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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

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W W W. T H E A L M A N AC O N L I N E . C O M

A BAND OF DADS

Menlo Park dads find a way to have fun and help the community See Section 2

PROPERTY SHOWCASE BY HUGH CORNISH

SPECTACULAR WOODSIDE LODGE 1990 Portola Road, Woodside

HISTORIC ATHERTON ESTATE 311 Stockbridge Avenue, Atherton

5-bedroom, 4.5-bath home on approx. 4.5 acres Offered at $6,495,000 www.1990Portola.com

Three-story main house with 6 bedrooms plus ‘Kasbah’ Offered at $6,850,000 www.311Stockbridge.com

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SOUGHT-AFTER ONE-LEVEL CONDO 2 Mansion Court, Menlo Park

ONE-OF-A-KIND HIDDEN VALLEY PROPERTY 160 Farm Road, Woodside

3-bedroom, 3.5-bath condominium of over 2,800 sq. ft. Offered at $1,299,000 www.2MansionCt.com

4-bedroom, 4.5-bath home on approx. 4.6 acres Offered at $6,250,000 www.160Farm.com

COMING SOON

COMING SOON

UPDATED COTTAGE WITH POOL Patterson Avenue, Menlo Park

ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER Westridge Drive, Portola Valley

3-bedroom, 2-baths on a West Menlo cul-de-sac

4-bedroom, 3-bath custom home on approx. 3.25 acres

#1 Agent, Menlo Park – El Camino Office, 2010 Ranked #51 Nationally by The Wall Street Journal, 2010 Over $1.2 Billion in Sales

WWW.HUGHCORNISH.COM

650.566.5353 hcornish@cbnorcal.com DRE# 00912143

2 N The Almanac NJanuary 26, 2011

This information was supplied by Seller and/or other sources. Broker believes this information to be correct but has not verified this information and assumes no legal responsibility for its accuracy. Buyers should investigate these issues to their own satisfaction.

Providing A Network of Reputable Home-Improvement Professionals

UP F RONT

David Ramadanoff presents

Judy Squier tells of her extraordinary life

the Master Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra with John Burton

By Marjorie Mader Almanac Correspondent

B

orn without complete legs, Judy Squier, who lived in Portola Valley for 30 years, has traveled far, conquering physical handicaps with faith, courage, and amazing grace to lead an extraordinary life. “I think God has made me a woman of hope who believes in miracles because I see what God has done in my life,” she wrote in her new book. “He’s taken what the world would reject Ö and he has surprised us all.” As a “disabled child,” she says, “I was excluded from life. I had a permanent seat on the sidelines. I never expected to get a college degree, be able to help other families struggling with disabilities, get married, and be capable of having and caring for my own children.” Her journey began 65 years ago when she was born with two stumps for legs with deformed feet. Her parents were advised to put their daughter in an institution. They never considered it. She says they faced the responsibilities of raising their physically handicapped younger daughter with courage, determination, resourcefulness, and a strong faith in god. Her major surgery took place at Shriners Hospital in Chicago when she was 10. Since then, she’s had seven sets of artificial limbs at various ages. Now she is a full-time wheelchair user. Her world opened up when she was admitted to the University of Illinois and a pilot program at Urbana, Illinois, for disabled veterans that also accepted students with disabilities. She majored in speech pathology, joined a sorority, was a wheelchair cheerleader, and went on to earn a master’s degree. During her junior year, she needed a ride home for vacation and got the ride from a friend of the family, David Squier. He was studying electrical engineering in graduate school. They started dating and wrote to each other daily when he moved to California to work with Lockheed. During Easter vacation in 1968, she flew to California to interview for a speech pathologist position at Stanford Hospital. She returned home with a job offer, a diamond ring, and knowing that she and David would be married in three months — on June 8, 1968. The Squiers moved to Portola Valley in 1975 and raised their three daughters — Emily, Betsy and Napthalie — in their two-story home near Alpine Hills Tennis and Swimming Club. As their girls started school in Portola Valley, Judy gradually became involved in school activities, eventually serving two terms as co-president of the Portola Valley School District PTA. After her husband’s retirement, she and David traveled to Thailand, Romania, and Brazil to distribute free wheelchairs to disabled children and adults through the organization, Joni and Friends International Disability Center. Reflecting on her life, she says: “I’m amazed

J.S. Bach Suite No. 3 in D major Mozart

John Burton, horn Pamela Martin, guest conductor

223-6525 223-7525 854-2626 854-3650 854-0858

Mozart

Tickets:

Gen Admission $20 Seniors (60+)

$16

Youth

$5

Photo by Naphtalie Squier

Judy Squier tells her life story of conquering physical disabilities in “His Majesty in Brokenness.”

when you can’t use your legs, how you have to delegate and you have to have some verbal skills. My personality grew in areas that it would never have grown. Ö If you have a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and good social skills, people are inspired to work alongside you and co-labor with you.” An unexpected honor came in 1991 when she received a national award in Washington, D.C., as part of the Family Research Council’s effort to recognize individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the health and well-being of the American family. In 2006, the Squiers moved from Portola Valley to Grants Pass, Oregon, fulfilling her husband’s dream of retiring in Oregon. It gave her the gift of time to write her book, “His Majesty in Brokenness.” “The desire to write a book was planted when I was 13 and gave my first speech in Chicago,” she says. “Someone in the audience said you must write a book. “But, I didn’t have anything to write. The calendar was empty and I had no life,” she recalls. Receiving the national award for contributions to the American family was a turning point. “I suddenly went from feeling like a reject to being celebrated. I felt there was a story to tell.” She had started keeping a journal when she was See JUDY SQUIER, page 6

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.

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.

