Page 1

The Almanac

Holiday Fund 2012

Gifts to the Holiday Fund help 10 local community organizations | Page 11


DECEMBER 5, 2012

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German builder of St. Bede’s organ returns to restore the instrument


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By Paul Bendix






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he German visitor, eyeing the pipe organ at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Menlo Park after services on a recent Sunday, was no tourist. Hans-Ulrich Erbsloh had helped build the instrument in Hamburg more than 40 years before. Now retired, he was touring America, inspecting his life’s work. For St. Bede’s, his visit was perfectly timed. The congregation on Sand Hill Road long knew that its treasured pipe organ, installed in 1970, was due for a major overhaul. After discussions with church officials, Mr. Erbsloh agreed to return in the fall of 2012 to restore the organ to its original beauty. St. Bede’s organ was built in the early 1960s and was designed to be pleasing acoustically. The choice of organ was an important one for the congregation. After much deliberation, a tracker pipe organ was commissioned from the Rudolf von Beckerath workshops in Hamburg. Beloved by musicians, the action of Beckerath organs is mechanical, rather than electronic. Organists love the responsiveness of the touch. These instruments are ideally suited to German and French Baroque, as well as Classical repertoire. Working in Hamburg in the late 1960s, Mr. Erbsloh originally had worked on the “voicing� of the organ. In the Beckerath workshops, this meant discovering the potential tone in each of 1,731 pipes, complete with ringing overtones. Apart from addressing the wear and tear of 40 years of playing, he also was commissioned to restore the timbre of the organ. Past adjustments had distorted the original intent of Rudolf von Beckerath. Mr. Erbsloh was determined to bring the instrument back to its original tones. After a well-received organ-

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920 peninsula way, menlo park, ca | 650.325.1584

Photo by David Sheetz

Pipes of the restored Beckerath organ at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church.

restoration appeal, Mr. Erbsloh and assistant Bernd Becker completed five weeks of work on the organ this fall. They removed, cleaned and restored every part. St. Bede’s celebrates the restoration of its Beckerath organ throughout the holiday season. On Sunday, Dec. 16, at 4 p.m., a candlelit Christmas Lessons and Carols program features the organ with harp, and choir. Music includes Benjamin Brit-

ten’s Ceremony of Carols. Organ, trumpet and choir accompany Choral Christmas Eucharist on Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. 24, at 8 p.m. Carol Sing is at 7:30 p.m. On Christmas Day at 9 a.m., St. Bede’s celebrates Eucharist with carols, organ and trumpet. St. Bede’s Episcopal Church is at 2650 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. A

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Woodside High grieves over death of freshman ■ Leyla Beban, 14, dies after a collision with an SUV while she was riding a bike to school.

By Dave Boyce Almanac staff writer


adness pervaded Woodside High School last week as students and teachers remembered Leyla Beban. The 14-year-old Redwood City freshman died Nov. 26 at Stanford Hospital after a bicycle accident involving a collision with an SUV around 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Alameda de las Pulgas, according to the Redwood City Police Department. She was on her way to school. Students wore blue, Leyla’s favorite color, in her memory the day after the accident, Woodside High Principal Diane Burbank told the Almanac. Leyla attended elementary and middle school in Redwood City and was well known in the school community, police said. Ms. Burbank said she learned of the accident on the day it happened but refrained from a public announcement at school until after she had spoken with Leyla’s family. She spoke over the public address system the next morning. “Listening to any news over a PA system can seem removed and easily ignored, and more often, you hear announcements over this PA about dance tickets or testing,” Ms. Burbank told the school, accord-

ing to a copy of her remarks. “But today’s announcement is different. I have sad news to share. Please don’t ignore my voice or the news. I first want you to know that your teachers will spend time following my message to help you.” “It was a horrible accident,” she said in her remarks. “We are so sorry for Leyla’s family.” Leyla, she added in the interview, was described by one teacher as “open minded, kind, articulate, intellectually curious, and competent yet humble.” At one point during her PA announcement, Ms. Burbank handed the microphone to freshman class president Bianca Gabriel, who called for a moment of silence. The school established a temporary “grief room” where students and teachers could go to express and talk about their Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac feelings, Ms. Burbank said. To Woodside High School student Harpreet Dehar, right, tapes a letter to a light pole in memory of her help students in that endeavor, freshman classmate Leyla Beban. Mourners set up a vigil for Leyla at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and the school had 12 counselors Alameda de las Pulgas in Redwood City, the spot where she was fatally injured. on the campus the day after the accident — six from the a different spot.” The accident happened while said. She was wearing a bike Palo Alto-based Adolescent If the school is to arrange both Leyla and the driver were helmet. Counseling Service and six an organized memorial in the turning right from eastbound The cause of the accident Woodside High employees, near future, it will occur after Jefferson Avenue onto south- is under investigation, police with more available from the Leyla’s family has gone through bound Alameda de las Pul- said. The driver of the vehicle Sequoia Union High School its own grief and ceremonies, gas, police said. The accident involved stayed on the scene and District if needed, Ms. Bur- Ms. Burbank said. “We really appears not to have involved was cooperative, police said. bank said. want to respect the family. any traffic violations. Witnesses are being asked to “It’s always tough,” Ms. Bur- The family gets to go first. We Medics had taken Leyla to contact Officer Peter Cang at bank said. “Kids have to be OK need to very much respect their Stanford Hospital, where she 780-7100 ext. 5021, or Detective about being sad. Everybody’s at wishes and their timeline.” died from her injuries, police Dave Cirina at 780-7607. A

Compensation cuts OK’d, but reconsideration likely

Crackdown on gang violence begins

By Renee Batti


Almanac News Editor


he vote may have been unanimous, but the outcome of the Atherton City Council’s approval of compensation changes for 10 unrepresented town employees is far from certain. In voting yes on the compensation resolution Nov. 28, council members Jerry Carlson and Elizabeth Lewis stated they were unhappy with some of its terms, and promised to call for reconsideration of the matter next


month, when council memberelect Cary Wiest replaces Kathy McKeithen on the council. (Only a council member who has voted in favor of a measure can call for its reconsideration, according to City Attorney Bill Conners.) Mr. Wiest, who attended the meeting, did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story. See COMPENSATION, page 8

By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

t’s been a bloody year in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto — 15 shootings in the past six months have left a trail of wounded, dead and terrified people in their wake. Now three local law enforcement agencies are coordinating Operation SMART, a team effort to shut the violence down. Police believe a feud between the Taliban and DaVill gangs sparked more than a dozen of the shootings. The Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Palo Alto police departments will target the gangs on multiple fronts,

carrying out drug enforcement operations, launching a homicide response team, and analyzing social networks and shared data to map gang activity along

Menlo Park police team up with other local agencies after spate of shootings. with victim profiles. Social media will also be used to broadcast a message of nonviolence, in hopes of mobilizing local communities to help stop the shootings. In addition, gang members on probation or parole

will be referred to the David Lewis Community Re-Entry Program. “We want to send a clear message to the community that we’re working together to stem the violence, and to those responsible that the violence must stop,” Menlo Park Interim Police Chief Lee Violett told the City Council during its Nov. 27 meeting. Menlo Park officers had responded to a shooting in East Palo Alto earlier that day as part of the SMART initiative, Chief Violett said. The department has also increased See GANG, page 14

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new mayor and vice mayor will be chosen at the Tuesday, Dec. 4, meeting of the Menlo Park City Council. The cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s non-binding policy states that council members who have served at least one year and have yet to hold the lead office take priority, leaving current Vice Mayor Peter Ohtaki squarely in front to replace Mayor Kirsten Keith. The field of contenders to replace Mr. Ohtaki as vice mayor is a bit broader, as newcomers Ray Mueller and Catherine Carlton will join the council. Outgoing members Kelly Fergusson and Peter Ohtaki Andy Cohen will have a chance to bid farewell to the dais during the meeting. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.

Holiday parking Menlo Park has never been the sort of town where you can shop until you drop â&#x20AC;&#x201D; for one thing, the fear of parking tickets keeps people from staying overlong. But that changes


during the holiday season. Parking limits have been extended from two to three hours in all downtown plazas except the No. plaza next to Draegerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, according to the police. The change lasts until Monday, Jan. 7. Street parking remains as posted, however, and tickets will still be given for overtime parking, so donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get carried away.

