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New book on Menlo Park legend Roy Kepler and his war on war | Page 3


SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

| VO L . 4 8 N O. 4

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

What the state code misses when it comes to school fires PAGE 5




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Craftsman with 5-bedrooms, 4.5 baths, glorious gardens, pool & spa; private cul-de-sac Offered at $3,495,000

4-bedroom, 3.5 bath home with resort-like amenities; pool, spa & tennis; Las Lomitas schools Offered at $3,850,000

One-level, 4-bedroom, 3-bath home in desirable West Menlo Park, Stanford leased land, pool Offered at $1,545,000




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One-levek 5-bedroom, 4-bath creekside home; just over a half-acre; detached guest house, pool Offered at $3,950,000

Updated & expanded Lindenwood home; 6 bedrooms, 4.5 baths and guest house; pool & spa Offered at $3,995,000

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2NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012

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Whether you want to create an especially spooky look for Halloween, produce your own special “emo� look, or create an anime effect, you should know that there is a federal ban on the use of cosmetic contact lenses without prescriptions. There is good reason for the regulated use of cosmetic contacts. Like any contact lens, unless they are properly fitted and sterile, cosmetic contacts have the potential to damage the physical structure of

The Palo Alto Art Center, Bay Area Glass Institute, and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation present


Radical pacifism and the making of an institution


“Radical Chapters: Pacifist Bookseller Roy Kepler and the Paperback Revolution,� by Michael Doyle, Syracuse University Press, 416 pp., $29.95. By Gennady Sheyner



oy Kepler’s life was a tale of two revolutions: one that gave rise to war protests, draft resisters and the bohemian, anti-establishment sensibilities of the late 1960s, and another one that brought paperback books to the masses and, in the process, redefined the bookstore as we know it. But he didn’t look like a typical revolutionary, or, for that matter, a typical bohemian. He did not sport a Che beret, hurl Molotov cocktails, shroud himself in beatnik black, or wear flowers in his hair. While his associates favored group hugs, painted buses and spiraleddown, mind-bending acid trips, Roy Kepler saved his trips for places like Livermore, where he was arrested in 1960 for protesting the recently built nuclear lab; and Oakland, where he was

arrested in 1968 after leading a peaceful demonstration in front of the Oakland Induction Center, a transfer point for soldiers about to go to war. As Michael Doyle illustrates in his excellent new biography, “Radical Chapters: Pacifist Bookseller Roy Kepler and the Paperback Revolution,� Mr. Kepler was a sharp, unsentimental businessman, known less for his own personality than for those of wild, worldchanging bohemians who populated his popular Menlo Park bookstore, a landmark institution that plans to reopen its own next chapter later this month. But while he often wasn’t the loudest or the wildest man in the room, he was, above all, a leader, a man who parlayed his own lifelong pacifism into

a broad anti-war movement and, in the process, created a institution that continues to change and inspire bookworms in Menlo Park and beyond. Roy Kepler is brought back to life in this new biography by Mr. Doyle, a journalist with the McClatchy newspaper chain and a former Palo Alto Weekly reporter. Mr. Doyle’s deeply sympathetic and intimate look at Mr. Kepler’s life and times follows its subject from his humble upbringing in Denver, to his war-resistance efforts during World War II and the Vietnam War, to his radical experiences with new institutions such as the Free University and the Institute for Nonviolent Studies, to his wild success in transforming his stuffy but eclectic bookshop into the Bay Area’s leading melting pot for

223-6525 223-7525 854-2626 854-3650 854-0858

N E-mail news, information, obituaries and photos (with captions) to: N E-mail letters to the editor to:



Saturday & Sunday September 29 & 30 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Event Location Rinconada Park 777 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA

Free Admission Children always welcome. Live torchworking demonstration on exhibition days only. For more information call 650.329.2366 or visit

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CALLING ON THE ALMANAC Newsroom: Newsroom fax: Advertising: Advertising fax: Classified ads:

September 24-27 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

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Roy Kepler’s war on war

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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.

September 28 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

 Roy Kepler in 1964 at the former site of Kepler’s bookstore at 825 El Camino Real, where the Starbucks is now in Victoria Lane, between Roble and Live Oak avenues.

the eye and introduce infection-causing bacteria. As a result, cosmetic lenses illegally sold “over-thecounter� and on the street and the Internet can cause irreversible corneal damage that can cause permanent blindness. There is nothing fun about a painful eye infection and vision loss. The Internet gives us access to a wide range of products without having to leave the comfort of our home. Contact lenses are a personalized product that must meet the vision needs of the wearer. Because contacts are worn directly on the eyes, they can lead to infection and long-term damage. Please bring your eyewear prescription to MENLO OPTICAL at 1166 University Drive, on the corner of Oak Grove Avenue and University Drive. We educate each patient on a lens care system that includes cleaning, disinfecting and storage. Call us at 322-3900 if you have questions about eyewear. P.S. Contact lenses are regulated by the FDA as medical devices and should be treated as such.

THE ALMANAC (ISSN 1097-3095 and USPS 459370) is published every Wednesday by Embarcadero Media, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 940256558. Periodicals Postage Paid at Menlo Park, CA and at additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for San Mateo County, The Almanac is delivered free to homes in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. Subscriptions for $60 per year or $100 per 2 years are welcome. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025-6558. Copyright Š2012 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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

671-A Oak Grove Ave Menlo Park 650-327-1313 September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN3

Dear Friends and Customers,


We’ve saved the best for last! After 27 years we have set a retirement date for next spring, making this Fall’s Custom Sofa Sale the very last. But we think it will be the very best. All or our custom sofa lines and every single piece of furniture will be on sale for this event. We will have your favorites . . . and some new surprises . . . and a lot of fun as we say good-bye to you, our friends and customers. Thank you, each and every one of you, for your wonderful support through the years. With great appreciation, Barbara and Roland Wentzel

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Menlo Park

4NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012













SEPTEMBER 26, 2012







Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

Firefighter Eric McGlennon rolls up a fire hose Sept. 13 after a fire destroyed a Beechwood School portable building used for administrative offices and the third-grade classroom.

By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

silent ‘A


Gaps in fire code endanger local schools


On the cover: Menlo Park district firefighters, from left, John Renner, Captain Seth Johnson, and Eric McGlennon carry a filing cabinet from the debris at the Beechwood School fire.

ll of our focus was on child safety. We didn’t think about a fire starting at night,” said Beechwood Principal Dave Laurance as he gazed at students playing on campus six days after a fire destroyed a third-grade classroom and the administration department, both housed in one of five portable buildings. Menlo Park Fire Protection District investigators concluded that a pinched electrical stove cord in the kitchen sparked the blaze. Based on heavy charring, they said it appeared the fire burned for some time before a neighbor saw smoke around 4 a.m. on Sept. 13. The school, a private nonprofit K-8 facility at 50 Terminal Ave. in Menlo Park, sits nestled between houses and

the city’s Onetta Harris Community Center, making some uneasy at the thought of what could have happened if the fire escaped campus. The school had focused on daytime fires. The portable classrooms have two exits, although some have windows covered with a wire mesh that cannot be opened from the inside. The facilities do meet the requirements for fire safety established by state code, and two years of stellar inspection reports agreed. Mr. Laurance said that the kids know how to react when the fire alarm goes off; the school runs regular drills, the last in August. Even with practice, however, will young children in a smokefilled classroom respond the same way as during a drill? Fire Marshal Geoff Aus shook

his head when the Almanac asked. “There’s a panic effect.” Day or night, minutes count in emergency response, and getting there sooner rather than later because of a monitored alarm that directly signals dispatch can save both lives and property, according to the fire district. Culture clash

Schools tend to prioritize pouring resources into the classroom — better books, better computers, better facilities — after ensuring they meet safety code requirements. Given the $400,000 worth of damage now facing Beechwood School, however, the question arises of what that investment is worth when it burns down. “That fire was burning for hours,” Fire Chief Harold See FIRE, page 8

September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5


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6NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012

guilty plea and an apology weren’t enough to keep a 63-year-old Atherton woman out of prison. A judge sentenced Margaret Brill to five years for a drunken driving rampage through downtown Menlo Park that left two people injured, according to the district attorney’s office. Police said Ms. Brill rammed a car while backing her green Mercedes out of a Santa Cruz Avenue parking lot, causing a chain reaction that led to two Photo courtesy of San Mateo County parked cars pinning a man Margaret Brill, 63, of Atherton, between them. Several bystand- was sentenced to five years in ers forced the cars apart to free state prison for driving under the him, according to police. The influence and injuring two people. man suffered a broken leg and kneecap. Without stopping, Ms. Brill Earlier this year Ms. Brill pulled out and careened down pleaded no contest to causing Santa Cruz Avenue, striking injury while driving under the two more vehicles, leaving one influence (DUI) and hit-andwoman with facial run with injury for cuts after the collithe December 2010 sion forced her car She is ordered incident. She admiton to the sidewalk. multiple prior to pay $85,000 ted Driving the wrong DUI convictions. restitution. way down the Margaret street, the Mercedes Brill’s husband finally stopped after reportedly told the leaping the center median into court during the Sept. 19 sena tree. Bystanders cornered the tencing hearing that his wife “is car and yanked the key out of not a bad person, but has a bad the ignition. Police said her disease.� blood alcohol level was 0.29 San Mateo County Superior percent. Court Judge Craig Parsons Two days later Atherton police ordered that she pay $85,000 to arrested Ms. Brill as she wan- those injured during the incident dered through a train station as well as various fees to Menlo parking lot, muddy and intoxi- Park and other agencies. She cated, carrying two bottles of received 59 days credit for time wine, according to the district served, having spent most of attorney’s office. those in a treatment program. A

Portola Valley cleanup day at Ford Field on Oct. 6 A Portola Valley household cleanup day — a day to responsibly dispose of items no longer wanted or needed — is set for Saturday morning, Oct. 6, at Ford Field at 3399 Alpine Road. This free service is available from 8 to 11 a.m. to residents only. To prove residence, bring the recent flier mailed to residences on this topic or a GreenWaste garbage bill. Items accepted include indoor and outdoor furniture, mattresses, rugs and carpets, electronic gear such as computers and monitors, pots and pans, scrap metal, bikes, and appliances such as washers, dryers

and toaster ovens. Items not welcome: hazardous materials, batteries, tires, liquids, large pieces of plate glass, appliances containing chlorofluorocarbons such as refrigerators and air conditioners, and large amounts of rock, dirt or concrete. Call Brandi de Garmeaux at 851-1700, ext. 222, for more information. The town recommends that residents consider donating reusable items rather than disposing of them. A household hazardous waste disposal event in Portola Valley is tentatively set for Oct. 13. Appointments are required.



