As traffic mounts, concerns grow about student safety | Page 7
T H E H O M E TOW N N E W S PA P E R F O R M E N L O PA R K , AT H E R TO N , P O R TO L A VA L L E Y A N D WO O D S I D E
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An exciting new addition to an old favorite
Borrone MarketBar Section 2
W W W. T H E A L M A N AC O N L I N E . C O M
The best in luxury
1081 SIERRA DRIVE, MENLO PARK
140 ELEANOR DRIVE, WOODSIDE
New on the market! 3-bedroom, 2-bath home located in desirable Sharon Heights Kristin Cashin CalBRE 01438764 650 399 0500
PRICE UPON REQUEST
5-bedroom, 2.5-bath spacious home close to the Atherton border Carolyn Rianda CalBRE 01501805 650 400 8361
Views, amenities, and luxury. Las Lomitas School District Kristin Cashin CalBRE 01438764 650 399 0500
Midtown 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 1,312 square feet, 7,700 square-foot lot Gary McKae CalBRE 01452438 650 743 7249
Oliver Luxury Real Estate welcomes KRISTIN GRAY as our newest sales associate
ristin Gray is a native Californian raised in Atherton. She attended Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park and Menlo School in Atherton. Kristin received her bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics and her MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. An entrepreneur with a broad range of business
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and civic accomplishments, Kristin brings a unique combination of experience to her clients. She loves building and maintaining lifelong relationships and ﬁnding the perfect home for her clients. Kristin is also a member of the Junior League and Cantor Arts Center and volunteers weekly at Citizen Schools.
R EAL E STATE Q&A
UP F RONT
by Monica Corman
Selling “Off-Market” Dear Monica: I plan to put my house on the market in March and I am deciding whether to market it publicly using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), or having my realtor market it privately to other agents she knows. What would you advise? Karen M. Dear Karen: We are currently in one of the tightest markets there has been in the past many years and I see no reason not to openly market your property to everyone rather than to a closed circle of agents. You have no idea how many potential buyers are looking for your kind of property and the only way to find out is to expose it to as many people as possible. Buyers for Silicon Valley properties are local, national and international and you don’t know where your buyer will come from. A recent experience of mine can illustrate this point.
Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac
I listed a property in Palo Alto during the holidays, mainly because I was starting to get calls about it from agents who knew it was coming on the market in January, so I decided to let everyone know. I had so many calls and requests for information and at least half of the calls were from agents and buyers who were not in the immediate area of the property. The only way they knew that the property was for sale was because it was listed on MLS and repeated on numerous other websites. The property sold with multiple offers well above the list price and the seller was very satisfied. I have seen this set of facts repeated on other sales in the past few weeks. My advice is to expose your property as widely as possible. This will confirm the true market value for the property.
For answers to any questions you may have on real estate, you may e-mail me at email@example.com or call 462-1111, Alain Pinel Realtors. I also offer a free market analysis of your property. www.MonicaCorman.com
Flegel’s Home Furnishings is observing its 60th anniversary in Menlo Park this year.
Flegel’s named small business of the year in Senate district Flegel’s Home Furnishings, which is observing its 60th anniversary in Menlo Park this year, has been named Small Business of the Year in state Senator Jerry Hill’s 13th Senatorial District. The award is given in recognition of Flegel’s commitment to community service and business ethics, according to Sen. Hill’s office. “I was totally blown away,” said Mark Flegel, president and owner of Flegel’s Home Furnishings, when he heard the news. Sen. Hill’s proclamation says that Mark Flegel and Flegel’s have long supported such community organizations as the Rotary Club of Menlo Park,
Music@Menlo, Peninsula Volunteers, Peninsula College Fund, Fraternite Notre Dame, and Vintage Affair. Mr. Flegel was recognized for giving generously of his time and energy as chair of the Rotary District’s Mark Flegel 5150’s Scholarship and Youth Exchange programs, as a director of the San Francisco Fleet Week Association, and as vice president of the San Francisco Navy League Council. He has served as a Menlo College trustee, a C.S. Lewis Founda-
tion trustee, a Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce board member, and as a member of several city of Menlo Park committees. Mark’s father Arthur, who will turn 97 in August, opened the original Flegel’s 60 years ago — in January 1954 — in a 5,000square-foot store in downtown Menlo Park where Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria is today at 880 Santa Cruz Ave. Four years later Flegel’s moved next door to its current location at 870 Santa Cruz Ave., a 24,000-square-foot showroom. Mark Flegel said he plans to hold a 60th anniversary celebration for Flegel’s Home Furnishings in May or June.
! e l a S g n i s o l C e Stor st Go! u M g n i h t Every
Residents invited to crime-prevention session Property crime in Ladera, Portola Valley and Woodside — the trends, how to discourage burglaries and thefts, and how to improve community safety — are the topics for a 90-minute informational session set for
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the Portola Valley Community Hall at Town Center, 765 Portola Road. Sheriff Greg Munks invites residents to meet their neighbors and learn how to mini-
mize becoming a victim of crime. Representatives from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to talk about these issues and take questions from residents.