Chamber holiday mixer The Bank of the West will host the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce holiday mixer on Wednesday, Dec. 5. The party starts at 5:30 p.m. at 701 Santa Cruz Ave. New, unwrapped toys will be collected for the Menlo Park Fire Fighters Association Toy and Food Drive.

Pet portraits Menlo Park goes to the dogs on Saturday, Dec. 8. Bow Wow Meow at 654 Santa Cruz Ave. will host an adoption event and holiday pet portrait fundraiser from 1 to 3 p.m. For a $15 to $20 donation, get a portrait of your dog from photographer Chung Nguyen. Proceeds benefit Copperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dream rescue, a nonprofit that aims to end the euthanasia of adoptable dogs in California. A

Mike Nevin dies at 69


Small 10-12 lb. (serves 8-10 people)

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Peter Ohtaki next mayor?

Former colleagues on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors are lauding former supervisor and community benefactor Mike Nevin for his work for the poor and working poor and those who ran afoul of the law and were trying to get their lives together. Mr. Nevin died Saturday, Dec. 1, from complications of cancer at the age of 69. Mr. Nevin, a former San Francisco police officer and former mayor of Daly City, was elected supervisor in 1992. He termed out in 2004 but continued his public activities, including as executive

director of the Service League, a nonprofit group that provides services to the incarcerated and former inmates. Mike Nevin He was an advocate for health insurance for uninsured children and supported the idea of the county providing medical marijuana for seriously ill residents who needed it. Visit for more information.

Service for Stephen Sullivan Thursday A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, at Trinity Church, 330 Ravenswood Ave. in Menlo Park, to remember Dr. Stephen J. Sullivan, a physician, venture capitalist and resident of Menlo Park and Woodside. Dr. Sullivan, who was 57, died on Nov. 22 after â&#x20AC;&#x153;a brief but brave fightâ&#x20AC;? with cancer, the family said. Dr. Sullivan grew up in Boston and was an alumnus of Phillips Academy Andover, Duke University and New York University,

where he obtained his medical degree. At the Stanford University Medical School, he was a chief medical resident as well as assistant clinical professor, and a physician at the Menlo Medical Clinic. Dr. Sullivan is survived by his wife Jay; his daughter Kathryn of Seoul; and sons Jack of Shanghai and Mike of Kuala Lumpur; and his father John and four brothers. A longer obituary will appear online and in a future issue of the paper.


Fixing ‘structurally deficient’ bridges By Dave Boyce Almanac staff writer


from stream erosion. Since all three are on roads designated as scenic, any significant change requires consideration of aesthetic and cultural factors. Stakeholders could include, in addition to residents, the Planning Commission, the Architectural and Site Review Board, the Trails and Circulation committees and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. In response to council inquiries about the town running its own bridge maintenance program, Mr. Mellon said there are ways to extend a bridge’s life by maybe 20 years at a little less than half the cost of the federal project. This estimate was a conservative

In 2009, Caltrans listed three Woodside bridges as ‘structurally deficient’ and ‘functionally obsolete.’ guess, Mr. Mellon said repeatedly. The council asked him to prepare a thorough analysis. The town could redirect its $500,000-a-year road maintenance allotment, Town Manager Kevin Bryant said. Councilman Dave Burow raised and then discarded the idea of a bond mea-

Photo courtesy Quincy Engineering

The graceful arch of the 112-year-old bridge on Mountain Home Road crosses Bear Gulch Creek and is one of three century-old Woodside bridges being considered for repair or replacement.

sure; the total would probably be too small. Town Engineer Paul Nagengast suggested possible county resources, including funds for pedestrians and bicyclists and the half-cent sales tax (Measure A) revenues for transportation projects. Critical comment

Council members generally reserved judgment on the largess of federal money and the pains involved in accepting it. The tradeoff: the town could limit its costs to $750,000 and get long use from new bridges, or spend $2 million to $3 million and get something that lasts half as long, Mr. Burow observed cheerlessly.

“I’m fine with taking it to the next level and getting some public input on it, or I’m fine with doing nothing.” Councilman Tom Shanahan blazed his own path. “Taking federal government money borrowed from the Chinese to rebuild bridges in the richest part of the county is embarrassing. I have a problem with that,” he said. “There must be bridges in England and France that are a lot older than this. I just don’t understand what we’re doing.” After maybe 10 seconds of silence, Mr. Burow added: “I share Tom’s sentiments.” “Going from a 20-foot wide bridge to a 41-foot wide bridge

is a big deal,” Councilman Peter Mason said. “It doesn’t sound nice.” “I don’t think replacing a bridge is nice,” Town Engineer Paul Nagengast replied. The town must plan its decisions so it’s not scrambling if there’s a bridge failure, he added, noting that there are ways to retain a bridge’s look. Mr. Mellon’s report includes alternatives toward that end. The roads leading to the bridges will end up wider, resident Ken George speculated. “You’re changing the whole complexion of the roadway,” he said. “We’ve See BRIDGES, page 16

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or at least 100 years in the rural community that is now Woodside, three twolane, single-span bridges — on Kings Mountain Road, Portola Road and Mountain Home Road — have spanned three meandering waterways: Union Creek, Alimbique Creek and Bear Gulch Creek. The bridge on Mountain Home is 112 this year and eligible to be listed as a state historic resource. While these bridges have fulfilled their function of providing safe passage, it has been 100 years. In recent decades, it could be argued that they’re not equipped for modern two-way traffic; and today’s vehicles are heavier, larger and more powerful than they were 100 years ago, and there are many more of them. The California Department of Transportation has been paying attention. In 2009, Caltrans listed all three bridges as “structurally deficient” and “functionally obsolete,” according to a report presented to the Woodside Town Council on Nov. 13 by Steven L. Mellon, a professional engineer with Sacramento-based Quincy Engineering. Untouched, the bridges may have another 20 years before Caltrans would forbid heavy traffic such as cement trucks, possibly even fire trucks and garbage trucks, Mr. Mellon told the council. Their middling status makes them eligible for rehabilitation or replacement, with the federal government paying 90 percent of the roughly $6.5 million price tag. But federal money brings with it federal standards, and there’s the rub: those standards would double the widths of the bridges, undercutting their charm and their rural nature in a town that places high value on both. In his report, Mr. Mellon noted several deficiencies of Woodside’s bridges: ■ At a working width of 20 feet to 22 feet, all three lack the standard 11-foot vehicle-traffic lanes and four-foot paved shoulders for bike traffic. Accommodations for equestrian traffic would widen the bridges by an additional six feet. ■ On the approaches, all three bridges lack standard crash protection to prevent vehicles from colliding with the blunt ends of the railings. ■ The concrete is cracked, chipped and spalled — missing the top layer — on two of the bridges, and there is damage


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Atherton cuts staff compensation, but reconsideration is likely continued from page 5

The resolution would affect only the town’s unrepresented employees, including the town manager, police chief and lieutenant, city clerk, and finance director. It would require the employees to pay for more of their retirement costs, and cap vacation and sick-leave accrual and the town’s contribution to health-care premiums. It would also create a two-tier retirement system for new hires, and eliminate post-retirement health benefits for new hires. The resolution would also furlough most of the employees, those considered “nonessential,” during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Most of the police department staff will not be affected by the resolution, but that hasn’t stopped the police union from entering the debate with guns blazing. David Metzger, president of the Atherton Police Officers’ Association (APOA), urged the council to reject the resolution, calling it bad policy. In late

November, the APOA issued a scathing statement criticizing the “lame duck” council for considering the compensation changes. “Widmer, Dobbie, and McKeithen will use their last majority vote to exact revenge for their political loss upon Atherton’s residents and its employees,” the statement said — the “political loss” a reference to the perceived shift in political leanings on the council resulting from the Nov. 6 ballot victory of Councilwoman Lewis and newcomer Wiest, both of whom were endorsed by the APOA. Some observers, including Councilwoman McKeithen, see the APOA’s involvement in the issue as a preemptive move to protect its members’ benefits when contract talks open next year for police officers. Calling the future police negotiations the “elephant in the room” no one wants to talk about, Ms. McKeithen said, “This is a policy issue. ... That is why we have the APOA here.” Noting that 55 to 60 percent of the town’s budget goes to the

police department, she added, “That’s what this is all about, ladies and gentlemen.” The council has been struggling to get the town’s financial house in order for some time, and last year, to address an estimated $856,000 structural deficit, approved the layoff of most non-police staff members and the privatization of services. Although the budget is now balanced, the council is trying to address unfunded liabilities involving post-retirement benefits that are estimated to be between $12 million to $30 million. “We need to do something about that,” Mayor Bill Widmer said. “It’s time that Atherton start doing something, (and) these steps are reasonable ... not aggressive.” Changing position

Although they voted for the compensation resolution in closed session prior to the Nov. 28 action, council members Carlson and Lewis expressed concerns about some of the terms during the public meeting.

