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Chuck Huggins, community leader and CEO of See’s Candies, dies. | Page 3

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Charles “Chuck” Huggins, community leader and CEO of See’s Candies, dies A jazz concert, to be announced later, will honor Area and even touring Europe. Charles “Chuck” Newel Huggins, formerly of Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Mr. HugWoodside and Menlo Park, who died Aug. 19 at gins grew up in Portland, Oregon, and was active his home in Larkspur. He was 87. in the Boy Scouts. When he was 12, he took a fourMr. Huggins was best known as the president month tour around the world on a steamship with and CEO of See’s Candies Inc. He worked for the his grandparents. company for 55 years, starting in 1951 as a manHe served as a paratrooper in World War II ager in the packing department. He held various with the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment, positions in the company until 1972, when the 17th Airborne Division. After graduating from See family sold the company to Warren Buffett, Kenyon College, he moved to Menlo Park in chairman of the Berk1951 with his wife, Marshire Hathaway group. ian, known as Mime. DurOne of the first deciing their 48-year marriage, sions Mr. Buffet made was they had four children, and to appoint Mr. Huggins lived in Menlo Park, Atherpresident and CEO, say ton, and Woodside. She family members. preceded him in death. Under Mr. Huggins’ A civic leader and phileadership, See’s grew to lanthropist, Mr. Huggins more than 5,000 employsupported many nonprofees and 200-plus stores. its and arts organizations, He was responsible for including Family Service developing dozens of canAgency of San Mateo Coundies, such as the Awesome ty, Boy Scouts of America, bars, and saving others the Children’s Health Counfrom retirement, includcil, the Stanford Jazz Working the famous “marshshop, the San Francisco Tramints.” He is estimated ditional Jazz Foundation, to have sampled 300,000 and Music in the Schools pieces of candy during his Today. He was also benecareer, say family memfactor to many public and bers. He retired in 2006. Chuck Huggins was a local jazz lover and private schools, as well as to Locally, Mr. Huggins philanthropist. animal and marine mamwas well known for his mal centers. long association with the historic Filoli Center Mr. Huggins is survived by his wife of 15 years, in Woodside. A past president and member of Donna Ewald Huggins; sister Ruth Slack of Beaverthe governing board of the Filoli Foundation, he ton, Oregon; children Peter Huggins of Fairfield, headed the capital campaign to complete seismic Iowa, Charles “Chip” Huggins of Emerald Hills, retrofitting of the Main House and build the Visi- and Anne Huggins Walton and Shelley Huggins tor Education Center. He also started the concert Dutton of Portland; and nine grandchildren. series Jazz at Filoli. The family requests that gifts in Mr. Huggins’ Mr. Huggins was an accomplished drummer name be made to “any charities that were close to and singer, performing with his good friend, the his heart” or a charity of the donor’s choice. To be late Tom Ford, in his band called T Ford and the notified of the jazz concert, e-mail cnhlovesjazz@ Model A’s, playing at charitable events in the Bay

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Pipeline replacement closes lanes in Menlo Park By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


estbound lanes on Sand Hill Road between Branner Drive and Saga Lane will close during daytime hours as Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) continues to replace a 24-inch segment of gas pipeline in Menlo Park.

The lanes will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. According to the city, the eastbound side of Sand Hill Road will carry traffic in both directions during PG&E’s working hours. The pipeline replacement started on Aug. 15 and should finish by the end of October, according to Menlo Park Public

Works Director Chip Taylor. A segment of pipe across Alpine Road, south of Sand Hill Road, will also be replaced. Once the new pipe is in place, the utility company is required to repave the portion of Sand Hill Road within the project boundaries. For more information, call PG&E at 1-888-743-7431. A

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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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AUGUST 29, 2012







Gehry’s Facebook vision: A social garden Iconic architect plans building for Menlo Park By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


rank Gehry is to architecture as Mark Zuckerberg is to social media: A star. The famous architect, known for award-winning designs described at times as “a collision of parts,” is now gracing Menlo Park with his expertise. Since his earliest work in the 1960s, Mr. Gehry has designed the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and many other internationally noted structures known for their highly unusual shapes and angles. The Pritzker laureate’s Santa Monica home, built of corrugated metal and chain link fences blended with a wood frame, has become a

tourist attraction. His partnership with Facebook developed after informal talks gave way to a mutual desire to work together, a Facebook spokesperson said. Facebook initially planned to put 440,000-square-feet of buildings on its west campus, located on Constitution Drive across the street from the main east campus. But that’s now off the drawing board. Instead, Mr. Gehry designed one large “room” perched on top of a parking structure and capped by a rooftop garden. The theme of open-ended interior space echoes that of the main campus, where buildings are broken up by conference rooms and niches for small groups. Facebook lead designer Everett Katigbak said the new design

Photo courtesy of Facebook

A model of renowned architect Frank Gehry’s design for Facebook’s west campus, located on Constitution Drive in Menlo Park.

has much in common with the east campus. “It’s better to think of it as a refinement of our current campus (rather) than

Menlo council members’ travel expenses vary widely, with mayor topping the list By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


n annual review of the City Council’s travel expenses shows Mayor Kirsten Keith on pace as the top spender, by far, among elected Menlo Park officials since 2004. So far this calendar year Ms. Keith has expensed $2,319.60. In 2011 her reimbursements totaled $2,186.59, city records show. As in previous years, Councilman Rich Cline spent the least. His grand total for the past 18 months, including 10 months as mayor? Zero. He declined to comment on his pattern of frugality. Council members receive a $640 monthly salary (previously known as a stipend). City Manager Alex McIntyre said the fivemember council collectively has an additional $10,000 at its disposal to cover individual travel costs as part of the annual city budget. Council members either ask the city to pay in advance, or request reimbursement. If the trip involves out-of-state travel, reimbursement must be approved by the council during a regular meeting. Highlights of Ms. Keith’s

expenses: ■ Progress Seminar in Monterey: $943. ■ League of California Cities annual conference in San Francisco: $525. ■ Upcoming League of Cities annual conference in San Diego: $475. ■ League of Cities “Employee Relations” policy committee meeting: $281.60. ■ “The Making of a Monument from Conception to Completion” in Burlingame: $125. Asked how constituents benefit and how she decides which events to attend, the mayor responded in an email: “As you know, we have Procedure CC-91-002 that guides the purpose of attendance and participation at events and functions for all city employees and Council that is necessary to the performance of official duty and provides direct benefit to the City. There is an attachment titled ‘Chart of Conferences and Meetings’ that specifically includes the Progress Seminar and League of California Cities meetings.” Curious about what a “Progress Seminar” is? The annual event, co-sponsored by county chambers of commerce, “brings

together business, government, and community leaders for informal discussions about regional issues, and opportunities to meet those issues,” according to the website. Noting that she did not incur any hotel expenses, Ms. Keith said she was selected to sit on the employee relations subcommittee, which meets four times a year at rotating locations in California. As for the Burlingame event: “The Making of a Monument was in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, as is the picture of Dr. King on the wall at the Onetta Harris Community Center in Belle Haven,” Ms. Keith said. The mayor’s tab also included $175 for dinner at the San Mateo County History Museum in Redwood City honoring Keith Sorenson and Jim Fox, with the choice of filet mignon or vegetarian platters. The Almanac reported 18 months ago that fellow council member Kelly Fergusson averaged $1,996 per year during her eight years on the council. The incumbent, now running for a third term, has sharply ramped

a separate design altogether,” he said. It will replicate the polished concrete and exposed ceiling beams seen at headquar-

ters, “though it will no doubt have certain touches added by See GEHRY, page 8

Former Facebook exec poised to re-open British Bankers Club ■ New alcohol license pending for Menlo Park landmark.