In search of high-quality preschool for all

by Monica Corman

Fence Line Dispute

Longtime local teacher seeks venue for mixed-income program By Chris Kenrick Embarcadero Media


ith a Stanford University education and decades of hands-on experience with kids, Carol Thomsen of Menlo Park is something of an expert on the education of toddlers. But in the years she spent nurturing the children of affluent families in top local preschools — and parenting her own — the thought kept nagging at her: “So many children are not getting that excellent start; it’s just a crime.” Armed with little more than her experience and a belief in the transformative power of high-quality preschool, Ms. Thomsen is now seeking a venue to launch a mixed-income preschool like no other. “Kelima” — meaning “all five” in Indonesia, where she once studied and taught — would start from birth and go to age 5, offering a full-day program along with a high dose of parent participation and education. “At no other time in a person’s life does the brain develop as rapidly as during the first years,” wrote David Kirp, author of “The Sandbox Investment,” a book Ms. Thomsen carries in her tote bag to share with anyone who will listen. Even as scholars have documented the lasting advantages of high-quality preschool, Ms. Thomsen — who taught for many years at Stanford’s Bing Nursery School and the Menlo Atherton Cooperative Nursery School — says she sees a growing “opportunity gap” for local babies. “I just see the socioeconomic divide in this community becoming greater and greater, not less and less,” she said. “The more I learn about that divide, the more I see that early childhood education is a great opportunity for parents to get together and see that children aren’t that different. “And the return on investment for early childhood education is just indisputable.” She rattles off the data: Lowincome kids with quality preschool experiences “went to prison less, committed few violent crimes, stayed married longer, got married, stayed in high school, went to college more frequently — everything on the average life matrix of success, and not becoming a ‘problem’ to society,” she said. As of 2009, California spent more than $47,000 per prison inmate per year, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s

Dear Monica: My neighbor and I are in the process of resolving a dispute about the line that separates the two properties. The existing fence encroaches on my property, according to a survey that was just done. What is the best way of handling this discrepancy? Art C.,

you will all (including any lenders who have liens) have to agree to the change. Or, you can leave the fence where it is and record a consent agreement that allows the fence to stay there but if it is destroyed or replaced, it has to be put on the actual boundary.

Dear Art: Now that you have completed a survey showing that the fence is not on the property line, there are a few options you can choose. First, you can both agree to move the fence to the property line and record the survey along with a legal description of the property. If the legal description does not agree with the original legal description

You can also agree, for consideration, to deed part of your parcel to the neighbor. Both you and your neighbor, and your mortgage lenders, will have to agree to this change. You will need to record an agreement along with a new deed, and revise the legal descriptions of both properties. You should consult an attorney to advise you on your options and manage the process.

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.


Photo by Veronic Weber

Carol Thomsen sits beside the play structure at Flood Park in Menlo Park, where she hopes to someday build a new preschool.

Office. The $20,000 price of a quality, full-day preschool is a better investment, she argues. She’s scouring for funding and for the right venue — with plenty

‘I just see the socioeconomic divide in this community becoming greater and greater.’ CAROL THOMSEN

of natural outdoor space, and easy to reach from both sides of U.S. 101 — to launch a mixedincome pilot program with 24 children in the fall of 2013. Her own two sons were born during the 10 years she lived year-round at Stanford Sierra Camp at Fallen Leaf Lake, where her husband, Chris, was director until 1996. (He is now on the Board of Trustees of the Sequoia Union High School District.)

When the family returned to this area, her younger son went through Bing Nursery School. As for her older son, who lived in the mountains through age 5, she said, “I like to think he had me as a teacher.” She takes inspiration from her mother, a social worker whom she used to accompany to prisons, and her grandmother, who founded a preschool in Massachusetts that still operates today. “When I think about why I’m doing this, I think they instilled in me the idea that with privilege comes responsibility,” she said. “Anybody who got to go to Stanford University and have a good education is a privileged person. “Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, the social skills you learn in a high-quality preschool — how to learn, that the world is an exciting and interesting place that you can trust, to have the confidence to go out and get it — those skills will carry you for the rest of your life.” A

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Planning Commission of the Town of Portola Valley will conduct a study session at 7:30 p.m. on October 3, 2012 for preliminary review of a proposal to amend the Blue Oaks PUD. The proposed amendments would remove references to below market rate housing, reduce the number of parcels in the residential area owned by the town, i.e., 3 and 5 Buck Meadow Drive (APNs: 080-240-230, -240, -250, and -260), from four (4) to two (2) and make other changes to accommodate market rate housing on the two adjusted parcels. Also to be considered is a lot line adjustment to implement the PUD amendments. The proposal is being processed at the direction of the town council for conformity with the provisions of the town’s State certified housing element of the Portola Valley General Plan and provisions associated with the Blue Oaks subdivision record documents. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that no action will be taken at the October 3, 2012 study session and that, in due course, formal notice will be given when a public hearing on the proposal is to be conducted. A preliminary staff report on the project will be available for public review at Portola Valley Town Hall, 765 Portola Road, on September 28, 2012. Following the planning commission October 3, 2012 meeting the project will be subjected to normal town staff and committee review prior to setting of a public hearing. This review process will include project consideration by the ASCC at its regular public meeting at 7:30 p.m., October 8, 2012. All interested persons are invited to appear before the Planning Commission at the time above-mentioned. The study session will be conducted in the Historic School House meeting room at the town center, 765 Portola Road, and the October 8, 2012 ASCC public meeting will also be in the Historic School House meeting room. If someone challenges the proposed action in court, he or she may be limited to raising only those issues raised at the public meetings conducted on the proposal or in written correspondence delivered to the town at or prior to the public meetings. Dated: September 20, 2012 Signed: Carol Borck, Town Planning Technician

September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN7

N E W S FIRE continued from page 5

Schapelhouman said, before anyone noticed and called it in. With a monitored alarm — “We could have gotten there in minutes.” Yet state law doesn’t require monitored fire alarms or sprinklers in portable classrooms like the ones that Beechwood has used since 1986, despite longstanding efforts by both the fire district and former State Assemblyman Ted Lempert. “This was the second portable school building fire in the last year that we’ve had in Menlo Park,” Chief Schapelhouman said. “These structures were meant to be temporary, but often get left in place

for decades and are allotted exemptions under the fire code since they are not considered permanent buildings.” Beechwood does have a monitored burglar alarm, however. Asked if that was installed after a break-in last year, Mr. Laurance said, “We’ve always had a burglar alarm.” Adding a fire alarm to that may be a minimal cost. “You don’t have something like this happen and not reconsider. If we think it’s feasible, we’re going to look at how we can budget it.” Pride Hall

The fire district’s efforts may leave some schools asking, “When is enough enough?” A public records request by the Almanac pointed to a clash

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District and Menlo-Atherton High School disagree on whether the school’s Pride Hall currently complies with fire code regulations. The school maintains a monitored alarm system, but will also upgrade pipes for water delivery in upcoming months at the fire district’s request.

between Menlo-Atherton High School, which recently unveiled the latest phase of its piecemeal multi-million dollar renovation, and the fire district. According to the district, should a blaze break out in Pride Hall, firefighters would have to haul hoses 500 feet to connect to a water supply. A pipe system dating back to the 1950s collapsed during a test this summer, leaving trucks without a close water supply. The system remains non-functional — a situation which the fire district feels leaves the school out of compliance with the law. The school, however, does have a state-of-the-art monitored fire detection system, along with a recently installed fire hydrant near Pride Hall, according to Principal Matt Zito. “Our system is 100 percent working, it covers 100 percent of campus, and we still have a full system of fire hydrants on campus plus a new high-pressure water system that can pump more water than anyone could ever use,” he said. Despite the debate over whether that wing of the school meets safety requirements, Mr. Zito said Menlo-Atherton will be installing an improved pipe system during the next several months. “I look at it as an added layer of protection. Truly, we don’t feel that we’re out of compliance, but it gives us an extra layer.” Adding that layer will cost the school $150,000 to $200,000, on top of what Mr. Zito estimated to be $1 million already spent on the

Woodside meets on farmers’ market By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer

The Planning Commission in the town of Woodside is having a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, to consider an action that could open the door for a weekly farmers’ market near the corner of Highway 84 and Skyline Boulevard in Skylonda. A market was held in a parking lot there on Aug. 1

and neighbors spoke up for a weekly repeat, but the town shut it down in keeping with the municipal code and, more important, a stipulation on the use of the property. The Skylonda community has the backing of the Town Council. The conditional use permit for the properties at 17265 and 17285 Skyline Blvd. does not allow outdoors sales, town staff have said. The property owners have asked the Planning Com-

mission to amend the permit and have designated as their agent Maggie Foard, who manages the Mountain Goat Farmers’ Market. The amended permit would allow a market between 3 and 7 p.m., with seasonal adjustments, on Wednesdays, according to a staff report. The commission meets in Independence Hall, at the corner of Woodside and Whiskey Hill roads. A

Menlo Park, Woodside forums on state propositions The League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County invites the public to two local forums to discuss state propositions on the Nov. 6 ballot. One forum will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the

Menlo Park Library, 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center. Another will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, in the chapel of the Woodside Village Church, 3154 Woodside Road, opposite

Woodside Elementary School. League volunteers will present non-partisan information about the various ballot propositions. For more information, contact Ellen Hope at ellenjhope@aol. com or call 839-8647.

