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Connoisseurs’ Marketplace

Official Program Guide

Inside this issue

Connoisseurs’ Marketplace

Connoisseurs’ Marketplace official program guide

July 21-22

Santa Cruz Avenue, Menlo Park Inside: Festival Highlights - 3 t Music - 4 t Directory of Artisans - 6 t Festival Map - 7 t Chef Demos - 10

Presented by the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce


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

Which way did the

food truck


Grand jury recommends random inspections, but inspectors say trucks are hard to find Page 5

LOS ALTOS HILLS This property is comprised of three adjoining parcels totaling over 6 acres of land. The main residence includes 5 bedrooms, library, and three family rooms. Paver stone walkways connect the main residence to park-like grounds and parking areas. Swimming pool, spa, and tennis court.


WOODSIDE Resting peacefully at end of a quiet country lane sits this charming family home. Farmhouse ambience; bucolic pasture, majestic oaks, and draping wisteria. Large deck overlooking pond and facing the Bay views. Horse property with 4 stall barn and fantastic trail access.


MENLO PARK Nestled on a large lot in lovely West Menlo Park this home offers a beautifully updated kitchen, large family room with dining area. Teak hardwood oors, updated lighting, Pella windows. Private backyard features mature garden plantings. Excellent Menlo Park School District.


2NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJuly 18, 2012


Local youth works on Higgs boson By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


ecent news of the possible discovery of a Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that theoretical physicists have been seeking for decades, means work in Switzerland this summer for Jack Matteucci, a physics major at Duke University in North Carolina and a former student at Woodside High and Portola Valley public schools. Over three weeks starting July 17, Mr. Matteucci will be at CERN, the research facility in Geneva that announced the discovery, to help find meaningful information from pre-sorted numerical data. He obtained clearance to go because Duke has an affiliation with CERN and because he is working with experimental physics professor Al Goshaw, who works at CERN and lectures on high-energyparticle physics at Duke. The lecture series is a recruitment vehicle for CERN, Mr. Matteucci said. “Every year they recruit a few more students into their ranks. I was just lucky enough to hear about it; when I did, I jumped on the opportunity. Helping research particle physics has quelled a lot of my skepticism regarding the validity of the science, but has also opened my eyes to how much we truly don’t know about this field of study.” Portola Valley resident Joan Finnigan, Mr. Matteucci’s mother, described her son’s achievement as “quite an honor for an undergrad student.” Jack attended Ormondale and Corte Madera schools and graduated from Woodside High in 2010, his mother said. When asked about classes or teachers who inf luenced him, Mr. Matteucci recalled two Woodside High teachers: Jill Baumgartel, an advancedstanding chemistry teacher, and Stephanie Finander, who teaches advanced-placement physics. Ms. Baumgartel’s class, he remembered, once held a debate on the societal use of nuclear energy. Speaking against it, Jack said he argued that present-

Photo by Joan Finnigan

Jack Matteucci, a graduate of Woodside High and Portola Valley public schools, will be spending three weeks at CERN in Switzerland this summer to help refine data associated with the possible discovery of a Higgs boson. Mr. Matteucci is a physics major at Duke University in North Carolina.

‘A giant vat of molasses spread throughout the universe.’ day nuclear fission reactors are too dirty compared to nuclear fusion reactors which, while beyond the scope of current technologies, produce much cleaner energy. “I’m proud to say that (our side) did narrowly win the debate,” he said. In his physics class, he said he would complete his weekly homework the day it was assigned. “When I look back, it’s that drive, that charge I got out of doing those problems, that tells me I’ve really chosen the right field,” he said. Asked about mentors, Mr. Matteucci singled out his dad, a biochemist working on cancer therapy drugs. “Ever since I’ve been a small child, my dad’s always been the instigator of scientific discussions, which ranged anywhere from how electricity works to how to better improve his drug’s productivity in the body,” Mr. Matteucci said. In his junior and senior years in high school, he said he worked

in his father’s lab. “Even though he tried to maintain a healthy distance at the office, I always seemed to get my best answers from him when it came to the lab,” he said. “Just recently, I’ve started to realize how lucky I was to have such a brilliant dad to share ideas with; I can definitely say that I would not be going where I am today without him.” Mr. Matteucci’s non-academic interests include backpacking, mountain biking, running, most sports and writing, he said.

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Higgs boson

In a list of frequently asked questions about the Higgs boson, the website of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago uses a metaphor of “a giant vat of molasses spread throughout the universe.” First came the big bang, the cataclysmic explosion that theoretically brought the universe — and the vat of molasses — into existence. As subatomic particles blasted through the molasses, globs of it stuck to the particles and gave them mass, “slowing them down and making them heavier,” the FAQ says. “You can think of the Higgs boson as the molasses globs.” Particles of light, known as photons, traveled faster and “hydroplaned” over the molasses and so did not collect mass, the FAQ says. “When the universe began to cool, (the) slow particles with mass began to bunch up like mini-traffic jams and form composite particles and then atoms.”

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Unlike the two-mile-long linear particle accelerator at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN is a circle, an underground doughnut-shaped tunnel about 17 miles around. The LHC opened for experimental work in September 2008. Peter Higgs was one of six physicists who in 1964 suggested the existence of the boson, but See HIGGS, page 11

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THE ALMANAC (ISSN 1097-3095 and USPS 459370) is published every Wednesday by Embarcadero Media, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 940256558. Periodicals Postage Paid at Menlo Park, CA and at additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for San Mateo County, The Almanac is delivered free to homes in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. Subscriptions for $60 per year or $100 per 2 years are welcome. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025-6558. Copyright ©2012 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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GRANDPARENTS SEMINAR Designed for new and expectant grandparents, this class examines changes in labor and delivery practices, the latest recommendations for infant care and the unique role of grandparents in the life of their grandchild. - Monday, August 13: 6:00 - 8:30 pm

THE SUPRISING RISK OF BACK PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN: WHAT EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW NOW! An evening talk with Dr. Meghan Imrie, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatric Orthopedics at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Dr. Imrie will discuss ways our children’s backs are put at risk and how to stay vigilant to prevent injury. This is a free seminar however RSVP is requested. - Thursday, August 23: 7:00 – 8:30 pm

INFANT MASSAGE WORKSHOP Learn the techniques of infant massage along with tips to relieve gas, aid digestion and soothe the soreness of vaccination sites on your baby. Recommended for infants from one month of age to crawling.

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Now celebrating its tenth season, Music@Menlo—the Bay Area’s premier chamber music festival—offers an incomparable musical experience including world-class concerts and numerous free opportunities to explore classical music. The 2012 festival, Resonance, examines music’s impact on humanity—its ability to nurture mind and spirit, to transport listeners to new places, and, ultimately, to delight us all. ™ :mXZei^dcVa8dcXZgih  WnLdgaY"GZcdlcZY  8]VbWZgBjh^X^Vch ™ :c\V\^c\Hnbedh^V  VcYAZXijgZh

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Which way did the food truck go? Grand jury recommends random inspections, but inspectors say trucks hard to find By Elena Kadvany Special to the Almanac


oca-Cola braised pork steamed buns? Check. Chicken tikka masala burrito? Check. Refrigeration, potable water, clean food practices in food trucks? Not officially checked yet, according to the San Mateo County Grand Jury. According to “Food-Borne Illness: A Moving Target,” a grand jury report released July 2, the food truck business needs to be more strictly monitored by the county’s Environmental Health Division. The report was not spurred by a specific incident or an alarming number of foodborne illness complaints. The number of complaints in the past five years in San Mateo County is actually about the same for food trucks as restaurants, according to the report. In 2010, three of 177 reported incidents were foodtruck related. Last year, two of 186 were. Instead, the growing popularity of food trucks drew the grand jury’s attention. “This is a new way of presenting food, its welcome, some of it is really fantastic and we just wanted to be sure that we’re doing what we should as the county to protect all of us,” said grand jury foreman Bruce MacMillan. “We wanted to make sure that they’re regulated, if you will,

in a way that maintains public health standards. We take a longer view of what should happen and what should change.” At the heart of the report’s recommendations is a desire to make sure the rising popularity of food trucks as a dining option is matched by an inspection process equivalent to the level of inspection at brick and mortar restaurants. Checking the box