By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


ight months after the party stopped at the landmark British Bankers Club in Menlo Park, signs of revival appeared, thanks to a former social media executive. According to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which yanked the pub’s liquor license in January, a new company led by Owen Van Natta has asked for a new permit. Agency representatives said the license is pending. Mr. Van Natta worked in key positions at a roster of social media companies — including Facebook and MySpace — before resigning as chief business officer of Zynga in November 2011. He and wife Jennifer applied for the alcohol license as the owners of Evergreen Park Hospitality Group, based in Palo Alto. The company also filed for federal registration of the BBC trademark in March. The historic brick building

at 1090 El Camino Real used to house Menlo Park’s administrative and police departments, but in more recent years became known for a crowd whose rowdiness resulted in numerous police visits. The BBC made headlines in 2010 when a busboy and a cook were arrested for sexually assaulting two women at the club. Police said the men followed the women when they went to an upstairs room in the club to sleep after becoming intoxicated. Both pleaded guilty to related charges. Former owners Lance White and Richard Eldridge initially said the BBC had closed for remodeling, but eventually posted an announcement on its website saying that it would not reopen. The signs of revival are sparse, however: Phone lines remain disconnected at the club, and calls to the Evergreen Group went unanswered even by voicemail. Menlo Park city staff said no one has yet applied for the new business license required to reopen the BBC. Mr. Van Natta was not available for comment on plans for the club. A

See TRAVEL, page 8

August 29, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5


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Menlo council: Emergencies, planned preschool on agenda The start of the school year must be near: The Menlo Park City Council hits the books on Tuesday night, with an agenda as diverse as a college curriculum. The meeting kicks off with a study session at 6 p.m. about the city’s state of emergency preparedness, with a focus on how to increase it. Staff recommended three options: continue having a police commander serve as emergency services coordinator; contracting out the responsibilities to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District; or hiring a full-time coordinator. The regular meeting follows the study session, and is set to begin at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. During a public hearing, the council will consider an appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the Bright Angel Montessori Academy, a preschool proposed for 695 Bay Road. A neighbor is protesting the permit on grounds of the noise, illegal parking and traffic potentially generated by the 48 students, parents and six school employees. Go to to review the agenda and associated staff reports. The regular meeting follows the study session, and is set to begin at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.

Woman donates money to replace stolen bike “Don’t let the good in the world be overshadowed by these people,� said a note from an anonymous woman to a 14-yearold boy who had his bike stolen at the Menlo Park skate park. After reading about the theft in the newspaper, the Good Samaritan contacted police to arrange a $500 donation to replace the bike. The teenager was attacked by two young men during a morning outing on Aug. 13. After one asked for a ride and was turned down, he punched the boy as the other suspect grabbed the bike. Both escaped a police search. The first suspect, described as a white man about 17 to 18 years old, had short blond hair, freck-


les and light eyes. About 5 feet, 7 inches tall and 150 pounds, he wore jeans and a gray T-shirt, according to the police report. He rode the bike as the pair fled south on Alma Street. The second suspect, a black man about 18 to 19 years old, wore jeans and a white T-shirt. He stood nearly 6 feet tall and weighed about 180 pounds with short, curly dark hair and medium complexion. Police spokesperson Nicole Acker said there was no update on the investigation. Anyone with information about the robbery can call police at 3306300.

Saturday: Free compost If it’s time to fertilize the garden again, check out the free compost giveaway in Menlo Park on Saturday, Sept. 1. Bring a shovel, proof of residency, and containers to help yourself to the large pile of at the entrance of Bedwell Bayfront Park, near the intersection of Bayfront Expressway and Marsh Road. The event lasts from sunrise to sunset or until the compost runs out.

Firefighters deployed to wildfires Two firefighters certified as paramedics were sent to help fight wildfires in Northern California, according to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. Matt Menard was sent to Tehama County on Aug. 20, and Mike Stahl was deployed on Aug. 21 to Trinity National Forest, the district said. Chief Harold Schapelhouman said both men are certified as line medics, who work on the front lines supporting crews attempting to contain the fires. “The work is difficult and personal wear and tear issues and injuries need constant attention by the field medics so the crews can function at a high performance and efficiency level working many long hours and consecutive days and weeks until the fire is contained and brought under control,� he said in a press release.

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New technology promises less noise from jet engines, but to whose ears? By Dave Boyce Almanac staff writer


ommercial aircraft pass over Woodside, Portola Valley and parts of Atherton every day on their way into major Bay Area airports, often to the intense annoyance of residents who live in elevated neighborhoods and thus in relatively close proximity to the noise from the jet engines. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there’s good news ahead. Now in the first year of a decade-long implementation at some airports, including Bay Area airports, the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) will alter the manner in which aircraft approach airports for landing. These changes should reduce noise levels, the FAA says. One FAA goal: “Reduce the number of people exposed to significant noise around U.S. airports in absolute terms, notwithstanding aviation growth, and provide additional measures to protect public health and welfare and our national resources.” NextGen guides aircraft by satellite instead of radar. Satellitebased procedures keep aircraft from straying from a prescribed flight path, something they can do with a radar system. These “tighter flight tracks ... reduce the ground noise footprint,” FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told the Almanac. Traditionally, an aircraft’s descent is punctuated by loud engine power thrusts, similar to gear changes, as the aircraft arrives at incrementally lower altitudes in its stepwise approach to landing. This noise pattern goes away with tailored arrival, another NextGen innovation. With tailored arrival, the aircraft is assigned a 200-mile-long glide path to the runway, “like sliding down a bannister rather than walking down steps,” Mr. Gregor said. Aircraft using this method “burn less fuel, emit fewer pollutants and make less noise because they are using minimal power.” There may be more planes. “(Air traffic) controllers will be able to safely reduce the separation standards between aircraft, which will provide increased capacity in the nationís skies,” a NextGen fact sheet says. The Almanac asked a number of questions regarding the new system: ■ Will NextGen raise the number of flights over Woodside and Portola Valley? ■ If aircraft are kept to one tightly controlled flight path, some houses might no longer have aircraft crossing above

them, but others may have more. The ground noise footprint may be tighter, but what about houses located directly under that tighter footprint? ■ If a jet engine is on reduced power on a 200-mile glide, it’s hard to argue that it would be louder, but what if the aircraft flies closer to the ground? What will the net effect be for people on the ground? Mr. Gregor said he could not talk about “hypothetical impacts from Bay Area procedures that are still in development. We’re going to do a draft environmental assessment for the new NextGen procedures we’re developing as part of the Northern California Metroplex process. Until we complete the draft EA, we won’t know what the possible impacts

