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Council race

Transportation commissioner first to jump in | Page 6


JUNE 6, 2012

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Frank Helfrich reflects on 83 years in a changing city See Section 2

ATHERTON Constructed in 2008, with 6bd/4 full and 2 half baths. 9889 +/- sf of living space on 1.4+/- acre flag lot. Formal entry, elegant living room with fireplace plus formal dining room. Functional library with built-in office. Tremendous chef’s kitchen with adjoining family room and separate game room. 12 seat theatre. 3 car garage with workshop and wine storage. 1bd/1ba guest house. $9,995,000

ATHERTON Exquisite European Villa custom built in 2003. Two-levels with 5 bedroom suites. Elevator, Formal living and dining rooms, plus chef’s kitchen and library. Rare African mahogany floors. French windows and doors, slate roof, gated ‘flag’ lot with 1.1 acre of landscaped grounds, pool/ spa and large terrace. 3-car garage. Very private & serene setting. $8,495,000

WOODSIDE The bay vistas from this serene property are breathtaking. Designed for gracious entertaining as well as comfortable everyday living, this home is sure to provide timeless and enduring delight. Features include; 4 bedrooms and 2 office/bonus rooms, a formal dining room framed by walls of glass, cook’s kitchen, enchanting master suite featuring a fireplace, custom closets, and deck access. $2,295,000

2NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJune 6, 2012


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Jenna Scandalios of Portola Valley is a lead vocalist with the Menlo-Atherton High School Jazz Band.

Award-winning jazz singer heads to Montreux festival By Jane Knoerle Almanac Lifestyles Editor


enna Scandalios of Portola Valley is a winner. Last year, the 17-year-old Menlo-Atherton High School junior, singing with the school’s advanced jazz band, won the vocal soloist competition at the Reno Jazz Festival and the vocal soloist award from the Anaheim Heritage Music Festival. She also received the Diamond Award for Young Artists from the Peninsula Arts Council. Now, she’s going international. In July she will participate in the semifinals in the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. After sending in a recording of three songs and a music resume, Jenna was one of 11 singers from 11 countries chosen for

the semifinals in Montreux. She will sing before a panel of judges, presided over by Quincy Jones, who will select three finalists. The winner will record an album. Jenna was turned on to jazz in the sixth grade, when she started singing in the choir at

‘I’ve grown so much as a vocalist with the (M-A) jazz band.’ JENNA SCANDALIOS

Corte Madera School. However, she says, “I’ve grown so much as a vocalist with the jazz band.” She has been a singer with the advanced band for three years and a lead vocalist for the past two years. The band, which includes about 25 members,

rehearses almost every day. Her fellow musicians are enthusiastic about her trip to Switzerland, reminding her to “bring back chocolate.” Jenna and fellow jazz band lead vocalist Christina Takayama co-founded an M-A club called “Melodies for Charities,” where members sing at local farmers’ markets to raise money for local charities. The girls are also working towards singing for patients at Stanford Medical Center. For Jenna, it isn’t all about music. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, and plays on the M-A varsity tennis team. Is she planning to major in music in college? Probably not, although she says music will always be an important part of her life. “I hope to keep a balance between music and academics,” she says. A

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Summary Reports Summary Real Estate Reports for 4. forWeek Week of of June May 7. Available at

Reports for: Atherton Woodside Portola Valley Menlo Park

STEVE GRAY offers 30+ years of local knowledge. Born in Menlo Park. Raised in Atherton. A Woodside resident.

Steve Gray DRE# 01498634

650-743-7702 June 6, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN3


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In this year's Readers’ Choice we cheer the Olympian businesses that champion the Menlo Park area -the Peninsula's gold-medal restaurants, retailers and services.

Go to and Vote! Two ways Vote online at — OR — to vote! Scan the QR Code and vote with your mobile phone! Vote by July 8 4NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJune 6, 2012
















Council OKs Facebook campus expansion ■

Project still faces challenge from Atherton.

By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


undits may be tracking the downward trajectory of its stock second by second, and Atherton may continue to protest the project’s environmental impact report, but Facebook continues to have friends in Menlo Park. The City Council voted unanimously on May 29 to approve the social networking company’s planned campus expansion. The public had more to say than the council did during the meeting. While several Belle Haven residents said they felt left out of the entire process, with one man saying he wished he were a rare species of frog because then his community might be respected, other speakers sang Facebook’s praises. Belle Haven Neighborhood Association president Matt Henry said that rather than attacking

Facebook, he preferred to circulate his wish list for the community and wait to see what happens. “I don’t think Facebook is going to solve all the problems of the world,” he commented. “I say let’s see what they’re going to do.” Atherton’s interim city manager, Theresa DellaSanta, spoke to remind the council that the town challenges the proposed Marsh/ Middlefield intersection traffic mitigations. Atherton has threatened to sue Menlo Park unless other measures are proposed. Tim Tosta, a lawyer representing Facebook, commented that Atherton had already accepted the same mitigation when it was proposed for two other projects — Menlo Gateway and the North Fair Oaks Community Center. He also warned that the court tends to take a dim view See FACEBOOK, page 9

New high-speed rail CEO criticized for ‘insider’ status By Gennady Sheyner Embarcadero Media staff writer


eff Morales, the newly hired CEO of the California HighSpeed Rail Authority, is in many ways the polar opposite of his predecessor, Roelof van Ark. While Mr. van Ark, a former president of international transportation giants Alstom Transportation and Siemens Transportation System, brought international experience and an engineer’s perspective to the table, Mr. Morales is a policy insider who knows his way around Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Mr. Morales, whose hiring the rail authority announced on May 29, has headed the California Department of Transportation and the Chicago Transit Authority. He was part of President Barack Obama’s presidential transition team, and served on the staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Senate. But what worries some critics of the project is Mr. Morales’ latest job as senior vice president and director of strategic initiatives and government relations

at Parsons Brinckerhoff, the firm that has been spearheading the beleaguered project. While the rail authority has been getting by with a core staff of about 20 people, Parsons Brinckerhoff had devoted 100 employees to day-today management of the colossal project, and had been instrumental in putting together the environmental studies and business plans for the San Franciscoto-Los Angeles rail system. So while Dan Richards, chair of the rail authority’s board of directors, praised Mr. Morales as “exactly the right person to take the helm at this pivotal time,” others expressed disappointment that, after an “extensive international search,” the rail authority decided to go with the ultimate insider for the top staff position. State Sen. Doug LaMalfa is among the latter. As soon as Mr. Morales’ hiring was announced, the Republican senator released a statement noting the rail authority’s $200 million contract with Parsons Brinckerhoff and criticizing the rail authority’s choice for the top post.

Photo by Pierre Moreels/Facebook

Employees gather in Hacker Square for the Friday Q&A with Mark Zuckerberg.

“The Rail Authority claims it conducted a nation-wide search just to end up with an executive from its biggest contractor?” Sen. LaMalfa asked in a statement. “How can we expect this insider to provide an independent review of the project, when he helped write the plan that’s already doubled the cost to taxpayers? “Moving forward, how are we to know where the Authority stops and Parsons Brinckerhoff begins?” he added. Elizabeth Alexis, co-founder of the Palo Alto-based railwatchdog group Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design, voiced a similar concern. Her group was among the first to criticize the rail authority’s ridership projections and cost estimates (the price tag for the system increased from about $43 billion two years ago to $98.1 billion earlier this year before coming down to the current level of $68 billion). Parsons Brinckerhoff, Ms. Alexis said, was the primary agency responsible for the initial low-balling of the cost estimate. The fact that Mr. Morales served as a high-level executive for the rail authority’s highest-paid conSee CEO, page 7

Senate tightens ‘snitch ticket’ and red-light camera rules By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


he next time you get a snitch ticket in the mail, you may be able to check off “none of the above” when asked to identify who was driving your car when it ran a red light, if a new bill passes the legislature. The state Senate unanimously passed SB 1303 on May 31. Sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, the bill tightens the rules for deploying red-light cameras and makes it easier to challenge socalled “snitch tickets.” The bill requires that camera locations be chosen because of safety considerations, and not revenue potential, and that each jurisdiction meet state standards for placing and operating the cameras, including adequate signage to notify drivers when cameras are in use. SB 1303 also takes steps to preserve the legal right to remain silent if asked to identify the driver of a car photographed by a camera. As the Almanac reported in

November, Menlo Park police send a “traffic violation notice” — commonly called a “snitch ticket” — whenever one of the city’s four red-light cameras snaps a photo that isn’t clear enough to identify the driver. According to the police, that’s about 25 out of every 100 shots. The snitch tickets go to the vehicle’s registered owner in hopes of making an identification. However, there’s no legal obligation for the registered owner to identify the driver, something the current form glosses over. It also tells recipients they must fill out and return the form — again, not true. The Menlo Park police department designed its notices in collaboration with other local agencies that contract with Redflex, the vendor providing the cameras. According to the senator, the goal of the proposed changes is to clearly indicate that you have the option to not identify the driver. The revised form would be used in all jurisdictions with red-light cameras and gives the See CAMERAS, page 8

June 6, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5


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Transportation commissioner announces run for council By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer





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6NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJune 6, 2012


etting a head start on rium between quality of life the competition, Trans- and fiscal stability, Mr. Mueller portation Commissioner said he wants to run a campaign Ray Mueller has announced that based on listening to residents heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s running for a seat on the and finding solutions. Menlo Park City Council. One specific focus is whether Two seats will be open come rezoning in the M2 district would fall as Kelly Fergussonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and encourage more biotechnology Andy Cohenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s terms expire in and health-care manufacturers to December. relocate to Menlo Park. Mr. Muellerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s announcement â&#x20AC;&#x153;Can we do more to tap and on May 29 ends months of specu- enhance the economic engine of lation as to whether heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d run. His the Silicon Valley, to the benefit campaign had gathered of our residents?â&#x20AC;? he endorsements from five asked. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I believe diverplanning commissioners sification of the Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s before becoming official, tax revenue base is an and the day after his essential component announcement, landed to its long-term fisanother. cal stability. There are â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was a decision I only so many hotels you was encouraged to make can build, and so many after discussing it with Ray Mueller times you can raise taxmany people, whose pases on travelers in an sion for serving the residents of attempt to raise revenues.â&#x20AC;? the City, I respect and admire. I He has served on the Transam proud to have so many plan- portation Commission since ning commissionersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; endorse- 2010. An attorney by trade, Mr. ments so early in the election Mueller said he volunteers for cycle,â&#x20AC;? he said in an email. the countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Domestic Violence The remaining commissioner, Collaborative and also with John Kadvany, indicated that as two education nonprofits that a matter of principle he would serve schools in Menlo Park, refrain from endorsing anyone Atherton and East Palo Alto. until after the filing deadline Closer to home, he said, he passed, according to Mr. Muel- started a neighborhood watch ler. The filing period closes Aug. group along Santa Cruz Avenue 10, unless one of the incumbents and will help organize the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chooses not to run; in such a case, block party this year. it would be extended a week. While no campaign manager The candidate has become a has been announced yet, he said familiar figure at the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pub- that fellow transportation comlic hearings, speaking on issues missioner Nate Hodges has volthat include Facebook develop- unteered to serve as treasurer. ment, traffic management, the â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am very hopeful that people Stanford Hospital expansion, who have not traditionally been and other topics. associated with City politics will Describing himself as a bal- be attracted to the campaign,â&#x20AC;? anced voice that seeks equilib- Mr. Mueller said. A

Downtown plan heads for final Menlo council hearings Love it or hate it, residents of Menlo Park are ready to tell the city what they think about the proposed downtown/El Camino Real specific plan when the council convenes to decide the planâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future on Tuesday, June 5, judging by the emails piling up on the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s server. The first of two final council meetings on the plan, Tuesdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s session represents the culmination of five yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; effort to create a framework for development in downtown Menlo Park and along El Camino Real for the next 30 years. The version the

council will consider carries the Planning Commissionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unanimous recommendation as well as a few refinements. Their suggestions included giving priority to public benefits that would be open to the general public and to a Middle Avenue bicyclepedestrian crossing, reducing side setbacks along El Camino Real, and reviewing the plan every two years. Go to to review the changes. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.


Kleiner Perkins: Facts will determine outcome of discrimination lawsuit By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


alling the period a difficult time at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, veteran partner John Doerr posted a statement about a fellow employee’s gender discrimination lawsuit on the venture capital firm’s website on May 30. “It is not easy to stand by as false allegations are asserted against the firm, especially because legal constraints prevent us from responding fully at this time. But we have been heartened to hear from so many people — including many women — who have reached out to convey their support,” he wrote. Ellen Pao, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, filed the lawsuit on May 10 after working at the firm for seven years. The suit alleges that the firm discriminates against women for promotions and compensation, and retaliated against Ms. Pao after she complained about sexual harassment. Mr. Doerr wrote that an independent investigation had concluded that the allegations were without merit and that the Menlo Park firm doesn’t discriminate against women. “In the end, facts — not unfounded claims — will

CEO continued from page 5

tractor should disqualify him from the position, she said. “It’s always been a major concern with this relationship. Who is running the show? Is it PB or is it the state of California?” she said. “Now, that’s an even more difficult question to answer.” Parsons Brinckerhoff’s management of the rail project also faced scrutiny from State Auditor Elaine Howle, who released an audit in April 2010 criticizing the high-speed-rail project for “lax contract management” and “weak oversight.” The report doesn’t name Parsons Brinckerhoff, but refers to the firm as “program manager.” It notes that the rail authority “is significantly understaffed” and “has delegated significant control to its contractors — especially the entity that manages the program.” The audit uncovered many instances in which the program manager provided inaccurate information to state officials. In her January follow-up to the 2010 report, Ms. Howle noted that the authority “relies on the Program Manager to provide accurate, consistent, and useful information in its monthly progress report.”

determine the outcome of the suit filed against us. We will vigorously defend our reputation and are confident we will prevail.” The statement encouraged those judging the company to consider its track record on supporting female entrepreneurs. According to its website, 12 of the 49 partners at Kleiner Perkins are women, which it claims is “the most of any leading venture capital firm.” The company has retained Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, a law firm specializing in defending corporations against discrimination claims. After finishing an Ivy League education that included both a law degree and an MBA from Harvard, Ms. Pao started working at Kleiner Perkins in 2005, according to her legal complaint. A peer with longer tenure at the firm began pressuring her for sex, she alleges, and after eight months she briefly gave in. The lawsuit claims that after she ended the relationship he retaliated by leaving her out of business projects. The man left the firm in 2011 after the firm conducted an independent investigation into allegations made by other women, accord-

ing to the lawsuit. The complaint also alleges that a senior partner made an inappropriate advance to Ms. Pao and later participated in her performance reviews, to her detriment. After hearing of complaints from three administrative assistants about harassment and discrimination in 2007, she repeatedly approached upper management for help without success, according to the lawsuit. Instead Ms. Pao perceived a pattern of retaliation as she was passed over for promotion, networking events and raises, and given delayed or biased performance reviews. The complaint details specific instances of exclusion, including a company ski trip in January 2012 and several dinners to which only male employees were invited. The host of one event reportedly said that inviting women would “kill the buzz.” In March, three men who had been employed for less time at Kleiner Perkins than Ms. Pao were promoted while no women received similar advancement, according to the lawsuit. Neither Ms. Pao nor her attorney, Alan Exelrod — known for winning a landmark sexual harassment case in 1994.

“However, we found that these reports were often inaccurate and that at times the Program Manager appeared to misinform the Authority about the speed with which contractors for each region performed tasks.” Ms. Howle’s office first flagged these problems in 2010. In its follow-up this year, it learned that these problems still persist. Her audit uncovered more than “50 errors and inconsistencies of various types in three of the Program Manager’s monthly reports,” which were submitted in December 2010, June 2011 and July 2011. In some cases, Ms. Howle wrote, the program manager “altered dates to make it appear that the regional contractors would perform work either more or less quickly than they estimated they could in their progress reports.” The program manager also changed the regional contractors’ estimated milestones and “percentage-of-progress” data. Of the 12 percentage-of-progress changes, Ms. Howle wrote, “three made it appear that the regional contractor had completed more than it reported and nine made it appear that the regional contractor completed less than it reported in its progress report.” Ms. Howle wrote in the January report that while there are

some valid reasons for the discrepancies, “the number and frequency of the changes we noted suggest that the Program Manager misinformed the Authority about the actual status and progress of the construction section.” Her follow-up report states that because the authority has delegated so much control of the project to its contractors, “it may not have the information necessary to make critical decisions about the program’s future.” The rail authority’s vacancy problem persists to this day. Of the 11 positions listed on the rail authority website’s “Executive Staff” directory, seven are vacant (the list does not include the CEO position). In announcing Mr. Morales’ hiring, Mr. Richard called the move “a giant step forward” for the rail project, for which voters approved a $9.95 billion bond in 2008. “This Board was deeply impressed by his extensive experience in large and complex transportation issues and projects on the local, state, federal and international levels,” Mr. Richard said in a statement. “He has a solid track record of creativity and innovation in the delivery of on-time, on-budget infrastructure projects.”


R EAL E STATE Q&A by Monica Corman

Paying Down A Mortgage Dear Monica: I have had a mortgage on my home for the twenty plus years I have owned it. I have refinanced a few times and now have a variable interest rate that is very low but will rise in the future. I am trying to decide whether it would be best to pay down the rest of the principle owed with money I have available for this, or whether I should use this cash for other investing that could provide growth. What do you recommend? Carol B. Dear Carol: You are not the only homeowner asking this question. There are several factors that should be considered when deciding to do this including your age, retirement plans, and assets. You should consult with your tax and estate advisor in order to make the decision that best fits your needs.

The recent economic downturn has reminded many homeowners that it is possible to lose a home if one loses a job and can’t make payments, and there are a host of other events that could affect one’s ability to pay. Many of our grandparents learned during the Great Depression that you didn’t lose your home if you owned it free and clear and thus this generation was inclined to pay off their mortgages whenever possible. Our local economy is one of the strongest in the country and if you own a home here, your asset is more secure than in many other places. It may make sense for you to continue the payment schedule you are on, or it may be wise to pay off your mortgage and invest the money you are saving each month. Your accountant and attorney can tell you what the effect of each plan will have for you and you can make an informed decision.

