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Menlo Park barbershop going strong after 50 years Page 10

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

PALO ALTO Best value in prestigious Old Palo Alto. Contemporary, elegant, and magnificent 6bd/5ba family home. Sunlit formal living and dining rooms. Gourmet kitchen with custom cabinetry opens to family room. Incredible master suite with marble fireplace. Marvelous backyard with barbeque, fireplace, fountain and spa. 4 car garage.


MENLO PARK Gorgeous and beautifully decorated 6bd/6.5 ba English-style home with ivycovered walls. Gracious living and dining rooms with high ceilings, fabulous kitchen, breakfast room, very inviting family room, charming den, and ground floor master suite with elegant bath. Upstairs has 3bd/2ba, and the lower level has a game/ media room, 2bd/2ba, exercise room and laundry. $3,950,000

WOODSIDE Recently updated 3bd/2ba ranch style home on 1.28+/- acres. Cathedral ceilings, skylights and dual paned windows. Hardwood floors, formal dining room, open kitchen, and inviting family room. Beautifully landscaped garden with views of the Western Hills. Gorgeous horse property with a 3 stall barn. Excellent Woodside School District.


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The property at 360 Mountain Home Road sold for $117.5 million, a new U.S. record for a single-family home, according to news reports.

New owner applies to remodel $117 million Woodside mansion By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


he new owner of the mansion at 360 Mountain Home Road in Woodside has applied to the town to redesign parts of the main house and three accessory buildings on this 8.74-acre estate that sold in November for $117.5 million. The sale was a new U.S. record for a single-family home, according to news reports. The proposed remodel, according to a May 6 report to the town’s Architectural and Site Review Board, would expand the main house to 8,000 square feet from the current 7,750, and match some 35-foot-high elements by raising the heights of other parts of the house. For the existing house, completed in 2007, the town granted exceptions to the 6,000-square-foot and 30-foot maximums for floor area and height. This remodel would require additional exceptions. This remodel would also “significantly change the architec-

Proposal includes a new dome, oval windows and some entry columns. tural style of the structures,� the staff report said. Among those changes: replacing the white exteriors with light beige stone siding, installing matching roofs of gray slate, and adding oval windows in various locations. On the main house, which sits near the center of the property, the remodel would enclose an upper-floor balcony under a slate dome that includes dormers. At the entrances to the accessory structures, the remodel would add formal elements such as columns at the entries. The property owner listed on the application is SV Projects, LLC. The listed applicant, Noel Manerud of Van Acker Construction in Mill Valley, met with the seven-member ASRB on May 6 for a conceptual design review. The town recently insti-

tuted this new first step in the permitting process for major projects. The applicant brings drawings in “various states of roughness� to discuss, and because the discussion is conceptual, going back to the drawing board is less of an ordeal, ASRB member Nancy Reyering said. “Applicants haven’t become financially invested and emotionally attached.� The ASRB was unanimous in making several recommendations and asking the client to return for another meeting, Ms. Reyering said. “It’s a big valuable estate and I think they’re really going to try to make it comply� with town regulations, she said. “They were very respectful in the meeting.� Planning Director Jackie Young summarized the ASRB’s recommendations in a letter advising the applicant to “reconsider the project by carefully reviewing the residential design guidelines� concerning building scale, architectural See WOODSIDE MANSION, page 15

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Residents: Don’t ‘dump’ housing in Belle Haven By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac


he Menlo Park City Council met in Belle Haven on May 7 so council members could receive an update on their quest to figure out how to improve the neighborhood. They, instead, received an earful from local residents on something that wasn’t even on the agenda: putting more lowincome housing in the area. The city is working on a revision of its state-required plan for providing more housing in town, and recently identified

five properties as sites for additional high-density housing, all of which were either in the Belle Haven neighborhood or right outside it. More potential high-density housing sites are expected to be identified in the future. Nina Wouk, who said she has lived in Belle Haven since 1986, was one of 11 people who spoke against putting more housing in Belle Haven. “No high-density housing,” she said. “Dumping it on Belle Haven is really not a moral option. We do not want to be stacked like cordwood.” Speakers talked about exist-

‘No high-density housing. Dumping it on Belle Haven is really not a moral option.’ B ELLE HAVEN RESIDENT NINA WOUK

ing traffic problems and lack of basic services, such as banking and good schools, that would be made worse by adding more housing. Vicky Robledo told the council that putting more housing in Belle Haven could be the issue

to finally pull the community together. “We want to be one community, but we haven’t been,” said Vicky Robledo. “Do you want 217 new homes on your street? I don’t think so.” The council will discuss the housing plan at its May 21 meeting. The topic that was on the agenda was a report on what the city is calling a “Neighborhood Vision” project for Belle Haven. In September a divided council approved spending $90,000 on the project. Derek Schweigart, Menlo Park’s assistant director of com-

munity services, told the council that since last fall, city staff and the consulting firm MIG have reached out to Belle Haven through events, a website and a newsletter, and with a crew of four Belle Haven residents hired as an outreach team. Preliminary results of the conversations in the neighborhood, including from 86 people who filled out a city survey, show that the top concerns in the area include improving schools, safety and security, more programs for youth and See BELLE HAVEN, page 8

Robert Taylor honored for pioneering work on computers, Internet Robert W. Taylor, a Woodside resident for 30 years and a visionary in the development of computer networks and modern personal computing, including the availability of information online, has been inducted into the Computer History Museum Hall of Fellows in Mountain View. Mr. Taylor was instrumental in the formation of a computer network at the famed Advanced Research Projects Agency for the Department of Defense in the 1960s, and during the 1970s led a computer lab at the equally famous center of innovation, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). As head of a new research center in Palo Alto for Digital Equipment Corp., Mr Taylor was involved in the development of technologies that led to digital books, modern workstations, and the Java programming language. In past recognitions of his

achievements, Mr. Taylor was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1999 and the Charles Stark Draper Prize in Robert Taylor 2004, the highest award of the National Academy of Engineering and one he shares with Computer History Museum fellows Charles Thacker, Butler Lampson and Alan Kay. Go to for the page celebrating Mr. Taylor’s most recent recognition. Go to for a comprehensive Almanac story about Mr. Taylor, written by Marion Softky in 2000. He was inducted into the Hall of Fellows on April 27. The Computer History Museum is located at 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View. Call 810-1010.

Shopping center’s new entrance The main entry to the Sharon Heights Shopping Center, at 375 Sharon Park Drive in Menlo Park, is getting a makeover for the first time since the center was built in the mid-1960s. This artist rendering shows the entrance with new plantings, flowers and stonework. The entry will also be safer and more accessible for shoppers, says Tom Scott of Cambridge Management. The work is estimated to be completed in four to five weeks.

