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Camp Connec tion

A special publication produced by the Palo Alto Weekly, The Almanac and Mountain View Voice

Summer 2013

Inside this issue

Summer Camp Connection 2013


F E B R U A R Y 2 0 , 2 0 1 3 | VO L . 4 8 N O. 2 5

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

MENLO PARK Craftsman-style home in sought after Felton Gables neighborhood. Shingled façade with 5bd/4.5ba on 3 levels. Kitchen/ family room opens to backyard. Lower level has a rec/media room, bedroom, bathroom, and temperature controlled wine cellar. Master suite and 2 family bedrooms on upper level. Landscaped grounds with patio, and raised flower/vegetable beds. Detached 2 car garage. $3,450,000

MENLO PARK One-of-a-kind architectural gem. Custom home in a fabulous setting with a spectacular panoramic vista. Inviting, open floor plan, high ceilings, and abundant natural light. 3,000+/- sf with 3 bedrooms, office and professional grade kitchen. Conveniently located near Stanford University and 280. Top rated Las Lomitas School District.


REDWOOD CITY Dramatic, private home on a peaceful hilltop setting. High ceilings and walls of glass on the main floor capture beautiful views and lots of natural light. Views of the western hills and canyon from almost every room. Spacious guest suite offers bedroom, family room/kitchen and private entrance. Backyard features an upper and lower lawn area, scenic gardens, hot tub, BBQ area, and sport court. $1,199,000

2NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNFebruary 20, 2013


February 18 WEEKLY REAL ESTATE REPORT Reports available via the convenient QR code or at Real Estate Statistics Updated Weekly for Atherton Woodside Portola Valley Menlo Park

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Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

The iron grill work on these light fixtures on display in the Woodside Community Museum were once used in the Jackling House, built in 1926 on Mountain Home Road. A couple is proposing to use town-owned artifacts from the Jackling House in a new home on Whiskey Hill Road.

Town weighs future of Jackling House artifacts By Dave Boyce


Almanac Staff Writer


he Woodside Town Council, once again confronted with what to do with furnishings from the 1920s-era Jackling House, sounded guardedly pessimistic on Feb. 12 about a proposal to divest itself of some of the artifacts so they could be used in a new house on Whiskey Hill Road. The house would be designed in the fashion of the Jackling House’s architect, George Washington Smith. With space in the Woodside Community Museum to display just some of the artifacts acquired in 2010, and with the remainder in a sun-and-rainproof container outside, there is now a possibility that a collection could be formed in the home of someone who loves them. But for how long? And subject to what fate if the home is sold? Mr. Smith designed the Spanish Colonial house for copper baron Daniel Jackling in 1926 on

Mountain Home Road. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs bought the property, disliked the house, and had it demolished after win-

‘I would really hate to see these things spread to the four winds.’ THALIA LUBIN, WOODSIDE HISTORY COMMITTEE

ning a decade-long legal battle with friends of the house and of Mr. Smith’s designs. The house’s historical value led the town to take custody of many of its furnishings. Woodside History Committee member Thalia Lubin said that the couple, Ben Gilad and Qian Su, would be open to tours of some kind and would be good custodians. “I think we have a wonderful opportunity to

keep these as a collection and restore them into a structure and bring them back to life,” she said. “I would really hate to see these things spread to the four winds.” Some of the couple’s list of desired items, including door knockers, light fixtures and decorative grill-work, are in the town’s $12,000 plexiglass-enclosed display. Artifact disposal is at the discretion of Town Manager Kevin Bryant, who has mentioned an auction and said he involved the council in the interest of transparency on a matter of community concern. With no obvious answers to the couple’s proposal, the council agreed to have the items appraised. “Personally, I’m not interested in disposing of any of that stuff,” Councilman Peter Mason said. “It seems odd to me that we would give it away just because it’s sitting around. ... I think we should figure out a way to store it.”

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Local News M















Menlo council nixes adding 9 full-time planners By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


he easy question was whether Menlo Park needs more planning staff. The consensus was yes, given the number of incoming projects — at least 35 — expected during the next five years. The hard question was how to fulfill that need. City management and the council found themselves at odds late Tuesday night, Feb. 12, over whether nearly doubling the number of full-time planning employees would be the smart solution. In the end, the council supported a strategy that could add a mix of permanent, provisional and/or contract employees to

tackle the increasing planning department workload. Apart from some business representatives with projects in the pipeline, including Facebook, members of the public who commented agreed that adding so many permanent employees would be the wrong move. “I’m concerned about longterm commitments and learning from recent hard lessons,” said Henry Riggs, planning commissioner and pension-cost watchdog. “Are we making longterm commitments for cyclical needs?” He pointed out that for now, the actual unfunded pension liability the city has incurred remains unknown until CalPERS, the state’s public employee

retirement system, updates its debt information in about 12 months. Later in the meeting, council members echoed Mr. Riggs’ concern. City Manager Alex McIntyre, along with other senior staff,

