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Dressing up holiday tables Section 2


NOVEMBER 23, 2011

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HOLIDAY FUND 2011 Helping 10 communityservice organizations, including St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room Page 22

2 N The Almanac NNovember 23, 2011


New officer saves life of 2-year-old girl By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac


fficer David Gomez is one of Atherton’s newest police officers but he has already been credited with saving a little girl’s life with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Police Chief Ed Flint reported to the City Council about the incident in his report for the November council meeting. Chief Flint reported that Officer Gomez was in Target in Redwood City on Oct. 21 with his family when he saw a 2-year old girl lying on the ground unconscious, and not breathing. The little girl’s father was trying to help his daughter but having no results. “Despite a language barrier, David took immediate action and began life-saving CPR on the little girl,� Chief Flint reported. The little girl started breathing again just as the Redwood City Fire Department arrived on the scene, he wrote. “He is an outstanding officer,� Chief Flint said later about Officer Gomez. “I’m really glad that the department has him.�

Officer David Gomez took immediate action and began life-saving CPR on the little girl, said Atherton interim Police Chief Ed Flint.

He praised Officer Gomez’ “work ethic and customer service and his desire to serve the community of Atherton.� Officer Gomez grew up in Longview, Washington, just north of Portland, Oregon. He played football and baseball in high school and attended Lower Columbia College on a baseball scholarship while

he studied administration of justice. He will complete his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from California Coast University in Santa Ana in April 2012. He is a 2009 graduate of the College of San Mateo Police Academy and worked for a year as a reserve police officer for Atherton before becoming a full-time officer. He and his wife Jordan have three daughters. Officer Gomez is one of two recent hires by the Atherton Police Department. The other is Officer Bill Lane, who joined the department on Oct. 16. Officer Lane graduated from the College of San Mateo Police Academy in August of 2009 and began working as an Atherton reserve officer in March 2010. Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, he attended Morrow Bay High School and Cuesta College. Soon after he was sworn in, he took on a special assignment for the police department by helping with a task force of Bay Area police officers who went to Oakland to help provide crowd control at the Occupy Oakland protest on Nov. 2. A

Caltrans spraying herbicides along Hwy. 84 By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac


espite vociferous protests by county residents, requests by county officials and warnings from the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Department of Transportation was spraying herbicides along Highway 84/La Honda Road early this week, according to local residents. Patty Mayall of La Honda says she was informed by Caltrans that the spraying was taking place on Monday, Nov. 21, despite a weekend of rain and more in the fore-

cast. Residents and water quality experts worry that wet conditions will send the toxic herbicides into water supplies. Caltrans officials have not returned emails or calls from the Almanac asking for comment on the spraying. Ms. Mayall was originally told on Tuesday, Nov. 15, that Caltrans would be spraying on Friday, Nov. 18, with the chemicals Milestone VM and Payload, along Hwy. 84 from the coast to Skyline Boulevard. “I don’t consider this proper notification,� Ms. Mayall said. “It’s wrong that we’re given two days. We need an on-road notification policy as part of our integrated pest

management for this county.� Brendan Thompson, an environmental specialist with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, said in an email that he has asked Caltrans to postpone the spraying, both because rain was forecast and because the county report on vegetation management is due out Nov. 23. County Environmental Health Director Dean Peterson said in an email that he had also asked Caltrans to wait until a county study on alternatives to spraying has been considered. A

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4 N The Almanac NNovember 23, 2011
















Open space district acquires 79 acres of upland fields, forests By Dave Boyce


Almanac Staff Writer


lready rich in open space, the town of Portola Valley is richer still with the gift on Nov. 15 to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District of 79 acres of upland meadows and ridges just south of the intersection of Alpine and Portola roads, and just east of the Sweet Springs hiking trail. The property also includes a summer mansion and related buildings. The Hawthorns, as the property has been known, was the home of the Woods family. Frederick N. Woods III, who died in April 2008 at age 93, willed it to the open space district upon his death. The property will become part of the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, district spokeswoman Leigh Ann Gessner told the Almanac. The property is valued at $11 million, comes with a $2 million

endowment for maintenance and stewardship, and is the largest gift of open space from a private family in the district’s 39 years, Ms. Gessner said. It is also the first gift that included an endowment, she said. Town Councilman Steve Toben called the gift “extraordinary to all who cherish open space.” He said it is “remarkable to contemplate that these 79 acres will remain undeveloped in perpetuity, held in public trust for the benefit of natural communities and anyone who seeks refuge from the stresses of modern life.” Added former mayor Gary Neilsen: “Although this gift appears to be a direct benefit to Portola Valley residents, we in town will want to share this open space, and gladly so, with all of our neighbors in the region when it becomes accessible.”

Photo courtesy of MROSD

Deer graze in a field within 79 acres of open space in Portola Valley recently acquired by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

The property will remain closed to the public at least until the district goes through the public planning process, including public hearings and an analysis of access for the public and the opportunities for environmental conservation and historic preservation.

How long might all that take? “It’s hard to say. There are lots of projects in the hopper,” Ms. Gessner said. “It’s not really something that we planned for.” Immediate steps include setting up patrols by district rangers, reducing wildfire risks and disking the ground along the

perimeter, Ms. Gessner said. As for animals of importance to the environmentally minded, Los Trancos Creek defines the eastern border of the property and is thought to be home to steelhead trout. Other native species of See WOODS, page 10

Woodside: Mountain lion kills Professor wins presidential science award By Chris Cooney told me,” Mr. “And yes, I stay on campus with three goats on Tripp Road Enriquez said, them and eat cafeteria food for two Bay City News Service


mountain lion killed she had the permit and by 5:15 three dwarf goats in a p.m., she had shot and killed the fenced enclosure on Tripp lion, which had returned to feed, Court in Woodside on Nov. 14, he said. The state confiscated the but the chances of the goats’ lion carcass, as required by law. owner finding and killing the In this Woodside case, which lion — which is legal after attacks the San Mateo County Sheriff’s on livestock — Office reported, have diminished, the owner had the a state Departgoats hauled off to ‘I feel terrible. These a tallow factory. ment of Fish and Game official told goats were our family.’ The lion had fed the Almanac. on only one; the ED B EGUN The best time other two were for such a hunt killed because is within 24 hours of the inci- they kept running around inside dent, Capt. Don Kelly of Fish the enclosure, Capt. Kelly said. By and Game said in a telephone instinct, lions will attack prey that interview. For best results, the runs, he said. carcass should be left untouched Mountain lions that kill liveas the lion is likely to return to it stock tend to be young and to feed, he said. learning to hunt or elderly and A woman in Santa Cruz Coun- no longer able to hunt deer, Capt. ty recently called Fish and Game Kelly said. for a depredation permit after a “I feel terrible. These goats were mountain lion killed four of her See LION, page 10 goats, Capt. Kelly said. At 2 p.m.