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


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises contact-lens wearers to rub (and rinse) their contacts clean. This policy, supported by the American Optometric Association, applies to all contacts, even those advertised as “no rub.” The FDA also advises that contact-lens wearers throw out cleansers at their expiration date, wash their hands before handling lenses, and allow their lens-storage cases to dry when not in use. Moreover, lenses should never be cleaned with non-sterile water (including tap

water), bottled water, water from lakes and oceans, or homemade saline solution. These recommendations followed an outbreak in fungal infections in 2006 and an outbreak of amoeba infections in 2007. The FDA recalled two products after those outbreaks and remains vigilant about preventing others. Wearing contact lenses is different from wearing eyeglasses because the lenses are worn directly on the eyes. Adherence to a prescribed wearing, cleaning, and replacement schedule is important. Please bring your eyewear prescription to MENLO OPTICAL at 1166 University Drive, on the corner of Oak Grove Avenue and University Drive. We carry a wide selection of contact lenses and cleaning supplies to help ensure problem-free, long-term wear. Call us at 322-3900 if you have questions about eyewear. P.S. The FDA lens-rubbing recommendation is made on the basis that simple rubbing of contacts removes more debris than mere rinsing. Mark Schmidt is an American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners Certified Optician licensed by the Medical Board of California. He can be easily reached at Menlo Optical, 1166 University Drive, Menlo Park. 650-322-3900.

GraphicDesigner Embarcadero Media, producers of the Palo Alto Weekly, The Almanac, Mountain View Voice, and several other community websites, is looking for a graphic designer to join its award-winning design team. Design opportunities include online and print ad design and editorial page layout. Applicant must be fluent in InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Flash knowledge is a plus. Newspaper or previous publication experience is preferred, but we will consider qualified — including entry level — candidates. Most importantly, designer must be a team player and demonstrate speed, accuracy and thrive under deadline pressure. The position will be approximately 32 hours per week. To apply, please send a resume along with samples of your work as a PDF (or URL) to Shannon Corey, Creative Director, at

4 5 0 C A M B R I D G E AV E N U E | PA L O A LT O


June 6, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN7


Water from a helicopter key in preventing conflagration By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


hree 500-gallon buckets of water from a helicopter helped douse a threealarm house fire at 1200 Bear Gulch Road on Saturday, June 2. The helicopter drops stopped an intense fire that had spread to nearby trees from becoming a conflagration that involved the forest, Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso of the Woodside Fire Protection District told the Almanac. “Luckily it’s not too dry yet,” Chief Ghiorso said. “It didn’t run the hills as easily.” One firefighter was evacuated and treated for heat exhaustion but later returned to duty, Chief Ghiorso said. There were no other injuries, he said. The residents were not at home at the time, and there were no domestic animals involved that firefighters were aware of. The house is a total loss and uninhabitable, but Chief Ghiorso said he could not yet provide a dollar amount as to estimated losses to the structure and the contents. The occupants were renters whose names were not provided by the district. Also unknown for the present is the cause of the fire. An investigation began Monday, June 4, well after the fire was out. “It was so hot, we really couldn’t get into it,” Chief Ghiorso said. A water tanker truck has been on the scene with firefighters “babysitting the fire” since it was first brought under control on Saturday afternoon. The first call came in around 1:15 in the afternoon. The battalion chief called a second alarm after seeing a column of smoke from the main fire station at 3111 Woodside Road. Firefighters had things under control by about 3 p.m., the chief said. In all, 71 firefighting personnel and 27 vehicles responded, including support vehicles, from seven firefighting agencies in the county, Chief Ghiorso said. Along with Woodside Fire were CAMERAS continued from page 5

vehicle’s owner several check-box options, including one that states “none of the above” to account for situations where you may either not recognize the driver or not want to identify him or her. It also never states the form must be completed and returned. “Let’s say it was your estranged husband and there is a history of domestic violence, so maybe you

firefighters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, San Mateo County, Redwood City, San Carlos, Menlo Park and Belmont. A crew of 15 prison inmates dressed in orange and from a camp in Ben Lomond was called in to cut brush to create a dirt perimeter around the fire, the chief said. “They’re a great crew. They do great work,” he added. The “hand crew” program is funded by the state and may be in jeopardy as a consequence of Gov. Jerry Brown’s so-called realignment program to gradually transfer responsibility for non-violent prison inmates to the counties. The fire’s impact included about an acre of woodland, including vegetation growing close to the house on the uphill side, within the so-called defensible space zone where ignitable vegetation is not recommended. Firefighters cut down one tree that was too damaged to allow to stand, the chief said. Fire trucks traveling up Bear Gulch Road, a steep, narrow and winding one-lane road, twice encountered traffic coming the other way that had to back up to find a driveway so as to let the fire trucks through, the chief said. “It definitely slowed traffic down, but not significantly, to be honest with you,” he said. “You can find a driveway pretty quickly.” While fighting the fire, deputies from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office closed a large section of the road — about 2,000 or 3,000 feet, Chief Ghiorso said. Fire hydrants, “few and far between” on Bear Gulch Road, supplied water to fight the fire, but pressure fell off at one point and California Water Service Company shut down some areas of service so as to divert an adequate supply to the hydrants, the chief said. Chief Ghiorso said the helicopter probably filled its bucket from a lake, but said he did not know for sure. A

don’t want to I.D. him,” Sen. Simitian said. “Nobody deputized these people... they should not have to identify someone to avoid getting a ticket that clearly isn’t theirs.” The bill must pass the Assembly and escape a veto by the governor to become law. Sen. Simitian’s first incarnation of the red-light camera bill got the votes, but got squashed by the governor See CAMERAS, page 9

8NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJune 6, 2012

Ernesto Marin, a firefighter/ paramedic with the Redwood City Fire Department, went through the motions of fighting a wildfire behind Christ Episcopal Church in Portola Valley on April 12. A weeklong drill had firefighters from across the county converging to hone their wildfire-fighting skills. Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

Making do after a community emergency ■ Volunteers seeking help in educating and preparing residents to be on their own.

By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


one are the thrilling days of yesteryear, when “horse thief” referred to a wily varmint sneaking up to a hitching rail or into a corral and riding off on the back of someone else’s means of transport. Today, such ne’erdo-wells are more likely to wait for a wildfire or earthquake that empties barns and stables, then, once the escapees are rounded up, carry off two or three behind a pickup truck. “Horse thievery is still present. People come with trailers and say ‘That one and that one and that one’” and drive off with other people’s horses, said Stephanie Trewhitt, a member of the local Disaster Animal Rescue Team (DART). She was referring to a post-disaster scenario in which rescued horses are tended by emergency workers who are uninformed as to their owners. It doesn’t have to be that way, she said. Ms. Trewhitt was speaking on May 30 to town council members of Woodside and Portola Valley about the value, in these two equestrian-friendly towns, of participating in a database that includes photos of domestic animals with their owners and, to further identify them, records of microchips embedded under the animals’ skins. The database is a work in progress by the Citizens Emergency Response Preparedness Program, a 14-year-old project of volunteers who attempt to educate residents and prepare them for disasters. The initiative focuses on Woodside, Portola Valley and unincorporated communities such as Los Trancos Woods, Vista Verde,

Ladera and Emerald Hills. Also serving these communities is the Woodside Fire Protection District, and Chief Dan Ghiorso was on hand to give the councils a summary of firefighting and evacuation drills held in mid-April. Resident participation in the evacuation drill did not meet expectations, Chief Ghiorso said. Vulnerable area

Resident participation is a bugaboo, for CERPP as well as the fire district. Of the district’s 16,500 residents, between 700 and 1,000 are trained CERPP volunteers, with about 45 added yearly, spokeswoman Gaylynne Mann said for a 2011 story. With volunteer participation at 5 percent, residents may be more vulnerable than they think. There will be no large public works department with bulldozers and dump trucks coming to the rescue, noted CERPP spokesman John Carnes. And firefighters and police are independent agencies, on contract with the towns but with responsibilities beyond their borders. Not only that, but regional relief agencies will probably focus on communities with greater damage, cities with multi-story apartments that have collapsed on to basement carports, for example, Mr. Carnes said. Residents of Woodside and Portola Valley live in singlefamily homes, many built to withstand seismic shocks. State and federal agencies “will look for where the greatest need is, and it’s not going to be here,” Mr. Carnes said. Woodside Mayor Dave Tanner said residents should plan to be on their own for two weeks.

