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Holiday Gift Guide 2013 An advertising supplement produced by the Palo Alto Weekly, The Almanac and Mountain View Voice Holiday Guide 2013 1

N O V E M B E R 2 0 , 2 0 1 3 | VO L . 4 9 N O. 1 1

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

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Help for Buyers...


We had an incredible experience working with Steve. He helped us get our house in WOODSIDE in an increasingly competitive market and was able to move quickly through all the steps. Even after we’ve moved in, he’s provided a wealth of insight and recommendations for painters, electricians, etc. which has been really helpful. We’d highly recommend him.


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Photo courtesy of Military Vehicle Technology Foundation

Camouflage and olive green are common colors in the armored-vehicle collection of the late Jacques Littlefield, who housed his collection at his home in the hills above Portola Valley.


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

Littlefieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tanks heading east By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


t this time a year from now, about 80 of the 240 tanks and other armored vehicles of war in the Jacques Littlefield collection in the hills above Portola Valley will have taken a cross-country trip, likely by train, to a new home 20 miles east of Boston, in Stow, Massachusetts. Once there, the meticulous attention these mechanized weapons received under the care of the late Mr. Littlefield and his crew of restorers will enable some impressive events: re-enactments of tank battles from significant 20th century conflicts. The nonprofit Collings Foundation is assembling a 60,000-square-foot building for indoor display of the vehicles, but there are also plans for an outdoor amphitheater on some of the 69 acres the foundation owns. The viewing public will hear the grumble of tank engines and the ominous clanking of metal treads. They will feel the ground shake and smell the diesel fuel permeating the air. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a much more immersive

and impactful experience,â&#x20AC;? said Rob Collings, the foundationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s executive director. The Collings foundation is taking over management of the collection from the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, which Mr. Littlefield organized in 1998 to help serve the interests of authors, historians, educators, the defense industry, veterans groups, model makers and the entertainment industry, relatives told the Almanac for an earlier story. Mr. Littlefield died in January 2009. The MVTF donated the vehicles â&#x20AC;&#x153;in order to create a permanent home that will maintain and share the core collection into perpetuity,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Collings said. The indoors display in Massachusetts will be a tank museum, but customized around fewer artifacts and interactive. The 240 vehicles in Portola Valley left visitors â&#x20AC;&#x153;glassy eyed after a while,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Collings said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s too much to take in.â&#x20AC;? With 80 vehicles chosen for their military significance â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the other 160 will be auctioned off in August 2014 in Portola Valley â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a visit should be less unstructured.

Along with tanks, armored personnel carriers, tank destroyers and self-propelled and anti-tank guns, the collection includes missile launchers, field artillery, reconnaissance vehicles, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, trucks, tractors and amphibious vehicles. The Collings Foundation has an additional goal: inculcating in visitors feelings of gratitude toward veterans. One way to generate such feelings is through a war film, Mr. Collings said, using â&#x20AC;&#x153;Saving Private Ryanâ&#x20AC;? as an example. The fictional but realistic account of the June 1944 invasion of Normandy â&#x20AC;&#x201D; including scenes with tanks â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x153;left (viewers) feeling gratefulâ&#x20AC;? to the Allied soldiers who took part, he said. Can that be done without a movie? How do you make the case to the public that, without efforts by the military, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we might not have our freedom,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Collings asked. One of the foundationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s programs, the Wings of Freedom tour, creates brushes with â&#x20AC;&#x153;living historyâ&#x20AC;? in the form of restored See JACQUES LITTLEFIELD, page 9


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THE ALMANAC (ISSN 1097-3095 and USPS 459370) is published every Wednesday by Embarcadero Media, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 940256558. Periodicals Postage Paid at Menlo Park, CA and at additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for San Mateo County, The Almanac is delivered free to homes in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. Subscriptions for $60 per year or $100 per 2 years are welcome. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025-6558. Copyright Š2012 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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BRE # 01413607 4NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 20, 2013

Local News M















The troubled beauty of Skyline Boulevard Of the 205 accidents on Skyline Boulevard in 10 years, about half have involved two-wheeled vehicles. By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


he 26 miles of Skyline Boulevard between Highway 9 in Saratoga and Highway 92 in San Mateo is used by some as an adult playground for vehicular pastimes. With gentle ascents and descents, long sweeping curves, sparse traffic, elevation above the smog and not a single stop sign, it’s a ribbon of two-lane blacktop with few peers in the Bay Area. There are great views and a convenient midpoint, at Skylonda in Woodside, to eat, socialize and refuel. Complimenting those attributes are belts of tall trees that line either side of this winding road, creating shade and a mute and enfolding peace, a sense of privacy in a public space. Sitting in a parked car with the windows open, it’s easy to hear bicyclists’ conversations well before seeing the bicyclists. It’s not uncommon to hear a motor vehicle 15 or 20 seconds before it comes into view. It could be a country road. Except that it is not. On weekends, there are moments when it’s a motorcycle racetrack in all but name, with riders on high-performance bikes at high speeds seeking optimum lines of travel through all those inviting curves. The curves are numerous, they are varied and they are challenging — and make for sparkling conversation after an exhilarating ride. And not just for motor-

cyclists. Bicyclists and sports car enthusiasts also like the curves. As for the residents, the beachgoers and, on weekdays, the construction workers and the delivery truck drivers, they take the curves as they find them. Unfortunately, unlike a racetrack, there is traffic in two directions with vehicles of all kinds in all states of repair. Many of Skyline’s curves are blind. Unlike a track, the pavement is not scrupulously cleared of sediment and moisture. There is cross traffic. There are bicycles, but there are no bike lanes and no room to create them. The road’s borders are peppered with hard landings where a racetrack would normally have hay bales. Driver behavior ranges from prudent to foolish to insane. Any vehicle can easily end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. So much for illusions of peace and privacy. According to California Highway Patrol accident records, between 2003 and 2012, there have been 205 accidents on Skyline Boulevard between Page Mill Road in Palo Alto and the northern edge of Woodside (roughly mileposts 3 and 17). About half those accidents have involved two-wheeled vehicles: bicycles in 18 of them and motorcycles in 92, with fatal injuries killing two bicyclists and eight motorcyclists. On Sept. 18, 2013, the number of bicycle fatalities grew by one with the death of Joy Covey, a

Photo by Dave Boyce/The Almanac

Motorcyclists converge on Skyline Boulevard on dry weekends to take advantage of the gentle rises and falls of the long sweeping curves, the sparse traffic and the absence of smog and stop signs. But this highvelocity playground has dangers, particularly for vehicles on two wheels.

Woodside resident, cyclist and former Amazon CFO, who died when her bicycle and a delivery truck collided at the intersection of Skyline and Elk Tree Lane. Records show that this is the second accident involving a cyclist near Elk Tree Lane, the other being a nonfatal incident in May 2005 when a northbound cyclist was sideswiped by a passing vehicle. The other area of Skyline Boulevard showing multiple accidents involving bicycles is the

vicinity of La Honda Road (Highway 84), with four accidents over the decade. In July 2006, about a third of a mile north of the intersection, a sideswipe incident resulted in the death of 65-year-old Portola Valley resident Thomas Colby Maddox. The responsibility comes down to the individual cyclist, CHP Capt. Mike Maskarich says when asked about cycling on Skyline. He spoke with the Almanac at an Oct. 24 outdoor ceremony honoring the memory of yet another

cycling fatality — the November 2010 death of Los Altos Hills resident Lauren Ward. Ms. Ward and a tractor trailer collided on Alpine Road in the shaded darkness as Alpine passes under Interstate 280. The outdoor ceremony was called to recognize the recent opening of two new bike lanes designed to increase safety for cyclists traversing this intersection and its busy freeway ramps. See TROUBLED BEAUTY, page 9

After metal fire, Menlo Park works to improve emergency alert coverage By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


moke and confusion lingered in the air after a fire at a metal recycling plant left Menlo Park residents trying to figure out why some people received a “shelter in place” advisory while others heard nothing. Turns out that some people were harder to reach. Of the 13,239 landline phone numbers in the city’s emergency alert system, only 7,828 people got a call about the alert on Nov. 10, according to the police department’s analysis. Police Cmdr. Dave Bertini explained why: Some lines were

busy; some people hung up; some phone numbers no longer worked; and a proportion of calls stalled because of an overloaded network. “We have changed the system settings as a result of Sunday,” Cmdr. Bertini said. When Menlo Park first implemented the Blackboard Connect alert system about seven years ago, the system was programmed to make only one attempt at calling each number in its database. “We’ve now changed the settings to do three tries, with five minutes in between.” That’s why some residents reported missing the first alert, but getting a call on Monday, he said. Still, although the second

Police urge residents to register for notifications. round reached 10,241 people, that leaves nearly 3,000 that didn’t get a call. The fire was “a watershed for people to sign up for alternate ways of getting notified,” Cmdr. Bertini said. “We’re really urging people to register.” But few people have signed up using their mobile and online contact information. Cmdr. Bertini said that only 2,174 email addresses and 604 cell-

phone numbers were registered via Blackboard Connect. Of those, 732 emails bounced and 12 cellphone numbers didn’t work during the recent alert, he said, so once someone has registered, it’s critical that they keep the information updated. Cmdr. Bertini said that during a mass emergency, such as an earthquake, the phone system is likely to go down. “So if we try to put out 13,000 phone calls, there’s a good chance none will make it out. But we learned some lessons from (the Boston Marathon bombing) — cellphone networks do get overloaded, but text messages squeeze through.