With the new system, aircraft are assigned a 200-mile-long glide path to the runway, making descent ‘like sliding down a bannister rather than walking down steps.’ FAA’S IAN GREGOR

of the new procedures will be. The draft EA will be a public document that we’ll likely post online so anyone can access it.” As for NextGen raising the numbers of flights, the most important determining factors of airport capacity are runway configuration and the workload of air traffic controllers, Mr. Gregor said. “NextGen technology improves efficiency, reduces delays, increases capacity in higher altitude airspace and creates a smoother and more balanced flow of aircraft into an airport,” he said. Does the FAA measure noise under flight paths? “We do, in fact, do noise modeling for new procedures,” Mr. Gregor said. “We will do full environmental reviews of all new NextGen procedures, and we will comply with all applicable provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),” he added. The FAA claims NextGen could save up to 5.6 million gallons of fuel annually (about $15.5 million) and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 56,000 metric tons annually. 8,000 feet?

On a clear patch of ground in the forested hills of unincorporated Woodside sits a navigation beacon over which many Bay Area-bound

aircraft pass. Between 1998 and 2001, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-MenloPark, reportedly got air traffic officials to agree that aircraft crossing over this beacon would stay at an altitude of at least 8,000 feet above sea level. It’s the rare flight that keeps to this standard, records show. Between January 2009 and June 2012, 75,705 flights crossed the beacon and about 66,620 of them (88 percent) were flying at less than 8,000 feet, according to data provided by Woodside resident Jim Lyons and Portola Valley resident Vic Schachter. Some 20,895 flights were below 6,000 feet, they said. Mr. Lyons’ house sits at 2,300 feet above sea level in Skylonda. Their source was the noise abatement office of the San Francisco International Airport, which publishes statistics on incoming flights. Ms. Eshoo met with local air traffic control officials again in July. Asked to comment, she replied in an email: “The meeting was productive. All parties are working in good faith to reduce aircraft noise, as well as maintain safe flight levels. At this time, we are still taking a close look at the data to determine if and how many aircraft are flying below the 8,000-foot minimum altitude.” Asked about the 8,000-foot standard, Mr. Gregor replied: “There is no firm requirement that airplanes fly at 8,000 feet over the Woodside (beacon). Air traffic controllers direct pilots; pilots do not randomly decide what altitude or route to fly. The airspace in that area is extremely complex, and we use the Woodside (beacon) for a number of different airways and purposes — not just for San Francisco (SFO) arrivals. The aircraft could be headed into San Jose or somewhere out of the Bay Area, he said. “While we keep almost all SFO arrivals at 8,000 feet at night, it is not possible to keep all SFO arrivals at that altitude during the day because of conflicts with other aircraft using that airspace.” Will the glide path used in tailored arrivals result in consistent altitudes? Yes, Mr. Gregor said, “but we have to maintain the flexibility to vector aircraft to different altitudes or routes to keep them safely separated from other aircraft and moving efficiently in the system.” Mr. Lyons said he appreciates the importance of getting an aircraft on the ground quickly and safely. “Why is it necessary for a plane to be at 5,500 feet when another is at 7,900,” he asked. “I’ve never gotten a clear answer to that. It can’t always be traffic issues.” A

R EAL E STATE Q&A by Monica Corman

Am I Protected If Seller’s Lender Files a Notice of Default? Dear Monica: I am buying a property which will close escrow this week and the seller has not made any loan payments for a few months. The seller’s lender has not yet filed a notice of default and when my purchase is recorded the seller’s lender will be paid all moneys owed including arrearages. What if the previous lender files a notice of default after I own the property? Am I liable for anything? Philip M. Dear Philip: No, you will not be liable if the previous lender files

a notice of default after your purchase has recorded because you are insured by the title insurance policy you obtained. The title company was responsible for paying off all liens owed by the previous owner in order to be able to give clear title to you. The title company checks to be sure no new liens or notices have been filed up to the moment they record your purchase. If a lien or default is filed after that time, the title company is responsible for getting these removed. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to obtain title insurance.

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.


Good for Business. Good for You. Good for the Community. Visit today August 29, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN7


avoid a striking design. “We hope that the building will be reflective of the current archithe Gehry team. As of now, the tecture in the area. ... Instead, design is too early on to confirm with the trees along the the what those will be.” rooftop and ground-level garThe project breaks ground dens, we hope the building will next spring, assuming the almost recede into the backcity’s review of the new ground of a forest-like design goes smoothlandscape. Though still ly. Covering about very early in the design 10 acres, the office process, we plan for the will house up to 2,800 exterior of the buildengineers, according to ing to be clean and Facebook. The compasimple.” ny declined to disclose Facebook’s director of the price tag. global real estate, John Frank Gehry “(Mr. Gehry) is famous Tenanes, shared his for his ability to execute excitement about the on the wishes of his client while upcoming expansion. keeping his projects within their “The new building is reflective budget. As such, the costs of the of our culture, and we hope it campus should be on par with a will offer an amazing environtypical Silicon Valley campus,” a ment for the engineers who will spokesperson said. work there,” he said. “We look Asked what drivers pass- forward to working with Frank ing the campus on Bayfront and his team and anticipate a Expressway might notice, Mr. smooth and timely completion Katigbak said the idea is to of the project.” continued from page 5

Photo courtesy of Sydney Pollack

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, one of architect Frank Gehry’s most celebrated designs. On the cover: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg contemplates architect Frank Gehry’s vision for the social networking company’s west campus in Menlo Park. Photo by Everett Katigbak.