Asked by email to comment, Mr. Carnes noted that immediate priorities — critically injured or trapped people and burning fires — will be “self-limiting: fires go out and seriously injured people die without treatment.” The infrastructure we rely on every day — electricity, drinking water, natural gas and telecommunications — will likely be out of service for at least a week, he said. “They aren’t going to work and it’s not just going to be for the afternoon,” Mr. Carnes told the councils. “(Residents) will be really grumpy about it and it’s going to be hard, quite frankly.” A 2002 report (Hetch Hetchy Water and the Bay Area Economy) predicts that following a major earthquake, all Bay Area households would be without water service for 20 days, that 20 percent would be without it for 30 days, and that full restoration would take 35 to 40 days, Mr. Carnes said. CERPP has nine strategically located 40-foot shipping containers filled with disaster-related items of necessity, including cots, blankets, flashlights, tools, etc. The group invested $40,000 in 110 trauma kits that volunteers assembled and keep fresh, and $70,000 in radios, including 110 for neighborhood use. Animal “micro-chipping” costs $25 for a dog or cat and $45 for a horse, according to the DART web page. There are plans to put the animal database and animal registration online. “Doing this right, taking the proper precautions to protect the personal information provided, is a big task and not one that we are even predicting a launch date for yet,” Mr. Carnes said in an email. Go to for more information. A


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Masur still leads fundraising in supes race By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


rom mid-March to midMay, donors gave nearly $83,000 to the seven candidates running for the District 4 seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in the June 5 election, according to campaign finance reports provided by the county Elections Office. For the period that ended in mid-March, candidate Shelly Masur led in fundraising, and she leads in this one as well, according to the latest reports. Ms. Masur, a member of the Redwood City School Board, raised $35,878 during this reporting period. While the candidates must live

FACEBOOK EXPANSION continued from page 5

of objections filed late in the review process, saying thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;not the way CEQA law should be handled and it should not penalize Facebook in any way.â&#x20AC;? Atherton Interim Public Works Director Mike Kashiwagi later told the Almanac that while the town had signed off on the mitigation twice before, staff reconsidered after evaluating the traffic that Facebook potentially would add. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This review included field reviewing and measuring the proposed changes to the Marsh/ Middlefield intersection in terms of feasibility and constructability. As a result of this review, Town staff determined that reduced road lane widths required by the proposed Facebook mitigation negatively impacts the ability of legal

in the district, they run county wide. The ability to spend money can be a strategic and tactical advantage in a county with 333,000 registered voters, about one-third of whom are expected to vote in the primary election. For example, during this latest reporting period, Ms. Masur spent nearly $30,000 on political consultants and about $22,000 on printing and postage. Candidate Warren Slocum, a former county chief elections officer and assessor-county clerk-recorder, reported spending $45,683 for printing and postage and $10,000 on consulting. Candidate Kirsten Keith, the mayor of Menlo Park, spent $11,000 on billboard advertising, her report shows.

Candidates also lend themselves money. Mr. Slocumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s report shows a loan of $102,683 from himself and his wife Maria Diaz-Slocum. Ms. Keith lent herself $50,000 on top of a $10,000 loan in February. Guillermo â&#x20AC;&#x153;Memoâ&#x20AC;? Morantes, a member of the county Board of Education and the second-biggest fundraiser this reporting period, lent himself $25,000 in December. If none of the seven candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote in June, the top two votergetters will run again in the November election, when the presidential race will attract far more voters. Go to for a more detailed summary of campaign fundraising.

sized vehicles (trucks) to safely make turns. Accordingly, we are unable to support the mitigation as proposed,â&#x20AC;? he said in an email. The EIR suggests that Facebook pay about 30 percent of the cost for adding another turning lane westbound on Middlefield and a merging lane northbound on Marsh, in addition to other roadway changes. Chip Taylor, Menlo Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s public works director, said the information city staff and the EIR consultants were working with indicates the area needed to widen lanes is in the public right-of-way; Atherton officials say the road-widening would involve private property that would need to be acquired. All three parties â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Facebook, Atherton and Menlo Park â&#x20AC;&#x201D; are continuing to hold discussions to decide the best way to resolve the impasse.

Meanwhile, the council took a few minutes to detail the numerous public hearings and outreach tools used to make everyone know exactly what was going on with Facebookâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expansion. Councilman Rich Cline pointed out that part of participating in the hearings included â&#x20AC;&#x153;checking our mailboxes for the meeting notices ... and showing up.â&#x20AC;? Facebook plans to hire up to 6,600 employees at its 1 Hacker Way â&#x20AC;&#x153;Eastâ&#x20AC;? campus â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the former Sun Microsystems campus at Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and make improvements to all its properties, including those on the Constitution Drive â&#x20AC;&#x153;Westâ&#x20AC;? campus. The councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s action last week approved the associated environmental impact reports, allowing the company to begin planning to implement the changes.

Commissioner Ray Mueller said the forms should clearly advise everyone of the right to remain silent, and praised the move to revise the notices. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are so very lucky to have a senator like Joe Simitian, who understands that the delicate line that sets boundaries of our civil rights in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s society can be threatened by the slow erosions that occur in the name of public safety, at the nexus between police power and technological improvement,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is great legislation, as shown by its unanimous passage in the Senate, and I am looking forward to hearing that the governor has signed the bill, relegating snitch tickets to historyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s garbage can of bad ideas and failed experiments.â&#x20AC;?

At $437 per fine, the tickets arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cheap, and neither is the red-light camera program. City staff estimated last year that annual revenue from the redlight camera program hovers around a modest $200,000, not including legal fees for defending citation challenges. By November 2011, the city attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office had billed the city approximately $68,000 since the program started in 2008. Menlo Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cameras are located at the intersections of Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road; El Camino Real and Ravenswood Avenue; and El Camino Real and Valparaiso Avenue. A spokesperson for the police department was not immediately available for comment on the proposed changes.

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on grounds that local jurisdictions should regulate their own programs. He said â&#x20AC;&#x153;it reflected a lack of understanding on the part of the administration about just how muddled the real world isâ&#x20AC;? in dealing with the cameras. Dueling court rulings have left the evidentiary value of the cameras open to attack, as one appellate court decided that the technician directly responsible for maintaining the cameras must testify, while another court came to the opposite conclusion. Los Angeles has now disbanded its red-light camera program, in part due to the legal controversy and also because of difficulty in collecting the fines. Menlo Park Transportation


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671-A Oak Grove Ave Menlo Park 650-327-1313 June 6, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN9

10NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJune 6, 2012

June 6, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11


Job cuts, Alpine Road trail improvement in new county budget ■

Budget assumes passage of three tax measures.

By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


ohn Maltbie, the interim San Mateo County manager, is proposing cutting 234 positions in county government for the 2012-13 budget while at the same time proposing to spend $2 million to improve the meandering and controversial section of trail along Alpine Road between Menlo Park and Portola Valley. A public hearing on the proposed budget before the Board of Supervisors is set for 9 a.m. Monday, June 18, in the board chambers in the Hall of Justice at 400 County Center in Redwood City. In a May 30 statement, Mr. Maltbie outlined the budget spending priorities. The Alpine Road trail project comes fourth in a list of eight spending priorities. Among them: ■ $44.2 million for the first phase of planning a new 576bed county jail “to replace the aging and outdated Women’s Correctional Center and to relieve chronic overcrowding

in men’s facilities.” The jail is expected to cost $165 million and be ready for occupation in mid-2015. ■ $9.7 million for tenant and seismic improvements to Circle Star South, a county-owned building for dispatchers for public safety communications and for the county’s emergency operations center. ■ $2.7 million to fund “realignment,” part of a 2011 initiative by Gov. Jerry Brown to gradually transfer oversight from the state to the counties of parolees and prisoners convicted of “non-violent, non-serious and non-sex-related” crimes. ■ $3.4 million to pay for Sheriff’s Office patrol services to the city of Millbrae, most of which will be offset by revenues from Millbrae. ■ $1.5 million to comply with negotiated salary and benefit increases. “The modest ... increase in salary and benefits countywide is mainly for step increases for certain employees and negotiated raises for nurses,” the county statement said. The $1.83 billion budget

proposal assumes the passage in the June 5 election of ballot measures T, U and X. If a simple majority of voters approves them, these measures would increase annual revenues by $13 million when rental car, parking and hotel businesses pass the new taxes on to their

‘By the end of fiscal year 2012-13, the county will have eliminated a net of 766 positions or about onesixth of its work force.’ INTERIM COUNTY MANAGER JOHN MALTBIE

customers, most of whom are visitors to the county. If voters approve these three taxes, the budget will be balanced with a $28 million withdrawal from general fund reserves, leaving the reserve at $165 million, Budget Director Jim Saco told the Almanac. If voters reject all three tax measures, the withdrawal would rise

to $40 million. Two hundred of the proposed cuts to staff would come from closing a long-term care facility in Burlingame, with the others spread around 10 other county departments, Mr. Saco said. Other cutbacks include $1.1 million in “efficiency measures” in the information technology services, another $1.1 million by eliminating a fire engine company in San Mateo, and $2.7 million in cutbacks at the county medical center. “By the end of fiscal year 2012-13, the county will have eliminated a net of 766 positions or about one-sixth of its work force,” Mr. Maltbie said. “While there is some improvement in the local economy and stabilizing of revenues the county still faces many financial challenges.” “We can no longer assume that what once worked well will work well in the future,” he added. “Help will not be forthcoming from Washington, D.C., or Sacramento. I am convinced that the only way forward is to remake the organization in a way that will provide financial stability and

f lexibility to meet the uncertainties ahead of us.” Go to and click on links under the “Current Budget” heading for more details. Alpine Road trail

Stanford University had proposed spending about $10 million to redesign and reroute the section of Alpine Road trail, but a majority on the Board of Supervisors rejected the plan in December 2011. A last-minute proposal to the board to simply repave the existing trail came too late for significant study, but it emerged as a viable alternative for the county. Mr. Saco said he did not have details on what the proposed $2 million budget allocation would cover. A large majority of residents of Stanford Weekend Acres opposed the Stanford plan, in part because of the complicated logistics of creating a multi-use “suburban” 8-foot-wide asphalt trail on a semi-rural route that includes two freeway ramps, an eroding creek bank, and a very narrow right-of-way next to a steep hillside. A

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Firefighter injured in house fire near Flood Park ■ District officials investigating incident; firefighter expected to recover fully.

