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School aims to reduce pickup, drop-off traffic by 35 percent. Page 5


MARCH 7, 2012

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Want fresh veggies all Spring? Grow your own! Chris Zider Scholarship winners and finalists are, from left: Domenic Andrighetto, Michaela Michael, Jenna Swartz (winner), Emma Thygesen, Samantha Bergeson, and Derek Hunter (winner). Finalists not pictured: Ryan Blocker, Austin Marcus and Michael Strong. Photo by Bob Newell

Zider scholarship winners named By Marjorie Mader


Almanac Correspondent


wo student-athletes — Jenna Swartz of Menlo Park and Derek Hunter of Portola Valley — are winners of the 2011 Chris Zider Scholarships. Each receives a $15,000 scholarship that can be used for college, private high school tuition, or for educated-related expenses, such as taking a summer course on a college campus, during the next six years. The winners and finalists represent six high schools: MenloAtherton, Menlo School, Sacred Heart Prep, and Palo Alto, St. Francis and Woodside. Since 1993, when the Zider scholarship program was established, 27 students have received scholarships. The annual scholarships are given in memory of Chris Zider, who grew up in Menlo Park and Portola Valley and was the oldest child of Bob and Cheryl Zider of Portola Valley. Chris died in a snowboarding accident at Lake Tahoe in 1992, when he was 15 and a sophomore at Woodside High School. He attended Menlo School his freshman year after graduating from the Portola Valley School District. Besides their many accomplishments in the classroom, on the playing fields, and in the community, the students’ “love for their family comes across,� said his mother, Cheryl Zider.

The winners

Jenna Swartz combines her interest in sports with community service projects. She was team captain of Menlo-Atherton’s junior varsity water polo team and received the “most inspirational player award�

Tenth-graders now attending a public or private high school and living in Atherton, East Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Stanford or Woodside may apply for the two $15,000 Chris Zider Scholarships. Any sophomore who attends Menlo School or Woodside High also is eligible. Preliminary applications are available now at the schools’ couseling offices or by contacting the Beta Group at (650) 233-8700 and must be postmarked by March 26. > Go to for more information.

as a freshman and “most valuable player� as a sophomore. A member of M-A’s Outreach Club, she tutors students at Willow Oaks Middle School and volunteers for Project Backpack and the Holiday Family Gift Drive. She also serves on the Teen Advocacy Council that specializes in “My Red Shoes� a nonprofit organization that promotes awareness of homelessness. Derek Hunter of Portola Valley plays basketball and football at Sacred Heart Prep and received the “Hustle� award for basketball as a freshman and the “Offensive Player of the Year� for football as a sophomore. He works at the Riekes Center in Menlo Park helping others find their own talents. Derek loves music and plays the guitar and piano. He also has started his own T-shirt design business. The finalists

Ryan Blocker of Portola Valley plays varsity basketball at Woodside High, club basketball, and

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competes in track. He delivers sports equipment and supplies to children at the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto during the holiday season. Austin Marcus of Hillsborough goes to Menlo School, where he plays varsity baseball and water polo. He enjoys robotics and came in second in the FTC robotics world championship. Domenic Andrighetto lives in Portola Valley and attends Saint Francis High School. He plays football and competes in track and field. He also volunteers for 2nd Mile and has been a camp counselor at Panthers Camp. Michael Strong lives in Palo Alto and attends Palo Alto High School. He plays basketball, baseball, and cross country. He enjoys volunteering for “Stretch to Kindergarten� and has started working as an assistant coach of a Little League team. Samantha Bergeson lives in Portola Valley and attends Menlo School. She plays lacrosse, softball, and volleyball. She is a member of the National Charity League and enjoys writing and photography. Samantha has been a camp counselor at the Ronald McDonald house and at the Palo Alto Art Center. Michaela Michael lives in Hillsborough and attends Menlo School. She plays varsity soccer and varsity lacrosse. She has volunteered at the Haven House and Fair Oaks, and teaches students at East Palo Alto Charter School to play lacrosse. Emma Thygesen of Menlo Park attends Menlo School. She plays varsity volleyball, varsity basketball, and is on a club volleyball team. Emma is on the student council and has led and planned community service trips to Taft Elementary School in Redwood City and to InnVision in Palo Alto.

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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 Š2012 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

March 7, 2012 N The Almanac N3


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School aims to reduce traffic by 35 percent By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


raffic counts should begin this month to assess the impact of Menlo School’s “Go Menlo” program, launched at the beginning of the school year with a goal of reducing traffic by 35 percent through carpooling, busing, and other alternatives to getting to and from school. Atherton City Planner Neal Martin said reducing traffic on and around Valparaiso Avenue was a condition of the school’s use permit amendment to allow an enrollment increase of about 50 students. With Menlo School and nearby Sacred Heart Schools fronting Valparaiso, traffic in that area is typically a headache just before and after school. Menlo School spokeswoman Jill Kasser said the school is still in the process of collecting data to assess the program’s success so far, but some preliminary figures are promising. To encourage participation, the program includes incentives giving those who carpool, bike, walk, or use public transportation “points that translate into

dollar donations to help local community service and environmental organizations,” Ms. Kasser said. The students choose the organizations. The tally as of early February indicates significant participation: According to Ms. Kasser, the middle school earned $8,688, which it donated to the Peninsula Humane Society’s Wildlife Care Center; and the upper school raised $7,307 to give to Hidden Villa to fund science field trips for kids at Taft Elementary School in Redwood City. The school partnered with a Web-based transportation scheduling tool, Zimride, for the program, Ms. Kasser said. “With Menlo School’s private Zimride community, Menlo families can find carpooling partners, sign up for bus rides, and earn incentive points by tracking their efforts Photo courtesy of Menlo School on the Commute Calendar,” she A crossing guard assists students crossing Valparaiso Avenue on their way to Menlo School, which has explained in an email. launched a traffic-reduction program. Although Zimride is used by Stanford and a number of local companies, Menlo School is its with the progress of the Go awareness of the role they play program’s effectiveness. If traffirst independent school partner, Menlo program to date. There’s in preserving the environment. fic is substantially reduced, it according to Ms. Kasser. more to come, and we are Mr. Martin, the town planner, might provide incentive for Head of School Norm Colb optimistic.” Mr. Colb said the said Atherton officials will be other area schools to adopt prosaid in an email: “We are pleased program is deepening students’ paying close attention to the grams of their own, he said. A

Woodside backs concept Atherton changes course on city for banning plastic bags manager hunt; Danielson exits in San Mateo County tainty over the city manager’s office. By Renee Batti

By Dave Boyce

brought one of their own. A county ordinance may be on he Town Council in the books by January 2013, accordWoodside has agreed in ing to a Woodside staff report. The principle to join a county- supervisors would ask the cities wide initiative now in the works and towns to “by reference” adopt that would ban the flimsy “single- the same ordinance. use” plastic bags at retail check-out A group effort matters because counters. ordinances in The council’s individual comA county ordinance munities have 5-2 vote on Feb. 27, with council- may be on the books been vulnerable to men Dave Burow court challenges by January 2013 and Tom Shaby deep-pocketed nahan dissentbag manufacturing, adds support to the San ers. This ordinance would be Mateo County Board of Supervi- based on a county-funded envisors’ plans to craft an ordinance ronmental impact report, Dean that, in addition to banning the Peterson, the director of the counbags, would require merchants ty’s Department of Environmental to charge customers a small fee Health, told the council. for a paper or durable reusable See PLASTIC BAGS, page 6 bag if they need one and haven’t

Almanac Staff Writer


Almanac News Editor


imps need not apply. That’s one of the messages Atherton City Council members want to send to anyone thinking about tossing his or her hat in the ring for the city manager’s position. The council met in a special session on Feb. 28 to discuss the process of finding a permanent city manager, which the town has been without since October 2010. Council members approved budgeting up to $17,000 to hire a recruitment firm, abandoning their original plan to hire the recently resigned interim city manager, John Danielson, to conduct the search. Mr. Danielson and town officials decided the town should switch course because of uncer-

whether Mr. Danielson, a retired city manager, would be able to continue receiving his pension if John Danielson he continued working for Atherton. The town’s goal is to have a permanent manager in place by May 16, although council members and Interim City Manager Theresa DellaSanta acknowledged that date is optimistic. The council also discussed what it wants in a city manager. Councilman Jerry Carlson listed three criteria he felt were most important. Number one: The new manager has to have “backbone enough to stand up to council members.” In summary, he said, he didn’t want a wimp in

Councilman Jim Dobbie agreed, saying that he wants “someone to tell me to go jump in the lake” if he gets out of line. Also, he said, it’s important that the new manager “be capable of dealing with the unions.” Although the town laid off 13 of its 16 general employees to outsource services last year, officials say it will look to more cuts in employee costs when it negotiates a new contract with police officers this year. Council members generally agreed with job qualifications outlined in advertisements already published, including a strong financial background, municipal management experience, and a commitment to efficiency of services. See MANAGER, page 6

March 7, 2012 N The Almanac N5



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Woodside agrees to concept for banning plastic bags