Currently, the food truck inspection process in San Mateo County works like this, according to the report: Food truck operators apply for a permit and meet certain requirements. They must show proof that they have already completed food safety certification training or will do so within 60 days after their permit has been issued. They also must register with a commissary, a designated facility where trucks can park, clean their facilities, discharge waste, and use other services. Food truck operators are required to return to their commissary at the end of each day, but not all of them do so. This makes the inspection process more difficult, said Mr. MacMillan. Food trucks also go through an initial inspection by the county, the report said, but at this early point there’s typically no food or hygiene to inspect, as operations have not

Almanac photo by Michelle Le

Jack Rauen, 11, eats a bao bun from the Chairman Bao Truck during Food Truck Night, hosted by the Willows Market on Middlefield Road in Menlo Park.

officially begun. Once in operation, food trucks are required to go through an annual permit and inspection process every February. Even at this point, no food handling or preparation takes place during the review. “They can ask, does it have proper refrigeration? Yes. Does it have potable water? Yes. Does it have the number of sanitary supplies that it should? Yes. It’s kind of a box-checking exercise,” said Mr. MacMillan. And this year, he added, only 60 percent of the county’s 146

licensed food trucks showed up for their annual inspection. To the grand jury, this means that action needs to be taken now to improve the process. The report proposes that food truck inspections be more like those at restaurants, where inspectors show up unannounced to observe food handling practices. It also suggests that major violations, both restaurant and food truck related, should be posted on the Environmental Health Division’s website so the public is better informed about the food they’re eating.

“We have no reason to believe that food trucks arenít operating at a very high standard now. They very well may be,” Mr. MacMillan said. He added that the truck operators are more than willing to be inspected. “It’s good not only for the general public, but also for the food truck business.” San Diego County has the same idea. Although it also reports low rates of foodborne illness related to trucks, according to county staff, it recently See FOOD TRUCK, page 8

Food trucks in Portola Valley: ‘I’m spanking clean’ By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


or Portola Valley resident and restaurateur Russell Deutsch, who owns a food truck and the Old Port Lobster Shack in Ladera, cleanliness is a priority, the venue notwithstanding. “I’m spanking clean all the time,” Mr. Deutsch told the Almanac when asked if his food truck is spanking clean when the annual inspection by the San Mateo County public health department rolls around. “That’s the way I run my restaurant. That’s the way I run my trucks.” Mr. Deutsch launched his food truck operation about a year ago, he said. He is a member of Mobile Gourmet, a Portola Valley-based company that organizes gourmet food truck visits, including on

Thursday evenings at Christ Episcopal Church in Portola Valley. His Old Port truck has not shown up there. “I don’t need to be there. I’m already there (in Ladera),” he said. With a foot in each world, he would

‘That’s the way I run my restaurant. That’s the way I run my trucks.’ RUSSELL DEUTSCH

know if inspections by public health officials are tougher on trucks than on restaurants. Are they? “No,” he said, “but they are definitely a lot quicker.” The inspection to renew an operating permit takes around 15

minutes and checks for a three-bay sink, refrigeration at or below 41 degrees, and hot water at or above 135 degrees. Surprise inspections are longer because they test food temperatures. A restaurant inspection often takes 30 minutes, he said. “Have I seen trucks that aren’t that clean?” Mr. Deutsch said. “Oh yeah. They’re out there.” Typical indicators include an old generator, old paint and dirt. Nonfunctioning lights indicate a broken generator, which means a nonfunctioning refrigerator and big trouble. Mr. Deutsch’s restaurant is several miles away from Christ Church, and he said he hasn’t noticed a fall-off in business on Thursday nights. Food trucks occupy a niche that should not concern a successful restaurant, but trucks should

keep a respectful distance, he said. People going to the Parkside Grill restaurant, which is near the church, aren’t going suddenly switch and “go get a Peruvian taco and sit outside and not have a nice cocktail,” he said. Parkside Grill owner Bill Petkopoulos, while not arguing that point, said he probably does lose business — from a truck selling pizza, for example. “I’m selling pizza over here,” he said. “What’s wrong with my product? (The truck’s pizza does) not necessarily match my quality, but they sell it for less and people go there instead of here.” “What do I do next? Get a food truck?” he said. As for the Christ Church events, “Make it once a month,” he said, “but every Thursday? They might as well put a building there.” A

July 18, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5


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arolyn Clarkeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reason for running for Menlo Park City Council is simple. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you have ideas, and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not running for office, people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t listen. So you have to be somewhere in the decisionmaking process to be listened to,â&#x20AC;? she said. Describing herself as â&#x20AC;&#x153;a regular everyday person who understands the needs of the 99 percent and understands the issues,â&#x20AC;? Ms. Clarke wants to put her finance background and nonprofit experience to work for the city sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lived in about 20 years. A small business owner with a degree in accounting from San Francisco State University, Ms. Clarke is familiar with juggling the demands of work, family and civic service. Her experience includes serving on the Housing Commission, the Las Pulgas Committee, and the new housing element update steering committee. She also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and co-founded the School of Wisdom and Knowledge charter school in East Palo Alto. Housing, traffic and job creation are the top three issues Ms. Clarke sees facing Menlo Park. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like more people

to be able to work and live in the city, even if that means a personal sacrifice. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If my property value has to go up at the expense of people being homeless, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t care for it to go up.â&#x20AC;? Ms. Clarke said that her neighborhood, Belle Haven, sometimes seems like a place apart from the city. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think if I run, that would be the beginning of addressing that,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think that the east and west side need to learn more about each other. The community on the east side has changed quite a bit, and the other side might not be aware of that.â&#x20AC;? She said she has no political ambitions beyond city hall. Three other residents so far have announced their intention to run for one of the two open council seats: Transportation Commissioner Ray Mueller, f iref ighter Dave Bragg, and incumbent Kelly Fergusson.

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6NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJuly 18, 2012

By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


wenty-two counts of vandalism, one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and possession of burglary tools: Ryan Anthony Mattei, 18, is looking at a long laundry list of charges if the San Mateo County district attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office agrees with police. Mr. Mattei was arrested when police responded to a call of vandalism in progress in Menlo Park on June 25. Officers spotted a red Ford 2002 pickup truck that resembled one described by witnesses to earlier crimes, according to the police report. The truck yielded two suspects â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Mr. Mattei and a juvenile companion. The investigation also unearthed a third teenage suspect. All 22 alleged acts of vandalism took place in Menlo Park, police spokeswoman Nicole

Acker said. That includes 13 car windows shattered by a BB gun â&#x20AC;&#x201D; eight in one day â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and four damaged mailboxes. The crimes appeared random. One mailbox, blown up by a firecracker that also destroyed the mail, belonged to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, sources said. She recently built a home in Menlo Park. The San Mateo County district attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office received the case against Mr. Mattei on July 11, and will decide which charges merit prosecution. The cases against the 13-year-old and 16-year-old suspects will be handled by juvenile probation, according to police. The arrests did not put a stop to vandalism within the city. On Wednesday afternoon, July 11, officers responded to a report of a driverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s side car window shattered by a BB gun in the 1300 block of Willow Road. Police said right now there are no suspects. A



by Monica Corman

2012 Mid-Year Report Dear Monica: How has the local housing market performed so far this year? Caroline M. Dear Caroline: Peninsula home sales continue to outperform the national housing market. The rebound that began a year ago has continued steadily over the first half of the year with particular strength at the upper end of the market and in condo sales. While sales volume has remained relatively consistent in all local cities, median prices have risen against the same period last year in nearly all areas. Almanac photo by Daniella Sanchez

The art of demolition As demolition proceeded last week on the Hillview Middle School campus, this mural — part of a long tradition of students’ creating outdoor art at the school — was the last standing when a photographer stopped by. The massive rebuilding of the campus with mostly new facilities is expected to be completed by Sept. 4, when school opens. Playing fields will replace the buildings now being demolished.