Symphony No. 39 in E flat major

Saturday, January 29 at 7:30 pm St. Bede’s Episcopal Church 2650 Sand Hill Rd., Menlo Park Free reception follows

This ad sponsored by Ginny Kavanaugh and Joe Kavanaugh of Coldwell Banker, Portola Valley. Visit them at www.thekavanaughs.com

CALLING ON THE ALMANAC Newsroom: Newsroom fax: Advertising: Advertising fax: Classified ads:

Horn Concerto No. 2

Sunday, January 30 at 2:30 pm Los Altos United Methodist Church 655 Magdalena at Foothill Expressway, Los Altos Free reception at intermission

Thank You! The Kiwanis Club of Menlo Park would like to say THANK YOU to the local community for supporting our fundraising endeavors! The Christmas Tree Fundraiser located at the Stanford Stadium in November and December 2010 was a great success. Our Club has been providing beautiful Noble Firs to the community for over 40 years, and we invite you to join us again in November 2011. The proceeds from these fundraisers benefit the following organizations: MENLO ATHERTON SCHOLARSHIPS PROJECT READ REBUILDING TOGETHER MY NEW RED SHOES LITTLE HOUSE ENGLISH IN ACTION ST. ANTHONY’S DINING ROOM SPECIAL GAMES MORGAN AUTISM RAVENSWOOD SCHOOL FOUNDATION PENINSULA BOY SCOUTS BREAD OF LIFE

If you would like to learn more about our Club please call (650) 321-6068.

January 26, 2011 N The Almanac N3

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SUMMER 2011

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ATTENTION PARENTS!

Find the camps for your kids this summer in our newspapers and peninsula websites. We have all the camps you could possibly want!

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Also, pick up a copy of the Camp Connection magazine at family-oriented retailers on the Peninsula.

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Investigator clears police in Buckheit case ■ Buckheit dismisses findings, and pushes for an investigation by a neutral party.

N AT HERTON

By Renee Batti

assaulted by Mr. Buckheit. The investigation, conducted by a former police chief of a small California town, Pete Peterson, also looked at whether an officer or officers violated the law prohibiting officers from falsifying

Almanac News Editor

T

he internal affairs 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 has exonerated the police officer or officers involved, according to a letter sent to Mr. Buckheit by Atherton Police Chief Mike Guerra. The investigation’s conclusion is unlikely to put the tempestuous issue to rest: Mr. Buckheit is continuing to push for a neutral, third-party investigation of the incident, and has asked for a meeting with Chief Guerra to address a number of questions, including why the investigator didn’t interview Mr. Buckheit before wrapping up the case.

The letter from Chief Guerra, dated Jan. 14, stated that the “acts (that) provided the basis for the complaint or allegation occurred; however, the investigation revealed that they were justi-

‘If I could resurrect Plato or Aristotle, even they could not explain this.’ JON B UCKHEIT ON THE INVESTIGATOR’S CONCLUSIONS

fied, lawful and proper.” Mr. Buckheit’s complaint stated that Officer Dean DeVlugt changed the police report hours after Officer Tony Dennis submitted it — a change that falsely stated that a young boy who was present during the domestic dispute had been physically

“any report, official record or official communication (oral, written, electronic).” Mr. Peterson, who was chosen by Chief Guerra to conduct the investigation over the protests of Mr. Buckheit and other Atherton residents, concluded that “the investigation conclusively proved that the act or

acts complained of did not occur,” according to the letter. Chief Guerra did not return phone calls from The Almanac seeking clarification about the seeming contradiction between the two conclusions and other information for this story. Interim City Manager John Danielson did not return The Almanac’s phone calls seeking information for this story, including how much the investigation cost the town, and whether the complete report would be made available to the public. The Almanac’s request for a copy of the report was not responded to as of late in the day Jan. 21. Mr. Buckheit said that he was upset but not surprised by the investigator’s conclusions. “I didn’t think it would be this blatant,” he said Referring to the conclusions cited in the one-page, sparsely detailed letter from Chief Guerra, Mr. Buck-

heit said, “If I could resurrect Plato or Aristotle, even they could not explain this.” Although it is unclear whether Mr. Peterson’s complete report will be made available to the public, Mr. Buckheit has reviewed a copy of it. He said that Mr. Peterson blamed limitations of the computer system used for filing police reports for the addition of false information in the report on Mr. Buckheit’s arrest. Mr. Buckheit said the Peterson report also stated that the San Mateo County Superior Court judge who granted Mr. Buckheit a declaration of factual innocence in the case last year “is unfamiliar with how the county’s domestic violence protocol works.” The arrest and legal fallout

The domestic violence incident occurred on the night of Oct. 19, 2008. Mr. Buckheit called the See BUCKHEIT, page 8

Caltrain faces $30M gap, ‘drastic’ cutbacks in service By Jay Thorwaldson

“The schedule also would require the suspension of seraltrain’s already hard- vice at up to seven stations,” she pressed Peninsula com- added. mute service faces a $30 Mark Simon, Caltrain’s execumillion deficit this year and tive officer for public affairs, is planning “drastic” cutbacks said the cutbacks are not in final in services, Caltrain officials form, but are “where we are announced Jan. 20. starting” given a bleak financial A “fiscal emergency” is picture, a $10 million reduction expected to be declared at Cal- in subsidy by SamTrans, and train’s governing board meet- a continuing lack of a permaing on Feb. 3. nent source of Caltrain’s total funding, such annual budget Services that could be as sales-tax revis about $100 eliminated include week- enues. million. Caltrain is the day service outside the only Bay Area T he full scope of the transit agency commute peak and budget gap is without such a weekend service. not yet known, source of fundas it depends ing, and has on how deeply three transit already made significant cuts in agencies (San Mateo County’s service and staffing. SamTrans, Santa Clara County’s The projected $30 million gap VTA, and San Francisco transit) is contingent on the other two cut their subsidies of Caltrain. transit agencies making cutSamTrans recently announced backs similar to the SamTrans a $10 million reduction. reduction, which reduced its Service that could be elimi- annual contribution to $4.7 milnated include weekday service lion, Mr. Simon said. outside the commute peak, Caltrain now operates 86 weekend service, and service weekday trains, including 22 south of the San Jose Diridon express trains, with an average station, Caltrain spokeswoman See CALTRAIN, page 10 Christine Dunn said.

Embarcadero Media

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Photo by Sheldon Breiner

This meadow, located in a privately held 229-acre parcel at the foot of Windy Hill in Portola Valley, should not be home to a proposed barn, the Planning Commission decided. The property owners are expected to appeal the decision to the Town Council.