“So far, no one has sued (over an ordinance) with an EIR attached,� he said. In 2010, the state Legislature considered a similar regulation that the Assembly passed but the Senate rejected on a vote of 21-14. Eight Democrats voted against it and no Republicans voted for it. Locally, Mr. Peterson is set to speak to the Menlo Park City Council on March 13, county spokesperson Robyn Thaw said. There are no plans to contact Atherton as it has no retail, Ms. Thaw said. The Portola Valley council will be inviting Mr. Peterson to a March or April meeting, Brandi de Garmeaux, the town’s environmental programs coordinator, said in an email. The ban would not affect the more durable clear plastic bags

available for fresh produce. Customers would have to pay 10 cents for a paper or reusable bag at the checkout counter until Jan. 1, 2014, when it would rise to 25 cents. In an email explaining his dissent, Mr. Burow, the Woodside councilman, noted that Roberts Market already credits customers 10 cents for their own bags, and that “most people� he knows bring their own bags. Incentives, not penalties, are the way to go, he said. Woodside town staff, after visiting Roberts, Buck’s of Woodside restaurant, The Village Pub and other retailers, came away with the sense that a ban would not be a surprise, Town Manager Kevin Bryant said. Deputy Town Engineer Eunejune “EJ� Kim added: “They seemed to be pretty good with it, that it was a good thing.� The California Grocers Association approves of the concept, Mr. Peterson said. A


a contract that would pay Mr. Danielson $12,000 per month, for up to three months, to help find Mayor Bill Widmer is expected a permanent city manager, and to appoint an ad hoc committee to serve as an adviser to the new of two council members to over- interim manager. But Mr. Danielson never signed see the recruitment process soon. the contract, preferring to wait for a ruling from CalPERS on whether Danielson’s exit When Mr. Danielson, the for- he could continue working for the mer city manager of Elk Grove, town and still receive his pension, was hired as interim city manager Mayor Widmer said. So when in January 2011 at a rate of $15,000 CalPERS informed the town in late per month, one of his major tasks February that it may not decide for another two months, Mr. Danielwas to find his replacement. Because he was collecting a son bowed out of the picture, the mayor said. pension from T h e the California Councilman Jim Dobbie council had Public Employees Retirement said he wants a manager allowed Mr. Danielson to System (CalPwho will ‘tell me to go remain in the ERS), his tentow n-ow ned ure in Atherjump in the lake’ house in Holton was limif necessary. brook-Palmer ited to working Park, which a maximum of 960 hour per fiscal year, not to traditionally houses the town’s exceed 12 months. If he worked city manager. But now that he’s not beyond that period, he would working for the town, “I’m going forfeit his pension, according to to give him a reasonable time to move out,� Ms. DellaSanta said. state law. Ms. DellaSanta had never manBy the end of December, the process to find a permanent aged a city government before manager had yet to be started, January, even as an assistant manbut town officials believed CalP- ager. But even though the person ERS would approve an extension who was supposed to offer support if she needed it is no longer in the of the contract. By mid-January, however, the picture, Mayor Widmer expressed state agency ruled that Mr. Dan- confidence that she will do just ielson must resign or stop receiv- fine in her interim role. “I think she’s doing a great job,� ing his pension. He resigned, he said. “She’s taking counsel from effective Jan. 19. In late January, the council the city attorney� and staff memappointed Ms. DellaSanta, the bers who manage individual town’s deputy clerk, to the interim departments, and “she’s extremely city manager post, and approved communicative,� he added. continued from page 5


6 â–  The Almanac â–  March 7, 2012


Chowchilla kidnapper may be released By Jeff Shuttleworth Bay City News Service


ne of the three men who kidnapped a busload of Chowchilla schoolchildren in 1976 and buried them in a quarry in Livermore could be released from prison as soon as May due to a state appellate court ruling last week. Scott Handleman, an attorney for 57-year-old Richard Schoenfeld, said Friday that he’s “pleased” the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled that Mr. Schoenfeld has completed his sentence for the crime, which received international headlines, and must be “immediately released on parole,” unless the state files an appeal. The three kidnappers were from families in Atherton and Portola Valley. Mr. Schoenfeld and his brother James Schoenfeld were from Atherton, and Frederick Woods was from Portola Valley. Mr. Handleman said the court’s ruling on Feb. 28 will become final at the end of April so he hopes Richard Schoenfeld will be released in early May if the state Board of Parole Hearings doesn’t file an appeal. California Department of Corrections spokesman Luis Patino said the board “is analyzing the ruling and is working with its legal team to determine what steps they should take next.” Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Jill Klinge, who has attended parole hearings in recent years for the three kidnappers, said she’s “disappointed” by the court’s ruling because she doesn’t think he’s suitable for parole. The Schoenfeld brothers and Mr. Woods were in their early- to

mid-20s when they ambushed a busload of school children July 15, 1976, from Dairyland Union School in Chowchilla, a small farm community about 35 miles northwest of Fresno in Madera County. The men left the bus camouflaged in a creek bed and drove the children and bus driver, Ed Ray, to the California Rock and Gravel Quarry in Livermore. The kidnappers sealed their victims in a large van that had been

The three kidnappers were from families in Atherton and Portola Valley. buried in a cave at the quarry and fitted out to keep the children and driver hostage. The kidnappers then demanded a $5 million ransom for the return of the 26 children and the driver. The hostages escaped from the buried van more than 24 hours after they were first kidnapped when Mr. Ray and the two oldest children piled mattresses to the top of the van and forced their way out. The three men received life sentences after pleading guilty in Alameda County Superior Court in 1977 to 27 counts of kidnapping for ransom. In 1980, an appellate court decided they were eligible for parole, ruling that the victims didn’t suffer any bodily harm. A key sentencing issue is whether the victims had been kidnapped with bodily harm. Richard Schoenfeld was denied

R EAL E STATE Q&A parole more than 20 times, but in October 2008, a parole panel ruled that he was suitable for parole. However, the panel didn’t set a release date for him. In August 2009, a second panel decided against granting him parole, saying that a third panel should consider whether granting parole would be “improvident.” On April 5, 2011, the third panel held its hearing on the matter at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, where all three kidnappers are being held, and it ruled that parole would be appropriate for Richard Schoenfeld. But the panel said that based on its calculations, he shouldn’t be released until November 2021. However, the First District Court of Appeal ruled Feb. 28 that the parole panel “erred” because it violated its own rules and lacked authority to increase his sentence after finding him suitable for parole. Mr. Handleman, his attorney said he thinks the ruling means that Richard Schoenfeld has been “unjustly incarcerated” since he was found suitable for parole back in 2008. Mr. Schoenfeld “is clearly rehabilitated and is no danger to society,” Mr. Handleman said. But in opposing parole at the hearing last April, Ms. Klinge, the deputy district attorney, said she doesn’t think he is eligible for parole, in part because of his participation in a scheme in which inmates falsified their prison work time cards in an effort to get more pay and another incident in which he used a computer without authorization. She also said she thinks he “has a propensity to be a follower.” Ms. Klinge said she also disagrees with the appellate court’s calculation about the proper length of his sentence. Mr. Woods and James Schoenfeld haven’t yet been found suitable for parole. A

State fines Menlo lab for fatal explosion By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


embrane Technology & Research in Menlo Park faces seven citations and $55,850 in penalties as a result of a state investigation into the Sept. 2 laboratory explosion that killed a 56-year-old scientist. Adrian Martin reportedly was adding methane to a tank containing methane, nitrogen, helium and butane when the pressurized cylinder exploded, blowing the scientist 15 feet into an adjoining laboratory and killing him. A woman standing near the door of the lab was thrown clear and survived with

a damaged eardrum. The California Occupational Health and Safety Association (Cal-OSHA) inquiry found that pressure in the cylinder, which was rated for 300 psi, reached nearly triple that level. The attached pressure relief valve was set to vent only after pressure reached 3,360 psi, about 10 times as high as the cylinder could safely contain. The seven citations include six labeled as “serious.” One cites the lab for failing or neglecting to do everything reasonably necessary to protect the life and safety of its employees, in this case, not noting that the tank was only rated for 300 psi. Other citations penalize the

lab for not identifying hazards, lack of training, setting a pressure relief valve to the wrong level, storing other gases in tanks labeled for propane, and failing to check that all equipment was operated within safe parameters. All seven fines add up to $55,850. According to Cal-OSHA spokesperson Erika Monterroza, the lab has 15 business days from Feb. 24, the date the citations were issued, to appeal. She said the company is expected to contest the citations. Representatives from Membrane Technology, located at 1360 Willow Road, were not immediately

by Gloria Darke

My House, My Staging Dear Gloria, we keep hearing about what a good market it is in the Bay area and we think we should put our house on very quickly so we don t miss it. We have done some touch-up painting and a little landscaping. In addition, we went with the realtors recommendation to have the house staged. I don’t like the way it looks at all and think my own things looked better. My realtor doesn’t want me to call the stagers back to do some changes. It’s my house – shouldn’t I be able to do what I want? —Marlene T. Dear Marlene, Good for you for doing the right things to prepare your property to show it in the best light. Even though it feels as if we are in a red hot market there are still stan-

dards that are fairly high in our market place. Almost every property is freshly painted, floors refinished and painting done as needed. Staging is a major part of this preparation. The staging is done in such a way as to appeal to the largest number of home buyers. The pieces should complement the style of the home and be placed in such a way as to minimize any floor plan short comings. There is often a misunderstanding on the part of the home seller as to what the role of the stager is. The seller assumes, as you do, that the stager is their decorator and should stage according to the their tastes. The staging is done to ultimately bring the highest possible price for the home. It has been shown time after time, year after year to bring the highest return on investment.