County handles 15 percent more inmates than expected The number of inmates and parolees in San Mateo County as a result of “realignment” — the policy to shift lower-level offenders from state prisons to local jails — is about 15 percent higher than what state officials projected, according to a recent report presented to the county Board of Supervisors. The report, called the Public Safety Realignment Local Implementation Report, shows that the number of nonviolent, non-high-risk offenders whose cases are being assigned to the county Probation Department instead of state parole is about 15 percent higher than what state analysts predicted when realignment began in October 2011. The number of inmates being sentenced to serve time in county jail rather than state prison under realignment is also about 15 percent more than what was predicted, county legislative coordinator Connie Juarez-Diroll said. “The state Department of Finance had run some early projections to give to counties to begin planning for realignment,” Ms. Juarez-Diroll said. “We’re finding that the numbers are slightly higher than what had been predicted.” Approximately 170 inmates

who would have gone to prison have been sentenced to county jail under the realignment program, according to the report. The influx of new inmates has resulted in a 53 percent increase in sentenced days at the jail facility. About 82 percent of those inmates are men; about 31 percent are between 30 and 39 years old. Approximately 260 inmates who were released under “community supervision” have had their cases newly assigned to the San Mateo County Probation Department under realignment. Nearly 87 percent of those have a moderate or high risk of re-offending, according to the report. So far, around 26 percent have new arrest warrants, 19 percent have been arrested for new offenses, and 7 percent have had their probation revoked. The majority of the released inmates under community supervision are from Daly City, South San Francisco, East Palo Alto and Redwood City. Around 13 percent are transient. When realignment began last year, the Board of Supervisors requested that quarterly reports be prepared on the impacts of the plan on various departments. —Bay City News Service

TRAVEL continued from page 5

down spending. She came in a distant second to Ms. Keith in the latest tabulations, having requested reimbursement for only seven Council of Cities dinners, for a total $295 from March 2011 through the present. “I don’t perceive any change. I continue to apply my approximately $550 per month stipend to pay for most direct expenses associated with my duties as a council member,” Ms. Fergusson said, adding that she’s “always been frugal with city funds.”


The city covers the costs of monthly dinners for the Council of Cities, for which she serves as vice chair, but “beyond that, in my role as council member — but of course from my personal funds — I am as generous as I can be in financial support of local nonprofits and foundations.” Councilman Andy Cohen, finishing out his second term, came in third with $195.08. A ticket to this year’s Bay Area Maker Faire — a two-day event showcasing do-it-yourself inventions along the lines of homemade 3D printers and lock picking workshops —

accounted for about one quarter of his expenses. “Having attracted Facebook, and being home to many startups thanks to Tarleton and other incubator type business locations in the M-2 (commercial zone), I thought it was a good idea to see what tech startups were offering,” Mr. Cohen said when asked how the Maker Faire related to his official duties. Vice Mayor Peter Ohtaki expensed $145: one $40 Council of Cities dinner, and the registration fee for a meeting hosted by the Association of Bay Area Governments. A

Menlo Park City Council Travel Expenses March 2011 - present

Kirsten Keith Kelly Fergusson Andy Cohen Peter Ohtaki

Support The Almanac’s print and online coverage of our community. Join today: 8NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNAugust 29, 2012

*Rich Cline’s travel expenses totaled $0


Sacred education for the 21st century Private school expands facilities while reducing environmental impact By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


ighty oaks from little acorns grow, so the saying goes. In this case, from the purchase of 40 acres of land in 1894 has grown Sacred Heart Preparatory of Atherton, which has now doubled the size of its facilities for lower and middle school students. Students arriving the first week of classes will find 32 new classrooms, a library three times larger than the one they left in the spring, a new 23,000-squarefoot performing arts center, and a chapel welcoming them to the lower and middle schools. Speaking of the library: It was designed as a “net zero” building for electricity and water, meaning that environmental features capture enough of both to make the library self-sustaining in terms of energy consumption. Wet paint scented the air as the Almanac took a tour of the new facilities. Everywhere you look, environmental considerations influenced design. Wood reclaimed from campus trees cut down over the years reappears as benches. Large classroom windows let in natural light as well as fresh air. Rain falls into tanks that then send the water to gardens; even the parking lot, made of pervious concrete

resembling loose gravel frozen in place, contributes to the green motif by preventing runoff. Construction went smoothly. “I don’t think we had any surprises on this side,” said Sandy Dubinsky, operations manager. She chuckled and recalled a time when renovations on the other side of campus some time ago uncovered a full oil tank dating back to the 1800s, buried in the dirt.

Education is ‘not just a question of passing on what they need to know, but also asking them, “what are you discovering?”’ TEACHER JENNIFER LETTIERI

Every classroom is different. Slabs of mismatched stone form countertops along the sides; the school selected the blocks from leftover remnants at marble yards. Desk chairs start out miniature, in rainbow colors, for lower grades, and then graduate to “big kid” chairs all in black starting in sixth grade to convey a sense of increasing academic seriousness, according to Ms. Dubinsky. Music teacher Kelly Leistikow

talked while unpacking instruments for her new classroom, which includes built-in recording capabilities to allow students to play back their sessions. “Science and math need creativity,” she said. “There is a discipline here — the kids are going to know their musical alphabet. But once they know it, it’s ‘what are you going to do with that?’” Funding for the facilities came from a five-year capital campaign raising $101 million that also went toward faculty support, endowment and other budget items. To make room, the 57-year-old buildings of St. Joseph’s School were torn down, and the campus has now been unified under a single name: Sacred Heart Schools. A few figures on campus are familiar with both the old and the new. “I still believe in reading books and holding them,” said Sister Nancy Morris, who served as director of schools for 18 years. That followed two decades as a teacher who drew upon classics such as Ivanhoe and Dante’s Divine Comedy to illuminate the Middle Ages for her students. Her time at Sacred Heart included overseeing the transition to co-ed high school classes and the closure of the boarding school in 1984. That presented challenges large and small. Sis-

Michelle Le/The Almanac

An alligator keeps watch over a garden on Sacred Heart’s campus. Tanks capture rain, allowing the water to be used to nourish the landscaping.

ter Morris described searching for a way to make the blue ribbons handed out as prizes palatable to boys. “I watched ‘War and Peace’ one night, starring Anthony Hopkins. And there was Napoleon wearing a ribbon,” she said. “So I told them: ‘Boys, this began in the army!’” The ribbon tradition continues even as the campus adapts to 21st century education, a transition with a new set of challenges. Sister Morris shared the background of how one Sacred Heart School in Seattle came to ban computers and social technology on a Wednesday during Lent: A student, unable to articulate a difficult situation, could describe it to the principal only via text messages. On the local campus, the school blocks access to Facebook, and prohibits cellphone

Michelle Le/The Almanac

Music teacher Kelly Leistikow gets acquainted with new features, such as built-in recording capability, as she prepares her classroom for the upcoming school year at Sacred Heart.

use within classrooms. Change is nothing new to the nuns of Sacred Heart, however. They took to heart the Second Vatican Council’s exhortation in the 1960s to “update your habits,” Sister Morris said. “We chose to be apostolic and be out there with the people ... but also to continue the strong educational thrust that marked the schools.” That thrust remains the backbone of the Sacred Heart system, guiding the changes that have recently come to campus. Replacing the older model of lecture followed by homework, the high school mathematics classes on campus now reflect the “flip model”: Teachers can load lectures on YouTube for students to watch the night before coming to class; once in the classroom, the emphasis is on understanding the material through collaboration, according to Director of Communications Millie Lee. Students at the lower and middle schools start implementing technology within the classroom by using tablets to share projects and discuss each other’s assignments under the guidance of their teachers. “For me, working here, these buildings were designed, constructed and (are) now occupied with (21st century learning) in mind,” said middle school instructor Jennifer Lettieri, during a break from a teacher training session on using Google to share documents within the classroom. “It’s not just a question of passing on what they need to know, but also asking them, ‘what are you discovering?’” Her students — “digital natives!” — will be able to bring skills they use for social media into working together in the classroom, she said. The spacious new rooms, at 900 square feet, provide enough space to create museum exhibits, while the windows let students passing by outside peek in at projects under way. “I feel really lucky and really excited about the changes that are coming,” Ms. Lettieri said. “It’s a real path-bridging time for us here.” A

