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Stanford-Arrillaga project in Menlo Park grows | Page 3

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2NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJanuary 23, 2013


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This rendering is a view of residential and retail mixed-use buildings, and the new Middle Plaza, from across El Camino Real at Middle Avenue in Menlo Park, looking northeast, according to Steve Elliott, development manager at Stanford. It is part of the updated proposed plan for development, he said.

Stanford-Arrillaga project grows By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

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s this a case of “be careful what you wish for”? The latest revision of the proposed Stanford-Arrillaga development in Menlo Park added some housing, which may mollify city officials. But there’s a catch: The addition comes without sacrificing office and retail space — meaning that the already massive eight-acre project would grow by about 5,000 square feet, making some residents even more unhappy. “Stanford/Arrillaga project leaders did not listen to the objections of Menlo Park neighborhoods — instead of reducing the traffic and safety concerns, they have increased it,” said Save Menlo spokeswoman Perla Ni in an email to the Almanac. “This is the largest medical office complex that has ever been proposed for Menlo Park and now, they are proposing to add more housing on top of it.” Save Menlo, a grassroots effort to oppose the proposed plan, met with Stanford University representatives on Jan. 18. Dur-

ing the meeting, the group reviewed the revised plans the university submitted to Menlo Park last week. The project will replace car lots along 300 to 500 El Camino Real with a mixed-use complex of 96,000 square feet of medical offices, 133,500 square feet of offices, 10,000 square feet of retail, and housing.

Developer submits revised plans, adding 15 to 30 apartments. The latest changes propose adding 15 to 30 apartments for a maximum total of 150 units. Architects also modified the public plaza on Middle Avenue with what Stanford described as “bicycle and pedestrian friendly improvements.” The proposal remains consistent with the baseline requirements of the specific plan, according to city staff, and won’t trigger public benefit discussions. That leaves Menlo Park

without much control over the project since it won’t require approvals for anything beyond the Planning Commission’s signing off on architectural details. Some city officials, including planning commissioners and council members, have not been shy about expressing disappointment with the project. They said that throughout creation of the downtown/ El Camino Real specific plan, Stanford appeared to support developing the empty car lots as senior housing. Instead, the university is now forging ahead with a project composed primarily of office space, which is expected to add heavy traffic along the city’s main corridor. On Monday, Jan. 28, the Planning Commission will hold a study session for the project. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. Go to tinyurl.com/MP-arrillaga to review the plans on the city’s website. The latest version should be posted by Friday, Jan. 25. A

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

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January 23, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN3


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Antique Agra | India | 7’10” x 9’8”

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Antique Oushak | Anatolia | 14’ x 20’

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4NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJanuary 23, 2013


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Facebook, Menlo come to terms over new campus By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

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ooks as if Menlo Park got many of the items on its wish list for the development agreement related to Facebook’s plans to develop a second campus on Constitution Drive. The proposed agreement, drafted by Facebook and city negotiating teams, was released Jan. 17 and now goes to the City Council. Facebook proposes building a sprawling office structure designed by Pritzker Prizewinning architect Frank Gehry. An estimated 2,800 employees, mainly engineers, would work there. The 433,555-square-foot building would perch on top of approximately 1,540 parking spaces, and blend into the landscape through ground-level gardens that wind their way up to a rooftop terrace, creating a

forest visible from the Bayfront munity fund for nonprofits, Expressway. created as part of its agreement So what’s the price tag in to develop its headquarters, and terms of community bene- another $100,000 to Menlo Park fits? City officials for unspecified have emphasized improvements to their desire for the area surroundongoing revenue ing the campus. Social media and funding for Construccompany would tion companies inf rastructure improvements for pay $1.7 million with subcontracts community benworth $5 million in community efits such as easor more would get ing the increased permits allowing benefits over burden on tranMenlo Park to col10 years. sit and schools as lect sales and use Facebook employtaxes on materials ees move to the used to build the area and have kids. new facility. The city estimates The proposed development that would divert $100,000 to agreement provides ongoing $300,000 to Menlo Park. Facerevenue through a total pay- book would also pay the city ment of $1.5 million, disbursed use taxes for purchase orders as $150,000 per year for 10 years. exceeding $500,000 for items Facebook would contribute an related to getting the campus additional $100,000 to the com- ready for occupation, although

the city’s staff report states that this may not actually generate any revenue. Rounding out the financial benefits, the agreement guarantees 10 years of property tax payments to the city based on the projected $300 million assessment value of the redeveloped property. The proposal would institute a vehicle trip cap of 1,100 trips during commute hours to the Constitution Drive campus and 6,350 daily trips, with the same financial penalties as for the main campus — $50 per trip over the cap per day, with escalating fees tied to the number of excess trips. As for maintaining benefits even if Facebook someday closes its headquarters, the development agreement for its other campus includes provisions designed to keep several clauses