HSR battle will ‘now be fought outside legislative chambers’ ■ Even with initial funding secured, the embattled project faces major hurdles

By Gennady Sheyner and Sandy Brundage Staff Writers


alifornia’s contentious drive to build a highspeed-rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles sped ahead July 6, when state lawmakers approved funding for the first construction phase. But the $68 billion project still has to pass through a gauntlet of legal, financial and political obstacles before it becomes reality. The most immediate threat comes from litigation, of which there has been no shortage. Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton remain involved in a lawsuit against the California HighSpeed Rail Authority, the agency charged with building the system. That lawsuit, which claims in part that the authority’s environmental analysis relies on erroneous ridership projections, entered mediation on Monday, July 16, for possible settlement, according to attorney Stuart Flashman, who represents the cities. He declined to comment further until mediation “ends one way or another” and explained that if mediation fails, the case returns to the courtroom to be weighed by a panel

of three judges. Yet even if the rail authority settles the Peninsula lawsuit, it faces fierce opposition. In the Central Valley, where construction is set to begin, a coalition of agencies, including the Madera County and Merced County farm bureaus and the Chowchilla Water District, filed a lawsuit in June. It argues that the rail authority “due to a myriad of analytical deficiencies, failed to disclose and analyze the full scope and severity of impacts.” The litigation could continue as the rail authority unveils its “project-level” environmental impact reports, which pertain to specific segments of the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles line and have a higher level of engineering and design specificity. Palo Alto Councilman Larry Klein said the city will consider in the coming months whether it should file or join any other lawsuits against the rail authority. Lawsuits are also rolling forward on the individual level.

High-speed rail debate Jerry Hill and Sally Lieber, two candidates for state Senate, will debate high-speed rail at a moderated forum sponsored by the Menlo Democrats on Tuesday, July 17. The event runs from 7 to 8 p.m., with a half-hour mixer before the discussion, at the Menlo Hub restaurant at 1029 El Camino Real in Menlo Park.

Menlo Park attorney Michael Brady said he filed an amended complaint against the rail authority and state officials “10 minutes before the Senate vote.” The latest maneuver in his eight-year battle against high-speed rail, the suit was brought on behalf of two Kings County residents in danger of an eminent domain seizure if the authority runs tracks through their properties. But that barely scratches the surface of Mr. Brady’s concerns, who did not mince words. “This matter has become a giant fraud on the voters: right now, there is an illegal raid on the $9 billion Prop 1A bond funds; all the money is now planned for use on conventional rail; not one inch of true (HSR) track will ever be laid,” he said in an email. The lawyer thinks the state is violating the provisions of Proposition 1 A by starting construction before funding for the entire project has been secured. Then there are the political hurdles, including bids to have California voters weigh in a second time on the high-speed-rail project. Although a bill by State Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, met a quick death on the Senate floor, a group of opponents led by former U.S. Rep. George Radanovich is pursuing a simiSee RAIL, page 9

High profile initial public offerings and strong performance for local employers have brought many new buyers into the market and increased confidence in current sellers. Low inventory and the high cost of rental units have buoyed prices of condos and townhomes in the area. With capital gains taxes set to increase next year now is a good time to consider selling as demand remains strong across the area. For buyers, low interest rates and access to credit make this a good time to buy.

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

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Which way did the food trucks go? FOOD TRUCK continued from page 5

passed an ordinance requiring all 1,100 of its registered food trucks to display the same health inspection letter grades as restaurants via a decal in the front window. The new law, passed July 11, takes effect in September. The county is also working on a computerized truck mapping system to make unannounced inspections easier. As trucks start serving more complex items like those on a restaurant menu, the risk of illness increases, county communications officer Gig Conaughton said. Follow the tweets

In San Mateo County, restaurants have to pass random inspections, unlike food trucks. The grand jury report states that inspectors say it’s too timeconsuming to find the trucks for unannounced inspections, and recommends that the county require notice of route changes.

Due to their mobile nature, food trucks rely on keeping customers updated about their current location via Twitter and Facebook posts. For example, on June 25, popular food truck “Mama’s Empanadas” sent out a Twitter blast: “Yum food trucks tonight at SanMateo #Caltrain Lot, w our fav @chairmantruck! @curryupnow @ HapaSF @MamasEmpanadasSF @hiyaaaroll @PolloFrittoSF” Another truck, An the Go (which frequents Edgewood Eats at Edgewood Plaza in Palo Alto), posts its weekly schedule on both Twitter and Facebook, as do other trucks. “We have grappled with this conundrum for many years,” said Dean Peterson, the county’s director of environmental health. “Social media and food truck specific events have helped, however, only a small fraction of the trucks regularly utilize social media to announce their locations, and even then we have found those to not to be fully reliable.”

Food trucks go social Many food trucks broadcast their latest locations via Twitter and Facebook. Below are the list of their page names. The first is on Twitter and the second, on Facebook. ■ Mama’s Empanadas | MamasEmpanadasSF | MamasEmpanadasSF ■ The Chairman Truck | chairmantruck | ChairmanBao ■ An the Go | anthegosf | AnTheGoSF ■ House of Siam On Wheels | hosonwheels | House-Of-Siam-On-Wheels/205320352852512 ■ MoBowl | eatmobowl | mobowl ■ CurryUpNow | curryupnow | curryupnow ■ Mayo & Mustard | MayoAndMustard | MayoAndMustard ■ Eat On Monday | EatOnMonday | MondayTruck ■ MoGo BBQ | MoGoBBQ | MoGoBBQ ■ Seoul On Wheels | seoulonwheels | seoulonwheels

Candidate filing period opens for November election By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


s voters cast their ballots for the nation’s president on Nov. 6, Menlo Park and Atherton residents will also make choices in races for city council seats and for spots on school boards of two districts serving the area. The candidate filing period for those races, and for two seats on the Sequoia Healthcare District board, opened July 16 and ends Aug. 10. In Menlo Park, the City Coun-


cil terms of Kelly Fergusson and Andy Cohen expire in December. Ms. Fergusson has announced that she intends to run for re-election; Mr. Cohen has said publicly that he hasn’t yet decided. Others who have announced their intent to run are Transportation Commissioner Ray Mueller, Housing Commissioner Carolyn Clarke, and firefighter Dave Bragg. Atherton council members Kathy McKeithen and Elizabeth

8NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJuly 18, 2012

Almanac photo by Michelle Le

Trucks line up on Food Truck Night at the Willows Market at 60 Middlefield Road in Menlo Park. From left, the trucks are Speedy Panini, The Chairman, and Sanguchon Peruvian. Food Truck Night is held the second and fourth Mondays of the month at the Willows Market.