If we put out a text, you’ll get the emergency notification.” In addition, police posted the advisories about the fire on Facebook and Twitter. Particularly with more and more people eschewing a landline altogether, social media is playing a larger role in getting the word out during emergencies, according to the police. Cmdr. Bertini noted that the notifications would have been handled differently had the “shelter in place” alert been an order instead of being optional. Had it been mandatory, he said, the alerts would have stated See ALERT COVERAGE, page 9

November 20, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5


4420 Alpine Rd., Portola Valley phone 650.851.1711

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Open 6:30 am - 8:00 pm daily


Roberts Market Thanksgiving Menu Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Roasted Diestel Turkey 10-12 lb., Traditional Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Porcini Mushroom Gravy, Green Bean Almandine, Cranberry Sauce, Dinner Rolls and a Good Earth Pumpkin Pie. Serves up to 8 people $120.00 Note: Please allow 2 hours to reheat a roasted Diestel turkey Bake Brie, Stuffed with Cranberry chutney and baked to a golden brown. $15.00 each

Porcini Mushroom Gravy, Rich and creamy made with turkey drippings: $13.50 Qt and $7.00 pt

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash soup, Savory with a hint of curry and cream. $11.00 per Qt

Onion Sage Gravy, with red wine, caramelized and onion and sage: $13.50 Qt and $7.00 pt

Free Range Diestel Ranch Turkeys, The Diestel turkeys are pre-roasted and will need approximately 2 hours to re-heat at 300° in your oven.

Green Bean Almandine, Sautéed shallots, butter and almonds: $13.00 Qt and $6.75 pt

Small 10-12 lbs. serves 8 to 10 people - $55.00 Large 16-18 lbs. serves 14 to 16 people - $65.00

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples, Seasoned with brown sugar, spices and candied walnuts: $13.00 Qt and $6.75 pt Fresh Cranberry Sauce, Whole cranberries slow cooked with a hint of orange: $9.50 Qt and $5.00 pt

Traditional Stuffing, Mushrooms, onion, celery, water chestnuts, and sage: $11.00 Qt and $5.75 pt

Good Earth Bakery Pumpkin Pie, 8" pie serves 8 people $12.99 each

Cornbread Stuffing, Dried cranberries, apricots, and green onion: $11.00 Qt and $5.75 pt Mashed Potatoes, Fresh potatoes whipped with cream, and butter: $11.00 Qt and $5.75 pt

Gianna's Bakery, Apple, Sweet Peach $15.99, 4 Berry $16.99, Pecan $19.59 each 8" pies serves 8 people

Please place orders by Monday, Nov. 25th and pick up by Wednesday, Nov 27th

Fresh Produce 12 oz.

Meat and Seafood $

1.99ea. For Your Holiday Table ¢ Yams ................................. 79 lb. Tender $ Blue Lake Beans ......... 1.99lb. 3 lb. bag $ California "Cuties" .... 4.99ea. Cranberries .................

On Sale Grocery Peet's Ground Coffee



Cambridge $ Bulk Sausage ...................

4.98lb. 10 oz. Jar $ Pacific Seafood Oyster .... 5.00ea. Wine and Spirits


7.29 Patissa Mini Eclairs $ 30 count . ........................................... 4.99 Natural Duraflame Log $ 6 lb. ................................................... 3.99 Alouette Garlic & Herb Cheese $ 6 oz ........................................................... 3.19 Vanity Fair Dinner Napkins $ 40 count .................................................... 2.19 12 oz. Bag – Also Whole ...................

Diestel Turkey .............

6NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 20, 2013

Pinot-palooza Few wines have the adaptability of Pinot Noir. As we hurtle towards the holidays, this is an excellent time to stock up on wines. Here are a few fine examples offered at special prices.

2012 Bench Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ............ Reg. $19.99 Sale



2011 Evening Land Pinot Noir, $ Willametto Valley .......................................................Reg. $25.99 Sale 2011 Melville Pinot Noir, $ Estate - Sta Rita Hills ..................................................Reg. $31.99 Sale



2011 Hartford Court Pinot Noir, $ Russian River Valley ...................................................Reg. $34.99 Sale $ 2012 Failla Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast .............. Reg. $35.99 Sale

29.99 30.99

Sale prices are net and do not qualify for further discount.


Plan review moves to council By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


arely does a week pass without mention of Menlo Park’s downtown/El Camino Real specific plan, and that will continue to be the case for a while, now that the City Council has a chance to evaluate modifications proposed by the Planning Commission. The suggested changes are more along the lines of finetuning rather than major revisions to the specific plan. The commission, during a review that stretched over five meetings, made recommendations that included: ■ Allowing the city to evaluate proposed renovations within the specific plan area for compliance with criteria such as sidewalk width. Currently new projects must meet the standards, while remodels of existing structures may not, as recently demonstrated by the renovation of the Mermaid Inn at 727 El Camino Real. ■ Letting construction of a pedestrian-bicycle railroad undercrossing at Middle Avenue start regardless of the status of high-speed rail construction. “I don’t want the (undercrossing) to be happening 15 years from now,” Commission chair John Kadvany noted during the Nov. 4 discussion. The commission also wants the city to prioritize building a downtown parking garage as funding becomes available. ■ Permitting some flexibility in building break, parking and setback requirements for parcels in the southeast portion of El Camino Real, which includes the Stanford lots, to allow the creation of an “opti-


mal” public plaza at Middle Avenue. Commissioner Henry Riggs commented that a plaza design that had chairs next to a garage entrance — i.e., a plaza compromised by vehicular traffic — wouldn’t make it past the commission’s architectural review. ■ Creating a transportation management association, open to entities within the plan boundaries, to coordinate and monitor traffic-reduction measures. Go to to see a summary of the Planning Commission’s recommendations and staff analysis.

Commission proposes fine-tuning downtown plan. The specific plan has come under fire as projects started appearing under the new regulations. Stanford University and John Arrillaga proposed building an 8.43-acre mixed-use project that would replace mostly vacant car lots along 300 to 500 El Camino Real with 199,500 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of retail, and up to 170 apartments. The university has agreed to make “a substantial contribution,” with the exact amount yet unknown, to construction of the Middle Avenue railroad undercrossing as well as to participate in a city-led design group for the public plaza. A second project, designed by Greenheart LLC, would create 210,000 square feet of office

space and 210,000 square feet of apartments, with 16,000 square feet of retail in the commercial buildings and 7,000 square feet in the residential, on 7 acres located at 1300 El Camino Real at Oak Grove Avenue. Save Menlo, a grassroots coalition organized to oppose the Stanford project, surfaced with its own suggestions, compiled with the support of the Sierra Club. In an email sent Nov. 18, the two groups asked that the city change the specific plan to cap office space at 25 percent of a building’s floor area; limit building height to a maximum of 48 feet; and add a development impact infrastructure fee for new projects. These changes would help reduce traffic impacts and improve safety and quality of life, they said. Early in its review the commission had indicated through informal votes that a majority were “favorably disposed” toward the density and floor area ratios — the scale, in other words — of buildings allowed under the specific plan. Katherine Strehl and John Onken abstained since they are recused from voting on certain zones of the specific plan. Whatever happens, this is far from the last chance residents, developers and city officials have to weigh in on how well the specific plan is working, as noted during the Planning Commission discussions. “We’ll be reviewing this again in 14 months, so don’t worry,” Commissioner Katie Ferrick noted on Nov. 4. The City Council was scheduled to start its specific plan review on Tuesday, Nov. 19, after the Almanac’s deadline. Check for updates.

Almanac Staff Writer


he battle over a Louise Street driveway in Menlo Park has now moved to the courtroom. In August, the Menlo Park City Council approved a request by street residents that the city turn over to adjoining homeowners an approximately 53-by60-foot tangle of greenery in the public right-of-way — a process called abandonment. The agreement included clauses preserving pedestrian access, preventing future homeowners from building on the space and indemnifying the city against any potential lawsuit, leaving the neighbors responsible for any legal costs

and damages — a point several council members emphasized upon casting their vote. Developer Sam Sinnott and investment partner Mircea Voskerician, who bought a property at 1825 Santa Cruz Ave. for redevelopment, had been fighting for permission to create a paved driveway that exited on Louise Street. The exit would have partially crossed over public right-of-way. A previous owner had gotten a permit in 1984 to install a driveway but never followed through, according to city records. City staff initially authorized Mr. Sinnott’s driveway. But the council, in the face of protests from Louise Street residents, revoked the approval, allowing the abandonment process to

by Monica Corman

Going Solar Dear Monica: I am considering installing solar panels or a photo voltaic(PV) power system of some kind at my home. My home is older and would need to be retrofitted to connect a power system to the electrical panel. I have heard that the initial costs are high and wonder if it is worth it. What is your advice? Jane B. Dear Jane: We live in a state that is bathed in sunlight most of the time and until recently, have not made significant use of solar power. For one thing, it has been expensive to install and this has kept many homeowners from going ahead even though they know the result would be low or no operating costs, low carbon footprint, and other benefits. The State of California has a California Solar Initiative (CSI) offering rebates for installation of a solar system for home or business. The goal is to

have a much higher percentage of clean energy sources in the next decades. CSI is explained in a comprehensive website: www. If the initial costs are too daunting for your budget, there are companies who will lease a system to you and you pay over a period of time. Be sure that when you negotiate the lease terms that you allow an easy transition to a new owner should you sell your home. Installing a solar system can add value to your home especially if it does not detract from the aesthetic aspects of the home. If you are building a new home, you can incorporate a system that is part of the design. If you don’t like the look of solar panels, there are solar shingles that can be integrated unobtrusively with asphalt shingles. You should consider the options before deciding which will work best for your home.