By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


n attic fire enveloped and seriously burned the hands of a firefighter around 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30, while he was standing on the roof and using a chain saw to cut a ventilation hole of a four-bedroom onestory house just east of Flood Park, authorities said. The injured firefighter, whom the Menlo Park Fire Protection District did not identify, spent a night in Stanford Hospital for observation and is expected to fully recover from the first- and second-degree burns to his hands, Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in a statement. That the firefighter was wearing protective gloves at the time the fire flashed over and caused his

injuries is significant and will be investigated, the chief said. The district had checked recently to ensure that the firefighters weren’t using gloves a manufacturer had recently recalled. “Any time we have one of our personnel injured we take that very, very seriously and conduct a comprehensive post-incident review of the emergency,” Chief Schapelhouman said in the statement. “While what happened is certainly unfortunate, I’m glad that it wasn’t worse, given the difficult conditions that firefighters can face on the fire ground when they are combating an active fire. We got lucky on this one.” Firefighters responded to a 6:44 p.m. phone call from a neighbor reporting gray smoke coming from the roof of the house at 1058

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Oakland Ave., the chief said. One company of firefighters arrived four minutes later; that number grew to about 20, including two battalion chiefs to manage the incident, the chief said. By 7:15 p.m., the fire was under control, but did $400,000 in damage to the structure and $100,000 to the contents, the chief said. Five renting tenants lived in the 2,000-square-foot home but have been displaced, as the house is not safe for occupation. This was not a simple fire to

extinguish, and several holes had to be cut into the roof, the chief said. Complicating factors included super-heated gases and smoke, an enclosed and elevated area where the fire might be when trying to fight it from the inside, and not knowing exactly where the flames were, the chief said. Prior to his injury, the firefighter, who was wearing his mask and other safety equipment, had left the roof to get a fresh chain saw. He resumed his work but had for-


gotten to reattach the air-regulator to his mask “when the fire ball swept over him,” the chief said. The flames burned through his gloves, but he came through with his respiratory tract only irritated — a “miraculous” outcome, the chief said. When the flames leapt up, the firefighter had the presence of mind to hold his breath and back away as fellow firefighters pulled him away from the ventilation hole. The fireball having subsided, the injured firefighter went on to finish his assignment before leaving the roof, Chief Schapelhouman said. A

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Supporter - $50 Mia Banks, Coldwell Banker VI S IT LP CH.ORG TO S IG N U P FOR CLAS S E S June 6, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN13


Craig Haesemeyer Craig Henry Haesemeyer passed away peacefully at Stanford University Hospital on Saturday, May 12, blessed with friends and family surrounding him. Craig grew up in the small town of State Center, Iowa, where his father was the head of the local community bank. Craig followed in his father’s footsteps to the Business School at the University of Iowa, as well as into the fraternity, Sigma Nu. Sigma Nu was an instrumental part of his adult life. In Craig’s senior year at the University of Iowa, where he served as the President of Sigma Nu Fraternity and was elected “Greek Man on Campus.” After graduating from the University of Iowa, Craig received an MBA from Harvard Business School. He then came to San Francisco to pursue a career in investment banking. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Board of Directors of Central State Bank, a family-owned bank since 1936. In 1991, Craig co-founded Transcontinental Capital Partners (TCP), a Palo Alto based boutique investment bank and advisory firm working largely with privately held companies. In 1994 he became Chairman and sole owner of Central State Bank, the community bank previously run by his father. Subsequently, it was the highest performing bank in the State for several consecutive years. Craig always aimed to make his father proud. He remained the Chairman and owner of the Bank until his premature death. During Craig and Wendy’s honeymoon, they had a serendipitous meeting with leaders of the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation. It had been

several years since Craig was active with Sigma Nu at the University of Iowa, but he remembered his positive experiences and wanted to reconnect. That chance meeting began a lifelong commitment to its national Educational Foundation. He served in several positions on the Foundation’s Board, including President, Chairman, and Immediate Past Chairman Emeritus. In 2009, the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation’s Board of Directors inducted Craig as only the 7th member of the Fletcher Honor Society, the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Foundation. This Honor recognizes Brothers/Members who have given selflessly of their time, talent, and resources in support of the Foundation. Craig is survived by his wife, Wendy, and son, Christian Todd (CT). He will be remembered for his dedication to family, friends and work, his love of sharing a good bottle of Pinot Noir with good friends, and his constant workouts. A local celebration of Craig’s life is planned for Friday, June 22nd at 2:00 PM, at Allied Arts Guild, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park, CA. The family requests any donations in Craig’s memory be sent to the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation, Inc., 9 Lewis Street, Lexington, VA 24450. These Donations will enable the Foundation to provide leadership and educational scholarships. PA I D


Robert John Stewart July 4, 1927 – May 16, 2012 Robert John Stewart died on May 16, 2012 at age 84 of complications from metastatic prostate cancer. Preceded in death by his wife, Verna, and eldest daughter Nancy, he is survived by his daughter, Ellen Stewart Moore, son-in-law, Warren Moore, two granddaughters, Hathaway and Katherine Moore and his brother Don Stewart of Merced, CA. Born in Portland, Oregon, Bob moved to San Francisco from Seattle, Washington in 1939 with his father, Harry Stewart, mother Clara and brother Don. He attended Lowell High School and later served in the army as part of the security detail in charge of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He earned a B.A. in economics from Stanford University in 1951 and his MBA from Stanford Business School in 1953. After graduation, Bob joined West Coast Life Insurance Company and worked as a vice president for a number of years before meeting his future wife, Verna at the wedding of his best friend. She was the maid-ofhonor and he was the best man. They were married within a year in December of 1957 and soon moved to Saint Francis Woods in San Francisco, and then down to Atherton in 1965. Bob later joined his father managing family financial and business matters at Stewart & Company. In 1981 one of these businesses, Acacia Van & Storage located in Merced required his management full time. He ultimately sold the business in 1994

and retired to Atherton where he has been a resident for over 47 years. At the time of his death, Bob was a member of the Menlo Circus Club and an honorary member of the Metropolitan Club in San Francisco. Bob’s family remained the focal point and his deepest love throughout his life. He savored his time with his family most of all. Having a passion for music, Bob and his late wife, Verna, regularly attended the San Francisco Opera for more than 25 years. The truest of gentleman, Bob had impeccable manners, and a kind and gracious spirit. He was also a consummate gardener with roses as his specialty. Dearly loved for his thoughtfulness, generosity, and witty sense of humor, Bob will be remembered for being a devoted husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. Memorial services will be held at Valley Presbyterian Church, 945 Portola Road, Portola Valley, CA on Friday, July 27 at 4pm with a reception to follow. In lieu of f lowers, donations can be made in his memory to Filoli, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside, CA 94062 ( Please include “In memory of Bob Stewart” on your donation. PA I D

14NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJune 6, 2012


Menlo Park woman produces childhood obesity documentary “The Parents’ Survival Guide: Childhood Obesity,” a one-hour documentary produced and hosted by Louise Pencavel of Menlo Park, will air at 7 and 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 13, on KQED World public television. The documentary, which will be broadcast across the country on public television in the coming months, was created expressly for parents and includes information for dealing with childhood obesity in our country, says Ms. Pencavel. By combining interviews with experts and profiles of families, the film helps parents understand the causes of obesity, and offers practical strategies for prevention and

intervention, she says. “My heart goes out to parents who are struggling, day in and day out, with the enormous odds that are stacked against them in our culture,” Ms. Pencavel says. “I want to share what I have learned in researching the subject in hopes of making it just a little bit easier for those parents and for their children.” A Menlo Park resident for 30 years, Ms. Pencavel has a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a master’s in communication from Stanford University. She is production services manager for the Midpeninsula Community Media Center, located at 900 San Antonio Road in Palo Alto.