Firefighters contain remote brush fire in Huddart Park By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


irefighters on the ground declared a small brush fire in a remote part of Huddart Park in Woodside under control on Friday afternoon (May 10) after some two hours of trying to find it and reach it using hiking trails and fire roads. The fire, first reported shortly after 2 p.m., had been

slowly burning in an area about 50 feet square, Woodside Fire Protection District Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso said. A downed power line is the suspected cause, but the investigation is ongoing, Chief Ghiorso said. A row of tall electrical towers crosses Interstate 280 and heads toward Skyline Boulevard through the park along the Richards Road Trail and the Crystal Springs Trail.

Firefighters drove these trails in their trucks, according to radio dispatches. In an interview at about halfway through the effort to reach the fire on the ground, Chief Dan Ghiorso described the fire as “not going anywhere real fast.” And a dispatcher around that time described it as “not doing much” and “just smoking.” A crucial element in the suc-

cessful effort were nine air drops of fire retardant and water, four from fixed-wing aircraft and five from helicopters, the chief said. The tree canopy did hinder the effort somewhat because the fire was in the underbrush where the airdrops could not easily reach. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Calfire) operated the aircraft. Since wildfire season has offi-

cially begun, crews at Calfire stations near Highway 17 and in Morgan Hill automatically respond with “everything they have,” including aircraft, bulldozers and ground crews, Chief Ghiorso said. “That’s really what knocked it down,” the chief said. “A lot of kudos to Calfire.” The San Mateo County Fire Department also responds automatically in wildfire season, the chief said. Also fightSee BRUSH FIRE, page 8

May 15, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5


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Menlo commission votes on Louise Street issue By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

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fter much discussion, the Menlo Park Planning Commission voted 4-2 on May 6 that if the city turns over a piece of land in the public right-of-way on Louise Street to adjacent homeowners, it would follow the general plan. A group of Louise Street residents has asked the city to abandon the wedge of land, and plans to implement an agreement to preserve the green space in perpetuity with easements for pedestrian access. Developer Sam Sinnott and investment partner Mircea Voskerician want to build a driveway exiting on Louise Street from a property — 1825 Santa Cruz Ave. — that they purchased for redevelopment. The council revoked the driveway permit after opposition from neighbors, but the applicants haven’t given up. During the commission meeting, Louise Street residents Michael Hubly and Louise DeDera argued the general plan supports preserving neighborhood character and stability, in addition to pedestrian access, all of which abandonment would accomplish. Mr. Sinnott’s counterargument focused on the legal rights of property owners who abut a right-of-way, as well as the general plan’s emphasis on traffic safety and housing creation. Exiting on Louise Street rather than Santa Cruz Avenue is safer, he suggested, and moving the driveway would make it easier to build a granny unit on the lot. He put forth a redesigned driveway that he said preserves more green space than his initial design, as well as an existing oleander bush. Intricate legal issues arose during the commission’s discussion, including whether the city is allowed to give away the public land and whose property rights took precedence. Several commissioners, as well as planning staff, concluded the general plan supports both abandonment and a driveway. So the commission cast a 4-2 vote that abandonment fit the general plan, with Henry Riggs and John Onken dissenting and Ben Eiref absent. Commissioner Vince Bressler, who voted yes, described his

stance as protecting community property rights. “That’s really what we’re here to try and protect.” Commission chair Katie Ferrick said that while she thought abandonment technically followed the general plan, she wasn’t convinced the best answer was handing over public land to private ownership. Voting in the minority, Mr. Onken commented, “I’m not swayed by the argument that one extra car is going to suddenly turn Louise Street into a freeway.” Two commissioners had some suggestions for the neighbors after the vote was taken. Ms. Ferrick and Katherine Strehl found a petition presented by the neighbors a “distraction,” and questioned whether everyone signing it understood the issue. “I think they thought a park was in danger,” Ms. Ferrick said, and cautioned that the petition may not represent the best evidence available in favor of abandonment when the council hears the issue. The online petition, which has now gathered 328 signatures, describes the green space as “a dense foliage screen” and flowering “wooded buffer zone.” City staff and a few council members are now researching how to create a formal process for submitting petitions that would include guidelines for how to describe projects and verify signatures. The Louise Street residents expressed concern that Mr. Sinnott will install the driveway anyway, despite the permit revocation, and said he’s threatened to sue. Resident Michael Schwarz told the commission the developer has already cut down fruit trees and other foliage without permission. “This is some good neighbor,” he said. For his part, Mr. Sinnott said he’d rather not sue, but views the city’s actions as disregarding his access rights as an abutting owner and the attempt to simply give away the land as illegal. Asked whether he might build the driveway without a permit, he replied: “Of course not.” The City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the abandonment request on July 16. A

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Council upends decision allowing artificial grass at Priory School By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


he forces of a plastic modernity were politely shown the door last week in Portola Valley. After more than two hours of comments by residents for and against an artificial grass soccer field at the Woodside Priory School, a slim majority on the Town Council told Priory officials that they must use real grass. Aside from one instance of raucous clapping by a couple of artificial grass advocates at the May 8 council meeting, the two sides argued respectfully and passionately, clearly articulating their points. The 3-2 vote overturns a March 20 decision by an equally slim majority on the Planning Commission to allow an artificial surface at this private Catholic school for grades 6-12. The council chose to review the commission’s decision in April after a public outcry by those who opposed a step they viewed as inconsistent with the town’s environmentally conscious vision of itself. That issue — the consistency of artificial grass with the town’s vision as expressed in the general plan — was the matter before the council. In finding that there was a sufficient inconsistency, voting with the majority were Mayor John Richards and council members Maryann Derwin and Jeff Aalfs. Council members Ann Wengert and Ted Driscoll dissented. Tim Molak, the Priory’s head of school, was gracious in defeat. “The Priory is so happy to be in this community and this is a great place,� Mr. Molak said, standing with his colleagues in

School is required to use real grass in rehabilitating its field. the parking lot of the Historic Schoolhouse and holding a milk crate of presentation materials. “We won on one end and we lost on the other, and we’ll move forward.� Mr. Molak said the school may be talking with the staff of the San Francisco 49ers about options for a real-grass field. Former Portola Valley mayor Jon Silver, a point man for the real-grass side, said after the council’s vote that he was exhausted but satisfied. “I’m glad for the community. I think it’ll be a watershed moment for this town,� he said, adding rhetorically that the campaign to overturn the Planning Commission’s decision has probably taken 10 years off his life. Unplayable fields