August 29, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN9





Four days, five burglaries in two towns: $28,000 in losses


Over the past week, three residential burglaries in Menlo Park and two commercial burglaries — one in Menlo Park and one in Atherton — left victims bereft of possessions valued at $28,100, according to a police reports. On Tuesday, Aug. 21, someone forced open the window of a garage on Gilbert Avenue, ransacked the house and absconded with a bicycle, a luggage bag, a pair of water-sport shoes, two Rolex watches, a video game console, a digital camera, an Apple computer, an Apple iPad and two Bose speakers for total losses estimated

The Architectural and Site Review Board reviews and makes recommendations to the Planning Director on residential, site design and commercial applications. Meetings are held on the ďŹ rst and third Monday of each month, 4:30 p.m. Appointment is for an unexpired term through February 2013. Interested residents may request information and applications Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.12 noon and 1-5:00 p.m. at the Town Clerk’s OfďŹ ce, 2955 Woodside Road, by telephone at (650) 851-6790, or through the Town’s web site at, Residents, Volunteer Opportunities. Deadline for applications is Monday, September 17, 2012, 5:00 p.m.

at $17,000, said Nicole Acker, spokeswoman for the Menlo Park Police Department. Three days earlier, on Saturday, Aug. 18, on Newbridge Street, someone kicked in the front door to a residence and left with jewelry, two purses, two wallets and $1,000 in cash, for a total loss estimated at $8,100, police said. Meanwhile in Atherton on Tuesday, someone stole seven Apple iPhones, an Android phone, two wallets and $90 in cash — a total loss estimated at $3,000 — from the men’s locker room at Sacred Heart Schools

at 150 Valparaiso Ave., Lt. Joe Wade of the Atherton Police Department told the Almanac. There are no suspects and no leads in the case, police said. A less dramatic commercial burglary on Monday, Aug. 20, on University Drive in Menlo Park netted someone $200 in cash after he or she entered an office through an open window and pried open a desk drawer, police said. Burglars kicked in another front door on Ivy Drive in Menlo Park on Tuesday, Aug. 21, and stole a TV, police said. N P O L I 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. MENLO PARK Residential burglary reports:

â–  Losses estimated at $5,680 in entry through open bedroom window and theft of miscellaneous jewelry, video camera, $400 in coins and $500 in bills, Almanor Ave., Aug. 23.

â–  Unknown losses in break-in to closed garage and theft of miscellaneous, including several expensive bikes, Santa Monica Ave., Aug. 13.

â–  Losses estimated at $245 in break-in by prying open sliding glass door and theft of miscellaneous jewelry and bottle of scotch whiskey, Florence Lane, Aug. 22. Theft reports:

â–  Apparent theft of black-and-brown Yorkshire terrier, wearing red and white collar, from office of chiropractor, Willow Road, Aug. 17.

â–  Loss estimated at $200 in theft from wallet stored in unlocked desk drawer, Scott Drive, Aug. 20.

â–  Losses estimated at $360 in theft of camera, valued at $200, and gray coin purse containing $160 in cash, Laurel St., Aug. 20.

■ Bicycle stolen, Coleman Ave., Aug. 11. ■ Items stolen from within luggage left on street near victim’s vehicle, University Drive, Aug. 14. Spousal abuse report: first block of Menlo Ave., Aug. 21. LADERA

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Theft report: Losses estimated at $7,500 in theft of bicycle from open garage, Mira Way, Aug. 21. WEST MENLO PARK Found property report: Resident found black laptop computer bag office supplies, car keys, garage door opener and large number of checks signed by different people but without amounts, Vine St., Aug. 20. Theft report: Losses estimated at $200 in theft from unlocked vehicle of Apple iHome player, duffle bag and clothing, Orange Ave., Aug. 21. ATHERTON Residential burglary report: Unknown losses in theft of items from construction site, Barmetta Way, Aug. 23. Auto burglary report: Rear passenger window smashed but nothing taken, 1000 block of El Camino Real, Aug. 22. Fraud report: Unknown losses in theft and cashing of stolen check, Tuscaloosa Ave., Aug. 22.


Facebook’s oldest user keeps conversation polite Menlo Park woman meets Zuckerberg, tours social network’s new campus By Nick Veronin


t a little over a century in age, Menlo Park resident Florence Detlor is the oldest known Facebook user. The title, which she pays little mind, has earned her a tour of the social networking company’s massive headquarters, and a meet-and-greet with the company’s billionaire founder, who at 28 years old is 73 years her junior. “I was very impressed,” Ms. Detlor says, referring to Mark Zuckerberg. “He was very pleasant and official. Very nice.” Shortly after noon on Aug. 22, Ms. Detlor toured the Facebook campus along with a group of officials from Little House in Menlo Park, the Peninsula Volunteers-run senior activity center, of which she is a member. In fact, it was at Little House where the 101-year-old Ms. Detlor learned the ropes of the popular social networking site, and it was through Little House that this trip was organized. Every month Little House offers interactive Facebook classes for seniors to learn how to use the site, post pictures, add friends and play social games. The lessons are taught by a volunteer Facebook employee. Ms. Detlor’s interest in signing up for Facebook was piqued by her family. She recalls how family members would often talk about using the site, occasionally suggesting that Ms. Detlor give it a try. The idea was not all that far-fetched. While Ms. Detlor admits she isn’t highly techsavvy, she is far from computerilliterate. The centenarian got her first personal computer in 1999 — around the time Mr. Zuckerberg was entering his freshman year of high school. Ms. Detlor’s timeline indicates that she joined Facebook on Aug. 19, 2009. However, she says she has been using the site for only one year. Her first picture post is a shared photo, originally uploaded by her niece on Ms. Detlor’s 100th birthday. Officials from the social network confirm there are no known older users than Ms. Detlor. Ms. Detlor was born in Canada, and moved to Los Angeles shortly thereafter. “Not a moment too soon, I believe,” she says. From L.A. she moved north to Menlo Park. She remembers the exact date she first moved into the home she still lives in to