The online guide to Menlo Park businesses 8NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

The Sept. 13 fire destroyed a portable building on the Beechwood School campus that housed administrative offices and the third-grade classroom.

monitored detection and sprinkler system. “What happened at Beechwood School — that’s very unlikely here. Mot to say there couldn’t be a fire on campus, but 90 seconds later we would have fire trucks pulling in.” Ring the bell

Schools without the financial resources of Menlo-Atherton would have trouble affording those state-of-the-art systems even if they do decide to make installation a priority. That’s where Virginia Chang Kiraly hopes the new “Ring the Bell Fund” will make a difference. She raised the issue of non-monitored alarms while successfully campaigning for the fire district board of directors last year. “(Beechwood) was the second school fire in the Belle Haven neighborhood in 13 months, the last being at Belle Haven

Elementary School last August,” Ms. Kiraly said. Now she and her husband Ken are establishing a nonprofit “to help raise funds and awareness of the importance of having monitored fire alarm infrastructure in place to ensure the safety of our children, schools, and neighborhoods, especially in low-income neighborhoods. “ Although the fund is independent of the fire district, Ms. Kiraly said an informational booth will be at the annual pancake breakfast sponsored by the Junior League and the district on Saturday, Oct 6. “If there’s one thing I know, it’s that schools burn,” Chief Schapelhouman said as he gazed at a list of nearly 20 local school fires. “And if it’s predictable, it’s preventable.” Fire Marshal Aus looked rueful as he agreed. He saw his own high school burn. A

Council to revisit meaning of ‘meadow preserve’ By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


he meaning of “meadow preserve” in the Portola Valley general plan and how that term applies to the open field at 555 Portola Road is up for further discussion by the Town Council at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the Historic Schoolhouse at 765 Portola Road. The field in question sits at the foot of a view, uninterrupted by man-made structures, of the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, a prized part of the town’s scenic corridor. After years of debate over the future of this field, the owners — Dr. Kirk Neely and Holly Myers — won approval from the Planning Commission in January 2012 to build a barn and grow fruits and vegetables nearby. In a separate split decision, the commission denied


the couple’s request to add a vineyard, a necessary addition for the field’s economic viability, Dr. Neely said at the time. The couple did not appeal the split decision to the council, but “this was a major concern to them” and they have been waiting for the Town Council to clarify the general plan language “to permit a broader agricultural use interpretation allowing for vineyards,” Town Planner Tom Vlasic said in a staff report. Members of the public have weighed in on the side of keeping the vegetation as it is, “mainly hay and grasses,” Mr. Vlasic added. Past discussions about the field have focused on the meanings of terms such as “natural” and “existing character” and “largely open” and “present agricultural uses.” A


FOOTHILL COLLEGE Invites you to join us on the main campus – Room 5015 (Just minutes from either Foothill Expwy or 280)

A SIX-WEEK INVESTMENT AND FINANCIAL PLANNING CLASS Wednesday evenings from 7:00 - 9:00 PM. It is better for you to register now, but you may also register the first evening of class on OCT. 10th. (Class #057). The cost is $49. No prior financial knowledge is required. To register call (408) 864-8817, or online, (in the Financial Planning section).

“Outstanding Course!” “I don’t want to exaggerate, but I truly believe this course has improved my life and my financial well-being. The instructors had an outstanding command of the material and presented it thoughtfully and with great humor & insight.”

Some of the Topics Are: Photo by Mari Chazen

Vikings triumph The Menlo-Atherton Vikings Pop Warner football team, left, triumphed in a recent Junior Midgets (ages 11-13) contest with the Division 1 rival Redwood City Junior 49ers. The Vikings, who represented the Pacific Northwest region in the 2011 Pop Warner Super Bowl, rolled to a 32-0 victory on Sunday, Sept. 16, at the newly renovated turf football field at M-A High School.

Consultant to develop community engagement process in Belle Haven By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


fter a 3-2 vote last week, the Menlo Park City Council decided to start looking for a consultant to handle a $90,000 contract to develop a community engagement process for Belle Haven. During the Sept. 18 meeting, the council reviewed a staff report that described features that make Belle Haven unique compared to the rest of Menlo Park — its 6,000 residents make up a neighborhood “much less aff luent than the City of Menlo Park as a whole ... with stark inequalities seen in major social demographic indicators such as population, housing, education levels, and employment.” The report noted that Belle Haven has seen major changes recently. The approval of the Menlo Gateway project and Facebook’s arrival may prove beneficial to a neighborhood that’s also struggling with how to maintain services in the face of losing $3 million in funding via the now-defunct redevelopment agency. Informal conversations with Belle Haven residents highlighted numerous areas of concern, including the divi-

sion between east and west Menlo Park; lack of educational opportunities caused by not belonging to the Menlo Park City School District; and gentrification. A community engagement process would “find out what is most important to the people who live and work there,” according to staff, and envision what the neighborhood could

Menlo Park’s City Council agrees to a $90,000 consultant’s contract on a 3-2 vote. look like 10 years from now. Councilman Rich Cline voted in favor of hiring a consultant. He later told the Almanac he’s never witnessed an engagement process for Belle Haven. “That communit y has evolved a lot. Not just demographics but expectations have changed as well,” he said. “There are 6,000 people in Belle Haven, according to the city. Have we attempted to reach out to those 6,000 and discuss the topics such as services and education? Maybe, but not at the level we need to

reach conclusions for our city’s long-term planning.” Noting that Belle Haven contains approximately 20 percent of the city’s population, he said Menlo Park must figure out how to get people involved. “The time for a select group of people to decide the future of our city is over. We need mass engagement.” Mayor Kirsten Keith and Vice Mayor Peter Ohtaki cast the dissenting votes. Vice Mayor Ohtaki questioned whether the process would translate into solutions, saying he was worried “it will be an expensive survey, not an action plan. We’ve heard for years that Belle Haven residents are concerned about the education disparity, poor maintenance of parks and medians, declining services, and occasionally crime. I’d rather spend $90,000 of taxpayers money to identify solutions to these issues and alternate funding sources.” Funding for the process will be drawn from one-time revenues such as from Facebook or the city’s reserves, according to the staff report. The process is expected to start in January 2013 if a consultant is hired before the holiday season. A

$ HOW TO INVEST IN DIFFICULT TIMES $ STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL ESTATES $ THE BEST WAYS OF INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE $ ETFs, BONDS & MUTUAL FUNDS & STOCK $ THE NEW WORLD OF TAXES $ THE UNKNOWN DANGERS OF TAX-FREE INCOME $ PROTECTING WEALTH & ASSETS IN TROUBLED TIMES $ MANAGING YOUR MONEY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE $ WHAT TO DO RIGHT NOW & FINANCIAL PLANNING $ HOW TO CHOOSE A TOP-NOTCH ADVISOR $ TURNING THE MOST COMMON FINANCIAL MISTAKES INTO PROFIT $ HOW TO PROPERLY INTEGRATE YOUR IRAs & 401(k)s $ ECONOMIC HEDGING & ASSET ALLOCATION $ HOW TO INVEST FOR/IN RETIREMENT $ AND MUCH, MUCH MORE ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTORS Steve Lewis is President of Lewis & Mathews Investment Management in Menlo Park. He is a college professor, investment counselor, Value Line award winner, financial author and has appeared on national radio and television. He is a past officer of the S.C. International Association of Financial planners and served on the National Academy Advisory Board. He has written for Money magazine and Dow Jones's Barron's. Jim Curran is a veteran of over 25 Years on Wall Street. He is President of Curran & Lewis Investment Management, Inc., in Menlo Park, a Wealth Manager Magazine top Wealth Management firm. He is Chief Portfolio Manager, and specializes in investment advice for individual investors, companies, and their officers. He is an accomplished and dynamic college and business lecturer.

The instructors have taught over 30,000 Northern Californians their money managing techniques. SOME COMMENTS FROM PAST CLASS MEMBERS: “This course has been excellent, very informative and enlightening.” “...Very objective in presentation of material...” “I have looked forward to each class like opening a new package each week.” “The course exceeded my expectations.” “...A very helpful, well thought out, well presented course. I have recommended it to many people.” “Well done, informative, stimulating.” “Terrific! Loved the course.” “Your ability to take subject matter and make it understandable commands my highest respect.” THIS IS THE ONLY AD THAT WILL APPEAR FOR THIS COURSE. PLEASE CUT OUT AND BRING TO CLASS (This space donated to Foothill College. Not paid with tax dollars.)

September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN9


Skater slows himself down before making a turn.

Skateboarders watch others hit the hill while they wait their turn during the third annual Menlo Park Skate Jam.

Skate Jam in Menlo Park

A skater rides a 4-foot-tall roller, prepping to catch air.

Jasper Ohlson, 12, of San Diego catches air off a 4-foot — tall roller after clearing the first gap.

The third-annual Menlo Park Skate Jam was held this weekend, showcasing skateboarders as they ran a half-mile closed downhill course. Riders gathered at Greer Park in Palo Alto on Friday. On Saturday, the jam shifted to Burgess Skate Park in Menlo Park, and the main event took place Sunday, Sept. 23, on Valparaiso Avenue in Sharon Hills Park. Proceeds go to the Menlo-Atherton High School wood shop program. Go to for more information. Photos by Michelle Le

How should city use M-A’s Performing Arts Center? By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


ooking shows in the stateof-the-art Menlo-Atherton High School Performing Arts Center (PAC) presents a puzzle that Menlo Park is making a renewed effort to solve. On Wednesday, Sept. 26, the Parks and Recreation Commission will hold a study session to figure out how the city can make the most of its theatrical investment, armed with results from a survey of theater patrons and a new grant program for community performers. The city, which contributed $2.6 million toward construction, shares the center with Menlo-Atherton High School. In exchange Menlo Park is supposed to get 55 days of rent-free use during the school year, and unlimited access during school vacations.