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

HOW VISION AFFECTS THINKING If you have ever heard of the phrases “I can’t see straight” and “I can’t think straight,” you might be interested to know that they might be related. According to a study involving 625 men and women over the age of 70, those who developed poorer uncorrected vision over a ten-year period were found to be nearly ten times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, there was a five-fold increase in the risk of developing cognitive impair-

ment without dementia. These adverse outcomes may be traced to the use-it-or-lose it theory, which maintains that areas of the body that go unused tend to lose functioning ability. Poor vision seems to rob the brain of stimulus it needs to remain vital. MENLO OPTICAL is dedicated to helping your quality of life by precisely filling your prescription while maintaining the precious gift of sight for you and your family. We combine today’s modern technology with personalized attention directed specifically to the eye care needs of our patients. To schedule an appointment, please call 322-3900 or visit us at 1166 University Drive, on the corner of Oak Grove Avenue and University Drive. P.S. Many people remain unaware that they have the potentially vision-robbing disease glaucoma because it presents no noticeable early symptoms. Mark Schmidt is an American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners Certified Optician licensed by the Medical Board of California. He can be easily reached at Menlo Optical, 1166 University Drive, Menlo Park. 650-322-3900.



Sinnott files lawsuit over driveway By Sandy Brundage


go forward after an attempt at compromise collapsed. Now Mr. Sinnott is suing the city, the council, the public works director, four Louise Street property owners and other parties. The suit, filed on Nov. 14 in San Mateo County Superior Court, claims that the council had no right to revoke the driveway permit and that the city’s, as well as the residents’, interpretation of who has legal vehicular access to Louise Street is wrong. Not allowing the driveway diminishes the value of his investment by more than $500,000, according to the lawsuit. A case management conference has been scheduled for March 5, 2014.

INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR ARCHITECTURAL AND SITE REVIEW BOARD Two Terms Expiring February 2017 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 2017. 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, December 3, 2013, 5:00 p.m.


November 20, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN7


PG&E is investing $4.5 billion every year to strengthen our energy infrastructure and .&-&("()%,validated the maximum

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Jacques Littlefield’s tanks heading east continued from page 3

World War II bombers that are flown into U.S. communities and available for 30-minute rides. When visiting the Peninsula, the propeller-driven aircraft land at Moffett Field in Mountain View. (Tickets for the 2014 tour will be $450 per person, according to the foundation website.) This reporter was a passenger from Hollister to Moffett Field in a B-25 twin-engine bomber, alternately crouching and kneeling in the plexiglass nose as American bombardiers had to do. The trip did generate feelings, including humility, vulnerability and a sober appreciation of what the bombardiers endured. The ceaseless roar of the engines was overwhelming, their huge propellers whirling almost within reach, and the aircraft itself was memorable for its raw practicality, its interior devoid of anything designed for human comfort and ease of movement. Evolution of a tank

Such live-action experience will not be part of the tank demonstrations, but there will be live-action observation. The reenacted outdoor battles could include scenes from the Battle of the Bulge in Germany, Desert Storm in Iraq and the Korean War, Mr. Collings said. There will be gunfire, but not with live rounds. The collection will include tanks from World Wars I and II, including four American Sherman tanks collected so as to show their evolution, and at least two varieties of German Panzer tanks. The Panzer Panther in the collection took five men working

ALERT COVERAGE continued from page 5

that and officers would also have patrolled the streets announcing the “shelter in place” order via their PA systems. People have said they’re worried about getting inundated with messages from the city, and some have also raised privacy concerns. Blackboard Connect’s database of listed and unlisted phone numbers, according to the police department, is used only for emergency alerts. NIXLE covers alerts as well as lower-level notices such as traffic advisories. As for privacy, the city said the registered personal information is not shared with outside par-

full time for five years to restore it, he said. “It’s just an absolutely remarkable restoration.” The Panzer I, Mr. Collings said, spent its early life masquerading as a tractor, whose manufacture was allowed under the armistice rules after World War I. When German forces overran Poland in 1939, the tanks they used were modified tractors, Mr. Collings said. “It’s very, very historically significant. It was what started it all and today, there are precious few of them left,” he said. “It is truly an amazing piece of history.” The tanks will travel by truck from Portola Valley “at the quietest part of the daylight hours to avoid causing problems,” Mr. Collings said. If they travel by train to Massachusetts, they will be visible to observers, but shrink-wrapped in opaque plastic, he said. The cost of moving them to their new home: at least $1 million. While the total collection may be worth $30 million, even $100 million today couldn’t duplicate the restoration work done by Mr. Littlefield and company — a huge and dedicated commitment, Mr. Collings said. “It’s not going too far to say that they were the best in the world,” he said. “These vehicles are the finest out there. ... the artifacts are simply perfect and functioning.” “The public is the biggest winner of this whole thing, to have access to these vehicles,” he said.

Photo by Dave Boyce/The Almanac

Bicyclists, motorcyclists and drivers, whether they like it or not, share the traffic lanes of Skyline Boulevard. Too often the result is tragedy. The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, in collaboration with the California Highway Patrol and Stanford hospital, is looking for ways to improve the safety of this ribbon of highway.

Troubled beauty of Skyline Boulevard continued from page 5

Cycling on Skyline can be particularly dangerous, Capt. Maskarich says. The pavement is more likely to be wet and there are more situations that complicate cyclists’ efforts to be seen by motorists. “Visibility is a huge concern,” he says. “(Cyclists) may be putting themselves at greater risk than they would be if they were riding elsewhere.” He recommends that they have and use bright flashing running lights that can be seen during the day.

More information

Go to for a Boston Globe story from October 2013 on a Collings Foundation battle re-enactment that includes tanks. A

How to sign up There are multiple options for emergency alert notification: ■ Go to to sign up for the city’s Blackboard Connect alerts.

■ Register with NIXLE (local.nixle. com/register/) ■ Go to and fill out the alert registration form toward the bottom middle of the page. ■ Contact Carolina Gaskin at the Menlo Park Police Department at 330-6327 or cdgaskin@menlopark. org with your name, street address, email address and phone number. If you use a call-blocking service, add 650-330-6300 to the approved number list.

ties and will be used only for the purpose of notifications.

Riding a ridge line

“If a motorist doesn’t see a cyclist, it’s not the cyclist’s fault,” says Corinne Winter, the executive director of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. “There’s a lot of education we can do (on both sides).” Trends show, Ms. Winter says, that motorists frequently think they can safely turn ahead of an oncoming cyclist. But cyclists can be traveling a lot faster than motorists think they’re going, she says, and on Skyline, that’s particularly true on long downhill stretches. With the odds permanently stacked against the bicycle in a collision, the best course is not to have one. Flashing daytime lights are a must, she says, a small investment with big safety returns in that the lights give motorists a clue. Why do bicyclists even ride Skyline? There are no bike lanes, hardly any shoulders and it’s dangerous. But on

dry weekends, there are hundreds and sometimes close to a thousand cyclists up there, she says. They do it because it connects the routes up and down the mountains, Ms. Winter says. “Sometimes after you climb a big hill, it’s nice to go on the ridge line. It’s beautiful.” “It’s a challenging road in the sense that there’s really high motorcycle speeds and vehicle speeds and there’s no shoulder,” she adds. The driveways are also challeng-

by measuring the speed of 85 percent of traffic and setting limits to the closest 5-mph increment. The 85-percent rule can be sidestepped if a community really wants a lower speed limit, Ms. Winter says. “It takes a little bit of effort.” Road signs are another option. The bike coalition has been working with Stanford hospital and law enforcement for about a year to devise “really good messaging,” Ms. Winter says. “We’re trying to come up with something good.”

‘Skyline Boulevard is certainly both famous and infamous.’