During wet winters, a soaked natural-grass playing field has limited utility for human activities. Even the natural grass at Rossotti (soccer) Field, which is built on sand so that it drains quickly, can be unplayable after a rain — “in order to preserve the field for optimum conditions,� as the application for use of the field puts it. Priory backers returned repeatedly to water conservation and the fact that artificial grass doesn’t need irrigation. “This is a green solution,� said Sally Ann Reiss, a Priory parent. “I don’t know why we’re on different sides of the fence.� Proponents of natural grass say that workable combinations of

grass species and field maintenance can reduce water requirements and field recovery times. Reliable playability is at the heart of the issue. The Priory, located within a scenic and semi-rural 65 acres, is a business and has competitors, Mr. Molak told the council. Among them: Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, Castilleja School in Palo Alto, and Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, all of which have artificial grass fields, he said. Athletes apparently prefer them. Not having such a field “definitely impacts our admissions and our recruiting,� Mr. Molak said. “Ours, in the sense of fairness, is a reasonable request to allow us to continue to operate as a competitive school. ... We’re asking you for one field so that we have options.� The artificial field was one element in the Priory’s 2011 proposal to improve its grounds and correct another competitive disadvantage: a non-standard “running track,� really a dirt circuit around a rectangle with rounded corners. The new track will be a standard 400-meter oval enclosing a 2.4-acre soccer field. Slowing things way down — as the Priory was warned would happen, town officials said — has been the issue of real versus artificial grass on the field. Both sides have plenty of factual evidence to support their arguments. Early in the public testimony, resident Andy Browne noted that decisions on this issue would always be subjective. He asked the council to remember their childhoods. “How did you feel when rolling down a hill of grass?� he asked. “I’d like you to vote accordingly.� A

Nancy Reyering named environmental champ By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


oodside resident Nancy Reyering, an active volunteer in the civic affairs of the town, received the town’s Environmental Champion Award for 2013 at the Earth Day Fair on April 27. Ms. Reyering is one of seven residents serving on the Architectural and Site Review Board, a panel that reviews construction and design plans for new homes and major remodeling projects. The green remodel

of her own home won her and her husband Martin Walker recognition from county, state and federal officials in 2009, said Sustainability and Conservation Committee member Rob Flint. Ms. Reyering is on the town’s Open Space Committee and was key in setting up Woodside’s Backyard Habitat program to recognize residents working to improve their properties to create wildlife corridors for native plants and wild animals. Her favorite topics include orienting homes for best use

of solar heating and cooling, using sustainable design and minimizing grading, Mr. Flint said. Her efforts can hit hard. In Mr. Flint’s recollection, Ms. Reyering recalls an applicant who named her in a 20-page complaint over her views about grading. “I was proud to be seen as thwarting to their intent� to cut into a 32 percent slope for an arena, she said. She is a member of the California Public Interest Research Group and the Environmental Working Group, both ardent watchdogs intent on protecting the interests of the public.





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Voters pass schools’ parcel tax measure By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


emi-official results reported by the county elections office on May 7 show that Measure O, which renews the Portola Valley School District’s annual parcel tax for eight years and increases it by $123 per parcel, has passed by a comfortable margin. With all 11 precincts counted, the county reported that 1,507 voters (69.07 percent) cast “yes” votes, while 675 voters (30.93 percent) opposed the measure. A two-thirds vote was needed to pass Measure O, which renews the existing tax of $458 per parcel for eights years and authorizes increasing the tax to $581, effective July of this year. The school district board authorized the all-mail ballot in February after discussing

options at several public meetings. Ballots, which were mailed to all registered voters in the district beginning in mid-April, were due at 8 p.m. May 7. The district has raised almost $1 million annually with the current tax — nearly 10 percent of its budget. District officials estimate that the renewed and increased tax will add about $265,065 on top of that. The exact amount is uncertain because property owners who are 65 and older can apply for an exemption, as can people with disabilities who are receiving supplemental security income (SSI), if they live on the property. Revenue from the tax is earmarked for educational programs, with emphasis on math, science, reading, writing, art and music, and would also be used to maintain “qualified and experienced teachers” and small class size. A

Menlo Park man arrested in drug sales investigation A weeks-long investigation culminated in the arrest of a Menlo Park man for allegedly selling cocaine, Menlo Park police announced. On May 7, a multi-agency team of officers from Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and the FBI served a search warrant on a residence in 2300 block of Menalto Avenue in East Palo Alto, police said. John Wayne Price, 38, was arrested after investigators allegedly found a large amount of cocaine base and a stolen 9 mm semi-automatic pistol during the search. After being booked into San Mateo County jail for possession for sale of cocaine base and having a firearm as a felon, he posted $100,000 bail

and was released. Menlo Park Acting Commander Eric Cowans said investigators were led to the suspect after receiving a complaint of ongoing drug sales. He declined to release the value of the drugs investigators confiscated, but said “it was much more than personal use amount.” The home in East Palo Alto reportedly belonged to friends of Mr. Price, police said. Also arrested was a woman found in the residence during the search, 49-year-old Yolanda Wright of East Palo Alto, who was wanted on a probation violation warrant related to a prior narcotics charge, Cmdr. Cowans said. — Sandy Brundage

Menlo Park man found guilty of robbery, grand theft By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


jury found 27-year-old Garry Ronald Darnell guilty of robbery, grand theft, possession of methamphetamine and four other felonies on May 7, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Darnell was arrested on Oct. 11, 2012, when a car’s owner surprised him rummaging through her vehicle that night, the police log reported. The victim confronted the suspect, who was holding her backpack, and got shoved to

the ground as he f led. Menlo Park police arrested him a short while later and said they found methamphetamine in his possession as well as items allegedly stolen during five other automobile burglaries and thefts. During the trial, Eric Hove, the defendant’s lawyer, suggested that police were lying about some circumstances of the case, but apparently did not sway the jury in his client’s favor. He was not available for comment. The court scheduled Mr. Darnell’s sentencing for Aug. 2. He remains in custody on $90,000 bail.

8NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comN May 15, 2013

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

New housing site Artisan, Matt Matteson’s new housing development at 389 El Camino Real, near College Avenue, broke ground on April 24. Nine single-family homes and 17 townhomes will be built on the site; three homes will be designated as below-market-rate housing. The project got the stamp of approval from the Menlo Park City Council last fall after years of collaboration between the developer and the nearby Allied Arts neighborhood.

BELLE HAVEN continued from page 5

families, job training, community beautification, and ways to allow the community to work together. A final report on the project is expected to be released in July, according to the city. Council members emphasized that they need to give the community more than just a report telling them what their neighborhood needs and wants. “There’s nothing in this report I didn’t already know,” said council member Ray Mueller. “We have leaders in Belle Haven. ... What we need to do is give them resources,” he said. “All the data’s great,” he said. “We have the data now — it’s confirmed what we know. How do we give them tools to do what they need to do?” Council member Rich Cline also warned the residents that money to pay for improvements

BRUSH FIRE continued from page 5

ing this fire, which never got beyond one alarm, were firefighters from Redwood City and the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Department. Some of the firefighters were ferried in by helicopter, the chief said.

is the real problem. “I want to tell the community when you really need to listen is not at this meeting. It’s when the budget comes out,” he said. “It’s going to take money for police stations, money for police officers, money for the library, money to staff it.” One of the priorities for Belle Haven residents has been a new police substation for the neighborhood. Menlo Park police chief Robert Jonsen, who started his job in February, promised that he is working hard on the issue as well as making other improvements to improve safety in the area. “We’re very excited about the possibility of the new substation,” Chief Jonsen said. The new station will be discussed at a May 16 community meeting planned as part of the Belle Haven Neighborhood Vision project, he said. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Senior Center, 110 Terminal Ave. in Menlo Park.