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.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING AND NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING CITY OF MENLO PARK PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING OF MARCH 19, 2012 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/Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club/2900 Sand Hill Road: Request for a use permit to allow Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club to conduct an annual Fourth of July celebration. Activities would include, but are not limited to, a fireworks display, children’s carnival, and amplified music. The event hours would generally be between 5 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on July 4th, with the fireworks display taking place around 9:30 p.m. The fireworks display launching site would be located on the driving range area between the 1st and 18th fairways and would last approximately 15-20 minutes. The proposed event would exceed the noise limits established under Section 8.06.030 of the Menlo Park Municipal Code. 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, March 19, 2012, 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. 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: PUBLISHED:

March 1, 2012 March 7, 2012

Deanna Chow, Senior Planner Menlo Park Planning Commission

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

See EXPLOSION, page 9

March 7, 2012 N The Almanac N7


Woodside School seeks community input for its new strategic plan By Renee Batti

K-8 school, said Superintendent Beth Polito, who also is the school’s principal. The survey can be taken by going to the district website,, by Monday, March 12. There are also copies available in the school office. On Friday, March 9, interested participants can drop by the district office dur-

intendent Polito said. There will be “refinement” sessions at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April oodside Elementary 26; and Friday, April 27, at 8:30 School consistently a.m. At these meetings, the district scores high in academic will present an overview of the testing, and has a curriculum rich survey findings, and gather more in programs that many of the state’s specific input on themes identified school districts have had to jettison during the process to date, accordbecause of budget cuts. But there’s ing to the flier. always room for improvement. Ms. Polito said Beginning this month, the the information and one-school Woodside Elemen- District wants to know: What are the comments gathered tary School District will hold a the procommunity’s hopes and dreams for the throughout series of meetings to gather ideas cess will help the future of the school? from parents, staff, students and school board and members of the community staff develop an about the direction they’d like effective strategic to see the district go in. ing student pickup and drop-off plan to improve the school proThe first step for people inter- hours for coffee and a laptop on gram over the next five years. ested in participating is an online which to take the survey. To spearhead the process, the survey, available until March 12. Focus group meetings designed district has hired a consultant and “This is a quick survey with open- to encourage parents and the com- formed a 10-member task force ended questions about your hopes munity to share and brainstorm that includes Ms. Polito, school and dreams for the future of the ideas are scheduled for Thursday, board members Rudy Driscoll school,” according to a flier dis- March 15, at 6:30 p.m.; and Friday, and Kevin Johnson, teachers and tributed by the district. March 16, at 8:30 a.m. Both meet- parents. The survey and meetings are the ings are in the school’s Wildcat Questions and ideas regarding lead-up to the creation of a five- Room. the process can be directed to the year, comprehensive strategic plan Middle school students also will task force by emailing vision@ for teaching and learning at the participate in a focus group, Super-

Almanac News Editor



Supervisor recovering from cancer surgery By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


upervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, who represents San Mateo County District 4, is recovering well from breast cancer surgery she underwent on Feb. 24, and is out on medical leave from her duties with the county, according to a spokeswoman from her office. The supervisor was diagnosed with stage-one cancer, and because it was caught so early, is “expecting a full recovery,” said Rebecca Irwin, a legislative aide. Because Supervisor Jacobs Gib-

son was unable to attend the Feb. 28 meeting, the Board of Supervisors postponed a vote originally scheduled for Rose Jacobs that meeting Gibson on whether to appoint a replacement for county Controller Tom Huening, who is retiring March 31, or to hold an election. “They delayed the vote until she got back, and we’re hoping that she will be back” by March 13, the

rescheduled date, Ms. Irwin said. But even if she attends that meeting, it’s likely she won’t be working a full schedule at that point, she added. Regarding the supervisor’s recovery, “she’s just really thankful that she caught it early,” and encourages women to get mammograms, Ms. Irwin said. Ms. Jacobs Gibson represents county residents of Menlo Park, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, and the unincorporated areas of North Fair Oaks and Oak Knoll. She will be termed out of office at the end of the year. A

Caltrans joins spraying moratorium By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac


esidents of rural San Mateo County have one less thing to worry about this spring, since the California Department of Transportation has joined the county in agreeing on a moratorium on all broadcast roadside spraying of herbicides along Highway 84/ Woodside-La Honda Road until at least March 13. Ray Kwan, Caltrans roadside vegetation manager, said in an email that “no spraying will be done before March 13th” on Highway 84. “As of now,” he wrote, “no decision has been made whether to spray

after March 13th.” The decision comes after Caltrans sparked public ire in November when it broadcast sprayed herbicide along a 15-mile swath of Highway 84, despite protests from nearby residents and county and Bay Area officials who were worried that the herbicides could get into the local water supply. San Mateo County imposed a moratorium on spraying in July 2012, when supervisors Dave Pine and Don Horsley, the two members of the supervisors’ Environmental Quality Committee, asked for consultants to report on how to better manage roadside vegetation. The Vegetation Management

8 N The Almanac NMarch 7, 2012

Report was presented in January to the environmental committee and will go to the full Board of Supervisors at its March 13 meeting. In the meantime, rural county residents have formed a group, Just Say Mow, which hopes to convince the county to mow roadside weeds instead of spraying them with herbicides. Patty Mayall, a La Honda area resident who has led the fight against spraying, said the group is gathering signatures “to encourage the Board of Supervisors to end broadcast roadside spraying, and to mow the roads as they do now -- just once a year with the existing budget.”

Photo courtesy Filoli

The Bubblesmith is a favorite among children at Filoli’s Spring Fling.

Spring Fling at Filoli Visitors will get the rare chance to see three historic greenhouses containing plants that have been in Filoli’s collection since 1920 during the annual Spring Fling at the Woodside estate from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31. The family-focused event will feature live music groups, a magic show, puppet shows, the Bubblesmith (who creates giant bubbles), arts and crafts for children, and nature walks. The Fortis Agility Sports Training Group will entertain with dogs navigating challenging obstacles and Guide Dogs for the Blind will

have puppies in training on hand for petting. Children may take home pots they have planted and decorated. Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for non-members, $5 for children ages 5 to 17, and free for children 4 and younger. Box lunches, at $18 for adults and $10 for children, must be ordered in advance. Visit or call Filoli weekdays at 364-8300, ext. 508, for more information and tickets. Filoli is located at 86 Canada Road in Woodside.

Grants enable seniors to recover at home Sequoia Hospital has given $100,000 in grants to four agencies in San Mateo County that collaborate in administering the Sequoia Hospital Homecoming Project, designed to bridge the gap between an older patient’s discharge from the hospital and that patient’s recovery. The four agencies are Peninsula Volunteers Inc., Peninsula Family Service Inc., Samaritan House and the San Mateo County Fall Prevention Task

Force. The goal is to help seniors leaving the hospital avoid going to a skilled nursing facility or being re-admitted to the hospital, according to the Feb. 6 announcement by Sequoia Hospital. In 2011, the program served 70 seniors, enabling them to recuperate at home. Services provided by Peninsula Volunteers include home-delivered meals (Meals on Wheels).

The group is gathering signatures at In June 2010, the Board of Supervisors voted to try to reduce the use of pesticides (herbicides are considered a pesticide as the plants they kill are unwanted) by using integrated pest management techniques in all county operations. They cited concerns about water quality and the effects on wildlife, including some endangered species. Among the 315-miles of county-

maintained roads that were viewed and analyzed as part of the Vegetation Management Report are many in the Almanac circulation area, including Alpine Road, Sand Hill Road, Whiskey Hill Road, La Honda Road, Old La Honda Road, Kings Mountain Road, Canada Road and Skyline Boulevard. Half of the county roads are currently mowed only with no herbicide spraying; the other half are sprayed, with some sprayed and mowed. A


Support Local Business

Rendering courtesy of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District

The online guide to Menlo Park businesses



This rendering shows how the new Fire Station 2 is expected to look from University Avenue.

Fire district will nearly triple size of fire station in $7.6 million rebuild By Sandy Brundage

the station when it was built in 1956, the district said. Statistics showed that during its first year of operation, fire alarms accounted for 54 percent of service calls. By 1985, that had dropped to 10 percent. The district embarked on a plan to renovate the firehouse about seven years ago, recently purchasing two homes behind the current station at 2290 University Ave. and demolishing

Construction should be finished by December 2013, the fire station built 56 years district said. ago in East Palo Alto will “One of our goals during give way to a modern construction is to make sure facility during the next year as our contractor employs local the district spends $7.6 million residents and that we focus on to nearly triple the size of the purchasing U.S. made goods station at 2290 University Ave. such as steel, windows and The Menlo Park Fire Protecdoors and solar panels,� the tion District kicked off the renodistrict said in a news release. vation with a groundbreaking “We want this to be a Station ceremony at Fire Station 2 on that will benefit the commuMarch 1. The district nity, the Fire District, serves Atherton, Menand be something that lo Park, East Palo Alto, ‘One of our goals during construction is we can all be proud of; Atherton, and nearby another to make sure our contractor employs itsteprepresents unincorporated areas. towards improvelocal residents and that we focus on ment of the City of Plans for the new station include expanding East Palo Alto.� purchasing U.S. made goods.’ from 4,300-square-feet Chief Schapelhouman CHIEF HAROLD SCHAPELHOUMAN to 12,000-square-feet also addressed rumors to accommodate larger that he wants to close apparatus bays, storage space, them to make room for the new stations 1 and 5 and consolicrew quarters, and an emergen- station. date the two into a single stacy operations center. The added “Prior to making the deci- tion in Flood Park. space will let the district add sion to just rebuild the station, “There’s no such plan,� he ladder trucks and rescue squads, we hired a commercial real said in an email. Should staaccording to staff, and also leave estate agent and looked all over tion 1 need to move, the park room for future expansion. the city for a better, cost effi- may be one option, but there’s One of the busiest stations, cient and strategic location,� no current intent to do so. according to the fire district, Chief Harold Schapelhouman “The community has my Fire Station 2 responds to 2,000 said. “We found some great commitment as the Fire Chief to 3,000 calls a year. Last options but at the end of the that any future decisions that we year call density on the east day we resolved that the sta- may make will be carefully side of the district’s territory tion was in a good location researched, publicly reviewed by increased. and if we purchased the homes the Fire Board and allow for More than 63 percent of the behind the station we could community input and eventucalls are medical emergencies, build a modern facility at a ally be precisely executed so that while less than 3 percent are more reasonable price with it will be a benefit to emergency fires — a massive shift from no disruption to service to the response for the entire comthe type of calls handled by community,� munity.�

Almanac Staff Writer



EXPLOSION continued from page 7

Slocum running for county supervisor

available for comment. The lab had no previous record of safety violations. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that none of the 28 scientists killed at work in 2010 died due to explosions or chemicals. Mr. Martin left behind a wife, Livia, and a 17-year-old daughter.