this day: Dec. 9, 1955. She loves her “beautiful Menlo Park,” she says, even if she doesn’t “like the way they run it sometimes.” That’s about the most political Ms. Detlor gets, at least on Facebook. She says she likes to limit her social wall feed to polite discourse and pleasant small talk. Scrolling through her feed there are earnest questions, such as, “Is a garage sale a good way to shop?” There are also positive proclamations that also serve as a call to discuss positive experiences had in church: “I heard a thought-provoking sermon this morning. I can work on that all week.” An Aug. 5 post from Ms. Detlor reads: “Isn’t it good that we don’t have to face politics on Facebook???” It may be surprising for the more experienced Facebook user that Ms. Detlor is able to avoid politics within Facebook, but the truth is she is fairly discerning when it comes to “friending.” “I just want (the conversation) to be meaningful,” she says, “and to give back a message that is meaningful.” When she sees posts that are negative, strange or overtly partisan, she has found a simple solution. “Un-friend!” she exclaims, from her wheelchair, as she sits in a meeting space deep within the labyrinthine Facebook campus. According to an official with Little House, the Facebook class is a big hit. “The ability to be able to connect and reconnect with long-lost friends, engage with them, keep up with their family and kids and just be able to link up with their families” is what makes the course so popular, according to Kwesi Wilson, marketing and communications coordinator for Little House. Mr. Wilson says that the class has grown in popularity, largely due to word of mouth, as Little House members tell their peers about how much they have enjoyed using the site. “They pick it up quickly,” he says. “It’s really easy to use. And as soon as they start clicking and get in there, start uploading pictures, they’re in.” Mr. Wilson pointed to a recent USA Today article featuring Ms. Detlor that explores the use of social networks by senior citizens. That article, “Facebook 101: Seniors learn to use the social network,” cites a recent Pew study that indicates all social network users over the

Michelle Le/The Almanac

Florence Detlor, 101, smiles after writing “Flo thanx” on Facebook’s wall during her tour of the Menlo Park campus.

See FLORENCE, page 12

August 29, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11


Fire districts revving up cross-border assistance Menlo Park and Palo Alto firefighters will respond to fires within each others’ service areas ■

By Sue Dremann Palo Alto Weekly


hen a wildfire ignited grasslands in Pearson Arastradero Preserve recently, the various city and county fire departments that responded ignored their usual boundaries. Multiple fire agencies, including Palo Alto’s and Menlo Park’s, battled five blazes that could have harmed people and property had the response not been rapid. Pastures that contain about 155 horses are just 200 feet from the burned area, and the hills are surrounded by homes in Portola Valley and Los Altos. The joint attack is one example of how fire responses may look in the near future due to

expanding automatic-aid agreements. One year ago, the Palo Alto City Council unanimously approved a new arrangement between the Palo Alto Fire Department and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, under which engines and personnel in closest proximity to a fire or emergency will respond, regardless of jurisdiction. The agreement covers Code 3 incidents, which require a siren and red flashing lights. Paramedic services are not included. Although the two agencies have cooperated since 1999, the updated arrangement will ensure that one truck company and a battalion chief from each agency will be present on the scene, allowing for better direc-

tion for personnel. The departments are also looking at ways to meld their communications and dispatch systems. Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said the 2010 plane crash into an East Palo Alto residential neighborhood brought to light the need for

‘Government works more efficiently if we all work together. At the end of the day, it’s better for the citizens of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park.’ MENLO PARK FIRE CHIEF HAROLD SCHAPELHOUMAN

a new agreement. Confusion among the various departments responding to the incident led to his initiation of discussions with Palo Alto, he said. The main reason for the agreement is maximum protection


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for the residents of both cities in the shortest amount of time, he said. Fire departments have had a traditional culture of “turfing,” he noted. He recalled a 1943 newspaper article he found that quoted a Menlo Park fire chief who was angry after Palo Alto

had responded to a fire on his side of the border near San Francisquito Creek. “He told the Palo Alto fire chief to ‘get the hell out’ of his town,” Chief Schapelhouman said. “We’re in 2012. Government works more efficiently if we all work together. At the end of the day, it’s better for the citizens of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park. In an emergency, they want the closest resource.” A mutual response to a house fire on Jasmine Way in East Palo Alto on July 31 helped keep a second home — where an elderly disabled woman lived — from serious fire damage, he said. Also last month, crews from both departments contained a Baylands grass fire that came within feet of homes in an adjacent East Palo Alto neighborhood. Under the agreement, Menlo Park fire crews will go into Palo Alto as far as Embarcadero Road and up to Interstate 280 to the west, and to West Bayshore Road to the east. Palo Alto personnel will cover Menlo Park from Sand Hill Road and San Francisquito Creek to Valparaiso, Ravenswood and Ringwood avenues to the north. Palo Alto fire protection will extend into East Palo Alto from

U.S. 101 to Bay Road and to Cooley Landing. The Menlo Park fire district will respond to emergencies at the Palo Alto Municipal Airport and in the surrounding Baylands, as well as providing water rescue in the San Francisquito Creek. Chief Schapelhouman said he hopes the entire program will be running by the end of the year. The real work to be done is within the dispatch center, which would send out the nearest units. Both agencies must find ways to meld or revise their different communications systems, he said. Both departments recently conducted major radio system improvements so that they can talk on each department’s frequencies, he said. “We shouldn’t rush that part because we need to do the analytics every time we make a change to ensure that the change is actually an improvement and working the way we want it to,” he said. Geo Blackshire, Palo Alto Fire deputy chief of operations, said a trial run in East Palo Alto in the last year has worked out well. While initially there were concerns that the aid would be lopsided, Mr. Blackshire said that has not turned out to be the case. Palo Alto has benefited when incidents occur closer to a Menlo Park station. If a Palo Alto station is closed or understaffed because of a response to another emergency, equipment and personnel from the nearest Menlo Park station can be used, he said. The agreements will not cost the departments additional money, he said. The multiple responses could help cover any personnel or equipment deficits, Chief Schapelhouman said. He is also seeking an automatic-aid agreement with Fremont Fire to cover parts of East Palo Alto beyond Bay Road to the Dumbarton Bridge. That proposal will come before the Fremont City Council in September. A

FLORENCE continued from page 11

age of 50 use the technology predominantly to stay in touch with family. That’s what Mr. Wilson says he uses it for — staying up to speed with his family living in Ghana. The article also cited another recent Pew study that found 33 percent of senior citizens on the Web used social media sites in 2011. That’s up from 13 percent just two years prior. Loneliness may be a significant driver behind this uptick in social media use by the

elderly, Mr. Wilson speculates. “What they (the seniors) find, is that they’re able to keep in touch with their children, their friends, so (they) virtually are keeping in touch with everyone,” he says. Ms. Detlor says her friends would benefit from the contact they could experience through Facebook, but also notes that many of her friends have passed away. This fact may shed some light on why she isn’t all that shy about engaging with complete strangers online — so long as they remain polite, of course. A