The City Council prefers shorter-term solutions to shorterterm planning staff shortfalls. argued that contract employees could result in lower-quality work, given that the workers would know less about the intricacies of some local projects,

and may be less consistent in applying the city’s regulations. Menlo Park contracts out a lot of work, he said, including plan checking, environmental reviews and maintenance. “Where a service can be clearly articulated and scoped, and where judgment is not necessarily exercised in a great way, that’s an easy project to contract.” While he said he couldn’t conclude that contracting out would fail, Mr. McIntyre added, “I can control the product and get a higher level of return with a full-time employee.” Provisional staff — also known as limited-term employees — receive full benefits, unlike contract employees. The planning department currently

has two provisional staffers, whose contracts end in June. Developer Steve Pierce of Greenheart Land Company agreed that full-time staff offers advantages. His company plans to build on the Derry Lane site, “which is very dependent on the history that goes along with the specific plan, which includes all the intricacies of CEQA approval.” He thought a contract employee couldn’t “jump into that and really be efficient.” The council questioned staff’s analysis. Based on her own experience with contract employees, Councilwoman Cat Carlton said she took issue with the notion that they do lower-quality work, and noted that they provide a See MENLO PARK STAFF, page 8

Portola Valley names nine to affordable housing panel By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


he Portola Valley Town Council spent the last year dealing with the knotty and controversial state mandate requiring all communities to plan for homes affordable to people of moderate incomes. Now, bowing to community pressure, the mayor has named a committee of citizen volunteers to try their collective hand at it. A team that included Mayor John Richards and Town Manager Nick Pegueros interviewed the 13 residents who applied for membership. Those chosen were Susan Dworak, Bud Eisberg, Wanda Ginner, Judith Hasko, Judith Murphy, Jon Myers, Andrew Pierce, Onnolee Trapp, and Carter Warr. The committee’s priorities will include thinking about and discussing: ■ Whether there is a need in town for homes for people of low and moderate incomes. ■ A mission statement that would address the relevant legal requirements. ■ Ways to reconcile the town’s low-density zoning with the economics of affordable housing construction. ■ Priorities in finding and evaluating sites for such housing. The Affordable Housing AdHoc Committee will meet at 7

p.m in the Historic Schoolhouse on five Tuesday evenings — March 5 and 19, April 16 and 30, and May 14. The council voted 3-0 to approve the list, with Councilwoman Maryann Derwin and Councilman Ted Driscoll absent. The committee’s non-voting chair will be the former mayor and experienced mediator Steve Toben. The current council decided not to participate or attend, but will rely on the town manager and the committee chair to stay informed. A verbal progress report from the committee is due the Town Council in late March, with a final written report due in midMay. As the state Department of Housing and Community Development explains, the mandate requires communities to submit for approval a housing-related chapter in their general plans, and update it every seven years. Among the objectives: to “promote infill development and socioeconomic equity,” to encourage “efficient development patterns,” to improve relationships between jobs and housing within the region, and to increase the mix of housing types and affordability “in all cities and counties within the region in an equitable manner.” A

Michelle Le/The Almanac

During renovation of a Willow Road apartment complex, three workmen cut vinyl panels for baths and kitchens. They are, from left, Salvador Pinentel, Jaime Loza and Carlos Martinez.

Housing complex is model for collaboration By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


combination of public, private and nonprofit funding is turning a new affordable housing complex on Willow Road into a showpiece of technology and collaboration.

“Affordable housing isn’t what it used to be,” Kate Comfort Harr, director of HIP Housing, told the Almanac. “People have this image of poorly constructed units where everyone’s destitute.” The 12 units at 1157-1161 Willow Road, on the other hand, will incorporate free Wi-

Fi, a community room, and, with a little luck, solar power for every apartment. HIP Housing, a nonprofit specializing in finding affordable housing for San Mateo County residents, purchased the property in May 2012. See HOUSING COMPLEX, page 8

February 20, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5


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Council reverses Planning Commission approval.