There will be more bike patrols in the area and two additional motor officers, Chief Jonsen said. “I really want to build our neighborhood watch programs,” he said. He also promised to crack down on any gang activity in the area. “If any gang member comes into this community and inflicts violence on anyone in this community, we will find them.”

Firefighters relied on the aircraft to direct them, according to radio dispatches. At one point, firefighters reported being three-quarters of a mile to a mile away from where they thought the fire was. At another, they reported being blocked by a downed power line. “Our biggest challenge was access to the fire,” the chief said.

Workers from Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. eventually arrived and shut down the power, firefighters said. Low wind and moderate temperatures helped, Chief Ghiorso said. “I hope this is a wake-up call for people. It’s not a matter of when, but if. We throw everything we can at (incidents like) this,” he added.

Online forum Go to to participate in an online forum, set up by the city of Menlo Park to get people’s views on the future of Belle Haven. You don’t need to live in the Belle Haven neighborhood to participate. Users will be required to enter their names and addresses, but may post anonymously. Email or call 330-2267 to contact Assistant Community Services Director Derek Schweigart for more information.




PV district superintendent resigns

May 13

By Renee Batti


Almanac News Editor


arol Piraino, who picked up the reins at the Portola Valley School District last year in the wake of her predecessor’s abrupt resignation while under investigation for financial irregularities, has announced she will resign as superintendent at the end of the school year. Ms. Piraino will be leaving her post only one year into her two-year contract. She told the Almanac that she was under no pressure from the school board to resign. Instead, she said, she decided to explore other areas in the field of education. “I have a number of irons in the fire,” she said of her prospects for a new position. “I’m looking at a variety of opportunities.” In a written statement announcing the resignation, school board president Jocelyn Swisher said Ms. Piraino “has shared with the board that she believes the district is now well-positioned for a new leader to take the helm.” In a statement included in the district’s weekly online post, Ms. Piraino said she is committed to completing several projects before she leaves the district.

“These include working with the interview panel and board to select an outstanding new principal for Ormondale School; working with the Strategic Plan Steering Committee, community, and board to finalize a dynamic, forward-thinking strategic plan; and working with (finance officer) Sandra Lepley and the board to create a balanced, fiscally sound 2013-14 budget.” Ms. Piraino told the Almanac that she feels she’s “leaving the

on May 13, after the Almanac’s press time. The district is also seeking comments through an online survey available beginning May 10. Ms. Piraino served as the district’s assistant superintendent until early 2012, when she was appointed interim superintendent to take over from thensuperintendent Tim Hanretty. Mr. Hanretty resigned from the post in January 2012 after an investigation was launched into financial irregularities uncovered in the Woodside ‘I have a number School District from the Mr. Hanretty served of irons in the fire.’ time as that district’s finance officer. CAROL PIRAINO, After that investigation SUPERINTENDENT, PORTOLA began, the Portola Valley VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT district audited its books, and what unfolded led to district in a good place” and Mr. Hanretty’s admission that that she has “committed to play he had embezzled more than whatever role I can in making it $100,000 from the district. a very smooth transition” for the In June 2012, several months new superintendent. before Mr. Hanretty pleaded no The district is working with contest to embezzlement and the Hazard, Young, Attea & other charges, Ms. Piraino signed Associates firm to manage the a two-year contract to take over search for a new superintendent, the top post. and hopes to have someone in Prior to being named assisplace by the end of June, Ms. tant superintendent in midPirainio said. 2010, Ms. Piraino served for A community forum on the two years as Corte Madera superintendent search was held School principal.

Reports available via the convenient QR code or at Real Estate Statistics Updated Weekly for Atherton Woodside Portola Valley Menlo Park

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




Police contract talks on Atherton agenda By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


session to allow the public to comment on upcoming contract talks between the town and the police union, and potential changes in the city manager’s contract, are on the agenda when the Atherton City Council meets on Wednesday, May 15. The town has prepared an eightpage report detailing current compensation and staffing levels of the police department, as well as of non-emergency employees. In an unprecedented move, the council is asking residents to comment on what they think should be considered as contract talks with the police union get under way this month. City Manager George Rodericks said he is modeling the session on a recent Menlo Park City Council meeting giving residents in the neighboring town an opportunity to raise concerns and offer suggestions on how that city should proceed with labor talks. The contract with the 22 represented employees of the police department expires Sept. 30, and the police union, the Atherton Police Officers’ Association (APOA), has sent mailings to residents warning them of a

potential exodus of officers if the town demands compensation cuts similar to those recently imposed on non-represented employees, including the police chief and city manager. The report shows that 87.5 percent of the town’s personnel costs go toward police department compensation. The high figure is accounted for, in part, by the fact that the police department has 25 employees; there are only nine non-emergency employees. The report also includes facts and figures dealing with the escalating post-employment costs the town must pay, such as for retirement and postretirement health care. Go to and search (using Ctrl-f) for “Item No. 16” to see the report. Regarding Item No. 21, a discussion and possible action on proposed changes to the city manager’s contract, Mr. Rodericks said he doesn’t know what changes might be proposed. “The council is set to meet in closed session (before the public meeting) that same evening regarding my performance appraisal,” he said in an email. “The item is on the agenda should they desire to

make adjustments.” In January, Mr. Rodericks asked the council to consider adjusting his salary upward after deciding he wouldn’t be living in the town-owned house in Holbrook-Palmer Park, a residence traditionally occupied by the city manager and considered part of his or her compensation. Mr. Rodericks was hired last October with an annual salary of $160,000 and a monthly transportation allowance of $2,500 until June, when the move to Atherton would occur. In a staff report for the January council meeting, Mr. Rodericks said that, since his hiring, “personal challenges to using the house” as his primary residence had developed. At that time, it was apparent that not all council members would be agreeable to such an adjustment. Mayor Elizabeth Lewis appointed herself and Councilman Jerry Carlson as a subcommittee that would try to work out a plan to allow Mr. Rodericks to continue living in his Marin County home while possibly increasing his salary. The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 94 Ashfield Road, in the Town Center.