Racing safely


ing, as is the surface of the road. The state used coarse stones in its latest resurfacing between La Honda and Page Mill roads, Ms. Winter says. “In the minds of most cyclists that I have talked to, the road surface has been significantly degraded.” A rougher surface makes quick maneuvers on a bike more difficult, she says. The bike coalition is talking with state Assemblyman Rich Gordon’s office about the resurfacing and a texture that would be more accommodating to bicycles, she says. The coalition is also pushing for lower speed limits on Skyline, an uphill climb. Traffic authorities determine limits

Asked to comment on Skyline as a high-speed venue for motorcycling, Tim Scarrott, director at large for the American Federation of Motorcyclists (AFM), noted that racing on a track is much safer. The AFM conducts “track days” and actual races for Bay Area motorcyclists to “test their skill in a safe and controlled environment better suited (than Skyline) for the performance and capabilities of the modern motorcycle,” Mr. Scarrott says. “Riding at the racetrack is far cheaper than a speeding ticket and obviously much safer than riders testing their skill in an uncontrolled environment (street riding).” “Skyline Boulevard is certainly both famous and infamous,” he adds, “and as a former Oakland police officer (retired) I can tell you that Skyline Boulevard has been the site of many tragedies over the years.” A


November 20, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN9


David Barca heads new Pacific Union office The Pacific Union real estate firm has tapped David Barca of Atherton as regional vice president to lead the firm’s expansion, focusing on the high end market in Silicon Valley. Mr. Barca and his team are temporarily located at 3500 Alameda de las Pulgas in West Menlo Park. They plan to move into the company’s flagship office in a new building at 1706 El Camino Real in Menlo Park


in March 2014. The space will accommodate about 36 agents. “In his 20-plus years experience, Mr. Barca has achieved a number of significant career milestones and has consistently been a top performer in each position he has held,” said Mark A. McLaughlin, CEO of Pacific Union. David Barca is well known on

the local real estate scene. He was named Realtor of the Year by the 4,000-member Silicon Valley Association of Realtors in 2009. He was president of the association in 2000 and received its Community Service Award as the founder of its Realtor Service Volunteer Program. The program involves real estate agents in assisting elderly and homebound residents each May. Prior to joining Pacific Union, Mr. Barca worked with Alain Pinel Realtors in Menlo Park, where he served as a broker associate since 2011. A native of San Francisco, Mr. Barca graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in psychology. He became a management consultant in organizational development with several firms on the East Coast and in Great


10NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 20, 2013





Nativity Elementary School t

Gr ov eA ve

Evaluate the impact of the changes after the next school year starts and return to the Transportation Commission for further review if needed. ■ Require Nativity School to install green bike lanes as a condition of approval for a pending use permit request to add a junior kindergarten class of 12 to 18 students plus associated staff. The parking issue arose when a resident whose child attended Encinal Elementary School, located not far from Laurel Street, complained to the city that parents from Nativity School parked in the bike lanes. Parents with children attending the private K-8 Nativity School at 1250 Laurel St., as well as school administrators, protested the loss of parking space. While city staff suggests the removal will make bicycle travel along the street safer, Nativity ■

parents say it will make dropping off and picking up their children more hazardous. The school currently has a drop-off and pickup zone off Oak Grove Avenue that administrators said can’t accommodate the flow of parents for the school’s current 275 students, in part because students from Menlo-Atherton High School illegally park in the private school’s lots. Staff also wants to improve the pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Laurel Street and Oak Grove Avenue by giving people more time to cross the street, in addition to restricting right turns on red. Transportation commissioners, citing other private schools such as Phillips Brooks, said that creating a bicycle route with no cars within the bike lane could only improve safety for everyone and could encourage more Nativity parents and students to bike to school. Following the Nov. 13 meeting, city staff suggested a few changes

Oa k


he proposal to eliminate street parking along northbound Laurel Street between Oak Grove and Glenwood avenues forged ahead following a meeting of the Menlo Park Transportation Commission on Nov. 13. The commissioners voted 6-0 on Nov. 13 to recommend that the City Council eliminate the parking as city staff suggested to make bike travel safer on the street, but with a few modifications: ■ Defer installation of the nostopping restrictions until after the current school year ends. ■ Prohibit right turns on red at all four corners of the intersection of Laurel Street and Oak Grove Avenue all day, instead of only “when children are present.” ■ Encourage the school to reduce vehicle trips by building a carpool, walking and bicycling program.



Almanac Staff Writer

G le

By Sandy Brundage

dA ve

Panel supports ban on Laurel parking

Courtesy, Google Maps

City staff and transportation commissioners want to eliminate parking in the bike lanes along northbound Laurel Street in front of Nativity School.

to the Transportation Commission’s proposals, namely that to avoid traffic delays, the city not prohibit right turns on red all day, and that the city study whether green bike lanes near the school are appropriate, reasoning that the splashes of color should be reserved for conflict points rather than being used widely enough to the point where they become less attention-getting.

The Bicycle Commission was scheduled to consider staff’s proposal during its Nov. 18 meeting, which took place after the Almanac’s press deadline. According to Jesse Quirion, the city’s transportation manager, the City Council will have to approve any changes, he said, after the bicycle and transportation commissions make their recommendations.

Britain. One of his last assignments was helping British Railways implement its privatization plan, according to a 1999 article David Barca in the Almanac. In 1990, he decided it was time to give up an intensive foreigntravel schedule and try a new career. His wife, Elyse, who had become an agent with Fox & Carskadon in Menlo Park, encouraged him to get into real estate. “We teamed up at Fox for six years and then I became manager of the Palo Alto office in 1996 when Coldwell Banker acquired Fox & Carskadon,” said Mr. Barca in the Almanac article. Over the course of his career, he has also served in executive roles at Century 21 Seville Contempo,

Keller Williams Realty Inc. and ZipRealty Inc. The Barcas have lived in Atherton for 32 years and have two grown children, Dane and Whitney. Elyse Barca is now a real estate agent with Pacific Union. When introducing Mr. Barca as Realtor of the Year in 2009, the president of the association noted he played semi-pro soccer, was a lifelong runner, and a Knight of Malta, serving the needs of the sick and poor, and a jewelry designer. “Well, I played (soccer) three or four times with the team that became the San Jose Earthquakes,” he says. As for being a jewelry designer, he comes from a family of gemologists, but said: “The only jewelry I’ve designed is for my wife.” Asked about his new role at Pacific Union, Mr. Barca said: “I see this as the cap to my career. It’s a perfect match. The office is up and running and business is good.”


Wins award Terrance McLarnan of Portola Valley was awarded the North American Writer’s Award at the International Psychoanalytic Association’s World Congress in Prague. He has completed a seven-year training program at the Northern California Psychoanalytic Institute. A psychotherapist in private practice, he was recently named president of the Northern California Society of Psychoanalytic Psychology.


Preliminary hearing set in fatal DUI case Almanac Staff Writer


fter a three-week delay, court proceedings finally got underway for a woman charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence related to an accident that killed a Menlo Park couple. Marjorie Reitzell, 54, of Redwood City pleaded not guilty on Nov. 12 to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and two counts of felony driving under

the inf luence. Balbir Singh, 50, and Kamal Kaur Singh, 45, were walking their Chihuahua in the bike lane eastbound on Chilco Street during the early evening of Oct. 24 when they were hit from behind by a 1998 Honda Accord driven by Ms. Reitzell, according to police. The Singhs leave behind three teenage children; their oldest daughter plans to start college in January. A preliminary screen showed that Ms. Reitzell’s blood alcohol the night of the fatal collision

Portola Valley experiments with skateboard ramp


low-cost experiment on the popularity of a temporary skateboard facility in Portola Valley got rolling on Wednesday, Nov. 13. A consensus on the Town Council gave the go-ahead to staff and the Parks & Recreation Committee to proceed with the next steps for a 12-month trial of a $1,500 wooden skateboarding ramp near one end of the town’s multi-purpose “sport court,” at Town Center, according to a letter to the council from committee Chair Jon Myers. The trial could start in March, after a public hearing before the town’s Architectural and Site Control Commission and council approval, Town Manager Nick Pegueros told the Almanac.

Quarter-pipe ramp

Viewed from the side, the ramp has the profile of a pipe cut in half and in half again, creating what’s known as a quarterpipe ramp. Skaters roll up the interior of the curve, balance the board in various imaginative ways, and roll back down. If the trial period is successful, it could lead to a half-pipe ramp either at Town Center or one of several other locations along Alpine Road, including near Rossotti (soccer) Field, Ford (baseball) Field, and Corte Madera Middle School. The sport court had in its favor a firm, flat surface and a central location, Mr. Myers said. “There are a lot of skateboarders in town,” Mr. Myers told the council. The ramp is intended as “a place to come together and do something that’s fun.” Skateboarders are active now at Roberts Market, at Corte Madera Middle School, at Town Center, and along Alpine Road,

Mr. Myers said. “I’d rather have them (at the Town Center) than going down Alpine Road,” he told the Almanac. A

By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


he rash of burglaries in Atherton’s Selby Lane neighborhood continues, with three residents calling police to report thefts between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Nov. 13-14, the police department said last week. In all three cases, the thief or thieves entered unlocked vehicles parked in driveways, and in one incident, entered a home through an unlocked door and stole an electronic device, according to police. The crimes occurred near the intersection of Austin Avenue and Selby Lane, west of El Camino Real, police said. “The Police Department continues to ask residents to

be vigilant in protecting their property,” the department said in an email alert sent out on Thursday — one of a number of such notices in recent months. “Please take the time to lock your vehicles and the doors to your home, especially overnight and when you are not at home,” the notice said. “If you have an alarm system, please use it.” The crimes are the latest in a series of theft-related crimes in that area; the spate of crimes includes one or more incidents on Stockbridge Avenue. In late October, police arrested two women over a two-day period on suspicion of burglary or attempted burglary and other crimes. But those incidents occurred outside the hard-hit Selby Lane area: one on Jennings Lane and the other on Isabella Avenue. A


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Almanac Staff Writer

was more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Convicted of a misdemeanor DUI in November 2012, she had a valid driver’s license at the time of the fatal collision, according to law enforcement officials. Ms. Reitzell was booked into jail and scheduled for arraignment three weeks ago. However, just before court started on Oct. 28, she complained of chest pains and was taken away for medical treatment at the county hospital, according to the district attorney. The judge continued the arraignment until she was cleared to appear in court, which is standard procedure. Represented by county-provided attorney, Ms. Reitzell remains in custody on $2 million bail. A judge has set her preliminary hearing for Jan. 17.


