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On Nov. 6 Atherton residents will cast their votes on three controversial ballot measures PAGE 5
2 N The Almanac N TheAlmanacOnline.com N October 10, 2012
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Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac
The tension is palpable in E dorm of the Womenâ€™s Correctional Facility in Redwood City. This one-room dorm is designed for 18 inmates and currently home to around 50, all either newly arrived or awaiting sentencing. The womenâ€™s jail is holding around 120 inmates, about 143 percent of its 84-bed capacity, jail superintendent Lt. Alma Zamora said.
Photo: Marc Silber
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920 peninsula way, menlo park, ca | 650.325.1584 www.peninsulaschool.org
Hard cases changing tenor of jail population By Dave Boyce Almanac staff writer
year into a cost-reducing measure to selectively relocate some state prison inmates to county jails, the population at the San Mateo County jail is seeing changes to its collective attitude and to its demographics. Attitude problems among inmates have grown, Sheriff Greg Munks told the Almanac in an interview. â€œWeâ€™re having a much harder clientele, weâ€™re having a much more difficult clientele,â€? he said. Inmates with disciplinary problems and troublesome gang affiliations have led jail officials to shut down a treatment program and convert that space to special housing, he said. The prison arrivals are inmates convicted of â€œnon-violent, nonserious and non-sex-relatedâ€? crimes. Most are women and some are not happy about their new living situations. â€œThey would prefer to be in prison,â€? Mr. Munks said. County jails, designed for short term stays, donâ€™t have a prisonâ€™s visitor facili-
ties and space for personal property. â€œCounty jails are tougher time, if you will,â€? he said. Thereâ€™s been violence recently in E dorm, designed for 18 women and home to around 50 in triple-tier bunks. A state inmate punched a county inmate sev-
New county jail facilities could lower some tensions, sheriff says. eral times because as the county inmate was passing by, her hair touched the state inmateâ€™s towel, according to a jail statement. Minutes later, another state inmate punched a county inmate for refusing to hand over money, the statement said. The inmates involved have been relocated, jail spokeswoman Detective Rebecca Rosenblatt said. At the end of September, 14 women were under maximum security detention, most having come from prison. â€œPrison yard politicsâ€? have become an issue, Ms. Rosenblatt
said. There is â€œa higher level of criminal sophistication,â€? she said, when asked to elaborate. â€œCalifornia incarcerates nearly 20,000 women in state prisons and local jails, and typically these offenders have committed less serious crimes than their male counterparts and have lower recidivism rates,â€? according to a September 2011 policy brief from The Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at UC Berkeley. Women offenders â€” a â€œvery vulnerable populationâ€? â€” respond well to â€œgender-responsive correctional programming, although sadly they are often overlooked because of their smaller numbers,â€? the report said. Friendlier housing for men and women will be part of the new $160 million jail scheduled to open in 2015 at the corner of Maple and Blomquist streets in Redwood City. Open dormlike spaces with wooden doors and a few people per room will make up â€œa good portionâ€? of See JAIL, page 6
Cynthia graduated with a Bachelor in Theatre from Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City.
As a Residential Life and World Languages Faculty member, Cynthia is involved in studentâ€™s lives on just about every level. If sheâ€™s not working in the dorms, she can be found in the classroom, teaching 6th Grade French, or in the Performing Arts Center, assistant directing and stage managing Prioryâ€™s theatrical productions. As a 2005 Priory graduate, Cynthia was active in the Performing Arts department and continues sharing her passion for the arts with current students in the Priory. Cynthia also has a strong interest in volunteering and has worked at the Stanford Jazz Workshop for the past 12 summers and volunteers once a week at Hidden Villa leading school groups on tours of the farm and wilderness. ONE OF THE MANY REASONS TO SEND YOUR CHILD TO: Woodside Prior y School Admissions Office 302 Portola Road, Portola Valley, CA 94028 650/851-8223 â– www.PrioryCa.org
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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
October 10, 2012 N TheAlmanacOnline.com N The Almanac N 3
October 13th, 2012 Woodside Town Hall t-JWF.VTJD . See over 300 costumed riders along the Woodside Trails in celebration of this yearâ€™s theme, â€œCamelotâ€?