Council action The City Council is scheduled to vote on the development agreement during its regular Jan. 22 meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel Street. ■ Go to tinyurl.com/a3ub7mw to review the agreement and associated staff report.

alive, such as the commitment to helping fund completion of the Bay Trail. “Being a good neighbor in Menlo Park is important to Facebook; which is why we’ve chosen to make additional investments in our community — even though the project is largely code-compliant. This is a project that the community of Menlo Park will be very proud of,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Almanac. A

Atherton city manager’s pay talks go private By Renee Batti

October with an annual salary of $160,000 and a monthly hould the new city man- transportation allowance of ager’s salary be adjusted $2,500 until June, when the now that he’s decided not move to Atherton would occur to live in the town-owned house — or might occur, depending that was to be on whose interpart of his compretation of the pensation? That’s agreement one the question two City manager asks believes. Atherton City In a staff Council members for contract revision report for the will discuss with after deciding not agenda item, George Rodericks which appeared to move into in private after the on the consent council delayed town-owned house. calendar and had making a decision to be pulled so on the matter at the council could its Jan. 16 meeting. discuss it, Mr. Rodericks noted Mayor Elizabeth Lewis that during negotiations he indiappointed herself and Vice May- cated that he “may or may not or Jerry Carlson to try to work be using the home in the shortout a plan that would allow Mr. term,” and he therefore agreed Rodericks to continue living to a “housing offset of $30,000 in his Marin County residence per year until such time as the while possibly increasing his decision was made to either use salary because residence in the or not use the residence.” Watkins House was originally Since that time, he has conintended to be part of his overall cluded that there are “personal compensation. challenges to using the house” Traditionally, city manag- as his primary residence, and ers have resided in the house, is now seeking a salary increase located in Holbrook-Palmer to adjust for the fact he will not Park, and the housing was part benefit from living in the town’s of their compensation package. Mr. Rodericks was hired in See PAY TALKS, page 8

Almanac News Editor

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Photo by Scott Peterson

A white sedan (far left) being chased by sheriff’s deputies crashed at Marsh and Bay roads in Menlo Park on Wednesday, Jan. 16, and the occupants fled.

Two in custody following car chase, crash Two suspects in an attempted armed robbery of a jewelry store in unincorporated Redwood City are in custody and two more are being sought following a car chase and crash in Menlo Park on Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 16. The suspects, described in a press release as four “dark skinned” males in their 20s, are wanted in the attempted robbery of Plaza Jewelers on Middlefield Road near Eighth Avenue. A weapon, a black semiautomatic handgun, is in police possession, said Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. No injuries

were reported in the robbery attempt. Deputies arrived at the jewelry store within 30 seconds of the call and followed the suspect vehicle, a white sedan, until it crashed into another vehicle and slammed into a telephone pole at Marsh and Bay roads at 12:32 p.m. The car’s occupants fled, with deputies in pursuit. The occupants of the vehicle that was struck were not injured, Deputy Rosenblatt said. The search for the suspects, which included K9 units, was yard by yard in the Menlo Park neighborhood known as Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood

Park. At one point, the search included a fixedwing plane from the California Highway Patrol, Deputy Rosenblatt said. Residents were asked to remain indoors during the search, and those not at home were being kept outside the search perimeter, she said. Also in the hunt were police from Atherton, Menlo Park, Redwood City and Palo Alto, a total of 50 officers and deputies, Deputy Rosenblatt said. Following the crash, police were seen holding shotguns and standing in the street and along railroad tracks near Marsh and Bay roads, a witness said. A

January 23, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5


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6NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJanuary 23, 2013


N E W S

Services set for Howard Boone A memorial is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, at the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County at 521 Kings Mountain Road in Wo o d s i d e to remember Howard Davis Boone, an enduring presence in and benefactor to the Howard Boone Wo o d s i d e equestrian community and a town resident since 1960. Mr. Boone, 93, died peacefully at home on Jan. 14. Mr. Boone, a native of Iowa, got an early start with horses, having had a pony to share with his brother in their daily commute to and from a one-

room schoolhouse, according to accounts in an Almanac story from 2005 and from his family. In 1940, after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in agricultural economics, he took a job with Cargill, the Minneapolis agribusiness giant. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mr. Boone joined the Naval Air Corps. Mr. Boone married Nancy Goulet in 1946 and returned to Cargill, where he rose to the position of vice president of the oil seed processing business for the Pacific Rim. He traveled frequently with his wife to the Southwest Pacific, stopping frequently at Maui, one of their favorite places. During more than 52 years in Woodside, Mr. Boone volun-

teered as board member of the Woodside Trail Club, as chair of the Woodside’s Trails Committee, and as president of the Woodside Community Foundation. He was a longtime member of the Mounted Patrol, which has its facilities in Woodside. The Mounted Patrol elected him a captain in 1974 and named him Outstanding HorsemanCitizen of the Year in 1994. In 2005, the town named a riding trail after Mr. Boone. Mr. Boone is survived by daughters Kathy Boone, Betsy Harms and Bonnie Boone-Altshuld and six grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to: The “Howard D. Boone Memorial,” MPSMC Foundation, 521 Kings Mountain Road, Woodside, CA 94062.