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THE ALMANAC (ISSN 1097-3095 and USPS 459370) is published every Wednesday by Embarcadero Media, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 940256558. Periodicals Postage Paid at Menlo Park, CA and at additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for San Mateo County, The Almanac is delivered free to homes in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. Subscriptions for $60 per year or $100 per 2 years are welcome. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025-6558. Copyright ©2012 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
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Trust Your Face to a Specialist
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Local News M
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No charges in crash that hurt 6-year-old twins ■ Driver’s license suspended, but it’s unclear whether it was voluntary or by DMV
By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer
dward Nelson, the 90-yearold driver whose SUV jumped a curb and pinned 6-year-old twin boys against a wall in downtown Menlo Park, will not be charged with an infraction for driving on the sidewalk. The Oct. 17 crash broke one twin’s arm and left the other boy in critical condition; he was released from Stanford Hospital following a five-week stay and multiple surgeries. The Cadigan family filed a lawsuit against Mr. Nelson seeking punitive as well as general damages for injuries ranging from multiple, extensive skin grafts and lower-body damage; orthopedic and soft-tissue damage to the upper body; and emotional trauma. Under California criminal law, the infraction was the only possible charge, and the evidence didn’t support filing it, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, because nothing indicated that
Mr. Nelson intentionally hit the boys. “There has to be an intentional, or a ‘malicious’ act, which is probably a better way to look at it,” Deputy District Attorney Sean Gallagher said. “There has to be volitional conduct. If you run a stop sign, you are volitionally not bringing the wheels to a complete stop. In this case, he believed he was doing one thing, and was mistaken. He was trying to hit the brake, and hit the gas instead.” Mr. Nelson’s physical condition — some witnesses of the crash reported that he needed a walker to exit his BMW — wasn’t a factor. “They determined at the scene that he wasn’t under the influence. There was nothing obvious to indicate that he was incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle that day,” Mr. Gallagher told the Almanac. The driver, however, is no longer behind the wheel. His license has been suspended, according to the D.A.’s office, but it’s unclear whether Mr.
Public urged to step up water conservation By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor
s state, regional and local water agencies step up efforts to encourage water conservation in the wake of the governor’s declaration of a drought-related state of emergency, local homeowners might consider heading for the hardware store. Gov. Jerry Brown’s declaration of a state of emergency is in response to the state’s “record dry conditions, with 2014 projected to become the driest year on record,” according to the proclamation he issued on Jan. 17. The action requires state agencies to launch a campaign calling on Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent. Customers served by California Water Service Co. (Cal Water), including residents of Atherton, parts of Menlo Park,
Portola Valley and Woodside, have already cut back on water usage by 20 percent since 2007, said Tony Carrasco, the agency’s district manager. But, he said in a press release issued after the governor’s declaration, “We encourage customers to keep up the good work, and take advantage of all of the conservation programs we offer.” One program that company and other local agencies sponsor offers rebates to replace waterinefficient fixtures and appliances, and for replacing lawns with water-efficient landscaping. Although concerned about current conditions and the potential for the drought to extend into the next rainfall season, water officials in the Bay Area haven’t pushed the panic button yet. That’s because much of the region gets its water from the Hetch
Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac
The scene of the October accident where a BMW SUV jumped a curb, trapping 6-year-old twins against a wall next to Walgreens on Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Menlo Park.
Nelson voluntarily surrendered it or the Department of Motor Vehicles took it away. He had no prior suspensions or history of reckless driving. “Tragically, these incidents are what brings home to a lot of
elderly drivers that maybe they shouldn’t be driving,” Mr. Gallagher said. Had someone died as a result of the crash, the driver would likely have faced a vehicular manslaughter charge, which
doesn’t require intentional conduct. “We can all agree it was an accident, but the law says if someone dies, we’re going to See CAR CRASH, page 8
Report: Few complaints against officers By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer
score of 0.066 percent on an exam would usually equal one big red “F” and a possible reconsideration of majors. As for officials of the Menlo Park Police Department, however, that’s the kind of score they want to see. Out of 41,983 contacts made by police officers in 2013, only 28 generated complaints from citizens, according to a police report. Two additional complaints were made against non-sworn professional staff providing walk-in service. Zero percent would be even better, according to Chief Bob Jonsen, who committed last year to providing the public with an annual report indicating the number of complaints and outcomes in the wake of the Almanac’s investigative report on the non-transparency of police discipline.
Prior to the chief’s decision, Menlo Park refused to release even the bare minimum of information allowed under the law. In 2013, eight complaints were filed for discourtesy or rude behavior — the most common situation — displayed by an officer. Out of a total of 30 complaints, five were sustained, officers were exonerated in 11 cases, two complaints were ruled unfounded, and four are still under investigation. Twenty percent were withdrawn before an investigation was completed. “Sustained” indicates that the police department’s internal investigation found evidence that the complaint was founded, according to Chief Jonsen. An officer is determined to be “exonerated” when there’s proof that the officer’s actions
followed the department’s policies; that evidence often arises from the audio and video recorders that on-duty officers now wear. An “unfounded” ruling signals that the actions alleged in the complaint either didn’t happen or didn’t involve Menlo Park personnel, the report said. State law prohibits the release of any information that would identify the officers involved, but Chief Jonsen provided some further insight into the sustained complaints. Two of the five sustained complaints — both for neglecting to carry out an assignment — await completion of the final report, so no further details are available yet other than the determination that they were sustained. Chief Jonsen told the Almanac that See OFFICER COMPLAINTS, page 8
Continued on page 8
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Menlo Park man doesn’t show up for sentencing A 50-year-old Menlo Park man convicted of multiple counts of felony child molestation didn’t show up for sentencing on Jan. 24, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. In November, Horacio Carlos Teran was found guilty of three counts of felony molestation, and acquitted of two counts, according to court records, after two previous trials ended in jury deadlock or mistrial. Mr. Teran was arrested in 2010 after a 10-year-old neighbor alleged that the man had fondled him during games of tag in the defendant’s backyard, the district attorney’s office said. His defense attorney told the court on Jan. 24 that Mr. Teran’s wife had reported him as a missing person. Judge Robert Foiles issued a warrant for his arrest. Mr. Teran posted $300,000 bail on Nov. 27 and was released from custody after another judge denied the prosecutor’s request for “no bail” status.