Canada College engineering professor and a Stanford University science program for low-income high school students were among 17 honorees selected by President Obama to be recognized for mentoring students in science and engineering. Amelito Enriquez, who has taught and mentored at Canada College in Woodside for 17 years, said he was “thrilled” to find out he was among the winners announced by the White House on Nov. 15. “I’m still in shock,” he said from his office at Canada College. Mr. Enriquez and the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program were among nine individuals and eight organizations from around the country named as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring for 2010 and 2011. “Someone from the White House contacted me a week ago and

adding that he was asked to not say anything about his award until all the winners Amelito were officially Enriquez announced. “It was so hard to keep it to myself,” he said. Nominated for the award by students and fellow staff members, Mr. Enriquez is credited with helping to develop several programs that assist students from underrepresented communities pursue degrees in science, math and engineering. One of those is the Summer Engineering Institute, a two-week intensive program at San Francisco State University, which was developed for high school students interested in engineering, and for community college students already studying engineering who hope to transfer to a four-year university to finish their degrees, Mr. Enriquez said.

weeks,” he said. He has also teamed up with NASA to create a program called Creating Opportunities for Minorities in Engineering, Technology and Science, or COMETS. The COMETS program gives students from two-year colleges in San Mateo County the chance to go to NASA Ames Research Center for year-round internships that prepare them to be competitive in all facets of engineering once they transfer to four-year universities. The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, which was started in 1988, sponsors high school students from low-income families for five-week summer internships on Stanford’s campus and year-round mentoring for students interested in medical science. Winners of the President’s award receive a $25,000 cash prize from the National Science Foundation and will be honored in a White House ceremony later this year. A

November 23, 2011 N The Almanac N5


Thieves target laptop computers and bikes

WOODSIDEÊUÊÎä£xÊ7œœ`È`iÊ,œ>`ÊUÊÈxä‡nx£‡£x££Ê PORTOLA VALLEYÊUÊ{{Óäʏ«ˆ˜iÊ,œ>`ÊUÊÈxä‡nx£‡£Ç££ "«i˜ÊÈ\ÎäʇÊn*

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By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer

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Good Earth Bakery 8” Pumpkin Pie $12.39 Ea.

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GIANNA’S BAKERY Apple, Cherry, 4 Berry, Sweet Peach Pies $15.99 Ea. Pecan Pie $17.79 Ea.

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ecent crime reports from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office show bicycles and laptop computers to be prized objects for theft. Thieves reportedly stole four “high priced” bicycles, total loss estimated at $27,000, from the side yard of a home on Dedalera Drive in the unincorporated community of Ladera, deputies reported Nov. 12. The bicycle thefts are the second such incident in Ladera in recent weeks. In a Nov. 4 report, two bikes valued at $3,600 were stolen from a garage on Lucero Way by someone who entered through “an opening” at the back end of the garage, deputies said. Also in Ladera, someone stole a briefcase and two laptop comput-

ers on Nov. 11 from an unlocked vehicle on West Floresta Way, deputies said. Two backpacks containing laptop computers were reported stolen on Nov. 7 at the Woodside Priory School at 302 Portola Road in Portola Valley, with one computer valued at $2,000 and the other at $3,600, deputies said. An unlocked vehicle on Stonegate Road in Portola Valley was the scene of a Nov. 5 theft of a toiletry bag containing pain medications, a pair of Gucci sunglasses, a key to the Alpine Hills Swim & Tennis Club, and $40 in cash, for a total loss esimated at $440, deputies said. Tools valued at $2,600 were stolen in a Nov. 11 break-in to a locked pickup truck at the Parkand-Ride at Woodside Road and Interstate 280, deputies said.

By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


ive men streamed out of a Mercedes Benz around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16, to jump a 23-year-old man riding a Huffy mountain bike, Menlo Park police said. After kicking and punching the bicyclist, one assailant peddled away from O’Brien Drive on the bike, while the other suspects piled back into the white Mercedes. By the time East Palo Alto police stopped the car about 1.3 miles away from the crime scene, the car contained only a driver, whom the victim didn’t recognize. The driver gave police a statement and went on his way. According to investigators, the crime appears gang-related.

Witnesses described one attacker as an unshaven, heavyset Hispanic male, approximately 16 to 18 years old, with short, slicked down hair, and wearing a white T-shirt, white basketball shorts, and long white socks. A second suspect was described as a slender Hispanic male with long light brown hair, pulled back in a ponytail. Jewelry stolen

In other crime news, a 59-yearold woman living on Middle Avenue reported a burglary on Tuesday, Nov. 15, around 11:45 a.m. The thief entered through an unlocked side door. The unidentified suspect grabbed $17,600 worth of jewelry, including an antique gold pocket watch, according to police. A

Martinez wins 3rd spot on school board (

ELECT O N ( 11 (2 0 The San Mateo County Elections Office has confirmed victory for Olivia Martinez, one of two incumbents who ran for reelection to the board of the Sequoia Union High School District. With the final count reported late Thursday afternoon, Nov. 17, Ms. Martinez ended up with 12,659 votes, just 77 votes more than fellow incumbent Lorraine Rumley. Therefore, Ms. Martinez became the third candidate elected to a four-year term on the board. The

other two are challengers Carrie B. Du Bois, who garnered the most votes — 16,611 — and Allen S. Weiner, who received Olivia Martinez 14,669 votes. A fifth candidate, Larry James Moody, received 9,286 votes. The Sequoia district board’s oversight includes Menlo-Atherton and Woodside high schools, and the board has a dotted-line relationship with the charter high schools, including Summit Prep and Everest. — Dave Boyce

Hirzel Fine Jewelry store closing A jewelry store that has helped adorn Menlo Park shoppers since 1952 is closing, according to store staff. Hirzel Fine Jewelry at 728 Santa Cruz Ave. in downtown Menlo Park doesn’t know yet exactly when the doors will shut, but does plan to hold a sale first. “We’ve never done this before,” said a sales person who answered the phone on Nov. 21. “We’ve been in business so many years, and we just decided to close.” He declined to provide a full name.