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The other topic concerns affordable housing, and the next steps for the community. The council is set to consider a charter for a new committee, an ad hoc group of community members to discuss how to address the town’s obligations to provide homes that people of moderate incomes can afford. In a related agenda item, the council will also consider a resolution affirming Portola Valley’s participation in

by Samia Cullen

Title Insurance Why Is It Important? A title insurance policy is a contract issued by a title insurance company, insuring or indemnifying owners, holders of liens or encumbrances, or others with a title interest in real property, against loss or damage to the property title. In a typical residential real estate transaction, a title policy is issued to the buyer at the close of escrow, insuring the buyer against loss or damage suffered because of defects in title to the property itself. In addition, if the buyer obtains a loan to acquire the property, a title policy is issued to the lender to provide assurances that the lender’s insured lien has priority over other liens and encumbrances on the property. Customarily in San Mateo County, the buyer is responsible for the cost of both policies. In Santa Clara County, it is customary for the seller pay to pay for the buyer’s title policy, with the lender’s policy paid for by the buyer. Title policies are not required to be

identical. The cost, extent of coverage and terms can be as unique as each parcel of real property, since no two parcels are exactly alike. Generally, a title insurance policy insures the buyer against loss or damage arising out of: a) title to the property being vested in someone other than the insured, b) any defect in or recorded lien or encumbrance on the title, c) un-marketability of title, or d) lack of right of access to and from the property. Each of the covered items listed above typically is limited by specific or generic exceptions, exclusions or other conditions specified within the title policy. Title insurance policies are complex legal documents, and readers who require specific advice should consult an attorney.

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Bag ban, affordable housing on agenda Two issues return to the Portola Valley Town Council at its first meeting of the new year, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Historic Schoolhouse. The council will consider action on an ordinance that echoes a county law banning plastic bags from checkout counters, effective April 22 (Earth Day). The impact in Portola Valley may be slight, with retailers such as Roberts Market already having ceased the use of the bags, according to town staff. Restaurants would be exempt from the law.

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the county’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), according to a staff report. One apparent option for participating communities is the possible offloading of part of an affordable housing obligation. “There has been discussion of whether the town could successfully reduce its RHNA obligations through a cooperative agreement with another jurisdiction,” the staff report says. “At the town council’s request, staff could contact other jurisdictions in our subregion to investigate this possibility.” A

Woodside council revisits plastic bag ban The Woodside Town Council will consider signing on to San Mateo County’s ordinance that prohibits retail outlets from dispensing the flimsy “single use” plastic bags at checkout counters. The council meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Independence Hall near the corner of Woodside and Whiskey Hill roads. If the council acts on its previous vote of support for the concept, it could introduce an ordinance on Tuesday and adopt it at a subsequent meeting. The law would take effect on the same day as the county’s ordinance:

Earth Day, April 22, 2013. In February 2012, the council voted 5-2, with councilmen Dave Burow and Tom Shanahan dissenting, to support the county’s plans that, in addition to banning the bags, would require merchants to charge customers a small fee for a durable reusable paper bag, if needed. Councilman Burow told the Almanac that he dislikes using public money on this, preferring incentives to discourage use of the bags. The restrictions would not apply to restaurants or nonprofits. The California Grocers

Association has endorsed the concept, and Woodside merchants have been expecting the law, Town Manager Kevin Bryant told the council. The bags are a hazard because they are lightweight and easily escape into the environment, where they can be blown about. They’re found in great numbers in the ocean, including in huge gyres of trash in the northern Pacific, where they eventually break down into tiny pieces and are ingested by unsuspecting creatures, thus contaminating the food chain with hydrocarbons. A

Plastic bags, streets policy before Menlo Park council The Facebook development agreement is one item among many for the Menlo Park City Council to consider on Tuesday, Jan. 22. The single-use plastic bag ban returns to the agenda, giving the council one last opportunity to customize the countywide ordinance before voting on whether to approve it.

The council will also vote on whether to approve a new “complete streets” policy for Menlo Park. The policy is a requirement for obtaining funding from the One Bay Area grant program; the city has spent several months revising the policy to give Menlo Park local control over its implementation.