But as the Almanac reported in June, it hasn’t worked out that way. So far the city has used only between 11 and 36 days of its allotment each year since the theater opened in 2009. The

A new grant-forthe-arts program is designed to help community groups afford theater space.

Another factor is cost; community groups failed to flock to the theater because of the expense. Many events were quickly deemed unfeasible once the direct costs for using the facility were realized, the city says. The average cost for a single-day rental ranges from $500 to $1,000, according to a staff report. “Often these direct costs are too high for local community groups,” the report says. “The size of theater, with 492 seats, has also proven to be too large for these types of events as well.” A helping hand

city has booked 15 days this fiscal year (starting July 1), with potentially nine more shows scheduled after the winter. Scheduling presents one obstacle, as school events take priority over community use.

The city continues to search for cost-effective solutions after a proposal to spend $100,000 on a business plan and a theater management company failed to receive funding this year. One new initiative is a Menlo

10NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012

N ME ETI NG The Menlo Park Parks and Recreation Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center. ■ Visit to review the staff report.

Park Grant for the Arts program, designed to help community groups afford theater space. Five groups would each receive $500 to $1,000 a year toward rental costs. According to the staff report, applicants will be evaluated on proximity to the city; the utility of using the PAC; and whether “the planned performance aligns with the goals and values of the City of Menlo Park, including: fostering human development, connect-

ing people to others, strengthening families, and material appropriate for all ages, races, religions, etc.” The city also took a closer look at who uses the theater by surveying theater patrons in August and building a database of performers. Of the 107 people who answered the survey, 37.4 percent had attended a show at the PAC. They preferred children’s and modern theater, films, musicals and rock concerts, with performances held at times other than Friday nights and weekday afternoons. Sixty-three respondents said they’d favor using taxpayer dollars to increase the PAC budget from $64,000 to $114,000, with several suggesting the city do a better job of advertising events. “PUBLICIZE!! I have no idea what performances are being held there,” one commented.


Summary Reports Summary Real Estate Reports for Week of September for Week of May 7. 24.

Last flight

Available at

Perced atop a specially modified jumbo jet, Space Shuttle Endeavour flew over Hangar One at Moffett Field in Mountain View on Sept. 21 as part of its last flight before it is ferried to a museum in Los Angeles.

Reports for: Atherton Woodside Portola Valley Menlo Park Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

City checks Facebook’s west campus plans By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


et ready for round two — the permit process for Facebook’s proposed west campus on Constitution Drive has gotten under way with a study session scheduled for the Sept. 24 Planning Commission meeting. The social networking company wants to build a onestory office building designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry on 22 acres it owns across the street from its headquarters off Willow Road. The 433,555-square-foot structure would perch on top of approximately 1,540 parking spaces, and be designed to blend into the landscape by incorporating a rooftop and ground-level gardens. The west campus would accommodate 2,800 employees, mainly engineers, according to Facebook, and also include two public lobbies for visitors — the headquarters has gotten used to turning tourists away. The staff report notes that the same negotiating team that dealt with the east campus will handle terms for the development agreement for the west campus; that team includes council members Kirsten Keith and Rich Cline.


Go to to review the staff report for the study session. The Planning Commission planned to focus on identifying potential public benefits.

ReStore San Carlos ReStore, Habitat for Humanity’s chain of stores for “gently used” goods and home improvement supplies, now has a branch in San Carlos. It carries standard hardware items along with home appliances such as refrigerators for 50 to 70 percent off retail price, according to the press release for the Sept. 22 grand opening. Proceeds support Habitat projects around the Bay Area. The new ReStore is located at 1411 Industrial Road in San Carlos and open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Hearing on closure of emergency room Anticipating public concern regarding the anticipated closure of the Mills Health Center standby emergency department in San Mateo, the county has scheduled a public hearing for

Steve Gray

Thursday, Sept. 27. The standby department will close Dec. 1 and be converted to an urgent care clinic in the fall of 2013, according to Mills-Peninsula Health Services. The switch would allow the health care organization to avoid spending $60 million to $80 million on state-mandated seismic retrofits. The department, which handles non-critical emergencies, saw about 34 patients a day last year, about two-thirds less than other local facilities. The public hearing starts at 5 p.m. in Room 100 of the San Mateo County Health System at 225 37th Ave. in San Mateo.

DRE# 01498634



Menlo Park retains AAA bond rating Citing the city’s strong economy, high income levels and strong connection to the technology sectors of Silicon Valley, bond rating agency Fitch has confirmed Menlo Park’s AAA bond rating, city officials announced Sept. 24. The rating, the highest available, reflects the city’s “track record of consistently identifying new revenue opportunities and cost savings strategies to address potential imbalances,” according to Fitch officials. The announcement noted that those new revenue streams include the proposed hotel tax increase on the November ballot, as well as the available (but unimplemented) capacity to increase the utility users’ tax.

Lisa loves to help students understand how the natural world works. She encourages her students to cultivate a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature and science. In addition to teaching at the renowned Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Lisa has published five curriculum books, three on teaching Marine Science and two on middle school level math. When Lisa isn’t teaching, she spends time with her family and volunteers for local charities.



Woodside Prior y School Admissions Office 302 Portola Road, Portola Valley, CA 94028 650/851-8223 ■

Candidates forum set for Atherton City Council seats Candidates for the two open Atherton City Council seats will be given a chance to state their positions and answer questions at a forum set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in the Holbrook-Palmer Park Pavilion. The forum is co-sponsored by the League of Women Vot-

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

ers of South San Mateo County and the Atherton Civic Interest League. There will be a fiveminute ACIL business meeting before the forum begins. During the forum, each candidate will make an opening statement, then a moderator will ask questions that have

been submitted by attendees and consolidated, according to an announcement from the two sponsoring organizations. The four candidates are incumbent Elizabeth Lewis, Cary Wiest, Denise Kupperman, and Greg Conlon. It is unknown whether all candidates will attend.


for Prospective Students and Families

Saturday, November 10th, 2012 at 10 a.m. Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 8th, 2012 at 10 a.m. For information and to R.S.V.P. contact Admissions at 650.851.8223

September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11

12NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012

September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN13


Another woman reports she was sexually assaulted By Eric Van Susteren Embarcadero Media


woman reported being sexually assaulted while jogging through El Palo Alto Park in Palo Alto early Wednesday morning, Sept. 19, according to Palo Alto police. A man came up behind the woman, bear-hugged her, grabbed her breast and possibly tried to pull her down in the process, police said. The woman told police she screamed and was able to free herself and the man immediately jogged away. The woman didn’t suffer any injuries and followed the man from a distance while using her cell phone to call the police. She told police she last saw him running east on Hawthorne Avenue from Alma Street.

Join today:

Police responded with a canine unit but were unable to find the man after a search of the area. She described the assailant as Middle Eastern or Hispanic, about 5 feet 9 inches tall with a medium build. She said he had thin black hair. Police said the assault appears to have been committed by the same person who committed two similar assaults in the past month. On Aug. 20 a man grabbed a woman’s buttocks in the 600 block of Fulton Street, and on Aug. 29 a man grabbed a woman’s breast in the parking lot of Stanford Shopping Center. “We are concerned about all of these events, but we are particularly concerned about this one, as it appears as though the suspect’s behavior may be escalating,” Lt. Zach Perron stated in the release. “We’re going to do everything we can to identify and apprehend him. We ask for the public’s help with reporting suspicious behavior immediately to 9-1-1.” Police recommend joggers run in pairs or in small groups, run in well-traveled areas, not wear headphones over both ears, and carry a cellphone with them. A

M-A teacher honored by county Marei Kane, an English teacher at Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton, was named 2013 San Mateo County Teacher of the Year in the category of middle- and high-school teachers, according to Anne Campbell, county superintendent of schools. Ms. Kane also teaches English for students from homes in which native languages other than English are spoken. She speaks five languages, is well traveled and brings to her stu-

dents “a global perspective and a passion for learning,” the county Office of Education said in an announcement. Among her enthusiasms are the teaching of writing, including the fundamentals, and helping students develop their own voices. “Ms. Kane is remarkable for her many skills and talents, but in particular, for how she meets the needs of all learners, scaffolding rigorous and engaging lessons for students of all abili-

ties,” Ms. Campbell said. She is “a true innovator and educational leader,” M-A Principal Matthew Zito said in the statement. Ms. Kane has a bachelor’s degree cum laude in English from San Francisco State University and teaching credentials in English and German. She taught in the San Francisco Unified School District before coming to M-A and the Sequoia Union High School District.

Former recreation commissioner dies at 81 Charles O’Donnell, a former chairman of the Menlo Park Recreation Commission and manager at Draeger’s Supermarket, died Sept. 10 of stomach cancer at his Sebastopol ranch. He was 81. Mr. O’Donnell was born in San Francisco and attended Salesian High School. After high school he enlisted in the Marines. When he returned from military service, he took a job at Grant Market in San Francisco, where he met his future wife, Joan. After they were married, they moved to South San Francisco.

In 1963, Mr. O’Donnell accepted a manager’s position at Draeger’s Supermarket and moved to Menlo Park. Both Charles and Joan coached at St. Raymond School, where she was P.E. teacher and he became athletic director and eighth-grade basketball coach. He also served as chairman of the Menlo Park Recreation Commission and refereed both high school and college basketball games. In 1987, Mr. O’Donnell accepted an offer to manage the Tides Resort in Bodega Bay. The couple moved to their horse ranch

in Sebastopol, where they raised and showed Tennessee Walkers. While working at the Tides, he became a local radio personality, known as “Captain Charlie.” After retirement, he volunteered as a CYO basketball coach. Mr. O’Donnell is survived by his son, Matthew; step-daughter Ann Leishman; three grandsons; one step granddaughter; and step-great-granddaughter. His wife, Joan, died in September 2011. Donations in his memory may be made to the Ceres Community Project of Sebastopol.