The food trucks of today are different from those on the streets 10, even five, years ago. They are cooking up increasingly exotic cuisine that requires on-site cooking rather than prior preparation. Whereas Mr. MacMillan said he sees this as a cause for concern, Christina Galletti, owner and operator of “Mama’s Empanadas,” said that the “the stereotype of a roach coach” food truck is a thing of the past. “We’re more professional, cleaner,” she said. Ms. Galletti also said that San Mateo County already does a thorough job monitoring the food safety of her truck. “I know I’ve been inspected numerous times, week after week at events like Moveable Feast and Off the Grid. They tend to be real good about being at those kind of events,” she said. She said that she sometimes receives notice ahead of time from the county that inspectors will be at the events. When asked about this practice, Mr. MacMillan said that he “honestly wasn’t aware” of this as a regular occurrence.

Lewis are finishing up their terms in December as well. Ms. Lewis told the Almanac last week that she has not decided whether to seek re-election; Ms. McKeithen could not be reached for comment. School boards

On the Menlo Park City School District board, seats held by Maria Hilton and Jeff Child will be filled by voters in November. Candidates will run for four-year terms on the fivemember board. Voters will also fill two seats on the five-member Las Lomitas School District board. The terms of Maria Doktorczyk and John Macdonald also expire this year. Members serve for four years.

“There may have been a decision at some point to do an operating inspection, but it’s uncommon and it’s not required.” Yet Ms. Galletti says that it is specifically at these kind of events — large food trucks meetups at local parking lots or venues, such as Food Truck Night at the Willows Market in Menlo Park or Edgewood Eats at Edgewood Plaza in Palo Alto — that she is regularly inspected and reminded of safe food practices. She added that San Mateo County checks her truck more often than San Francisco, which conducts inspections twice a year. Santa Clara County, with 387 food trucks under permit (up from 282 two years ago), also conducts bi-annual inspections, said Department of Environmental Health director Heather Forshey, and has had zero reports of foodborne illnesses related to food trucks. The first inspection approves or renews the permit, and takes place at the county’s facilities. The second inspection takes place in the field.

Health-care, open space districts

Two seats on the five-member Sequoia Healthcare District board, those of Katie Kane and Kim Griffin, will be filled by voters in November. On the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board, there will be an open seat to be filled in Ward 7, which includes Woodside. Only Ward 7 residents may vote to fill that seat, which is now held by Cecily Harris. Filing

If an incumbent in any race doesn’t file candidate papers by Aug. 10, the filing period will be extended to Aug. 15. People interested in city coun-

“Sometimes it’s easy when they have these formal events where a number of trucks get together and they publicize it,” Ms. Forshey said. “But there are often trucks that donít have a set schedule that is published and it can be challenging for any health department to find them out in the field.” For the trucks that do publish their schedules online, she said Santa Clara is looking into using social media such as Twitter to locate trucks for random, unannounced inspections. “We’re always looking for new ways to identify their locations. Social media is another way of doing that.” San Mateo County is working on its response to the grand jury report. “We’re very pleased the Grand Jury is calling attention to this important issue that the Health System has been aware of and has been looking into,” Mr. Peterson said. “We look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors to provide a more detailed response to the specific ideas in the Grand Jury Report.” A

cil seats should contact the city clerk of the specific jurisdiction: Margaret Roberts in Menlo Park, 330-6620; and Theresa DellaSanta in Atherton, 7520504. Ms. DellaSanta said that an appointment isn’t necessary to pick up papers in Town Hall, but is encouraged so that potential candidates won’t have to wait around for assistance. For information on filing papers for school board or special district races, contact Meaghan Hassel Shearer in the San Mateo County elections office, 312-5293. The county is conducting a candidate seminar at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 19, at the elections office, 40 Tower Road in San Mateo. A


Portola Valley examines ‘affordable housing’ By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


ortola Valley Town Hall is developing a Web page addressing questions surrounding the issue of affordable housing in town. It’s expected to be online this week. A team of town officials spent two hours Wednesday night, July 11, fielding questions and comments from an audience of about 100 meeting at the Community Hall in Town Center. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the future of housing that would be affordable to people of moderate incomes. The state requires towns to address this issue. The atmosphere at the meeting was not exactly harmonious — most of the speakers seemed to take a dim view of such housing — but there was no barrage of acrimony directed at the Town Council as there was following the town’s June 25 announcement that it was negotiating to buy a 1.68-acre property where at least eight small homes — possibly a few more — would be built. The homes would be intended for people who live or work in town — teachers, firefighters,

residents with changed financial circumstances — but who have “moderate incomes” and cannot afford the multi-million dollar homes in Portola Valley. In San Mateo County, a moderate income is around $86,500 for an individual and $123,600 for a family of four. Former councilman Steve Toben moderated the discussion and asked for audience questions. Answers came from town officials involved in the planning, legalities and negotiations for the site, a former nursery at 900 Portola Road. The project is complicated, particularly because the town must engage the services of an affordable housing developer. Earlier plans to put the housing on four parcels in the Blue Oaks subdivision ran aground on the high cost to the developer of preparing the site. And an adequate return on a developer’s investment often requires an increase in the number of homes. Given the complexity, more meetings are likely. There will be “a robust process as we move through,” Councilwoman Ann Wengert told the assembly. At this point, she added, there is no preliminary site plan and the

town has no affordable housing developer as a partner. The town must first negotiate a sale, then sell the Blue Oaks parcels to finance the project, Ms. Wengert said. “We’re committed to not spending taxpayer money on this,” she added. A WEAK ARGUMENT

Questions, comments

Several questions addressed the notion that the state is not serious about its mandate requiring income diversity. Not so, said Leigh Prince, an attorney in the town attorney’s law firm. There are penalties, she said. The state can: ■ Force a town to include zoning for as many as 20 homes per acre. ■ Halt property development by suspending the town’s right to issue building and planning permits. ■ Reduce the window of processing time that a town has for developing properties. Finally, noncompliant towns are open to lawsuits by affordable housing advocates, Ms. Prince said. A loss in court can mean reimbursing the advocates for attorney fees. Pleasanton paid $2 million in attorney fees, she said. The debate has a precedent in Portola Valley. In 2003, the council rezoned 3.6 acres near the corner of Alpine and Portola See AFFORDABLE HOUSING, page 10

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HSR battle moves outside Legislature RAIL continued from page 7

lar citizen initiative. In its petition, the group argues that the state “cannot afford to pay for a high-speed train system that will cost more than $100 billion at a time when teachers and police are being laid off, prisoners are being released from prisons, and taxpayers are being asked to dig deeper into their own pockets to pay for basic services.” Meanwhile, city officials and rail watchdogs are still analyzing the text of Senate Bill 1029, which passed the Senate in a 21-20 vote. Elizabeth Alexis, cofounder of the Palo Alto-based group Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design, said the group remains concerned about where the rest of the funds for the system will come from. “When you look at full costs and benefits in the Central Valley — it’s very little positive transportation value unless you spend another $30 billion dollars,” Ms. Alexis said. “The concern is that this will act as a sponge for all available money that can go to other worthy projects.” The specific language of the

budget-trailer bill only adds to the anxiety. For example, the bill allocates $1.1 billion for a “blended system” on the Peninsula — a design under which high-speed rail and Caltrain can share two tracks between San Jose and San Francisco. But the bill also states that the $1.1 billion can be transferred to other items, including construction in the Central Valley (known in the bill as Item 2665-306-6043), with approval from the state Department of Finance. “It looks like accounting minutiae, but if you translate it, it means that with one signature from a governor appointee, the money for Caltrain can be moved to the Central Valley project,” Ms. Alexis said. “The first time you read a bill it seems very clear to you,” she added. “It’s only on the 12th reading of the bill that you really understand all the loopholes.” City officials have other concerns about the specific bill, which appears to leave room for the rail authority to pursue the unpopular four-track design instead of the more palatable blended system. Menlo Park Councilman Rich Cline said

being strained. The only one to suffer is the person who unnecessarily puts up with blurred vision and headaches by refusing to get glasses. Contrary to popular belief, wearing glasses does not weaken a person’s eyes. Our eyes change as we age, but wearing the right prescription lenses can help us retain the ability to see clearly at all distances. Please bring your eyewear prescription to MENLO OPTICAL at 1166 University Drive, on the corner of Oak Grove Avenue and University Drive. Our wellcrafted, beautiful frames are available in a variety of materials, including wire-thin titanium, stainless steel, bold metals, and sleek-colored laminated plastics. Call us at 322-3900 if you have questions about eyewear. P.S. As nearsighted children grow, the natural progression of their myopia and the need for stronger lens prescription will grow whether they wear glasses or not. 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.