But all of that discussion comes after a 5:30 p.m. study session on understanding the financial impact of pensions. Go to tinyurl.com/bcnneww to review the agenda and associated staff reports. The Jan. 22 meeting will be held in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. A

January 23, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN7


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Compensation cuts approved by council By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor

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he town of Atherton’s unrepresented employees will take a hit in their total compensation package, as expected, but under a new plan worked out by the employees and the city manager, and approved by the City Council, the blow will be softened by a 3.5 percent pay hike. The new plan, approved on a 4-0 council vote (with Jim Dobbie absent) on Jan. 16, shifts the entire portion of employees’ share of pension costs from the town onto the employees, caps vacation and sick-leave accrual and the town’s contribution to health-care premiums, and creates a two-tier retirement system (one for current employees and another for new hires). It also eliminates post-retirement health benefits for new hires. The changes are effective July 1. Even with salary increases for the 10 affected employees, under the plan the town will save, in the first year, $46,000 of what it now pays the state’s public employee retirement agency, according to a report by City Manager George Rodericks. The town currently pays $92,000 annually for the employees’ portion of pension contributions to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), which administers public pensions. That figure represents 7 percent of the affected employees’ salaries. The town also pays an additional amount charged by CalPERS to public agencies. The council passed an earlier compensation cost-cutting resolution in November, with council members Jerry Carlson and Elizabeth Lewis — as well as the affected employees — criticizing the plan for creating too much of a financial burden on employees too quickly. The original resolution called for incremental increases in employee contributions for retirement costs over an 18-month period, at which point employees would pay the entire amount. In December, with Cary Wiest replacing Kathy McKeithen on the council, the issue was taken up again, and staff was directed to bring back a

N ATHERTON

resolution that would slow the pace of the incremental changes, perhaps stretching them out over three or more years. Mr. Rodericks presented the council with two options last week: Option 1 spread the incremental changes over three years, and Option 2 put the shift in place by July 1, but raised salaries 3.5 percent. The second option, approved by the council, was favored by most employees, Mr. Rodericks said. The benefit to employees of that option, he said, is that it will have less impact on the portion of compensation that pensions are calculated on. That’s because when the town pays an employee’s share of CalPERS contributions, that amount is added to the employee’s compensation total for the purpose of calculating his or her pension, he explained in the report. “Option 2 provides for an increase in the salary range of half of the cost of the pension obligation in an effort to share the burden and offset the impact,” he said. The town benefits from Option 2 as well, he said, because it saves $43,000 more than Option 1 over a threeyear period. One reason for that is that the first option includes funds for a merit bonus program as a means to offset the impact of the shift of pension costs to employees. The original resolution passed in November and rescinded the next month also included the merit bonus program. In his report, the city manager said employees support the cost-cutting policy objectives of the council, and appreciate the chance “to be engaged in the discussion of meeting those objectives.” “Staff felt it was important to note that they are unrepresented and feel that (they) can remain unrepresented so long as they are given the opportunity to participate in the discussion and are treated fairly,” the report said. The resolution doesn’t affect most of the town’s police officers, whose union contract expires Sept. 30. Labor negotiations with the Atherton Police Officers’ Association are expected to begin this spring. A

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

The Watkins House in Holbrook-Palmer Park, where Atherton city managers have lived for years.

Atherton manager’s pay talks go private PAY TALKS continued from page 5

house, the staff report said. Although Mr. Rodericks didn’t specify how much he thought the town should boost his pay, he said in his report that the value of the house is $60,000 per year, and that amount was “deducted from an overall compensable salary of $220,000.” But Councilman Bill Widmer and former council member Kathy McKeithen, who negotiated Mr. Rodericks’ contract before it was ratified by the full council, challenge the city manager’s version of the agreement. During the public comment period, Ms. McKeithen called the staff report “a gross misrepresentation” of the negotiations, and “a fairy tale.” From what was discussed during the talks, “it was pretty clear he was going to live (in the house).” Councilman Widmer said he was “a little taken aback” by the request to revise the contract, and that the two negotiating

council members were “pretty adamant” they wanted the city manager living in town. “I don’t feel the taxpayers should be bearing the cost” for $30,000 or more per year as a result of Mr. Rodericks’ decision to commute rather than live in town, he said. But Mr. Carlson noted that there are “complexities beyond his control” that make it difficult if not impossible for Mr. Rodericks to relocate to Atherton, and recommended that an ad hoc committee be appointed to come up with a compromise. The issue has generated criticism by a number of residents, including Bob Ferrando, who wrote in an email to the council that Mr. Rodericks’ “waffling about living in the home suggests he may not be fully committed to Atherton. I would ask that he reaffirm his commitment to the position, at the current offering, or begin a search for a replacement who will commit to serving the town.” Councilman Cary Wiest indi-