Geron Corp. quits stem cell work The Menlo Park-based bio-


technology company Geron Corp. announced Nov. 14 that it was abandoning its stem cell research in favor of focusing on two cancer drugs. The motivation appears financial, according to a statement issued by the company. “The decision to narrow Geron’s technology and therapeutic focus was made after a strategic review of the costs, value inflection timelines and clinical, manufacturing and regulatory complexities,” the company said. As a result, 66 jobs — 38 percent of its workforce — will be eliminated, the company said.

The news came as a blow to those hoping to benefit from stem cell therapy, a field that held promise for those paralyzed by spinal cord injuries. Stem cells possess the ability to become any other type of cell in the body, leading Geron’s scientists to explore how to grow the cells into replacement neurons that could reverse paralysis.

Tree lighting O, Christmas tree! St. Patrick’s Seminary & University at 320 Middlefield Road in Menlo Park holds its third annual tree lighting ceremony on Monday, Nov. 28, at 5 p.m. Local artists will display creations for sale starting an hour earlier.

Does Menlo Park need Flood Park? ■ Parks commission says yes, if city can find the money. By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


espite a staff report questioning whether Menlo Park truly needs more open space, the Parks and Recreation Commission voted 5-0 on Nov. 16 to recommend the city move forward with acquiring Flood Park — as long as there’s a solid plan in place to cover the operating costs. Commissioners Nick Naclerio and Thomas Cecil were absent. The recommendation came as part of a months-long process in evaluating whether taking over the 21-acre park on Bay Road from San Mateo County makes fiscal sense for the city. Staff estimated that running Flood Park could cost the city $595,000 a year, nearly three times as much as the county paid for maintenance. One-time renovation costs could rack up an additional $20 million


over the course of 10 years if the city opts to upgrade the park to bring it up to the same standards as other parks in Menlo Park. Some sports club representatives that attended the Nov. 16 meeting took issue with staff’s contention that the city might not need more open space, based on the results of a study performed in 2006. A frequent park visitor for 30 years and volunteer with the new nonprofit Friends of Flood Park, Kathy Nicosia said the disparity may be the result of groups not requesting space from the city because they already knew none was available. “The city approved four new organizations for field usage,” she noted. “They claim there’s no shortage, but there really is a shortage and everybody realizes that. With these new people coming in, it jumpstarted Parks and Rec to say we really do need Flood Park.” The park, closed to let the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission install a water pipeline,

reopened on Nov. 12. Faced with a demand to cut 10 percent from the county’s operating budget, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors had at first recommended permanently shutting down the park. The board then reversed course, approving enough funding to keep the park open until March 2012. According to Ms. Nicosia, the proposal now goes to the City Council on Dec. 13. She summarized the Catch-22 facing the council. “The city doesn’t want to take on the park without knowing where the money’s coming from, but the money won’t come until they know who will be in charge, and the county doesn’t want to give more because it’s already donating a multimillion dollar piece of property.” The Friends of Flood Park may be able to play a role in making the park financially viable, but hasn’t started looking at those options yet because of the recent uncertainty surrounding whether the park would even reopen in the first place, she said. A

Pop Warner football team plays for Western supremacy By Jim Gallagher Vikings Boosters


asily disposing of their remaining Northern California challenger, the MenloAtherton Vikings PeeWees meet their counterparts from Cowlitz County, Washington, at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at Woodside High to determine the Pop Warner football “Best of the West” for 2011. The winner qualifies for a trip to the Pop Warner National Championships next month in Orlando, Florida. Coach Steve Stenstrom’s 11- and 12-year-olds routed the Richmond Eagles 29-0 on Sunday, Nov. 20, at Santa Clara University, scoring

all their points before Stenstrom placed his team on cruise control in the third quarter. Dean Engram and Keyshawn Ashford ran for first-quarter touchdowns, while Ashford and Marcelous Chester scored again before halftime. Lucas Andrighetto added a pair of two-point conversion kicks. The Vikings’ customary furious defense, meanwhile, held the Eagles’ attack in check. Stenstrom, who has seen films of the Vikings’ upcoming opponent, predicts a stern challenge for his unbeaten squad on Saturday. “They’re as good as any team we’ve played,” he said.

Junior PeeWees

The Vikings Junior PeeWees finished their season on a winning note on Saturday, Nov. 19, defeating the Sparks Cardinals 27-0 at Woodside High. Taniela Heimuli scored a pair of touchdowns for Coach Harold Atkins’ team, and Floyd Gazaway ran for another. James Miller recovered a Cardinal fumble in the end zone as the Vikings defense “pulled us through again,” Atkins said. Linebackers Matthew Azzopardi and Heimuli were particularly effective, and free safety Andres Atkins had two interceptions.

R EAL E STATE Q&A by Monica Corman

Get Ready Now for the 2012 Market Dear Monica: I plan to sell my window repair or replacement, or home in the spring of 2012. What other significant renovations, you should I do now to prepare? will create a schedule of work to Bill D. be done. Your agent will advise you Dear Bill: You are smart to be which items you need to do and thinking about what to do now to which you don’t need to include. prepare your home for sale. The The next important decision you first thing you should do is engage will need to make is when to put a good real estate agent who can your home on the market. Your advise you and guide you through own needs may dictate when this the entire process. It is important will be or you may wish to time to do this now so that you don’t it to take best advantage of the waste your money and efforts on momentum of the spring market. preparations that may not enhance Some things will be out of your the sale. You will probably be control such as the economy and advised to have an inspection to events that affect it. But being generate a list of items to repair prepared will help you be flexible or replace. If your home needs and ready to act when the time painting, roofing, floor refinishing, is right. For answers to any questions you may have on real estate, you may e-mail me at or call 462-1111, Alain Pinel Realtors. I also offer a free market analysis of your property.