A familiar face in county political circles, Warren Slocum announced his intention to run for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors with succinct style on March 5 — he tweeted the news. The former county clerkrecorder-assessor and chief elections officer was first elected to


public office in 1986 and served until January 2011. Mr. Slocum brings the number of candidates for termed-out Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson’s seat to eight. The district she represents includes Menlo Park, Redwood City, East Palo Alto and unincorporated North Fair Oaks and Oak Knoll.

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High-speed rail lobbyist sticks around By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


esidents said “nay,” and so did the mayor, but the Menlo Park City Council voted 3-1 to retain high-speed rail lobbyist Ravi Mehta of Capital Advocates through December. The council subcommittee, consisting of Rich Cline and Kelly Fergusson, had recommended approving a $50,000 contract with Mr. Mehta. But the discus-

sion during the Feb. 28 meeting suggested that colleagues Kirsten Keith and Peter Ohtaki were worried about the city’s bottom line. Councilman Andy Cohen recused himself, as he does for all high-speed rail discussions because he lives near the proposed line. Previously, Mr. Mehta worked for Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Atherton, but the latter two cities dropped his services earlier this year. Mr. Cline reasoned that

given Menlo Park’s “do it right” stance on high-speed rail, as opposed to Palo Alto’s and Atherton’s “just say no” position, the city needs its own lobbyist. Mr. Cline also expressed a lack of confidence in the California High-Speed Rail Agency, which he said wants to recirculate a stillflawed environmental impact report (EIR) based on a design Menlo Park doesn’t support, while the governor pushes the project forward.

“I think we’re going to be outgunned and outmanned again when the EIR comes out,” he commented. Ravi Mehta Before casting the dissenting vote, Mayor Keith said she didn’t support paying $5,000 a month plus expenses for a lobbyist right now, given the loss of

the city’s redevelopment agency, but was willing to reconsider in a couple of months. “I want to watch the (highspeed rail) situation,” she commented. “And I know Ravi’s not going away. He’s going to be there.” The subcommittee’s arguments for keeping the lobbyist appeared to sway Mr. Ohtaki. “Both of you are saying this is a critical time,” he said, and voted to approve the contract with the caveat that it be closely supervised and the cost reduced wherever possible. A

G U I D E TO 2012 S U M M E R C A M P S F O R K I D S

n n o e C c p t i o m n a C Harker Summer Programs


Kim Grant Tennis Academy & Palo Alto/ Summer Camps Menlo Park/Redwood City Fun and Specialized junior camps for Mini (3-5), Beginner, Intermediate 1&2, Advanced and Elite Players. Weekly programs designed by Kim Grant to improve players technique, fitness, agility, mental toughness and all around tennis game. Camps in Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Redwood City. Come make new friends and have tons of FUN!! 650-752-8061

Nike Tennis Camps

Stanford University

Dick Gould’s 43rd Annual Stanford Tennis School offers day camps for both juniors & adults. Weekly junior overnight & extended day camps run by John Whitlinger & Lele Forood. Junior Day Camp run by Brandon Coupe & Frankie Brennan. 1-800-NIKE-CAMP (645-3226)

Oshman JCC

Palo Alto

Exciting programs for preschool and grades K-12 include swimming, field trips, crafts and more. Enroll your child in traditional camp, or specialty camps like Pirates, Archery, Runway Project, Kid TV and over 25 others! 650-223-8622

Spring Down Equestrian Center

Portola Valley

Spring Down camp teaches basic to advanced horsemanship skills. Ages 6-99 welcome! Daily informative lecture, riding lesson, supervised handson skill practice, safety around horses, tacking/untacking of own camp horse, and arts/crafts. 650.851.1114

Stanford Water Polo Camps


Ages 7 and up. New to the sport or have experience, we have a camp for you. Half day or full day option for boys and girls. All the camps offer fundamental skill work, position work, scrimmages and games. 650-725-9016

Summer at Saint Francis

Mountain View

Sports & Activity Camp (ages 6-12): This all sports camp provides group instruction in a variety of field, water and court games. Saint Francis faculty and students staff the camp, and the focus is always on fun. The program is dedicated to teaching teamwork, sportsmanship and positive self-esteem. After camp care and swim lessons available. 650-968-1213 x650

Summer at Saint Francis

Mountain View

Advanced Sports Camps (5th-9th grades): We offer a wide selection of advanced sports camps designed to provide players with the opportunity to improve both their skill and knowledge of a specific sport. Each camp is run by a Head Varsity Coach at Saint Francis, and is staffed by members of the coaching staff. 650-968-1213 x650

YMCA of Silicon Valley


Say hello to summer fun at the YMCA! Choose from enriching day or overnight camps in 35 locations: arts, sports, science, travel, and more. For youth K-10th grade. Includes weekly fieldtrips, swimming and outdoor adventures. Accredited by the American Camp Association. Financial assistance available. 408-351-6400

Academics GASPA German Summer School Camp Menlo Park Learn German by way of Fairytale! GASPA is taking Summer Camp into the world of fairy tales and everything that comes with it…in German of course! Offering a 4 week program for children ages 3-12. 650-520-3646

10 N The Almanac NMarch 7, 2012

San Jose

K-12 offerings taught by exceptional, experienced faculty and staff. K-6 morning academics - focusing on math, language arts and science - and full spectrum of afternoon recreation. Grades 6-12 for-credit courses and non-credit enrichment opportunities. Sports programs also offered. 408-553-0537

iD Tech Camps - Summer Tech Fun!


Take hobbies further! Ages 7-17 create iPhone apps, video games, movies, and more at weeklong, day and overnight programs held at Stanford and 60+ universities in 27 states.. Also 2-week, Teen-only programs: iD Gaming Academy, iD Programming Academy, and iD visual Arts Academy (filmmaking & photography). 1-888-709-TECH (8324)

iD Teen Academies


Learn different aspects of video game creation, app development, filmmaking, photography, and more. 2-week programs where ages 13-18 interact with industry professionals to gain competitive edge. iD Gaming Academy, iD Programming Academy, and iD Visual Arts Academy are held at Stanford, and other universities. 1-888-709-TECH (8324)

Mid-Peninsula High School Summer Program

Menlo Park

Mid-Peninsula High School offers a series of classes and electives designed to keep students engaged in learning. Class Monday-Thursday and limited to 15 students. Every Thursday there’s a BBQ lunch. The Science and Art classes will have weekly field trips. 650-321-1991 x110

Summer at Saint Francis

Mountain View

Summer at Saint Francis provides a broad range of academic and athletic programs for elementary through high school students. It is the goal of every program to make summer vacation enriching and enjoyable! 650-968-1213 x446

Synapse School & Wizbots

Menlo Park

Cutting-edge, imaginative, accelerated, integrated, and hands-on academic summer enrichment courses with independent in-depth, project-based morning and afternoon week-long programs for children ages 4-12.Young Explorers, Thinking Math, Leonardo da Vinci’s Inventions, Nature Connections, Girls’ & Soccer Robotics, and more! 650-866-5824

Write Now! Summer Writing Camps

Palo Alto

Emerson School of Palo Alto and Hacienda School of Pleasanton open their doors and offer their innovative programs: Expository Writing, Creative Writing, Presentation Techniques, and (new!) Media Production. Call or visit our website for details. Also Pleasanton. 650-424-1267, 925-485-5750

Arts, Culture and Other Camps Community School of Music & Arts (CSMA )

Mountain View

50+ creative camps for Gr. K-8! Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture, Musical Theater, American Idol Workshop, more! Two-week sessions; full and half-day enrollment. Extended care available. Financial aid offered. 650-917-6800 ext. 0

Summer 2012 For more information about these camps, see our online directory of camps at http://paloaltoonline. com/biz/summercamps/. To advertise in a weekly directory, contact 650-326-8210 India Community Center Summer Camps

Palo Alto/ Sunnyvale/ Milpitas/Olema

Join ICC’s Cultural Camps which give campers a quick tour of India and its vibrant culture. These camps include arts, crafts, folk dance, bollywood dance, music, yoga, Indian history and geography. Over 10 different camps all through the summer for Grades K-12. To register or for more details visit: 408-934-1130 ext. 225

Palo Alto Community Child Care (PACCC)