Ms. Lewis noted that the speed with which some of the measures would be put in place made the changes “too aggressive,” and would create too much of a financial burden on employees before they had time to adjust to them. As an example of how the pace could be slowed to ease the burden, she suggested that the resolution be amended to expand the 18-month period for incremental increases in employee retirement-cost contributions to three years. Councilman Carlson said early on in the discussion that he supported the changes as means to improve the town’s financial viability. “But whatever we do, we should strive to be fair to our employees, and we should also listen to residents’ concerns.” After the public comment period, during which a number of residents spoke against acting on the measure before next month, when Mr. Wiest is seated, Mr. Carlson said he would rather put the vote off. “My colleagues and I are very close if not in complete agreement about the policy” driving the resolution, Mr. Carlson said. But after hearing from the public and from an employee who will be affected by the change, he said, he questions

whether the resolution reflects “the road map” that should be followed to achieve the town’s policy goals. The town might instead want to “sit down with the employees and consider more flexibility in how we approach” achieving the goals, he said. Ms. McKeithen, Mayor Widmer and Councilman Jim Dobbie pushed for acting on the resolution that night, saying that the council had been discussing the proposal in closed session for more than six months before unanimously accepting it, and that if the issue were postponed, it would take months for the new council member to get up to speed before the council could take the matter up again. The council’s goal is to put the changes into effect by January. The affected employees have participated in the discussions along the way, so the claim that the proposal was sprung on them is inaccurate, they insisted. Unexpected timing

Steve Tyler, the town’s public works supervisor, told the Almanac that the town had kept employees informed See COMPENSATION, page 14

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Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s named â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Small Business of the Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


longtime Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s customer and fan, State Senator Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, has named the iconic bookstore the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Small Business of the Yearâ&#x20AC;? for the second time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s has always been more than just a store,â&#x20AC;? said Sen. Simitian, a customer since the 1960s, in his announcement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It has been a hub of intellectual free exchange in our highly engaged community. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no small thing.â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been a challenging year for the Menlo Park bookstore. New owners Christin Evans and Praveen Madan restructured the store into a hybrid for-profit community bookstore with a nonprofit events arm. A community fundraising campaign over the summer collected about $760,000; the money was put to use expanding the inventory of

books and renovating the store to bring back the radical feel of the original Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are honored that Senator Simitian chose Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s as the Small Business of the Year for District 11,â&#x20AC;? said Ms. Evans. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even in technologically advanced communities like Silicon Valley, independent bookstores are valued cultural institutions. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re proud to be part of this community and glad we continue to enjoy tremendous community support.â&#x20AC;? Mr. Madan echoed his wifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s comments about the community backing the storeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new chapter in life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The response has been great. People are very thankful for the store being open again, and we are thankful for their support,â&#x20AC;? he said. Marquee authors such as Salman Rushdie and Michael Chabon have appeared at the store

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in recent months, and on Dec. 1 the store plans to launch a renewed effort to support e-readers, particularly the Kobo model. Mr. Madan said the new slate of writing classes is also off to a good start. Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is gearing up for the holidays, he added, and just published a catalog with book suggestions individually reviewed and recommended by staff members. Sen. Simitian has given the award to an independent bookstore for each of his eight years as a state senator. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Given the considerable pressures facing independent bookstores,â&#x20AC;? he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we ought to recognize the remarkable innovative spirit Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s has demonstrated by reinventing itself in this way. Our independent bookstores are a valued community asset, and Keplerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in particular is a real treasure.â&#x20AC;?

Dear Monica: I have a very low adjustable rate mortgage that will ultimately rise when rates go up, which I know is inevitable. Should I refinance now and lock in a long term fixed rate to protect against future raises? Lydia P. Dear Lydia: You are right that interest rates cannot remain as low as they are forever. The economy is improving and especially the housing market

is getting better. This period of extremely low rates will have to end sometime in the next few years. I think it would be smart to refinance your loan and lock in the best fixed rate you can find. This way you will know exactly what your payment will be for the life of the loan. When rates do go up, as you know they will, you will be glad to have taken advantage of the lowest rates in decades and locked in a great rate permanently.

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



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CHRISTMAS TREES &WREATHS Nativity School will be selling Christmas Trees & Wreaths beginning Friday, November 23rd and ending on Saturday, December 15th. This is a fundraiser for Nativity School. HOURS â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Closed Mondays Opening day has extended hours from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday .....................4:00 Friday ......................................4:00 Saturday ..................................9:00 Sunday ....................................9:00

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Firefighters, district fight in court By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


ith both sides saying they hope for a fresh start, relations between the Menlo Park Fire Protection District and the firefighters union, hint at a thaw, although resolving the years-long contract impasse will take some time. Local 2400 reshuffled its leadership, naming Randy Kelly as vice president to back up Ehren MacDonald as president. Former vice president John Wurdinger moved on to an executive position with the parent countywide organization. That, along with first-time district board members Virginia Chang Kiraly and Rob Silano, brought a breath of fresh air to the long impasse with the union â&#x20AC;&#x201D; now heading into its sixth year â&#x20AC;&#x201D; regarding its employment contract. But maybe not enough of one. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think every Firefighter, Staff member, Chief Officer and Board of Director recognizes the importance of treating each other with respect even when we disagree on things,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Kelly said in an email. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are still a lot of great things going on here that our members are directly involved with. For example we were invited and participated in the Strategic Planning sessions that were hosted by the Fire District.â&#x20AC;? Declaring the district â&#x20AC;&#x153;anxious to renew our negotiations in good faith,â&#x20AC;? Chief Harold Schapelhouman released a draft memorandum of understanding in June as a starting point for bargaining. The memo kept firefighter salaries at the current level, with hourly wages ranging from $27.04 for probationary firefighters to $54.10 for senior inspectors. Mr. Kelly said union leadership believed a good starting point would be informal mediation through the state Public Employee Relations Board (PERB). â&#x20AC;&#x153;At the start of this type of mediation, both sides usually sign a confidentiality agreement, so

that everyone can feel safe about communicating ideas and having open and honest dialogue which will hopefully lead to a starting point where we can resume regular negotiations.â&#x20AC;? The district, in a letter dated July 25, then said it would ask for a mediator from the state. And there the process appears to have stalled yet again. Courtroom maneuvers

A small claims lawsuit may have stirred up the waters. Fifteen firefighters sued the district in April for money they claimed had been illegally deducted from their paychecks for health insurance. The districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective, supported by the report of an