Cafe Borrone


1010 El Camino Real #110, Menlo Park 650-327-0830

1001 El Camino Real, Menlo Park 650-324-3486


Left Bank 635 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park 650-473-6543


Bulldog Sports & Fitness


Cafe Zoe

1610 El Camino Real, Menlo Park 650-561-4095

The Pet Place 777 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park 650-325-7387




Gleim Jewelers

Portola Valley Garage

Los Salonez

111 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto 650-325-3533

4170 Alpine Rd., Portola Valley 650-851-7442

1929 Menalto Ave., Menlo Park 650-322-1926

1010 Alma St., Menlo Park 650-328-0735



Studio Rincon

Alys Grace

The Great Frame-Up

899B Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park 650-322-5524

865 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park 650-323-1097

3536 Alameda De Las Pulgas, Menlo Park 650-861-0242

14NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012

For a full list of the 2012 Almanac Readers’ Choice winners, go to com/best_of

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September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN15

16NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012


International Horse Trials in Woodside Some of the West Coast’s best horses and riders will compete in dressage, cross country and show jumping in the International Horse Trials Oct. 4-7 at the Horse Park in Woodside. For riders who are aiming for the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event in November, their journey will likely go through the Horse Park, according to spokesman Nan Chapman. More than 300 riders will contest in Woodside’s national divisions,

with only about 60 riders competing in the international divisions. The international horses will start their competition on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 4. A welcome reception for spectators and all competitors will follow at 5:30 p.m. Dressage will start at 8 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, with jumping for the three international divisions starting at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. A cocktail reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. Cross country will take place on

Saturday. There will be an awards reception and party that evening in a ringside tent. All events are open to the public and tickets for all three evening receptions are $75 or $35 for one evening. Go to woodsideeventing. com for ticket and other information. Hilary Bates of Woodside on the cross country course at the 2011 International Horse Trials. Ms. Bates will be competing again this year.

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September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN17


Bessie Ena Hansen Watkins March 12, 1923 – September 9, 2012 Bessie Ena Hansen Watkins, passed away on Sunday, September 9, in her home in Woodside, CA. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Dean A. Watkins, and three sons, Clark Lynn and his wife Charlotte, Alan Scott and his wife Jane, and Eric Ross, and by grandchildren Megann NoyesWatkins, Brian Noyes-Watkins, Erin Watkins, and Bradford Wieners. Born in Jamestown, ND on March 12, 1923, Bessie lived in California for 62 years. She was an honor graduate of Iowa State University in child development, receiving her B.S. in 1944 and worked as a Head Teacher and Librarian before becoming a full time homemaker and mother. She was on the Governing Board of the FILOLI Center, Woodside, for many years, and an active member and officer of the Woodside-Atherton

Garden Club. Bessie Watkins served as a member of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission from 19671981 and was designated Vice Chair in 1973. She served on the Executive Boards of the Stanford Faculty Women’s Club and of the Portola Valley School and Woodside High School ParentTeachers Association. Her other memberships included the Portola Valley Planning Commission (Chairman, 1969), and the Westridge Architectural Supervising Committee (1964-1965). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the FILOLI center in Bessie’s memory. http://www.filoli. org/support-us/. Please include name and address of family when contacting FILOLI: Dr. Dean A Watkins, 215 Mountain Wood Lane, Woodside, CA 94062. PA I D


Ruth Margot (Liverant) Klebe September 10, 1924 – September 10, 2012 The War Isn’t Over By Kathy Klebe (daughter-in-law) I’ve hated Adolf Hitler since I learned of the despicable things he inflicted on this world. I was a student in the mid 1950’s; born of a proud returning American solider and his adoring wife. Our lives were calm and normal, suburban and “average”. We camped, learned to fish, got a TV when they were invented, raked leaves and washed the cars with our families. We went to elementary and high school and rarely discussed ‘the war”. Dad only talked about it in terms of his buddies and the good times they had in the Philippines, never mentioning the havoc that was unleashed on him or the natives he encountered. Meanwhile, on another front, other lives were progressing, tumultuous from the mayhem of the war in Europe. My someday-to-be husband’s family was scattered and decimated by the war. My husband never met his grandparents or one uncle because Auschwitz was a killing factory. His father, racked by the chaos of war, moved to California but couldn’t settle into the American way of life. His mother, ripped from her home in Berlin in 1937 came to this life to be with her husband’s family while her own scattered around the world; Berlin, Toronto and South Africa.

As my mother-in-law aged, I thought I could see in her face a sorrow and loneliness that her children could not fill. She had no siblings left, and when they were alive, they were thousands of miles away. She never could reminisce about the park she played in as a child for it was blown up in the 40’s. Her father’s bakery was demolished in the mess of war, as was her birthplace. Her life was ripped from her as a child. She couldn’t go to a high school reunion, the café she loved on a rainy day or to her grandparent’s grave; they were all gone. They became rubble to be swept away in the reconstruction of the German cities. She suffered the ravages of war and for her it wasn’t over. She’d always been a loner, partly because she was never sure of her English and a bit embarrassed by her German accent. When the generation that fought and endured the war dies, the tendrils of emotional and physical loss will continue to recede. That my husband never new his grandparents is sad and unfortunate, but losing one’s entire history and roots to Herr Hitler’s war has been devastating. We, as her family, can only wish Ruth peace at last and forever after………..goodbye Ruth. With love, Roy, Joanne, Kathy, Shannon, Alisha and Hannah. PA I D


Support The Almanac’s print and online coverage of our community. Join today: 18NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012

Menlowe Ballet celebrates one year with new works By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


rom a neoclassical work by the ballet master of the San Francisco Ballet, to choreographer Michael Lowe’s homage to instrumental vintage surf music, Menlowe Ballet is set to offer audiences a wideranging dance experience when it stages its one-year anniversary performance Oct. 5-7. The performance, which will also feature the premiere of Mr. Lowe’s “Serei,” will be in the Bayside Performing Arts Center at 2025 Kehoe Ave. in San Mateo. Mr. Lowe, a principal dancer and choreographer with the Oakland Ballet for many years, is the Menlo Park-based ballet company’s artistic director. He has established a reputation in the world of choreography for a bold style based on contemporary form that borrows from classical dance. Much of his work is rooted in cultural themes, such as “Serei,” which means “spirit” in Japanese. The work, one of three on the October program, follows the reflections of a woman journeying through memories of past lives, according to Lisa Shiveley of Atherton, a co-founder and the executive director of Menlowe Ballet. Ms. Shiveley said the company is thrilled about the chance to perform the new work “Songs” by Betsy Erickson, a former dancer with the American Ballet Theatre and the San Francisco Ballet and now the SFB’s ballet master. “It is an honor and a privilege to have her work become part

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

Damon Mahoney lifts Terrin McGee-Kelly during a Menlowe Ballet practice last October.

of our repertoire,” Ms. Shiveley said in a written statement. “Our dancers have had an invaluable and inspiring experience working under her mentoring and exacting eye.” “Songs” is set to six orchestral songs, with soprano voice, by Richard Strauss. The third work on the program is “Surfside,” which features dancers in beachwear and a live musical performance by Paul Stinson of the Radishes and the Stripminers, and John Baker of Lotus Rush and Story Road. The performances will be at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5 and 6; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7. Tickets are $28 to $45, and may be purchased at or by calling 800-5954849. A

Forum on supervisor race Shelly Masur and Warren Slocum, the two candidates vying in the Nov. 6 election to represent District 4 on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, will take questions in a one-hour forum starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in San Mateo. Members of the audience can submit questions to the candidates through a moderator from the League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County, a cosponsor of the forum along with the league’s North/Central San Mateo County chapter.

The forum takes place in the San Mateo Library at 55 W. 3rd Ave. District 4 includes Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Redwood City and the unincorporated communities of North Fair Oaks and Oak Knoll, and has been represented by Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson for 14 years. The candidates must reside in the district, but run countywide. Write to Ellen Hope at or call 839-8647 for more information, including transportation to the forum.


Raymond Monroe Smith


Menlo Park Architect ■ Loss estimated at $400 in theft of

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 report: Loss estimated at $2,000 in break-in through garage window and unlocked residence door and theft of two laptop computers, Sevier Ave., Sept. 14. Auto burglary reports: ■ Loss estimated at $12,000 in breakin through back window and theft of oboe from back seat, 1400 block of El Camino Real, Sept. 15. ■ Loss estimated at $1,500 is break-in through window and theft of handbag containing laptop computer and school supplies, Doyle St. and Menlo Ave., Sept. 18. ■ Loss estimated at $933 in break-in through window and theft of handbag containing Apple iPod, charger, jewelry and other items, Santa Cruz Ave., Sept. 15. ■ Loss estimated at $450 in break-in through window and theft of victim’s handbag, Oak Grove Ave., Sept. 18. Theft reports: ■ Loss estimated at $11,000 in theft of bicycle from vehicle bike rack, Santa Cruz Ave. and Doyle St., Sept. 15.

bike from side alley, Woodland Ave., Sept. 15. ■ Loss estimated at $350 in theft of drill set and mobile phone ear piece from unlocked vehicle, Tehama Ave., Sept. 17. Stolen vehicle report: Unknown losses in theft of trailer carrying two jet skis, Haven Ave., Sept. 17. Indecent exposure report: Man seen changing underwear in vehicle, Hamilton Ave., Sept. 14. Child Protective Services report: Hamilton Ave., Sept. 14. WOODSIDE Auto burglary reports:

■ Unknown loss in break-in through window and theft of camera equipment and backpack containing school papers, Woodside High School at 199 Churchill Ave., Sept. 17. PORTOLA VALLEY Theft report: Unknown losses in theft of four laptop computers, one Apple iPhone and one Apple iPad from unattended backpacks, Woodside Priory School at 302 Portola Road, Sept. 18. ATHERTON

Ray was born October 29, 1930, in Mishawaka, Indiana. He died September 18, 2012, at home in Menlo Park, California. Ray graduated from Mishawaka High School in 1948 and from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in 1953 with a degree in Architectural Engineering. He practiced architecture in Menlo Park, in association with Kingsford Jones at 615 Menlo Avenue for some 40 years. Projects included the original Menlo Park Civic Center (i.e., Recreation Building, Administration Building, Library, and Council Chambers.) Other projects included schools in the Menlo Park City and Las Lomitas districts, including original designs for Laurel and La Loma schools (now Philip Brooks Academy), also numerous remodel projects at Sunset Magazine headquarters. Ray designed churches throughout the Bay Area including Congregational Churches in Redwood City and San Jose. Ray is survived by his wife Susan and three



Child Protective Services report: 500 block of Middlefield Road, Sept. 19.