cated a willingness to consider Mr. Rodericks’ request, and noted that recruiting a new manager would be expensive. “And personally, I think George should have an opportunity to perform. (He) hasn’t had an opportunity to do his job.” Resident Jon Buckheit suggested that if council members were considering increasing Mr. Rodericks’ salary so early in his tenure, they might set aside the amount he requests and use it as a performance-based bonus. Councilman Jim Dobbie didn’t attend the meeting; it was he, according to Mr. Rodericks, who suggested to him that the contract might be revised in light of Mr. Rodericks’ decision not to live in town. Mayor Lewis said it was her understanding that Mr. Rodericks’ hiring was not predicated on his living in the Watkins House. She said she and Mr. Carlson would meet with the city manager and bring a recommendation back to the council to discuss in a February closed session. A

Hewlett foundation names philanthropy director Fay Twersky is the new director of the Effective Philanthropy Group of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park. Ms. Twersky, a senior fellow at the foundation, has been serving as acting director of the newly formed group since September. Ms. Twersky served for four years with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Most recently, she worked in Jerusalem as an adviser to Yad Hanadiv of the Rothschild Family Foundation. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

8NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJanuary 23, 2013

N PEOPLE

Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist Christopher Sauer, 17, of Portola Valley is one of 300 semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search 2013. He will receive a Christopher $1,000 award for Sauer his research in the Computation Discovery and Analysis of Boolean Relationships

between Cancer Mutations. Christopher attends Menlo School, which will also receive a $1,000 award. From the 300 semifinalists, 40 finalists will be chosen to attend the Intel Science Talent Institute in Washington from March 7 to March 13. Finalists will undergo further judging and share $630,000 in awards. The son of Karen Peterson and Gerry Sauer, Christopher was also a semifinalist in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. He will be attending Stanford University in the fall. A


N E W S

>hndjgX]^aYcdifj^iZ Retired city exec’s contract illegal gZVYn[dg@^cYZg\VgiZc4 By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

T

he state’s retirement agency took a hard line against a retired city employee collecting a pension while working as a contractor for the past year, and declared former Menlo Park personnel director Glen Kramer’s contract work illegal. The Almanac broke the news in early January that the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) was investigating the contract. Although the ruling apparently caught longtime senior city staff by surprise, the agency didn’t need much research before finding a problem. CalPERS requested a copy of Mr. Kramer’s contract on Jan. 7, according to Assistant City Manager Starla JeromeRobinson, who said no one from the agency discussed any issues with the city before reaching an unfavorable decision. “Mr. Kramer will do no further work for the city,� Ms. Jerome-Robinson said on Jan. 17. After retiring in December 2010, Mr. Kramer returned six days later to serve as interim personnel director for approximately one year. He then came back as an independent contractor in early 2012 under the auspices of Regional Government Services (RGS), an organization that provides staffing for government agencies, with a contract extended into 2013 even though the city had filled the position of human resources director in July 2012. Mr. Kramer netted $70 per hour from the RGS contract. That adds up to an estimated $67,830 in 2012, based on the city’s final count of his invoiced hours, on top of a $130,524 annual pension. Menlo Park staff said he had recently been helping the city switch from a manual to an automated payroll. If he had decided to keep working for Menlo Park after the CalPERS ruling, the state would have required Mr. Kramer to pay back all pension collected since he started working as an independent contractor in 2012. CalPERS prohibits retired employees from working more than 960 hours per fiscal year as contractors if they continue receiving pension payments. If a temporary assignment seems equivalent to permanent employment, the employee is no longer considered retired. The question of whether Mr. Kramer exceeded 960 hours depends on who you ask. He logged 765.5 hours under direct contract to Menlo Park for fiscal

year 2011-2012, and another 527 hours through RGS. According to Menlo Park human resources director Gina Donnelly, the time he worked for RGS doesn’t count toward the maximum hours per fiscal year. CalPERS disagreed. An agency spokesperson said that in general, “We have found that, upon review, many alleged third-party employment agreements and contracts in fact constitute a common-law employer-employee relationship, and are thus subject to retired annuitant restrictions.� The letter regarding Mr. Kramer’s employment concluded, “Although the agreement purports to establish an independent contractor/employee relationship between RGS and the City, our Membership Analysis and Design Unit has reviewed the agreement language and the duties of your former position to determine that your employment through RGS is under the common law control of the City. Therefore, your post retirement employment is subject to the restrictions in the retirement law.� Backdating