Timing of health benefit deductions turns into legal battle. independent auditor it hired, was that it had only changed the month in which insurance costs were deducted, from January to December. Premiums go up each year; the district decided to start deducting the upcoming yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amount in the last month of the previous year â&#x20AC;&#x201D; essentially requiring employees to cover the cost in advance, like rent payments. Chief Schapelhouman said thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a common practice throughout California. He explained: â&#x20AC;&#x153;For example, the first deduction at the 2012 premium rate was made from employeesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; December 15, 2011 paychecks. The deductions are made for 12 months at that rate, so the last deduction at the 2012 rate will be on employeesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; November 30, 2012 paychecks.â&#x20AC;? Making the switch â&#x20AC;&#x153;prevents the district from floating what amounts to about a $150,000 loan to employees which must be recouped through later payroll deductions,â&#x20AC;? he said In July Judge Hugo Borja ruled

in favor of eight firefighters without explanation â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but also awarded $2,208, less than what they asked for. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand how that decision was made,â&#x20AC;? said Michele Braucht, the director of administration services who represented the district in court. Union president Ehren MacDonald said they were â&#x20AC;&#x153;pleased that our members were able to recover owed monies, but were saddened that they had to leave their families and go to court on their day off to get back what was rightfully owed to them. We believe that no one really wins in court, they just get resolution.â&#x20AC;? According to the fire chief, the district opted to pay instead of appealing â&#x20AC;&#x153;with the expectation that the issue would be finished.â&#x20AC;? Not so fast. On Oct. 17 the fire district filed suit against 11 firefighters for refusing to give permission to change the timing of the health insurance deductions, anticipating that when the higher premiums for 2013 are deducted in December, another fight will ensue. â&#x20AC;&#x153;First, this lawsuit hopes to resolve the legal side of an ongoing issue about the Menlo Park Fire Protection Districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s methodology for paying employee health care premiums. The lawsuit doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seek any compensation or monetary relief from any of the involved firefighters, but rather, the district is simply asking for the legal issue to be resolved in order to avoid the continuing legal controversy,â&#x20AC;? said Chief Schapelhouman. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We simply want this issue to be resolved.â&#x20AC;? Sounds like the firefighters do, too. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are disappointed that the fire district has taken this action against some of our members. We are hopeful that we will be able to work out a mutually acceptable solution for our membership and the fire district,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Kelly said on behalf of the union. Yet despite both parties claiming to want the same thing, resolution still appears as elusive as new contracts for the firefighters. A

Linda Bennet Lynch dies at 80 Linda Bennet Lynch of Atherton, a collector of contemporary art, died Nov. 8 of a long standing illness. She was 80. Born in Newburgh, New York, she was the daughter of Augustus W. Bennet and granddaughter of William S. Bennet, both of whom served in the U. S. Congress. She attended St. Catherineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s School in Richmond, Virginia, and Bennett Junior College in Millbrook, New York. She made several moves with her

young family before moving to Atherton in 1978. A member of the Stanford Contemporary Collectors Circle, she traveled throughout Europe and the United States, visiting contemporary art collections in private homes, galleries and museums. She grew grapes on her Atherton property and recently picked a tenth harvest of cabernet sauvignon grapes. Her labels read â&#x20AC;&#x153;Linâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vins.â&#x20AC;? Ms. Lynch is survived by her children, Chad Lynch of Red-

wood Shores, Casey Lynch of Menlo Park, and Tara Rojas of Newark; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Memorials in her name may be made to Lucile Packard Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital, 725 Welch Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304; Pathways Hospice, 201 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View, CA 94040; or the JLPA-MP Endowment Fund, LathamHopkins Gatehouse, 555 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, 94025. Services were private.



When all else fails This is a story by a client of the Ecumenical Hunger Program named Tamika.


here are several lifechanging events that have occurred since I moved to California. Some of them were enough to send me running back to my family on the East Coast. However, I was determined to start a new life, and raise my son in a place of culture and opportunity. When we came to California, I was excited and in love. But within a month, after an unhappy and abusive relationship, my son and I were living in a domestic violence shelter. I was frightened and angry, and felt alone. However, I kept holding on. Then, I began to focus on the baby that was growing inside of me. One day I started having a great deal of pain, and ended up going to the emergency room. I was told that I would probably lose my baby. I left the hospital sad but still holding on. Shortly after that I miscarried. I was still determined to have a good life here in California. As a matter of fact, I was even more committed to the idea. Then, after noticing pain under my right arm and increasing pain in that arm, I knew something was wrong. I had never been so

The Almanac

Holiday Fund 2012

Gifts to the Holiday Fund help the Ecumenical Hunger Program and nine other community organizations.

afraid in my life. After having a biopsy done, I was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer quickly spread and I was told I had Stage IV metastatic cancer. My oncologist told me I didn’t have long to live. That was it. I had had it. It was time for me to live. I spoke with a dear friend, and he told me about an organization that he thought would be able to help me. I called and spoke with the director of the organization, Ms. Lesia Preston. She was so understanding, caring, and made me feel com-

Tamika and her son.

pletely at ease. I was immediately placed on a waiting list that would provide me with greatly needed items once I moved into my own place. Ecumenical Hunger Program gave my son and me clothing, food, kitchen items and more. I was so grateful and overcome with joy. It is very expensive and hard when you are starting completely over. I was spared the expense of so many needed items. Yet, it was becoming harder and harder for me to get around. I had

The Ecumenical Hunger Program ‘has been more than a blessing in my life.’ so many doctor’s appointments and most of them were a good distance from my house. I was often sick and had to catch BART and then walk from there to our new apartment. I had to do what I had to do, and just be patient. Then I received an e-mail from Lesia. I will never forget it. It simply stated: Are you in need of a car? I screamed and cried! After connecting with her, I knew that I was again going to be blessed by this wonderful organization. Today I am able to drive to my appointments, go to the grocery store, take my son back and forth to school, etc., etc. EHP has been more than a blessing in my life, and for that I will be eternally thankful. They truly care about their clients and it shows. Everyone I have come in contact with has treated me with such love and care. I have been accepted into nursing school, and thanks to EHP providing me with transportation, I am even closer to attending!

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ontributions to the Holiday Fund go directly to programs that benefit Peninsula residents. Last year, Almanac readers and foundations contributed $167,000 for the 10 agencies that feed the hungry, house the homeless and provide numerous other services to those in need. Contributions to the Holiday Fund will be matched, to the extent possible, by generous community corporations, foundations and

individuals, including the Rotary Club of Menlo Park, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. No administration costs will be deducted from the gifts, which are taxdeductible as permitted by law. All donations to the Holiday Fund will be shared equally among the 10 recipient agencies listed below.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula

St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room

Provides after-school and academic support and activities for 3,200 young people, 6 to 18, at clubhouses in Menlo Park’s Belle Haven neighborhood, East Palo Alto, and Redwood City, and offers programs at Flood and Belle Haven schools in Menlo Park, Hoover Community School in Redwood City, and McNair School in East Palo Alto

Serves hundreds of hot meals six days a week to people in need who walk through the doors. Funded entirely by voluntary contributions, St. Anthony’s is the largest dining room for the needy between San Francisco and San Jose. It also offers emergency food and clothing assistance.

Ecumenical Hunger Program

The largest collector and distributor of food on the Peninsula, Second Harvest Food Bank distributed 30 million pounds of food last year. It gathers donations from individuals and businesses and distributes food to some 162,000 people each month through more than 700 agencies and distribution sites in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Provides emergency food, clothing, household essentials, and sometimes financial assistance to families in need, regardless of religious preference, including Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for more than 2,000 households.

Project Read

Second Harvest Food Bank

Provides free literacy services to adults in the Menlo Park area. Trained volunteers work one-on-one or in small groups to help adults improve their basic reading, writing and English language skills so they can achieve their goals and function more effectively at home, at work and in the community. In 2007-08, a total of 120 tutors assisted more than 300 students.

InnVision Shelter Network

St. Francis Center

Provides training and job placement for people with the biggest problems, including returning parolees, long-term unemployed, homeless, welfare clients, marginalized youth, and those recovering from drug and alcohol abuse.

Provides services for families in need with the goal of helping them to live in dignity and become self-supporting community members. The center assists 2,400 people each month with such services as low-income housing, food and clothing, shower and laundry, counseling, community garden, and education.

Ravenswood Family Health Center Provides primary medical and preventive health care for all ages at its clinics in Belle Haven and East Palo Alto. It also operates a mobile clinic at school sites. Of the 16,500 registered patients, most are low-income and uninsured and live in the ethnically diverse East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks areas.

Provides shelter/housing and supportive services across 18 sites in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula. Serves thousands of homeless families and individuals annually on their path back to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.


StarVista (formerly Youth and Family Enrichment Services) Provides 22 programs to help people who struggle with substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health, and relationship and communications issues. Helps strengthen youth, families, and individuals to overcome challenges through counseling, education, and residential services.