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request to build a duplex on a 112-foot by 54-foot lot in Menlo Park kicked off a round of approvals and appeals, with the City Council finally voting against the project 4-1. Billy McNair, the owner of 1976 Menalto Ave., a lot in the Willows neighborhood, applied in May to build a duplex consisting of two single-family, two-story homes separated by a parking court. He asked for a use permit with variances because of the lot’s size and layout, as well as permission to remove three heritage trees. In November, after holding a study session earlier last fall, the Planning Commission approved the permit and city staff signed off on removing the trees. Those opposed to the project promptly appealed to the council to reverse the approvals. The applicant also appealed to the council after the Environmental Quality Commission, which handles appeals of heritage tree removals, upheld removing two trees, but declined to allow the third, a magnolia tree in good health, to be cut down. Although at least one neighbor emailed the council to support the project, 22 others opposed it. As presented at the Feb. 13 council meeting, their concerns included where parking for the duplex would go, but focused on the fate of the heritage trees at 1976 Menalto Ave. as well as an oak tree next door whose roots stretch across property lines. In his rebuttal, Mr. McNair said, “We’ve looked at countless alternatives, none of them are viable, and they also don’t meet


Applicants sought for grand jury Applications are now being accepted to serve on the grand jury of the San Mateo County Superior Court. The next grand jury term begins July 1, 2013, and ends June 30, 2014. The grand jury investigates local government activities and issues reports and recommendations.

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the direction we were given by the Planning Commission, on which we relied on when designing the project.” He pointed out that the lot’s substandard size and odd shape means building even a single-family home — such as the one currently on the lot — requires variances. As for the trees on the property, Mr. McNair said “no reasonable and feasible alternatives” would allow preservation of all three, while efforts could be made to guard the roots of the oak tree next door during construction. Kirsten Keith, who served as a planning commissioner before being elected to council, said she respected the Planning Commission’s work, but felt uncomfortable with their decision. “I think it’s tough because you’ve got 22 neighbors” who dislike the plan, some of whom had lived there for 36 years with those trees, she said. Ms. Keith, using the Matteson development at 389 El Camino Real as an example of productive collaboration between residents and developers, suggested Mr. McNair return to the drawing board. Before casting the dissenting vote, Mayor Peter Ohtaki said that given the Planning Commission’s and city staff’s input, he respected their expertise and thought that changing the decision now created doubt for other applicants of what they can expect when they develop a project in Menlo Park. Vice Mayor Ray Mueller commented that it went against the character of the neighborhood to pack two residences onto a tiny lot.

Any resident of San Mateo County for more than one year, who is a citizen of the United States, 18 or older, with good character and sufficient knowledge of the English language, is eligible for selection by grand jury Judge Lisa Novak. Elected public officials are not eligible. After completion of an interview process by Judge Novak, jurors will be selected through a random draw. Applications are due by March 29 and may be obtained by writing Grand Jury Clerk, Court Executive Office, 400 County Center, Redwood City CA 94063 or calling 599-1210.



Stanford ‘rethinking some parts’ of Arrillaga project on El Camino By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


tanford University and developer John Arrillaga are revising their plans for Menlo Park’s empty car lots for a third time, according to project representatives. In January the university submitted a site plan for replacing eight acres of 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 two five-story apartment buildings containing up to 152 units. The Menlo Park Planning Commission held a study session about the project on Jan. 28, fielding a couple dozen comments from residents unhappy with the potential traffic impacts and the scale of the complex compared with surrounding buildings. The commission itself requested further analysis of the traffic impacts and retail parking, wondered whether the multistory, modernistic design suited the city, and asked whether the project’s Middle Avenue plaza is more a three-lane easement for cars accessing the complex instead of public space. Now, the university might change the exact configuration of the site plan. “Stanford is considering the comments and suggestions received at the planning commission meeting,” said Steve Elliott, managing director of real estate for the university. “Technically, the plans have not been ‘withdrawn’ but at this preliminary stage, we are working on potential revisions to our

submittal.” While he declined to go into detail about what changes could be made, he said the project team is evaluating issues raised at the commission meeting, including traffic issues, the design for a plaza on Middle Avenue, the architecture of the office buildings, and the inclusion of medical offices. “Right now we don’t have a specific time frame for submitting these (revisions) to the city,” Mr. Elliott said.

The university says it hasn’t set a timeframe yet for resubmitting the site plan. During the Planning Commission study session, Mr. Elliot stated that the university acknowledged that Stanford “will need to contribute our fair share to” traffic mitigation in addition to paying traffic impact fees. “Drawing on our extensive transportation management experience, Stanford will create a comprehensive transportation demand management plan to reduce the project’s traffic,” he said. Members of Save Menlo, a grassroots coalition that organized a petition opposing the project, sat down again with Stanford to discuss the complex in the days after the study session. “We had a cordial meeting, and we appreciate how well they listened to us. However,

