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TEACHER Jason Picetti dies after battle with ALS Page 3

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Teacher dies after battle with ALS

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■ Celebration of Jason Picetti’s life set for Oct. 22 at La Entrada.


ason Picetti, who taught math at La Entrada Middle School in Menlo Park until illness forced him to retire, died peacefully early Thursday morning, Oct. 13, at Kaiser hospital in Santa Clara, with his wife, father and brother-in-law by his side. Mr. Picetti was 42. A celebration of his life is set for 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, in the La Entrada Middle School gym, 2200 Sharon Road in Menlo Park, according to his friend Robin Tobias. Mr. Picetti had declined intervention for pneumonia when he was admitted to the hospital earlier this week, Ms. Tobias said. Mr. Picetti was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in February 2008. ALS is a neurogenerative disease affecting the nerve cells that control muscle movement. The diagnosis sent the La Entrada School community, as well as his circle of family and friends, into a tumult of disbelief and Almanac photo by Michelle Le sorrow. Married less than two years to fellow La Entrada teacher Fehmeen Khan, the man Jason Picetti with his daughter Emma on their who had never taken a sick day off from the birthday celebration in 2009 at their San Carlos classroom seemed the most unlikely candi- home. They were both born on April 1. That year, Mr. Picetti turned 40, and Emma turned 1 year old. date for a fatal illness. The couple had a daughter, Emma, who shared a birthday with her father. Emma is now 3 years old. medicine, alternative medicine, a positive Mr. Picetti’s and never-givelast year of up attitude and teaching math The man who had never taken a sick day mindset, and was 2008. His love and off from the classroom seemed the most the students’ learnprayers and ing experience support of his unlikely candidate for a fatal illness. went far beyond incredible famalgebra. They ily and friends were given a lesson in courage, which Mr. to win the toughest battle of his life.” Picetti taught them by example. In 2009 he accompanied his wife, a sixth- Raised in San Bruno grade teacher, to school most days, spending Jason John Picetti was raised in San Bruno much of his time in Room 25, where teachers come to visit and play cards on their breaks and most recently was a resident of San Carlos. He was a graduate of Capuchino High and former students drop by to talk. He also started a blog, “The Adventures of School and UC Davis, and earned his teachALS Boy.” He posted his last entry on Oct. 4. ing credential at Notre Dame de Namur in On the blog, Mr. Picetti described himself Belmont. Survivors include his wife, Fehmeen in this way: “In his days prior to wearing the cape and cowl of the Amazing, Inspiring and Picetti, daughter Emma Zahra Picetti, and Adventurous ALS Boy, Jason Picetti’s not-so- father John Picetti. He was preceded in death secret identities included weekend warrior rock by his mother, Judy Picetti. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donastar, enthusiastic and motivating middle school tions to be made in his name to the Las math teacher, and all-around decent guy. “While still a decent guy, he has been Lomitas Education Foundation (LLEF). battling the evil forces of ALS since being diagnosed in February of 2008. Never one to ■ Visit to see a story on Mr. shy away from a good fight, Jason has been Picetti in the March 31, 2009, issue of the Almanac. combining the healing forces of western ■ Visit to see the blog.

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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 ©2011 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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Fire board endorsements make strange bedfellows ■ Unions back pension-reform candidates. By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


ou’d expect unions to get along with pension reform advocates about as well as cats get along with water. But this year’s election for two seats on the Menlo Park fire district board developed an interesting twist when the San Mateo County Labor Council and Menlo Park Firefighters Association Local 2400 announced their endorsements. Virginia Chang Kiraly got the nod, as did Rob Silano. Ms. Chang Kiraly, a community activist who volunteers with the Red Cross and Junior League, also put her time in supporting Measure L during last year’s election. Rob Silano, a national security analyst for the state running for the board for a second time following an unsuccessful campaign in 2005, said he also supports pension reform, although the

ground for solutions. She said she told both the labor council and the firefighters union that she wasn’t seeking their endorsement, “but that I did want to listen to their ideas and reaffirm where I stood on pensions

she declined all financial contributions from the unions. Measure L crowd has taken issue Repeat candidate Steve Kenwith the depth of his devotion. nedy has been courting union “He may have voted for it — endorsement for years. “You’d we’ll never know for sure,” said think that IBEW Local 617 would Measure L stalwart Roy Thieleget around to endorsing one of Sardina. Although their own members Mr. Silano has union once in a while but support, he does not it never hurts to have share the backing of ‘Despite what some might think, we do not a candidate who is want elected officials who will simply ‘vote beholden to orgathose who led the successful campaign for nized labor when the our way’ as some media outlets portray.’ Measure L — unlike time comes to vote Ms. Chang Kiraly. for a generous pay UNION REPRESENTATIVE JOHN WURDINGER Mr. Sardina said and benefits package only Ms. Chang Kiraly worked for and fiscal responsibility,” she for the firefighters,” he said. “It Measure L and has demonstrated wrote in an email to the Almanac. might be a moot point because a commitment to fiscal responsi- “To my astonishment, both orga- given the three year deadlock in bility. “The grand jury report (on nizations endorsed me, which negotiations, a vote for a new conpension reform) she co-authored gave me pause. Considering my tract might not come up during is the reason we began the fight.” consistent position over the last their terms in office.” Ms. Chang Kiraly attributed 10 years regarding pensions, such He said he’d probably ruined his her eclectic mix of endorsements as a two-tier system and increased chances to get the endorsement of to being the only candidate to ask contribution by employees, I the firefighters by proposing setboth sides their opinions on chal- didn’t know whether I should take ting aside space, electrical outlets lenging issues like pension reform their endorsements.” and storage inside a local station and believing there’s common The candidate emphasized that for a warming station and access

to the communications pipe in the event of a 50-year flood in East Palo Alto. Incumbent Bart Spencer didn’t expect union support, given that his 12 years on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board has seen both benefit increases, but more lately, a deadlocked contract negotiation with the firefighters who want a larger pay raise than the board wants to give. Union representative John Wurdinger offered insight into the endorsements. “Despite what some might think, we do not want elected officials who will simply ‘vote our way’ as some media outlets portray,” he said.” We want and need elected officials who are open to conversation and who will communicate with us on issues that we feel are important and then make rational, well informed decisions. There are members of our current fire See FIRE, page 8

Atherton council asked to approve library in park By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


citizens committee created to examine options for rebuilding Atherton’s public library wants the City Council to approve constructing a new facility in HolbrookPalmer Park — pending the town’s meeting environmental review requirements — when the council meets on Wednesday, Oct. 19. But the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission has sided with a group of residents who want the town to determine how the majority of residents feel about a library in the park. The commission voted at its Oct. 5 meeting to recommend to the council that no decision be made on the matter until a town-wide survey of residents is conducted. The issue pits residents and county library staff who think the park is the ideal place for a modern library — one that has more space to house its collections and to accommodate group activities — against residents protective of the park, who say a library would draw too much traffic and interfere with

recreational activities. The plan put forward by the Atherton Library Steering Committee is for an 11,000-squarefoot facility to be built on the site of the park’s Main House, which would be razed. Funding, estimated at more than $8 million, would come from a town fund that must be spent on the library. The fund currently has about $5.6 million, and is expected to grow to $8.3 million by 2015, according to the town’s finance director, Louise Ho. Opponents of a library in the park say the town should renovate and expand the existing library in the Town Center, at far less cost. The 4,790-squarefoot building that now houses the library is in need of a seismic retrofit and other upgrades. The staff is recommending that the council next week approve the park “as the preferred site” for the new library to replace the Main House, pending meeting CEQA (environmental review) requirements. The town attorney has advised that, because of the “public controversy related to the project’s environmental effects,” an See LIBRARY, page 8

Renee Moore runs the M-A Bears Snack Shack. Almanac photo by Michelle Le

M-A High’s Snack Shack goes gourmet By Jane Knoerle Almanac Lifestyle Editor


he term snack shack conjures thoughts of limp hot dogs, soda pop, and candy bars sold at the high school football game. Not at Menlo-Atherton High School. Under Friday night lights, M-A’s Snack Shack offers such goodies as chicken teriyaki, pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, grilled hamburgers, chili (topped with fresh tomatoes, cheese, sour

cream, onions), Chinese chicken salad, fresh fruit cup, and luscious desserts (rocky road brownies, red velvet cupcakes, Renee’s famous chocolate chip cookies, mini cheesecakes), all prepared by M-A mom and volunteer Renee Moore. Renee is not only a great cook, she believes in offering healthy choices. Her menu states: “All our food is fresh and, whenever possible, organic ingredients are used. We have tried to offer goods with no preservatives or fillers.