DONATE ONLINE: Use the form below to donate by mail. Enclosed is a donation of $_______________ Name ___________________________________________________ Address __________________________________________________

Please Make checks payable to: Silicon Valley Community Foundation and send to: The Almanac Holiday Fund c/o Silicon Valley Community Foundation 2440 W. El Camino Real, Suite 300 Mountain View, CA 94040

City/State/Zip ______________________________________________ E-Mail __________________________________________________ Phone _______________________________

Q Credit Card (MC, VISA, or AMEX) ________________________________________________ Expires _____/_____ Signature _________________________________________________________ I wish to designate my contribution as follows: (select one)

Q In my name as shown above – OR – Q In honor of: Q In memory of: _______________________________________________ (Name of person) The Almanac Holiday Fund is a donor advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. A contribution to this fund allows your donation to be tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

All donors and gifts amounts will be published in The Almanac unless the boxes below are checked.

Q I wish to contribute anonymously. Q Please withhold the amount of my contribution. The organizations below provide major matching grants to the Holiday Fund.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Rotary Club of Menlo Park

The Almanac will make every effort to publish donor names for donations received before Dec. 31, 2012, unless the donor checks the anonymous box. All donations will be acknowledged by mail.

December 5, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11





When rain causes fire By Dave Boyce

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Regional Reusable Bag Ordinance to be Considered Twenty four cities in San Mateo and Santa Clara County, including Menlo Park, are considering adopting San Mateo County’s Reusuable Bag Ordinance. The ordinance would prohibit disposable plastic carryout bags at all retail establishments and mandate a minimum charge of ten cents for every recycled paper bag or resusable bag provided by the retailer at checkout. Retailers would retain 100% of the revenue from selling carry-out bags a check-out, and customers could avoid the additional charges by bringing their own reusuable bags when shopping.

Almanac staff writer


lectrical fires are known for being impervious to water, a truth demonstrated in the rain over nearly two hours early Thursday morning (Nov. 29) at the corner of Princeton Road and Cambridge Avenue in the Allied Arts neighborhood of Menlo Park. Something, possibly a fallen tree limb, knocked loose a cross-bar on a utility pole on the northeast corner at around 2:15 a.m., followed by a loud pop and the loss of electricity for many homes in the area — including the home of this reporter. A trip outside led to the discovery on the northwest corner of a bright fire lighting up a branch for maybe three feet around it high up in a deciduous tree. A 911 call by a neighbor brought a fire truck from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District that arrived in about 15 minutes, with two police squad cars arriving shortly thereafter. As a firefighter paced the area, getting different views of the fire, there was another pop. The firefighter jumped as a utility wire suddenly separated in the midst of the fire and fell gently to the ground, lying still in the street after a few sparks. The rain, heavy at times, kept falling and the fire continued to burn but at a slightly lower intensity. The rain accompa-

nied a steady but scattered shower of sparks and ashes from the burning limb. Firefighters watched the fire for a few minutes, contacted Pacific Gas & Electric, made a patrol of nearby streets to deploy caution tape across Cambridge and Princeton, and left to attend to other matters, according to an account by Officer Robert Simpson of the Menlo Park Police Department, one of the two officers on duty at the scene. The electricity feeding the burning branch had created a well-behaved fire that looked like it would continue to behave, even to an uninformed observer. Workers from PG&E arrived around 4 a.m., first two men in a pickup truck to assess the situation and then a crew in working trucks whose first order of business was to shut down the electricity at the scene, according to an account by one of their colleagues. With the loss of the electricity to power it (at around 4:30 a.m.), the fire immediately went out. This reporter, and most probably all the residents of nearby homes, received an automated phone call from PG&E between 5 and 6 a.m. with an estimate of when power would be restored. At 9 a.m., power was back on, a Comcast truck had arrived, and the PG&E trucks were gone as was a large limb from the tree. A

The ordinance will be presented to Menlo Park City Council in January 2013 for their vote. If adopted by Menlo Park City Council, the ordinance will likely take effect on April 22, 2013 — Earth Day.

Attend our last meeting before the ordinance is voted on by Menlo Park City Council! We will provide information, gather feedback, and watch the educational film, “Bag It”. Wednesday | December 12, 2012 | 6:30 PM 701 Laurel Street, Arrillaga Recreation Center, Menlo Park, CA 94025 Let us know your thoughts by taking a moment to answer our online survey at For more information, please visit the Environmental Programs page at, email, or call (650) 330-6740. 12NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNDecember 5, 2012

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Woodside OKs new speed limits By Dave Boyce Almanac staff writer


ometime near the end of 2012, probably before Christmas, new and lower speed limits will take effect in the Woodside Glens neighborhood in Woodside on several narrow winding streets — streets without sidewalks, and with blind curves and vehicle speeds too fast for conditions. The new 20 mph limits will take 5 mph off the legal limits for Alta Mesa Road, Glenwood Avenue, Highland Terrace, Hillside Drive, Otis Avenue, Ridge Court and


Toyon Court. The Town Council gave its unanimous approval to the change at its Tuesday, Nov. 27, meeting. The state vehicle code authorizes town councils to lower a 25 mph limit if the street is no wider than 25 feet. Deputies from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office will be enforcing the new limits, but with warnings rather than tickets “for the first couple of weeks,” Town Manager Kevin Bryant noted at the council meeting. “After that, it’s fair game.”

The new limits are the first step in the effort to make these streets safer for pedestrians. The council pressed the issue with Town Engineer Paul Nagengast. Mayor Dave Tanner wondered whether 20 mph was slow enough in some cases. There will be a continuing dialogue, Mr. Nagengast replied.”Let’s set it 20 and let’s re-look at that (in six months) and see if it needs to be further adjusted,” he said. “This isn’t something we just do and walk away.” “The community is not bashful about speaking their minds out there,” he added.

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about possible changes in their compensation, and the employees did participate in discussions. But there was no indication that a proposal was going to be acted on so quickly, and employees were surprised to learn that the resolution was on the Nov. 28 council agenda, he said. The employees â&#x20AC;&#x153;are all for getting things right and making concessions. But (the speed of the changes) will put some serious pain on some of us,â&#x20AC;? he said. At the meeting, Mr. Tyler urged the council to slow down, saying employees didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get a chance to see the final draft of the resolution until the day before Thanksgiving. During their brief review, they found errors and confusing language, he said, and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like the chance to work with

the town to â&#x20AC;&#x153;clean it up.â&#x20AC;? Employees also would like the changes, which will cut their income through more paycheck deductions, to be put in place more slowly to ease the pain. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I realize this problem isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t one you created,â&#x20AC;? he told the council. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t create it either. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not bad guys ... and we are with you 100 percent in terms of making concessions.â&#x20AC;? Councilwoman McKeithenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s statement that the resolution will create a policy that will set the stage for police negotiations prompted Mr. Tyler to abruptly leave the meeting. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I thought they were negotiating with us,â&#x20AC;? he said later, adding that the employees affected by the resolution were the very ones who â&#x20AC;&#x153;did our best to right the ship and keep it goingâ&#x20AC;? after the town laid off about 15 staff members and outsourced most of its services. A



continued from page 5


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afternoon patrols, and is considering installing cameras and Shot Spotter technology in Belle Haven. The local agencies will hold two â&#x20AC;&#x153;ceasefireâ&#x20AC;? call-ins in January for gang members to talk to law enforcement and community representatives, who will offer support services to those wanting to choose a non-violent lifestyle. Outreach workers will be hired to walk the streets to aid those efforts. On Dec. 18 Menlo Park police will hold a community meeting on gang prevention in the cafeteria of Belle Haven School at 415 Ivy Drive at 6:30 p.m. A

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Clark Lee Thomas

Locals in â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Nutcrackerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; About 100 local dancers perform with professionals in Ballet Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nutcrackerâ&#x20AC;? at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway St. in Redwood City. Show, from left, are dancers Allegra Mangione (Menlo Park), Kyrie Vesley (Menlo Park), Chloe Moissis (Portola Valley), Lucy Bock (Woodside), Anna Kubicka (Portola Valley), and Jaclyn Hovsmith (Woodside). Also in the cast are: Erin and Jacklyn Abbey (Woodside), Anna Arbuckle (Menlo Park), Katherine Byunn-Rieder (Menlo Park), Natalie Ciraulo (Menlo Park), Amelie and Chloe De Leon (Menlo Park), Audrey Fallon (Atherton), Thea McDonald (Woodside), Phillip Moissis (Portola Valley), Juliette Olivot (Menlo Park), Jan and Katya Olshansky (Menlo Park), Sophia Preston (Atherton), and Claire West (Menlo Park). For more information, visit or call 369-7770.