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November 23, 2011 N The Almanac N9


Ed Flint named ‘acting interim city manager’ By Barbara Wood Almanac Staff Writer


therton’s Interim Police Chief Ed Flint has added “acting interim city manager” to his job title after John Danielson, the interim city manager, became seriously ill and unable to return to Atherton while on a trip out of California last week. The City Council appointed Mr. Flint to the position as an “urgency item” at its meeting Wednesday night, Nov. 16, in Jennings Pavilion in Hol- Ed Flint brook-Palmer Park. Mr. Flint, who will serve until Mr. Danielson can return to work or the council replaces him, said he will be doing both jobs temporarily at no additional pay. He began serving as interim police chief in July. He has 35 years of multi-agency law enforcement experience including serving as police chief in Santa Rosa and Elk Grove. He also worked during his career with the California Highway Patrol in Redwood City and the Sacramento County sheriff ’s department, and was assistant police chief in Citrus Heights. He is a retired Army colonel, and served in the Army Reserves and California National Guard. In an interview on Nov. 10, Mr. Danielson praised the job that is being done for Atherton by Chief Flint. “He’s doing a great job,” he said, adding that Chief Flint has made a number of positive changes in the police department. “He’s enhancing the whole educational process over there,” instituting new

LION continued from page 5

our family,” said Ed Begun, who with his wife owned the goats. “It was just devastating to see this happen. Then again, on the other side, who’s intruding on whose territory? You’ve got to be a little philosophical about it.” Mr. Begun could not be reached for comment on whether he plans

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policies and procedures. “It’s just a different department,” Mr. Danielson said. “Ed is the driving force.” In the interview, Mr. Danielson said that Chief Flint has also proved a valuable asset to the town with his input at staff meetings on topics not related to the police department. Mr. Danielson was hired by the town as interim manager last December. Formerly, he was city manager of Elk Grove and Wildomar, both in California. He operates the Danielson Associates consulting firm in Sacramento. When he was hired, he said he was not a candidate for the permanent manager’s position. The council voted unanimously to appoint Chief Flint to the acting position. One Atherton resident sent a letter protesting the appointment. Kimberly Sweidy, who has been involved in a dispute with the town over problems with the construction of her home, said she did not support the appointment. “There are so many problems with this that I don’t even now where to start,” she wrote. She said that the chief and city manager jobs are “self-evidently, distinct” and questioned Chief Flint’s qualifications to do the job. “We do not live in a Police State,” she wrote. Deputy City Clerk Theresa DellaSanta said she is not allowed, by law, to comment on an employee’s medical issues so could give no information on Mr. Danielson’s condition.

Map shows location of the 79 acres, known as the “Hawthorns Property,” acquired by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

Open space district acquires Woods lands WOODS continued from page 5

threatened or endangered status include the California redlegged frog and Bell’s vireo, the peregrine falcon and the willow flycatcher, all birds. Botanical species include the remains of an olive orchard, oaks, bay laurels and buckeyes as well as willow, alder and cottonwood trees near the creek, said Ms. Gessner, who has visited the property.

“The cottonwood trees were releasing their floaty white stuff into the air. It was kind of surreal,” she said. “There is a really wonderful view from the top.” “It is one of last remaining islands of open space in the residential area of Portola Valley,” Ms. Gessner said, noting that it had the potential for 22 residences. The Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), a private nonprofit land trust, arranged a conservation easement in

2005, which had the effect of curtailing some development rights. The buildings, including the mansion, may be historic and date from the late 19th century, Ms. Gessner said, adding that the district will probably need a management partner with expertise in such matters. A

Visit to see a PDF document with a map of the area being acquired.

John Maltbie returns as county manager


to seek a depredation permit. He said he has moved to safety two alpacas that were penned with the goats, and that he has no plans to build a higher fence around the pen. It’s now about 6 feet high. Lions have vertical leaps of 12 to 15 feet, wildlife biologists say. This lion may kill livestock again. It is not unheard of for a single lion to be the target of two or three depredation permits, Capt. Kelly said. Asked if they will be getting more goats, Mr. Begun said they would cross that bridge when they got to it. “We’re just going to have to coexist,” he added. “I’m not militant about (the predation), but I am upset about it.”

10 N The Almanac NNovember 23, 2011


■ He will serve as interim manager following resignation of David Boesch. By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


tanding in as county manager in San Mateo County until the Board of Supervisors recruits a new manager will be John Maltbie, a 20-year veteran of that office until he retired in 2008. The supervisors announced Mr. Maltbie’s appointment Tuesday, Nov. 15, after a closed session. Mr. Maltbie will take office Dec. 1. He will replace David S. Boesch, who succeeded him in 2008 and who, on Nov. 4, announced his resignation, giving the board an 11-day notice. Mr. Boesch cited philosophical differences with the Board of Supervisors and

special meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29. said he was acting “in In looking for a perthe best interests of the manent manager, the organization.” supervisors will conduct Mr. Boesch, who a nationwide search in a came to the job after recruitment effort that seven years as the city John Maltbie is likely to take several manager in Menlo Park, months, county spokesalso said he would be avail- man Marshall Wilson said. able until Dec. 31 to work with The board expects Mr. Maltthe county in the transition of bie’s “extensive knowledge and responsibilities to an interim experience will help the county county manager. continue its mission of deliverMr. Maltbie will inherit a budget ing excellent services to the of $1.75 billion, a budget about community while seeking ways $500,000 larger than when he left. to reduce costs,” Mr. Wilson Negotiating a contract to com- said. pensate Mr. Maltbie for his inter“I am looking forward to servim work will be county supervi- ing the residents of San Mateo sors Adrienne J. Tissier and Dave County to the best of my abiliPine. They are expected to bring ties,” Mr. Maltbie said in the statethe contract to the full board at a ment. A


Council, again, rejects survey on new library ■ Atherton is split on whether to build a new library in the park. By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac


ne thing is clear in Atherton right now: Residents have not come to an amiable agreement about whether their new library should be built in town-owned Holbrook-Palmer Park. Some are even talking about putting the issue on the ballot for the voters to decide. Where to site the library was back before the council for the third time in a month at the Nov. 16 council meeting, and nearly 50 people filled the seats in the Jennings Pavilion in Holbrook-Palmer Park. The council had two items on the agenda that directly affect the library and one other that could indirectly affect it. The first was surveying the town’s residents to get their opinions about where the library should be placed. The second was authorizing an environmental impact report needed so the library project can go forward. The third is whether the town should resume renting out the park for events, an action that could use up parking spaces that may eventually be needed by the library. The survey was on the agenda, even though some council members felt they had disposed of it last month, because it was a recommendation from the town’s Park and Recreation Committee and town rules require such recommendations be discussed and voted on. Councilwoman Kathy McKiethen, who is on the committee that came up with the recommendation to put the library in the park, had a two-page summary of the reasons she is against a survey. Among the reasons was that, due to complexity of the issue, “it would be impossible for a resident to make a knowledgeable response to the supposedly simple question ‘do you favor a library in HolbrookPalmer Park?’” That didn’t sit well with some in the audience. “When I am told that the issue is so complex that