‘No’ to barn in Portola Valley meadow By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer

I

n a unanimous decision, the five-member Portola Valley Planning Commission has voted down a proposal that could have placed a barn in the meadow that sits below Windy Hill along the west side of Portola Road. The Jan. 19 decision, which

rejected a proposal for five new buildings on the 229-acre property at 555 Portola Road, is likely to be appealed to the Town Council, project architect Carter Warr told the commission. In addition to the barn, the proposal by residents Dr. Kirk Neely and Holly Myers includes a cabana and pool, a greenhouse, a guest house and an artist’s

studio. If appealed, the council would consider the project anew — that is, without reference to the many earlier discussions at the Planning and the Architecture & Site Control commissions. The meadow sits at the foot of a landscape that rises uninterSee BARN, page 8

January 26, 2011 N The Almanac N5

N E W S

The Sequoia Union High School District Board of Trustees …is seeking applicants to serve on the District’s Construction Bond Oversight Committee This committee will meet four times per year to monitor expenditures for the building projects of the recently approved Measure J school construction bond. Periodically, the committee will report bond expenditures to the community.

2010

ANNUAL HOUSING MARKET REPORTS HAVE BEEN RELEASED

APPLICATIONS

Applications may be downloaded from the Sequoia District web site at www.seq.org or may be requested from the district office by calling Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Services Enrique Navas at 650-369-1411, ext. 2218.

Available at

www.PeninsulaSpecialist.com ANNUAL HOUSING REPORTS for Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside

Send completed applications to Enrique Navas Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Services Sequoia Union High School District 480 James Avenue Redwood City, CA 94062

Or call 650.743.7702 and have the report mailed to you.

TIMELINE

Application filing period – Jan 12, to Feb 2, 2011, 4:30 p.m. Committee membership announced by the Board of Trustees on Feb 16, 2011 For further information, contact Enrique Navas at 650-369-1411, ext. 2218.

Steven Gray REALTOR, SFR DRE# 01498634

650-743-7702 sgray@cashin.com Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

It took more than a year to get a diagnosis. When I went to Stanford’s Dermatology Clinic, I finally found a dermatologist who truly listened to what I said—and then actually DID something about it. —Cindy W., Stanford patient

Stanford Dermatology Center offers a full range of medical and surgical dermatology services in a patient friendly environment. Whether you’re suffering from a common condition or a difficult-to-manage disease, Stanford Dermatology’s team has broad experience in treating all skin conditions—from the common to the complex.

NEW EXTENDED HOURS Mon – Fri: 8:00am – 4:30pm

Make an appointment, call 650.723.6316 or visit: stanfordhospital.org/dermatology

450 Broadway Street, Redwood City, CA 94063 6 N The Almanac NJanuary 26, 2011

N B O O K S I G NI NG Judy Squier, longtime Portola Valley resident, returns to sign copies of her book, “His Majesty in Brokeness,” on Thursday, Jan. 27, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Konditorei coffee shop and gathering place in the Ladera shopping center, 3130 Alpine Road. Patty Cullen, the Konditorei owner, was a student with Judy in Sheila Dunec’s “Life Stories” class.

JUDY SQUIER continued from page 3

10 and recovering from surgery during her six-month stay at Shriners Hospital in Chicago. She also collected her own life stories over the years. She began writing her story and showed it to an experienced writer who advised her to take writing lessons. And she did. She took writing courses through UC Berkeley Extension and Palo Alto Adult Education, went to writers’ conferences, and started freelancing. Work on her book actually began in the early 1990s when she wrote a story a week for the popular “Life Stories” sessions, guided by Sheila Dunec and held in the Menlo Park Library. “We were so humbled and inspired by Judy’s stories week after week as she shared her life experiences with us,” says Ms. Dunec. “Her life is a testament to her faith.” Judy realized in 2007 that she finally had a book, and it was three-fourths written. “I found my writing voice through writing, reflection, introspection and listening. The story comes from the heart and poignant moments in life.” Her Redwood City critique group of writers insisted she find a way to engage the reader in each of the 30 chapters. The result was her adding a “What About You” section to each of the chapters that jogs readers to think about their own lives. The Squiers — Judy, David and Naphtalie — discovered there’s a world of options for print-ondemand self-publishing. They chose the website, createspace. com, an arm of Amazon. The three worked together on the layouts, graphics, and picture selection for a week while vacationing in Capitola. She has dedicated her book to “David, my beloved husband whose sacrificial love has been my ticket to an extraordinary life.” A

Visit judysquier.com for information about the book and how to order it.

N E W S

R EAL E STATE Q&A

Big questions over pool contract ■ Why did Menlo Park staff not involve the council before conducting negotiations? By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

P

Main questions

Three main questions need answering, they said: ■ What constitutes reasonable pool access for the city’s residents as well as members of Team Sheeper’s competing swim club, SOLO Aquatics? ■ Has SOLO in fact received fewer and fewer hours at the Burgess pools during the five years that Team Sheeper has managed the facility? ■ Why did the contract approval process change from the one originally outlined in the city’s request for proposals, without public notice? “I am now told that this process will not be honored,” said Robin Stewart, whose 6-yearold daughter swims with SOLO. “How is this acceptable to the City Council? There are rules governing any RFP process and I want to know those rules have been followed.” Even the commissioners were unaware of the change until the Jan. 19 meeting. When requesting proposals in August, staff members initially said they would present their recommended choice of provider to the City Council and let the council decide whether to start negotiations. But negotiations started in December, and the council has yet to be involved. Council approval is required before the contract goes into effect. “The result of increasing the opportunities for public involvement was the extension of the process timeline by two months, creating the need to go directly

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

SOLO Aquatics kids practice at Burgess Pool. Several SOLO members said the proposed contract would kill their program.

to negotiations so the selected provider has adequate time to gear up for contract implementation,” Community Services Director Cherise Brandell told The Almanac. When asked by the Parks and Recreation Commission about the change, Ms. Brandell explained that Team Sheeper needed several months to hire and train employees to work at the Belle Haven pool, which would fall under his management starting with three months this summer. However, the commission suggested that Belle Haven could wait, if that meant having more time to make sure the long-term contract benefits the city’s residents — not just Team Sheeper. Hours and rent