Support The Almanac’s print and online coverage of our community.

Corrections in Portola Valley story In the Sept. 19 issue, the Almanac reported on plans by the town of Portola Valley to purchase a property at 900 Portola Road in Portola Valley as a site for affordable housing. The story said the cost of the purchase was $2.6 million for the property plus $400,000 to clean up herbicide residues on the site, a former plant nursery. In fact, the purchase agreement says the cleanup shall not exceed $400,000. In a related matter, the agreement includes a contingency in which the town first must sell four parcels it owns in the Blue Oaks subdivision, and that the sale price of the Blue Oaks properties should be at least equal to the costs of buying the Portola

adult children, Stanton, Sydney, and Susanne, as well as 5 grandchildren: Colin, Ella, Kiely, Phoebe and Anna. He also leaves behind his brothers and sisters and many dear friends. Ray was active in civic affairs, served on the Menlo Park Environmental Beautification Commission at its inception, and two terms on the Menlo Park Planning Commission. He also served as an Examiner for the California State Board of Architecture. In addition to his family, Ray’s greatest loves in life were spending time in the High Sierras, fly fishing, pinochele, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and basketball. A private family service will be held. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be sent in Raymond M. Smith’s name to: College of Architecture and Environmental Design California Polytechnic State University One Grand Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0282.

Road property. The Almanac erred in reporting that the agreement required the town to sell the Blue Oaks parcels for at least $3 million ($2.6 million for the 900 Portola Road property and $400,000 for the cleanup). According to the agreement, the Town Council can authorize sale of the Blue Oaks properties at a price less than $3 million. Should the Blue Oaks properties not sell for a sum sufficient to pay for the Portola Road property, including the cost of the cleanup, the town does not plan to use tax revenues but would undertake “a concerted fundraising effort,” Town Manager Nick Pegueros told the Almanac in an email.


Craig and Margaret London 1 Vintage Court

CUSE2012-0007 Planner: Licinia McMorrow, Senior Planner

Review and approval/denial of a proposed Conditional Use Permit for a commercial winery on a 4.1acre site.

Correction A story in the Sept. 19 Almanac on the opening of a classic and exotic car showroom in Redwood City had the wrong address. The address of Specialty Sales Classics’ showroom is 860 Charter St. in Redwood City, according to spokesperson Veronica Thomas. The grand opening is set for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29.



SDES2012-0001 Planner: Licinia McMorrow, Senior Planner

Review and approval/denial of a proposal to demolish an existing single-family residence, construct a new residence with a basement (attached) accessory living quarters, renovate an existing swimming pool, construct an addition to an existing barn, and install associated landscaping, fences, and an entry gate on a 3.00-acre site in a designated scenic corridor at 3110 Woodside Road. 3.

The online guide to Menlo Park businesses

Fiona Ryan and Torrey Rothstein 3110 Woodside Road

Housing Actions Town Wide

ZOAM2012-0003 Planner: Licinia McMorrow, Senior Planner

Review and approval/denial of a Resolution of Intention to amend Chapter 153 of the Woodside Municipal Code as it pertains to definitions and permitted use modifications required by State law and listed as action items in the 2007-2014 General Plan Housing Element Program. 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.

Visit today September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN19


Morton Barry Potter

Kepler’s war on war

1916 – 2012 Resident of Menlo Park Morton Potter, a longtime resident of Menlo Park, and more recently of the Sequoias retirement community in Portola Valley, died on September 15, 2012, at age 96. Potter retired after a 40 year career with General Electric Company. In his final assignment he was responsible for financial and administrative services for various G.E. Sales operations in the western United States. He and wife Dorothy moved to Menlo Park from Springfield, PA, in 1965. Potter served as Director and Treasurer of Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club and as Elder and Clerk of Session at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. In Pennsylvania he was President of Spingfield School Board for a number of years. Prior to San Francisco, Potter worked in Philadelphia and in Schenectady, NY, where he was a member of GE’s highly regarded internal audit staff. Potter was born in the mountains of Kentucky where his father managed a coal mine near Hazard. The family maintained a home in Lexington where

he attended Henry Clay High School and where his interest in music led him to sing in the school choral groups and to perform lead roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. This interest continued at the University of Kentucky where he played bass in the University band and sang and played with a campus dance band, The Kentucky Colonels, which performed regularly on radio station WHAS, Louisville. At the University’s College of Commerce, Potter majored in Accounting, was a member of Delta Tau Delta social fraternity, and was elected to Omicron Delta Kappa and Beta Gamma Sigma, national honorary fraternities. He graduated in 1937 and married Dorothy Wunderlich, a fellow student. They were married for 67 years at the time of her death in 2005. Potter is survived by a daughter, Linda, sons Gary and Jeffrey, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. There will be no services at this time. A memorial service will take place at a future date PA I D


Charles Edward O’Donnell November 7, 1930 – September 10, 2012 Charles O’Donnell passed away peacefully amongst family at his Sebastopol ranch. Diagnosed with stomach cancer shortly after his wife Joan died last September, he opted against treatment so he could more fully enjoy his last days with his family and friends. Charles was born in San Francisco. He and his four siblings were raised by their maternal family on Vallejo Street in North Beach. His mother, Hazel Devenzenzi Weiss, was the daughter of Angelo Devenzenzi, a -co-founder of the Sunset Scavenger Company. After attending Salesian High School, Charles enlisted in the Marines and when he returned from military service, took a job at Grant Market on Market Street. There he met Joan. They married and moved to South San Francisco where they lived for nearly a decade. In 1963, Charles accepted a manager’s position at Draeger’s Super Market and Charles and Joan moved to Menlo Park. Both Charles and Joan enjoyed coaching at St. Raymond School. Joan was the P.E. teacher and Charles became the Athletic Director and 8th Grade basketball coach. He also served as Chairman of the Menlo Park Recreation Commission and refereed both high school and college basketball games. In 1987, Charles accepted an offer from his close friend Robert Bugatto to manage at the

Tides Resort in Bodega Bay. Charles and Joan then moved to their horse ranch in Sebastopol where they raised and showed Tennessee Walkers. While working at the Tides, Charles became the local radio personality known as “Captain Charlie”. Each morning he reported the weather and made recommendations on fresh fish coming in from dock. After retirement, Charles volunteered as a CYO basketball coach. Charles and Joan were also foster parents for several retired Guide Dogs for the blind, and enjoyed a very special relationship with local feral cats, turkeys, raccoons and skunks. Charles leaves behind his son Matthew, daughter-in-law Ellia, three grandsons (Kellan, Aidan and Brennan), step-daughter Ann Leishman, step-granddaughter Sara (Barbeau) Reuter and stepg r e at g r a n d d au g ht e r E m m a Reuter. The family thanks Steve Einstein R.N., Andrew Wagner M.D., and the staff at Memorial Hospice. Charles will be remembered for his generosity, s en s e of hu mor (i nc lud i ng w hat s ome affectionately call “Charlie-isms”), dry wit and devotion to his family and community. A private memorial gathering will be scheduled at a later date. The family requests that donations in memory of Charles be made to the Ceres Community Project of Sebastopol. PA I D


Support The Almanac’s print and online coverage of our community. Join today: 20NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012