TOWN OF WOODSIDE 2955 WOODSIDE ROAD WOODSIDE, CA 94062 INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR CIRCULATION COMMITTEE The Circulation Committee will meet on the third Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Initial appointments will be for one or two year terms. The Committee supports the General Plan goal to balance circulation system user needs and works to foster a community for all users of the public roadway system, including motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians. The Circulation Committee works with the Town Engineer, Sheriff’s Department and local and regional organizations to develop programs to encourage dialog on circulation system needs, promote “share the road” programs for all users, and develop educational programs to promote traffic safety. The Committee advises Town staff and the Town Council about ways to make the roadway system safer for all users, to encourage effective traffic enforcement, and to promote safe, convenient access to schools, Town businesses, public and private institutions, and neighborhoods. The Committee shall review applications for special event permits for the Town’s roadways, offer expert participation on the City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG) Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and make recommendations regarding grant applications that seek to improve the Town’s bicycle and pedestrian system. The Committee shall confer with the Trails Committee on programs and recommendations of mutual interest. The Committee will consist of nine members with two appointees concurrent members of the Trails Committee. The Council will strive to appoint individuals with an understanding of the bicycle and pedestrian issues in the Town including those relating to Safe Routes to School. Committees are volunteer positions and serve in an advisory capacity to the Town Council. Interested residents may request information and applications Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-12 noon and 1-5:00 p.m., from the Town Clerk’s Office at Town Hall, 2955 Woodside Road, or telephone (650) 851-6790, or through the Town’s web site at Deadline for applications is Tuesday, July 3, 2012.


Budget, financial update on PV school board agenda The Portola Valley school community will have a chance to hear an update on the fiscal crisis facing the Portola Valley School District when the board meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 6. The proposed budget for the 2012-13 school year will be presented at the meeting, and is likely to contain painful cuts to programs. The district is struggling to analyze and address a deficit that came to light during audits set in motion after Tim Hanretty resigned as superintendent in January; his resignation was the result of an investigation launched by the county District Attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office of his actions when he worked for the Wood-

side School District. Of f icia ls subsequent ly announced that financial irregularities were also found in the Portola Valley district and are still being investigated by forensic auditors, county-appointed fiscal expert Sandra Lepley, and the districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interim finance official, Mark Bonnett. The district was already working to address a projected deficit of more than $850,000 for the next school year when the auditors uncovered the additional shortfall, estimated at more than $500,000. The June 6 meeting will be in the district office annex building at 4575 Alpine Road in Portola Valley.

Whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got my cell phone? Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an app for that A 15-year-old Menlo-Atherton High School student is facing criminal charges over the alleged theft from a locker room of a cell-phone case and three cell phones, one of which led to his undoing, according to police. The student allegedly cut padlocks and took contents from several lockers while the students were in physical educa-

Farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; market celebrates 20 years Downtown Menlo Park got a lot livelier on Sundays when the farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; market opened in 1992. To celebrate 20 years of bringing fresh produce and entertainment, the founders will present each farmer with a commemorative book on June 10, according to sponsor Nancy Couperus. The Menlo Park Live Oak Lions Club and a group of downtown merchants have helped turn stall fees into $521,758 in donations to local nonprofits and national disaster efforts since the market began, according to Ms. Couperus. She said the market also gives about 600 pounds of produce a week to food banks and other community assistance organizations. For its 20th anniversary, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not planning an extravaganza, but we will be thanking all of our farmers for being part of what has become a Menlo Park institution,â&#x20AC;? she said. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays in the Chestnut Street parking lot between Santa Cruz and Menlo avenues.

tion class, then left for his home in Redwood City with property with an estimated value of $1,420, Sgt. Sherman Hall of the Atherton Police Department told the Almanac. Little did the student know that one of the cell phone owners had installed a â&#x20AC;&#x153;find my phoneâ&#x20AC;? application which, when queried, led police to the studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home, police said. The student confessed, police said, adding that a stolen hard disk drive and $20 in cash are still outstanding. The suspectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name was withheld because he is a minor.


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Norman Frederick Phillips November 20, 1925 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; May 21, 2012 Norman Phillips was born in Mt. Lebanon, PA, and lived in Menlo Park, CA, for 35 years. For the past eight years Norm has resided at the Sequoia Retirement Center in Portola Valley, CA, and enjoyed being part of this loving, supportive community. He was educated at Valley Forge Military Academy, and Washington and Jefferson College in PA, and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. Norm proudly served in the U.S. Army in World War II and the Korean War. He worked for Eastman Kodak Company for 35 years in sales and marketing, retired in 1989 and continued his rewarding career with IKON OfďŹ ce Solutions until 2003. For the last 43 years, Norm has been an active member of the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, passionately serving as an elder, deacon, and representing the Church at the San Francisco Presbytery. Over the last 20 years

he was dedicated to the leadership of the churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s senior group. He will be remembered for his deep faith, encouraging words and joyful, enthusiastic spirit. His life was a gift to us all. Above all, Norm was devoted to his wife, Marian, of 62 years. He was a dedicated father to his three children: Jim of Sunnyvale, Bruce (and Betsy Dwyer Phillips) of San Jose, and Carol (and Todd Getz) of Wheaton, Illinois, as well as a loving grandfather to his three grandchildren: Delaney Getz, Shelby and Dwyer Phillips. A memorial service will be held at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church on Friday, June 29, at 2:00 p.m. PA I D


You Race. Kids Win. Saturday, June 23, 2012 Â&#x2122; Stanford Join the Packard Summer Scamper and support patients and families at Packard Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital. Sign up for the 5k run/walk, 10k run, or kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fun run! Register today at

June 6, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN15

Weight Loss Study! Stanford Seeking Volunteers x Pre diabetes or Fasting Blood Sugar 100-125 x 40-70 years old x Moderately Overweight BMI 27-35 x In Good Health

Dr. Gerald Reaven is studying effects of weight loss on prediabetes at Stanford University. Participants will receive screening for pre diabetes/diabetes. Those who qualify will receive 3 months of one-on-one weight loss counseling by an expert research dietitian. In addition to weight loss, participants will be randomized to either placebo (no medicine) or a medication that may enhance weight loss beyond the dietary weight loss program.

Call Dr Abbasi @ 650-723-7024 For a Weight Loss Opportunity For general information regarding questions, concerns, or complaints about research, research related injury, or the rights of research participants, please call (650) 723-5244 or toll-free 1-866-680-2906, or write to the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Medical Research, Administrative Panels Office, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5401.


Portola Valley town picnic, trail dedication this Saturday New for the Portola Valley town picnic in 2012: a trail, a club and a shirt. On Saturday, June 9, the highlights of the event include a rededication of the Dwight Crowder Trail along Alpine Road, an information table about a new Women’s Club, and a picnic T-shirt designed by A.J. Nybo, a seventh-grader at Corte Madera Middle School. The day starts with the trail rededication ceremony at 9 a.m. at Ford (baseball) Field, 3399 Alpine Road, with remarks by a member of the Town Council and by a Stanford University representative, according to a town statement. Stanford spent about $2.9 million to renew and reroute sections of the trail as part of a 2006 initiative connected to Stanford’s plans for developing its land in Santa Clara County. Dwight Crowder was one of the founding residents of Portola Valley and an early community advocate for preserving views and creeks and for sensible development, given the seismic, scenic and topographic characteristics of the town, according to Town

Historian Nancy Lund. Following the trail rededication ceremony, registration for the Zots-to-Tots walk/run/bike race opens at 9:15 a.m. at the Alpine Inn (Rossotti’s) at 3915 Alpine Road. The race begins at 10 a.m. Included with the $10 registration fee, while supplies last, is the T-shirt. The race ends at Town Center at 765 Portola Road, where children’s activities will include a petting zoo, a bouncy house, a slide, a dunk tank and a bungee run. Food for sale will include cake and snow cones from the Girl Scouts, cotton candy from the Cub Scouts, and popcorn from them both. The Boy Scouts will sell burgers from Draeger’s market, hot dogs, veggie burgers, Chinese chicken salad, and snacks and drinks. The informational table for the Women’s Club will be one of several tables, the others representing some of the volunteer-based town committees. The Friends of the Portola Valley Library will be selling used books, CDs and DVDs, and a bookmobile will be outside the Historic Schoolhouse, the picnic announcement said.

TOWN OF PORTOLA VALLEY NOTICE OF A PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO SITE DEVELOPMENT AND ZONING ORDINANCES TO ADJUST PERMIT APPEALS PERIODS AND TIME LIMITS NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Town Council of the Town of Portola Valley will hold a public hearing on June 20, 2012 to consider amendments to the site development and zoning ordinances relative to permit appeal periods and time limits. The proposed amendments would change the appeal periods for variances and conditional use permits to 15 days from the action on the application. In addition, the proposed amendments would adjust the time limit for a variance to one year from issuance, establish a time limit of one year for a fence permit, and would allow site development permits, variances and fence permits that are issued in conjunction with an architectural review to have a two year time limit. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Town Planner has determined that above described project is exempt from CEQA pursuant to Section 15061(b)(3) of the CEQA Guidelines. The amendments only impact appeal and permit life time limits and do not affect land uses or environmental review requirements. Because it can be seen with certainty that the amendments could not have a significant effect on the environment, the project is exempt from CEQA. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Town Council of the Town of Portola Valley will initiate the public hearing on the proposed amendments at its special meeting of June 20, 2012 at 7:30 p.m., Town Hall (Historic Schoolhouse), 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley, California. All interested persons are invited to appear before the Town Council at the times and place herein above-mentioned. Copies of the proposed site development and zoning ordinance amendments and related materials will be available at Portola Valley Town Hall, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley, California starting on June 8, 2012. Dated: Signed: 16NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJune 6, 2012

June 5, 2012 Sharon Hanlon, Town Clerk


Peninsula Volunteers will be ‘Horsin’ Around’ June 23 Members of the Peninsula Volunteers are urged to “kick up their spurs” and head west for “Horsin’ Around,” a benefit to be held from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 23, at the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy, 880 Runnymede Road in Woodside. Along with dancing, dining and live music, there will be casino events and a special appearance by Krandel Lee Newton, known as the original “Butt Sketcher.” Since 1987, the artist has specialized in drawing folks from a rear view. For the second year, Mr. Newton is being f lown in from Dallas, Texas, by Joe and Nancy Greenbach of Atherton. Ms. Greenbach hails from Dallas. The fundraiser will also feature a vaulting show, a cowgirl act, parade of miniature horses and goats, pie contests, panning for gold, and a wine toss. Tickets at $175, or $250 for a sponsor ticket, may be purchased by calling Cathy Duhring of Peninsula Volunteers at 326-0665. Peninsula Volunteers has created and provided programs for the aging in South San Mateo County for almost 65 years. Among the programs the organization supports are Little House and Rosener House centers, the Roslyn G. Morris Activity Center, and Meals on Wheels.