By Dave Boyce

Residents report thefts


By Sandy Brundage

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148 Hawthorne Ave, Palo Alto, CA San Francisco ‡ Oakland ‡ Danville ‡ Marin ‡ Palo Alto ‡ San Mateo ‡ Los Gatos November 20, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11



by Elena Kadvany



Thanksgivukkah! Many foods can be adapted to help celebrate the confluence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving

road, having to peel and then hand grate potatoes and shred onion, then coax them to bind together with not much more than salt, flour and eggs. Latkes are meant to be golden crispy on the outside, evenly cooked yet still maintaining the potato’s white color within. “They’re a lot harder to make

would just disintegrate.” Drucker said he finally discovered a method to the madness: make the latkes with half pureed potatoes and half shredded potatoes. Dottie Yourtz, a local kosher caterer, said her secret is using a Cuisinart. “A lot of people are feeling like you have to grate up potatoes, add a little knuckle skin ... I am not one to hand grate,” she said. “I am a Cuisinart lover.” She said the key is using the Cuisinart to shred potatoes and also cutting up chunks of potatoes to put in, creating a Sufganiyot, jelly-filled doughnuts, are a potato puree. What traditional — and symbolic — Hanukkah food. she calls “onion glue” — finely than at least I would have chopped onion, eggs and matzo originally thought,” Drucker meal or flour (if cooking with said. “So I probably went year meat, she suggested adding a by year over the last 10 years, little chicken fat to the mixture) recipe after recipe trying it and — holds it all together. then you know, you put them in Another trick of the trade the oil ... so you’re frying them she uses is taking the entire in half an inch of oil and they mixture and wringing it out

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in a cheese cloth to expel any unnecessary liquid. As a caterer who makes latkes in high volume (she made 300 one past weekend), she also recommends making the latkes in advance and freezing them — something a home chef who might be cooking for both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving can take advantage of. “You don’t have to be there slav- Latkes are a staple Hanukkah food. Though ing over a stove,” traditionally made with potatoes, they can also she said. “I get all be made with sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, of that laborious, other root vegetables or a mixture. messy work done ahead.” approach on Nov. 28. After making the latkes, lay “For me, I was going to try to them flat on a sheet and put them separate (the two holidays) a little in the freezer. Once they’re fro- bit in that I was going to do our zen, they can be bagged for easy traditional turkey during the day storage. and then in the evening, because “And then when you go to Thanksgiving itself is such a large reheat them, put them in a single meal, I was going to then do the line on a cookie sheet and reheat latkes with multiple toppings,” them at 350 (degrees) so that she said, crediting her friend with they’re heated through and not the idea. “Kind of make it a latkes overly brown,” she said. tapas kind of thing.” Both Drucker and Yourtz also Yourtz said she’s thought about making a sweet topping with sautéed apples or pears (“don’t mush it, just do that with butter, cinnamon and sugar”); a Thanksgiving hybrid relish with cranberry, pear and orange; guacamole or a corn, tomato and onion salsa; caramelized onions; sautéed mushrooms; even hummus or just chopped tomato and basil. One could also serve the latkes with bowls of various topping options and allow guests to make their own. “I like to keep it quasi-tradition2013 al, but pop it a little bit so that it’s more creative and it’s all about us and family,” Yourtz said. The other traditional fried Hanukkah food, sufganiyot, is another messy, “intimidating activity,” Drucker said. Deep-frying can be challenging for the home chef; especially when these doughnuts are meant to be puffy, light and able to be filled with jelly. “The recipes that always call Nov. 15-30 for making the doughnut dough, cutting out two circular rounds and then putting jam in the Nov. 22

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suggested creative ways to meld latkes with Thanksgiving, or just to do something different for the coincidental holidays. Drucker said latkes can easily be made with sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots or other root vegetables. He said he also considered making “some kind of bastardized version” of latkes for turkey stuffing. Though the potato pancakes are traditionally served with sour cream (and sans-dairy apple sauce alongside brisket), Drucker said he sometimes makes them as a single dish with crème fraîche and smoked salmon on top. Yourtz is taking a similar

Veronica Weber

Michelle Le

his year, Hanukkah is a once in a lifetime event. For the first time since 1888 — and the last time for tens of thousands of years — Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall on the same week. Hanukkah, which is usually a December holiday, starts at sundown on Wednesday, Nov. 27, making the first full day of the Jewish holiday the same as Thanksgiving. Though the commercialism of such a rare coincidence is inevitable — a Boston woman trademarked the term “Thanksgivukkah” last year; a 9 year old from New York City even invented a “menurkey,” a ceramic turkeyshaped menorah, and has sold more than 1,500 — and not for everyone, it does present unique opportunities for the food consumed on Thursday, Nov. 28. “Within Judaism, there are ritual foods, which is really neat,” said Marc Drucker, a reformed Jew and avid home chef who keeps kosher in his Menlo Park home. Every Jewish holiday has some form of accompanying traditional, symbolic foods. Hanukkah, as the celebration of the miracle-burning oil that lasted for eight days in the holy temple the Jews reclaimed from the Syrians, is all about fried foods. The two primary Hanukkah eats are latkes, or potato pancakes, and sufganiyot, essentially jelly-filled doughnuts. Both are dependent on oil — a symbolic reminder. Those brave souls who choose to forgo the boxed, pre-made latke mix are going down a notoriously difficult and messy


Simon Pearce Jan Barboglio


12NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 20, 2013



Turkey tips

the oven and turn it on at 400 and broil it,” she said. “(But) it’s not even a color that you get compared to if you actually use a torch.” The benefits of the Pam method: no basting necessary and it doesn’t take the whole day to cook. “The best part is you end up with a product that’s extremely moist,” Tan added. “It’s very oven at a very high moist; it’s very flavorful because heat (500 degrees or you’re not killing the turkey or even a little higher). overcooking the turkey beyond Tan said her go-to bird pound- what’s necessary.” age to cooking time ratio is an Beyond the bird, Tan said hour or hour-and-a-half for she always cooks the stuffing every eight pounds, but it also separately rather than inside to depends on the oven. Two hours avoid it ending up like “mush.” is a safe guide(Plus, if any famline as well — ily members or put it in for two guests are vegetarhours and make ian, they might sure to check it not eat a stuffing along the way, that was basted in she said. turkey juices.) She After the two dresses up a classic hours, pull the stuffing by adding Pam-coated oysters. bird out and Mark Bubert, test its internal owner of Dittmer’s t e mp e r at u re , Gourmet Meats & aiming for 165 Wurst-Haus in Los degrees. Take Altos, said cooking off the alumithe stuffing inside A Dittmer’s Gourmet Meast num foil tent. the turkey simThis is where & Wurst-Haus smoked turkey ply isn’t healthy, Tan — a prod- hangs from a rack. The because it doesn’t uct of culinary turkeys, smoked for 10 to get up to the proper school and 12 hours, are available for temperature. years of gour- order for Thanksgiving. Bubert makes met cooking — a few sausages in might depart from what the bulk for Thanksgiving, meant home cook is willing to do. To as stuffing additions: chorizo, get that ever-coveted golden skin Nuremberg bratwurst (“a saucolor, Tan uses a culinary torch. sage most of my clientele are “Some people don’t want to addicted to,” he said), hot Italdo that, so they put it back into ian, mild Italian, regular pork,

by Elena Kadvany ome swear by roasting with nothing more than butter and herbs; others by smoking, poaching, grilling or even frying. The search for the perfectly cooked turkey — moist and flavorful with a golden, crusty skin — is intrinsic to the Thanksgiving experience. John Gurnee, chef de cuisine at LB Steak in Menlo Park, thinks the best path to take is simplicity. “As far as turkey cooking tips, I feel you really only need three things: herbs, butter and salt,” he said. “After that it’s time and temperature.” Gurnee said he starts by rubbing fresh butter under the skin, along with some chopped herbs. He recommends sage, thyme and a little bit of rosemary. The combination results in a compound butter, which goes a long way with flavor and color. Last up: “a liberal amount of salt for flavoring,” Gurnee said. “I think that’s basically all you need for a great tasting turkey, beyond cooking it correctly and not desecrating it in the oven. Obviously there’s a million recipes and magazines that have glazes and whatever, but simple is good for the home cook.” Gale Tan, the former culinary manager for Sur La Table Palo Alto who now runs a local popup dinner company, also suggests a low-stress, albeit unconventional, way for cooking turkey: using Pam Cooking Spray. Used right, the familiar cooking spray can help make a moist, flavorful turkey, Tan said. (Trust her; in 2000, she won a Pam Cooking Spray contest using this method to cook a turkey in two hours.) After purchasing a turkey (“You’ve got to splurge on your turkey,” Tan said, who prefers the Butterball brand), thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. On Thanksgiving Day, start by seasoning the bird, rubbing any spices or herbs over it. Then go to town with the Pam — which also comes in flavors, such as lemon and butter — and spray the entire turkey. Put the turkey into a roasting pan, tent it with aluminum foil (spray the foil with Pam as well, as it might come into contact with the bird) and put it into the


Michelle Le

Strategies for cooking the perfect Thanksgiving turkey

sage and chicken portobello mushroom. Smoking a turkey at home is also an option, or buying one already smoked from Dittmer’s, where they’re smoked for 10-12 hours. Dittmer’s gets their birds from Diestel Family Turkey Ranch — a well-known, sustainable turkey farm in Sonora, Calif. — and smokes them for $4.69 per pound. Bubert said he smokes them on a rack above an apple juice, apple cider and sometimes apricot nectar mixture, and then use the drippings from the turkey and

remaining juice to make a sauce. “It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s simple.” He added that his mother does the Thanksgiving cooking, but his two tips are to cook the turkey upside down (“all the juices go into the breast,”) and start with the best quality turkey (from Diestel Ranch, in his opinion). Tan said for those with smaller families or having “Thanksgiving for two,” it’s not necessary to buy an entire turkey.