A riddle surfaced during the Almanac’s research into Mr. Kramer’s RGS contract: an apparent two-month gap between the date Menlo Park staff signed and the date company representatives signed. The gap shrank to five days after this reporter looked at the city’s contract log. Although the

signatures of Ms. Jerome-Robinson — serving as interim city manager at the time — and City Attorney Bill McClure are dated Feb. 1, 2012 on the contract, the log indicates they actually signed on March 29, 2012. Ms. Jerome-Robinson said in an email that the first three months of 2012 were “periods of the management transition� with the hiring of a new city manager, and that “may have delayed the contract signatures.� The contract itself lists an effective start date of Feb. 1, 2012. But RGS Executive Director Richard Averett said the signatures don’t need to be in place when a contractor begins work “as long as both contracting parties agree and are in the process of completing paperwork.� So why backdate the signatures? “I can’t say with certainty why there are different dates, but probably to be consistent with the start date stated in the contract,� Ms. Jerome-Robinson said. “If CalPERS has shared something directly with you I would be interested in learning about it.� For his part, City Attorney Bill McClure said he has no recollection of the dates on the contract or even whether he himself filled in the date next to his signature. But he didn’t think the intent was to backdate the contract. “I don’t think it would matter what date it was signed, because it’s the effective date that matters.�

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January 23, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN9


Serving Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, and Woodside for 47 years.

Viewpoint IDEAS, THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS

ABOUT LOCAL ISSUES FROM PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY. EDITED BY TOM GIBBONEY

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Tom Gibboney (223-6507) NEWSROOM Managing Editor Richard Hine (223-6525) News Editor Renee Batti (223-6582) Lifestyles Editor Jane Knoerle (223-6531) Staff Writers Dave Boyce (223-6527), Sandy Brundage (223-6529) Contributors Marjorie Mader, Barbara Wood, Kate Daly Special Sections Editors Carol Blitzer, Sue Dremann Photographer Michelle Le (223-6530) DESIGN & PRODUCTION Design Director Shannon Corey (223-6560) Designers Linda Atilano, Lili Cao, Diane Haas, Rosanna Leung, Paul Llewellyn, Scott Peterson ADVERTISING Vice President Sales and Marketing Tom Zahiralis (223-6570) Display Advertising Sales Wendy Suzuki (223-6569) Real Estate Manager Neal Fine (223-6583) Real Estate & Advertising Coordinator Diane Martin (223-6584) Legal Advertising Alicia Santillan (223-6578) 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: Editor@AlmanacNews.com Email letters to: letters@AlmanacNews.com The Almanac, established in October 1965, 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. ©2013 by Embarcadero Media Company. All rights reserved. Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years.

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

Town Square forum Post your views on the Town Square forum at www.TheAlmanacOnline. com Email your views to: letters@almanacnews.com 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.

City needs to halt double dipping

W

hen will retirement really mean retirement? The city’s human resources director Gina Donnelly told Menlo Park city officials apparently the Almanac that the hours worked for RGS don’t count believed they couldn’t get along without person- toward the allowable maximum. CalPERS expressed a difnel director Glen Kramer after he retired in 2010, so they ferent opinion in the letter it sent regarding Mr. Kramer’s hired him back as interim director for a year, and then employment: “... your employment through RGS is under again as a contract employee, a gig that lasted until January the common law control of the city. Therefore, your post 2013. retirement employment is subject to the restrictions in the It was a classic case of double-dipping, giving Mr. Kram- retirement law.” er a total salary and pension of nearly $200,000 a year. The sweetheart deal Mr. Kramer found in Menlo Park Why wasn’t someone trained to do Mr. sends a message that top city officials will Kramer’s job before he retired? Certainly bend over backwards so retiring managers EDI TORI AL the city manager and his staff knew about can nearly double their salary by working The opinion of The Almanac his upcoming retirement well before the as contractors at what is essentially their date arrived. Instead of preparing, they old job. Such favorable treatment is rarely held the door open as he rushed back to work. available for the rank and file. Mr. Kramer’s second stint started in February 2012 when CalPERS also turned down the city’s request to bend the the city hired him as a contract employee through Regional 960-hour limit for interim Police Chief Lee Violett, who Government Services (RGS), for which he collected $70 an is filling in until Menlo Park hires a permanent replacehour on top of a $10,877 monthly pension. He continued ment. even after the city hired a new personnel director in July, Menlo Park needs to plan for transitioning employees and even after he appeared to exceed the 960 work hours well before they head out the door. We suspect most retirper fiscal year cap imposed by state law on retired employ- ees are more than happy to share their plans with top city ees who return to work for public agencies. staff. Mr. Kramer was a longtime employee who appeared CalPERS, the state retirement agency, decided to investi- to be doing good work right up until his final day on the gate his perennial employment and concluded it was ille- job. With a little foresight on the city’s part, he could have gal. The agency threatened to cut off Mr. Kramer’s pension made better use of his last weeks as personnel director to and have him pay back all benefits collected while under train a successor. It’s not rocket science; other companies the RGS contract if he continued to work. do it all the time.