Our hot dogs are all beef, nitrate free; our burgers are organic.” Popcorn, chips, peanuts in the shell, and trail mix replace candy bars. There is no soda, but a wide choice of bottled water, lemonade, ice team, assorted Gatorade and SoBe Lifewater. On chilly nights, hot chocolate (with whipped cream and marshmallows) and coffee are big sellers. Since junior varsity games begin at 4 p.m., varsity games at See SNACK, page 8

October 19, 2011 N The Almanac N5


Former Atherton resident among 8 killed in shooting

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Angeles Times. Ms. Daschbach Fast’s mother, who lives in Atherton, acknowledged in a brief telephone interview that her daughter was in fact one of the victims. Ms. Daschbach Fast was a member of a large and prominent local family with a strong connection to St. Raymond Catholic Church and elementary school on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park. — Dave Boyce

Supes change trail vote date



Michele Daschbach Fast, 47, a former resident of Atherton who had attended elementary school at St. Raymond School in Menlo Park, died in the Wednesday, Oct. 12, shooting spree that took eight lives in a beauty salon in the Orange County community of Seal Beach. The suspect in the shooting, Scott Evans Dekraai of Huntington Beach, is in custody and is the ex-husband of one of the victims, according to the Los

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The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has set a new date for deciding whether to ask Stanford University for a two-year extension of its offer to upgrade a trail along Alpine Road between Portola Valley and Menlo Park. The matter will be on the board’s meeting agenda for Tuesday, Nov. 1. The rescheduling will allow all five supervisors to attend the meeting, county spokesman Marshall Wilson

said. The board meets in the board chambers on the first floor at 400 County Center, located at Bradford Street and Hamilton Avenue in Redwood City. Meetings start at 9 a.m. Go to for background information from the county manager’s office. Go to for the latest Almanac story on this matter.

Coldwell moves to remodeled offices More visibility and the need for more space are the reasons Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage at 800 El Camino Real will move to 1377 El Camino Real the second week in November, says office manager Wendy McPherson. The 11,000 square-foot-space at 1377 El Camino is being extensively remodeled and will provide space for 80 agents. It will include a large number of private offices. The latter is important because Menlo Park agents tend to be more experienced and higher-producing than agents in most real estate offices, she says. Formerly 1377 El Camino (corner of El Camino and

Valparaiso Ave.) held offices for Cashin Company Realty, which was acquired by Coldwell Banker last year. With that acquisition, Coldwell Banker had three Menlo Park offices. In the interests of efficiency, it was decided to close the least visible office, 800 El Camino, says Ms. McPherson. Ms. McPherson will be manager of the new location, as well as Coldwell Banker offices at 930 Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park. She has 35 years of real estate experience and has also served as the manager of the Portola Valley and Woodside offices of the company.


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R EAL E STATE Q&A by Gloria Darke

Should Seller Pay For Upgrades? Dear Gloria, We recently purchased a home at what I consider to be a very good price. However, we have since had several inspections. I do not wish to go forward with the purchase of this home unless the seller will pay to have everything repaired as suggested by the reports. Is this common practice? How do buyers usually handle this? Randy E, Atherton

Photo courtesy of Steve Schmidt

Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline, left, and John Tenanes, Facebook’s director of real estate, doing some social networking at a party held at the company’s new headquarters in Menlo Park.

Dear Randy, A. Everything is negotiable up to a point. I am making an assumption that you did not buy a brand new home; therefore,you should not expect that it would be in the condition of a brand new home. Inspectors come from the point of view of saying "if this house was perfect the wiring would be redone, there would be new plumbing, the windows should be dual pane, etc” However, you

presumably did not pay for a house with all these upgrades and it's probably not within reason for you to ask that everything be done. Just the fact that you had two inspections done suggests to me that you are either a little overly cautious or that perhaps you are looking for a reason not to move ahead with this purchase. It is not appropriate for a buyer to prepare a wish list of items he would like repaired or upgrades he might want done to the house. It IS appropriate to look at major items which may have not been disclosed and that may be considered defects. This would definitely include foundation, which is probably the biggest item. Even things like furnace, hot water heater, plumbing leaks are not major expenses and can generally cost under $10,000 to replace/ repair. Prepare a list of items that if they are not corrected by the seller that you would not wish to proceed with the sale. But don't include every little thing that you can upgrade or repair as you live in the house.

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.

Facebook goes social with Menlo Park By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


hen someone moves into a new home, usually at some point there’s a housewarming party, and Facebook proved no exception by inviting city luminaries to see its new Menlo Park campus on Thursday, Oct. 13. In the spirit of encouraging Facebook’s ambitious goal to have at least half its employees use alternative means of transport to get to work, a group of 10 bicyclists rode from Cafe Zoe down Willow Road to the campus. Environmental Quality Commissioner Adina Levin said the road is a key route to Facebook that could be made safer, and that other rides are planned to explore other routes. The closed event drew an eclectic crowd, including Rich Cline, Glen Rojas, Bill McClure, and other city officials past and present, but

not Facebook’s commander in chief, Mark Zuckerberg. According to guests, the company’s chief financial officer, David Ebersman, told the crowd that Facebook wants to play a community role in the city and particularly in the Belle Haven neighborhood where it’s located. Once inside the party, bicyclist and former mayor Steve Schmidt said he’d reflected on how lucky Menlo Park was to have a space that attracted the social networking company, after losing other businesses that outgrew their facilities. “What we are seeing today is a perfect example of how a questionable development idea can in the long run turn out to be a benefit to the city and even to the Bay Area,” he said in an email. “While Menlo Park is in the midst of creating a downtown/El Camino Real plan that will work for the future, we should keep in mind the

Grand opening at Esther Baran gallery Esther Baran Artwork is announcing a grand opening art show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Allied Arts Guild, 75 Arbor Road in Menlo Park. Watercolors, color etchings, cards, calendars and jewelry will be for sale in a rustic barn on the Allied Arts Guild grounds. Esther Baran Artwork is located next to the woodshop at the end of the Rose Allee. Follow the signs for the Barn and you will

see the gallery’s space to the left of it, with a sign reading, “Esther Baran Artwork.” Ms. Baran said she was raised in Menlo Park and attended Encinal School and MenloAtherton High School. “I had been doing etchings for many years and more recently have turned to watercolors and oils,” she said in an email. “As an etcher, I illustrated textbooks, focusing mainly on folk tales. I have always been interested in

wisdom and optimism of long range planning.” He used Raychem, the original owner of the Facebook site, as an example, saying that 25 years ago the city was careful to include a bayside trail, Caltrain shuttles, and limited parking as part of the site’s development. The guests took a tour of Facebook headquarters, according to Brielle Johnck, guided by an employee who said that traces of former occupant Sun Microsystems were left intact as a reminder that nothing lasts forever. She noted that some of the exposed beams still bear measurements made by construction workers 25 years ago. After dining on sushi made on the spot and other delicacies, the guests left bearing gifts of a navy blue reusable shopping bag containing a mug and a Facebook post-it pad with pen, Ms. Johnck said. A

folk tales of diverse cultures, and have found them to be an inspiration in my art work. I enjoy doing the research into the unique characteristics and history of each tale that I come upon. “My second interest has been painting fruit and vegetable still lifes.” Parking is available in one of two Allied Arts Guild lots or on Arbor Road. Please do not park on the residential side of Arbor Road. Visit for more information and to see images of the art.