The discussion also addressed criteria for awarding the contract. Although SOLO bid $20,000 rent per month to manage the facility, Ms. Brandell said, staff didn’t believe the group could meet that commitment after analyzing its financial statements. The proposed contract has Team Sheeper paying $3,000 a month plus operating costs to manage both the Burgess and Belle Haven pools. Several SOLO members told the commission that the new contract will kill their program and questioned why anyone would believe a for-profit program like Team Sheeper would

Man flashes fake badge at teens Two 15-year-old boys walking along Willow Road early Sunday evening encountered a stranger flashing a fake law enforcement badge, according to the Menlo Park police. “Freeze and don’t move,” he

told them. The stranger, described as a Caucasian man around 30 years old with a goatee and wearing a blue flannel shirt, was standing near a brown pickup truck parked in the

let a competing, nonprofit program like SOLO flourish under the same roof. “Our lane space has been reduced 30 to 40 percent in my estimation over the past five years,” said Erin Glanville, whose three children swim with SOLO. One provision of the contract moves SOLO across town to the Belle Haven pool during the summer. Ms. Glanville called it “utterly outrageous” that the club was singled out for elimination from Burgess during one of the busiest seasons of the year.

Unpermitted Square Footage Dear Gloria, We are getting our home ready to put on the market. We are definitely anxious to sell and waited all through last year for the market to improve. Now our realtor tells us we have a problem since we did a lot of work, including an addition without permits. He says this is an issue and doesn’t want to count the square footage we added, which is roughly a thousand square feet. What can be done about this? Linda W., Portola Valley Dear Linda, It is indeed an issue, unless you happen to find a buyer who is understanding and doesn’t mind that the work is unpermitted. That is some-

what doubtful though because then it becomes their problem when they want to sell. Another part of the situation is how to appraise the property and make it competitive with the other houses on the market. Does one do a price per square foot that includes the nonpermitted square footage or do you eliminate it and price it according to properties with similar permitted square footage? There is a way to get a permit retroactively but this is not necessarily an easy fix. All of the work must be up to code with no building violations. If there are violations they must be corrected and the inspector will revisit the property to verify the correction.

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

“There‘s no place like home.”

Redwood City - San Mateo - San Jose

Read before acting

Since City Attorney Bill McClure continues to review the contract, the Parks and Recreation Commission did not have a copy at the Jan. 19 meeting. The commissioners, reluctant to make recommendations for the City Council on a contract they haven’t seen, instead voted unanimously to form a subcommittee to review the draft contract as soon as the city provides it, and then hold a special meeting on Thursday, Feb. 3, to discuss the draft and view a staff presentation on the allotment of pool time for all groups. Commissioners Kristi Breisch and Nick Naclerio volunteered to serve on the subcommittee. Meanwhile, negotiations with Team Sheeper continue. “We’re getting to a place right now where both (clubs) will be angry with us, and we think that’s the right place to be,” Ms. Brandell said. A

1100 block of Willow Road around 7:40 p.m. The man then said, “Relax, it’s a joke.” The boys fled, and the man made no attempt to chase or grab them. They didn’t recognize the man or the truck, said police spokeswoman Nicole Acker.

www.matchedcaregivers.com

KEHILLAH

lenty of questions remain after the city of Menlo Park disclosed its intention to offer Team Sheeper a new, 10-year contract to privately manage the city’s public pools. At the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting on Jan. 19, both the public and the commissioners asked city staff for answers.

by Gloria Darke

Our education: a tradition of critical inquiry, righteous living, and outstanding academics

3900 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Kehillah values education Kehillah educates with values Join us. For more information email admissions@kehillah.org or call 650.213.9600 x154 Kehillah is a beneficiary of the Levine-Lent Family Foundation, Len & Vivian Lehmann, area Jewish Community Federations, and the Jim Joseph Foundation.

January 26, 2011 N The Almanac N7

N E W S

Investigator clears Atherton police BUCKHEIT continued from page 5

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 2010, Mr. Buckheit was granted a declaration of factual innocence in San Mateo County Superior Court. Ather-

ton Police Officer 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. Chief Guerra announced in early December that the internal affairs investigation would take place after receiving a formal complaint and request for an investigation from Mr. Buckheit, dated Dec. 1. Although Mr. Guerra announced his intent to hire Mr. Peterson, Mr. Buckheit and other residents urged the town to ask a judge or a retired judge to appoint a neutral investigator. “In this way, the results of the

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Last March, Chief Guerra asked the county District Attorney’s Office to investigate the police report-alteration matter — a move opposed by

Jacob Richter is the winner of Laurel Elementary School’s first spelling bee. Jacob was one of 15 thirdgraders who took the stage before classmates and families on Jan. 14. When time ran out before a winner could be determined, a spelloff was held Jan. 19. Samantha Cotto, Ryan Cox, Lauren Hall, and Jacob went round after round, tackling such challenging words as euphonious, ululate and xanthic, words drawn from the Scripps National Spelling Bee list. As the winner, Jacob was awarded a one-year sub-

Mr. Buckheit, who called it “totally inappropriate.� Because his lawsuit names the county, “and that includes the D.A.,� how can that office “pass judgment on the wrongfulness of what was done to me?� he said last spring. “The D.A. has a vested interest in not exposing the wrongdoing.� The investigation was stalled when Mr. Buckheit refused to give the district attorney the police

scription to Encyclopaedia Brittanica Kids and a language course from K12 Inc. Jacob will Jacob Richter compete in the Bay Area semi-final bee to be held Feb. 19. Top spellers will then proceed to the Bay Area regional bee on March 3 in San Francisco. The winner of that competition will take part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., June 1-2.

report, which was sealed when Mr. Buckheit was given his declaration of factual innocence. Mr. Buckheit pushed to have an outside agency, such as the state Attorney General’s Office or the FBI, investigate the matter. Although Mr. Buckheit said he is now willing to release the report to the district attorney, he is still advocating that the investigation be turned over to another agency. A

‘No’ to barn in Portola Valley meadow continued from page 5

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Another investigation?