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the Legislature voted to support a bill that doesn’t guarantee the rail authority would pursue a blended system. “Four tracks wasn’t taken out,” he said. “This vote was not a vote that would say no four tracks, no three tracks, no elevated tracks.” Martin Engel thinks the Legislature’s approval may be the beginning of the end. A Menlo Park resident resolved to fight a good fight alongside fellow residents Mr. Brady and Morris Brown, he said, “To mix some metaphors, the Legislature and governor have handed this project more than enough rope as California races to hang itself.” As if the state’s economic problems weren’t enough to question the wisdom of pursuing high-speed rail, Mr. Engel pointed to “incompetence and mismanagement” of the rail authority, criticisms that linger despite high-level staff changes at the agency. Mr. Brown, who founded DERAIL, a grassroots effort to stop high-speed rail said in a blog post that the battle “will now be fought outside our legislative chambers” and called for a re-vote by state residents during the November elections. A

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July 18, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN9

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Policy OKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d for police donations By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


s it possible for residents to help support their townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s police force through charitable donations without opening the door for preferential treatment and influence over department policy? The Atherton City Council, in its recent endorsement of a new nonprofit foundationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plan to raise money for police department programs, appears to believe it is possible, and feasible. At its June 20 meeting, the council unanimously approved procedures by which the Atherton Police Foundation can donate funds to the police department to support projects and activities and to buy equipment. The foundation was established last year by residents concerned with diminishing town revenue that has forced spending cutbacks in the town and prompted talk of outsourcing police services. Foundation board members include former mayor Didi Fisher, former police chief Glenn Nielsen, Herb Lechner, Betsy


Memorial service for Jean McFate A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 21, for Jean McFate, who lived in Menlo Park for 45 years and died June 8 in Sun City West, Arizona, at age 91. The service will start at 11 a.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1715 Grant Road in Los Altos. She and her husband, Dr. Norman McFate, moved to Menlo Park in 1954 to open his

AFFORDABLE HOUSING continued from page 9

roads for 15 to 20 small homes. The zoning decision gave residents angry about higher housing densities the right to subject the rezoning to a referendum. A narrow majority overturned the decision and the houses were never built. The new project, too, would require a zoning decision. Because zoning decisions are legislative acts, officials said, referendums are an option for voters to overturn them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a legislative act. Think about it,â&#x20AC;? said resident and 10NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJuly 18, 2012


Glickbarg, Sandy Levison, and Brendan Cullen. The donations will be based on needs identified by the police department, according to a staff report. The department will create a wish list for services, equipment and materials that are not funded in the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budget â&#x20AC;&#x153;or cannot be purchased in a timely manner,â&#x20AC;? the report said. The foundation will forward to the town any donation it decides to make; the town will record it and deposit it in a special account. Donated equipment and materials â&#x20AC;&#x153;will be reviewed on a continuous basis for any sign of misuse, damage and confirmation that equipment is intact and in good working order,â&#x20AC;? according to the approved procedures. The council must approve donations exceeding $15,000 in value, as well as weapons, vehicles, technology, and items requiring ongoing maintenance. All purchases made with donated funds will have to conform to the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new purchasing policies, which include

seeking out three price quotes. Although some residents have voiced concern that donations to the police department could lead to preferential treatment of the donors and other ethical breaches, Mayor Bill Widmer said the town has put safeguards in place that include strict procurement and auditing procedures. During the June 20 meeting, the mayor also asked for, and received, Police Chief Ed Flintâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to provide the council with items on the departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wish list. Policies may not be possible to prevent incidents of preferential treatment, however. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to rely on the integrity of the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s employees,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Widmer told the Almanac. The foundationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s funding priorities include education and training, community relations, technology, and equipment, the staff report said. Areas of focus include enhancing law enforcement proficiency and efficiency, increasing officer safety, encouraging community support and understanding, and fostering personnel development and well-being. A

A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, July 22, in Por-

tola Valley for longtime resident and Montessori school advocate Robert Thomas Kane, who died unexpectedly on July 6 at his home in Florida, relatives said. He was 72. The service is set for the chapel at the Woodside Priory School at 302 Portola Road. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Father Martin Mager Scholarship. Mr. Kane, â&#x20AC;&#x153;a strong-minded, kind, and very generous person,â&#x20AC;? studied with Mario Montessori in Italy and founded and operated several Montessori schools in the Bay Area, relatives said.

housing opponent Allan Brown in reference to the rezoning that would be necessary for the nursery property. Mr. Brown also suggested that the town fight to overturn the state mandate. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a foolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s errand, said former mayor and former county planning commissioner Jon Silver. Commenting on Portola Valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;rural characterâ&#x20AC;? that residents fiercely defend, Mr. Silver noted that when he was growing up in town, teachers and ranch hands also lived there. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ruralness means a small town social environment,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the kind of town

thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a rural town.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re at a fork in the road,â&#x20AC;? said resident Bernie Bayuk. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To keep Portola Valley as (Mr. Silver) described it and as we all want it, we have got to guard against dense housing. ... Our obligation, all of us, is to maintain this atmosphere in Portola Valley.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;This meeting makes me very sad,â&#x20AC;? said resident Tom Kelly, who also recalled the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s income diversity in the past. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It feels elitist. ... The idea that we want the firefighters and the teachers, we just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want them in our neighborhood, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s repulsive.â&#x20AC;?

dental practice and raise two daughters. She was a member of many groups, but her longest association was with the Sharon Heights Country Club, where they were charter members and were husband and wife golf champions in 1977. Go to to see more information on the Almanacâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Lasting Memories website.

Service Sunday for Robert Kane



Supes give red light to Ladera traffic lights By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


the bike lane. The Transportation Authority dispenses funds from Measure A half-cent sales tax revenues, which are devoted to transportation projects. The Transportation Authority will decide in September on this and other funding requests from around the county.