The Vista Verde Community says

“Thank You!” to all who helped make our community signs a reality

Portola Valley Hardware Terrell Slawson, Linwood Realty, Inc. Ginny & Joe Kavanaugh, Coldwell Banker Molly & Steve Westrate, Coldwell Banker Portola Valley Garage Roberts Market Individual Donors: Anonymous (x2) Jim & Loren Archer Tim Bailey & Betsy Burgess Kurt Bausback & Mary Kiely John & Joan Barksdale Alan & Donna Brauer Bill & Sherri Coats Jon and Esther Dechow Pat & Kathe Dempsey Ross & Gloria Edwards Denny & Sandie Enstam D. Patrick Finnigan, Architect*

Tom & Bea Garsh Peter Goldscheider Walter Greenleaf Bill & Wendi Haskell Andrew & Eiri Inenaga Rob & LuAnne Kalman Ken & Judy Kormanak Sandy Littlefield Don & Amanda Lee Rick Lloyd & Mary Bussmann Art and Jan Manzo Dr. Gerald Marxman Ruth & Gerry Nelson Henry & Leah Peluffo

Jeremy & Jill Read Jim Rodgers, sf/o Design* Mary & Jim Southam David & Aimee Stepp Bryan & Karen Stone Bob, Donna & Dave Taggart Ruth & Mark Taylor Richard Swan & Claudia Mazzetti Brent & Sandra Vaughan Mario & Dona Wijtman *Volunteered lots of talent

October 19, 2011 N The Almanac N7


Atherton residents get peek at conceptual designs for new Town Center facilities By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


wo architectural firms that had viewed, walked and studied Atherton’s Town Center site and aged facilities over the past few months presented their visions for what the civic heart of town could look like during an Oct. 12 community meeting. The firms’ conceptual designs, which the public can view through Dec. 14 in the City Council Chambers, had a number of elements in common, such as sustainable “green” features, an emphasis on open-air public spaces, and a plan to make the site’s first view to the public much more appealing. But concepts for placement and design of buildings to house the administrative offices and the police station varied significantly. Siegel & Strain Architects, the firm that built Portola Valley’s Town Center, offered up a design that included two onestory buildings totaling about 12,000 square feet of space, with an uncovered walkway in between, according to architect Henry Siegel. The design singled out the majestic oak tree in front of the current administrative building, which also houses the police station, as the centerpiece of the redesigned civic center. Nichols Melburg & Rossetto presented a design that included two, two-story buildings con-

N INFORMAT ION ■ Visit Councilwoman Elizabeth Lewis said the designs will soon be available to view on the town’s website. ■ The firms’ conceptual designs are expected to be on view in the City Council Chambers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday though Friday, through Dec. 14. The council chambers are on Ashfield Road near Dinkelspiel Station Lane in Atherton.

nected by an arched loggia and including a community center with a rooftop terrace. The buildings would total about 20,000 square feet, according to architect Les Melburg. The designs were the result of a competition launched by the Atherton Town Center Task Force, made up of volunteers studying options for building a new civic center. The competition, which offered no payment for the designs, attracted two firms whose principals agreed to imagine the possibilities for the site. Councilwoman Elizabeth Lewis, who chaired the task force, said the group had determined that it was best to construct new buildings rather than renovate the old — except for the historic building now serving as the City Council Chambers and, on the southern end,

‘Spelling Bee’ play at Sacred Heart Prep The Sacred Heart Preparatory’s Drama Department is presenting the musical, “The 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin. There will be four performances, on Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29, all at 7:30 p.m. in the Campbell Center for the Per-

LIBRARY continued from page 5

environmental impact review (EIR) be done, according to the staff report. Steering committee members aren’t convinced of the need for an EIR, and have asked City Attorney Bill Conners for an official opinion with legal citation, and are seeking indepen-

forming Arts on the Sacred Heart Schools campus at 150 Valparaiso Ave. in Atherton. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Ema i l jloschma nn @ to contact SHP’s drama director John Loschmann for ticket information.

dent legal counsel on the matter, the report said. The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 94 Ashfield Road, in the Town Center. Visit and click on “Agenda & Minutes” under the City Council heading to find the agenda and staff report.

8 N The Almanac NOctober 19, 2011


Best of show This oil painting by Lilly Raga Abbot, “Magic Mountains,” was chosen “best of show” at the annual Menlo Art League exhibit. This year’s show runs through Oct. 28 at the main Menlo Park Library at 800 Alma St. Drop by to see the paintings from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Peninsula artist Claire Verbiest judged the artwork.

the public library. The task force also established ground rules that no trees would be removed, the design would be sensitive to the neighborhood, and that town staff could continue to work in the center during construction of new buildings. A key question: How will the town pay for a new civic center? Ms. Lewis said task force members agreed that funding would be raised through private donations, noting that Portola Valley residents contributed $17

million toward the town’s $20 million civic center. “I think if Portola Valley can do it, Atherton residents can do it, too,” Ms. Lewis said. The task force last year had projected a cost of $10 million to $12 million for a new center, she said. Both architectural firms have designed multiple civic projects in Northern California. An unusual feature of their work for Atherton was that they had to come up with their concepts

with no input from the community. Principals for both firms emphasized that, if chosen to design Town Center, they would seek out community input as a preliminary step. The task force has developed a matrix with which members will evaluate both designs. At the suggestion of a resident at the meeting, Ms. Lewis said the matrix may be made available for the public to rate the work as they review the designs in the City Council Chambers.


has been in charge of the Snack Shack. When asked by the MenloAtherton Football Association to take on the task, she said, “I’ll do it, but it has to be healthy food.” She begins prep work for home games a week ahead, shopping at Costco, Trader Joe’s and Smart & Final. She puts in a 15-hour-day on game day, with a half-dozen volunteers lending a hand Her husband, David, is one of the volunteers to man the barbecue grill. She says members of the football team, including her son, Zack, a junior, are a great help in toting stuff on game day. As to clean-up, several parent volunteers take dirty

dishes home to wash and return for the next game. All profits from the Snack Shack go directly to the football team. “I’ve been cooking all my life,” says Renee. Her first culinary experiments began at age 5 with an Easy Bake oven. “I picked it out of a Sears catalogue,” since her family was living in Germany at the time. Growing up, she liked helping her mother, in the kitchen, especially cooking for parties. At home in Menlo Park she enjoys cooking for her family, which includes Zack, Michelle, and older daughter Monique, a student at the University of Washington. “My kids will eat anything; they’re not picky eaters.” There are two more home games, Oct. 21 and 28, for this season. Renee has also volunteered to run the Snack Shack for next year. “It’s a good feeling to be feeding people. And the parents are really grateful,” says Renee.

continued from page 5

7 p.m., Snack Shack fare is dinner for many hungry students and their families. They’re enthusiastic about having such high-quality choices. “You just have to try the pulled-pork sandwich,” says parent volunteer Lauren Sabatini. “People go crazy over the cookies,” admits Renee. Her brother calls her chocolate chip cookies “the uglies” because they bake into amoeba-like shapes. For the last game, she made 300 of them and not one was left. This is the second year Renee FIRE continued from page 5

board who have voted twice to not talk to their employees, this is flat out wrong. Both Virginia and Rob are open to input, this cannot be said of all of our exist-

ing board members.” Describing the fire district as “broken from years without sound leadership and proper management,” he said the hope is that the endorsed candidates are able to help fix the organization before it’s too late. A




Contractors contribute $75,000 to bond measure campaign for college district By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


he campaign for Measure H, a $564 million bond measure on the Nov. 8 ballot for the San Mateo County Community College District, had contributions totaling $251,641, including donations from two San Jose construction companies, according to a finance report from the county Elections Office. Robert A. Bothman Inc. gave the campaign $50,000 on Sept. 2, the report shows, while Hensel Phelps Construction Company, which has headquarters in Colorado, gave $25,000 on Aug. 29. Both companies have done work for the district, according to district records. Bothman rebuilt the athletic facilities for all three college campuses: Canada College in Woodside, the College of San Mateo in San

Mateo, and Skyline College in San Bruno. The improvements included rehabilitating the baseball and soccer fields and the tennis courts at all three campuses, plus a new football field, trackand-field facility and bleachers

Both companies have done work for the district. at the College of San Mateo, and new bleachers and a track at Skyline, according to summaries at the Bothman website. That work, combined with a recent upgrade to Canada College’s roads and pathways, yielded between $25 million and $30 million for the company, said Vice President Brian Bothman in a telephone interview. “We support just about every bond measure in every district

in the Bay Area,� he said when asked about the $50,000 donation. “It helps the economy.� The district’s money gets spread around through the general contractors to architects, engineering companies and small contractors, he added. “It’s not just us by ourselves. We represent a great deal of other businesses that really benefit from this kind of stuff.� Hensel Phelps erected two buildings in the district, according to its website, but details were unavailable. In a telephone interview, company Vice President Jon W. Ball, when told of the $25,000 donation, said that “there really is no expectation other than we just want to participate (in the bidding).� “Community colleges, in a down economy, are one of the few markets that there’s much future in,� he added.