Sunday, May 19, 2013 3:00 - 5:00 pm Join us for a garden party honoring the significant professional and community contributions of six seniors:

Tom Fiene Ruth and Ben Hammett Al Russell Judith Steiner Katsy Swan Call (650) 289-5445 or visit for tickets


May 15, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN9


By Barbara B B b Wood W d Photos by Michelle Le hen Louis Arenas opened his barbershop in downtown Menlo Park, he wanted it to be an oldfashioned type of place, where customers could feel as if they were returning to another era when they settled in an antique barber chair for a shave or a haircut. Of course, the opening of Golden Shears, on April 7, 1963, half a century ago, actually was in another era. While Golden Shears still feels like a portal into the past, about a decade ago, a few changes were made. The antique chairs in the waiting area had to be replaced, and the original flocked wallpaper had to come down. The barber chairs are still antiques, though, dated around 1890, Mr. Arenas says. The Santa Cruz Avenue shop also boasts elaborate oval gold-framed mirrors and a checkered floor. Straight razor shaves are still available. Old photos, including several taken soon after the


shop opened, have a place of honor in the front windows and on interior walls. “I try to make it authentic as it would be in the 1890s,” Mr. Arenas says. “The shop hasn’t been changed,” Mr. Arenas says. “Downtown Menlo Park has changed, but not here.” Not that he dislikes change. “The improvements that they have done on the street since 1963 have been very comfortable and very useful and very decorative,” Mr. Arenas says. Golden Shears, located on downtown Santa Cruz Avenue near Crane Street,

will belatedly celebrate its 50th anniversary this month, with refreshments and live mariachi music on Saturday, May 18, from 1 to 3 p.m. “The whole town’s invited if they want to come in,” says Mr. Arenas “This is going to be a big one.” In addition to the replacement of the old waiting-room chairs and the flocked wallpaper, there have actually been a few other changes in the shop over the years. Two years after Golden Shears opened, despite the old-time feel, it was considered innovative enough to garner front-page coverage in the Dec. 16, 1965, San Jose Mercury. “Men’s Beauty Salon a Smashing Success,” the headline says, w with the story and photos detailing servvices such as hair coloring, straightening, ffacials, manicures, shoe shines, saunas aand massages, as well as the hairpieces tthen offered by the shop. However, Mr. Arenas says, the demand ffor plain old haircuts soon became so ggreat that he removed the sauna and massage tables and added more barber m cchairs. Ever since, Mr. Arenas says, the shop’s eeight chairs (seven of them leased to other hair professionals) have been in o ssteady use. “I have been very fortunate tto have the volume of clientele,” he says. ““Very steady and very loyal.” He says his staff has also been “very sstable and productive.” “I could never have done it alone,” he ssays. Barber Wayne Slocum has been with Golden Shears owner Louis Arenas since 1972.

10NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comN May 15, 2013

The shop has both male and female customers, and two female stylists. The hair professionals who lease chairs in the shop have been there for between five years (Woody Jackson) and 41 years (Wayne Slocum). Other Golden Shears haircutters are Sam Valero, Dwight Stark,


Above: Yvonne Soliz cuts the hair of Steve Sharbrough, a client for 25 years. Left: Louis Arenas holds up a mirror to show first-time client Max Weigl his finished haircut.

Left: Golden Shears owner Louis Arenas works on first-time client Max Weigl. Above: A collection of shears at Golden Shears.

Yvonne Soliz, George Guiterrez, and Valerie Jamison. Mr. Arenas, 83, still works four days a week in the shop. Mr. Arenas grew up on a farm in the San Joaquin Valley, but he comes from a family of barbers, with four of his five brothers also in the profession, as well as nine other family members, including his granddaughter. He took up barbering after serving in the military in Germany. “I started thinking I’m not going back to the farm — I know

everything about farming. I want something different,” Mr. Arenas says. He attended barber college in Fresno and

then moved to San Jose, where he worked for two years before opening his own shop in Sunnyvale and then his “full-service” shop in Menlo Park. Mr. Arenas says many of his customers, or their offspring, as many as 30 or 40 o percent, have been getting their haircuts p tthere since the shop opened. Those loyal customers include a few wellkknown names, many of them connected with the San Francisco 49ers. Dwight w C Clark used to bring his children in for h haircuts, and Jim Plunkett, Harris Barton, JJohn Brodie and Matt Hazeltine were also ccustomers, Golden Shears barbers say. Y.A. T Tittle is a long-timer who “still comes in aand gets his trim,” Mr. Arenas says. Other longtime customers include the llate John “Jack” Beckett, who worked in SSan Francisco for Transamerica and is cconsidered responsible for building the iiconic pyramid building, and Mervin Morris, the original owner of Mervyn’s, M Mr. Arenas says. M Another long-time customer is Harry Cook, a former U.S. Geological Survey C ggeologist once profiled in the San Franccisco Chronicle as the “Indiana Jones of tthe USGS.” Mr. Cook, who lives in Redwood Shores, has been coming to Golden w SShears since he moved to the Peninsula in

1 1974. For nearly 40 years, Mr. Cook says, Golden Shears barber Wayne Slocum has G ccut his red hair and beard. “We just hit it off,” he says, when asked why he’s continued going back for so many w decades. “He has seen me through two d divorces and I’m on my third marriage d now,” Mr. Cook says. “Wayne knows more n aabout me than anybody.” In fact, Mr. Cook says, he considers his monthly visits to Golden Shears a sort of m ttherapy. “I’m in the therapy chair for 30 minutes and it’s $40,” he says. Apparently the Golden Shears staff feels Mr. Cook is family, as well. Louis keeps a copy of that Chronicle article about him “and once in a while he’ll pull it out and show it to some of his customers,” Mr. Cook says. “I just hope it keeps going as long as possible,” Mr. Cook says of Golden Shears. “It’s a landmark.” As far as Mr. Arenas is concerned, Mr. Cook has nothing to worry about. “I’m not planning retirement,” he said. “If I knew how to do nothing, I would retire tomorrow,” he says, but “I’m still 90 percent healthy so I’ll stick around for a while.” Barbara Wood is a freelance writer, photographer and gardener from Woodside, and the author of the Almanac’s “Dispatches From the Home Front” column for more than 20 years. Party Golden Shears barbershop, at 814 Santa Cruz Ave. in downtown Menlo Park, will hold a party from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18, to observe its 50th anniversary. Refreshments and live mariachi music are planned. “The whole town’s invited,” says Golden Shears owner Louis Arenas.

On the cover Barbers, from left, Woody Jackson, Wayne Slocum and Yvonne Soliz work on clients during a Saturday afternoon at Golden Shears barbershop.

Longtime Golden Shears barber Wayne Slocum waits for his next client. Photo by Michelle Le.