Jacob wins spelling bee

BARN

MenloParkFunerals.com 1182A Chestnut Street Menlo Park, CA

investigation will be immunized from being challenged as unfair in any way,â&#x20AC;? he wrote in a Dec. 5 letter to the police chief. Mr. Buckheit told The Almanac at the time that if a judge-appointed investigator determined that the police report-alteration was a mistake rather than an intentional criminal act, he would be willing to live with the determination. Mr. Buckheit on Jan. 21 sent Chief Guerra a letter requesting a meeting about the Peterson investigation. Questions he raised, in addition to his being left out of the circle of Mr. Petersonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interviews, include why, according to Mr. Petersonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s report, the investigation was limited to â&#x20AC;&#x153;what was set forth in my (Dec. 1) letter, which was meant to simply be an outline of the complaint.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Had anyone told me that my written submission would have been the only evidence considered, I certainly would have taken the time to make a much more detailed written submission,â&#x20AC;? he wrote.

rupted in ridges of grass and trees to the 1,900-foot peak of Windy Hill, a familiar landmark of Portola Valley. The townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s general plan specifically mentions the meadow. Portola Road is â&#x20AC;&#x153;the most â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;urbanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; of the scenic roadways,â&#x20AC;? the plan says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is nevertheless a road of more than usual natural beauty, running through what may be considered the heart of the town ... the meadow, orchards, stables and properties. Special consideration should be given to building size, design and setbacks along this road.â&#x20AC;? Residents agreed, most notably the residents of Westridge, a neighborhood that sits opposite and above the meadow on the other side of Portola Road and with elevated views of the Windy Hill vista. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We do not believe the review process to date or the recommended bases for action on the pending application conform with the requirements of our town ordinances and general plan,â&#x20AC;? said Rusty Day, chair of the Westridge Architectural Supervising Committee, in a Jan. 18 letter to the commission. The proposal would expand floor area on the property beyond the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 10,000 square foot limit and would therefore require the

Planning Commission to issue a conditional use permit. Such a permit gives the commission the right to periodically review a property ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s adherence to permit specifications. In a Jan. 12 staff report, town Planner Tom Vlasic noted that the commission could make the necessary findings and move ahead with the cabana and greenhouse. The rest of the project would need more work by both the client and the commission, Mr. Vlasic said at the meeting. Mr. Warr said that whether the commission approved the cabana and the greenhouse or rejected the proposal as a whole, the project would be appealed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our intent has not been to pursue two buildings,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If we wanted the two buildings, we probably could have had the two buildings a year ago.â&#x20AC;? In discussion before their vote, the commissioners expressed concern about the un-clustered distribution of the proposed buildings, but the barn was a focus. (In staff reports, the structure is referred to as an agricultural building but â&#x20AC;&#x153;barnâ&#x20AC;? is acceptable, Planning Manager Leslie Lambert told The Almanac.) The vista that includes the meadow, said Commissioner Leah Zaffaroni, has â&#x20AC;&#x153;scenic value and the catalyzing power of the winter

hillsides.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll ever be satisfied with a building in the meadow,â&#x20AC;? said Commissioner Alexandra Von Feldt, after noting its conflicts with the â&#x20AC;&#x153;scenic corridorâ&#x20AC;? citation in the general plan and its proximity to an earthquake fault. In September, the Town Council amended the zoning ordinance to take into account updated geologic maps. The council discussion addressed a letter from Dr. Neely and Ms. Myers in which the couple claimed to have evidence contradicting assertions that a fault trace runs through the meadow, according to minutes of the meeting. Dr. Neely and Ms. Myers also asserted in the letter that the town has an overly severe size limit of 120 square feet for structures located in a fault zone but not intended for human habitation, the minutes show. George Mader, a planning consultant with extensive geological credentials in addition to having been the town planner for many years, told the council that the Planning Commission had wrestled with this size limit and concluded that people might be in these structures at times and that parcels along the San Andreas fault tend to be large enough so that these buildings can be placed away from fault zones. A

N E W S

CHP checks â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;new infoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; on bike fatality By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer

A

collection of vehicles, including squad cars from the California Highway Patrol, gathered at the intersection of Alpine Road and Interstate 280 around noon Tuesday, Jan 18, to do more research into the Nov. 4 accident in which Los Altos bicyclist Lauren Ward, 47, collided with a tractor trailer and died, CHP officer Art Montiel told The Almanac. The CHP has â&#x20AC;&#x153;new informationâ&#x20AC;? and was conducting a â&#x20AC;&#x153;follow up,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Montiel said, adding: â&#x20AC;&#x153;If this information changes the outcome (of the investigation), weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll let you know.â&#x20AC;? The new information did not come from a witness to the accident, Mr. Montiel said. The

CHP is still hoping that witnesses come forward, he added. The new information has also not led to a reopening of the investigation in which the CHP determined that the driver of the truck was not at fault in the accident, Mr. Montiel said. Officers redirected vehicle and bicycle traffic away from the scene of the accident from about 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 18, Mr. Montiel said. On hand from the CHP were the accidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s investigation officer, the area commander, and members of the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team, Mr. Montiel said. The CHP also required the presence of the actual truck, from Randazzo Enterprises Inc. of Castroville, that was involved in the accident. The driver,

Heritage treeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fate rests with council After voting to spend $7,500 in city funds to design a home around a controversial 70-foot heritage redwood tree, the Menlo Park City Council will decide the treeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fate at its Jan. 25 meeting. Kim LeMieux, who owns the property that the tree sits on at 240 University Drive, asked the city last July for permission to cut down the tree to build a new two-story house. The Planning Commission agreed, but the Environmental Quality Commission did not. Since 2008, the city has approved 652 tree removals, and denied only 21, according to Rebecca Fotu, environmental programs manager. When Ms. LeMieux appealed to the council in October, it voted 3 to 2, with John Boyle and Rich Cline dissenting, to pay an architect to attempt to plan a house around the tree instead of immediately allowing her to cut it down. The new design, according to the staff report, suggests eliminating a basement and requires several zoning variances. Ms. LeMieux said the plan isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t economically feasible. The tree served as the backdrop to another controversy as well regarding remarks Councilman Andy Cohen made to Ms. LeMieux about her attractiveness prior to the vote. The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, in the council chambers at the Menlo Park Civic Center, 701 Laurel St.