he county has put the brakes on a controversial proposal to spend $500,000 to install traffic lights on Alpine Road at two intersections in Ladera — at La Mesa and La Cuesta drives. After hearing on July 10 from five speakers who opposed the lights, the San Mateo County Traffic lights The Ladera Homeowners Board of Supervisors agreed that the matter needed further Association had asked the counstudy, said former Portola Valley ty public works department mayor Jon Silver, who attended to look into ways to address congestion at the La Cuesta the meeting. Putting traffic lights in a com- and La Mesa drive intersections munity that has plenty of them with Alpine Road. The departalready is one thing, but putting ment concluded that “both intersections warthem in the arterial rant traffic signals that leads to Portola order to improve Valley, where there Traffic lights in in traffic flowing onto are no such lights, is quite another, Ladera are ‘a big Alpine Road at peak hours and to Mr. Silver said in deal to us.’ improve pedestrian an interview. “It’s a FORMER PORTOLA VALLEY and bicycle safety,” big deal to us.” MAYOR JON S ILVER according to a staff Besides, Portoreport. la Valley had not The department proposed that heard about the proposal until reading about it in the Almanac, the supervisors seek $500,000 in Mr. Silver said. County staff Measure A funds for the projshould have notified all stake- ect. Supervisor Dave Pine, with holders, including Portola Valley residents, Mr. Silver said in the consent of the board, asked recounting concerns expressed staff to look for grant funding to him by the current mayor, that would pay for further study on the traffic light proposal and Maryann Derwin. Ms. Derwin asked and the report back to the board in 60 to board agreed to separate the 90 days, Mr. Silver said. Mr. Silver, a former county traffic light plan from another Alpine Road proposal — to planning commissioner, said he redesign a bike lane near Inter- was “really amazed” that the state 280 where a cyclist was town had not been consulted. “I killed in 2010. In a unanimous just think it was odd and a vote, the board agreed to ask the really crappy process,” he said. county Transportation Author- “If you want to stir up a hornets’ ity to spend $175,000 to redesign nest, that’s one way to do it.”

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HIGGS continued from page 3

they have had to wait until the right tool came along to look for it, Mr. Matteucci said. When matter collides in the LHC, the extremely high levels of energy released can produce data to reveal this particle. Creating such collisions is the

method scientists use to attempt to simulate what might have happened during and after the big bang. It is, by necessity, a humble enterprise. To get particles up to actual big-bang energy levels, Mr. Matteucci said, would probably require a circular accelerator with a circumference of at least 25 million miles. A

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July 18, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11

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Cal Water wants big price hike By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


esidents will pay almost $19 more a month for water starting in 2014, if the state public utilities commission approves the California Water Service Company’s (Cal Water) request. The cost would rise again, by smaller amounts, in 2015 and 2018, according to a press release from Cal Water issued July 12. The utility provides water to 18,800 addresses in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. The Menlo Park Municipal Water Department, operated by the city, serves Sharon Heights and portions of town east of El Camino Real. Cal Water said the 15.2 percent hike was needed to cover rising operational and maintenance expenses in the face of decreasing water sales revenue.

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By Renee Batti


irst there were 58, then there were seven. But when the Atherton City Council sat down to consider the qualifications of the top three city manager candidates chosen from the pool, the council members couldn’t agree. Although the original plan was to have a new manager in place by now, Mayor Bill Widmer announced on July 12, after several closed sessions with his council colleagues, that “we will not make a decision just because

Lora Fichou

July 4, 1933 – July 5, 2012 With family close by her side, Lora Louise Fichou passed away and moved onward on July 5 at the age of 79. Born July 4, 1933, in Chicago, Lora moved to Menlo Park at the age of 10 with her parents, Fern and Eduardo Colombo, where she lived most of her life. She attended Castilleja School and then graduated from Sequoia High School in 1951. She married Jean Jacques Fichou in Morocco in 1952 and lived there brief ly before moving to France for several years. She is the mother of five children. For many years, Lora worked as a clerk at Village Stationers in Menlo Park, where she became a familiar face to many townspeople. She was also a well-liked assistant at Little House and Rosener House in Menlo Park. Lora was an especially intuitive individual who provided keen insights and valuable counsel to her friends. She had a special affinity to animals, especially the beloved dogs and cats she kept as

pets over the years. Her family lineage has been traced directly to the famed explorer Christopher Columbus. Lora is survived by her five children, Jean-Yves Fichou, Marc Michel Fichou, Charles Dominique Fichou, Yannette Fichou Edwards, and David Lynn Fichou, as well as seven grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Menlo Park on Tuesday, July 24th at 5 p.m. A reception will follow the service; details will be provided at a later date. The family requests that in lieu of f lowers, donations be made in Lora’s name to Pets In Need (


12NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJuly 18, 2012

“Unfortunately, water costs are rising, not just here, but throughout the country. Many of them — such as costs for materials, water production, and water treatment — are increasing faster than the rate of inflation,” said Cal Water Bear Gulch District Manager Tony Carrasco in a written statement. “Also, water use is going down, and water utilities have a lot of fixed costs that stay the same regardless of how much water customers use. That results in higher per-unit water costs.


Atherton extends search for town manager Almanac News Editor

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Cal Water says a 15.2 percent hike was needed to cover rising expenses amid falling revenue due to reduced water use.

The good news is, some variable costs decrease when customers use less water, and those cost decreases are factored in. And conservation can save customers money in the long-term by enabling us to avoid having to invest in new sources of supply to meet higher demand.” According to Cal Water, it also wants to upgrade the water system infrastructure with six miles of new water mains, two pump station reconstructions, an emergency generator, and other features. The California Public Utilities Commission will review the request during the next 18 months. Cal Water last asked for an increase in 2009; that 12.4 percent hike took effect two years later. The utility company won’t necessarily get what it asked for — the 2009 increase was originally pitched at 17.4 percent.


the calendar says it is time.” The town has extended the timeline for the search, and is looking at several additional candidates, he said. The candidates are “new ones that have come to light since we did our original recruitment,” he told the Almanac. “It is our hope that we fill this position sooner rather than later,” he said, adding, “We need to get a good fit, and we need to have the support” of at least most of the council’s five members. Meanwhile, City Clerk Theresa Della Santa will continue serving as interim town manager. “Theresa is doing a great job in running the town and this has provided us the flexibility to find the right candidate,” the mayor said in a written announcement. “That being said, it is a high priority task for all of us to get this

leadership position filled.” Before Ms. DellaSanta stepped in, the position was last held, also on an interim basis, by John Danielson, whose tenure ended in mid-January. Mayor Widmer, Councilwoman Kathy McKeithen, and Ms. DellaSanta served on an ad-hoc committee overseeing the search for candidates by Bob Murray & Associates. The search firm narrowed the field of candidates to seven, and the ad-hoc committee chose three, who were interviewed by the full council. “After these meetings, the full council was not in agreement that any candidate was acceptable,” Mr. Widmer said in his written announcement. “While all candidates were well experienced, the council is focused on fit and knowledge of our community.” A

County cited for inaction on emergency plan Of San Mateo County’s 23 levees, three are not certified to withstand a 100-year flood, while 13 dams have a high or significant risk of failing and would endanger lives and property if they did, according to a San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury report released July 9. The report, called “Still No Emergency Action Plans for Levee Failures in San Mateo County,” alleges five years of inaction by county agencies and organizations whose mission is to prepare for major emergencies. Individual communities have made progress, but it hasn’t been coordinated

with the larger community. “The neglect of the Emergency Services Council, the Office of Emergency Services, the county and cities to adhere to their public safety commitments made in 2007 is unacceptable,” the report says. (The Emergency Services Council represents the county’s 20 cities and towns.) The county cannot address the 2007 commitments because resources are unavailable, the Office of Emergency Services says in the report. Go to to download a PDF file of the grand jury report.


Woodside adopts guidelines for residential design A new set of residential design guidelines for Woodside came before the Town Council for adoption at its July 10 meeting. The current guidelines, adopted in 2000, now reflect new fire regulations and green building practices. The council voted unani-

mously to adopt the guidelines, but they are not set in stone. The council can change them with a resolution, Town Manager Kevin Bryant said. Go to and turn to Page 22 to view the new set of guidelines.