I shouldn’t worry my little head, then I can’t decide whether to be insulted or suspicious,” resident Jonathan Tiemann said. Earl Nielsen agreed. “We can’t trust the intelligence of Atherton — you’re kidding?” he said. Ms. McKiethen insisted that she had not meant that, however. “I didn’t say the people of Atherton aren’t smart,” she said. Resident John Ruggeiro said people in Atherton fall into three groups regarding the library site. Some want it in the park, some want it in a new town center complex, and some want it where it is now. “We need a survey,” he said. “It’s very obvious we need a survey.” He then asked those in the room to raise their hands if they favor a survey on the library site. Three-quarters of those in room raised their hands. There were those in the room who did not support a survey, however. “It is time to move on and not try to keep changing that decision,” said Karen Bliss, president of the Friends of the Atherton Library. She suggested that those who don’t agree with the council members who chose the park as a site, can “throw the bums out” at the next election. “I’m embarrassed to live in Atherton,” she said “Lately I think some of the behavior exhibited in this town is downright shameful.” Walter Sleeth also opposed a survey. “This issue has gone on ad nauseam,” he said. “The quiet majority of residents believe .... that a survey vote is a waste of town resources.” At the end, the council once again decided not to survey town residents. Mayor James Dobbie voted with Ms. McKeithen against a proposal to hold a survey. Both had voted to choose the park as the preferred site for the library last month. Council members Elizabeth Lewis and Jerry Carlson, who had voted against the park as the library site, voted for a survey. Bill Widmer, who had voted with council members McKeithen and Dobbie about the park site, abstained from voting. That left

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a 2-2 tie, with the proposal failing because it had not gained a majority. Mr. Carlson brought up the issue of a ballot measure on the library. “I’m concerned that if a voluntary- or a council-initiated-type poll is not initiated or forthcoming, there could be .... a citizens’ grassroots effort that could result in a more binding outcome,” he said. “There are certainly costs of a poll, but I think a formal election could be more costly.” There was less discussion about the environmental impact report that must be done before the library-building project can go ahead. Councilwoman Lewis voted against starting the environmental review process, citing worry about the cost, which will come from the library construction funds. She and Councilman Carlson voted against changing the contract with the environmental report group to do the more extensive review needed because of public controversy about the park site. Council members also voted, as they had done last month, to put off a decision on whether

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they should resume booking large events in the park, asking for more information about the cost to the town for such events. In April the town stopped taking bookings for events in the park for 2012, since there are plans to build the new library there and the town had been losing money by staging events. But the council had been

asked to reconsider the matter since it appears that any library construction would not start in 2012, and the town has adopted a new way of staffing events that should cut the town’s losses. The report from the public works department estimated that the town could make a profit of $90,000, after expenses, by renting out park buildings for events such as weddings and birthday parties in 2012. But council members said they did not believe that all costs were included in the report and asked for more investigation. A

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING AND NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING CITY OF MENLO PARK PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING OF DECEMBER 5, 2011 NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Planning Commission of the City of Menlo Park, California, is scheduled to review the following items: PUBLIC HEARING ITEMS Use Permit, Variances/Whitney Peterson/947 Lee Drive: Request for a use permit to determine the Floor Area Limit (FAL) for a lot with less than 5,000 square feet of developable area, and for the construction of a two-story, single-family residence on a substandard lot in the R-1-U (Single-Family Urban) zoning district. In addition, a request for variances for construction of a first story encroachment of approximately five-feet into the required 25-foot 6-inch front yard setback, and 10-feet into the required 20-foot rear yard setback. As part of the proposed development, one heritage Monterey pine tree (58-inch diameter) in poor condition at the right side of the property would be removed. Use Permit/Stephen J. Barnes/1444 San Antonio Street: Request for a use permit to construct two two-story, single-family residences on a substandard lot in the R-3 (Apartment) zoning district. Development Agreement Annual Review/Bohannon Development Company/101-155 Constitution Drive and 100-190 Independence Drive (Menlo Gateway Project): Annual review of the property owner’s good faith compliance with the terms of the Development Agreement for the Menlo Gateway (Bohannon Hotel & Office) project. NOTICE IS HEREBY FURTHER GIVEN that said Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on public hearing items in the Council Chambers of the City of Menlo Park, located at 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, on Monday, December 5, 2011, 7:00 p.m. or as near as possible thereafter, at which time and place interested persons may appear and be heard thereon. If you challenge this item in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues you or someone else raised at the public hearing described in this notice, or in written correspondence delivered to the City of Menlo Park at, or prior to, the public hearing.

Isabel Marant Rachel Comey Vanessa Bruno

The project file may be viewed by the public on weekdays between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, with alternate Fridays closed, at the Department of Community Development, 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park. Please call the Planning Division if there are any questions and/or for complete agenda information (650) 330-6702. Si usted necesita más información sobre este proyecto, por favor llame al 650-330-6702, y pregunte por un asistente que hable español. DATED:

883 Santa Cruz Ave. Menlo Park (650) 353-7550 Open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm

November 17, 2011 Deanna Chow, Senior Planner

PUBLISHED: November 23, 2011

Menlo Park Planning Commission

Visit our Web site for Planning Commission public hearing, agenda, and staff report information:

November 23, 2011 ■ The Almanac ■ 11


Council hikes garbage rates By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac


By Dave Boyce


he cost of garbage and recyThe green cart rate will be $10 cling pickups will go up in each for a third and fourth cart Atherton, but not as much and $15 each for five carts or as had been feared. more. At its Nov. 16 meeting, the AtherCouncilman Bill Widmer, who ton City Council voted to raise the was on a committee researchrates on residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; monthly bills ing the rates with Councilman from Recology, the company that Jerry Carlson and Interim City Atherton and other local commu- Manager John Danielson, said it nities awarded a 10-year contract costs $19 to process each green that began in January 2011. waste cart. Even at the new rates, The council the processing will take a final of the organvote on the rates â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;This (rate structure), ics that go in at its December the green waste meeting and from our view, holds the carts is being they will go into rates steady after January subsidized, Mr. effect on the next Widmer said. for upwards of three billings. He said 92 perThe approved years.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; cent of Atherton new rates are: residents have COUNCILMAN B ILL WIDMER 20-gallon more than two cart, $27 (up green waste carts. $7); 32-gallon cart, $55 (up $11); Commercial rates, which had 64-gallon cart, $110 (up $27); and not been raised in three years, will 96-gallon cart, $165 (up $40). also rise. Rates were last raised in Only 29 letters protesting the July, when they were increased rate increases were sent to the between 15.5 percent and 59 per- town after each resident received cent, and residents began paying a mailing with proposed rates $6 for any green waste carts after that were even higher than those the first two. The carts had previ- adopted. ously been free. Mr. Widmer said he thinks the new rates will allow the town to pay back money it still owes to the previous trash hauler, Allied Waste, over two years with enough left over that rates wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to be raised the next year, either. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This (rate structure), from our view, holds the rates steady after visit: January for upwards of three SmallBusinessSaturday years,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Widmer said.