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Photo by Dave Tanner

Driver dies when cement truck overturns With 20 tons of cement on board, the truck fell off the road and overturned into a creek bed at about 8:45 a.m., CHP Officer Art Montiel said in a report. The cab came to rest on the creek bank and was crushed. In the effort to extricate the driver, medics worked all day with the assistance

of two big-rig tow trucks, Mr. Montiel said. Investigators are looking into the cause of the accident, including whether drugs or alcohol were involved, Mr. Montiel said. The CHP asks that witnesses call Officer J. Lofstrom at 3696261.

Monday: Candidate forum for high school district election A candidate forum is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, for members of the public to ask questions of five candidates running for three open seats on the board of the Sequoia Union High School District Board.

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This fully loaded concrete truck overturned into a creek bed in La Honda and killed driver Fred Gunther Eisenstaedt, 62, of Dublin on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Medics spent all day, with the help of two big-rig tow trucks attempting to extricate the driver’s body, the California Highway Patrol said.

Fred Gunther Eisenstaedt, a 62-year-old Dublin man driving a fully loaded cement truck, died Wednesday, Oct. 12, when his truck overturned on Roquena Drive at Esmeralda Terrace in La Honda west of Skyline Drive, according to a report from the California Highway Patrol.

Rigorous academic program Coeducational Average teacher/student ratio 1:16 &RPSOHWHÂżQHDUWVSURJUDP

The League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County is organizing the forum, which will take place at the district office at 480 James Ave. in Redwood City. The candidates, in alphabeti-

cal order, are: Carrie Du Bois, Olivia Martinez, Larry Moody, Lorraine Rumley and Allen Weiner. Go to for the Almanac’s Voter Guide story on this race.


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Lawyer hired to fight plan for water well


â&#x2013; Menlo Park plan riles neighbors.


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ttorney Craig Breon, a Portola Valley native and conservationist, now represents a group of neighbors living near Nealon Park, the proposed site of a city well to irrigate the private Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are spending time and money on this because we think the proposed project is poor public policy and sets a bad precedent,â&#x20AC;? said JoAnne Wilkes, who lives near the park. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Water is a limited, public resource. The project would allocate this valuable public resource largely to a non-essential, private use.â&#x20AC;? She said sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been waiting

for the city to answer questions about the plan for more than a month. Citing lack of disclosure as a chief reason for 2005 file photo by Carien Veldpope hiring the attorney, Ms. Wilkes Craig Breon raised concerns about the project possibly skipping both the Planning Commission and a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review before reaching the council this fall. Mr. Breon wrote the City Council on Oct. 11 stating heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d filed an extensive public records request because of the lack of detailed information and environmental review forthcoming from the city. The list of 20 questions in his


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records request includes asking about the proposed pipeline route; the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s yearly water consumption and how much it pays; and how much the city has spent researching the well and whether the club is covering the cost of staff time. The attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s request also asks why a report in 2006 showed the club using 78 million gallons of water per year, while the country club recently told the city it uses 60 million. Saying the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current â&#x20AC;&#x153;frequently asked questionsâ&#x20AC;? document on the project â&#x20AC;&#x153;barely scratched the surface of the issues,â&#x20AC;? he is asking for a more detailed response to be posted on the city website, along with an outline of the public process for the project, before the plan reaches a commission or the council. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In a previous document, city staff noted that they would be taking comment until September 30th. However, without a detailed staff report and some form of CEQA documentation, the public can hardly be expected to provide the informed comments needed for such a significant decision,â&#x20AC;? the attorney wrote. The club wants to pay for the well and a pipeline to water its golf course, which could also irrigate three city parks and a school. The project would save the club money by switching to groundwater for irrigation instead of using potable Hetch Hetchy water, but what the Menlo Park gets out of the deal remains unclear. The city held an informational meeting on Aug. 24 that raised more questions than it answered. Matt Oscamou, the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interim engineering manager, said that every aspect of the project, including construction cost and the direction of pipeline alignments between the park and club, had to be factored in before calculating any type of financial numbers. The city would also need to negotiate an agreement for the club to cover ongoing maintenance costs. City staff suggested the proposal could help the city meet the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mandate to cut water consumption 20 percent by 2020 by saving about 60 million gallons of Hetch Hetchy water annually. However, residents said the proposal only changes the source of water, not the amount used. On Sept. 22, Mr. Oscamou said staff continued to evaluate elements of the project and gather information that would be released to the public. The well would be located in front of the tennis courts facSee WELL, next page


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Sharp rise in sudden oak death disease The results are in for Woodside and Portola Valley and they are sobering. Biologists are coming to the Portola Valley Community Hall for a 7 p.m. meeting on Friday, Oct. 21, to discuss their analysis of local botanical samples for sudden oak death, which kills oak and other tree species. Locally, the disease may be on it way to becoming rampant. Results for 2011 from the Forest Pathology and Mycology Lab at the University of California at Berkeley show that of the 344 samples gathered in Woodside and Portola Valley, about 70 percent, or 242 samples, came back positive for the disease. Results from 2008, 2009 and 2010 workshops in Portola Valley and Woodside averaged 26 percent, according to the labâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website. While there is no cure yet for the disease, there are treatments and a treatment workshop is set for 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Portola Valley Ranch community house at 1 Indian Crossing. Visit for more information. Or visit N CORRECTION

In the Oct. 12 Almanac, there was an error in a story on the new Tesla electric Model S sedan. The story said a 17-inch, high-definition display in the center of the dash is a $1,900 option. The display is actually standard in every Model S sedan and not an option.

WELL continued from previous page

ing Middle Avenue, within a 10-foot by 30-foot area enclosed by screens designed to match the court fences, according to city engineering staff. They estimated construction would take six to nine months, and need one week of 24/7 drilling, which didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t appease the neighbors. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Two wells at Hillview Middle School were used to water the golf course in 1960s. Why arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t those wells being re-tapped?â&#x20AC;? asked Elizabeth Houck, who also supported hiring Mr. Breon. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In Palo Alto if you want to do something with a public park, it has to go to a vote of the people. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not like that in Menlo Park. Do not use a precious natural resource for a non-essential use.â&#x20AC;?

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Woodside theater stages ‘South Pacific’ By Kate Daly Special to the Almanac


f “South Pacific” can enjoy a successful revival on Broadway, then why not try in Woodside, too? Woodside Community Theatre first staged the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical 20 years ago, and is mounting it again at the end of this month and beginning of November. A handful of the same people are linked to both shows. Richard Gordon of Woodside, for example, was music director in 1991 and is again this year. This go-around he’s conducting a 28-piece “full orchestra,” and says the score will sound “very different because we now know how to do it better this time, ... and we’re being very sparing in what we cut.” Twenty years later, Woodsider Joan Rubin is back acting as production manager, this time with the extra bonus of watching her grandson, Alex Rubin, cast as a sailor. Only one cast member is making an encore performance. Liz Matchett played a nurse in the 1991 production back when she was teaching Spanish at Wood-

side Elementary School. Now she finds herself rehearsing in the school’s Sellman Auditorium again, relearning the nurse’s part. She met her husband, Richard Vaughan, doing a WCT show. He’s the bandleader at Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park, and is playing the cello for this show. The children of co-producers Mark Bowles and Mindy Brummet appeared in the 1991 production. Co-producer Donna Losey’s children have performed in past WCT shows, as well, but this time she is going to be on stage as a nun, alternating with Karen Peterson, who served as a longtime teacher at Woodside Elementary, where she taught the Bowles and Losey children. Two other former Woodside Elementary parents are in the cast, Darrell and Darlene Batchelder. He is a sailor and she is playing Bloody Mary, having starred as the “Drowsy Chaperone” in last year’s show of the same name. Ms. Batchelder is particularly excited about her part. After seeing “South Pacific” at the Circle Star Theatre in San Carlos in the 1960s, she says, “I loved it. It was

Pumpkin Festival at St. Raymond School St. Raymond School at 1100 Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park will hold its second annual Pumpkin Festival on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22. Hours are 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

For toddlers and preschool age children, there will be pony rides, face painting, carnival games, train rides and lots of prizes. For grade-school kids, there will be the new eurotrampoline, a climbing wall,

my father’s favorite show. We used to walk around the house singing all the songs.” The musical debuted in New York in 1949, going on to win many awards and hearts with memorable songs such as “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” and “Bali Ha’i.” The plot centers on an island during World War II where American Ensign Nellie Forbush, played by Beth Anne Wells, falls for ex-patriot French plantation owner, Emile de Becque, portrayed by Russ Bohard. Meanwhile, U.S. Marine Lieutenant Joe Cable, played by Stewart Kramer, gets involved with Bloody Mary’s Tonkinese daughter, Liat. Woodside High junior Ale Gilbert fills that role. Racial tensions arise during both love stories. The show is being staged at Woodside High School Performing Arts Center, 199 Churchill Ave., on Oct. 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 30 at 2 p.m.; Nov. 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m.; and Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. Visit or call (800) 838-3066 for tickets. They cost $25 for adults, $22 for advanced carnival games, and treats. Guests are invited to hunt for the perfect pumpkin at the pumpkin patch and partake of coffee, donuts, burgers and pizza.