Palo Alto

PACCC summer camps offer campers, grades kindergarten to 6th, a wide array of fun opportunities! K-1 Fun for the youngest campers, Nothing But Fun for themed-based weekly sessions, Neighborhood Adventure Fun and Ultimate Adventure Fun for the more active and on-the-go campers! Swimming twice per week, periodic field trips, special visitors and many engaging camp activities, songs and skits round out the fun offerings of PACCC Summer Camps! Registration is online. Open to campers from all communities! Come join the fun in Palo Alto! 650-493-2361

TechKnowHow Computer Palo Alto/ & LEGO Camps Menlo Park/Sunnyvale Fun and enriching technology classes for students, ages 5-14 Courses include LEGO and K’NEX Projects with Motors, Electronics, NXT Robotics, 3D Modeling, and Game Design. Many locations, including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Sunnyvale. Half and all day options. Early-bird and multi-session discounts available. 650-638-0500

Theatreworks Summer Camps

Palo Alto

In these skill-building workshops for grades K-5, students engage in language-based activities, movement, music, and improvisation theatre games. Students present their own original pieces at the end of each two-week camp. 650-463-7146

Castilleja Summer Day Camp

Palo Alto

Castilleja Summer Day Camp (grades 2-6, CILT grades 8-9) offers ageappropriate activities including athletics, art, science, computers, writing, crafts, cooking, drama, music classes and field trips. Two and four week sessions available. 650-470-7833

Camp Imagineerz

Mountain View and Los Altos

Building i-can attitudes....In a FUN environment, children discover that when you believe you can, you can! Creating and performing original stories, building/making with recycled materials and lots of outdoor play. Grades 1- 4. Fabulous Early-bird discount up to March 15. See website for details 650-318-5002

Bald Eagle Camps

Mountain View

Bald Eagle Camps is the only camp Approved by the nationally recognized Positive Coaching Alliance, teaching their principles to every camper through our Certified Coaches. We offer 3 uniquely FUN Summer Camps, each of which exude our encouraging team culture: Non-Traditional Sports Camp(1st-8th), Basketball Camp(3rd8th), and Leadership Camp(7th-8th only). Come experience our positive atmosphere, great coaching, unique structure, inspiring life message and 5-STAR service. Bald Eagle Camps is guaranteed to be a highlight of your child’s summer. 888-505-2253


Alberta Martin, longtime M-A teacher, dies at 96 Alberta Martin, who taught business classes at Menlo-Atherton High School from 1951 to 1980, died Feb. 16 after a brief illness. She was 96. Born in Marshall, Missouri, Ms. Martin moved to San Jose with her family in 1925. She graduated from San Jose High School and State Jose State College. In 1939 she married Richard H. Martin. During World War II, Ms. Martin accompanied her husband to his U.S. Navy postings throughout the country. In 1949, she joined the faculty at Sequoia High School and later taught at the brand-new Menlo-Atherton High School. She taught both night school and summer school year after year, in addition to her regular teaching duties. Ms. Martin was a member of the Menlo Park Garden Club for many years. A member of the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church since 1956, she was also a member of Theta Alpha Delta Sorority for businesswomen. She is survived by her sons Joseph of Manassas, Virginia, and Richard of San Jose; sisters Irvina Fammatre and Janice Petrinovich, both of San Jose, brothers Leland Jones of San Jose and Gayle Jones of Fremont; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Her husband, Richard H. Martin, died in 1960. Ms. Martin will be interred with her husband at San Joaquin National Cemetery. The family welcomes donations to the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Marts Edward Beekley


Ohio. He graduated from Ohio State University, where he was an All-Star defensive back for his lifelong mentor Woody Hayes. At Ohio State, he met and married Mary Suzanne (Sue) Griffin. Following his father’s footsteps, he graduated from Cincinnati Medical School in the class of 1957. For the next four years, he was stationed with the Public Health Service in El Centro and the San Francisco Presidio. In 1963 he completed his medical training and chief residency at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. In 1963 Dr. Beekley began his lifelong career with Kaiser Permanente. He served as assistant chief of pediatrics at the Santa Clara Medical Center and chief of pediatrics at the Redwood City Medical Center. Following his father’s teaching to “make the most of life in work and play,” he devoted himself to winemaking, say family members. He was a member of the Society of Medical Friends of Wine, the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, and the Peninsula Wine Group. He pruned every vine by hand and made a yearly celebration of the harvest with friends and family. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sue; sisters Jane Foulser and Barbara Bachman; son Bruce Beekley, daughters Sarah Hahn and Ellen Page; and eight grandchildren. Donations may be made to the JW House ( or the Christ Church of Portola Valley Outreach Charities.

Chief of pediatrics

Eleanor Rubin

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 17, at Christ Episcopal Church, 815 Portola Road in Portola Valley, for Dr. Marts Edward Beekley, who died at his Atherton home, surrounded by family and friends. He was 80. Born in Glendale, Ohio, Dr. Beekely grew up in Sharonville,

Retired research analyst

Eleanor Rubin, a resident of Menlo Park for more than 40 years, died peacefully Feb. 17 at the age of 98. Ms. Rubin had a long career with the federal government, including positions with the Department of Agriculture and the National Archives.

Art for art’s sake “Bergman’s Towel (Faro),” 2011, an oil on linen work by Mitchell Johnson, is among the Menlo Park artist’s paintings now on exhibit through April 15 at Cafe Borrone, 1010 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. Mr. Johnson, whose work is exhibited and collected internationally, will donate the proceeds from any sales in March to Art in Action, a locally based nonprofit elementary school arts program ( An artist’s reception is set for Thursday, March 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the cafe, next to Kepler’s bookstore.

Born in Warwick, Rhode Island, Ms. Rubin grew up there and in Washington, D.C. After graduating from Trinity College in Washington in 1934, she began her career in government. In 1941, she became the 26th employee of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under William J. Donovan. She moved to San Francisco in 1945. After a brief time at Doubleday, she returned to the OSS, which became the Central Intelligence Agency. She was with the CIA until retiring as a research analyst in 1969. That year she married Jerome R. Rubin, whom she had known and worked with for many years. They enjoyed a wonderful life together, say family members. Ms. Rubin, a lifelong Catholic, was a parishioner at St. Raymond Church in Menlo Park. She is survived by her stepsons

Portola Valley woman on tennis title team Leslie Airola-Murveit of Portola Valley was a member of a four-woman team that captured the Maureen Connolly Cup Senior World Championship competition recently at the Balboa Tennis Club in San Diego. The American team dominated the competition while losing just nine games in eight singles matches and losing just

two sets overall. Team USA demolished Sweden and Canada, and swept South Africa in the semifinals before finally giving up a match to Great Britain in the finals. Airola-Murveit competed in the doubles spot with Carolyn Nichols of Rancho Santa Fe and won three straight matches before losing to the British in

the finals. The victory ensured that the Maureen Connolly Cup will remain in Connolly’s home town of San Diego for the sixth straight year. The Connolly Cup team was the only American squad to win a team title at the Senior World Championships. The ITF Seniors/Super-Seniors

Dick and Dan Rubin; a grandson; sister-in-law Betty Rattigan; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jerome R. Rubin. The family wishes to express its gratitude to her caregiver and companion, Sela. Memorials may be made to a favorite charity.

Mitchell Dean Confer Artist and photographer

Mitchel Dean Confer, whose illustrations and photography appeared in publications, including Time magazine and the New York Times, died peacefully Feb. 20 at his Menlo Park home after battling melanoma. Mr. Confer grew up in Ful- Mitchell Confer

lerton. He attended Fullerton High School, Fullerton College, and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, earning his bachelor of arts in illustration. His studio was in San Francisco’s Hunter Point Shipyard. His work was diverse, with more than 30 years of painting, printmaking, photography, digital art and illustration. His subjects were as diverse and included cityscapes, freeways, landscapes and patterns from nature, say family members. He also taught art. Mr. Confer lived in New York City, Palo Alto, and Hong Kong before becoming a resident of Menlo Park in 1999. He enjoyed golf, fly fishing, and other outdoor activities. Surviving are his son, Jackson; and sisters Sally Confer and Nancy Cassillias.

World Team Championships is the most coveted team event on the ITF Seniors circuit. The Seniors World Championships is divided into two groups — seniors for the 35-55 and over and Super-Seniors for the 60-80 and over. — Palo Alto Online Sports Leslie Airola-Murveit won three straight doubles matches before losing to the British in the finals. March 7, 2012 N The Almanac N11

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Suspect, 70, nabbed after low-speed chase ■ Menlo Park Village Stationers burglarized by familiar figure.