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Gentle horse who carried kids dies Almanac Staff Writer


undreds of people met Kai over her 18 years in Woodside. Their childhood memories, though lost to time, may include being excited and maybe a little afraid despite Kaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reportedly mild-mannered, intelligent and gentle ways. She was a lot bigger than they were, after all. As for what excited her, that would be carrots. She also wore costumes occasionally and could jump when asked. Kai, a white Arabian mare


who carried kids during her working years with Woodside Junior Riders, died in retirement in the Marin Headlands on Oct. 5 at the age of 29 (roughly 72 in human years, according to calculations at equestrian websites). â&#x20AC;&#x153;She was healthy, happy, and sound up until her death,â&#x20AC;? according to an email announcing Kaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s death from Julie Asiano Eisenhut, whose family cared for her. In Marin, Kai not infrequently went to the beach

with another Junior Riders horse, Clown, Ms. Eisenhut said. Woodside Junior Riders is a nonprofit horsemanship program that offers weekday group lessons in English riding for children ages 6 to 16 beginning in mid-June at the Kiely Equestrian Center at 3375 Tripp Road in Woodside, Ms. Eisenhut said. The program is open to children living in the Woodside Fire Protection District, which includes Woodside, Portola Valley and nearby unincorporated communities. A

Council OKs new contract with employees By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


espite a flood of emails protesting a time-off policy that gives some city employees a minimum seven weeks off a year, no one spoke during public comment as the Menlo Park City Council prepared to vote Nov. 15 on a proposed two-year contract with 35 city employees with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The council was nearly as silent, voting 3-1 to approve the contract after briefly clarifying a few terms. Councilman Peter Ohtaki dissented and colleague Andy Cohen was absent. The contract freezes pay for the city employees and brings new hires in under a two-tier, â&#x20AC;&#x153;2 percent at 60â&#x20AC;? pension system based on the average of three yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; highest pay. It swaps a cap on employee contributions to health benefit premiums with a fixed city contribution equal to the police unionsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Employees will pay an additional 0.376 percent of their salaries post-

N C A L E N DA R Visit to see more calendar listings

Special Events â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Finishing Touchesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; The Junior League of Palo Alto/Mid Peninsula will host its fourth annual fundraiser, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Finishing Touches: A Holiday Tour of Fine Homes and Boutique,â&#x20AC;? Dec. 2-3. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Rosewood Sand Hill, 2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park. www. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m Ready for My Closeup!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Presenting, in concert, the artists of the Franzen Opera Studio. Featuring rare and famous film music from the golden age of Hollywood. Nov. 27, 4-6:30 p.m. $10 at the door. Ladera Community Church, 3300 Alpine Road, Portola Valley. Call 408-2888519.


tax into the CalPERS pension system, while the city agreed to pay $20 more per month per employee for dental insurance and increase coverage limits. Staff estimated that the first year of the contract will save the city 0.25 percent on payroll costs, but Menlo Park will also pay $19,400 more because of the health benefit increases. As new hires join the city under the new pension structure, the payroll savings are expected to reach 4 to 6 percent by 2036. Although the contract eliminates an award for using fewer than three sick days a year, it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make any changes to the amount of time off. Asked to explain his dissenting vote, Mr. Ohtaki said he supported most of the agreement, but thought the leave provisions should be revisited. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am concerned that is considerably outside the norm,â&#x20AC;? he said, adding that he previously hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t noticed all of them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m very concerned and in my opinion we should go back. But thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gonna

Authors Sue Grafton The new Kinsey Millhone novel from the #1 New York Times- bestselling author. Nov. 28, 7 p.m. Purchase â&#x20AC;&#x153;V Is for Vengeanceâ&#x20AC;? at Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to enter signing line. Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Call 650-324-4321.

Art â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Recent Worksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; The Portola Art Gallery presents oil paintings by Carolyn Jones of Menlo Park. The exhibit includes Jonesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; landscapes from recent travels in California, Vermont and France. Through November, free. Portola Art Gallery, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. Call 650321-0220. Kit Colman at Woodside Gallery Oil paintings of California paths, trails, mountains and trees. Through November, Woodside Gallery, 3056 Woodside Road, Woodside. Call 650-529-1988.

On Stage

Kids & Families

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Stones In His Pocketsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; explores sadness, the dangerous allure of Hollywood and the goodness of real life. Through Dec. 4, 2 p.m. $16 - $30. Dragon Theatre, 535 Alma St., Palo Alto.

Babies & Books Storytime at PV Library Rhymes, songs, lap play and short stories for the very young. Mondays, 11-11:15 a.m. Portola Valley Library, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 650-851-0560. www.smcl.

be my opinion, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m voting against it.â&#x20AC;? Vice Mayor Kirsten Keith suggested including time off in the discussion when the contract comes up for renewal in two years. Before the Tuesday night meeting, Interim City Manager Glen Rojas responded via the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s email distribution list to complaints raised by residents about the time-off policy. He said the policy was unarguably generous, but in line with other comparable communities, and helped balance out the lack of raises for the past three years. According to staff, Menlo Park has now aligned the wording of Measure L, the pension reform initiative passed by voters in 2010, with the CalPERS â&#x20AC;&#x153;2 percent at 60â&#x20AC;? plan. However, the initiative remains entangled in a lawsuit filed by AFSCME and Service Employees International Union because of a clause that requires voter approval, rather than the councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, for benefit increases. A

org/en/content/portola-valley Llama Llama Story Time Llama Llamaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s catches a cold in this story. Nov. 27, 11:30 a.m. Free. Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Call 650-324-4321. Preschool Storytime Songs, stories and activities for kids ages 3-5. Mondays, 11 a.m.11:45 a.m. Free. Atherton Library, 2 Dinkelspiel Station Lane, Atherton. Call 650-328-2422.

Et Alia Donate blood at any Stanford Blood Center location between Nov. 21 and Dec. 6 and attend a free financial planning presentation on Dec. 6. Stanford Blood Center, 3373 Hillview Ave., Palo Alto. Call 650-723-7265. The West Bay Model Railroad Association holds monthly open houses the fourth Wednesday of every month. 7-10 p.m. Free. 1090 Merrill St., Menlo Park. Call 650-3220685. PV Library Non-Fiction Book Club meets on the third Thursday of the month. 1-2:30 p.m. Portola Valley Library, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 650-851-0560.