Photo by Mark Bowles

Beth Anne Wells as Nellie and Joseph Bresett as Luther Billis in the Woodside Community Theatre production of “South Pacific.”

seniors 65 and older, and $15 for students 18 and under. Bill Starr who directed WCT’s “Fiddler on the Roof” two years ago, is stage director. The MenloAtherton High School grad and Broadway veteran is house manager for Stanford Lively Arts. Kristen Pfeifer is choral director. Don and Catherine Coluzzi of Portola Valley are the lighting designers. Woodside brothers Akio and Steve Patrick are

designing and building the set, including a 40-foot-wide beach. Their wives, Karen and Tina, are working on costumes and scene painting, respectively. The cast of 35 includes performers from all over the Peninsula, including Emily Ross of Atherton playing Ngana, and her mother, Alison, appearing as a nurse. Austin Merrill is a sailor and Will Palomares is a pilot. They’re both from Woodside. A

Open house at Mid-Peninsula High School Mid-Peninsula High School will hold an open house for prospective students and their families on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Mid-

Peninsula is an independent high school located on Willow Road in Menlo Park. Visit for more information.

M-A High presents ‘Stage Door’ Nov. 3-12


BART SPENCER Menlo Park Fire Director 12 N The Almanac NOctober 19, 2011

Would you follow your dream or sell out? Go for it or give up? Coming to grips with big life decisions is at the heart of the Menlo-Atherton High School production of “Stage Door,” which runs on five dates from Nov. 3 through Nov. 12 at the Performing Arts Center on campus. The fast-paced, dramatic comedy by Edna Ferber and George Kaufman is set in the 1930s at a New York City boarding house. It’s a classic story of aspiring actresses struggling to make it big on Broadway, and the men they become involved with along the way. Debra Zwicker-Sobrepena is the M-A High drama teacher and director of the play. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 3 and 4, and on two Saturdays, Nov. 5 and 12, and matinee shows at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, and 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10.

Photo by Debra Zwicker-Sobrepena

In the cast are, from left, M-A student actors Claire Jungleib, Will Hanley and Hanna Berggren.

The Performing Arts Center is at the Ringwood Avenue entrance to the school, just off Middlefield Road. Ticket prices range from $8 to $12. Both Thursday shows

have a special student price of $4 for both the matinee and evening performance. Visit for ticket and other information.


Former Ladera School site topic of community meeting By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


community meeting to discuss the Las Lomitas School District’s plan to lease out the former Ladera School site through an open-bid process is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, in the Ladera Recreation Center. Leasing of the property is an issue of concern for residents of Ladera, a small unincorporated neighborhood near Portola Valley. Many community leaders have expressed support for allowing Woodland School, a preschool-through-eighthgrade school, to remain on the site, saying the school is a good neighbor that has respected the needs of the neighborhood. Woodland has leased the site since 1981. Woodland School officials have been pushing the district to begin the necessary process to negotiate a new lease of the site after Woodland’s lease expires in July 2013, and have


made clear their intentions to compete in the process. Last month, the district surprised school officials and the Ladera community by indicating it would use the open-bid process, which limits the district’s control over what the lessee can do with the property, instead of the anticipated “request for proposals” — or RFP — process that would give the district significant control over whom it would allow to occupy the property, and for what purpose. In a letter to the Ladera community, Superintendent Eric Hartwig said the board chose the open-bid process “after being assured that doing so would both preserve the district’s ability to set restrictions that are very important to the residents of Ladera and maximize the revenue stream from

Woodside School sets meeting on campus improvements Woodside community members interested in knowing more about possible Woodside School campus improvements may want to attend a community forum hosted by the school district at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26. The meeting, which will be in the school’s Sellman Auditorium, is part of the district’s process for updating its facilities master plan, and will give

community members a chance to provide feedback about the types of facilities work being explored. According to the district, areas being examined include security, roofing, long-term technology needs, pre-school facilities, solar power, soil erosion at Bear Creek, and long-term preventive maintenance. The school is at 3195 Woodside Road in Woodside.

Garbage rates set to rise again By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


t’s as certain as death and taxes: Atherton residents’ garbage rates are going to increase significantly in the new year. By how much is yet to be determined, and the town will have its first general discussion of that question when the City Council meets on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Residents and commercial customers recently received notices of the proposed rate hikes and of a Nov. 16 legally required public hearing, which will be held during next month’s council meeting. At the Oct. 19 council meeting, a committee, made up of councilmen Bill Widmer and Jerry Carlson and Interim City

the asset for all residents of the district.” Although an open-bid process requires the district to lease the property to the highest bidder, with few exceptions, Mr. Hartwig said the district can have a degree of control, through the bidding prospectus it develops, of the type of tenant who will occupy the site. “We are confident that we can identify a long-term tenant who will become, or continue to be, a respected and conscientious Ladera neighbor,” he wrote. At the Oct. 24 meeting, the district will discuss a timeline for the process, take comment, and answer questions. The letter indicates that the district intends to advertise for bidders in January, with the bidding conducted in April. In May and June, a final lease will be negotiated, with a final agreement signed in July, according to the letter.

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Manager John Danielson, will present its recommendation for slightly lower increases — from 30 to 45 percent — than the 48 to 51 percent increases reflected in the notice. Whatever the size of the inevitable rate hike, it will be on the heels of an increase of between 15.5 percent and 59 percent that went into effect on July 15 of this year. Atherton, like all towns on the Peninsula, is struggling to erase garbage collection-related debts resulting from a number of factors, including higher disposal fees and a delay is raising rates earlier this year. The town’s See GARBAGE, page 14




WORKSHOP TO DISCUSS POTENTIAL GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION TARGETS FOR MENLO PARK OCTOBER 25, 2011 6:30 pm to 8 pm Recreation Center 701 Laurel Street Willow Conference Room

By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

Environmental Programs

Attend this workshop to provide input on whether Menlo Park should consider adopting a greenhouse gas reduction target and learn about possible target options. For more information call Menlo Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Environmental Programs at 330-6740 or email A quorum of the Environmental Quality Commission and City Council may be present, but no action or decisions will be made at the workshop.


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ith labor negotiations, lawsuits, and Facebook on its agenda, the Menlo Park City Council reconvenes on Tuesday, Oct. 18. The evening is scheduled to start with a closed session at 5:30 p.m. to discuss negotiations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees labor union. Following that, in open session, the councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agenda includes: â&#x2013; Setting aside $50,000 from general fund reserves to hire a law firm to defend Measure L, the pension reform initiative, against a lawsuit. â&#x2013;  Appointing two council members to serve on a subcommittee to guide a development agreement for Facebookâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Menlo Park campus. â&#x2013;  â&#x20AC;&#x153;Taming natural disastersâ&#x20AC;? by way of approving an updated local hazard mitigation plan. The regular meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.