May 15, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11


City plans to pay $2.5M for new housing on VA campus By Barbara Wood


Special to the Almanac


enlo Park’s City Council took a step May 7 toward meeting its state-mandated obligation to plan for more affordable housing in the city when the council gave preliminary approval to putting $2.5 million in city funds toward a new 60-unit, two-story, low-rent apartment building on the grounds of the Department of Veterans Affairs

off Willow Road. The money would come from the city’s BMR (below market rate) Housing Fund. In return for the contribution, the developers, CORE Affordable Housing, would give those who live or work in Menlo Park, and meet the income limits, priority in renting 11 of the units. (They do not have to be veterans, but if they are, they would

get even higher priority.) The agreement comes as the city is scrambling to meet its promise, made as part of a lawsuit settlement, to comply with state laws requiring the city to come up with ways to provide more housing. The units, which CORE Assistant Project Manager Darci Palmer said will rent for between $555 and $795 a month to those making no more than $30,000 a year, qualify under state guidelines as “very low income� housing. One of the units would be

reserved for a live-in manager, meaning the 59 other units would fulfill 25 percent of the quota for very low-income units the state says Menlo Park should provide for. The complex would have 54 studios and six onebedroom units. The VA will provide the land as part of a nationwide push to use underutilized VA land to house homeless veterans, Ms. Palmer said. The building is one of 35 such projects. Ms. Palmer said CORE has developed 18 properties in the past 16 years and still owns and

operates all of them. CORE will work with EHC LifeBuilders, a homelessness prevention agency, to provide services for the residents of the complex. CORE has also applied for $600,000 in assistance from San Mateo County. Assistant City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson recommended the City Council finalize its financial assistance for the project once CORE has completed env ironmental review and shows it can obtain the rest of the financing for the project. A

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John McGrory, a La Entrada Middle School seventh-grader, recently performed with the prestigious California Band Director’s Association All-State Junior High School Concert Band. A talented trumpet player,

John tried out for the honor band last fall by submitting an audition tape that involved preparing three scales and one trumpet solo, said La Entrada music teacher Colin Cooper. The band performed an eve-

ning concert in Fresno after three days of rehearsals. His parents, grandparents, two siblings and school band director were in attendance at the final concert “to cheer him on,� Mr. Cooper said.

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With My Health Online, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, part of the Sutter Health network, keeps you connected to your health. You can view test results, request appointments and email your doctor directly. It’s one more way we plus you.

May 15, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN13

TOWN OF WOODSIDE INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR ARCHITECTURAL AND SITE REVIEW BOARD Term Expiring February 2015 The Architectural and Site Review Board reviews and makes recommendations to the Planning Director on residential, site design and commercial applications. Meetings are held on the first and third Monday of each month, 4:30 p.m. Appointment is for an unexpired term through February 2015. Interested residents may request information and applications Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-12 noon and 1-5:00 p.m. at the Town Clerk’s Office, 2955 Woodside Road, by telephone at (650) 851-6790, or through the Town’s web site at Deadline for applications is Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 5:00 p.m.


Three-car accident snarls Menlo traffic A Honda Accord apparently collided with a Ford truck and Jeep Grand Cherokee around 2:30 p.m on May 8 in the eastbound lanes of the Bayfront Expressway near Chilco Street, according to preliminary reports from Menlo Park police officers investigating the accident. The 22-year-old male driver of the Honda and a woman riding in the jeep were taken to the

Black holes, galaxies It turns out that, like everything else, black holes and galaxies go


through love-hate relationships. SLAC astrophysicist Silvia Bonoli “will describe the torrid relationship of black holes and galaxies as each shapes the life of the other” during a free lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, in SLAC’s Panofsky Auditorium at 2575 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park.

Service at Priory on Saturday for Molly Westrate, 68 A Mass of Resurrection will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 18, in the chapel at the Woodside Priory in Portola Valley for Molly Westrate of Menlo Park. Ms. Westrate died of cancer April 30. She was 68. A celebration of her life will follow in the Priory’s Founders Hall.

Molly Westrate February 9, 1945 – April 30, 2013 Whether she was driving sports cars on racetracks in Europe, shopping for the perfect native textile in Asia, or creating a culinary masterpiece for friends at home, Molly Westrate enjoyed a life filled with style, fun, integrity, and good food. Molly succumbed to cancer on April 30, 2013. She will be remembered for her wit, charm, design savvy, culinary skills, loyalty, energy, commitment to goodness, and the love she lavished on her friends and family. Mary Andrea Bill was born February 9, 1945, to John and Kathryn Bill in Los Angeles and grew up in Santa Barbara. After graduating from the University of San Diego with a degree in music, she moved to San Francisco, where she received her teaching credential at SF State and taught in San Francisco and San Mateo. While in San Francisco, she met Stephen Westrate and the couple married in 1971. They moved to Portola Valley in 1973 where they lived for 22 years, then moved to Woodside in 1995, and finally to Menlo Park in 2005. In 1985, she earned her real estate license and became an agent with Cornish & Carey in Portola Valley, and later with Coldwell Banker in Woodside, where she specialized in country properties. Outside of the office, Molly’s interests were as diverse as her tastes. In her youth, she rode horses in the Santa Barbara hills and sailed with cousins in San Diego. As a young mother, she practiced ceramics and performed classical duo-piano

hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. The 52-year-old driver of the third vehicle was not hurt. Traffic through the accident zone was delayed for about an hour.

pieces with friends. Later in life, she enjoyed collecting fine art and traveling with the Contemporary Collector’s Circle of the Cantor Center, visiting new places, quilting, and enjoying her Asian-inspired garden. She always tried to create beauty, simplicity, and good design by bringing nature’s sculpture, branches, weeds, into the home. When reflecting on her world travels, Molly punctuated her description of the regions with detailed reports of the food, which was another of her passions. She spent a lifetime cultivating an extensive collection of gourmet recipes and culinary delights, which she took every opportunity to prepare for family and friends. Molly is survived by her husband, Steve in Menlo Park; Erika and Clint Sattler and their children Gage and Ciel in Colorado; Blake and Warisa Westrate, and his daughter, Zoey in San Francisco; and Molly’s sister, Judy Bianchi, of Sebastopol. There will be a Mass of Resurrection on Saturday, May 18, at 11:00 at the Chapel at the Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley followed by a celebration of Molly’s life at the Priory’s Founders Hall. In lieu of f lowers, the family requests a donation to your charity of choice or to The Canary Foundation, 1501 S. California Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304 ( The foundation is funding research into early detection of ovarian cancer.

Ms. Westrate was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Santa Barbara. After graduating from the University of San Diego with a degree in music, she moved to San Francisco, where she received her teaching credential at San Francisco State and taught in San Francisco and San Mateo. She married Steve Westrate in 1971 and the couple moved to Portola Valley, where they lived for 22 years before moving to Woodside, then Menlo Park. In 1985 Ms. Westrate earned her real estate license and became an agent with Cornish & Carey in Portola Valley and, later, specialized in country proper-

ties for Coldwell Banker in Woodside. She enjoyed collecting fine art, traveling with the Contemporary Collector’s Circle Molly Westrate of the Cantor Center, and spending time in her Asian-inspired garden. She is survived by her husband, Steve; children Erika Sattler and Blake; sister Judy Bianchi; and three grandchildren. Donations may be made to the Canary Foundation, 1501 S. Continued on next page