Stanford sticks with its plan for El Camino sites By Steve Elliott

Stanford’s 500 El Camino Real project meets the principles and goals of the Specific ast July, the city of Menlo Plan. Our project provides a Park approved a com- publicly accessible plaza at prehensive Downtown/ Middle Avenue, 10,000 square El Camino Real Specific Plan feet of retail space, a 15-foot after five years of extensive wide El Camino promenade, planning and community out- a significant amount of housreach. Stanford Uniing, including belowversity participated in market-rate units, and supported this increased open space, process, in order to provision of east-west get clear direction connectivity for bicyon what the city was clists and pedestrians interested in seeing at Middle Avenue, on our El Camino building breaks to parcels. As noted in a reduce building massGUEST June 24, 2009, Almaing, and important OPINION nac article, Stanford sustainable building has consistently stated features. that mixed-use development Based on what we have heard was appropriate for its proper- from the Menlo Park commuties, including retail, housing, nity, we have updated our Nov. general and medical offices. 6 submittal for the Jan. 28 PlanAll of these uses were thor- ning Commission study session. oughly considered in the The updated plan increases the Specific Plan. Based on the number of housing units and adopted plan, Stanford began includes bicycle and pedesthe design of a project to fit trian friendly improvements to within the plan’s framework Middle Plaza. and vision. The city’s October 2012 proManaging Director, Development, Stanford

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10NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNJanuary 23, 2013

Woodside History Committee

Our Regional Heritage Dominico Grosso was known as the hermit of Jasper Ridge. He lived alone on land that is now the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve until his death in 1915.

posed Housing Element designates 65 units for the Stanford sites. Stanford is proposing 135 to 150 units, more than twice as much as the Housing Element anticipates. There were comments during the public process about

a desire for senior housing. Stanford believes the style and size of the rental housing in this project will be attractive to seniors, a pattern seen up and down the Peninsula. Continued on next page


V I E W P O I N T

Plastic bag ordinance needs some revisions By Hank Lawrence

The council should govern e should applaud in the best interests of all its the contributions by residents without undue special environmental groups interest group influence. When an ordinance is introduced the that have led to cleaner council should careair and water and the fully scrutinize it. If it conservation of natudoes not serve the best ral resources. Withinterests of all Menlo out their advocacy the Park residents then it environment would should be modified or not be as good. rejected. Our society has The proposed singleevolved to be considuse plastic bag ban is GUEST erate and caring of flawed for the followOPINION the environment due ing reasons: in part to outreach ■ As council member efforts by environmental groups. Unfortunately, there Catherine Carlton pointed out, are a few unenlightened people it does not consider the use of who have a reckless disregard compostable bags; ■ It interferes with private for the environment and discard single-use plastic bags business, telling them what they into our creeks and tributaries. should charge for their comThe Menlo Park City Council modities. Government has no desires to solve this problem — right to that level of intrusion in the private sector. It should be as it should. The San Mateo County Board the sole discretion of business to of Supervisors has introduced decide whether and how much a plastic bag ban that is well- to charge for paper bags. ■ Menlo Park residents use intentioned but overreaching. single-use plastic bags to disThe proposed ban punishes all Menlo Park residents for the card soiled diapers, dog waste, and as liners for waste baskets. transgressions of a few.

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There is no reason why singleuse compostable plastic bags couldn’t be substituted. A sound ordinance would require that all grocers only offer biodegradable bags with no mention of what they should charge. Some people make the argument that the city will be sued by the plastic bag industry, but it can only prevail if it can show discrimination. If the ordinance is crafted so that it does not discriminate between paper or plas-

tic then it would deter litigation. The proposed ordinance should also have penalties for littering such as 100 hours of community service picking litter from San Francisquito Creek for the first offense and more time for subsequent offenses. The county, through the use of an environmental impact report, is holding sway over the city governments. The city governments are separate but equal to the county government.