Menlo Park meets on housing Menlo Park continues to try to get a handle on its housing problem — where to add high-density housing zones in a community that values its low-density neighborhoods. The housing element steering committee holds its second meeting this week, with an agenda focused on refining the criteria for selecting preliminary sites to present at community workshops in August. One option under consideration to increase the city’s housing capacity is encouraging the development of secondary units, also known as “granny units” on existing properties. Currently Menlo Park only allows granny units on lots of

7,000 square feet or larger. The steering committee will meet from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Arrillaga Family Gymnastics Center at 501 Laurel St. on Tuesday, July 17. Go to to review the agenda and other reports related to the housing element update.


Service for Lora Fichou A memorial service will be held July 24 for Lora Fichou, a longtime resident of Menlo Park, who died July 5. She was 79. The service will start at 5 p.m. at Trinity Church, 330 Raveneswood Ave. in Menlo Park, with a reception following. Born in Chicago, she moved to Menlo Park at age 10, and lived there most of her life. She attended Castilleja School in Palo Alto and graduated from Sequoia High School in Red-

wood City in 1951. She married Jean Jacques Fichou in Morocco in 1952 and lived there briefly before moving to France for several years. For many years, she worked as a clerk at Village Stationers in Menlo Park, where she became a Lora Fichou familiar face to many townspeople. She was also an assistant at Little House and Rosener House in Menlo Park.

“Lora was an especially intuitive individual who provided keen insights and valuable counsel to her friends,” the family says. “She had a special affinity to animals, especially the beloved dogs and cats she kept as pets over the years.” She is survived by her five children, Jean-Yves Fichou, Marc Michel Fichou, Charles Dominique Fichou, Yannette Fichou Edwards, and David Lynn Fichou, as well as seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The family prefers memorial donations in her name to Pets In Need (

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N P O L I C E C A L L S MENLO PARK Residential burglary reports:

■ Losses estimated at $5,670 in unknown method of entry and theft of miscellaneous jewelry, Berkeley Ave., July 8.

■ Losses estimated at $2,635 in break-in through rear door and theft of laptop computer, two Apple iPads and men’s watch, July 6.

■ Losses estimated at $771 in break-in through smashed rear window and theft of game console, two cameras and video recorder, Oak Court, July 11.

■ No losses reported after entry through unlocked rear window, Chester St., July 10.

■ One juvenile arrested and released to parent after burglary attempt went awry and suspects fled when interrupted by victim, O’Connor St., July 12. Theft reports:

■ Losses estimated at $1,200 in theft from unlocked vehicle of suitcase, clothing, shoes, fire extinguisher, hands-free phone and battery charger, Willow Road, July 9.

■ Loss estimated at $400 in theft of locked bicycle from carport, Willow Road, July 10.

Palo Alto Is The


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Reckless driving report: Arrest made after suspect drove at 40 mph around cars at stop sign, then down wrong side of road, forcing other drivers to brake to avoid collision, Encinal Ave. and Laurel Ave., July 11. WOODSIDE Fraud report: Loss of $3,651.60 after cashing in four fraudulent USPS money orders and wiring proceeds to someone in Philippines capital city of Manila, Jefferson Ave., July 10.

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July 18, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN13

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

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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

Ideas, thoughts and opinions about

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Peninsula needs to reconsider high-speed rail


espite voting in favor of Proposition 1A in 2008, few Peninsula the state to build the entire project, estimated to cost $68 billion. communities have been more staunchly opposed to the highBut Sen. Simitian, who has often said that he is a supporter of highspeed rail project than Menlo Park and Atherton. And at least in speed rail done right, shocked his colleagues when he announced on the minds of city council members Rich Cline of Menlo Park and Jerry the floor of the Senate that he could not bring himself to vote “aye” on Carlson of Atherton, the Legislature’s recent authorization to begin the bill. construction on the first 130-mile segment in the Central Valley makes As one of three senators on the high-speed rail committee, Sen. Simino difference in the pending lawsuit the two cities have filed against the tian had worked hard with local, state and federal officials to negotiate project. improvements to the plan and find a way to move Both men see giant loopholes for the high-speed forward that addressed both local objections and EDI TORI AL rail project to step around the two-track limit of the the flaws and uncertainties of the business plan. But “blended” system on the Peninsula that Assembly in the end, he and his two colleagues on the comThe opinion of The Almanac members Jerry Hill and Rich Gordon, who both mittee decided the risks of the overall project were voted for the the project, say is plenty of protection just too great. against the dreaded four-tracks that is one of several key factors in the Sen. Simitian’s worries were both immediate and long-term. He fears lawsuit. that Governor Brown’s ballot initiative to raise income taxes on wealthy But in the eyes of Mr. Hill and Mr. Gordon, all the worst case sce- Californians and impose a small sales tax increase might not pass in narios contained in the lawsuit have evaporated, at least for now. In November due to a backlash from voters angry that the Legislature addition to their belief that the rail authority will stick to an agreement voted to spend money on the high-speed rail project. Further, he still to build only two tracks on the Peninsula that will not encroach on sees trouble in the project’s business plans and has doubts about the rail private property near the rail corridor, the legislators see a huge plus in authority’s leadership, which has several major vacancies and a CEO Caltrain electrification, a major part of the package. They say the diesel who has been on the job less than a month. noise and pollution will be gone, and speeds will increase enough so Like Sen. Simitian, many critics of the high-speed rail project, includthat bullet trains could stop at smaller depots like Atherton and still ing this newspaper, have said the project is a $68 billion commitment make the run between San Jose and San Francisco in an hour or so. that the state cannot afford. But if Assembly members Gordon and There is no plan to run trains much faster than the top speeds seen now, Hill are correct, this vote does not commit the state to spend another they say. dime of its own money beyond $2.7 billion in bond funds. Although it In their lawsuit, Peninsula cities want to see the possibility of four adds to an already massive state debt load, the amount is manageable, tracks removed from the environmental impact report, which allows according to Assemblyman Gordon. four tracks as an option. There are certain to be more challenges to the We continue to believe that build-out of high-speed rail is too costly deal struck by a slim margin in the Legislature on July 6, which saw a for a state that is struggling mightily to pay for higher priorities, like rare split in the Peninsula delegation, with Mr. Hill and Mr. Gordon education and health care. But passage of SB 1029 does not commit the voting yes on SB 1029, and Sen. Joe Simitian, who is termed out but won state to go further, will pay for electrification of Caltrain, and funds a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in June, voting only transit projects that will bring immediate utility without being no. attached to a high-speed train. The lawsuit against high-speed rail must Assembly members Hill and Gordon view the legislation as a windfall play out, but if Assembly members Hill and Gordon are right, passage of for the Peninsula, especially the funds for Caltrain electrification. Both SB 1029 is hardly the worst case scenario that many Peninsula residents said they emphatically believe that passage of the bill does not commit feared.

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

Our readers write

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.