Driver allegedly strikes bicyclist A 48-year-old man encountered a gold Lexus while riding his bike along Avy Avenue in

N MENLO BRIEFS

Menlo Park on a sunny Thursday afternoon, that much seems certain. The nature of the encounter, however, remains under investigation. According to police spokeswoman Nicole Acker, the Lexus may have rear-ended the bicycle around 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 20. But when the rider told the driver â&#x20AC;&#x201D; an elderly woman with a British accent â&#x20AC;&#x201D; sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d hit him, the driver allegedly responded, â&#x20AC;&#x153;No, I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t,â&#x20AC;? and drove away. The bicyclist reported the accident to the police one hour later. He did not get the carâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s license plate number, and although the police log reports the incident as a hit-and-run with injury, he was physically unharmed.

Gabriel Manzur Vera, was not present, Mr. Montiel said. The Ward family, represented by attorney John Feder of San Francisco, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mr. Vera and Randazzo. In an earlier interview, Mr. Feder said he had hired an investigative team to conduct a reenactment. Mr. Feder has not yet responded to an Almanac request for an interview. A

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Streetlights go green About 20 percent of Menlo Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2,300 streetlights will start to shine a little brighter and burn a little less energy once the city finishes replacing 445 sodium bulbs with lightemitting diode (LED) fixtures. The $323,154 project is funded by an energy conservation grant and the Community Development Housing Fund. Engineering Services Manager Chip Taylor estimated the swap will save the city $29,000 a year. The LEDs should also cut Menlo Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual carbon dioxide production by 123,000 pounds. Streets selected for the new lights include Santa Cruz Avenue, Willow Road, El Camino Real, and Middlefield Road. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Sandy Brundge

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N E W S

N O B I T UA RY

Molly Love Former Menlo Park resident

Molly Love, a longtime resident of Menlo Park and Palo Alto, died Jan. 15 in Reno, Nevada, after a short illness. She was 86. She was born in Granite City, Illinois. Her early years were spent between Granite City and Wilmette, Illinois. In 1946 she moved to California, where she met her future husband, Bob Love. They were married in 1947 and moved to Menlo Park, where

they lived for 55 years, until Mr. Loveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s death in 2003. She was secretary to Edwin H. Smith, Menlo Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s city engineer. After retiring, she assisted her husband in his golf sales endeavors. Survivors include son Rob Love of Sparks, Nevada; sisters Judy Cost of Sparks and Joan Sweet of Reno; brother Stephen Sweet of Burlingame; and cousin Patricia McAdam of Burlingame. At her request, there will be no funeral. Donations may be made to Young Life, West County, P.O. Box 20822, El Sobrante, CA 94820.

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

Bothun charge dismissed By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor

T

he probation violation charge that resulted from the search of journalist Brian Bothunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Atherton home last October was dismissed in court on Monday, Jan. 24. The San Mateo County District Attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office had determined that there was â&#x20AC;&#x153;no reasonable likelinessâ&#x20AC;? that the .01 gram of a drug found in a plastic bag in Mr. Bothunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

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10 N The Almanac NJanuary 26, 2011

closet during the search would lead to a conviction, said Mr. Bothunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attorney, Dan Barton of Palo Alto. The trace of the controlled substance â&#x20AC;&#x153;was residue,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Barton said, adding that the search turned up no drug paraphernalia and no evidence of current use. Mr. Bothun was near the end of an 18-month probation period for a misdemeanor drug conviction when county probation officers with a police dog and three Atherton police officers descended on his home, searching his computer and iPhone as well as the house itself. Mr. Barton and a number of Atherton residents have criticized the search, citing the number of officers present and the use of a dog, as well as the scale

of the search. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This was for a misdemeanor drug conviction,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Barton said. He said he believed the police action was â&#x20AC;&#x153;part of a vendetta against Brian for his work as a journalist ... for exposing (the wrongdoing) of a police chiefâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a reference to Mr. Bothunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work as a local reporter in revealing that then-Police Chief Steve Cader voted illegally in an Atherton election. Mr. Cader was ultimately charged with voter fraud, and left the department under a cloud. Atherton Police Chief Mike Guerra responded that his department didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t initiate the search, but assisted in it at the request of the probation department. Mr. Bothunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s probation ended Nov. 28 after he completed drug treatment; his arrest and conviction have been wiped from his record, Mr. Barton said. A

Project Read volunteer tutors needed Project Read-Menlo Park is seeking volunteers to tutor adults in literacy, and is offering tutor-training sessions beginning Tuesday, Feb. 8. Training sessions are from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 8; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12; and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22. The final session is for tutors who have started meeting with their students, giving them a chance to compare notes and seek advice on specific situations they may have encountered. Those interested in being

CALTRAIN continued from page 5

ridership of 40,000. On Saturdays there are 32 local trains and four express trains, and on Sundays there are 28 local and four express trains. Mr. Simon outlined â&#x20AC;&#x153;aggressiveâ&#x20AC;? measures Caltrain has taken in the past three fiscal years: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Salaries have been frozen. Employees will have taken a total of 17 furlough days from FY09 through FY11. As of Jan. 1, four weekday trains during the midday were eliminated and fares were increased 25 cents for each zone. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In an effort to generate additional revenue, a pilot program for weekend Baby Bullet service was introduced.â&#x20AC;? Caltrain administrative staff costs are just 6.4 percent of its operating budget, below average for comparable commuter rail

a tutor but who canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t attend the next scheduled sessions can receive videotaped or DVD training and resource material through the Project Read office at the Menlo Park Library. Tutoring takes place at the Menlo Park and Belle Haven branch libraries, the Menlo Park Senior Center, the Burgess Recreation Center, or at a location mutually agreeable to the tutor and learner. Visit projectreadmenlopark.org or call 330-2525 for more information.

agencies, he said. Caltrain is operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, a public entity that owns and operates Caltrain. He said the board is planning two public hearings, one on the proposed service cuts and one to declare a fiscal emergency, at its Feb. 3 meeting. Four community meetings will be held throughout the Caltrain service area on Feb. 17, followed by a formal public hearing on March 3. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A start date for any service changes has yet to be determined,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Simon said. A

N MEETI NG A â&#x20AC;&#x153;summitâ&#x20AC;? meeting on saving Caltrain is set for Saturday, Jan. 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Samtrans Auditorium, 1250 San Carlos Ave. in San Carlos. That meeting is sponsored by a multi-community group, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Friends of Caltrain.â&#x20AC;?