Menlo Library book sale The Friends of the Menlo Park Library will hold a book sale from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 17, across the library’s parking lot, next to the gym in the Menlo Park Civic Center. The library is located at 800 Alma St. in Menlo Park. The sale will include books on art and collectibles, biography, cooking, history, mystery, science fiction and fantasy, religion and philosophy, and more. There will also be a selection of children’s books. The Friends of the Menlo Park Library are seeking volunteers. If you love books and have a few hours a week to give, call 3302521 for more details.

MENLO PARK Residential burglary reports: ■ Losses estimated at $4,340 in break-in through unlocked window and theft of video game console, camera, Apple iPod and $2,500 in cash, Hollyburne Ave., May 22. ■ Losses estimated at $2,500 in break-in through unlocked bedroom window and theft of two laptop computers, Coach handbag, and Apple iTouch, Hamilton Ave., May 30. ■ Losses estimated at $550 in breakin through unlocked rear door and theft of backpack and miscellaneous jewelry, Vine St., May 23. Commercial burglary report: Losses estimated at $400 in unknown means of entry and theft of four Apple iPads from classroom, East Palo Alto High School at 475 Pope St., May 29. Theft reports: ■ Losses estimated at $8,735 in theft of purse whose contents included wallet, medication, sunglasses, make-up and cell phone, 2000 block Sand Hill Road, May 29. ■ Losses estimated at $3,150 in theft of two bicycles and air compressor

Summer 2012

For more information about these camps, see our online directory of camps at To advertise in a weekly directory, contact 650-326-8210

Academics Champion Youth Enrichment School

Arts, Culture and Other Camps Palo Alto/ Mountain View

Wizbots Creative Robotics Palo Alto/ Summer Camps Menlo Park/San Carlos

Join CYES’s culture summer camp, mixing academic subjects and hands-on exploration. Daily enrichment activities and weekly field trips. Learn 300 frequently used Chinese characters through creative, interactive Sunrise immersion program. 650-858-1880, 650-353-0881

FUN. ROBOTS. CREATIVITY. That’s what Wizbots Creative Robotics camps are all about! Each weekly camp includes the use of computers, LEGO® Mindstorms NXT robotics equipment, LEGO, motors, sensors, arts & craft supplies and other unique building materials. With lots of fun projects and exciting themes, boys and girls alike, learn all kinds of new skills and exercise their imaginations. The all new themes for summer 2012 include: Robots in Space, Robolympics, Crazy Contraptions, and Dynamic Designs. Quality staff lead half-day and fullday camps for rising 2nd-7th graders.

Master Gardener tour Menlo Park and Atherton gardens will be featured on the Master Gardener water-wise garden tour to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 23. The sixgarden tour also includes sites in Redwood City and San Carlos. The Master Gardener program’s demonstration garden at Redwood High School in Redwood City, which features vegetables, fruit trees, herbs and chickens, is also on the tour. Tickets at $20 are available on the day of the tour. Visit

N PO LI C E C A L L S 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.

n n o e C c p t i on m a C

from carport, Live Oak Ave., May 25.

■ Donald Toggle, 39, of Menlo Park arrested and booked into county jail on theft charges after discovered sleeping under tarp on victim’s front porch, told to leave and left with tarp, Kenwood Drive, May 30. Stolen vehicle report: Beige 2000 Lincoln LS stolen from carport, Pierce Road, May 28. Brandished weapon report: Family friend brandished firearm and fled upon hearing sirens after verbal altercation that included being called out for tampering with victim’s vehicle, Terminal Ave., May 25. WEST MENLO PARK Found property report: Five false identification cards confiscated from underage patrons handed over to sheriff’s deputies, Dutch Goose at 3567 Alameda de las Pulgas, May 28.


Discover the best places to eat this week! AMERICAN


Armadillo Willy’s

Chef Chu’s

941-2922 1031 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos

948-2696 1067 N. San Antonio Road

Cheese Steak Shop


326-1628 2305-B El Camino Real, Palo Alto

856-7700 1700 Embarcadero East, Palo Alto

Lutticken’s 854-0291 3535 Alameda, Menlo Park

The Old Pro 326-1446 541 Ramona Street, Palo Alto STEAKHOUSE

Sundance the Steakhouse 321-6798 1921 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

ATHERTON Residential burglary report: Losses estimated at $753 in theft of furniture from detached garage, Park Lane, May 25. Auto burglary report: Unknown losses in break-in and theft of stereo accessories, cash and possibly Apple iPod, Menlo-Atherton High School parking lot at 555 Middlefield Road, May 30.

New Tung Kee Noodle House 947-8888 520 Showers Drive, Mountain View INDIAN

Janta Indian Restaurant 462-5903 369 Lytton Ave.

Thaiphoon 323-7700 543 Emerson Ave, Palo Alto

Read and post reviews, explore restaurant menus, get hours and directions and more at ShopPaloAlto, ShopMenloPark and ShopMountainView

powered by

June 6, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN17

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 Shannon Corey Designers Linda Atilano, Lili Cao, 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.

Parents get reprieve on after-school program


elle Haven parents showed their mettle last week when they convinced the Menlo Park City Council to put off a decision to shut down the after-school day care program that currently serves 41 students. It was the right move for the council members, who agreed to delay their effort to save nearly $200,000 to pay for additional police officers lost when Gov. Jerry Brown took away redevelopment districts all over the state, including the one in eastern Menlo Park. But although they will receive another year of partially subsidized child care, most parents of young children in the program will have to decide what to do next year if the City Council sticks to its EDI TORI AL word and transfers the program to the nonprofit Boys and Girls The opinion of The Almanac Club of the Peninsula. Some told the council that they would try to raise some of the funds to cover the subsidy, but realistically there is no way for the parents to make up such a large difference. It is unfortunate, but in a state that is constantly battling insolvency, budget cuts can greatly impact small cities like Menlo Park, which is juggling programs whose funding was lost when the redevelopment agency was shut down. Subsidizing after-school child care for 41 Belle Haven students of mostly low-income parents is just one of the difficult choices the city faces. (The city charges $60 to $450 a week, based on income.)

If the program is shut down and the Boys and Girls Club is the only alternative, parents say their children would lose many amenities, including transportation from the bus stop to the Onetta Harris Community Center; hot snacks; children separated by age; a low adult-to-student ratio; and a family atmosphere appropriate for younger children. The after-school programs at the Boys and Girls Club serve many more students, 265 in grades 1 to 8, which parents say would be a major transition for students who are accustomed to the more individualized attention at Onetta Harris. But the price appeals to city officials who say the Club, which gets high marks from parents, would charge only $60,000 a year to take in all of the children in Belle Haven’s after-school program. It has been a difficult choice for the council, since the city operates a similar program in a child-care center next to City Hall. There, well-to-do parents pay for nearly all the costs of keeping the program afloat. The difference is not lost on Belle Haven parents, who have been critical of the city for not reaching out more to them to explain the options. One parent said she feels “...bombarded due to the side of the tracks we are on, also known as the side of color, also known as the east side.” Such criticisms are a concern, but it is also true that the city has lost its redevelopment agency that for years has poured millions of dollars for numerous projects into Belle Haven. Ending after-school day care is just one of the hard choices the city is making now and must make in the years ahead.

L ET TERS Our readers write

Food trucks will create mess on Santa Cruz Avenue Editor: As a restaurant owner on Santa Cruz Ave. for over 12 years, I have to voice my displeasure on the plan for food trucks to occupy an area near my restaurant. Someone, somehow has decided that this is good idea for Menlo Park. This is not a positive turn for an area which already has vacant stores down the entire street. All the Santa Cruz businesses work very hard to keep operating. Has anyone looked into the mess that these trucks will create? Are there going to be public toilets available? Is there going to be someone cleaning up the overflowing garbage cans at the end of the evening? Will someone be cleaning the mess off the stained sidewalks, or is it just going to look disgraceful until the morning? Who is paying for this clean up? Also think of the businesses, homes and apartments in the immediate area that have to suffer from hearing engines running for hours and general disturbance of their standard of living. Ali Elsafy, owner Bistro Vida

18NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJune 6, 2012

Our Regional Heritage

Atherton Heritage Association

Young Ansel Adams, with his parents Charles and Cassandra Adams, was the grandson of William Adams, who in 1867 bought 26 acres in Atherton at what is now Middlefield and Marsh roads. Ansel was first a serious piano student, but changed course when his father handed him a camera.