RADICAL continued from page 3

revolutionary thinkers. Roy Kepler was born in Denver in 1920 and first became a “radical pacifist” at the onset of World War II, a period when being a conscientious objector didn’t endear one to the general population, particularly when the stance had no religious basis. His brother, Earl, also a pacifist, received a 30-month sentence for resisting the war and avoiding the draft. Though he was paroled after 10 months, Earl would never see happy days. He joined the Civilian Public Service and was assigned to work in a forest north of Glendora, the same camp where Roy was based. Within a month, a fire that was accidentally started by his cabin-mate destroyed his cabin and left 95 percent of Earl’s body covered in secondand third-degree burns. He died in the hospital. Roy Kepler would spend his early 20s shuttling through various work camps, including Germfask, a CPS camp in northern Michigan known as the “Alcatraz of CPS.” With morale plummeting because of tedious labor, scarce supplies and aggression from residents of nearby towns, Germfask men fought back with pranks, shattering a 3-gallon mustard jar in the kitchen, clogging latrines, covering the floor in a layer of white flour topped with obscenities written in coffee grounds, calling in sick in alphabetical order. The camp was ultimately shut down and Roy went to another camp in Minersville, in northern Sacramento Valley, where conditions were nearly as dismal. Before long, the war was over, the camps were dismantled and the civilian program was shut down. In March of 1946, Roy Kepler became a free man. His freedom and the end of World War II did little to diminish his opposition to war and conscription. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he took part in antiwar protests and joined a series of pacifist organizations, including the prominent and relatively conservative War Resisters League and the smaller but more radical activist group called the Peacemakers. As a member of WRL, he did his best to encourage nonviolent confrontation and, in 1947, he and his supporters spearheaded a resolution stating that the League would pro-

mote “political, economic and social revolution by non-violent means.” He advocated tax resistance and took part in protests opposing the 1948 draft, which lawmakers instituted to counter the looming threat from the Soviet Union. By September of that year, he climbed to the top of the League’s administration, becoming its executive secretary. He fell into the book business almost by accident. In the early 1950s, he enrolled in college, traveled to France on a Fulbright scholarship, held a brief stint at the radio station KPFA, got married, had a daughter, and took a job for Eastern News Service, a distributor of books and magazines. The gig involved extensive traveling and gave him a critical exposure to the publishing business. By the spring of 1955, he began contemplating his own venture — a bookstore that would specialize in paperbacks, a new book type that was largely viewed as vulgar by Stanford Bookstore and other booksellers in the Palo Alto area. In May of that year, Kepler’s Books & Magazines opened shop at its first location, 939 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. Kepler’s was one of three independent bookstores that were just starting out in the early 1950s. Lawrence Ferlinghetti opened the City Lights bookstore in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood in 1953. Three years later, Pat and Fred Cody opened the first Cody’s books in Berkeley — a store that attracted a strong following from the city’s anti-war crowd. Each sought to create something greater than a place that sells books — a community where browsing is encouraged and where connections form. It is this quality that helped sustain Kepler’s through the era of chain bookstores and Amazon — forces that put many independent booksellers out of business (Cody’s, for instance, closed down in 2006). Kepler’s itself went through a series of close calls and was rescued on more than one occasion by investors from the high-tech field who used to patronize the venerable bookstore. In 2005, with its finances in shambles, the store was shut down and was saved only by a community outcry and an injection of funds from a team of investors. Earlier this year, Roy’s son and longtime store proprietor Clark Kepler retired from the family business, and Continued on next page


Willie Mays named ‘history maker’

Continued from previous page

Kepler’s welcomed a new transition team led by former Kepler’s enthusiast Praveen Madan. The new Kepler’s is scheduled to reopen in late September. Mr. Doyle’s book, like Kepler’s bookstore, is loaded with cameos from legendary bohemians and storied pacifists, from the civil-rights pioneer Bayard Rustin and troubled beatnik Allen Ginsberg to the shaggy-haired rocker Jerry Garcia and the charismatic Paly graduate Joan Baez, a prominent figure in Roy Kepler’s life. It was at Kepler’s that Jerry Garcia, a store regular, met his future Grateful Dead collaborators, the lyricist Robert Hunter and bassist Phil Lesh. Ken Kesey stopped by the store in 1964 in search of a driver for his bus, which would become immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s classic “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” It was here that a curious young nerd named Steve Wozniak pored through computer books and absorbed the knowledge he would later use to help launch another revolution in Silicon Valley. And it was also here that Ira Sandperl, an eloquent pacifist and Ms. Baez’s intellectual guru, worked his bard-like magic as a bookstore clerk. Mr. Doyle devotes plenty of text to the tight teacher-student bond between Mr. Sandperl and Ms. Baez. This includes their establishment in 1965 of the Institute for the Study of Nonviolence at Ms. Baez’s Carmel Valley ranch. The venture, which Mr. Kepler helped finance and which ebbed and flowed through several locations before fizzling out in the mid-1970s, was one of many alternative-education projects he would experiment with during the Vietnam War era. In 1965, he helped start the “Free U,” a school that by 1969 claimed to serve 1,275 students and that included among its eclectic offerings nonviolence seminars, improvisational drama classes, and courses on capitalism and neocolonialism. Among his more quixotic efforts was a series of Peace Games, intense roleplaying exercises that would split participants into attackers and defenders and included linked arms, mock executions and real tears. Throughout the era of protests, experiments and change, Roy Kepler remained a constant force — the adult in the room, a man whose pacifist ideals remained fixed and yet tempered by realistic expectations. Ms. Baez described him in a 1994 interview with the Palo Alto Weekly as a “steady, solid,

Michael Doyle’s new book offers insight into the life of local legend Roy Kepler.

nonviolent rock,” according to the book. His wife, Patricia, even likened him to a statue once, “a steadfastly unemotional man more easily admired than embraced,” Mr. Doyle writes. Even when vandals hurled cherry bombs at his stores and threatened to target his house in the late 1960s, Mr. Kepler remained unflappable. While others in his circles saw mayhem and violence as plausible tools in resisting the status quo, he remained tethered to his pacifist convictions up until his death on New Year’s Day in 1994 at the age of 73. Mr. Doyle doesn’t try to veil his own admiration for his subject. His portrayal of Roy Kepler and his inner circle is intimate and deeply sympathetic. He consistently refers to Mr. Kepler, Mr. Sandperl and Ms. Baez by their first names and he doesn’t dig too deeply into the philosophical underpinnings of Mr. Kepler’s and Mr. Sandperl’s pacifist convictions. Nor does he raise any questions or present any challenges to Mr. Kepler’s and Mr. Sandperl’s fixed commitment to nonviolence — there are no discussions of “just wars” in this book. But the author does a masterly job in weaving Roy Kepler’s life into the colorful, rapidly shifting context of the Bay Area in the second half of the 20th century and in explaining how this principled visionary both shaped and was shaped by the zeitgeist around him.

Willie Mays, a resident of Atherton since 1969 and considered by many the best allaround baseball player of all time, has been named the San Mateo County History Maker for 2012, according to Mitch Postel, president of the San Mateo County Historical Association. Each year, the association honors an individual or family in San Mateo County for making a positive impact on history, locally and beyond. The legendary Giants outfielder will be honored “for using his fame as one of the greatest athletes ever to help others in charitable and volunteer endeavors,” Mr. Postel said. Mr. Mays will join such past honorees as the Lane Family for improving Sunset magazine and establishing it in Menlo Park; Dr. Thomas J. Fogarty

Courtesy, San Francisco Giants

Willie Mays will be honored as a San Mateo County History Maker.

for medical advances and the Thomas Fogarty Winery; Gordon Moore, for founding Intel and for his philanthropic interests; and the Roth family for donating Filoli to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A dinner honoring Mr. Mays will be held at the Hotel Sofitel in Redwood Shores on Thursday evening, Nov. 8. The event will

include the premier showing of a film about Mr. Mays, plus “testimonials and surprises,” Mr. Postel said. Giants announcer Jon Miller is master of ceremonies. Giants stakeholder Charles Johnson and president Larry Baer are members of the honorary committee. Co-chairing the event are Jenny Johnson of Franklin Templeton Investments and Greg Munks, San Mateo County sheriff. The dinner, which costs $175 a plate, is a fundraiser to help underwrite the operation of the association’s three museums: the San Mateo County History Museum in Redwood City, the Woodside Store near Huddart Park, and the Sanchez Adobe in Pacifica. Visit or call (650) 299-0104 for more information.

The 2013 “Living Well” is coming We are pleased to once again offer our annual publication (now all glossy!) covering the local needs and interests of the 50-plus market.

For infomation on advertising in the 2013 Living Well please contact Connie Jo Cotton Sales Manager (650) 326-8210 x5671 or your sales representative or call 650.326-8210. Deadline to advertise is October 2nd..


450 Cambridge Avenue, Palo Alto | 650.326.8210 |

Gennady Sheyner is a staff writer for the Palo Alto Weekly.



Stanford University will test its outdoor emergency siren system on Friday, October 12th at approximately 12:05 p.m. The test, which may be heard by residents of Menlo Park and Palo Alto who are near the campus, will consist of a warning tone and verbal message followed by a second tone and message.

For more information, visit or email September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN21

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

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

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

Portola Valley archives

Our Regional Heritage This photo from around the turn of the last century shows a Sand Hill Road more suitable for horses, wagons and sturdy boots than the fasttraveling vehicles and bicycles that traverse it today on the way to Stanford or the rural communities of Woodside and Portola Valley.

Email letters to: The Almanac, established in September 2665, is delivered each week to residents of Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside and

L ET TERS Our readers write

adjacent unincorporated areas of southern San Mateo County. The Almanac is qualified by decree of the Superior Court of San Mateo County to publish public notices of a governmental and legal nature, as stated in Decree No. 147530, issued December 21, 1969. Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years.

■ WHAT’S YOUR VIEW? All views must include a home address and contact phone number. Published letters will also appear on the web site,, and occasionally on the Town Square forum.

TOWN SQUARE FORUM Post your views on the Town Square forum at EMAIL your views to: and note this it is a letter to the editor in the subject line. MAIL or deliver to: Editor at the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

CALL the Viewpoint desk at 223-6507.