By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


enji Hamasalui returned to the scene of the crime when he strolled into Village Stationers on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, according to the Menlo Park store’s owner, Kerry Hoctor. Mr. Hamasalui, 70, wasn’t hard to recognize — store staff spotted the man the previous morning taking a peek at the back room where the safe is kept, and also remembered him from security video of a burglary in November. That video showed a man who reportedly looked like Mr. Hamasalui, in what looked like the same clothes he wore again on Feb. 26: a black baseball cap, black jacket and black pants. Store manager Kathy Barron confronted the man on Feb. 26 as he tried to leave through the front door after darting into the back room again. He kept walking. She pursued on foot. “He’s not running; he’s 70 years old,” said Mr. Hoctor. “So she just followed him saying ‘you need to stop, give us back that money!’” The pair then proceeded on a low-speed chase around down-

town Menlo Park. Ms. Barron finally grabbed the man by the arm and patted his jacket, hearing the tell-tale rustle of paper bags like the sort the store uses to stash proceeds from the day’s sales. Breaking free, Mr. Hamasalui continued his stroll down El Camino Real until finally encountering the police, called by a bystander, near Applewood Pizza. “They asked permission to search, and all our stuff fell out of his jacket,” Mr. Hoctor said. The paper bags contained about $3,500. “Kathy is my hero,” he added. “I wanted to hug her, then yell at her, but hugged her first. She said her adrenaline just took over because she was so angry that this was the second time.” Mr. Hamasalui walked into Village Stationers trailing a string of convictions as well as a dubious reputation. He’s been convicted at least three times in San Mateo County between 1997 and 2007 for theft both grand and petty, according to the district attorney’s office. Menlo Park police spokeswoman Nicole Acker said investigators are now looking into possible cases in other jurisdictions. A

Four locals named candidates for Presidential Scholars Four local seniors are among 291 California students named as candidates for becoming U.S. Presidential Scholars. They are John (Jack) Beckwith and Mary Kenney of Menlo Park, both seniors at MenloAtherton High School; Andrew Lim of Atherton, who attends Crystal Springs Uplands School; and Samuel Trinkaus of Portola Valley, who attends New Summit Academy. Approximately 3,000 high school candidates were selected nationally based on several factors: their exceptional performance on either the College Board SAT or the ACT Assessment, plus their essays, activities, school recommendations, and school transcripts. Final selection of Scholars will be announced in May. Those chosen will be invited to Washington, D.C., for several days in June, where they will be honored at a recognition ceremony and take part in events with their elected representatives and other leading individuals in public life.

TOWN OF ATHERTON STATE OF CALIFORNIA 2012 SPRING PATCHING PROJECT PROJECT NO. 56051 Notice is hereby given that SEALED BIDS will be received at the office of the City Clerk, 91 Ashfield Road, Atherton, California 94027, until 3:00 p.m. March 28, 2012, at which time they will be publicly opened and read, for performing the following work: Grind and replace 27,000 square feet of asphalt to a six-inch depth. This work to include all necessary traffic control and will involve grinding, sweeping, tack coating, replacing asphalt to appropriate depth in an appropriate number of lifts and finish rolling per town of Atherton Standard specifications (see below) and special provisions included in this document. Some hand work around utility access hole covers will be necessary (special provision #107). The Engineer’s Estimate for the project is: $135,000 Per Section 6.01 of the Town of Atherton’s Standard Specifications, the General Contractor shall perform, with his own organization, work of a value amounting to not less than 50% of the total contract, excluding specialty items as indicated on the bid schedule. Bids must be for the entire work, and shall be submitted in sealed envelopes clearly marked: “Bid of (Contractor) for 2012 SPRING PATCHING PROJECT, Project No. 56051”, along with date and time of bid opening. Plans and specifications may be obtained at the Town of Atherton’s website at under Bid Solicitation at no cost. Additional important information is contained in Town of Atherton Standard Specifications, which are available on line at . Contractor shall be responsible for any addendums that may be posted on the Town’s website. No Planholders list shall be available. Bids must be accompanied by a bid security in the form of cash, a cashier’s or certified check or bid bond for not less than ten percent (10%) of the amount of the bid, as a guarantee that the bidder, if awarded the Contract, will fulfill the terms of the bid. The Town of Atherton, The City, reserves the right to reject any or all bids; to make any awards or any rejections in what it alone considers to be in the best interest of the City, and waive any informalities or irregularities in the bids. The contract will be awarded, if at all, to the responsible bidder that submits the lowest responsive bid. [NOTE: If there are alternates in the bid, the City will need to state how the low bid will be determined, as required by PCC 20103.8.] Bidders are hereby notified that, pursuant to California Civil Code Sections 3247 and 3248 and Standard Specifications Section 3.02, the successful bidder will be required to provide payment and performance bonds in the amounts of 100% of the contract price. Bidders are hereby notified that provisions of California Labor Code regarding prevailing wages and apprentices are applicable to the work to be performed under this contract. Pursuant to Section 1773 et seq. the general prevailing wage rates have been determined by the Director of the California Department of Industrial Relations and appear in the California Prevailing Wage Rates. Copies are on file at the office of the City Engineer and are available to interested parties upon request. The successful bidder shall post a copy of the wage rates at the job site. The Contractor may elect to receive 100 percent of payments due under the contract, without retention of any portion of the payment by the Town of Atherton, by depositing securities of equivalent value to the retention amount in accordance with the provisions of Section 22300 of the California Public Contract Code.

Two of the four candidates are Mary Kenney and John Beckwith.

Honors for Laura Lauder The Oshman Family Jewish Center honored Laura Lauder of Atherton for her leadership and philanthropy at the Rambam’s Ladder Gala, held Feb. 11 at the center’s home on the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life in Palo Alto. Among her philanthropic priorities are the Jewish Community Endowment fund, the Socrates Society of the Aspen Institute, the Laura and Gary Lauder Philanthropic Fund and the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center. Ms. Lauder was named one of “10 Women to Watch” in 2004 by Jewish Women Magazine. In 1999, she was awarded the San Francisco Bay Area Dinkelspiel Young Leadership Award.

All bidders shall be licensed under the provisions of the Business and Professions Code to do the type of work contemplated in the project. The City has determined that the Contractor shall possess a valid Class A license at the time the bid is submitted. Failure to possess the specified license shall render the bid nonresponsive. Each bidder shall submit with this bid a statement setting forth his/her/its experience and qualifications. The statement shall be made on the forms provided by the Town and must accompany each bid. The three lowest bidders will be required to submit subcontractor’s experience and qualifications statements within 48 hours of the bid opening, on forms provided by the Town. By submitting a bid in response to this advertisement for bids, the bidder shall be conclusively deemed to have read, understood and agreed with all of the information and materials contained in the bid documents, including but not limited to the construction contract, the standard specifications, the special provisions, the required nature and amount of insurance and the documentation evidencing said insurance. Any questions regarding the project should be directed to David Huynh, Project Engineer, telephone: (650) 752-0555 or by written Requests for Information (RFI) to: Public Works Department, 91 Ashfield Road, Atherton, CA 94027, no later than ten (10) business days before bid opening. RFIs may be emailed to or faxed to (650) 688-6539. Responses shall be posted on the Town’s website no later than five (5) days prior to bid opening. By:___________________________________ Michael Kashiwagi, P.E., City Engineer Date:___________________________________ March 7, 2012 N The Almanac N13


Mitchell Dean Confer July 1, 1959-February 20, 2012 Mitchell Confer – our wonderful friend, father, brother, uncle, neighbor and mentor -passed away peacefully at home on Monday, February 20. His sisters Sally Confer and Nancy Cassillias, and his son Jackson, survive him. Mitchell had bravely battled melanoma cancer. Mitchell lived his life to the fullest. He was a great source of laughter, and his sense of humor brought light and fun to all. He always had an optimistic point of view. He was easy to know and love. Mitchell was kind, generous and supportive. A Menlo Park resident, Mitchell was an acclaimed artist, with a studio in San Francisco’s Hunters Point Shipyard. His work was diverse, with more than 30 years of painting, print making, photography, digital art and illustration. Mitchell’s work celebrated color, light and textures, with subjects as diverse as cityscapes, freeways, landscapes and patterns from nature. Many private


collectors, as well as companies and hotels, have commissioned his paintings. His illustrations and photography appeared in many publications such as TIME Magazine, The New York Times and Business Week. In addition to creating beautiful art, Mitchell love to share his passion for art through teaching people of all ages. He was also an enthusiastic golfer, fly fisherman, and greatly enjoyed the outdoors. Mitchell grew up in Fullerton, California, the son of Stan and Earlene Confer. He attended Troy High School and Fullerton College and then the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, earning his BA in Illustration. He lived in New York City, Palo Alto and Hong Kong, and became a Menlo Park resident in 1999. PA I D

This information is from the Atherton and Menlo Park police departments and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. Under the law, people charged with offenses are considered innocent until convicted.

Grand theft reports:

■ Losses estimated at $800 in theft of copper pipes and fittings and solar panels from resident’s roof and pool house, Monte Rosa Drive, Feb. 25.

■ Losses estimated at $500 in theft MENLO PARK Robbery report: Losses estimated at $1,048 in loss of shoulder bag, laptop computer and $18 in cash handed over in response to demand by heavyset Pacific Islander or Hispanic man wearing black hoodie and do-rag, who emerged from black Honda Civic, 700 block of Willow Road, midnight on Feb. 26. Residential burglary reports: ■ Loss estimated at $10,000 in theft of black carbon-fiber racing bicycle from open garage, Oak Court, Feb. 28. ■ Losses estimated at $8,640 in break-in through bathroom window and theft of Apple iPad, two laptop computers and miscellaneous jewelry, Concord Drive, March 1. ■ Losses estimated at $3,000 in entry through unlocked rear door and theft of Apple iPad, video game equipment and laptop computer, Tehama Ave., Feb. 24.


of laptop computer, Almanor Ave., Feb. 24. Fraud reports:

■ Losses estimated at $1,000 when resident purchased “money cards” in connection with sweepstakes scam, Carlton Ave., Feb. 26.

■ Loss estimated at $500 in unauthorized use of bank account funds, Windermere Ave., Feb. 28. PORTOLA VALLEY Theft report: Losses of $1,476 in use of unauthorized credit card, Westridge Drive, Feb. 27. ATHERTON Theft report: Two cell phone stolen and one recovered, Menlo-Atherton High School at 555 Middlefield Road, March 1.