All about housing The talk will be all about housing in San Mateo County when public officials and others meet Friday, Oct. 12, at a housing conference at the Oracle Conference Center, 350 Oracle Parkway in Redwood City. The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Workshops include â&#x20AC;&#x153;Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Air District Regulation and Smart Growth,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Reaching Out to GARBAGE continued from page 13

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C H I L D R E Nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S H O S P I T A L VI S IT LP CH.ORG TO S IG N U P FOR CLAS S E S 14 N The Almanac NOctober 19, 2011

shortfall is worsened by â&#x20AC;&#x153;true upâ&#x20AC;? costs of about $337,000 it owes Allied Waste, the garbage collector for many years before Recology took over the service in January. The official notice sent to town residents proposes the following garbage collection rates, beginning Jan. 21: service for a 20-gallon can, from the current $20 to $30, a 50 percent increase; 32-gallon can, from $44 to $65, a 48 percent increase; 64-gallon can, from $83 to $125, a 51 percent increase; 96-gallon can, from $125 to $185, a 48 percent increase. (The notice erroneously listed current charges for the 64-gallon can at $101, and the 96-gallon can at $163.) The town committee that set out to sort through the complex garbage collection issues after a public outcry over proposed rate increases earlier this year


Housing Constituencies,â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Grand Boulevard: Meeting the Needs of Our Seniors.â&#x20AC;? The event is sponsored by the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County. Registration is $60 for non-Housing Council members and $45 for members. Breakfast and lunch are included. Go to to find out more.

Parks and Rec meeting canceled The Wednesday, Oct. 19, meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission has been postponed until Oct. 26. The rescheduled meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center at 700 Alma St. in Menlo Park.

Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hall of Fame San Mateo County is seeking nominations for its 28th annual Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hall of Fame. The deadline is Nov. 1. There are three categories: Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hall of Fame for women at least 19 years old who have had a significant impact on their communities; Young Women of Excellence for high school juniors or seniors; and a new category this year, Making a Difference for Women in the Workplace, for a business or organization. Go to for nomination forms and contact Honora Miller at 363-4463 for more information. proposes the following rates: service for a 20-gallon can, $29, a 45 percent increase; 32-gallon can, $57, a 30 percent increase; 64-gallon can, $115, a 39 percent increase; 96-gallon can, $170, a 36 percent increase. The cost of green waste carts is also going to rise, under the proposal. Residents now can fill two carts at no charge, but pay $6 for each green waste cart over two. The proposal sets the cost of a third and fourth cart at $10 each, and for five carts and beyond at $15 each. Written protests of the proposed rate increases must be signed by the property owner or customer responsible for paying the garbage bill. The deadline for written protests is Nov. 16 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 5 p.m. if delivered or mailed to Town Hall, or by the end of the public hearing if delivered to the City Council meeting. If protests are received by a majority of those eligible to file them, the proposed increases cannot be approved by the council. A


Astronaut joins book fair at Oak Knoll Oak Knoll Elementary School will hold its annual book fair, in partnership with Books Inc., from Sunday, Oct. 23, through Friday, Oct. 28 on the school campus, 1895 Oak Knoll Lane in Menlo Park. A sneak preview will be held Sunday, Oct. 23, from 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., followed by a special event: “Life in Space: An Evening with Astronaut Karol ‘Bo’ Bobko” from 5 to 6 p.m. Colonel Bobko flew on three space shuttle missions and was enshrined in the Astronaut Hall of Fame this past May. He will talk about his experiences working in space and answer questions selected from more than 400 questions submitted by Oak Knoll students as part of the “Ask an Astronaut”


program. Family Night will be held Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and will feature a “space museum.” Space program artifacts on loan from NASA will be on display, including a genuine Apollo helmet, a glove and boot used for spacewalks, and a shuttle flight suit. There is no cost to attend; all books are priced at regular retail prices, with a portion of the proceeds donated by Books Inc. to the Oak Knoll Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). The PTO provides enrichment activities and supports the school’s curriculum. Book fair hours are 7:45 a.m. to

3:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for Thursday when the fair closes at 2 p.m.

Matched CareGivers

Authors’ event: ‘Theaters of the Peninsula’ In their new book, authors Gary Lee Parks and Jack Tillmany provided film and theater buffs a pictorial visit to the Peninsula’s cinemas, past and present. They will sign copies of the book, “Theatres of the San Francisco Peninsula,” on Saturday, Oct. 22, from noon to 2 p.m. in the gift shop at the San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway in Redwood City. Visit or call 2990104 for more information.

“There’s no place like home.”

N POLICE CALLS MENLO PARK Residential burglary reports: ■ Losses estimated at $51,850 in break-in through rear window and theft of jewelry, laptop computer, digital camera and Apple iPhone, Bay Road, Oct. 13. ■ Unknown losses in break-in through rear window and theft of jewelry and electronic items, Hedge Road, Oct. 10. ■ Unknown losses in break-in through front door of vacant apartment, though door not damaged, Newbridge St., Oct. 10. Fraud reports:

■ Losses estimated at $7,000 in unauthorized use of credit cards stolen in auto burglary in Half Moon Bay, Lemon St., Oct. 10. ■ Loss of $200 in unauthorized use of credit card stolen in auto burglary in San Francisco, reported at main police station at 701 Laurel St., Oct. 10. Theft reports: ■ Loss estimated at $1,200 in theft of two locked bicycles from under stairwell, San Antonio Ave., Oct. 12. Spousal abuse report: Almanor Ave., Oct. 10.

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LADERA Commercial burglary report: Unknown losses in break-in to school computer lab using pry bar, Woodland School at 360 La Cuesta Drive, Oct. 8. Stolen vehicle report: Motorcycle stolen from barn, 3000 block of Sand Hill Road, Oct. 10. ATHERTON Fraud reports: Unknown losses in three fraudulent transactions, Bergesen Court, Prado Secoya and Atherton Ave., Oct. 10, 12 and 13.

883 Santa Cruz Ave. Menlo Park (650) 353-7550

(650) 839-2273

Open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm







NOTE: Traffic Changes to Welch Road

Vehicle Routes







Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Clinics







Effective Wednesday, October 19th, Welch Road will become a one-lane, one-way road going West between Quarry Road and Pasteur Drive. Additionally, access to 730, 750 and 770 Welch Road is now via new driveways on Vineyard Lane. These traffic changes will be in effect for two years, after which time Welch Road will return to its original traffic patterns.

Road/Driveway Closure








Lucile Packard Children's Hospital




Stanford University Medical Center is beginning construction work to rebuild and expand their medical facilities in Palo Alto. Please be advised of traffic changes around the medical center due to construction.

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Expansion

We appreciate your patience during construction.

MORE INFO: | | 24-Hour Construction Hotline: (650) 701-SUMC (7862)

October 19, 2011 N The Almanac N15


The online guide to Menlo Park businesses

Good for Business. Good for You. Good for the Community. C U S T O M





‘Samson’ offers ‘richly rewarding’ entertainment By Mort Levine




Special to the Almanac










4 0 8 . 3 7 0 . 1 0 4 1 W W W. VA L E T C U S T O M . C O M MEDIA CENTERS




f the Israelis think they have a problem today with Hamas over in Gaza, they ought to reflect on the situation about 500 B.C. when the Philistines were running the place. In those days, Gaza was a place of pagan orgies and treacherously seductive mezzo sopranos. The enslaved Israelis did Photos by Otak Jump have a strongman, the Hebrew Hercules named Samson. It’s Cybele Gouverneur plays all in a couple of books in the Dalila and Percy MartÌnez, Samson, in the West Bay Opera Bible. And it isn’t easy to make a production of “Samson et Dalila.” dramatic stage work out of it but French composer Camille listening. He also, however, can Saint-Saens spent a decade dish out the hits when needed. trying in his opera “Samson Ms. Gouverneur hit a home et Dalila.” Periodically, these run with her version of the days the opera gets revived; best song in the opera, “Mon San Francisco Opera has per- coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” (My formed it several times. heart opens itself at thy sweet Plucky West Bay Opera voice). And the ballet features brings its version to the Luc- the now-cliche bacchanal song ie Stern Theatre swiped by dozens of in Palo Alto this N R E VI E W Hollywood movies month to herald the and done imaginaopening of its 56th tively by Katie Gayseason. The enterprising team dos, Daiane Lopes de Silva headed by Maestro Jose Luis and Bruno Augusto from the Moscovich packaged a beauti- Kunst-Stoff dance company. fully seamless production for Director Ragnar Conde a very pleased audience at the moved his forces on and off the opening weekend. small stage effectively and in It had the exotic-erotic flavor sync with the frequent mood of the way the 19th-century changes in the score. French envisioned the Middle Despite the straightened budEast. The composer assumed get considerations, set designer that everyone knows the story, Jean-Francois Revon and cosso he concentrated on shaping tume designer Abra Berman these conflicted characters. managed to capture the reqMost important, WBO uisite Middle Eastern flavor assembled four outstanding and color palette. The massive voices to make this unusual Greek columns came tumbling musical masterpiece both an down on cue as anticipated. artistic success and an audiThe chorus led by Bruce ence pleaser. Olstad were in magnificent Samson, as portrayed by voice, especially in portraying Peruvian tenor Percy Marti- the lamentations of the Israelis. nez, evoked the stocky solidWest Bay has promised its ity of Enrico Caruso. Without audience a venturesome, ambiany showpiece arias, he used tious lineup of rare operas, and powerful vocalism to guide the new takes on the old standards, drama. Venezuelan-American like “Don Giovanni” and soprano Cybele Gouverneur “Aida,” which round out this met the challenges of alternat- season. They have certainly ing as a seductress and a vile delivered with “Samson et betrayer with aplomb. Her rich Dalila.” buttery contralto low register added an appropriately sultry N IF YOU PLAN TO GO… dark tone. Two burly veteran basses, “Samson et Dalila” will be David Cox, who sang the Phiperformed at the Lucie Stern listine Grand Priest of Dagon, Theatre, 1305 Middlefield and Carlos Aguilar, an old Road in Palo Alto, at 8 p.m. Hebrew, proved important Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, in giving form to the battle Oct. 22 and 23. The box office between good and evil. number is 424-9999. Visit Mr. Saint-Saens is actually a for more information. symphonic master so the opera score is well worth attentive A