However, the county dangling the financial carrot in front of the city governments has the effect of the cities ceding their authority to the county. If we were to take that influence to the extreme, one could argue that Menlo Park should disincorporate and put the Board of Supervisors in charge of the city. That is something we don’t want to do. Hank Lawrence lives on Sharon Oaks Drive in Menlo Park

Diane Rose Ciardella November 6, 1960 – January 12, 2013 Diane Ciardella of Menlo Park passed peacefully Saturday, January 12th after a long battle with multiple sclerosis. Despite her condition she always enjoyed life, friends, and family. Her positive attitude transcended into the community. She was a passionate volunteer at the Menlo Atherton Co-op, Oak Knoll and Hillview Schools and PTA. As a former Menlo Park Library Commissioner she focused on the Children’s section of the library renovation ensuring an exciting and interactive experience. Born in Greene Maine, Diane graduated from Leavitt High School where she led the Cheerleading squad to a statewide championship. She graduated from Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts

and began her career in the travel industry before moving to Menlo Park with her family in 1991. She is survived by her husband Rick, daughter Martina, parents Edgar and Evelyn DeBlois and brother David DeBlois In lieu of flowers the family has set up a Multiple Sclerosis Memorial Fund http://main.NationalMSSociety.org/goto/DianeCiardella PA I D

L ET T ER S Our readers write

Disappointment after police story Editor: After reading Sandy Brundage’s Jan. 16 story about Officer Vasquez’s escapades, it is hard to pinpoint what is more disappointing: ■ Knowing that a member of an otherwise stellar Menlo Park police force is being paid to enforce the law here while allegedly engaging in (apparently on more than one occasion) scuzzy and illegal conduct elsewhere; ■ Learning that high level Continued from previous page

The Almanac’s Jan. 2 editorial is not correct in saying that Stanford’s project is “focused almost entirely on medical offices.” Stanford has limited medical offices to 96,000 square feet, which represents only 21 percent of the project’s square footage. The editorial’s claim that the bike/pedestrian tunnel under the railroad tracks “did not materialize” is also not correct. Stanford does not own the land where the Plan proposes this tunnel. However, Stanford has designed its project to provide pedestrians and bicyclists direct

city officials lack the judgment to know that confidential personnel matters should not be discussed in a public setting; ■ The lack of journalistic ethics by one who eavesdrops on others knowing the conversation is intended to be private; or ■ The disparity between the rights (not to mention retirement benefits) afforded to private workers and public employees. Todd Roberts Hesketh Drive, Menlo Park Editor’s Note: The Almanac reporter violated no journalistic ethics. She was in a public bar, two seats away from the current and former city managers, and simply overheard their conversation. access to the tunnel over our property. We support the tunnel as an important improvement to east-west connectivity. Stanford has long heard Menlo Park’s desire to move forward on redevelopment of these long vacant auto dealer sites. The last ground lease on these parcels expires in March 2013 and we are eager to implement a comprehensive, integrated new development that will improve the properties and be a benefit for the community and Stanford. Steve Elliott is managing director for development, land, buildings and real estate at Stanford University.

OBITUARY

Howard Davis Boone 1919 - 2013 Howard Davis Boone passed away peacefully at his home on January 14, 2013 at 93 years of age. A native of Iowa, he started his education in a one-room schoolhouse, arriving each day on horseback. He eventually won a scholarship to Iowa State, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1940 in Agricultural Economics. Following graduation, he joined Cargill, an international agribusiness headquartered in Minneapolis. When the war broke out in 1941, he joined the Navy Air Corps as the first aviation cadet sworn in after Pearl Harbor. In 1946 he married Nancy Goulet, and after that he returned to Cargill, where he spent his entire career, rising to Vice President of the company’s Pacific Rim oil seed processing businesses, which included the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand. Howard also loved to travel and, with Nancy, visited numerous countries around the world, but always loved best to return to his favorite beach in Maui. In 1960, Howard and Nancy moved with their family to Woodside, where he was involved in numerous civic activities in the local community, serving on the Board of Directors of the Woodside Trail Club, as Chairman of the Woodside Town Trails Committee, and as president of the Woodside Community

Foundation. He remained an active horseman throughout his life. In 1974 he was elected captain of the Mounted Patrol, and in 1994 he was given the Outstanding Horseman Citizen Award by the San Mateo County Mounted Patrol. In 2005, he was honored by the town of Woodside when it named a riding trail after him. Howard was quoted as saying “Living with horses brings out the human side of a person, the part that wants to do something to help others or help out in your community.” Howard will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather, as well as a big fan of the Niners and Giants, who he finally got to see win not one but two World Series. He was predeceased by his daughter Janet Lee and by his beloved wife Nancy. He is survived by his daughters Kathy Boone (Bruce), Betsy Harms (Steve), and Bonnie Boone-Altshuld (Steve) and his six grandchildren, Rebecca, Sarah, Christine, Max, Leslie, and Gabe. A service to celebrate Howard’s life will be held on January 27 at 2 p.m. at the Mounted Patrol Grounds in Woodside. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mounted Patrol Foundation, with a memo to the “Howard D. Boone Memorial”, 521 Kings Mountain Road, Woodside, CA 94062-4209. PA I D

OBITUARY

January 23, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11


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The Almanac 01.23.2013 - Section 1