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middle and then sandwiching them, seems like a literal recipe for disaster because if you don’t seal it properly, they don’t raise enough,” Drucker said. His solution: Instead, use a recipe for beignets, the deep-fried French pastry made famous in New Orleans. “I realized, probably having had them or seen them, that beignets are perfect for it because they puff up nice and rich and pillowy so you can shove

jam on the inside no problem,” he said. “And they’re super simple. You just roll the dough out, you cut it into whatever shape you want, whether it be a circle or even easier, I just take a pizza cut- Brisket — braised, smoked or grilled — is the ter and cut out typical meat served at Jewish holidays. squares. You fry them up and then include making sufganiyot with you shove them full of yummy pumpkin puree or replacing the goodness.” jelly with cranberry sauce. Other holiday food mash-ups Though Hanukkah is also Michelle Le

THANKSGIVUKKAH continued from page 12

about fried, there’s usually protein present: brisket, a tough cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. Drucker said he usually braises the brisket, “slow and low” in beef broth in the oven at around 300 degrees. He’s also used a smoker (“That’s more of a southern Texas thing.”) and a sous vide immersion circulator, a somewhat recent culinarytechnological innovation that cooks bagged, vacuum-sealed food in a precisely controlled, low-temperature water bath. Because the food is totally

The Ladera Countr y Shopper Merchant’s Holiday Fair Saturday, December 7th • 11:00 am-12:30pm Santa at Konditorei: Photos by Susan Thomas

~ Plus ~ Ladera Garden & Gifts: Bulb Planting Bianchini’s Market: Matt’s Famous eggnog & food tasting Lobster Shack: The Balloon Lady Amigos Grill: Piñata Pasquale’s West Coast Pizzeria: Madrigal Singers UPS: Greeting cards for soldiers & Toys for Tots Portola Kitchen: Make your own candy cane reindeer Alpine Optometry: Holiday cards Ladera Cleaners and Diane’s Beauty: Holiday candy Chase Bank: Cookies, drinks and popcorn

14NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 20, 2013

sealed, it can be cooked in the sous vide at low temperatures for even days at a time. This is ideal for cooking a meat like brisket, Drucker explained. “Brisket’s a really, really tough piece of meat. So you have to cook it to about 190 degrees internal ... rare is 135, medium rare is 142-ish. So you’re just destroying this piece of meat, but you have to to break down all the connective tissue. So by doing it s sous vide, you’re cooking it at like 160 degrees, so it’s just slowly kind of melting away the connective tissue. So it’s like a filet when you’re done.” With all the Thanksgivukkah talk, menurkeys and typical holiday anxiety, it’s easy to forget what both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are supposed to be about: enjoying a meal with family, Drucker said. “This year it just happens that it coincides, which will be nice to get to spend an actual Hanukkah and light the menorah with family. And that’s all it should be about.” N Editorial Assistant Elena Kadvany can be emailed at

Continued from previous page

Instead, buy turkey breast — or duck, as an alternative — and smoke it in a wok. Line the bottom of the wok completely with foil. Combine a cup of rice, half a cup of tea leaves, some cinnamon and any other spices and half a cup of sugar; stir and put it in the bottom of the wok. Put a rack on top of the wok with the turkey or duck breast resting on top before covering the entire contraption with the wok lid (or tent it with foil to avoid cleaning the lid). Turn on the heat at medium/ medium low and leave it for 20 minutes. “So what happens is the brown sugar melts and caramelizes, heats up the spices, the rice, the tea, the herbs that you’ve got under there, without touching the breast,” Tan said. After the 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. “It condenses — with the heat and everything, there’s condensation inside,” she said. “So when you take off the foil tent, you’ve got a smoked turkey breast or duck breast. That’s the poor man’s smoker.” For the unconventional Thanksgiving diner: The wok smoking method can work with sausages, prawns, crab cakes and more, Tan said. N Editorial Assistant Elena Kadvany can be emailed at


Aircraft noise by Surf Air upsets Atherton residents By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


therton residents have been making some noise of their own over the increase in aircraft noise that’s resulted from a start-up company’s new flight service into and out of the San Carlos Airport. The impact of Surf Air’s single-engine turboprop aircraft flights over Atherton, and possible steps the town can take to mitigate the noise, will be discussed at the City Council’s regular meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Mayor Elizabeth Lewis said she has met with representatives of Surf Air and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as

well as with county Supervisor Warren Slocum, to try to work out solutions to the high-decibel problem. Surf Air has already put in place several measures, such as keeping the aircraft’s gear up and flying faster over the affected areas, but residents have reported that the change in noise level is “indiscernible,” Mayor Lewis said. Neighborhoods most affected are in the north and eastern areas of town, including Encinal School, she said. In a staff report, City Manager George Rodericks said the town last month assisted with a decibel reading at 20 Holbrook Lane, and measured the noise from a Surf Air plane flying about 1,500 feet overhead at 68-72

Portola Valley begins months of meetings on housing By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


ortola Valley’s ongoing conversation on affordable housing restarted at a Nov. 13 joint meeting of the Town Council and the Planning Commission. The meeting kicks off a 10-meeting update to the town’s housing element, a state-mandated chapter in a community’s general plan to address the supply and affordability of housing. Updates to housing elements, normally done on an eightyear rotation, must receive state certification. One hundred cities and towns within nine Bay Area counties, and the counties themselves, have until January 2015 to submit updated elements to the Department of Housing and Community Development. To meet its assigned quota for 2014-22, Portola Valley must show good faith in planning for and encouraging construction of 64 new dwellings, including 13 for abovemoderate-income households, 15 each for moderate- and low-income households, and 21 for very-low-incomes. Among the highlights of the joint meeting, second units (granny cottages) received significant attention; residents tend to prefer them over condominiums. Among ideas aired to encourage more second units: increase the floor-area limit of 750 square feet; consider allowing two units instead of one on large properties; and allow them on smaller properties. Another idea addressed the topic of condos, an incendiary issue among their poten-

tial neighbors. If the Town Council were to consider buying land for condos — as happened in 2012 around a former plant nursery at 900 Portola Road — Planning Commissioner Nate McKitterick suggested the council announce its intentions publicly instead of conducting the entire discussion in closed session, as is the practice for real estate transactions. The nursery project grew out of an obligation to build eight condos in a subdivision as a condition of the subdivision being built. The parcel proved topographically unsuitable. When the nursery site became available, the council, following past practices, held closed sessions that led to the sale of the parcel and plans to buy the nursery site. The deal fell through over a failed clean-up of contaminated soil, but outraged neighbors alleged secrecy on the part of the council. “If the people knew that the town was going to do something with (the nursery site), there wouldn’t be that debate in a vacuum,” Mr. McKitterick said. Councilwoman Ann Wengert said she agreed that a separate public process was appropriate. The housing element update will involve nine meetings before the Planning Commission: three on second units, two on housing affiliated with institutions such as Woodside Priory School, two on community preferences, and two on drafting the language. The draft needs council approval before submission to the state. Go to for more information. A

decibels. The town’s noise ordinance restricts noise at that time of day — about 7:30 a.m. — to 60 decibels, the report said. The ambient noise at that location registered 48.5-51.5 decibels. Mr. Rodericks said that Surf Air is planning to expand its services, and “it is likely that there will be additional flights added to the San Carlos Airport.” The new company is an “allyou-can-fly membership service” aiming to “revolutionize the world of air travel,” according to its website. It now offers 16 daily departures between Burbank, San Carlos, and Santa Barbara, and next month will add Hawthorne and Palm Springs to the mix, the website says. And, it says, “We plan to

expand soon to Monterey, San Diego, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and the Sonoma/Napa area.” The FAA representative who met with the mayor and others in town “encouraged the residents to form a committee and request a ‘new plane approach’ to address the noise issue,” Mr. Rodericks said in the report. Mayor Lewis told the Almanac that getting a new approach approved by the FAA could take more than two years, but the town needs to start the process. She said the approach possibly could be redirected over US-101, and that the town doesn’t want it pushed over into other neighborhoods. Although the glide path into San Carlos Airport has been

in place for many years, the increase in noise is due to the added number of flights with Surf Air’s launch, and the larger size of the aircraft Surf Air is flying, Mayor Lewis said. The council will discuss Mr. Rodericks’ recommendation that the mayor and council member-elect Rick DeGolia be authorized “to facilitate a public meeting, inviting council representatives from adjacent jurisdictions,” to gather public comment. Mr. DeGolia has been active in meetings of town officials and residents on the issue. The Nov. 20 meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 94 Ashfield Road in the Town Center. A