January 26, 2011 N The Almanac N11

12 N The Almanac NJanuary 26, 2011

January 26, 2011 N The Almanac N13

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 Dave 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) 223-6525 Newsroom Fax: (650) 223-7525 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.

N

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.

Ideas, thoughts and opinions about

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

Public left out of decision on squirrels

I

t may have made sense for the city of Menlo Park to eradicate the squirrel population at Mike Bedwell Bayfront Park last August, but it is difficult to understand why residents never were told about the action, either before or after the animals were poisoned. In the scheme of things, getting rid of the squirrels, which were thought to be tunneling their way into the earthern landfill cap and dragging garbage to the top, was not ED ITORI AL an expensive proposition. At The opinion of The Almanac under $10,000, paid to a Morgan Hill company named Animal Damage Management Inc., the cost was small enough for Deputy City Manager Kent Steffens to OK without City Council approval. But when the city is talking about placing a dangerous poison around pedestrian and biking trails in a popular park, the public should have been notified. And now that the squirrels have been removed, the contractor’s employee who performed the job is on vacation and cannot be reached. Without his comment, it is not clear whether any poison remains in the burrows and is available to dogs or other animals that might be sniffing around the park, looking for squirrels. Nor is the number of squirrels killed known. Mr. Steffen attributed the source of his concern about the squirrels to county health inspection reports. “The city got comments on its quarterly reports that squirrel activity was very high and squirrels had actually penetrat-

ed the cap,” Mr. Steffens told The Almanac. But none of the reports examined by The Almanac stated that the squirrels were actually digging through the cap and bringing up litter from landfill, although they did say squirrel activity was high and that there was increased litter found at the park. The county’s director of environmental health, Dean Peterson, told The Almanac, “We have no evidence of the squirrels actually dragging trash to the surface at the Marsh Road sites.” He went on to explain that “the main concern with the ground squirrels, or any other burrowing animal, is that their burrows can damage the landfill cap. Caps are designed and installed to limit the amount of water entering a landfill and to control gas production — so an uncontrolled population of burrowing animals could eventually devastate the cap.” When asked how the city decided the squirrels were at fault for the park litter, Mr. Steffens said, “Well, we know because we followed up on it. When the problem was identified the city staff did its own investigation. ...” Apparently, soon after it was decided to call in the exterminator. Perhaps this was the right decision to make, but nevertheless, the city owes residents, especially park users, an explanation of why the public was not notified, why the squirrels were eradicated, and more important, what poison was used and whether any residue remains that could be dangerous to pets and their masters.

L ETT E RS Our readers write

Blaming Recology misses the mark Editor: Nicholas and Oouisie Jones are right to be outraged over the extraordinary increases to their garbage rates. But blaming our new garbage company, Recology, misses the mark. The rate increases are to pay off costs incurred by the previous contractor, Allied Waste. Much of the increase will be used to cover the very generous labor contracts that Allied negotiated with the Teamsters Union. Unfortunately, Recology inherited these contracts, meaning that we will be paying for these contracts for the next four years. The good news is that Recology’s operation is much more efficient than Allied’s. More of our waste stream is being diverted from the landfill using less labor. And once the current labor contracts

CALL the Viewpoint desk at 223-6507.

14 N The Almanac NJanuary 26, 2011

Jac Audiffred Collection

Our Regional Heritage Woodside’s original Independence Hall as it appeared in 1884.

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Death penalty only solace for bereaved family

Free Attorney Consult!

By Frank Merrill

ety. Instead, he will live (until his execution) in read with dismay Henry Organ’s opinion an 8 foot by 12 foot cell, virtually never seeing piece last week in opposition to the death anything but artificial light. penalty. In addition, he will have repeated appeal I called Mr. Organ to confirm what I had reviews, which will begin generally within already suspected — that he had no personal 10 years of the sentence. These costly reviews knowledge of or connection with the death will examine every shred of trial testimony to penalty. My wife and I, and the rest of our try and discredit the prosecution’s presentafamily, can tell a very different story. Our son, tion and find something that will allow the Officer Rich May of the East Palo Alto Police death penalty opponents an opportunity to Department, was executed by save a murderer’s life. In addition, for gang member Alberto Alvathe remainder of his life, the murderer rez on Jan. 7, 2006, on Weeks receives medical care, visits from famStreet in East Palo Alto. ily, correspondence from friends and, of In our case, there is absocourse, “three squares and a cot.” lutely no question of innocence We, the family, are left to pick up the — by his own testimony, the rubble of our lives and go on — eventumurderer admitted shooting ally, as though nothing has happened. We Rich and in fact, after only will have to live with not just the pain of wounding him with a body losing Rich but also with the realization shot, of returning to put a bulthat the murderer continues to live and GUEST let directly between Rich’s eyes breathe. We have to be allowed to see the OPINION to finish the job. punishment fit the crime and in this case, He had a “who’s who” legal the murderer needs to pay for his actions. defense team, provided by San Mateo County Bringing peace of mind to the victims is the and the state of California, which included two only true consolation that the legal system attorneys (Charles Robinson and Eric Lieber- can provide. In this case, we can only hope it man), crime scene reconstruction experts, use occurs as soon as possible. of force experts and private investigators. The To quote famous columnist Mike Royko: jury reviewed the “cock and bull story” that the “Murder is the most terrible crime there is. defense presented (a convicted felon, who had Anything less than the death penalty is an a gun illegally, was trying to “defend” himself insult to the victim and to society.” To an in a fight) and determined there was not a individual like Henry Organ, who has never shred of truth to it. The verdict was unanimous seen the pain and suffering that such a murder in the guilt phase and the judge saw the hei- creates, I can only say: walk a mile in our shoes nous crime as sufficient for the death penalty, before you decide the death penalty is wrong. which was the choice of Steve Wagstaffe, then the deputy district attorney and now DA. Frank Merrill is the stepfather This individual is incapable of rehabilitation of Officer Rich May and lives and has a long history of violence against socion Moulton Drive in Atherton.