Portola Valley names new commissioners By Dave Boyce Almanac staff writer


he Portola Valley Town Council named two new members and reappointed five incumbent members to the Planning Commission and the Architectural & Site Control Commission (ASCC) at its Nov. 28 meeting. After more than two hours of interviews and three sessions of voting, with 11 new candidates having taken turns in the hot seat facing the dais, the council named to the Planning Commission Nicholas Targ, an attorney with a focus on environmental and land-use law; and to the ASCC, David L. Ross, a consultant on construction management and related dispute-resolution issues. Incumbents reappointed to the Planning Commission were Denise Gilbert, Alexandra Von Feldt and Nate McKitterick. The council reappointed ASCC incumbents Danna Breen and Craig Hughes, but longtime commissioner Carter Warr did not receive enough votes, leaving the ASCC without his presence for the first time since 1991. Mr. Targ, who lives on Hayfields Road at the northern border of the town, grew up in Portola Valley. He has a bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree

in economics and political/legal studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a law degree from Boston College, and he studied land use at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to his online profile at the website of Holland & Knight, an international law firm with offices in San Francisco. Mr. Targâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s career includes work as an assistant city planner in Santa Cruz and as an attorney for the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to his profile. He now practices environmental and land-use law with Holland & Knight. Mr. Ross, who lives on Canyon Drive in the Brookside Park neighborhood, told the council that he spent four years on the Architecture Review Board in Palo Alto and has 35 years of experience in the construction business. He is a certified mediator, has served as an arbitrator and has testified as an expert witness on construction issues, he said. His education includes four years at Stanford University concentrating on mathematics and economics, and later on computer science and statistics, according to a resume he provided with his letter of application.

rado School of Mines. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps, studied meteorology at UCLA and served during World War II in the 21st Weather Squadron as a meteorologist with the rank of Captain. He worked for 35 years for Standard Oil Company of California (Chevron) and retired as Chief Geologist and Head Petroleum Engineer. Longtime members of Peninsula Bible and Menlo Park Presbyterian churches, Clark and Betty lived for more than 40 years in Menlo Park and moved to the Vi (Hyatt) Classic Residence in 2006. The family thanks his caregivers and the Vi staff for their loving care. A gathering to honor and remember him in December is planned. Contributions to the Campership fund in Clarkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s honor preferred: Mount Hermon, Thomas Campership LIFE Fund/Book of Remembrance, P.O. Box 413, Mount Hermon, CA 95041. PA I D


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Chanukah festival in Courthouse Square The public is invited to an outdoor Chanukah Festival from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, at Courthouse Square in Redwood City. A fire juggler and disc jockey, and arts and crafts will be followed by the lighting

Clark Lee Thomas was called home to be with his Lord on November 21, 2012, in Palo Alto CA, after living an extraordinary life of 93 years. For 64 years, Clark was a devoted husband to his beloved wife, Betty (Elizabeth/Betsy Watkins) of Palo Alto; a loving father to three grateful daughters: Ann Powell (Jerry) of Davis, CA, Robin Sweet (David) of Piedmont, CA, and Carol Penrose (Donovan) of Phoenix, AZ; and a dedicated grandfather to his eight adored grandchildren: Celeste Arrington (Nathan), Weston Powell (Emily), Matthew Powell (Rosie), Emily Sweet, Ted Sweet, Jeffrey Sweet, Colin Penrose (Elaine), and Andrew Penrose. Clark was born March 20, 1919, in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, to Dr. William McLean Thomas and Nina Stearns Thomas. He graduated from San Diego High School and received his BS and MS degrees from Colo-

of a 9-foot menorah on Broadway outside the square. The festival is sponsored by Chabad MidPen, a Jewish outreach organization. Chanukah begins Dec. 8 and continues until Dec. 16.

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December 5, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN15


Fixing ‘structurally deficient’ bridges continued from page 7

lived with it for all of this time. ... We’ve gotten by. There haven’t been a ton of accidents as far as I know. ... It would change the whole rural feel of Woodside.” “All these things are so deluxe,” said resident Richard Tagg. “Why can’t we get along with what we have now?” If a bridge can’t accommodate a heavy cement truck, then the homeowner should have it delivered in two trucks, he said. “Post (the bridge) and whoever overdoes it,

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maybe they can repair it.” The worst outcome, Councilman Ron Romines said, would be to spend more on studies and then walk away from the federal funding. Mr. Shanahan recited a stanza from the “Concord Hymn,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “By the rude bridge that arched the flood, / Their flag to Aprilís breeze unfurled, / Here once the embattled farmers stood, / And fired the shot heard round the world.” Town staff “made us aware

of free money, other peoples’ money,” he added. “There’s nothing like a wide bridge to generate a wide highway. I object philosophically to this town taking other peoples’ money.” The town should develop its own program, he said. That approach has two important unknowns: program cost and funding sources, Councilwoman Anne Kasten said. And, she added, the residents are not in the room. “It’s important for us to make a decision with them.” A


West Bay Sanitary District Notice of Public Hearing NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the District Board of West Bay Sanitary District will conduct a Public Hearing on Wednesday evening, December 19, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the District’s Administration Office located at 500 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

WHEREAS, the Town of Portola Valley (“Town”) owns the property located at 3 and 5 Buck Meadow Drive (APNs 080340-230, -240, -250 and -260) (“Property”); and

The purpose of the Public Hearing will be to consider a proposed increase in the existing residential and commercial customer rates, effective January 1, 2013 for the collection of waste/recyclable materials in the West Bay Sanitary District for calendar year of 2013. The need for this increase was discussed by the District Board at the October 10, 2012 Board meeting.

WHEREAS, the developer of the Blue Oaks subdivision deeded the Property to the Town pursuant to the Town’s inclusionary lot requirements for the purpose of developing eight for-sale moderate income units; and


WHEREAS, the Town has determined, with input from experienced affordable housing developers, that an eight unit for-sale moderate income housing project on the Property is infeasible; and

Approximately sixty percent (60%) of residential service containers are a 32 gallon size. The new rates for 2012 for a 32 gallon container would increase from $34.00 per month to $37.60 per month, equating to a $3.60 per month increase. The District’s proposed rates would remain amongst the mid-range of all the South Bayside Waste Management Authority agencies. The following table shows the current rates and proposed rates to be effective beginning January 1, 2013. Proposed Maximum Solid Waste Rates for 2013 Customer Service Level Residential: 20 gallon can 32 gallon can 64 gallon can 96 gallon can

Current Monthly Rate

Commercial: (Per Pick Up) 1 yard bin 2 yard bin 3 yard bin 4 yard bin 6 yard bin 32-Gallon Cart 64-Gallon Cart 96-Gallon Cart

2013 MONTHLY RATES Proposed Monthly Rate Monthly Increase

$21.00 $34.00 $67.00 $101.00

$23.30 $37.60 $73.70 $110.00

$2.30 $3.60 $6.70 $9.00

Current $216.96 $411.76 $458.51 $611.34 $757.89 $34.00 $67.00 $101.00

Proposed $227.81 $432.35 $481.45 $641.92 $795.78 $37.60 $73.70 $110.00

Increase per pick up $10.85 $20.59 $22.94 $30.58 $37.89 $3.60 $6.70 $9.00

Rates for Other Services In addition to the monthly collection charge, various miscellaneous costs for special services such as back yard service or overage events will be charged to the customers who subscribe to these services. These rates are also proposed to be adopted effective January 1, 2013 and were provided in the Proposition 218 Notice. If you would like additional information on the proposed rates, please call the District at 650321-0384. Any person interested, including all solid waste/recycling collection customers of the West Bay Sanitary District, may appear at the public hearing and be heard on matters related to the proposed increase in rates. West Bay Sanitary District Board of Directors San Mateo County, California