Stanford gave us no indication what changes they might make to their plans,” Perla Ni, Save Menlo spokeswoman, said. The group said it reiterated concerns about safety, congestion, cut-through traffic, a car-free plaza and the housing imbalance, and plans to meet with Stanford again in a few weeks. The Sierra Club also took a look at the proposal. According to an analysis by its Sustainable Land Use Committee, the eight-acre mixed-used complex in its January incarnation would create about 900 jobs — about six times as many jobs as housing units if 152 apartments are built. The club proposes slicing both medical and regular office space in half — to 114,750 square feet — to create room to build 234 apartments in total. That yields a job-to-housing ratio of 2-to-1, which is the overall ratio for Menlo Park, according to the Sierra Club, and also helps reduce the traffic impact. With the city’s current struggle to identify enough high-density housing sites to get back in compliance with state law — and the promise of future demands for more sites — the ratio may be an important parameter. Whatever changes, the proposal will likely stay consistent with the baseline requirements of the specific plan to avoid triggering public benefit discussions. That leaves Menlo Park without much control over the project, since the only approval required will be the Planning Commission signing off on architectural details.

by Samia Cullen

How the New Lending Rules Will Affect Buyers and Sellers The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued rules designed to reduce risky lending and require banks to verify that borrowers have the ability to repay their loans. The new rules require lenders to look at criteria such as a borrower’s income, employment status, credit history and other debt obligations. These criteria were largely ignored in the years leading up to the 2007 housing collapse. When a loan meets new lending criteria outlined by the CFPB, it becomes a “qualified mortgage,” which will give protection to the banks from lawsuits filed by aggrieved borrowers. A qualified mortgage is defined as a loan that does not have excess upfront points and fees, has no toxic features such as interest-only payments, teaser rates, negative amortization and balloon payments, and where the borrower does not spend more than 43% of his or her income to pay down debt. The rules will encompass most lending institutions. The rules are already in effect, but lenders will have 12 months for full implementation. Buyers may have a few

Information believed reliable but not guaranteed. Please contact a qualified lender for information regarding the new lending rules.

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Gordon forms housing review committee About a dozen representatives from cities within Assemblyman Rich Gordon’s district will join him on a new committee to review the state’s housing element process. He represents Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley, among other cities. “The purpose is to clarify the issues and concerns. I’ve heard folks say, ‘It just doesn’t work.’ Another issue is how (the state’s) Department of Finance makes its initial projections of housing needs; I’ve also heard concerns about the amount of time it takes for planning and review,” Mr. Gordon, D-Menlo Park, said. He’s asked cities to identify who they think should sit on the committee, and expects a mix of

council members, city staff, and others. The first meeting will likely take place in March. “I’m looking forward to an opportunity to hear from people what the issues are and to ascertain whether we can make this process work better,” he said. Menlo Park is hurrying to finish identifying 14 additional sites for high-density housing to get back in compliance with state law. The city has until May to adopt an updated housing element as part of a lawsuit settlement. Go to to review the proposed update.

Man assaults cyclist, 72 A 72-year-old man walking his bike along the 500 block of

El Camino Real was hit and then chased by a shouting black man on Feb. 11, he told Menlo Park police. The encounter left the victim shaken, but uninjured. Police had no further information about the incident.

months left to try to get a loan from a lender that has not yet implemented the new rules. Jumbo loans (loans above $625,000) will be particularly affected. Before 2010 about 75% of jumbo loans were highly leveraged non-qualified mortgages with debt well in excess of 43% of reported income. In addition many high-income borrowers with good credit scores took “interest-only” loans. Although the new measures do not set minimum down payment or credit score requirements, rumors are that lenders will require a 20% down payment on adjustable jumbo loans. It is difficult to measure at this point the exact impact of the qualified mortgage rules on home prices in our area due to high demand, persistent low inventory and the fact that 30% of our buyers last year were cash buyers. However, in our expensive market some buyers may not be able to make the 20% down payment expected to be required for the popular adjustable jumbo loans. Fewer qualified buyers in a market lowers demand, and lower demand normally means lower home prices.

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Police investigate alleged theft A former employee at an interior design company allegedly wrote fake checks to nonexistent vendors, according to Menlo Park police, and presumably kept the money for herself. No arrests have been made yet as investigators continue to look into the theft, reported by a business in the 1100 block of Crane Street on Feb. 13.

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Burglar targets Buck’s restaurant in Woodside A burglar shattered a front window and attempted to rob a cash register at Buck’s of Woodside restaurant after the close of business on Friday, Feb. 8, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office reported. Nothing was reported stolen. Investigators were looking at a suspect arrested by Redwood City police in connection with a similar incident earlier in the day. Buck’s is at 3062 Woodside Road in Woodside. Other crimes

The Buck’s incident was one of several burglaries and acts of vandalism reported in recent days. Someone with a BB gun shot and damaged a light fixture at the Mountain Terrace restaurant at the corner of Skyline Boulevard and La Honda Road in Woodside. The front windows of the restaurant have been “shot out” twice in recent months, the owner told deputies, according to a Feb. 11 report. The total HOUSING COMPLEX continued from page 5