16 N The Almanac NOctober 19, 2011

C O M M U N I T Y N C A L E N DA R Visit to see more calendar listings

Special Events Candidate Forum - Menlo Park Fire Presented by the League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County. Menlo Park Fire District candidates will take questions from audience. Oct. 20, 7-9 p.m. Free. Menlo Park City Council Chambers, Laurel Street, Menlo Park. Call 650-325-5780. Candidate Forum - Sequoia Union District Sequoia Union High School District Candidate Forum. Presented by League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County. Oct. 24, 7-9 p.m. Free. Sequoia Union High School District Headquarters, 480 James St., Redwood City. Call 650-325-5780. Candidate Forum - Woodside Elementary School District Presented by League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County. Oct. 19, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Free. Woodside Elementary School, 3195 Woodside Road, Woodside. Call 650-325-5780. Portola Art Gallery presents â&#x20AC;&#x153;Other Seasons,â&#x20AC;? a collection of oil paintings of local landscapes in seasons other than summer, by Peninsula painter Decker Walker. Through Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Portola Art Gallery, Allied Arts Guild, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. Call 650-321-0220. Dine at Luttickenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, help Bethany Lutheran. From Monday, Oct. 24, through Friday, Oct. 28, dine at â&#x20AC;&#x153;Luttickenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s after 5â&#x20AC;? from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night, and Luttickenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will give 20 percent of net proceeds to community service outreach programs of Bethany Lutheran Church and Littlest Angels Preschool. Luttickenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is at 3535 Alameda de las Pulgas in Menlo Park. Visit to print the coupon required when you place your order. Jazz with Paul Vornhagen Saxophonist Paul Vornhagen gives a jazz concert with his quartet. Oct. 22, 3-4 p.m. Free. Independence Hall, 2955 Woodside Road, Woodside. Call 650-851-0147. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Celebrating the Fine Arts in Portola Valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; A sample of the work of nine Portola Valley artists will be on display at the KriewallHaehl Gallery at Woodside Priory. Through Nov. 4, 3-6 p.m. Free. Haehl Gallery at Woodside Priory, 302 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 650-218-8563.

Talks/Authors â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Arms Control in the Information Ageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; How can states combat cyber-weapons? Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state, will identify challenges and opportunities created by information technology. Oct. 27, 4-5:30 p.m. Free. Oak Lounge, Tresidder Memorial Union, 459 Lagunita Drive, Stanford. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Help Your Child Survive and Thriveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; MPCSD/CAMPUS presents author and speaker Dr. Michele Borba. Oct. 20, 7-9 p.m. Menlo-Atherton Center for Performing Arts, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton. drmicheleborba. Amitav Ghosh discusses his new novel, â&#x20AC;&#x153;River of Smoke.â&#x20AC;? Oct. 20, 7 p.m. Members free. Admission requires purchase of event book or $10 gift card. Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Call 650-324-4321. www.keplers. com Jim Lehrer, author of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates,â&#x20AC;? gives insider account

of the backstage drama and reflects on â&#x20AC;&#x153;major momentsâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;killer questionsâ&#x20AC;? that defined the debates. Oct. 19, 7-8 p.m. $15 & $35 members; $20 & $45 nonmembers. Lucie Stern Community Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Call 408-280-5530. Jim Newton discusses his book: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Eisenhower: The White House Years.â&#x20AC;? Oct. 27, 7 p.m. Members free. General admission requires purchase of event book or $10 gift card. Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Nina Sankovitch discusses her book: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading.â&#x20AC;? Oct. 24, 7 p.m. Members free. General admission requires purchase of event book or $10 gift card. Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Stephen Mitchell presents his new translation of Homerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iliad.â&#x20AC;? Oct. 19, 7 p.m. Members free. General admission requires purchase of event book or $10 gift card. Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Youth Event: Brian Selznick discusses his new book: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Wonderstruck.â&#x20AC;? Oct. 27, 7 p.m. Free. Menlo Park Council Chambers, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park. Call 650-324-4321.

Classes/Workshops Computer Security Class covers staying safe online and protecting oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s computers and accounts from viruses and spam. Previous computer basics and word processing are suggested. Oct. 22, 9:30-10:30 a.m. Free. Woodside Library, 3140 Woodside Road, Woodside. Sustainable Landscaping Class Sherri Osaka shares techniques for easy weed control and lawn removal. Oct. 20, 7-9 p.m. Free; registration required. Town Center, Community Hall, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 650-8511700 ext. 222.

YOU ARE INVITED to come meet our teachers, tour our beautiful campus & participate in a student Q&A panel



Family & Kids â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Incredible Magic Hat Showâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Benny Bendini offers chapeaugraphy, comedy magic, musical scores and sound effects. Oct. 20, 4:30-5 p.m. Portola Valley Library, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 650-851-0560. Susan Gal reads her newest book, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Into the Outdoors,â&#x20AC;? in which a family travels up a mountain, over a bridge, and under a canopy of trees to reach a campsite in the great outdoors. Oct. 23, 11:30 p.m. Free. Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Call 650-324-4321. www.

7ILLOW2OAD -ENLO0ARK    WWW . MID - PEN . COM Ongoing Enrollment


Et Alia Advance Health Care Directive A discussion on health-care directives, led by Betsy Carpenter/El Camino Hospital. Oct. 19, 2-3:30 p.m. Free. Ladera Community Church, 3300 Alpine Road, Portola Valley. Call 650-854-1080. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Halloween Masque Opera Galaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Presenting, in concert, the artists of the Franzen Opera Studio. Featuring favorite opera, operetta, musical theatre and popular songs, with a spooky twist. Oct. 23, 5-7:15 p.m. $10 at the door. Ladera Community Church, 3300 Alpine Road, Portola Valley. Call 408-288-8519. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ZOPPE - An Italian Family Circusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Zoppe, An Italian Family Circus, offers two-hour performances of family-friendly entertainment. Through Oct. 23, 3-9 p.m. Weekday Shows: Youth (2-11): $10 / Adult (Age 12+): $15 Weekend Shows: Youth (2-11): $13 / Adult (Ag 1044 Middlefield Road, Redwood City.