Put library in park Editor: A new library in the park, owned and controlled by the town, with specifically dedicated funding that already exists, would be a wonderful asset today and for the future. The EIR mandates that the library not exceed 13,500 square feet. Whether the library meets this maximum or is smaller is a decision that will be made by the town. Statements that the library will be larger are simply untrue. For the last decade revenues raised by events held at the existing “main house” have fallen hundreds of thousands of dollars short of the costs related to holding these events. The new library, which would replace this aging structure, saves the town this financial burden. Dedicated funding is in place to not only build and operate the new library in the park, but also to fund its fair share of maintenance costs for the park and potentially pay for a much needed traffic signal

at Middlefield and Watkins. Choosing to place the library in the park would decrease the park’s operating budget and represent savings to the town’s annual operating budget. Those opposed to Measure F allege that no public meetings were held to allow the community to participate in the process of site selection for the new library. This is simply not true, and they know it, since many of them attended these meetings. This type of misrepresentation should make us all wonder what their real agenda is. A full public process has been followed in planning the new library, including the hiring of independent consultants, the execution of numerous environmental studies, countless hours spent by town residents on many committees. The unanimous conclusion reached by all these entities and the Atherton City Council is that the park is the best site for the new library. It’s time to get a new, modern and beautiful library built in Holbrook-Palmer Park. Kristi Waldron Former Atherton Planning Committee Chairman

22NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012

Why Ray Mueller for City Council? Editor: I recently read where the editor of the Daily Post wrote that Ray Mueller, who is a candidate for the Menlo Park City Council, can’t support both pension reform and be supported by the union. What nonsense! That is the kind of narrow-minded, one-eyed thinking that creates gridlock: the Us versus Them mindset, the political disease that has infected our great country. The editor went on to say it would be the kiss of death for Mr. Mueller’s candidacy — more nonsense! The first order of business of our local government is to be problem solvers, create a safe environment and create an environment that encourages growth for all its residents. To accomplish these complex and sometimes conflicting goals in a democratic society, we debate, we listen, we compromise and then we decide. In some circles compromise has become a dirty word; I refuse to accept it as such. I will support Ray Mueller for City Council not because I agree with everything he says, but because he is secure enough in

his own skin to look in all directions, studies the issues and listens. In other words, he wants to be a problem solver. Apparently, the people that are in the opposing camps (the reformers and the union) both realize that. I think that’s a good thing. Matt Henry Hollyburne Avenue, Menlo Park

Another view on library Editor: “Save our park” is short but not quite right. Maybe too late, I told the leader (an ex-council member) to delete “save” and use the more appropriate “preserve” or, following Webster, “conserve.” As Tina Isenberg’s letter (9/19) points out, the park will still be there if Olive’s house is torn down and a huge building replaces it, so “save” is not accurate. As with most controversies, there are valid reasons pro and con, but Tina’s letter stresses the pro side. The present library could be made earthquake safe using only about 10 percent of funds now in hand. The library never had nor has now the $8,000,000 bandied about by the pro group; that is an Continued on next page


L ET T ER S Our readers write

Continued from previous page

optimistic forecast. High-speed rail and e-book impact are future concerns, not present. Increased traffic on Watkins is a present concern if the EIR is correct. The present is “a money-losing structure,” to quote Tina, because the council has ruled against its use for profitable events. Olive gave the park to Atherton as a park, not for “lectures and meet-the-author events”. This list could go on. Tom Croft Moulton Drive, Atherton

More bike safety, biker courtesy needed Editor: I am a freshman at Woodside High School and a resident of Woodside. I wanted to express a serious concern on some of the major roads in Woodside and Portola Valley. I (ride my) bike myself quite a bit, but my concern is of the bikers, particularly on Portola Road, who endanger our lives daily. They go in groups and are mostly out of the bike lane talking very loudly so they cannot hear a car behind them. And a similar situation is happening on the other side at the same time, and if a car swerves and moves on towards the oncoming traffic, then it can cause a headon collision. We have encountered this scenario so many times, particularly across from Portola Farms and the Old La Honda road area. My parents are careful driving, but another driver coming from the opposite side might miscalculate and we can die in an instant. Bikers should go single file if it’s a thinner line and a blind turn. They never stop at a stop sign on Alpine road, and it can again be very dangerous. We also have tons of trash thrown into our mail boxes by the biking community, and it’s not fair to homeowners to clean out other people’s messes. I am writing to bring awareness to the bikers that they must abide by the rules and keep our towns clean and safe. We need more police presence to ticket them, or possibly more signs to alert both cars and bikers of blind turns. I propose bike riding rules in our towns posted every two or three miles to bring more awareness and education. I hope some day we have safe roads for bikers and drivers. Nadir Jang Portola Road, Woodside

City is ahead of state on pension reform By Kelly Fergusson

instances. Menlo Park employees pay a ast week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed substantial portion of their pension costs. into law AB340, a historic bill reform- The City Council negotiated scaled-back ing California’s pension system. This “two-tier” retirement formulas for all law will save California taxpayers billions four bargaining units to control longand begins the process of restoring finan- term costs, and a “cap-and-split” on the cial stability to the state’s pension funds. employer contribution as well as greater Credit rating agencies have already reacted employee contributions to control shortpositively to the news. The bill received term costs. In addition, the council paid overwhelming bi-partisan supoff the “safety side fund” which port in the state legislature. was causing high employer conThe League of California Cities tribution rates, and by doing so played a critical role in formulatsignificantly reduced the lifeing this bill and shepherding it cycle cost of the obligation. The through the Legislature, makcity’s pension obligations are now ing sure that its provisions were almost fully funded. going to result in real savings for Menlo Park is in good local governments. I have been shape now regarding not only GUEST very involved in League of Calipensions, but other post-retireOPINION fornia Cities discussions regardment obligations as well. These ing pension reform and have supother (primarily limited health ported its pension reform efforts care coverage) obligations are in Sacramento. I’ve done this because I also fully funded — the council estabunderstand the critical importance of fully lished a separate trust fund to ensure suffunding our retirement obligations and ficient reserves on an ongoing basis (and the impact this has on the city’s budget. it doesn’t hurt that we earn a better interI applaud the governor, Legislature, and est rate than for general reserves). These League of California Cities on this ground- reforms position Menlo Park among the breaking achievement. I also know that leading California cities in prudent finanadditional reforms are needed to ensure cial management. sustainable budgets over the long term. I It should be noted that all these reforms will support the League’s ongoing efforts were accomplished by actions of the City to bring these reforms into law. Council, independent of Measure L. Six Menlo Park has already implemented months prior to Measure L’s passage, the many of the reforms contained in the council imposed a two-tier, “2 percent at new law, and gone beyond them in many 60” pension formula on SEIU, the city’s


Praise for firefighters; plea for donations

Avoid state mandates; become a charter city

Editor: As a member of the Beechwood School family, and the recently retired kindergarten teacher, I was present during the cleanup of the fires that destroyed our Administrative/ Special Needs/Third Grade Classroom building. Not only did the team of firefighters who fought the fire put themselves at great risk by entering the building to fight the fire before the roof collapsed, but the cleanup crew helped to save important items from the rubble. Chief Harold Schapelhouman was there with consoling words during and in the aftermath of the fire, and returned for the reopening assembly on Monday to encourage the students and staff. Well done MPFPD! Beechwood is a strong community, and we will move forward providing a great education for our students. To donate toward rebuilding and replacing needed items, send tax-deductible donations to California Family Foundation, 3201 Ash St., Palo Alto, CA 94306; or through Paypal. Lois Holl Atherton

Editor: An inspiring example of the power of local involvement took place at the Menlo Park Steering Committee meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 12. A large crowd — maybe 100 people — showed up to protest the rezoning of lovely Sharon Park for high-density housing. The Steering Committee took note, and voted on the spot to remove the park from the potential new housing sites. This was an encouraging victory for Menlo Park residents. Residents concerned about new high-density housing and the impacts on our city should keep showing up at Steering Committee, Planning Commission and City Council meetings, to remind our officials that this is our city and we don’t want it overbuilt or otherwise negatively impacted. But our city is also being handed coercive mandates from the state and regional governmental entities such as ABAG. Luckily, there is a way to win back our local control, and that is by becoming a charter city. Such a charter can trump what other agencies might want to impose on us regarding matters of local concern.

largest union. SEIU represents 83 percent of the employees targeted by Measure L. This action, taken after months of difficult negotiations, was largely ignored by Measure L’s proponents and the press. I and other council members at the time did not trumpet this accomplishment out of respect for the employees. In hindsight, the community would have benefited from a greater awareness of the council’s action. I have been asked, “If you support pension reform, why did you oppose Measure L.” First, by imposing 2 percent-at-60 on SEIU, the council had already done the heavy lifting on the issue. Secondly, the tone of Measure L, and rhetoric from its chief proponents, were so mean-spirited as to become a drag on employee morale. Thirdly, the “ballot box budgeting” aspect of the measure is a terrible precedent — this is the kind of measure that has the state budget in such a mess. Fourth, it was a huge drain on the city attorney’s time when there are many other critical priorities. Finally, the single focus of the measure on a specific retirement formula fails to recognize that it is the overall compensation package that is negotiated and allows Menlo Park to attract and retain quality employees that provide the high level of service that Menlo Park residents demand and deserve. Kelly Fergusson is running for a third term on the Menlo Park City Council.

Interested residents should flood the City Council with phone calls, emails, letters, and in-person public comments at City Council meetings, requesting that Menlo Park become a charter city. Let’s keep our momentum going and preserve not only our parks, but our schools, our livability and our small-town charm. Cherie Zaslawsky Menlo Park downtown

failure. But if this developer’s history is any indication, voters should not trust either of these companies’ promises. See the Arizona Republic article at http://tinyurl. com/8gud2ck. John Cieslewicz Redwood City

Cargill developer fails to deliver on Mesa project Editor: I read that Cargill’s developer, DMB, is busy breaking promises they made to residents of Mesa, Arizona. Here in Redwood City we’d be wise to remember this when they come back with a new plan to destroy our bayfront. Three years ago, voters in Mesa were promised the moon when they approved more than $125 million in tax breaks for a huge upscale resort development. Now DMB and their partners have finally admitted that their plan has more or less collapsed. Cargill and DMB have promised to come back with a new proposal to build housing in the salt ponds. I am sure they will have a shiny new slogan and PR campaign, because the “50/50 Saltworks” plan was a total

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September 26, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN23

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LAKE TAHOE OFFICES 5355 W. Lake Blvd. 907 Tahoe Blvd. Homewood, CA 96141 Incline Village, NV Tel. 530.525.5100 Tel. 777.831.8400 24NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNSeptember 26, 2012

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The Almanac 09.26.2012 - section 1  

Section 1 of the September 26, 2012 edition of the Almanac

The Almanac 09.26.2012 - section 1  

Section 1 of the September 26, 2012 edition of the Almanac