Menlo Park extends downtown holiday parking hours Menlo Park police want to help Santa make his way to your house, so they will loosen up on parking enforcement from Dec. 5 through Jan. 3. For all downtown plazas except Plaza 4, located between Draegerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Market and Peetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Coffee on University Drive, the time limit will be extended from two to three hours. Plaza 4 keeps its two-hour limit. Pay-by-space parking meters are also operational in Plaza 1 (off Oak Grove Avenue near El Camino Real) and Plaza 5 (off Crane and Evelyn streets between Santa Cruz and Menlo avenues). The first two hours of parking are free, then the third hour costs $1; the fourth, $1.50, with additional time costing $2 per hour. Drivers can add time by credit card or cell phone.


Council takes two weeks off As the holiday season kicks into high gear, the Menlo Park City Council is taking a couple weeks off to prepare (and possibly recuperate). The council meetings for Nov. 22 and Nov. 29 have been canceled. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 6. At 5 p.m. the council will meet in closed session to review city manager applications, then during the regular meeting that starts at 7 p.m., will select a new mayor and vice mayor. Kirsten Keith and Peter Ohtaki, as the newest members of the council, are first in line for those positions, since city policy dictates that those who have yet to

hold the offices have priority.

Ideas for greenhouse gas reduction? Got a vision for a greener Menlo Park? The city has posted a survey online to solicit ideas on what the criteria should be for adopting a greenhouse gas reduction target. Go to to complete the survey. Responses are due by Wednesday, Nov. 30.

N P O LI C E C A LL S Apple iPad, Bay Road, Nov. 14.

This information is from the Atherton and Menlo Park police departments and the San Mateo County Sheriffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office. Under the law, people charged with offenses are considered innocent until convicted.

â&#x2013; Loss estimated at $3,850 in break-in through forced-open window and theft of jewelry, two cameras and lenses and Apple iPad, Ringwood Ave., Nov. 17. Fraud reports:

MENLO PARK Residential burglary reports: â&#x2013; Loss estimated at $28,000 in breakin through patio glass door and theft of jewelry, firearm, Apple iPad, camera and $2,500 in cash, Clayton Drive, Nov. 17. â&#x2013;  Loss estimated at $9,100 in entry through unlocked bedroom window and theft of jewelry, 42-inch TV and


â&#x2013; Loss estimated at $2,400 in unauthorized use of credit card, Curtis Ave., Nov. 12. â&#x2013;  Loss estimated at $2,000 in cashing of four checks using forged signatures and possibly false IDs, La Hacienda Market at 1933 Menalto Ave., Nov. 12. Child Protective Services report: Madera Ave., Nov. 14.

C H I L D R E N â&#x20AC;&#x2122; S H O S P I TA L


YVONNE GRADUATED FROM DRURY UNIVERSITY WITH HONORS WITH A BACHELORS OF ARTS IN MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS AND FROM WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY WITH A BACHELORS OF SCIENCE IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING. She loves to teach, act as a guide to the world of science and critical thinking, and is heartened to see students grow and become enthusiastic learners. She is a voracious reader and says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;No vacation can truly begin until Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve consumed two or three novels.â&#x20AC;? When asked about awards and accomplishments, she says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;My daughters are the greatest gift or award I could ever receive.â&#x20AC;?


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November 23, 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 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

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

Advertising Vice President Sales and Marketing Tom Zahiralis Display Advertising Sales Adam Carter Real Estate Manager Neal Fine Real Estate and Advertising Coordinator Diane Martin Published every Wednesday at 3525 Alameda De Las Pulgas, Menlo Park, Ca 94025 Newsroom: (650) 223-6525 Newsroom Fax: (650) 223-7525 Advertising: (650) 854-2626 Advertising Fax: (650) 854-3650 Email news and photos with captions to: Email letters to:

Ideas, thoughts and opinions about

Consider a gift to the Holiday Fund


espite the ongoing financial challenges we all face, last year Almanac readers contributed nearly $100,000 to the Holiday Fund, making it possible for 10 local nonprofit agencies to receive grants of nearly $14,000 earlier this year. We hope all our readers and other donors keep that spirit alive as we launch this year’s annual Holiday Fund drive. Last year, 184 Almanac readers contributed to the Holiday Fund, which also received sizeable gifts from the Rotary Club of Menlo Park and the Hewlett and Packard foundations, bringing the total amount raised to $138,678. That amount was divided equally among the 10 nonprofit agencies EDITO RIA L that provide food, shelter and The opinion of The Almanac counseling to homeless, sick and hungry residents who are down on their luck. This year leaders of the nonprofit agencies see a wide range of needs that can be eased by the popular Holiday Fund grants. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes it possible for every dollar contributed to the Holiday Fund to be passed directly to the nonprofit agencies. No fees or other charges are taken out by the Almanac or the foundation. If you are able, we urge you to consider a donation to the Almanac’s Holiday Fund, now in its 20th year. Your contribution will help support agencies that provide a safety net to local residents who have nowhere to turn. These are our neighbors who may have been laid off unexpectedly, or had a catastrophic illness or suffer from addiction or mental health problems. They deserve our help. This year the Almanac’s Holiday Fund will support the following nonprofit agencies in the community:

CALL the Viewpoint desk at 223-6507.

Second Harvest Food Bank

The largest collector and distributor of food on the Peninsula, Second Harvest Food Bank distributes 45 million pounds of food each year. It gathers donations from individuals and businesses and distributes food to some 250,000 people each month through more than 650 agencies and distribution sites in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Project Read Menlo Park

Provides free literacy services to adults in the Menlo Park area. Trained volunteers work one to one or in small groups to help adults improve their basic reading, writing and English language skills so they can achieve their goals and function more effectively at home, at work, and in the community. Shelter Network

Provides short term-shelter and transitional housing services to more than 4,500 homeless men, women and children each year. Offers a range of housing and support programs for families and individuals to become self-sufficient and return to permanent housing. Provides educational programs for youth and adults to help teens make healthy choices that will result in lower rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Its “Teen Talk” program serves more than 3,500 youth at public school sites in San Mateo County. StarVista

Provides emergency food, clothing, household essentials, and sometimes financial assistance to families in need, regardless of religious preference, including Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for more than 1,500 households.

Formerly Youth and Family Enrichment Services, StarVista provides many programs to help people who struggle with substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health, relationship and communications issues. Helps strengthen youth, families and individuals to overcome challenges through counseling, education, and residential services.