Elizabeth Skrabo Fuellner Barnett December 13,1918 – February 11,2012 Lovingly called Babe or Betty, she was born and raised in Portola Valley and attended the Little Red School House. She graduated from Sequoia High School and then lived in Menlo Park working as a beautician until she retired. She loved the sunshine and was an avid sports fan! She was preceded in death by her parents Chester and Stella Skrabo, her brothers Nick and John,her sisters Nellie Shine and Ann Morey Goodwin. She leaves behind her daughter Christine Malone, granddaughter Rachael. Haywood, two great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. She was loved by all and will be dearly missed ! A memorial Mass will be held Saturday, March 10 at 10:30a.m. at Our Lady of the Wayside Church in Portola Valley. PA I D


Avenidas 5thAnnual Annual Avenidas presents presents itsits4th

Housing Conference

Come discover:

Saturday, March 10 8:30 am - 2:30 pm

y Should you rent or own? y How to stay safe in your home y Ways to unlock your home’s value y Other housing options y How to eliminate clutter y Tips on selling your home Register at or call (650) 289-5435.

Resources and programs for positive aging

Special thanks to Presenting Sponsor Nancy Goldcamp 14 N The Almanac NMarch 7, 2012


Five boys earn Eagle Scout rank Portola Valley Boy Scout Troop 64 announces five scouts recently earned their Eagle Scout rank, including Ben Zdasiuk, who at age 12 is one of the youngest Eagles in the troopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history. Ben became a Cub Scout in first grade and joined Troop 64 in grade 4. For his Eagle project, he planned and led the building of 15 wooden benches for Deer Hollow Farm at Rancho San Antonio Preserve. Sixteen people helped in the project for a total of 173 hours labor. Ben is a seventh-grader at Corte Madera School. Gordon Williams joined the Cub Scouts in first grade and the Boy Scouts in grade 5. For

his Eagle project, he collected 60 used bicycles and tricycles and led an effort to clean, repair, and test the bikes, which were donated to Haven House, a Menlo Park shelter for homeless families. With donated money, he also bought a helmet to accompany every bike. His project involved 18 people with 244 hours of labor. Gordon is a freshmen at Menlo-Atherton High School. Jackson Dalman was a Cub Scout until joining Troop 64 in fifth grade. For his Eagle project, he and 11 helpers solicited and collected goods and money for injured veterans at the Palo Alto VA Spinal Cord Injury Unit. They

delivered DVD players, DVDs, CDs, shaving kits, clothing, and more to the veterans. Jack- New Eagles Scouts are, from left, Ben Zdasiuk, Jackson Dalman, Gordon Williams, Rahman son is a fresh- Humphries-Hodge and Terry Wang. man at St. Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s School in Concord, New Hampshire. Terry Wang joined Pack 163 as a in the student store at Corte MadRahman Humphries-Hodge, a fourth-grader and became a Boy era School, where he was store freshman at Woodside High School, Scout in grade 5. For his project, manager. His project involved 18 has been involved with scouting he designed and led the building people for a total of 164 hours. since joining Cub Scout Pack 163 as of plastic display cases, wooden He is a freshman at the Woodside a first-grader. For his Eagle project, shelves, and cabinets for storage Priory. he built eight cat â&#x20AC;&#x153;condosâ&#x20AC;? for the Peninsula Humane Society. He worked with nine people for a total of 178 hours.

Portola Valley charging stations now running Two electric charging stations, each capable of simultaneously recharging the batteries of two electric vehicles, are up and running at the Portola Valley Town Center at 765 Portola Road. For the moment, recharges are free. The town will evaluate the situation to determine what customers should pay. The pumps are equipped with credit card payment systems. The stations are located behind the library near the creek and at

the southern end of the parking lot in front of the Historic Schoolhouse.

Israeli president visits Facebook Israeli President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shimon Peres is visiting Silicon Valley this week. His itinerary for Tuesday, March 6, includes a visit with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the social networking companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Menlo Park headquarters to launch a Facebook

Baby Boomers: Seeking Community? Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re building a new â&#x20AC;&#x153;old fashionedâ&#x20AC;? neighborhood of upscale, energy-efficient condos just blocks from downtown MV. Own a private home but also share common facilities such as a crafts room, media room, workshop, roof deck and gardens. Plenty of fellowship and activities with your neighbors, but also private spaces for your own pursuits.


page. A two-hour interview and town hall meeting will stream live starting at 7 p.m. Go to to watch the interview.

Book sale Running short on reading material? The Friends of the Menlo Park Library may have the solution: Drop by their book sale on Sunday, March 18. All proceeds benefit the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s libraries. The sale runs from noon to 4 p.m. in the downstairs meeting room of the main library at 800 Alma St. The Friends are also looking for volunteers willing to work a few hours a week. Call 330-2521 for more information.

Inspiring children to achieve since

Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re 14 households strong and are looking for 5 more to join us. Construction starts this spring, with occupancy by late 2013. Endorsed by the Greenbelt Alliance. To find out more or to make reservations for our next social on March 18th:

650-479-MVCC (479-6822) 10 Bay Area locations. Visit a classroom today.

Because You Know the Value of Education        

               Š 2012, Barbara B. Baker

March 7, 2012 N The Almanac N15



at Bethany Lutheran Church Menlo Park

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR 2012-2013 Summer Camp Enrollment Now Open 2 YEAR-OLD PROGRAM 9:00 am - 12:00 pm 2, 3 or 5 Days Potty training not required

3 YEAR-OLD PROGRAM 9:00 am - 1:00 pm 2, 3 or 5 Days Potty training not required

PRE-KINDERGARTEN 4 & 5 Year Olds 9:00 am - 1:00 pm 2, 3 or 5 Days Before and After-School Care Available for ages 3 & older

650-854-4973 Call to schedule a Tour

Since 1996 License# 414000219


ant to take advantage of the warm spring weather this year? Looking to get a jump on your studies? Try a bird identification class or a rowing class. Maybe a language class is the best fit. All the classes listed below are local, so give one a shot. The Class Guide is published quarterly by The Almanac and includes offerings along the Midpeninsula.


Jazzercise at Little House Activity Center 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park 650-703-1263 Jazzercise blends aerobics, yoga, Pilates

16 N The Almanac NMarch 7, 2012

and kickboxing movements into fun dance routines set to new music. All fitness levels welcome. Classes are ongoing. Go directly to class to register.

LANGUAGE COURSES ABC Languages 585 Glenwood Ave., Menlo Park 650-204-7908 ABC Languages offers up to 20 different language classes to adults and children either in groups or privately. ABCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s teaching staff is composed of experienced instructors who are native speakers of the language they teach.

Guide Istituto Educazione Italiana 1000 El Camino Real, Room 8, Atherton 650-868-5995

and high school recognized for academic excellence and great teachers. Lydian has rolling admissions and welcomes new students every week, year round. Earn your diploma from Lydian or get ahead by taking UC-approved and AP classes in Lydianâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s after-school and summer programs.

Italian language for adults in the evening on the campus of Menlo College. Workshops in painting Tuscan and Venetian landscapes/cityscapes using acrylics. Workshops in Florentine silversmithing at the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. Classes start March 26. Full fee and schedule information can be found online.

Circle of Friends Preschool 3214 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park 650-854-2468

SCHOOL DAYS Lydian Academy 815 El Camino Real, Menlo Park 650-321-0550 Lydian Academy is a personalized middle

Circle of Friends Preschool offers a wellrounded curriculum in a warm personal environment. The goal is to promote the development of the whole child: physical, emotional, social, lingual and intellectual. Detailed assessment of each child helps build partnerships with families to support emerging competencies. All this in a play-based program where children have opportunities to create, explore, problem solve, learn concepts and integrate knowledge in a hands-on environment.

Cl a ss Guide AT

German-American International School 275 Elliott Drive, Menlo Park 650-324-8617 German-American International Sschool (GAIS) is an international school serving approximately 300 students in preschool through 8th grade. GAIS offers a German bilingual program through 5th grade, and welcomes English-speaking students in a new English language middle school program that offers German, Spanish and French as additional language options. GAIS follows the academically rigorous, inquiry-based programs developed by the International Baccalaureate Organization.

Jim Gorman Swim School 3249 Alpine Road, Portola Valley 650-854-6699, ext. 100 Patient, professional instructors and warm, clean pools make it fun to learn to swim. Private and small group lessons for all ages and abilities, from water babies (3-30 months) to national champions. Weekday and weekend lessons available for sign-ups now.

Kirk House Preschool 1148 Johnson St., Menlo Park 650-323-8667 Kirk House Preschool is a half-day preschool with both morning and afternoon classes for children aged 3-5 (Young Fives class). Kirk House Preschool is a Christian, play-based school which offers a development-oriented curriculum in a park-like setting.

Phillips Brooks School 2245 Avy Ave., Menlo Park 650-854-4545 The Phillips Brooks School, an independent co-educational day school for

students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, prepares each student to live a creative, humane and compassionate life, and to be a contributing member of society. The curriculum emphasizes the basic academic disciplines and their integration into everyday life while developing the foundation for individual scholastic excellence and inspiring an enthusiasm for life-long learning. The overall school experience weaves the intellectual, spiritual, social and physical areas of growth into the fabric that is the Phillips Brooks School community.

Trinity School 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park 650-854-0288 Early childhood through grade 5. Trinity School encourages preschool to grade 5 children from all backgrounds to love learning. Trinity fosters rigorous academics grounded in child-centered content. The legacy of a Trinity education is a curious mind and a discerning heart.