Drug rehab facility seeks home on Skyline By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


proposal now under consideration by the San Mateo County Planning Commission would authorize a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center to replace the Stillheart Institute, a meditation center, at 16350 Skyline Blvd. in unincorporated Woodside. The Stillpath Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Center has applied for a change to the use permit for the site. A community meeting on the proposal is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Kings Mountain Community Center at 13889 Skyline Blvd. Stillpath would use holistic approaches to rehabilitation, including yoga, massage, music therapy, spiritual counseling and 12-step programs, according to a Planning Commission

staff report. The use is consistent with what is permitted under county regulations, and approval is recommended by county staff, the report says. The staff report says the change would not increase staff numbers nor would it alter the grounds or buildings. Vehicle traffic would go down, in part because clients’ stays would average 45 days compared with the three-day weekends typical for the meditation center. Clients’ arrival days would be staggered to reduce traffic impacts. Capacity would go to 76 clients, up from 57 for the meditation center, the report says. The commission delayed approving Stillpath’s use permit application to give it time to look into claims about no changes to staffing levels and parking discrepancies, along with other “significant inconsistencies,” according to an email

from Kathy Kennedy-Miller, a former president of the Kings Mountain Association, a neighborhood organization. Kings Mountain neighbors who attended the Oct. 23 meeting expressed concerns about fire dangers, given that the clients would allegedly be allowed to smoke on balconies that overlook the surrounding forest, Ms. Kennedy-Miller said. Neighbors also allege that Stillpath’s claim that it would draw water from an on-site well is misinformed in that the facility uses water provided by the Skyline County Water District, Ms. Kennedy-Miller said. The water district, she added, was not informed about the proposed change in use. Go to and turn to Page 41 to see the Planning Commission staff report. For more information, call 650-851-8235. A

Bicyclist severely injured in collision By Sandy Brundage


Almanac Staff Writer


enlo Park police investigated a collision that left a bicyclist with lifethreatening injuries on Nov. 18 during the morning commute. The crash, which occurred around 8:23 a.m. at Bayfront Expressway and Marsh Road, left the westbound traffic lanes closed for about six hours as investigators finished gathering information. The driver, a 33-year-old woman who lives in Union City, remained at the scene and did not appear to be under the influence of any drugs, police said. The 33-year-old male bicyclist, a Menlo Park resident, was taken to Stanford Hospital. Police

spokesperson Nicole Acker said he remained in critical condition and underwent surgery. No fault has been assigned yet, Ms. Acker said, and further details were not available by the Almanac’s press deadline. Police ask that anyone with information about the accident call investigators at 330-6300. See for updates. New city clerk

The new city clerk looks a lot like the interim city clerk in Menlo Park, and in fact, the two are one and the same. The city announced on Nov. 13 that Pam Aguilar has been promoted to the permanent post.

She stepped in as interim clerk following the departure of Margaret Roberts, who left at the end of May to take a position with the city of Hercules. Ms. Aguilar has served as deputy city clerk for Menlo Park since 2009. Prior to that she held the position in Belmont for about two years and worked as deputy clerk for the First District Court of Appeals. She received a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and completed a master’s degree in public administration at California State University, East Bay. She says she’s looking forward to implementing more technology to streamline city clerk processes as well as ensuring public records are organized and accessible. A

November 20, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN15

Give to The Almanac

Holiday Fund

Your gift helps children


ontributions to the Holiday Fund go directly to programs

that benefit Peninsula residents. Last

and families in need

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula

Second Harvest Food Bank

Provides after-school and academic support and activities for 1,750 at-risk K-12 youth at nine locations in Menlo Park and the North Fair Oaks neighborhood of Redwood City. Members attend at least twice a week during the academic year and receive essential tutoring, mentoring, and academic support.

The largest collector and distributor of food on the Peninsula, Second Harvest Food Bank distributed 52 million pounds of food last year. It gathers donations from individuals and businesses and distributes food to more than 250,000 people each month through more than 770 agencies and distribution sites in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

year, Almanac readers and founda-

Ecumenical Hunger Program

tions contributed $162,000 for the 10

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

agencies that feed the hungry, house the homeless and provide numerous other services to those in need. Contributions to the Holiday Fund will be matched, to the extent possible, by generous community corpo-

Project Read Provides free literacy services to adults in the Menlo Park area. Trained volunteers work one-on-one to help adults improve their basic reading, writing and English language skills so they can achieve their goals and function more effectively at home, at work and in the community. Volunteers also help students acquire basic keyboard and computer skills.

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

StarVista Serves more than 32,000 people throughout San Mateo County, including children, young people, families with counseling, prevention, early intervention, education, and residential programs. StarVista also provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services including a 24-hour suicide crisis hotline, an alcohol and drug helpline, and a parent support hotline.

rations, foundations and individuals,

Ravenswood Family Health Center

including the Rotary Club of Menlo

Provides primary medical and preventive health care for all ages at its clinics in Belle Haven and East Palo Alto. It also operates a mobile clinic at school sites. Of the more than 17,000 registered patients, most are low-income and uninsured and live in the ethnically diverse East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks areas.

Fair Oaks Community Center

vid and Lucile Packard Foundation.

St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room

No administrative costs will be de-

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

Teen Talk helps young people feel confident and supported to make informed decisions about their own sexual health through in-school programs, parent education, and training for youth program providers.

Park Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Da-

ducted from the gifts, which are taxdeductible as permitted by law.

Provides housing and food assistance, emergency shelter referral, legal services, a childcare program, older adult nutrition, and lowcost exercise programs for youth and adults.

Teen Talk Sexuality Education

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16NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 20, 2013

Please make checks payable to: Silicon Valley Community Foundation Send coupon and check, if applicable, to: The Almanac Holiday Fund c/o Silicon Valley Community Foundation 2240 West El Camino Real, Suite 300 Mountain View, CA 94040 The Almanac Holiday Fund is a donor advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. A contribution to this fund allows your donation to be tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.




N P O L I C E C A L L S This information is from the San Mateo County Sheriff’’s Office and the Menlo Park and Atherton police departments. Under the law, people charged with offenses are considered innocent unless convicted. ATHERTON Residential burglary reports: ■ A resident of Howard Way told police that, months ago, someone stole a Young Chang baby grand piano from inside the house, a loss of about $10,000, Nov. 8. ■ Two air compressors are missing from a construction site on Bay Road. The break-in included cutting through a latch on a utility trailer as well as entering the house through an unlocked door, Nov. 9. Theft report: An Apple MacBook Pro valued at $1,700 has gone missing from a backpack sitting in the theater dressing room at Sacred Heart Schools at 150 Valparaiso Ave., Nov. 10.

LADERA General information report: A resident of Siesta Court reported several pieces of jewelry with a total value of $12,000 are missing from the family safe, Nov. 12. WOODSIDE Theft report: A Woodside High School student, responding to the bell starting class, left her cell phone on the other side of the room from her seat. At the end of the class when she went over to retrieve her phone, it was gone, Nov. 8. MENLO PARK Auto burglary reports: ■ Someone stole two laptop computers, a cell phone, a car key and reading glasses after smashing a window on a locked

vehicle parked on Crane Street. The loss is said to be about $4,470, Nov. 14. ■ A purse with an estimated value of $590, including its contents of a wallet, keys and a checkbook, is missing from a locked vehicle parked on Garwood Way and with no obvious signs of a break-in, Nov. 12. ■ A trailer parked in a driveway on University Drive was found with a dent, a door pried open and a $200 mattress missing, Nov. 13. ■ Someone attempted to steal $13 worth of copper wire from a vehicle parked on University Drive, Nov. 5. Theft reports: ■ Binoculars with an estimated value of $2,500 are missing from a business on El Camino Real, Nov. 07.

■ A $1,200 laptop computer has gone missing from Abbott Vascular Inc. on Campbell Avenue, Nov. 14. ■ A man on a bicycle stole shoes and an Apple iPhone that were lying unattended on the ground in the 200 block of Bay Road. The owner of the stolen items estimated the loss at $700, Nov. 11. ■ Thieves stole seven bicycles, locked and unlocked, in seven incidents for total losses of $1,900. The bikes had been on Willow Road, Santa Cruz and Ravenswood avenues, San Antonio Street and Pope Street, Nov. 1-14. ■ A man left his wallet with $450 in it on a counter in a Willow Road market and returned to find it missing, Nov. 3. ■ A woman stole a pair of underwear from a table in Ella Lingerie on Chestnut Street, Nov. 14.

Fraud reports: ■ A resident of Santa Margarita Avenue told police that an unauthorized person used the resident’s bank account to pay off a $2,194 credit card debt, Nov. 8. ■ A resident of Pierce Road reported suspicious activity in her checking account, specifically an unexplained deposit of $4,000 and a withdrawal of $836, Nov. 4. ■ A business owner in the 200 block of El Camino Real mailed $1,000 in prepaid debit cards, as instructed, after being threatened with a power shut-off by someone claiming to be from Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., Nov. 5. Stolen vehicle report: A white 1995 Mercury Villager from Windermere Avenue, Nov. 13.

PORTOLA VALLEY Auto burglary report: A woman returned to her parked and locked vehicle at the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve parking lot to find the window smashed and her purse and other property missing for a loss estimated at $3,361, Nov. 5. Controlled-substance paraphernalia report: Deputies approaching the intersection of Westridge Drive and Cervantes Road encountered a man dressed in black and claiming to be a caregiver for a nearby residence. Seeing a methamphetamine pipe on the ground, deputies asked the man about it and he admitted that it was his. He explained by saying that he needed meth to “keep him going” at several jobs, said deputies, who issued him a notice to appear in court, Nov. 10. Fraud report: A person claiming to represent Medicare called a resident on Veterans Day asking for her bank account information, which she provided, then realized that it was a federal holiday and informed deputies in anticipation of fraud perpetrated on her account, Nov. 11. WEST MENLO PARK Residential burglary report: With losses estimated at $1,600, two residents of a Valparaiso Avenue home reported a smashed glass door at the rear of the house and two laptop computers and several pieces of jewelry missing. The residents entered and found the entire home had been ransacked, including closets rummaged through and drawers left open, Nov. 11.