Funded primarily through a $1.85-million, 55-year, interestfree loan from Menlo Park’s below-market-rate housing fund, the project also drew upon a private bank loan for $573,600, plus $50,000 from Redwood City, and a $5,000 grant from Facebook, along with contributions from the county and Rebuilding Together, for renovations. Redwood City chipped in because it had to either spend the money or lose it, and without being able to increase the amount through state or redevelopment funds, didn’t have enough to actually build anything itself, according to Ms. Harr. “$50,000 won’t buy you a bathroom,” she said. But the contribution was key to the success of the project. County regulations required providing at least one handicapped-accessible apartment, and the Redwood City contribution helped cover the cost. “In the future this is going to be the new normal,” Ms. Harr suggested, given state funding cutbacks. “Cities are going to have to work together.” Nine units at the complex are reserved for people earning less than 50 percent of the regional median income of $81,300, and three units for those making less than 30 percent of that income. A total of nine apartments must go to people who either live or work in Menlo Park, and HIP


estimated damage is $1,000. Meanwhile on the same day in unincorporated West Menlo Park on Liberty Park Avenue, someone covered a tree in toilet paper and used a liquid, possibly bleach, to draw pictures in the lawn of a swastika and male genitalia. Damage is estimated at $100. In a residential burglary on Iris Lane in Menlo Park reported Feb. 7, police say they do not know how the burglar entered the house, but three laptop computers and $200 cash in a piggy bank were taken, for a total loss estimated at $2,600. A burglary at the Stanford Inn at 115 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, reported the same day, resulted in an estimated loss of $2,010, including perfume, makeup, a purse and $1,040 in cash. The method of entry is not known, police said. Housing hopes to house up to five veterans there. So far four veterans have applied for apartments, thanks to a collaboration between the Veterans Affairs administration and HIP Housing. “We really had to work to come up with a strategy,” Ms. Harr said, explaining that finding incomequalified veterans who also live in Menlo Park was a challenge. The Willow Road complex will be the first in HIP Housing’s portfolio to provide free Wi-Fi, a feature that the nonprofit believes takes a step toward closing the digital divide between high- and low-income communities. An Oregon nonprofit that specializes in wireless access for affordable housing is going to get the complex online for $5,000. Sun Light & Power, a Berkeleybased solar power company, is interested in wiring every unit to run off solar power, according to Ms. Harr, but that’s $11,000 HIP Housing can’t afford. Yet. That may change if Menlo Park approves the nonprofit’s request for permit fee reimbursement. Because the complex straddled two lots, HIP Housing had to submit and pay for two sets of plans and permits. Construction started in January, and may finish by March. Rebuilding Together Peninsula will work on converting a storage area into a community room as part of its national volunteer day in April, Ms. Harr said, just in time to hold an open house early the following month. A

8NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNFebruary 20, 2013

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

Air power

Betty Chen, left, and Charlie Brandin were on one of the competitive middle-school teams building and racing balloon-powered toy race cars at Portola Valley’s Woodside Priory School on Jan. 18. The object of the exercise: build a car with everyday objects such as cardboard tubes, chopsticks and CDs, and along the way, explore teamwork, intuition, and applying concepts from math, physics and art.

Marianne Gallion was World War II nurse Marianne T. Gallion died peacefully on Jan. 9 at home, surrounded by her family. A resident of Atherton for more than 60 years, she was 90. Born in Greybull, Wyoming, Ms. Gallion was raised in Butte, Montana. She graduated from St. John’s Hospital Nurse Training School in Helena, Montana, and joined the Army as a nurse during World War II. She served on several converted troopships in the Pacific theater, providing medical care to wounded soldiers. It was on one of these vessels that she met her future husband, Joseph Gallion, a staff officer in the Merchant Marines. After MENLO PARK STAFF continued from page 5

track record of other projects that the city can evaluate to make sure they have the necessary experience. Colleague Kirsten Keith commented she was surprised that the city manager didn’t really flesh out the alternatives to hiring full-time staff. She talked to an agency that provides staff for the city of Petaluma, she said, and was told that contract staff work out well in public positions because they want to maintain a good reputation for future work. Saying that he liked the idea of provisional employees, Council-

the war , they were married and lived in San Francisco before moving to Atherton. Ms. Gallion was a consummate cook, adroit bridge player, founding member of the Lady Luck Investment Club, and a lover of

outdoors, say family members. In later years, she traveled the world. Ms. Gallion is survived by children Susan Gallagher of San Anselmo, Randall Gallion of Atherton, and Kipling Gallion of San Antonio; siblings Jean Yakawich of Butte, Montana, and Fred Frick of New Rochelle, N.Y.; and five grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Gallion, in 1986 and daughter, Lynne, in 2001. Plans are pending for a celebration of Ms. Gallion’s life. Donations may be made to Make a Wish Foundation, a local hospice, or a favorite charity.