Mary Jane Ellis November 19, 1925 - May 5, 2013 Mary Jane Ellis died May 5, 2013, in Saratoga, California. She was 87. A native of Houston, Texas, daughter of Stephen and Mattie Loy, Mary Jane graduated from University of Houston, a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. Mary Jane was a proud Texan who lived in Houston, Corpus Christi, and Dallas with her husband Loyd Evan Ellis. They moved to California in 1957, raising their family in Woodside and La Canada. They spent 12 years in Menlo Park, and retired to Saratoga in 2008. Mary Jane was a homemaker, and an active community volunteer. She was president of several PTAs and the National Assistance League (La Canada), and was a strong advocate for music in the public schools. She was a wonderful cook and hostess, and a dignified Southern lady who loved reading and words. Her family gave her great joy. She was a dog lover extraordinaire. Friends often joked that if they were ever reincarnated, they would “love to come back as one of Mary Jane’s dogs.” Mary Jane is survived by her husband of 68 years, Loyd Evan Ellis; her daughters Terry Liebowitz of Castro Valley, and Patty Ellis of Danville; and son Evan Ellis (Wendy) of Woodside; 7 grandchildren, 9 greatgrandchildren and a brother Stephen G. Loy of Houston. The family wishes to thank the Saratoga Retirement Community for their compassionate care Services will be private. Contributions to Northern California Golden Retriever Rescue can be made in Mary Jane’s name via this link Please select “Memorials and Tributes” from the menu, or by mail: NORCAL Golden Retriever Rescue 405 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025-5240 PA I D


14NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comN May 15, 2013



N E W S WOODSIDE MANSION continued from page 3

style as attuned to the natural environment, simplified roofs, visual compatibility among the buildings, an exterior that is “less formal” and “more simple and rural,” and an entry that is “less massive.” There is much that the proposed remodel would not touch: the gatehouse, the swimming pool and pool house, the guest house and the landscaping overall, including significant trees. There are plans to recycle 100 percent of the materials and reuse them where appropriate, the staff report said. A new underground cistern would collect irrigation and rainwater runoff. Landscape exterior lighting should not be expanded, the report said. Given that the structures to be remodeled are just six years old, the proposal will not trigger an historical evaluation, the staff report said.


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The website of East Coast architect Allan Greenberg, who designed the estate, has one paragraph about it: “This northern California home sits in an elaborate hilltop garden. Reflecting the strong Palladian tradition in the United States, it is planned around hyphens and dependencies and features a double volume, elliptical garden room.” Noel Manerud has not replied to an email inquiry as to his role in this remodel. The website Zoominfo describes Mr. Manerud as an architect with “over 20 years experience in high end residential construction ... (with) a strong background in sustainable design theory and practice.” He is listed as having bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from, respectively, the University of California, Berkeley, and from the University of Oregon. The Van Acker Construction website may be notable for what it does not say. There is a portfolio of images of previous work, but no accompanying descriptions. There is no listing of Van Acker staff or clients. Under the heading “Privacy,” the site notes: “We take our client’s privacy seriously. Any images or information related to our engagements is released only with the approval of our clientele.”

For more than 20 years, Stanford has provided the most advanced patient care available for stroke. The Stanford Stroke Center is the first program in the nation to earn comprehensive stroke certification from the Joint Commission, recognizing our leadership in stroke treatment and research. Our comprehensive center continues to pioneer medical, surgical and interventional therapies for treating and preventing stroke. WARNING SIGNS OF A STROKE t

Sudden numbness or weakness in face, arm or leg (usually on one side)


Sudden trouble speaking or understanding others


Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes


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For any sign of stroke CALL 911


Continued from previous page

California Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304 (www.canaryfoundation. org) or to a favorite charity. The foundation is funding research into early detection of ovarian cancer. 650.723.6469


May 15, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN15

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Service for Henry Blume, engineer and sportsman A celebration of the life of Henry Martin Blume Jr. will be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at All Saint’s Episcopal Church, 555 Waverley in Palo Alto. Mr. Blume died peacefully May 2 at his home in Palo Alto after an extended battle with Parkinson’s disease and leukemia. A former Portola Valley and Menlo Park resident, he was 82. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he attended Fox Point School and Country Day School (now University School of Milwaukee), and graduated from Yale University in 1953 with a degree in economics. He attended Officer Candidate School and served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant commander. He was supply officer on a tanker for a year in the Mediterranean, later remaining active in the Naval Reserves until 1991. After earning a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1959, Mr. Blume was drawn to California, where he found work at Fairchild Semiconductor, seedbed for the semiconductor industry. He would design microchips at companies, including Intel Corp, for the rest of his career. He led the team developing the 8748 and 8048 microcontrollers, which were among Intel’s “hottest products� in the late 1970s. In 1970 he earned a

master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Always an athlete, whether skiing, playing Henry Blue football, tennis or rugby, Mr. Blume went on to become a tennis official with the U.S. Tennis Association, refereeing matches on both coasts, the family said. For 40 years, he rarely missed his Saturday tennis doubles game at Alpine Hills Tennis Club. In addition, in high school, he won the state chess championship and, as an adult, became a life master in bridge. Mr. Blume is survived by his second wife, Mary Burt; daughters Ann Blume and Frances Richards; and two grandsons. Donations in his memory may be made to the Infusion Center, Stanford Cancer Center, 875 Blake Wilbur Drive, Palo Alto.

Imogene Woodruff service A celebration of the life of Imogene Woodruff of Woodside will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at the Woodside Road United Methodist Church, corner of Woodside Road and Alameda de las Pulgas, in Redwood City. A longtime dance instructor, Ms. Woodruff died March 14.

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16NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comN May 15, 2013




N PO LI C E C A L L S This information is from the Menlo Park and Atherton police departments and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. Under the law, people charged with offenses are considered innocent until convicted. WOODSIDE Intruder: A woman spotted a flashlight shining in her backyard at night, wielded by persons unknown. A search of the Glenwood Avenue home found a courtyard gate open, but no other signs of intruders, May 3. MENLO PARK Thefts: Thieves made off with one Pope Street resident’s $1,000 laptop, lifted from a cabinet, and a neighbor’s ice skating bag, complete with skates, luggage, shoes and three books, with a total value of $1,900, stolen from an unlocked car during the early afternoon of May 3.

â– Two catalytic converters, worth $1,200, vanished from a Toyota parked on Woodland Avenue, May 3.

GETTING READY TO SELL YOUR HOME? ■Bikes remained a popular target. A $150 bicycle was stolen from an Encinal Avenue carport despite being locked, May 5. A cut cable lock testified to the disappearance of a $250 silver “beach cruiser� bike from a carport on San Antonio Street on May 7; the theft may or may not be related to an earlier incident where someone loosened all the lug nuts, the victim told police. The owner of a $600 bicycle stored on Willow Road was equally unfortunate; that bicycle vanished sometime during a span of two weeks despite being held in a secured garage, May 9. Shoplifting A 21-year-old Palo Alto woman opted to leave a store on El Camino Real with two bottles of wine in her purse without first stopping by the checkout counter. A store employee confiscated the wine and called police, who arrested the woman for petty theft, May 4. No word on whether she simply forgot to bring a reusable shopping bag.

â– A man departed from a 7-11 on Oak Grove Avenue with an 18-pack of beer

and four bags of chips without paying for the goods, worth $32.05. The suspect wore a black baseball cap with red writing, a white shirt and glasses, according to witnesses, who described him as a Hispanic man about 25 to 30 years old, May 5.