650.688.3605 |

w w w. s a n d h i l l s c h o o l . o r g

Challenger School .............................. 15 Littlest Angels, Menlo Park................ 16 Lydian Academy, Menlo Park............. 16 Mid-Peninsula High School, Menlo Park ................................... 17 Palo Alto Prep, Palo Alto .................. 17 Sand Hill School, Palo Alto ............... 17 The Class Guide is published quarterly. Classes in Atherton, Menlo Park, Portola Valley and Woodside are given priority. The summer Class Guide will publish on May 9, 2012. Deadline for submissions is two weeks prior to the publication date. To inquire about submitting a listing, email Eric Van Susteren at or call 650-223-6515. To place a paid ad, call our display advertising department at 650-326-8210.

Woodland School 360 La Cuesta Drive, Portola Valley 650-854-9065

For young minds, one size doesn’t fit all.

Compassionate, skilled support for your child’s learning needs. s

Grades K-4


5:1 student/teacher ratio


Curriculum supports social-emotional and academic learning


Outstanding support from Children’s Health Council professionals

Parent Information Night:

Pre-register online!

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Social-learning and social-skills classes and activities for all age groups, including theater games and writing groups.



Palo Alto Prep Palo Alto Prep is a unique private high school designed to help students succeed in every aspect of life. We believe that school should be enjoyable and every student experience the pride of personal and academic accomplishment.

MAR 29 & APR 18 6:30 – 7:30 PM

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Preschool-8th grade. Woodland School’s focus is a challenging academic program with a strong enrichment program of art, music, drama, computers, gymnastics and physical education. Science, math and technology are an integral part of the 5th-8th grade experience. Extended care is offered 7:30 a.m-8:15 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. Call for a brochure or to set up a tour.

The Talking Playhouse 595 Price Ave., Suite A, Redwood City 650-678-9769

C H I L D R E N ’ S H E A LT H C O U N C I L

650 Clark Way, Palo Alto, CA 94304



Accountability NProvide

8 to 1 student-teacher ratio


innovative and creative programs that develop academic and behavioral success


challenging academic opportunities


the self-esteem of our students through outdoor activities and programs


a supportive environment and safe community

NCollege N95%




by State of California as a Non-Public School

prep curriculum

college enrollment

We’ve moved to a new location into a brand new beautiful building! Celebrating Our TEACHING. LEARNING. CARING

2462 Wyandotte Street, Mountain View 650.493.7071

25th Year!

March 7, 2012 N The Almanac N17

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

Ideas, thoughts and opinions about

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

Editor & Publisher Tom Gibboney

Newsroom Managing Editor Richard Hine News Editor Renee Batti Lifestyles Editor Jane Knoerle Staff Writers Dave Boyce, Sandy Brundage Contributors Marjorie Mader, Barbara Wood, Kate Daly Special Sections Editors Carol Blitzer, Sue Dremann Photographer Michelle Le

Design & Production Design Director Raul Perez Designers Linda Atilano, Lili Cao, Shannon Corey, Diane Haas, Paul Llewellyn, Scott Peterson

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 Classified Legal Advertising Alicia Santillan 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: 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 December 21, 1969. Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years.

■ 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.

Deal on housing could set trend


enlo Park has been tied up in knots over how to cope with the gaping open spaces left on El Camino Real when car dealers packed up and left town. Critics often blame the city for the remaining eyesores, but in fact, the city has spent some five years and more than $1 million on a consultant to get local residents involved in creating a new zoning plan for El Camino, as well as portions of downtown and the area near the Caltrain depot. Now the plan is nearly complete, but still must undergo a full round of public hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council that will continue this spring. EDI TORI AL It’s become clear that the city The opinion of The Almanac will zone the relatively shallow properties on the east side of El Camino, including the shuttered car dealers, for dense housing over ground floor retail. The buildings are likely to be three and four stories, with small parks in between, and feature underground parking. It is not the type of housing that many Menlo Park residents prefer, but developers say they could not make a fair profit on smaller buildings. But that concern about profits may be undermined by the recently unveiled project across the street at 389 El Camino, a small, bare lot that once was used to sell small trucks for Anderson Chevrolet. In 2008, after purchasing the property, Matteson Companies tried to win approval to build dense housing there. The first effort, to squeeze 48 condominium units on the 1.23-

acre site, was shouted down by residents who live nearby on Partridge and College avenues. They charged that the 60-foot-high buildings were out of character and did not blend with the Allied Arts neighborhood, where walking residents and playing children adorn the quiet, tree-lined streets. Matteson pulled back, and four years later, was able to produce a plan that not only pleased the city, but the neighbors as well. Matteson’s strategy was not unique: after many rounds of talks, the company agreed to significantly scale down the proposal, seeking approval to build only 26 homes, including nine twostory single family homes across the back of the site facing the neighborhood, and 17 townhouses around the rest of the property. Three units will be set aside for the city’s below-market-rate (BMR) housing program. In our view, this project shows that despite claims from developers that they need ultra-dense projects to reach their profit goals, smaller designs can succeed and at the same time prove much more appealing to neighbors and buyers. It’s too early to say whether the Matteson project will impact the zoning permitted in the downtown plan, but we are certain the City Council and Planning Commission are paying attention. Even though it took four years, it is refreshing to see developers, neighbors and the city all collaborate on a project that initially was not given much chance of success. We look forward to seeing these homes under construction and perhaps setting the stage for similar projects on the vacant lots remaining across the street.

L ET TERS Our readers write

Lesson for Atherton in library parking issue? Editor: The Feb. 29 Almanac carried several instructional articles, including the editorial about the current library parking “crunch” in Menlo Park. Unfortunatenly, the “crunch” is perhaps the result of a planning oversight in working out the details of the beautiful new Arrillaga gymnasium there. We hope the Atherton Library Building Steering Committee takes note to further inform their shortsighted, in our opinion, insistence that a glorious stateof-the-art facility (a new library structure) would have a minimal negative effect on the existing Holbrook-Palmer Park. The traffic circulation and parking dilemma would be less of an issue by far if an alternative site such as the present library location were selected. The steering committee’s Needs Assessment (available at the Atherton library) states that “demographically Atherton is a very uniform community” with predominantly similar socioeconomic lifestyles.” It goes on to say that an overwhelming majority of Atherton residents (99.5 percent) fall into Segment 01, titled “Top-Rung.”

18 N The Almanac NMarch 7, 2012

Menlo Park Fire Protection District

Our Regional Heritage Bow ties were the order of the day in 1922 when members of the Menlo Park Fire District posed for this photo in front of Station 2 on University Avenue in East Palo Alto. The station preceded the building that now will make way for a new, $7.6 million structure on the site, which the district says at 12,000 square feet will nearly triple the size of the current facility.

This demographic profile is said to be uniformly mature, married, highly educated and wealthy. One would expect that such a “highly educated” population would have the ability to utilize well-meaning criticism and to profit from the mistakes of others to ensure a workable as well as pleasing project. A consensus might be that the town of Atherton already has enough troublesome baggage to sort out. Stuart Awbrey Rittenhouse Avenue, Atherton

Applications open for civil grand jury Editor: You might make a good grand juror if you can answer “yes” to the following questions: Are you a good listener? Are you interested in trying to increase the efficiency of local government and save taxpayer dollars? Are you willing to serve without personal gain or hidden agendas? Have you the stamina to commit yourself to

a full year of productive work? Can you keep a secret? Can you cooperate with 18 other diverse personalities? Can you ask thoughtful questions, review documents, and help write lucid reports? Can you chair a committee? Can you devote a minimum of 20 hours of service per week? If you can say “yes” to all of the above questions, the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury invites you to apply for its 2012Continued on next page


L ET T ER S Our readers write

Continued from previous page

2013 term. Applications are now available and are accepted until April 3, 2012. The next term begins July 1, 2012, and ends June 30, 2013. Any resident of San Mateo County for more than one year, who is a citizen of the United States, 18 or older, of sound judgment and good character, with sufficient knowledge of the English language, is eligible for selection by the Honorable Richard C. Livermore of the San Mateo County Superior Court. Elected public officials are not eligible. The court encourages all interested individuals to apply. The court strives to obtain a cross section of the county population. After the completion of an

interview process by Judge Livermore, jurors will be selected through a random draw. Application forms can be obtained by writing Grand Jury Clerk, Court Executive Office, 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063 or telephoning 650-599-1200. If you have questions you may contact me: Mickie Winkler Menalto Avenue, Menlo Park Editor’s Note: Mickie Winkler is a member of the current grand jury and is a former member of the Menlo Park City Council.

Time to reform Proposition 13 Editor: How ironic that Silicon Valley, the very center of innovation and creativity envied the world over, is saddled with Californiaís outmoded form of taxation that rewards the status quo

and punishes originality. Because of the inherent inequities of Proposition 13, older companies such as IBM that have owned property for generations pay one-tenth the property tax paid by new companies such as Google and Facebook. I congratulate Emmett Carson of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation for having the courage to suggest at this year’s State of The Valley Conference that it is time to discuss reforming Proposition 13. A large majority of the approximate 1,000 people attending agreed in an informal poll. Silicon Valley’s and California’s children deserve better education funding than our current 49th in the U.S. It’s high time for us to compel our elected officials to exhibit leadership and spearhead meaningful reform of Proposition 13. Kaia Eakin Redwood City

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