The -BOH-FWFOTPO Family
The Davidow Family Thiry-Oâ€™Leary . Family
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Local News M
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T H E R T O N
O C TO B E R 1 0 , 2 0 1 2
O O D S I D E
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A L L E Y
MEASURING THE WILL OF THE VOTERS Three ballot measures give Atherton voters a say on library, ballpark, and Town Center
By Renee Batti
grew more heated a year ago when the council, by a 3-2 vote, n addition to choosing rejected opponents’ request to two members of their City put the question to voters, and Council this November, instead approved the project, Atherton residents will cast pending a favorable environyea or nay votes on three ballot mental review. measures, the most controverCouncil members Elizabeth sial of which asks whether a Lewis and Jerry Carlson voted library should be built in the against the project, and also town’s only park. pushed for a town-wide vote. Measure F asks voters wheth- Mayor Bill Widmer and couner the town should build a cil members Kathy McKeithen library in Holbrook-Palmer and Jim Dobbie relented last Park, razing the Main House spring, allowing the vote to go to make way for the new build- forward. ing, and using existing funds The rancor over the issue condedicated for library purposes tinues to grow. A citizens group only. — spearheaded by residents Another quesincluding Didi tion before voters, and John Fisher, Measure M, also N COVER STORY Rose Hau, Sherinvolves the park. man Hall III, and It asks whether the Menlo- Valerie Gardner — has led the Atherton Little League should charge against Measure F. Callbe permitted to improve the ing itself “Save Our Park,” the existing ball field and sur- group has a website and has disrounding areas in the park, tributed fliers claiming, among using private funds. The other things, that residents improvements would include weren’t given an opportunity building a permanent spectator to decide where they prefer the stand and restrooms, and the library to be built. resurfacing of the nearby tennis The park was chosen by courts. the council as the preferred Measure L asks residents site for a new library after whether funding to build a about two years of study and new Town Center should be discussion led by a volunteer restricted primarily to private steering committee headed by donations. resident Denise Kupperman, a longtime volunteer who is A rancorous debate now running for a council seat. Although a number of resi- The committee held more than dents opposed the idea of put- 100 public meetings and conting a new library in the park ducted a series of community from the beginning, the debate workshops. Almanac News Editor
Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac
Measure F asks voters whether the town should build a library in Holbrook-Palmer Park, replacing the current library in Town Center, shown here.
The committee, which also included Councilwoman McKeithen and library staff members, recommended the park site as the option most conducive for building a facility that would also serve as the heart of the community, creating space for community groups to meet while adding much more space to house the library’s collections. The option of renovating and expanding the existing 4,790-square-foot library,
which is in need of seismic retrofitting, was considered a poor alternative for a number of reasons. For one thing, it would require the library to move into a temporary space for about two years. Also, noise from trains roaring through on nearby tracks is disruptive to programs such as children’s story-time, and has been a longtime complaint of library patrons and staff. Walter Sleeth, co-chair with Ginny Nile of a pro-Measure F
citizens group, said in a written statement that building the library in the park “would allow for a quieter library away from the rail line. It would connect the library’s programs to the outdoor areas in the park. “In addition, the library will be designed to have spaces to continue as a magnet for community events, replacing the outdated and costly Main House.” Continued on page 8
Woodside works on affordable housing; councilman pushes back By Dave Boyce Almanac staff writer
taff in Woodside Town Hall are at work resolving three high-priority items among the town’s affordable housing obligations to the state. One member of the Town Council is less than happy about it. State law requires cities and towns, through the mechanism of zoning, to plan for housing for people of moderate and low incomes, even in communities such as Woodside with its sevenfigure median home price. In San Mateo County, a moderate
income is around $86,500 for an individual and $123,600 for a family of four, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). This law does not require that the homes be built — and the town meets most of its obligations with second units — but the law does specify sanctions available if a group advocating for affordable housing successfully sues over inaction. Woodside is in little danger as it has a plan certified by the HCD. But there are loose ends. When Town Manager Kevin
Bryant introduced the topic for discussion at the Sept. 25 council meeting, Councilman Tom Shanahan, a regular crit-
‘I don’t think this is of interest to this community other than complying with the law.’ COUNCILMAN TOM SHANAHAN
ic of government regulation, responded: “I don’t think this is of interest to this community other than complying with the
law. Is there any effort on the part of San Mateo County to push back?” There is not. Affordable housing is an issue between a town and the state. But Councilman Dave Burow chanted, “Shanahan for supervisor, Shanahan for supervisor.” A vote of support for Mr. Shanahan’s views? No, Mr. Burow told the Almanac. He said he was suggesting that if Mr. Shanahan wanted to change a policy, he should run for higher office. “The notion of affordable housing is a good idea,” Mr. Burow added. “I’m not sure
