtown plan last week was right on target. I remember thinking “How did this get started? How did this snake-oil get sold to the city?” when the topic first came to light. I note the coincidence of the 1867 photo of the Menlo Park train station adjacent to his letter. The station contributes to the charm of this city. This charm will be gone if the “vision” is realized. Walking around in downtown Menlo Park is pleasant. I don’t want our environment sanitized to resemble a Santana Row. This plan can’t have been driven by residents. Show me the money behind this boondoggle. Money targeted for this would be far better spent on improving our local economy by marketing the appeal of our city to businesses large and small, and, to individuals who are considering starting a locally owned business. We must wake up, tell our friends and neighbors, and stop

this idea now.

Larry Mehl San Antonio Avenue, Menlo Park

Some rail critics hope to save Caltrain Editor: The critics of high-speed rail I know, including myself, want to save Caltrain because it provides a vital service. Our children and a grandchild rode it to school. We would use Caltrain for evenings in San Francisco if the service were more frequent and the connections in SF better. High-speed rail presents a huge and unbearable risk to the financially strapped state of California. We have a chronic, apparently unbridgeable fiscal deficit of over $20 billion a year and debt service on bonds for high-speed rail will make that worse, and we have the worst credit rating of any state. The state has some $80 billion in bonds outstanding and also over $400 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. Like practically all high-speed rail in the world, California’s will be a big money loser and, contrary to Prop 1A, will have to be subsidized with money the state does not have. California does not satisfy the necessary conditions (population density, local public transportation at each end) for financially viable high-speed rail. This project was sold to voters on the basis of false claims: no taxpayer subsidies, which cannot happen; a $50 fare which has now increased to $105 and probably higher (compared to $60 on Southwest Airline); a $30 billion price tag for SacramentoSF-LA-San Diego service, now estimated by the high-speed rail commission at $43 billion for SF-LA only and most likely to increase $10 billion-$20 billion if past high-speed rail history repeats. California taxpayers would bear that risk. Would anybody want to buy our bonds

without a very large interest premium? California high-speed rail will not get any more money from the federal government. American voters have just sent to Washington a Republican majority in the House of Representatives pledged to cut the deficit. Without more federal funds, the project will die. California should now stop spending the $200 million a year the project is costing, and redirect the money to support of local commuter public transportation and also education. Alain Enthoven McCormick Lane, Atherton CA





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ner than is possible with other lens materials. In addition, Trivex is the lightest lens material. When eyeglass wearers add up all these considerable advantages, Trivex should be high on their list when it comes to choosing prescription lenses.

Parking tickets courtesy of new consultants Editor: A friend of mine who grew up down the street from me here in Menlo Park grabbed me by the shoulder Friday night in a local restaurant. He had just got a parking ticket in Menlo Park, for “overtime parking.” Not true. He went to the Lorist Watchmaker store for 10 minutes at 10 a.m. and went home right after. Two hours later he met a friend at Stacks for lunch. When he left Stacks he found a $42 parking ticket on his car window for overtime parking. The meter maidette was one aisle away and my friend confronted him, told his story and got a blank look. He was told to “call this number.” After the first of the year, the downtown Menlo Park parking regulations will get worse as the result of another high-priced ($75,000) “consultant” hired by our city government. My hope for the “new council” is that they stop trying to kill our downtown and stop using our money for high priced consultants without any gray matter between their ears. Pat White Fremont Street, Menlo Park


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December 8, 2010 N The Almanac N23

The Buck Estate  !""( #  " ' ()#&

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Scott Dancer 650.529.2454 DRE# 00868362

2969 Woodside Road, Woodside, CA 94062 Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

24 N The Almanac NDecember 8, 2010

represented by Scott Dancer

The Almanac 12.8.2010 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the December 8.2010 edition of the Almanac

The Almanac 12.8.2010 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the December 8.2010 edition of the Almanac