man Rich Cline noted that some non-building projects, such as updating residential development guidelines, will get “political and nasty,” and therefore shouldn’t be contracted out. Mayor Peter Ohtaki suggested a “hybrid model” of potentially two full-time employees, and four to five provisional staff. Although the council differed on whether to go with provisional versus contractual employees, the idea of blending the types caught on. “I am not ideologically opposed to hiring full-time employees when they are going to be full-time employees,” said Vice Mayor Ray Mueller. “... (I) n this case we would be hiring full-time employees for a level of

development that’s not sustainable.” He favored looking for a contract agency. A 5-0 vote gave the city manager authority to decide how to spend $300,000 on a combination of two additional provisional employees, improving City Hall office space to accommodate more people, and possibly extending the service of the planning department’s two current provisional employees. Staff will also start preparing a request for proposals to find contract employees, hopefully before the fiscal year ends in June, and return to the council with a hybrid plan for review. The plan could include a mix of full-time, provisional and/or contract employees.


Marianne Gallion as an Army nurse and on her 90th birthday.


N E W S N PO LI C E C A L L S This information is from the Menlo Park Police Department and the San Mateo County Sheriff’’s Office. Under the law, people charged with offenses are considered innocent until convicted. MENLO PARK Residential burglary report: A purse and a stereo with a total estimated value of $160 are missing after someone kicked in a locked exterior door of a home on Hamilton Avenue on Feb. 12. Auto burglary reports: ■Losses are estimated at $1,000 in the theft of two purses and $500 in cash from a locked vehicle entered by unknown means on Marsh Road on Feb. 10. ■ A purse and miscellaneous contents valued at $329 is missing from a locked vehicle entered by unknown means on Terminal Avenue on Feb. 10. ■ Someone smashed the passenger side windows of a vehicle on Glenwood Avenue and stole an Apple iPod, a Bluetooth device and a sports bag on Feb. 6 for an estimated loss of $300. A citizen reported hearing a car alarm and seeing someone fleeing the area, police said. Theft reports: ■ Losses estimated at $548 in the theft of three sweaters from off their

hangers at Afterwards, a usedclothing shop at 1159 El Camino Real on Feb. 12.

â– A bike valued at $379 and locked to a pole at Doyle Street and Santa Cruz Avenue was reported stolen on Feb. 9.

■Losses were put at $113 in the theft of a wallet containing credit cards from an unlocked locker in a workplace on Constitution Drive on Feb. 8. Fraud report: A woman from Hobart Street wired an unknown amount of money — possibly as much as $7,000 — to someone claiming to be her grandson and in jail in Mexico before learning that her grandson was not in Mexico and not in jail, according to a Feb. 8 police report. WEST MENLO PARK Fraud report: A woman on Valparaiso Avenue reported 14 fraudulent transactions, totaling $1,300, from her checking account on Feb. 13. WOODSIDE Theft report: Someone stole an unlocked bike valued at $500 from a bike rack at ada College on Farm Hill Boulevard on Feb. 13.

Fun-with-math workshops ahead For some, the word “mathematics� brings to mind concepts such as beauty and truth, order and predictability. How about magical, mystical and transcendental? Those last three words were chosen for a press release by George Comstock and Paul Heiple, two Portola Valley residents who in February will present the second of three workshops on three fundamental concepts of math. The January workshop on pi — a numerical constant essential

for determining the circumference of a circle — included a discussion on how one might determine the circumference of the universe. At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Historic Schoolhouse, the workshop will focus on e, a constant number like pi and discovered in the 16th century during a study of compound interest. Then on the evening of March 28, the focus will be on i, an imaginary number expressed as the square root

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Building a new Town Center â&#x2013;

Town seeks members for advisory committee.

By Renee Batti


Almanac News Editor


therton is recruiting up to nine residents to sit on an advisory committee that will lead the effort to build a new hub for the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s administrative offices, library, police station and community gathering spaces. At a Feb. 12 special meeting, the City Council unanimously approved creating a Community Center Advisory Committee, which will include two council members. A previous committee created about three years ago and chaired by current mayor Elizabeth Lewis was recently disbanded, as was an advisory committee that studied options for building a new library. Now that voters rejected a plan to build a library in Holbrook-Palmer Park, the new committee will incorporate a library into the Town Center rebuilding plans. The new committee will be staff-led, according to Mayor Lewis. Staff members helping to guide the process will

of -1. The March workshop will include the revealing of â&#x20AC;&#x153;an astonishingâ&#x20AC;? relationship among these three concepts, Mr. Comstock said. The townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Nature & Science Committee is sponsoring the