/s/ Phil Scott District Manager Dated: October 10, 2012

16NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNDecember 5, 2012

WHEREAS, the Town’s certified Housing Element contemplates the sale of the Property and purchase of land in an alternative location in Town for affordable housing; and WHEREAS, the Town is in contract, contingent upon the sale of the Property, to purchase 900 Portola Road that appears more suitable for the development of affordable housing; and WHEREAS, even if the Town determines not to build affordable housing in this alternative location, the funds from the sale of the Property will be set aside for another alternative location or for the purposes of affordable housing; and WHEREAS, California Government Code Sections 37420 through 37430 authorize the Town to sell Town-owned property. IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED by the Town Council of the Town of Portola Valley as follows: 1. The public interest and convenience require the sale of the Property; and 2. The Town intends to sell the Property; and 3. A public hearing shall be held by the Town Council to hear any protests regarding the sale of the Property on December 12, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. in the Historic School House Meeting Room at the Town Center located at 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley, California or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard; and 4. Notice of the hearing shall be provided by publication in a daily newspaper published and circulated in Town and notice shall be posted for not less than ten days in at least three conspicuous places upon each parcel of the Property; and 5. The Town Council shall take final action on the sale of the Property on December 12, 2012, following the public hearing. PASSED AND ADOPTED this 28th day of November, 2012. BY: Maryann Moise Derwin, Mayor ATTEST: Sharon Hanlon, Town Clerk


SHP holds holiday boutique Eighteen vendors will offer wares at Sacred Heart Preparatory’s annual holiday boutique Wednesday, Dec. 5, through Friday, Dec. 7. in the main building of the Atherton school, 150 Valparaiso Ave. New this year are a women’s clothing line from Lesley Evers and needlepoint belts and key chains from Smathers and Branson. On Thursday, Dec. 6, Sephora makeup artists and Halo Blow Dry Bar stylists will give demonstrations. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon Friday. Parking will be available on campus and across the street in the parking lot of the Church of Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ. For more information, call Lisa Gamitian at 473-4088.

Santa visits fire stations The tradition continues with Santa appearing at the Woodside Fire Protection District’s three open houses on Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 7 to 9 p.m. The stations are decked out in colorful Christmas decorations, ready to welcome visitors to come enjoy cocoa and cookies, sit on Santa’s lap for a quick photo opportunity, and admire the fire trucks. The stations are at 3111 Woodside Road in Woodside; 4091 Jefferson Avenue in Emerald Hills; and 135 Portola Road in Portola Valley. Everyone is encouraged to bring new unwrapped gifts and donate them to the Toys for Tots program in San Mateo County. Collection bins will be posted at the stations until Christmas.

Model train show It’s all aboard for the West Bay Model Railroad Association’s annual holiday show Dec. 7, 8 and 9 at the model railroad building at the Menlo Park train station, 1090 Merrill St. Model trains in three scales will be on display and operating on a large layout. There will be railroad artifacts and memorabilia on display. Hours will be 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7; noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9. Admission is free but donations of $3 per person or $5 per family are appreciated. Visit for more information.

M-A choir performs The Menlo-Atherton High



Sealed proposals for the FREDERICK AND SUBURBAN PARK PROJECT will be received at the West Bay Sanitary District, 500 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, California 94025 until 2:00:00 PM on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at which time they will be publicly opened and read. Bids shall be labeled ”West Bay Sanitary District, Proposal for “FREDERICK AND SUBURBAN PARK PROJECT.” The Work will include the furnishing of all labor, materials and equipment, and other appurtenances for rehabilitation and replacement of sanitary sewer mains by Horizontal Directional Drilling, Cured-in-Place Pipe, and Open Trench Construction, as indicated on the project plans.

Co-chairs of Sacred Heart Preparatory’s holiday boutique are Deb Barnum of Atherton, left, and Sarah Boydin of Portola Valley.

School Choir will present a holiday concert at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Little House Activity Center, 800 Middle Ave. in Menlo Park. The choir, which has performed at the Anaheim Heritage Festival, is directed by Patrick Maier. The event is free for Little House members, and costs $3 for others. Tickets are available at the door.

Gingerbread houses The Village Pub will hold its annual gingerbread house workshops, for ages 5 and up, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on three Saturdays: Dec. 8, 15, and 22, at 2967 Woodside Road in Woodside. Cost per child is $85 and includes a gingerbread house, apron and a snack. To reserve, call Danielle Lembi at 851-6844.

Holiday house tour The Women’s Club of St. Francis High school will hold its 24th annual “Christmas at Our House” holiday home tour Dec. 6-8 in Los Gatos. This year’s theme is “A Visit to the North Pole.” The event includes a visit to three homes, entertainment by St. Francis students, complimentary tea, designer displays, buffet luncheon, and Christmas boutique. For the first time, there will also be a Wine, Women and Shopping evening Dec. 7 at West Valley College in Saratoga. Festivities begin with a Twilight Tour and Christmas party from 4 to 10 p.m. on Dec. 6. The house tour and Christmas boutique take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the buffet luncheon will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8. Tickets are $40 for the tour and $30 for the luncheon. Christmas party tickets are $125. Go to for more information, or call 9681213. ext. 701.

The contract documents may be inspected at the office of the West Bay Sanitary District; San Francisco Builders Exchange, Attn: Deanna Johnson, 850 So. Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California 94110; Peninsula Builders Exchange, Attn: Andrea Nettles, 735 Industrial Road, Suite 100, San Carlos, California 94070; Santa Clara Builders Exchange, Attn: Kanani Fonseca, 400 Reed Street, Santa Clara, California 95050; Builders Exchange of Alameda, Attn: Richard Owen, 3055 Alvarado Street, San Leandro, California 94577; Construction Bidboard Incorporated, Attn: Plan Room, 11622 El Camino Real, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92130; and, Contra Costa Builders Exchange, Attn: April Hamilton, 2440 Stanwell Drive, Suite B, Concord, California 94520. Copies of the Contract Documents may be obtained at the office of the West Bay Sanitary District upon payment of a check or money order in the amount of $60.00 for each set. The check or money order must be issued to the West Bay Sanitary District. All payments are nonrefundable. A pre-bid meeting will be held at 10:00 am on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at the West Bay Sanitary District Office in Menlo Park, California. Each bid proposal shall be accompanied by a certified or cashier‘s check or a proposal guaranty bond payable to the order of the West Bay Sanitary District in an amount not less than ten percent (10%) of the amount of the bid as a guaranty that the bidder will execute the contract if it be awarded to him in conformity with the proposal. The successful bidder will be required to furnish a performance bond in an amount not less than one hundred percent (100%) of the contract price and a labor and material bond in an amount equal to one hundred percent (100%) of the contract price. The District (”Owner”) reserves the right to reject any or all bids and to determine which proposal is, in the judgment of the District, the lowest responsible bid of a responsible bidder or group of bidders and which proposal should be accepted in the best interest of the District. The District also reserves the right to waive any informalities in any proposal or bid. Bid proposals received after the time announced for the opening will not be considered. No bidder may withdraw his proposal after the time announced for the opening, or before award and execution of the contract, unless the award is delayed for a period exceeding forty-five (45) days. Pursuant to the provisions of Public Contract Code Section 22300, and upon the request and at the expense of the Contractor, securities equivalent to the amount withheld by the District to insure performance under the Contract may be deposited with the District, or with a state or federally chartered bank as escrow agent who shall deliver such securities to the Contractor upon satisfactory completion of the contract. Only those securities listed in Government Code Section 16430 or other securities approved by the District are eligible for deposit. The deposit of securities with an escrow agent or the District shall be made in the form and on such terms and conditions as the District may require to protect the interest of the District in the event of the Contractor‘s default. The Contractor shall be the beneficial owner of any securities that are deposited and shall receive any interest thereon. Pertaining to Sections 1770, 1773, and 1773.1 of the California Labor Code the successful bidder shall pay not less than the prevailing rate of per diem wages as determined by the Director of the California Department of Industrial Relations. Copies of such prevailing rates are on file at the District office of the West Bay Sanitary District and which copies shall be made available to any interested party on request. The successful bidder shall post a copy of such determinations at each job site. In accordance with the provisions of California Public Contract Code Section 3300, the District has determined that the Contractor shall possess a valid Class A License or a combination of Class C-12 ”Earthwork and Paving”, C-34 ”Pipeline” and C-42 ”Sanitation System” licenses at the time this contract is awarded. Failure to possess the specified license(s) shall render the bid as non-responsive and shall act as a bar to award of the contract to any bidder not possessing said license(s) at the time of award.