Kings Mountain Art Fair set for Labor Day weekend Dawn Niesser was cooking dinner one day in June when she looked out the window and saw smoke billowing from a neighbor’s house in the Kings Mountain community. Then she saw the fire engines and firefighters, and in quick succession, felt worry, relief, and pride, according to fellow Kings Mountain resident Aeron Noe. The incident underscored the urgency of maintaining the volunteer fire service that responds to the close-knit community’s emergencies, and Ms. Niesser is an active supporter: She is director of the Kings Mountain Art Fair, slated for Saturday through Monday, Sept. 1-3 — an event that financially supports the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade. The fair takes place in the redwoods at 13889 Skyline Blvd. in the hills above Woodside between highways 84 and 92. It was started in 1963 to help create the volunteer fire department. Today, in addition to supporting the brigade, proceeds from the fair benefit the three-room Kings Mountain Elementary School. Kings Mountain Art Fair is different from other California fairs in that it’s the only one that is 100 percent manned by volunteers from the small community. Instead of hiring food vendors, volunteers cook and serve the food themselves, starting with a pancake breakfast with the artists from 8 to 10:30 a.m. each day. Lunch is prepared by the firefighters, and includes burgers and grilled corn. Also available are

Roadway ‘sharrows’ coming soon to downtown Menlo By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


enlo Park plans to add shared lane markings — “sharrows” — to portions of Menlo Avenue and University Drive in upcoming weeks. City Transportation Engineer Atul Patel explained that sharrows are not bike lanes. “They are simply a marking to guide bicyclists to the best place to ride and help motorists expect to see and share the lane with bicyclists.” The markings will be added to Menlo Avenue between El Camino Real and University Drive, and on University Drive between Middle Avenue and Santa Cruz Avenue, according to the city. Installation is expected to take one day for each street; the roads will remain open to traffic during striping. Mr. Patel estimated the installation cost at $9,000.

locally brewed beer and wine. The festival showcases the work of 138 juried artists and 30 mountain folk artists offering paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and more. Booths are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kiddie Hollow will offer many activities for children, including a chance to romp around in a Native American teepee, face painting, crafts and balloon art. Admission to the fair is free, and street parking is available. Visit for more information.

Animal adoption fair The Pet Place is hosting a Peninsula Humane Society mobile adoption fair from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. The adoption unit will be located in the parking lot behind the store at 777 Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park.


Cats, dogs and other small animals will be looking for new homes, says Lynn Macy of the Pet Place. The pet shop is also accepting donations for rabbit rescue efforts, Ms. Macy says. Twenty rabbits were recently abandoned in Portola Valley, and rescue volunteers need help with spay/ neuter costs and supplies. Call 325-7387 for more information.

Menlo Park Chorus seeks new members With its new season beginning on Sept. 4, the Menlo Park Chorus is looking for singers to join the group. There are no auditions, and members are not required to read music.

The chorus meets from 7:15 to 9:45 p.m. on Tuesdays in the new Arrillaga Family Center in the Menlo Park Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. Members are primarily from Menlo Park, but singers from Woodside, Portola Valley, Mountain View and other nearby towns also add their voices to the ensemble. Those interested may contact Sally Cooper at or 650-6151591. Or, just show up at the first rehearsal on Tuesday, Sept. 4. “You are welcome to give the chorus a try without any commitment,” Ms. Cooper says in an announcement. “Remember, there is medical research (proving) the physical benefits of singing.”

Life stories classes Sheila Dunec will begin the fall

session of her popular Life Stories course in a Portola Valley home on Thursday, Sept. 13. The series will continue from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. each week until Nov. 13. Participants are encouraged and coached to write about various aspects of their lives for a range of benefits — for example, to leave a history for their families, or to help themselves in developing a deeper understanding of the events of their lives. Ms. Dunec, a Foothills College instructor, has offered the course in a number of venues, including the Menlo Park Library. One such program, focusing on the stories of people who served in the military or otherwise experienced the effects of World War II, led to a long-term project that included video recordings of participants reading their stories. The cost of the Portola Valley session is $150 for 10 weeks. Those interested may call Ms. Dunec at 650-565-8087.


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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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Will the 21st century campus pay off?


hen visitors walk up to the new Hillview Middle School design, or CAD. campus on Elder and Santa Cruz avenues in Menlo But will all the technology gadgets push Hillview’s highPark, they could be forgiven if they thought they were achieving students to even greater academic accomplishments, stepping into an upscale office complex. or prove to be a distraction that will take away their traditional The school’s exotic appearance, with louvers shading the two- edge over their peers on statewide tests? story facade facing Santa Cruz Avenue, is the first clue that this Incoming Principal Erik Burmeister acknowledges the chalis no ordinary middle school. Rather, this is a 21st century learn- lenge, but told the Almanac that “21st century teaching isn’t ing machine where 800 students will benefit from rooms full of about technology; it’s about how to get kids to think.” With advanced technology not found in other schools in the state. technology helping learners find information more efficiently, A stroll inside the 85,000-square-foot-campus will reveal class- education’s focus should be about “moving a kid’s learning from rooms packed with technology, including interjust knowledge, to creativity and collaboration. active smartboards, Wi-Fi to stay in touch with (21st century learning) is about the ability to EDI TORI AL the outside world, and desks that can easily be take what we learn from teachers and the InterThe opinion of The Almanac moved so students can collaborate on projects, net ... and then do something with it.” a key factor in modern classroom learning. The The challenge for Hillview students will six two-story buildings are all connected by be how to avoid all the distractions that can upper-deck walkways, and across the way is a magnificent per- come with coddling a smart phone or table computer throughout forming arts auditorium with state-of-the art lighting and sound the school day. Wi-Fi-enabled devices will open portals to basic systems, and retractable seating for more than 300 students. A research in seconds that just a few years ago meant a tedious and proscenium stage and acoustically treated walls round out the time-consuming trip to the library. Smartboards will provide an picture. added dimension to interactive learning for both teachers and And then there is the second-f loor library that overlooks students. Classes in CAD will give students a real-world skill as a central, soon-to-be tree-shaded courtyard/commons. The well as an understanding of architecture and drafting. library includes rooms large enough for small groups of stuIn 2006, more than 70 percent of Menlo Park City School dents, a classroom for the librarian and a computer lab that can District voters approved a $91 million bond issue that paid for be closed off if necessary. Even the bookshelves on wheels play major upgrades to all district schools. At Hillview, the decision into a future strategy. If hardcover books give way to electronic was made to tear down some relatively new classrooms, even tablets, the wheeled shelves can be relocated and the space given though taxpayers would continue to pay off the bonds for some over to another use. 18 years. One of the most interesting rooms is the space set aside for Now the job is nearly complete — the playing fields will be industrial arts, which includes traditional work tables but also a finished by the end of the year — the true test will begin on Sept. “clean” computer area where students learn computer-assisted- 4, when students will finally get to try out their new home.

L ET TERS Our readers write

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

Outdated library needs to be replaced

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.