Burglaries: Someone dropped down into Ann’s Coffee Shop on Santa Cruz Avenue through a roof hatch, and stole a laptop along with approximately $450 before fleeing undetected, May 6.


â– A locked vehicle provided little challenge to a thief who smashed in its window to grab eight shirts, a fleece blanket and headphones worth $630 on Alma Street, May 5.

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Scam: A man claiming to be an Atherton resident’s grandson called and asked for money to be sent to Australia. Police officers advised it was likely a scam, May 6. Burglary: Someone smashed the window of a vehicle parked on Patricia Drive, but didn’t steal anything, May 10.

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May 15, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN17

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) 223-7570 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.

Council gets earful from Belle Haven


lthough enveloped by Menlo Park city limits, the Belle Haven Haven can start at $300,000 and go much higher; in most of the neighborhood often has a hard time identifying with neighbor- rest of Menlo Park, prices can be $2 million or more. The wide hoods west of the Bayshore Freeway, where property values are split in property values is a fact of life that the council must cope much higher and services, including schools, are more desirable. with whenever the subject of Belle Haven comes up. It was no So it was no surprise that when the Menlo Park City Council met at surprise to Belle Haven residents that the council decided it was the Belle Haven Senior Center to discuss the community’s vision for preferable to authorize large blocks of low- to moderate-income the future, it instead heard some sharp criticism from residents about housing east, rather than west, of Highway 101. the city’s housing plans. Eleven residents stepped to the microphone So rather than having a conversation about housing, which to blast the city for zoning sites for 900 units of new housing in Belle was not on the agenda, the council heard the results of a $90,000 Haven or close by. “Do you want 217 new homes on your street? I “visioning” survey that reached out to Belle Haven through events, don’t think so,” said resident Vicky Robledo. She a website and a newsletter, and with a crew of added that she hopes the housing plans will unite four residents hired as an outreach team. Early the community in opposition. Longtime resident EDI TORI AL results of the survey show the community’s top Nina Wouk said, “Dumping it (housing) on Belle concerns are improving schools (not in the city’s The opinion of The Almanac Haven is really not a moral option. We do not purview); safety and security; more programs want to be stacked like cordwood.” Other residents for youth and families; job training; commucalled for help with traffic problems and voiced an interest in getting nity beautification; and ways to allow the community to work basic services like banking and good schools. together. During recent hearings on where to site major housing projects, Council member Ray Mueller said he did not find anything new the council found much the same negative reaction from residents of in the survey and member Rich Cline pointed out that city will Sharon Heights, Linfield Oaks and other areas when the possibility have to find money to pay for any upgrades. of building denser housing near their neighborhoods was suggested. Belle Haven recently got a huge shot in the arm when Facebook Instead, zoning changes to accommodate all 900 units — housing landed at the end of Willow Road. The company already has forced on the city by a court settlement — are proposed for east provided major grants to Belle Haven nonprofits, and more are of Highway 101, in Belle Haven or nearby. The city’s development planned. New housing could help accommodate some of the workservices manager Justin Murphy said several factors influenced site ers who will be hired during Facebook’s next expansion. selection, including whether the properties would be available for But it will be difficult for the Belle Haven community to absorb development by 2014; if the owners were interested in rezoning; and even half the 900 units of new housing, even if it receives much where job growth is likely to occur. more help from the city to upgrade the services new residents will The selected sites are for up to 540 units on Haven Avenue north of require. Marsh Road; up to 216 units on Hamilton Avenue off Willow Road; Police Chief Robert Jonsen assured residents that public safety two sites between the Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road; and a will improve very soon, when a new police substation opens near fifth site on Willow, just off the freeway. Hamilton Avenue. The chief, who just took over the department in It is ironic that dense housing is such a hot topic for residents today, February, said he will add bike patrols and pay increased attention who may not know that Belle Haven was built by David D. Bohannon to Neighborhood Watch programs. during the Great Depression of the 1930s. According to the Menlo In the 1930s, David D. Bohannon had what turned out to be a Park Historical Association’s “Beyond the Gate,” the development successful vision for Belle Haven. He turned that opportunity into was aimed at low- to moderate-income families, and included three- new homes for Depression-era residents. Today, with the right bedroom homes on 50-by-100-foot lots that sold for a starting price approach, Menlo Park could try to repeat the process, and turn of $5,950. An electric dishwasher and two-car garage were included the community into a much more inviting place to live and work, in many of the 1,305 units in the Casa del Flores subdivision. Apart- which can happen only if the city reconsiders the plan to locate its ments and duplexes were also part of the mix on the 540 acres. entire housing requirement of 900 units in Belle Haven or nearby. But today, homes in that price range are long gone. Prices in Belle That is simply not fair.

L ET TERS Our readers write

Kind comments about Almanac’s awards Editor: As an Almanac fan, I was heartened to read in your May 1 issue that members of your staff won five first and second place awards in the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) contest. I must confess to being especially heartened to see Dave Boyce’s name among the honorees, because he has been my personal favorite for several years. Why? No matter what the subject, he draws you in, usually in the first sentence, and he makes it worth your time to read through to the end. Inevitably, what he writes is interesting and clarifying, maybe even provocative or amusing. Peggie MacLeod Patrol Road, Woodside

18NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comN May 15, 2013

Menlo Park Historical Association

Our Regional Heritage Downtown Menlo Park, including the building at right that now is known as the British Bankers Club, was photographed in 1927, the year the city incorporated.




Dancer: Susan Roemer, Photographer: Keith Sutter


“ T H E P E R F E CT P I E C E F O R S P R I N G! �

















650.903.6000 MAY 22-26


The Menlo Park Tradition Continues! June 7, 8, 9

Nativity’s 33rd Annual Spring Carnival

Fun for the whole family..... FREE ADMISSION


Nativity School Grounds at 1250 Laurel St. Corner of Oak Grove & Laurel, Menlo Park

Rafe Grand Prize:

12 Thrilling Carnival Rides & Kiddie Land

$ 1 5, 000

Musical Entertainment

Friday 6:00 to 10:00 — D. B. Walker Saturday 12:00 to 1:30 — Joe Samuels Jazz Band 3:00 to 5:00 — Mark Bettencourt & the Aftermath 6:00 to 10:00 — Party Bomb Sunday 2:00 to 6:00 — The Real Story TRS

Bar with 5 beers on tap and Margaritas Great selection of food

Silent Auction

In the New Gym — Friday 5-11pm Saturday, Noon-8pm Sunday Noon-5pm (Pick-up day only)

Carnival Hours Friday, 5 – 11pm Saturday, Noon – 11pm Sunday, Noon – 6pm




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20NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comN May 15, 2013

The Almanac 05.15.2013 - Section 1  
The Almanac 05.15.2013 - Section 1  

Section1 of the May 15, 2013 edition of the Almanac