include the town manager, the police chief, the community services director, the town engineer, and a member of the library staff. At the outset, the committee will help town staff develop a master plan for the new center. It also will devise a strategy to gather opinions and ideas of fellow residents to determine what the new center will offer, and at the conclusion of the process, make recommendations to the council. In addition to rejecting the plan to build a library in the park, voters last November also endorsed the construction of a new Town Center, using primarily private donations. The town has long struggled with increasing challenges in housing its administrative services. The police department operates in a small section of the main administration building with inadequate space; the building and planning offices are in ramshackle portable buildings; and the

workshops in hopes of sparking the curiosity of students in the seventh grade and beyond, and adults â&#x20AC;&#x153;intrigued by lesser known, but not highly technical, aspects of numbers.â&#x20AC;? Hand-held calculators and

historic building that houses the library is cramped and in need of seismic upgrading. All the buildings are old and in need of repair. Mayor Lewis said one of the first tasks ahead for the town is to hire a consultant to help with creating a master plan for the Town Center area that extends to the train depot. Although the bulk of funding for the project is to come from private donations, there is money already set aside to fund the consultant and other early expenses, Mayor Lewis said. That includes money in the restricted library fund, about $1.8 million in building department reserves, and contributions to the nonprofit Atherton Police Foundation, she said. The town is seeking applicants for the committee, and those interested in serving may call City Clerk Theresa DellaSanta at 752-0529. Or go to and download an application under the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Council Committees and Commissionsâ&#x20AC;? section of the homepage. A

scratch pads are recommended. Go to for more information or write to Mr. Comstock at




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February 20, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN9

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



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: Email letters to: 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,, 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: 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. the Viewpoint desk at 223-6507.

A good way to control planning costs


lthough we understand why Menlo Park City tract, provisional and permanent staff members, instead Manager Alex McIntyre wants to add nine full- of only full-time employees, to meet the city’s needs. We understand the city manager’s reluctance to risk time employees to the planning staff in advance of possibly the busiest five years in the department’s history, coming up short-handed, with known projects like the he should not be surprised that the City Council put the Facebook west campus and the Stanford/Arrillaga develbrakes on his request, giving him considerably less than he opment on El Camino Real on the way. Planners donít grow on trees, and itís a slow process to get any new asked for last week, at least for the next few months. Perhaps the council was reflecting residents’ strong aver- employee up to speed. But we believe it makes more sense sion to adding full-time employees as shown in the 2010 to contract staff, rather than saddle the city with the costs of nine new full-time employees. passage of Measure L, which garnered 72 Not surprisingly, Facebook officials percent of the vote and decreased penEDI TORI AL and developer Steve Pierce of Greension benefits for city employees. Planning The opinion of The Almanac heart Land Company, whose firm plans Commissioner Henry Riggs, who coto develop the Derry site on Oak Grove chaired the pension reduction campaign, asked the council last week, “Are we making long-term Avenue near the train station, strongly supported adding full-time staff. Mr. Pierce said his project “is very depencommitments for cyclical needs?” The city’s staff report showed that project fees cover a dent on the history that goes along with the specific plan, large portion of the salaries for some planning and public which includes all the intricacies of CEQA (California works staff, and that actuarial pension costs are low for Environmental Quality Act).” He said a contract employnew employees. But the council discussed the request ee could not “jump into that and really be efficient.” We see Mr. Pierce’s point, but the city can always make until well after midnight before voting 5-0 to limit immediate expenditures for new planners and office set-up to sure a planner with the proper background is assigned $300,000, rather than approving the $1.2 million request- to any project that has special needs. As the workload ed. The city manager will decide how to spend the money increases, it makes sense to use a mix of contract, proon some combination of two new provisional employees, visional and full-time staff that allows the flexibility extending the service of the departmentís current two to adjust the amount of staff as the workload changes. provisional staffers beyond June, when their contracts Managing this mix may not be as easy for Mr. McIntyre, expire, and furnishing office space. The council asked Mr. but itís a fiscally responsible way to meet Menlo Park’s McIntyre to return with a proposal to hire a mix of con- needs. L ET TERS Our readers write

Writer opposes district’s single-sex classes Editor: In 2011, the Portola Valley School District first announced that it would respond to an anomalous 70-36 boy-girl distribution in third grade by setting up all-boys classes. This flew in the face of one of the primary missions of the public school system — to teach children how to function effectively in a diverse environment. Parents who wish to segregate their children by sex, race, religion, economic status, or any other divisor can and do accomplish this by sending them to private schools. But as a longago graduate of an academically excellent all-boys public high school (thankfully long since turned coed) I can testify to the

Correction A caption in the Almanac’s Jan. 30 edition that ran with a historic photo of inventor

10NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNFebruary 20, 2013

impediments a single-sex school placed on my own development and maturation. I read now (Almanac, Feb. 13) that Ormondale principal Jennifer Warren, the main engineer of the all-boys classes, worked with the private San Francisco Town School For Boys in implementing the single-sex setup at Ormondale School. And that, moreover, she has parlayed that interaction into a new job for herself at that private school. This places a still more unfavorable light on a questionable action. Last year I expressed my disapproval of this action by exercising, for the first time, my right to senior exemption from the Portola Valley school parcel tax, something I had not done before because I feel a strong commitment to the public school system. Now I will not only continue to do so but will oppose the forthcoming parcel tax extension/increase. Lawrence S. Lerner Stadler Drive, Woodside Leon Douglass stated that Leon and his wife, Victoria, built what became known as Victoria Continued on next page

Menlo Park Historical Association

Our Regional Heritage Due to the work of Edward and Mary Tutt Eyre, this Episcopal church opened in 1886 on land owned by Edward W. Hopkins, owner of the Vallombrosa property on Oak Grove Avenue. Joining Mr. Eyre on the vestry were Leland Stanford, William James Adams, Charles N. Felton, Percy Selby and George Loomis, a prosperous dry goods merchant. The church structure was remodeled and moved several times, and now is the Church of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin, a Russian Orthodox institution at 1220 Crane St.



Proposed Stanford development would deepen housing deficit

Jean and Bill Lane

Lecture Series 2012–2013 Presents

By Adina Levin

ment proposed by Stanford tanford’s proposed at 500 El Camino Real is new development on putting us back under. Stanford proposes a large El Camino Real creates mixed-use project with even more of a housing defi230,000 square feet of office cit for Menlo Park. The city is now updat- space and about 150 housing ing the housing element of units. At 250 square feet per its general plan after being employee, a traditional rule of thumb, the projout of compliance ect would generate with state law for 900 jobs, for a jobswell over a decade. housing ratio of 6 Because we have to 1. been out of comThis is three times pliance for so long, worse than Menthe city needs to lo Park’s already identify many new job-heavy ratio of properties that will GUEST 1.9 jobs per home. be zoned for housOPINION The new developing. The process ment makes Menlo is painful because Park’s “housing Menlo Park is so far in arrears on identifying sites deficit” deeper. Perhaps we can wait to see available for housing. The housing element law if other developers will create addresses a problem in Cali- more housing in the area to fornia — some areas have bring us closer to balance? lots of jobs but few homes, Menlo Park has recently and others have lots of homes adopted a specific plan with but few jobs. This means that new zoning rules for the people commute long dis- downtown/El Camino area, tances by car, which causes which could hold nearly 700 major infrastructure costs, new housing units. If the proposed developpollution, health problems and contributes over 50 per- ment cut the office space cent of the Bay Area’s carbon in half (down to 115,000 footprint. Each jurisdiction square feet), and replaced with more than 1.5 jobs that space with more housper household is required ing (about 234 units total), to identify sites for hous- the jobs-housing balance ing, and submit a housing would be improved to 2.0, in element update every seven line with the specific plan. This is still a deficit, but at years showing compliance. During the time that Men- least it wouldn’t dig the hole lo Park proceeded without a deeper. The Stanford proposal housing element, some other cities ignoring the law got needs to change: less office sued and lost. The outcomes space, no high-traffic mediof losing a lawsuit have cal offices, and more housincluded a court takeover of ing. This outcome would local zoning and permitting generate far less traffic and decisions. Menlo Park is try- would not worsen Menlo ing to avoid this by comply- Park’s housing deficit. Adina Levin is a Menlo ing with the law. Park resident and Sierra Just as we seem to be getClub member. Gita Dev, ting our heads back above also of the Sierra Club, water on Menlo Park’s houscontributed to this article. ing deficit, the new develop-

Reading MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2013, 8:00 PM


Continued from previous page

Manor in the early 1920s. Leon’s grandson, Earl Douglass of Atherton, reminded the Almanac that his grandparents didn’t build the mansion, but bought it from Pauline and Theodore Payne in 1921. The mansion was built between 1909 and 1913, Mr. Douglass said. Based on an account in “Under

the Oaks,” a history of Atherton written by Pamela Gullard and Nancy Lund, we also said that Leon and Victoria lived in the mansion until the mid-1930s. When the Douglasses moved from the mansion, it was to a small house Victoria had built in the gardens of the estate, according to the book. Mr. Douglass said his grandfather lived on the estate until he died in September 1940.

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February 20, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11

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The Almanac 02.20.2013 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the February 20, 2013 edition of the Almanac

The Almanac 02.20.2013 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the February 20, 2013 edition of the Almanac