Athertonians issue was about the name Editor: I have a great deal of respect for the First Amendment. Our judiciary long ago ruled that people should be allowed to say

what they want, short of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. It is what our forefathers fought long and hard for. So I can understand why last week’s Almanac editorial would find any attempt to terminate the Athertonians Yahoo Group based on its con-

tent as “off base.” But, to put it simply, you got it wrong. I may not like what the Athertonians post. But I would fight for their right to print it. I would even want it available in our hoped-for new library. The Continued on next page


L ET T ER S Our readers write

Continued from previous page

problem, as I see it, is this: the Athertonians is a group which presents itself as “not intended for partisan discourse.” Yet for much of the last year or so that is primarily what it has done. In addition, it has unwittingly (to the resident) solicited membership directly online from a town program, and then, subsequently “purged” from its email list members who were known supporters of a project “unpopular” with the Athertonians moderators. It has denied access to at least one Atherton resident for no reason except, perhaps, that he is related to a council member who supports that same “unpopular” project. The website says that “Individuals can send messages quickly and easily to the community,” but just try to send anything with which the anonymous “moderators” do not agree and it will never see the light of day, and then it proceeds to conduct so-called representative “surveys” of the Atherton community and call for a “representative vote.” In speaking with one of the town attorneys concerning this website recently, I made it very clear that my goals were to make clear to the people of the town that this site was not affiliated with the town, to set forth the actual town policies in the matters believed misrepresented by the Athertonians, and under no circumstances to sue or in any way try to affect the content. While our attorney had suggested that we might have a right to the Athertonian name, I suggested that if the Athertonians was unwilling to change its name, I believed it was preferable simply to differentiate the names of the town’s communications. Our town had already begun considering this path when your editorial was published. Censorship of the Athertonians site or shutting down what was determined to be a private site was never considered. The issue was always about a name. Kathy McKeithen, member Atherton Town Council

Measure L team drops Romero, backs Keith Editor: The revelation of Carlos Romero’s dishonest claim of Stanford and Harvard degrees is sad. Watching the video, it’s hard to accept his defense of a “mistake by a neophyte,” given

Aging cyclists on El Camino? Not really By David Roise

graphic profile (DP-1) tables for Menlo Park. Contrary to the assertion in the email, s Mark Twain was reportedly fond those tables show that the median age in of saying, there are three kinds of Menlo Park increased only slightly during lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. this period, from 37.4 to 38.7, and that the This saying came to mind recently as I read increase in percentage of residents over 45 was also much smaller than was an email message from the local asserted in the email, from 37.2 group, Menlo Park’s Future. to 40.1. Furthermore, the 65-yearAs an avid bicyclist, the subject and-over population had actually line of the message: “Fate of Bikes declined, from 15.9 percent to 14.3 on El Camino Real will soon be percent, while the 19-year-anddecided by City Council,” caught under population rose from 23.4 my attention. The message noted percent to 25.8 percent. In other that the Menlo Park City Counwords, the email message from cil would soon be considering GUEST Menlo Park’s Future was flat-out various options for reconfigurOPINION wrong. Mark Twain’s saying should ing El Camino Real as part of an perhaps be modified to mention upcoming vote on the Downtown that even statistics deserve to be Specific Plan. The author voiced her opposition to the addition of bike lanes properly quoted. Also, I’m not sure whether putting bike on El Camino Real and urged readers to contact members of the council to weigh lanes on El Camino Real would be a good idea — there are lots of roads without bike in on the issue. What really stood out for me in the mes- lanes that feel perfectly safe to me, and there sage was the author’s assertion that the are also many roads with bike lanes that can population of Menlo Park is aging, and that feel unsafe. What matters most to me as a bike lanes would therefore be receiving less bicyclist is the speed of the cars around me, use, not more, in the future. In support of and whether or not the drivers of those cars this argument, the author asserted that the demonstrate care, consideration, and respect median age of Menlo Park had increased for my safety and right to use the road. I am from 32 to 37 between 2000 and 2010, that sure that any changes to El Camino Real that the percentage of residents over 45 had gone make the road feel more like an expressway, from 30.25 to 41.1 during that period, and such as removing parking, would probably that those in the 64-plus range had almost be a bad thing for the safety and comfort of bicyclists, whereas any changes to slow traffic doubled from 8.7 percent to 14.3 percent. These numbers surprised me, since my and increase drivers’ awareness of bicyclists own anecdotal experience suggests that would probably be a good thing. While it is my opinion that there are many there is a baby boom in the area, and indeed, that our public schools are burst- good reasons for us to advocate for increased ing at the seams due to increased enroll- bicycle use — environmental, cultural, and ment. Menlo Park hardly seems like a even psychological — and that Menlo Park residents of all ages will benefit from any graying community to me. Thanks to the Internet, access to the U.S. changes that improve safety for bicyclists, Census data is easy. I went to the America I don’t make up data to support that posiFactFinder website ( tion. As the other old saying goes, you are and searched for the 2000 and 2010 demo- entitled to your own opinions, but you are


his grey beard (and body language). Those who were counting on his campaign positions need another choice. The Measure L team had backed both Romero and Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith. She has extensive experience in social issues, has served on two city commissions, and has been an exemplary council member Having met and watched all of the candidates and in spite of regret at the prospect of losing our best council member, I support Kirsten Keith for county supervisor. It’s time we had a quality representative in that mysterious government that takes our property taxes but can’t keep the parks open. Henry Riggs Callie Lane, Menlo Park For Measure L team

Time for senators to be heroes It has come time to vote yes

or no on the California HighSpeed Rail project. It is not ready for prime time yet. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited the state last month to pressure legislators to vote yes on a business plan that was sent to them about 30 days ago. He wants a decision now. August is not soon enough. There is no reason to rush. The first contracts for the first section will not be signed until end of 2012 or beginning of 2013. Darrell Steinberg, president pro tem of the Senate, believes senators have all the relevant information on the project and, borrowing a quote from Sen. Joe Simitian, said “reasonable people can disagree.” However, in my opinion, some critical questions remain unanswered and they all point to this being a very high-risk, poorly executed project. Senator Alan Lowenthal

not entitled to your own facts. Let’s keep that in mind as we finally move forward on the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan. David Roise lives on Creek Drive and is the former chair of the Menlo Park Bicycle Commission.

No biking on El Camino Editor’s Note: The following note from the citizens’ group Menlo Park’s Future was received late last week. First, I apologize. The demographics cited in my May email on this issue were wrong. I try and keep good records and information, but this time I goofed. Sorry. However, I still believe that introducing bike lanes on El Camino Real (ECR) is a dangerous and traffic-gnarling idea that would benefit very few and inconvenience the huge majority. Our fire chief told the Planning Commission that bikers on ECR would create customers for emergency services. This is not a good thing. We want to create customers for local businesses, not the Stanford ER. Let me suggest an alternative bike route. We should have bike lanes from Menlo Park’s southern boundary to Encinal Avenue. The bike route would go to Alma, to Mills, and to Garwood (which gets filled in) to Encinal. It sounds complex, but these streets are within a few yards of each other and very close to ECR — convergent in fact at the southern end. The route could — and should be — well signed. It would be safe for bikers. It would service the city, the Burgess recreation area and the train station; and it would be good for bikers going to Menlo College. It makes no sense to put bike lanes on ECR when safer and saner alternatives can be found.

and Sen. Simitian are strong believers in public transit. They both believe the concept of high-speed rail is a good one. However they know that this project is not what the people voted on and is not well planned and certainly not well managed. It seems the way it goes in the Senate is there are champions for certain subjects and no doubt these senators are seen as the experts. We need them to take the lead and just say no. A yes vote from them would be even more devastating to the public trust since they are the most aware of the issues of the project. With a $16 billion deficit and a tax increase looming over the legislature with the threat of trigger cuts to essential programs like education and social programs, voting for a rail project that caters to the rich is just the wrong move. Starting this project now will

result in a high-speed disaster for the state. To quote Sen. Lowenthal, the senators know what the right thing to do on this project. No special deals or conditions attached to spending can make right a program that has been on the wrong track for years. Do they vote against the governor, the leadership of the state Democratic Party, even the president of the United States or do they endanger their future political careers and vote no? But there’s another consideration; it’s what the voters think. The public will remember a courageous act. In fact, if the senators vote no to funding this project, they would be considered heroes and frankly people vote for heroes. It might just help restore the public faith in the state Legislature. Kathy Hamilton Forest Lane, Menlo Park

June 6, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN19


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20NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJune 6, 2012

The Almanac 06.06.2012 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the June 6, 2012 edition of the Almanac

The Almanac 06.06.2012 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the June 6, 2012 edition of the Almanac