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1064 Cherry Street

Two Children’s Concerts with Nancy Cassidy

The Palo Alto Woman’s Club presents Nancy Cassidy in Concert 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Saturday, February 5th Woman’s Club of Palo Alto 475 Homer Avenue Downtown Palo Alto Proceeds will benefit local charities through the Philanthropy Committee of the Woman’s Club Tickets are $10 per person and sold in advance To order tickets please send a check to Diana Wahler P.O. Box 1059, Palo Alto, CA 94302 by Feb. 2 Tickets will be held at Will Call the day of the concert Call 659-855-9700 for more information This space donated by the Palo Alto Weekly as a community service

L E T T ER S Continued from previous page

expire, sweetheart labor deals will be a thing of the past. Until then, we have little choice but to pay for Allied and the Teamster’s cost increases. Heyward Robinson former Mayor, City of Menlo Park

Another take on fees for Beltramo project Editor: In regard to Sloane Citron’s letter last week: Why do you think you must defend the “stellar” Beltramos? They chose to pay those fees in lieu of providing the required five or six below-market-rate (BMR) units called for by the city of Menlo Park. Mr. Beltramo convinced the Planning Commission to accept fees, which they’ll certainly build into the cost of the completed units, rather than abide by the

rules for BMR units. Local power family gets perks and this sets an interesting precedent for all future projects, wouldn’t you say? Even City Attorney Bill McClure noted the precedent. “Demands and roadblocks” ... “blackmail” ... “unethical and unfair.” Wow. You went all out here. The developer could have opted to abide by the regulations already established instead of lobbying planners to cut him a fee-based exception. He got what he wanted and your outrage is misplaced and inflammatory. Worry more about planning commissioners who can so easily be swayed by the prospect of money flowing into the coffers. Carol Bartlett El Camino Real, Menlo Park

Can ticketed parkers use council’s ethics defense? Editor: In regard to your recent article entitled “Four of five Menlo council members skipped ethics training:” In a city that ruth-

lessly and eagerly fines and holds accountable in hard dollars and annoyances its citizens and visitors for one minute or one inch of a parking violation, the City Council’s discounting of their own failures to follow state laws by years is, to be polite, underwhelming. Would you kindly ask the council members: Can citizens and visitors now offer the same defense against municipal parking citations that the council members openly used as their defense against state law violations, or are council members entitled to different standards than the citizens they are supposed to be serving? My point is that while one can hardly endorse the council’s failures here, I would hope that they would take to heart their “day-to-day life” response to their infractions, and ease up — radically ease-up — on the brutal parking policies that they seem to endorse. John Neil Weintraut Palo Alto

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apr.com R E D E F I N I N G Q U A L I T Y S I N C E 19 9 0 Reading between the emotional line mak es the difference between finding a house and a home. Judy BogardTanigami 650.209.1603 Judyand Sheri.com

Sheri Hughes Alireza Faghiri 650.543.1193

afaghiri@apr.com

ATHERTON

$8,985,000

This recently completed 2-story residence evokes the Old World ambiance of a Spanish colonial manor. 5bd in the 7677+/-sf main home, each with private bath. (1220+/-sf) 1bd guest house.

650.209.1608 Judyand Sheri.com

LOS ALTOS HILLS

$8,888,000

Luxurious new construction. Exceptional 6bd/6+ba gated estate offers refinement in every detail. Resort-like amenities.

Marybeth Dorst 650.543.1227 mdorst@ apr.com

Alan Dunckel Derk Brill

650.543.1074 adunckel@apr.com dbrill@apr.com

John Gerber MENLO PARK

$4,750,000

Newly constructed 6 bedroom, 5.5 bath Craftsman style home situated on 20,000+/- sq ft of manicured grounds on a sought after street in Menlo Oaks.

SOLD

650.543.1235 jgerber@ apr.com

ATHERTON

$2,695,000

WOODSIDE

$1,895,000

REDWOOD CITY

$1,349,000

Situated on one of west Athertonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most distinguished streets, this property features a private location. Remodel or build new. 1 1/3 acres+/-. Las Lomitas schools.

Ellen Ashley 650.888.1886 eashley @apr.com

Joe & Mary Merkert 650.387.5464 jmerkert@apr.com mmerkert@apr.com

Shari Ornstein MENLO PARK

Updated, 5bd/3ba West Menlo Park home offers a unique balance between the contemporary appeal of a typical Eichler and the charming character of a traditional home.

Patricia Robison & Ursula Cremona LOS ALTOS 650.209.1620/ 650.209.1621 probison@apr.com ucremona@apr.com

Maggie Heilman 650.543.1185 mheilman@apr.com

$1,895,000

$1,649,000

Lovely 4 bedroom, 3 bath home situated on a cul-de-sac location close to downtown Los Altos.

MENLO PARK

$1,249,000

Charming 4bd/2ba home has private backyard and is ready to move in. Located in the friendly University Heights neighborhood in the award-winning Las Lomitas School District.

650.814.6682 sornstei @apr.com

Susan Clay 650.743.6786 sclay@apr.com

Barbara Williams 650.814.0741 bwilliams@apr.com

Serene 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom contemporary-style home on a private and peaceful 1+/- level acre.

Gracious 4bd/3.5ba traditional, 2-story residence on quiet, private cul-de-sac.

MOUNTAIN VIEW

$799,000

Quaint 3bd/1ba bungalow-style home located on a desirable street close to downtown Mountain View. 7500+/- sf lot.

MENLO PARK 1550 El Camino Real, Ste 100 650.462.1111 | PALO ALTO 578 University Avenue 650.323.1111 WOODSIDE 2930 Woodside Road 650.529.1111 APR COUNTIES | Santa Clara | San Mateo | San Francisco | Alameda | Contra Costa | Monterey | Santa Cruz 16 N The Almanac NJanuary 26, 2011


The Almanac 01.26.2011 - Section 1