Courage - Community - Kindness - Love of Learning



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      ! " " October 19, 2011 N The Almanac N17

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 Staff Writers Dave Boyce, Sandy Brundage Senior Correspondents Marion Softky, Marjorie Mader Contributors Barbara Wood, Kate Daly, Katie Blankenberg Special Sections Editors Carol Blitzer, Sue Dremann Photographer Michelle Le

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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: e-mail letters to:

Ideas, thoughts and opinions about

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

Supes need more time for trail decision


o upgrade Alpine trail or not to upgrade the trail — that is the question, but one that doesn’t have to be answered just yet. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 1 will take up the question of whether to accept StanED ITORI AL ford University’s offer of $10 The opinion of The Almanac million to widen and improve an existing trail along Alpine Road, between Menlo Park and Portola Valley. County staff is recommending that the supervisors ask Stanford for a two-year extension on the offer, a recommendation we endorse. There are too many unknowns about what the trail project would entail, according to Assistant County Manager David Holland, but the supervisors face a Dec. 31 deadline to accept or reject Stanford’s offer, which is opposed by a number of environmentalists who criticize details including a massive cut into a hillside to move Alpine Road and major work on the banks of nearby San Francisquito Creek. Also opposing the project are a significant number of residents, the majority of whom live in Stanford Weekend Acres. Weekend Acres residents argue that egress from their neighborhood onto Alpine Road is difficult — and unsafe — enough now. An upgraded trail for bicyclists and pedestrians would likely worsen the situation and increase the danger to motorists and trail-users alike, they say. Many of the residents say that a trail upgrade is in order, because the existing trail is unsafe and uninviting. But they

object to the scale of the project as envisioned by Stanford — some say it would turn the trail into a “super sidewalk.” Stanford’s offer to upgrade the trail originated in conditions put on the university in 2000 by Santa Clara County, when Stanford was given approval to add 5 million square feet of buildings on its campus. The university agreed to build two trails to offset the loss of recreational opportunities, but its choice of upgrading the Alpine Road trail as San Mateo County’s mitigation project, rather than creating a new trail on its own property, caused instant protests. When it became clear that Stanford’s choice of projects for a trail to benefit San Mateo County was a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, some of the opposition died down, but safety and environmental concerns haven’t gone away. Mr. Holland, the assistant county manager, has said that a detailed trail design to study and debate is needed before the county can make an informed decision about whether to accept Stanford’s trail-upgrade offer. He told attendees at a recent community meeting that he thinks issues and concerns raised about the project can be addressed with mitigation measures such as on-demand traffic lights to slow traffic and allow motorists better access onto Alpine Road. Designing a more detailed trail plan that would address safety and environmental issues is the right thing to do if the project is to go forward. But that will take far more time than the 10 weeks remaining before Stanford’s deadline. The supervisors should ask Stanford for the extension.

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,, 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 223-6507.

Menlo Park Historical Association

Our Regional Heritage Menlo Park Fire Protection District firefighters stand proudly with their equipment in this undated photo. The department was authorized in 1918 and now serves Menlo Park, Atherton, East Palo Alto and parts of unincorporated San Mateo County

18 N The Almanac NOctober 19, 2011



An Atherton library worthy of us By Kathy McKeithen


oes Atherton need a new library? YES. I refer you to the Library Steering Committee Report (“Report”) and my complete letter on the Library Steering Committee’s website. Should the library be located in the park? YES. Two years of intensive study, and attendance at probably well over a hundred meetings, have given me some insight and factual data which I believe it is time to share. Weddings and corporate events at the park are continuing to cost the town money and prevent appropriate usage of the park. Is that what a community park should be? There are clear indications in the historical records and from the words of at least one of her descendants that this is probably not what Olive Palmer would have wanted when she bequeathed the park to the town, nor, according to the report prepared in 1959, was it what the townspeople wanted at the time they accepted the gift. Moreover, a library in the park could help underwrite park maintenance, have synergy with the playground/ sport activities/cultural activities/playschool, and would be within safe walking distance of three of the public schools in town. What about the issues of parking in the park and the environment? Detailed studies by experts in their respective fields have concluded that there is ample parking for a library in the park even with sports and other typical park activities taking place. As to environmental concerns, a new library could be built to an environmentally

L E T T ER S Our readers write

Downtown plan needs careful council scrutiny Editor: Most people think they know what the El Camino/Downtown Vision means — goodbye to weedy El Camino lots, hello to more senior housing and a more lively downtown. But the plan makes many other changes that weren’t discussed in the community workshops. As proposed, the plan creates more jobs than housing, adding commuters and increasing — not reducing — the current jobs/ housing imbalance. It shuts out

sound standard and even have electricity powered by photovoltaic cells. A library in the park would also GUEST be quieter, OPINION being farther away from the train, and allow for the use of contiguous outdoor space, whereas the existing library site would have little outdoor space and would likely encroach a considerable amount on the beautiful small park adjacent to it. There are so many misconceptions surrounding the possibility of a library in the park that space does not allow me to deal with all of them here, but I would like to quickly refute several. First, the Report, in coordination with experts in many fields, has concluded that any increased traffic can be mitigated. Second, the size of the library is anticipated to be in the 9,800to 13,000-square-foot range on two floors and within the footprint of the existing Main House and hardscape area, thus it will not impact open space. The specific size and configuration of the library will be decided by the community during the next phase of discussion. Third, the library building will be owned by the town. The library will manage the library, the town will manage the park. Fourth, the park is a 22-acre piece of property. Sports fields, children’s play, walking paths, undeveloped tranquil zones,

the voice of neighborhoods and local businesses by eliminating the current public review process for projects that might affect them, while allowing significantly larger structures and requiring less parking. It allows five-story office buildings with 10-foot setbacks. It removes 35 parking spaces behind Trader Joe’s, 32 from the Farmers Market lot. It expects less retail, fewer restaurants on El Camino. As proposed, it requires at least one hotel for financial viability. It perpetuates an unpredictable, behind-closed-doors public benefit negotiation process between staff and developers. The plan’s development cap, ostensibly lasting 30 years, could get consumed rapidly by just

manicured/wooded areas, open space and a library can co-exist beautifully. The word is “balance.” Finally, throughout this process the members of the Library Steering Committee have been mindful of the importance of the park as a community asset. It is of paramount importance to the committee that a library be respectful and complement the Carriage House and water tower, as well as the pastoral qualities of the park, and that it recognize its place as obligated and responsible to those like the Atherton Dames who have watched over and cared for the park. Unfortunately, placing our library in the park has become a political and personal “football.” Political in the sense that there are those who for years have been trying to divert library funds in order to establish a basis for a fundraising campaign to build a new Town Center. Personal in the sense that there is a core group of vocal people in town who do not want to see change, I believe largely for personal reasons. What appears to be sorely lacking, at peril of losing what has made this country great, is a consideration of the importance of learning, of reading (in whatever format), of a community without walls, of gifting to a future generation the things our parents gave to us — a sense of pride in who we are and what we might become — not just more stuff. Kathy McKeithen is an Atherton City Council member.

a few projects. The amount of likely development and resulting significant adverse environmental impacts (increased greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion that cannot be mitigated) may be grossly underestimated. And we’d be back into the game of one-off project approvals. The council should continue its careful review and modifications to address these issues. That will make the difference between the plan fulfilling the vision of a wellconnected, vibrant small town and the possibility of over-developed gridlocked urbanization that benefits private developers at the cost of our residential community. Patti Fry Menlo Park

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TOWN OF PORTOLA VALLEY NOTICE OF A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE ADDITION OF CHAPTER 18.41 “WIRELESS COMMUNICATION FACILITIES” TO TITLE 18 “ZONING” OF THE PORTOLA VALLEY MUNICIPAL CODE NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Town Council of the Town of Portola Valley will hold a public hearing on October 26, 2011 to consider adding a chapter to the zoning ordinance regarding the application procedures and the requirements associated with the placement of wireless communication facilities in the Town. The new chapter expands upon and clarifies the existing zoning provisions that allow for consideration of wireless communication facilities in all zoning districts subject to conditional use permit provisions. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the proposed Chapter 18.41 “Wireless Communication Facilities”, the staff report and related materials, including those associated with the Planning Commission public hearings held on September 7 and 21, 2011 are available for public review in the Town Planning Department, Portola Valley Town Hall, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley, California. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Town Council of the Town of Portola Valley will hold the above described public hearing on the proposed zoning ordinance at its meeting of October 26, 2011 at 7:30 p.m., Town Hall (Historic Schoolhouse), 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley, California. Before the Town Council acts on the proposed ordinance, Council members will consider all evidence, written and oral, pertaining to the proposed ordinance. All interested persons are invited to appear before the Town Council at the time and place herein above-mentioned. . Dated: October 10, 2011 Signed: Leslie Lambert, Town Planning Manager October 19, 2011 N The Almanac N19

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The Almanac 10.19.2011 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the October 19.2011 edition of the Almanac

The Almanac 10.19.2011 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the October 19.2011 edition of the Almanac