Editor: The Atherton Town Library is in dire need of upgrading, as has been the case for many years. This is why the town council unanimously approved the search for a new location for this outdated building. The steering committee, of which I am a member, along with the majority of the council and the environmental impact report concluded that HolbrookPalmer Park is the preferred site. Questions have come up. Why now, when we are in this dire financial situation, should we consider building a new library? Can’t we spend the money on other more urgent needs? A small amount of Atherton’s property tax dollars have been used to operate the library as well as generate a surplus. Each year, the surplus was added to the “Donor City Funds” until it finally reached an amount large enough to build a new library. Once it was known there were

14NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNAugust 29, 2012

Susan Thomas/Portola Valley Archives

Our Regional Heritage Besides redwoods, the Portola Valley hills are home to many species of trees, including madrone, bay laurel, maple, buckeye, elder, willow, alder, and this oak tree, stately even as its time has passed.

adequate funds, the process began to study, design and ultimately build a new library. We waited until there were sufficient funds before proceeding.

Today there are enough dedicated funds to build our new library. These funds must be spent in Atherton for library purposes only. There are no

exceptions. The money is in the bank held strictly for library purposes. The taxpayer will not be asked to add another penny. Continued on next page


L ET T ER S Our readers write

Continued from previous page

We don’t need any town money or special parcel tax money either. It is completely funded and ready to go. Sandy Crittenden Library Steering Committee member, Park and Recreation Commissioner Heather Lane, Atherton

Outraged by latest Cal Water rate hike Editor: Our July water bill received from California Water Service Co., Bear Gulch District, when compared to our bill from July 2006 shows that the rate for water has gone up by a whopping 143 percent in the past six years. With the latest bill came notice of yet another large rate increase, which will go up yearly from 2014 through 2016. This demands an explanation for what every rate-payer must be wondering: “Why are our bills going up when our usage is going down?” Cal Water glibly claims that our bills would be even higher if we hadn’t reduced our usage. That non-answer just doesn’t fly. We can all understand the need for occasional pipe replacements, equipment renovation and other necessary improvements, but one must read the fine print to learn the truth about this unjustified price increase requested by Cal Water. According to the “Notice of Application for Rate Increase No. 12-07-007” filed July 5, 2012, their numbers show that 40 percent of the nearly $2 million increase to our water bills is for health care and pensions for current and retired general office personnel. Whoa! At a time of no inflation, a weak economy and with many public and private employees, as well as many of the water rate-payers themselves, undergoing decreases in these same benefits, how does Cal Water justify increasing payouts to their office personnel? There seems to be no end to the greedy march by Cal Water that tramples captive rate-payers who have nowhere else to turn for water. More information on the wages and benefits for all Cal Water employees and officers would be very enlightening for those of us who are paying for it.

Talk about a “Golden Spigot.” Apparently, not all the Fat Cats are on Wall Street! Before this unfair increase is allowed to happen, it must be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Public comments are encouraged and should be sent to: Public Advisor at 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102, or by email to: public. Everyone should write a letter or email to the CPUC about Cal Water’s ongoing, outrageous rate increases. Tell your neighbors. Diane Braun Woodland Avenue, Menlo Park

Another view of violence Editor: In response to (the Aug. 15) guest opinion, “Time for action on growing gun violence,” it’s not about gun violence — it’s about violence. Reverend Lindsay L Fulmer, stop bemoaning the tragedies and blaming things. Go into your neighborhood and preach the good news that wins souls. It is only the changing of the hearts and minds of our neighbors that violence will begin to diminish. It’s about teaching and preaching and showing our community what is right and just and fair. Until the inner soul of our society changes, having compassion, gentleness, humility, kindness and patience for all those around us, hammering government officials for their weaknesses about gun laws and berating others for what they believe, will change nothing. Go out there and start a hurricane of love in your local community and here on the Peninsula, and see if gun violence, domestic violence, human trafficking, and so forth doesn’t diminish or even disappear. Richard Schoelerman Palo Alto

Pack healthful lunches for school kids Editor: With the new school year just around the corner, parents’ attention is turning to school clothes, supplies, and lunches. Yes, school lunches. Traditionally, U.S. Department of Agriculture used the National School Lunch Program as a dumping ground for surplus meat and dairy commodities. Not surprisingly, its own surveys indicate that children consume excessive amounts of animal fat and sugary drinks, to the point where one-third have become overweight or obese. Their early

Serving the community for over 22 years dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Gradually, the tide is turning. The new USDA school lunch guidelines, mandated by President Obama’s Healthy, HungerFree Kids Act, require doubling the servings of fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, less sodium and fat, and no meat for breakfast. Still, food lobbyists have prevailed on Congress to count pizza and French fries as vegetables, and fatty mystery meats and sugary dairy drinks abound. Parents and students should consider healthy school lunch as a work in progress and insist on healthful plant-based school meals, snacks, and vending machine items. Guidance is available at Malcolm Davidson Encinal Avenue, Menlo Park

Join today:

Are you getting the service you deserve? We answer our phones. Charlie Porter Farmers Agency ® License # 0773991

671-A Oak Grove Ave Menlo Park 650-327-1313

Good for Business. Good for You. Good for the Community. TOWN OF WOODSIDE 2955 WOODSIDE ROAD WOODSIDE, CA 94062 PLANNING COMMISSION September 5, 2012 7:30 PM


Tim Vine 33 Montecito Road


Hearing of the same project and entitlement approved by the Planning Commission on September 1, 2010, which has expired: Review and recommendation of approval/denial of a proposal to construct a 561 square foot detached garage on a property located in the Western Hills. The proposal would require a Variance to the required rear setbacks in order to allow construction within 18 feet, and 5 inches of the rear property line where a 50 foot rear yard setback is required The site is 86,960 square feet located within an SCP-7.5 zoning district. Review and recommendation of approval/denial of a proposal to erect (4) 4,600 gallon, 10 foot diameter water tanks for fire suppression on a property located in the Western Hills. The proposal would require a Variance to the required rear setbacks in order to allow erec tion within 4 feet+/- of the rear property line where a 50 foot rear yard setback is required. The site is 86,960 square feet located within an SCP-7.5 zoning district.



Rene Medina 50 Valley Court

VARI2012-0002 Planner: Jackie Young, Planning Director

VARI2012-0003/X2DR2012-0001 Planner: Licínia McMorrow, Senior Planner

Review and approval/denial of a Variance and Second Driveway Exception to construct an emergency access road requiring an increase in paved area of approximately 18,000 square feet, at the request of the Woodside and Menlo Park Fire Protection Districts, on an 8.62-acre parcel at 50 Valley Court and connection to Moore Road through a 6.62 acre parcel at 1144 Moore Road. All application materials are available for public review at the Woodside Planning and Building Counter, Woodside Town Hall, weekdays from 8:00 – 10:00 AM and 1:00 – 3:00 PM, or by appointment. For more information, contact the Woodside Planning and Building Department at (650) 851-6790. August 29, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN15

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16NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNAugust 29, 2012



The Almanac 08.29.2012 - Section 1