Ravenswood Family Health Center

Fair Oaks Community Center

Provides comprehensive primary medical, dental, behavioral and preventive health care for all ages at clinics in Belle Haven and East Palo Alto. Of the more than 30,000 registered patients, over 97 percent are

Provides housing assistance, childcare programs, older adult nutrition, emergency shelter referrals, legal services for low-income tenants and low-cost exercise programs for youth and adults.



MAIL or deliver to: Editor at the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

Serves hundreds of hot meals six days a week in a social and friendly atmosphere to anyone in need. Funded entirely by voluntary contributions from the community, St. Anthony’s is the largest dining room for the needy between San Francisco and San Jose. It also offers groceries to take home and distributes clothing to families.

Teen Talk Sexuality Education

Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years.

EMAIL your views to: and note this it is a letter to the editor in the subject line.

St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room

Provides after-school and academic support and activities for 1,100 youths, ages 6 to 18. Operates clubhouses in Menlo Park’s Belle Haven neighborhood, East Palo Alto, and Redwood City, and after-school programs at schools in these communities designed to extend the learning day and supplement the school’s curriculum. Ecumenical Hunger Program

TOWN SQUARE FORUM Post your views on the Town Square forum at

low income and uninsured from the ethnically diverse East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks areas.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula

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 23, 1969.

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.

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

Our readers write

More expenses to come for high-speed rail Editor: The net effect of Judge Michael Kenny’s recent decision in the lawsuit filed by Atherton and Menlo Park against the California HighSpeed Rail Authority essentially means that the authority must decertify the Environmental Impact Report which covers the Bay Area to Merced, making it the second time that an adverse ruling has been issued on this EIR. The response by the Authority to this ruling is amazing. In a press release, the Authority said, “Today’s ruling is a victory for

14 N The Almanac NNovember 23, 2011

high-speed rail and its continuing progress” Boy does it take chuptzah to issue a press release like this. The ruling at a minimum means delay. The Authority must now spend many thousands of dollars more on studies and must pay its own court costs and legal fees, and also the expenses of the petitioners, including Atherton, Menlo Park and others. The ruling also affects the funding plan just approved for the start of the project, since the northern option of that plan includes the area covered by this EIR. Proposition 1A, passed in 2008, requires that all environmental work be completed before funding can be obtained from the bonds See LETTERS, next page

Menlo Park Historical Association

Our Regional Heritage Several boarding houses served Menlo Park when the city was incorporated on March 23, 1874, after residents complained about drainage problems and the condition of the town’s streets. The boundaries included most of present-day Atherton and east to the Bay, absorbing all of what was then called Ravenswood.


L E TTE R S Continued from previous page

authorized by the proposition. As this project has moved forward, we realize just how the voters and the Legislature have been deceived by the Authority time and time again. The new cost estimate of $98.5 billion is triple the original cost of $32 billion that voters were given in 2008. What isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t being widely reported is that the final total cost of the project could be well over $250 billion when interest and principal repayment on the bonds and debt is included. Governor Jerry Brown just came out again with his enthusiastic support for the project. Note in his statement he says how funding will be found: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Still, the start of construction with the money in hand represents a prudent next step,â&#x20AC;? and the state could find future sources of funding in new types of federal bonds, in state taxes, or even by securing more federal funding, Gov. Brown said.â&#x20AC;? A fundamental premise of Prop 1A when presented to the voters in November 2008 was that: â&#x2013; It would require no new taxes. â&#x2013;  The $9.95 billion in bonds

from Prop 1A would be all that would ever be asked from the voters of California. Morris Brown Stone Pine Lane, Menlo Park

Excited by prospect of six-lane El Camino Real Editor: I read with pleasure that the city of Menlo Park is still considering the six-lane El Camino corridor. The bottleneck caused by the narrowing of El Camino Real to two lanes between Palo Alto and Redwood City causes unnecessary traffic congestion that keeps people, myself included, away from the downtown area. It is not good for the environment because it forces drivers stuck in traffic to keep their engines running to spew out exhaust emissions, when they could be moving instead. Expanding one lane in each direction isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a big deal, and can be done by restriping and eliminating parking on El Camino, making the project almost free; no construction would be required. A six-lane El Camino would be a big plus for the downtown area. Brian Schar Laurel Street, Menlo Park

EXCEPTIONAL RUMMAGE SALE FURNITURE & BOUTIQUE ITEMS WOODSIDE VILLAGE CHURCH Dec 2, Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. NO EARLY BIRDS Dec 3, Saturday 9 a.m. - noon NO EARLY BIRDS Guild Hall 3154 Woodside Road Woodside 650.851.1587 RAIN OR SHINE


As any driver or fishing enthusiast knows, the light reflected off the windshield of an oncoming car or the watery surface surrounding a boat can be blinding. Fortunately, there is a way to eliminate glare through a process known as â&#x20AC;&#x153;polarizationâ&#x20AC;?. Sunglasses with polarized lenses filter out reflected light with the application of a chemical film. This film has molecules aligned parallel to one another in a vertical arrangement that blocks out horizontally polarized light reflected off roads, water, and other horizontal

reflective surfaces. While polarized lenses are certainly recommended for driving and hobbies such as fishing, they may filter out some of the information on dashboard displays and other hand-held devices. Glare can make it difficult for you to see objects clearly, washing out colors and details. Polarized lenses allow you to see that colors are deeper, richer, and bolder, and details are clearer and more distinct. These lenses also help reduce squinting. At MENLO OPTICAL, we feature a variety of fashion frames and high-performance lenses to help you see in all environments. Please bring your eyewear prescription to us at 1166 University Drive, on the corner of Oak Grove Avenue and University Drive. Call us at 322-3900 if you have any questions about eyewear. P.S. Fishermen can use polarized sunglasses to see more clearly below the surface of the water in their search for fish and hidden obstacles. Mark Schmidt is an American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners Certified Optician licensed by the Medical Board of California. He can be easily reached at Menlo Optical, 1166 University Drive, Menlo Park. 650-322-3900.

Challenging Engaging Joyful Middle School Open House Oct. 9, Nov. 6

Upper School Open House Oct. 30, Dec. 4

What school is meant to be. For Information and Open House Registration: 506ALPARAISO!VENUEs!THERTON #!94027-4400

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The Almanac 11.23.2011 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the November 23.2011 edition of the Almanac

The Almanac 11.23.2011 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the November 23.2011 edition of the Almanac