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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 Editor Carol Blitzer Photographer Michelle Le (223-6530) DESIGN & PRODUCTION Design Director Shannon Corey (223-6560) Assistant Design Director Lili Cao Designers Linda Atilano, Rosanna Leung, Paul Llewellyn, Scott Peterson, Kameron Sawyer 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.

Many missed warnings on toxic cloud


uckily, it wasn’t even close to being the “Big One,” the massive Last Sunday’s fire was a wake-up call, especially for those who earthquake that residents fear could hit the Bay Area anytime. are not on the city’s call list. Commander Dave Bertini, a spokesBut when a major fire broke out at the Sims scrap metal recy- man for the department, said that during an emergency like a cling complex in Redwood City Nov. 10, it enveloped much of the major earthquake, all phone service and email could go down, Midpeninsula in a pall of foul-smelling smoke. but text messages might squeeze through as was the case during For many residents, much of that pain came from not knowing the Boston Marathon bombing. what had suddenly happened to the air quality in their neighborThe Sims fire exposed numerous shortcomings in the area’s hood. Although no one has exact numbers, the “shelter in place” emergency notification system, although the police and other advisory issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, local and county government agencies cannot send you a message apparently did not come close to reaching the unless you provide them the information. To thousands of households impacted by the acrid learn more about how to sign up, see the story EDI TORI AL smoke. on Page 5. The opinion of The Almanac When the department sent out an emergency Many residents were expecting police to message Sunday to the more than 13,000 phone patrol the neighborhoods using loudspeakers numbers in its database, connections were made to let people know what was happening. Cmdr. with only 7,828 people. The problems were typical — busy signals, Bertini said that officers would have patrolled the streets using people hanging up, reaching phone numbers that were no longer in their public address systems if the “shelter in place” alert had service or using an overloaded network. San Mateo County also sent been an order instead of being advisory. So far, it is not known if out warnings, but it is not clear when and how many went out. anyone was seriously injured by breathing the smoke, although To its credit, the Menlo Park Police Department acted quickly to many complaints about extreme discomfort were registered on make changes in the system so that on a second try, every number the Almanac’s online Town Square forum. was called three times, instead of once, with five minutes between Now it is up to state, county and city authorities to hold the each attempt. Many more people, 10,000-plus, did connect, a sub- Sims company accountable for this event. After a large fire fueled stantial improvement over the first effort. by crushed cars erupted at the same site in April 2007, Sims was But countless households, including many in the unincorporated cited by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District when county areas, were left in the dark because they had not signed up for toxic residue from the blaze fouled nearby wetlands. This time, the alerts, although the department also used Twitter and Facebook no citations have been issued, although it is time for the authorito get the word out about this emergency. The city’s primary system ties to consider revoking Sims’ permit to operate at the site. Even is designed to notify land line and cellular telephones, as well as if the company is not found responsible for starting the fire, its email addresses, which means people must sign up to receive noti- operations are accident-prone and put thousands of people in the fications and make sure to keep their contact information current. surrounding neighborhoods at risk.

L ET TERS Our readers write

Smoke was thick over N. Fair Oaks Editor: The fire at Sims Metal in Redwood City on Nov. 10 sent a thick plume of smoke over my neighborhood in unincorporated Redwood City. The odor was like burning plastic and the haze was dense over our homes. We could not be outside, the smell was so bad. We did not get the “shelter-in-place” phone message for at least two to three hours after the fire started. By then the smoke was drifting thick and low over North Fair Oaks, Menlo Park and Atherton. Shame on Sims. That said, this incident is a reminder of just how foolish it is for Cargill to continue its plan for residential development on the salt ponds, just steps away from the Sims metal shredders. Marsha Cohen Redwood City

18NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 20, 2013

Atherton Heritage Association/Rachel Bentley

Our Regional Heritage This watercolor by Rachel Bentley depicts the spectacular Atherton home built for James and Mary Emma Flood. The construction project began in 1876 and took two years to complete. The land that was later subdivided is now Lindenwood.


Chamber firmly behind Specific Plan By Gino Casparini


he economy is still the most important issue facing our region. A strong and growing economy generates new tax revenue for local governments and our schools. This revenue provides for better public safety, paved streets, well-maintained parks, and funds for local schools. Here in Menlo Park, we made a concerted effort to help jump-start this kind of economic stimulus by developing the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan. The additional goal of the plan was to locate new housing near the Menlo Park train station to encourage “transit-oriented” housing that allows people to rely less on automobiles. Menlo Park spent over five years gathering community input during 90 workshops, speaker series and public meetings, including 28 City Council

hearings and 18 Planning Commis- along El Camino. sion hearings. Dozens of concerned As prescribed, the Specific Plan is citizens of various political views par- now under review by City Council ticipated. The city also spent over $1.7 and Planning Commission one year million in taxpayer money after adoption. Several planto develop the Specific Plan. ning commission hearings The process that created the have already taken place. plan was thoughtful, exhausThe council will be reviewtive and transparent. ing it soon. Now, two projects have The Menlo Park come forward as a result of Chamber of Commerce this effort — one offered by strongly believes that alterStanford University on the ing or modifying the Specific GUEST southern end of El Camino Plan would be a monumental OPINION Real and one by Greenheart mistake. It would send the Land Company at the north wrong message to the comend of El Camino at Oak Grove munity, which spent years creating Avenue. Each will create new and it — and to those willing to revitalize vibrant, mixed-use projects of hous- and invest in our city. We ask that the ing, office, and retail adjacent to the City Council leave the plan alone. train tracks that will revitalize the As with many land-use issues in empty eye-sores of vacant parcels our town, a small but vocal minority,

His specialty is in Spanish Linguistics and Neo Latin Languages. He is also a French Instructor and speaks fluent Italian and Portuguese. Jose says, “What I love about teaching is helping students discover the many worlds of language.” When Jose isn’t teaching, he likes to study Mandarin, go for walks in San Francisco neighborhoods, and stay active in French, Italian and Portuguese.

Gino Gasparini is chairman of the board of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce



many of whom did not participate in the development of the Specific Plan, is trying to drag this comprehensive, fair planning effort back to the drawing board. As a community, we came together and made a collective decision to adopt and implement the Specific Plan. It’s now time to see that vision realized. The Chamber, therefore, urges the City Council to resist the urge to make modifications to the Specific Plan so it can be given a chance to work. It is time to move on and go forward.

Discover the best places to eat this week! AMERICAN


Armadillo Willy’s

856-7700 1700 Embarcadero East, Palo Alto

941-2922 1031 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos

The Old Pro 326-1446 541 Ramona Street, Palo Alto

New Tung Kee Noodle House 947-8888 520 Showers Drive, Mountain View INDIAN


Janta Indian Restaurant

Cucina Venti

462-5903 369 Lytton Ave.

254-1120 1390 Pear Ave, Mountain View CHINESE

Chef Chu’s 948-2696 1067 N. San Antonio Road

Read and post reviews, explore restaurant menus, get hours and directions and more at ShopPaloAlto, ShopMenloPark and ShopMountainView

ONE OF THE MANY REASONS TO SEND YOUR CHILD TO: Woodside Prior y School Admissions Office 302 Portola Road, Portola Valley, CA 94028 650/851-8223 ■


for Prospective Students and Families

Saturday, December 7th at 10am Wednesday, December 11th at 7pm (Information evening only) For information and to R.S.V.P. contact Admissions at 650.851.8223

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Support The Almanac’s print and online coverage of our community. Join today: November 20, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN19

The best in luxury Oliver Luxury Real Estate Welcomes GINNA ARNOLD-LAZAR as Manager of the Menlo Park office. inna’s exceptional credentials include an outstanding track record in Peninsula real estate sales since 1995, numerous leadership and Board positions in the industry, and a lifelong career in real estate since 1977. Ginna is also a dedicated


21 Atherton Avenue, Atherton


4 bedrooms, 4 baths, Menlo Park schools Cashin Group CalBRE 01438764 650 321 8900

60 Joaquin Road, Portola Valley


Fabulous Bay and San Francisco views, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths Cashin & Gaetano CalBRE 01438764 650 321 8900

600 Moore Road, Woodside

philanthropist, avid equestrian, and active member of many educational, community, and real estate boards. Oliver Luxury Real Estate, affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, is honored to have such a seasoned professional join its executive team.

Price upon request

Estate home, guest + caretaker’s homes, tennis, pool Cashin Group CalBRE 01438764 650 321 8900

22030 Mt Eden Road, Saratoga


Newly built vineyard estate on 14 acres, spectacular views Cashin & Lazar CalBRE 70023567 650 321 8900

20NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 20, 2013

151 Almendral Avenue, Atherton


Renovated estate, guest house, 8-car garage parking, pool Cashin Group CalBRE 01438764 650 321 8900

3061 Broken Arrow Pl, Squaw Valley


5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, award-winning kitchen, one-half acre David Gemme CalBRE 01371048 530 277 8881

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