High-speed rail will never work Editor: Conservatives will slam the first leg of California’s highspeed rail project as a train to nowhere, even as California faces a $15.7 billion deficit that has grown almost 70 percent since January. Debt of the world’s ninthbiggest economy was slumping the most in three months with a deadline for lawmakers to pass a balanced spending plan looming. On July 6 though, Democrats in the state Senate ignored the polls and the state’s budget problems and passed $2.7 billion in funding for the first leg of the railroad, from Madera to Bakersfield. The term “Boondoggle” may be used to refer to protracted government or corporate projects involving large numbers of people and usually heavy

14NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJuly 18, 2012

Woodside History Committee

Our Regional Heritage The Pedale Alpini Bicycle Club began meeting in Woodside in 1957, when bicycle racing was fading from the American scene. Using 10-speed bicycles and without a coach or sponsors, this group placed three riders on the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team, including George Koenig, fifth from left. This photograph was taken where “Woody the Fish” stands now, next to Buck’s restaurant.

expenditure, where at some point, the key operators will have to realize that the project will never work. Ted Rudow III Encina Avenue, Palo Alto

Time to stop lectures about library in park Editor: It is unseemly for some of Atherton’s elected offi-

cials and volunteer committee members to persist in oral and written pontifications to residents who wish to save Holbrook-Palmer Park from Continued on next page


Are we ready for a new paradigm? By Janice Savage


enlo Park City able in Menlo Park. I would Council members be interested myself. We are should not spend aging, we don’t want to lose more large sums of money independence yet don’t want on consultants who to be alone. We want do studies like the to be green, to garden, failed Santa Cruz perhaps with those Avenue traffic who have land who “safety” plan years can’t use it the way ago. After that one, they want to. the council figured We should develop out that fire trucks things that bring the couldn’t maneuver community closer GUEST on the redesigned together rather than OPINION street. separate us. As we Did someone forface more global chalget to ask for the fire depart- lenges we will need to be ment’s input? Or not know able to depend on each other that traffic was actually being more. Interdependent societdirected toward children rid- ies are much healthier and ing their bikes to school on happier by a long shot. the bike paths? Instead of cutting services We haven’t forgotten that, and especially education, we and the fact that the project should be able to plan those had to be torn out and redone things into these areas (tutorwas another big expense. ing or temporary babysitting There are quite a few of these by the elders or retired in the “not-well-thought-out” plans group). Elders like to know around, all paid for by tax- there are others around. Art payers and most were thought should be available and there up by companies being paid could be ways to share experibig bucks. ences and value people of all There is no need to re-invent ages. the wheel. A couple of City Now is the time for these Council members should go ideas to come into play. We to Portland or Seattle to see need them. Our country and what they have done. Or look our people are having very at what Nevada City is creat- serious problems and coming ing (the meetings are being together can really help. This held online) or look online at could be a permanent fix that plans and programs already will help into the future. Just in place under Intentional think, a shed to check out Communities. bicycles to use for shopping has a handbook on planned or a sign-up sheet for a ride community living. And there to the store. With fewer cars is an Eco Village in Oakland we would have less pollution, I believe. more parking spots and less The idea is to share resourc- sprawl. es, to be near transportation, Thanks for listening with stores, and have your own an open mind. We are movspace but not live alone. I ing into a new paradigm, and have spoken to many people need to be ready for it. my age (57) and they love the Janice Savage lives on Oakidea and wish that was avail- land Avenue in Menlo Park.

L ET T ER S Our readers write

Continued from previous page

overdevelopment. These misguided lectures effectively prolong the debate and controversy rather than stem the tide. The lure of a state-of-the-art library facility and the available tax revenues to fund it have overshadowed the reasoning of apparently most of the townspeople. In good faith we have objected to a f lawed plan for a library in our park when there are

available alternatives only to be castigated repeatedly for our views. We question the notion that the wish to preserve our irreplaceable public park is selfserving. We retain the right to “give back” to the nearby communities in ways of our own choosing. Public servants would do well to put aside personal agendas and refrain from advising constituents that they live in a “town which has lost its soul.” Stuart and Bill Awbrey Rittenhouse Avenue, Atherton

Notice of Filing by California Water Service Company Requesting Approval of Building Renovation The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) would like to hear from you! On June 29, 2012, California Water Service Company (Cal Water) filed an application in A.12-06-016 seeking approval to recover the costs for renovation of the building on Cal Water’s San Jose campus that houses the Information Technology and Human Resources Departments (IT/HR building). To accommodate the gradual increase in employees, Cal Water began renovations to the IT/HR building in 2010 that included adding a partial second story, decreasing workspace sizes, removing hazardous materials, and bringing restrooms and other working environments up to current legal requirements, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The renovation was completed by the end of 2011. In its application, Cal Water is proposing that the CPUC review whether the renovation costs incurred by Cal Water were prudent and reasonable, and can be recovered from ratepayers. If approved, the impact of these requests on the average residential water bill in each area is outlined in the chart below. Note Regarding Upcoming GRC Application: On July 2, 2012, Cal Water is filing a general rate case (GRC) application to request new rates that would begin on January 1, 2014. Any costs that the CPUC approves in this application (the building renovation application) will be rolled into those GRC rates. The component of the GRC rate increase that would result from approving this application is shown in the illustrative chart as if it were an additional surcharge on your bill. In addition, if this application is approved before January 1, 2014, the relevant surcharge on the illustrative chart is what will appear on your bill until the new GRC rates go into effect (January 1, 2014). Obtaining a Copy of the Application The application and related attachments may be obtained from the company’s headquarters at 1720 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95112-4598, or by calling (408) 367-8200. In addition, the application may be inspected at the CPUC’s Central Files Office in San Francisco at 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California 94102 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to noon daily. Evidentiary Hearings The CPUC may hold formal Evidentiary Hearings (EHs) whereby the formal parties of record provide testimony and are subject to cross examination before the CPUC’s assigned Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). These hearings are open to the public to listen, but only those who are formal parties of record are allowed to participate. The CPUC has court reporters who take and transcribe a transcript of the verbal statements made during those hearings by formal parties of record and the ALJ. At the hearings, Cal Water would provide testimony. In addition, the Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), which consists of Metered Customers engineers, accountants, District Metered Typical Ccf Current Bill New Bill % Increase economists and attorSurcharge neys who independently Per Ccf evaluate the proposals of utilities, will present its Bakersfield $0.0046 21 $45.85 $45.95 0.21% analyses and recomBayshore $0.0083 12 $60.02 $60.12 0.16% mendations. Once the hearings are completed, Bear Gulch $0.0085 23 $121.55 $121.75 0.16% the ALJ will consider all of the evidence Chico $0.0042 20 $32.61 $32.69 0.25% presented and draft a $0.0078 13 $45.71 $45.81 0.22% proposed decision. After Dixon formal parties of record East Los Angeles $0.0070 13 $54.80 $54.89 0.17% have the opportunity to Hermosa Redondo $0.0058 11 $45.49 $45.55 0.14% submit comments on the proposed decision, King City $0.0072 13 $44.28 $44.37 0.21% the commissioners at Livermore $0.0063 15 $59.45 $59.54 0.16% the CPUC will issue a final decision that may Los Altos Sub $0.0062 19 $72.28 $72.40 0.16% adopt, amend, or modify all or part of the ALJ’s Marysville $0.0064 10 $34.16 $34.22 0.19% proposed decision. The Oroville $0.0065 12 $51.66 $51.74 0.15% final decision may also differ from the requests Palos Verdes $0.0057 24 $96.77 $96.91 0.14% in the Application. Public Comments If you wish to comment on the application, or informally protest it as a customer of Cal Water, you may do so by contacting the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s Office (PAO). Written public comments by Cal Water’s customers are very much desired by the CPUC, and may be sent to the Public Advisor’s Office at 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California 94102, or via e-mail to public. Please state that you are writing about California Water Service Company’s Application for Building Renovation Approval when sending any written correspondence to the CPUC. All public comments become part of the formal public comment file, and are circulated to the assigned ALJ, the Commissioner assigned to the case, and the appropriate internal CPUC staff for review.





































L. Hughes/Leona Val
























Kern River Valley












Coast Springs












Current Bill

New Bill

% Increase

Flat Service Customers District

Flat Surcharge




































Public Advisor’s Phone Number: (415) 703-2074 Toll Free: 1.866-849-8390

July 18, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN15


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650.399.0500 16NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJuly 11, 2012

The Almanac 07.18.2012 - section 1  

Section 1 of the July 18, 2012 edition of the Almanac

The Almanac 07.18.2012 - section 1  

Section 1 of the July 18, 2012 edition of the Almanac