West Bay Sanitary District Board of Directors San Mateo County, California /s/ Phil Scott District Manager Dated:

October 11, 2012

December 5, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN17

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: Email letters to: The Almanac, established in October 1065, is delivered each week to residents of Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside and adjacent unincorporated areas of southern San Mateo County. The Almanac is qualified by decree of the Superior Court of San Mateo County to publish public notices of a governmental and legal nature, as stated in Decree No. 147530, issued December 21, 1969. Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years.

Atherton tries to get a handle on staff costs therton is moving in the right direction to reduce the their concerns. As suggested, it makes much more sense to town’s unfunded liability, with the City Council on spread implementation of the shift in costs to employees Nov. 28 passing a package of compensation adjust- over three years, rather than the 18-month period now in ments for 10 employees. The only stickler is how quickly the the plan — a schedule that would be a real hardship for changes should be implemented. some of the staff members affected. Although the changes were unanimously approved, it An undercurrent in the process, or “elephant in the was the majority of Mayor Bill Widmer, Jim Dobbie and room” as Ms. McKeithen put it, is the soon-to-begin retiring member Kathy McKeithen who pushed the matter contract talks with the Atherton Police Officers Associaforward, saying the town needs to address its unfunded tion, which played an active role in the Nov. 6 election, liability related to retirement benefits and must now supporting Ms. Lewis and Mr. Wiest, the winning canrequire non-represented employees to didates. Union president David Metzger take responsibility for more of their own spoke against the compensation changes, EDI TORI AL benefits costs. Recent estimates show the and had earlier issued a statement highly The opinion of The Almanac town has some $15 million in unfunded critical of the “lame duck” council for liabilities for retirement benefits. considering the plan before Mr. Wiest Although the reforms are long overdue, in most cases takes his place at the dais. they will impose a hard-to-take-loss of thousands of dollars The APOA is thought to be concerned that rollbacks annually on some of those impacted, mostly senior manage- taken in this measure could be forced on its members, or ment staff such as the city clerk, public works supervisor and worse, leading the council to outsource police services to three management staff members in the police department. the county sheriff. Mr. Widmer claims the council has Even though council members Elizabeth Lewis and Jerry never discussed outsourcing the police department, but it Carlson supported the measure in closed session meetings would be unusual if the council did not look for the APOA of the council, both indicated that they will ask for a recon- to contribute to reducing the town’s unfunded liability. sideration of the measure at the December meeting, when With 55 to 60 percent of the town’s budget devoted to law new member Cary Wiest will be seated. In addition to the enforcement, any effort to bring the budget into line will of compensation cuts, the council imposed an unpaid fur- necessity have to include the police force. The APOA memlough for “non-essential” employees between the Christmas bers have enjoyed a long run of regular increases in salary and New Year’s holidays. and benefits, including the right to retire at 50 with up to As indicated by many of those who spoke at the meet- 90 percent of their highest pay. ing, the major problem with the measure is not the shift of Part of the new compensation package will eliminate spikbenefits costs to employees, but the schedule of the changes’ ing in pensions, a measure that also should apply to retiring implementation, which now is set to start Jan. 1 of next police officers. It also puts in place changes for new hires, year. But if final action is put off until Mr. Wiest is seated in including a two-tier pension formula and elimination of December, outgoing member Ms. McKeithen said, it could post-retirement health care. take him many months to get up to speed on the town’s Although uncomfortable for some, changes are necessary complicated finances, and thus delay the savings the town in the Atherton pay structure for non-represented workers, hopes to accrue. but the council should make a good-faith effort to spread This is a loss that the town can afford. While we agree that the pain over a longer, three-year period, rather than forcthe town needs to begin reducing its funding obligations as ing it through in just 18 months. Such a delay will not be soon as possible, delaying this package will not break the of great consequence to the town, but would be extremely bank, and will show employees that the council does hear helpful for some of the town’s top employees.


Correction ■ 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.

A sentence in last week’s editorial incorrectly raised the possibility that if it was in a space crunch, the Las Lomitas School District could take back the Phillips Brooks School campus on Avy Avenue. District officials say an amendment to the Phillips Brooks lease signed in June runs through 2032 and makes it virtually impossible for the district to take back the school. A similar lease was recently signed with Woodland School in Ladera, which covers 25 years, with an option for the school to renew for another 25 years. The Almanac regrets the error.

18NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNDecember 5, 2012

Palo Alto Historical Association

Our Regional Heritage In 1969, about 100 demonstrators, angry about weapons development at Stanford Research Institute, marched around the SRI campus in Menlo Park. Many of the protesters, which included a number of Stanford students, were arrested, but it was just the beginning of a fight that peaked in 1971 when members of the Venceramos organization turned out in force at a Menlo Park City Council meeting.


What they’re saying on Town Square New look at grade separations Posted by Mickie Winkler, a resident of the Willows neighborhood. There is one grade alternative not yet considered, which is the aerial viaduct option similar to what is installed in San Carlos. Note that this would partially raise the tracks, increase connectivity in Menlo Park, keep

all current crossings open and potentially not require a disruptive shoefly during construction. A rendering posted on the city’s website shows that the tracks are suspended on posts, such that parking or kiosks can exist underneath, and none of the roadways are closed. We have been told by a professor at Cal-Poly that trellis-style grade separations can be done without creating

a shoefly, and without disrupting daytime traffic flows, which would be an extreme plus. The city should at least study this approach.

LESS IS MORE Are you a very nearsighted or very farsighted person who has such a strong lens prescription that the thickness and weight of your prescription lenses limit your selection of eyeglass frames? If so, you should know that choosing “high-index” lenses over traditional lenses can make a huge difference. Because high-index lenses can bend light to a higher degree than traditional lenses, they are 20% to 65% thinner than standard plastic lenses. The

N TOWN SQUARE Post your news and views on TownSquare at:

stronger the prescription, the greater the difference in thickness between high-index lenses and traditional lenses can be expected. Because high-index lenses provide the same optical clarity in a smaller package, those with more severe optical errors can use them in a greater array of fashion frames. Modern lenses come in a variety of materials. The lens that is best for you depends on your vision problem, lifestyle, and personal preference. You’ll find a range of lenses and sleek frames in the latest shapes, sizes, and colors at MENLO OPTICAL. Please call us at 322-3900, or bring us your eyewear prescription. We’re located at 1166 University Drive, on the corner of Oak Grove Avenue and University Drive. We provide complete repair service. Best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season! P.S. The higher the index of a high-index lens material, the denser/thinner the material. 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.

THE NEXT GENERATION OF MEDICINE AT HOOVER STANFORD CLINICS STANFORD HEALTH LIBRARY COMMUNITY PHYSICIANS STANFORD HOSPITAL & CLINICS AND PRESIDENT AND CEO AMIR DAN RUBIN INVITE YOU To join us as we open the doors to the newly renovated Hoover Pavilion and honor this historic structure’s place in the legacy of clinical and community care at Stanford. Hoover Pavilion Open House Thursday, December 6, 2012 10:00 am: Welcome Reception 10:30 am: Ceremony 11:00 am – 12:00 noon: Tours of Hoover Pavilion The event is open to the public and will be held outside of the Hoover Pavilion at 211 Quarry Road in Palo Alto. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to For more information, visit

December 5, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN19

represented by Scott Dancer

The Buck Estate Woodside OFFERED AT $9,999,500

Award-Winning Modern Masterpiece Woodside OFFERED AT $12,000,000

Chic and Sophisticated European Villa Woodside OFFERED AT $6,995,000

Information and all acreage deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

Scott Dancer 650.888.8199 DRE# 00868362 2969 Woodside Road Woodside, CA 94062

20NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNDecember 5, 2012

The Almanac 12.05.2012 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the December 5, 2012 edition of the Almanac

The Almanac 12.05.2012 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the December 5, 2012 edition of the Almanac