the best idea is to force it on a town.” The council was reacting to a staff report by Woodside Senior Planner Licinia Ramalho McMorrow that lists 22 affordable housing obligations, broadly worded by the state, and supposed to be accomplished by January 2014. The tepid enthusiasm for these mandates continued with Councilman Peter Mason. “I’m not sure how much of this stuff we really want to do,” he said. Asked later to elaborate, he said See WOODSIDE, page 8
October 10, 2012 N TheAlmanacOnline.com N The Almanac N 5
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Tutor sentenced in molestation case By Sandy Brundage
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JAIL continued from page 3
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6 N The Almanac N TheAlmanacOnline.com N October 10, 2012
sent photos of naked men and asked for nude photos of the vicformer Menlo Park City tim, but she refused, according to School District employee the district attorneyâ€™s office. was sentenced Oct. 5 Although the 10-year-old girl to three years in state prison was not a student in the Menlo for two counts of felony child Park school district, officials sent molestation. an advisory to parents following Yung Chi Chu, 48, was arrested the arrest that stated Mr. Chu had in 2011 at his San Carlos home resigned his position during a dison suspicion of fondling the ciplinary investigation into unre10-year-old daughlated misconduct ter of a friend. After after working as a Former Menlo computer technician an initial plea of not guilty, he later for three-and-a-half Park school pleaded no contest years. in exchange for a district employee Then-superinshorter sentence. tendent Ken Ranella gets three years. Although the described Mr. Chuâ€™s defendant asked the court for duties as assisting staff at the probation and counseling, San Teacher Educational Resource Mateo Superior Court Judge Center, and Encinal and Laurel Craig Parsons followed through Elementary schools. on the plea bargain, sentencing â€œ(Computer technicians) are Mr. Chu to three years with 241 not assigned duties that would days credit for time served. require them to be alone with The sentence includes a ban children without the presence on contact with the girl, lifetime of a credentialed teacher,â€? he registration as a sex offender, wrote in the advisory, and noted and $1,080 in restitution and that the suspect had no crimifines. District Attorney Steve nal record before or during his Wagstaffe said Mr. Chu will employment with the district. serve his time in state prison He had no prior convictions in and not the county jail, which San Mateo County. The defendant has been receiving non-violent was in custody on $275,000 bail offenders under Californiaâ€™s and represented by attorney Frank new realignment policy. Bell at the time of sentencing. The molestation came to light â€œMr. Chu confessed even when the girlâ€™s father discovered before he was arrested. He felt hundreds of late-night text mes- badly about what he had done sages sent to her by Mr. Chu, who and wanted to get it off of his was her tutor. The defendant also chest,â€? Mr. Bell said.
Almanac Staff Writer
the womenâ€™s facilities and all of the menâ€™s, Mr. Munks said. No bars and no sliding steel doors, at least not in this section of the jail, he said. The current jail will continue as the maximum security section for men. The county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the new jail in May 2012, but the proposal is controversial. At a recent supervisors meeting, protestors argued for spending the money in other ways, including incarceration alternatives. There will be alternatives to ease inmates back into the community, Mr. Munks said. Inmates who earn the privilege, and wear a GPS bracelet, will be allowed to attend community college and job training during the day and return at night to the structured environment of jail. â€œIf you normalize, or soften, the setting, you bring the tension level down,â€? the sheriff said. Such housing will be for inmates who
show the potential to turn their lives around; helping them along will be new spaces for treatment programs, mental health and family relations. â€œWe recognize that the whole idea (of incarceration in jail) is to help people re-enter the socio-economic fabric of the community,â€? Mr. Munks said. â€œThese are our neighbors. They are our community members. Theyâ€™re coming back one way or another. What can we do to increase their chances of success?â€? Under the relocation program, prisoners are repatriated to county jails according to the counties in which they lived at the time of their conviction. â€œJail plays an important role for some people,â€? Mr. Munks added. â€œSometimes theyâ€™re not motivated to make changes until three, four, five times in jail, when they really hit bottom.â€? The difficult cases will remain in high-security cells and serve their time, he said. â€œWe shouldnâ€™t beat our heads against the wall and waste time on them.â€? A
N E W S
Police association tactics under fire By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor
number of residents and City Council members are criticizing a pre-election mail and telephone campaign by the Atherton Police Officers Association that they say is spreading false and misleading information to residents. An APOA flier that reached mailboxes in late summer, warning residents that “you are in danger of losing your Atherton police,” prompted Mayor Bill Widmer and Councilman Jim Dobbie to dispute, in a public letter to council colleagues, several key points of the “scaremongering” mailer. The council voted unanimously last month to place discussion of the mailer on the Oct. 17 council agenda. The APOA, the employee group of the town’s police officers and sergeants, also announced in a recorded message left recently on residents’ telephones that it has endorsed incumbent Elizabeth Lewis and Cary Wiest for the two open council seats. The wording of the message, recorded by APOA president and police officer David Metzger, has caused some residents to cry foul, saying that the association implied that the two other candidates — Greg Conlon and Denise Kupperman — would support outsourcing police services. “They don’t directly say that