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2QThe AlmanacQTheAlmanacOnline.comQAugust 6, 2014

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Sacred Heart Prep grad Heather Smith gets greased up before making her successful English Channel swim July 21.

‘It took everything I had mentally and physically to get through it.’ HEATHER SMITH

the summer, that I was able to go to the Bay (Aquatic Park) and train in the cold water. “On May 21, I did my first Aquatic Park swim and only could handle 40 minutes in the 56-degree water. Becoming

acclimated to the cold was my biggest worry.� A swimmer is only allowed to wear a Speedo suit, goggles, and a cap during English Channel attempts — in addition to be liberally covered in grease to fight the cold. “My time in the water slowly improved and, by early June, I could handle two hours. On June 21, I did my six-hour qualifying swim in Aquatic Park. That was the longest swim of my training.� Then it was off to England to achieve a dream. A

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eather Smith helped the Sacred Heart Prep girls water polo team win three straight Central Coast Section Division II titles. That was easy compared to what she endured July 21 while becoming the 452nd woman in recorded history to swim the English Channel. The 21-year-old Smith made the 21-mile swim from Dover (England) to Audresselles (France) in 11 hours, 10 minutes. While it was faster than the average time of 14 hours, Smith was hoping to make the treacherous trek in 10 hours. “The swim itself was incredibly hard,� Smith said. “It took everything I had mentally and physically to get through it.� Smith got her marathon day underway at 6:30 a.m. She said the water was warmer than expected, 63 degrees instead of 57 or colder. She swam in sunlight the entire stretch and was aided by a favorable tide for the first six hours, until it turned sooner than expected — thus the slower time. Upon completing her swim in France, Smith returned to Dover via boat to rejoin her mother, Carol, and brother. She completed her remarkable trek by signing her name on the wall of the White Horse Pub, Dover’s oldest bar. Smith’s dream to swim the English Channel began at Sacred Heart Prep. “I decided over five years ago, when I was in high school, that I wanted to swim the Channel,� she said. “After my first Alcatraz swim, when I was 16, I was hooked on open water swimming. “Prior to the Channel swim, I had not done any really big swims,� she said. “I have done five Alcatraz swims (she was the second-fastest female at the 2009 Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim), two Bridge to Bridge swims, and a 10k Lake Del Valle swim (in the East Bay).� Smith started her training for the Channel swim in January of this year. “However, I was at college at Bucknell (where she played water polo) and was only able to train in the pool,� she said. “It was not until May, when I came home for

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Local News M















College district puts $388 million bond measure on ballot By Dave Boyce Special to the Almanac


Photo by Natalia Nazarova/The Almanac

Local kids jump hurdles, play games with Facebook high school and college interns.

Facebook interns hold game day with kids By Tiffany Lam Special to the Almanac


acebook summer interns took a short break from their computers for the company’s first intern game day during the afternoon of Wednesday, July 30. One hundred high school and college interns from Facebook traveled from the company’s Menlo Park headquarters to Hoover Park in Redwood City to play with local first- through fifth-grade students. From dodgeball to dancing to conversations over snacks, interns and younger students were able to interact in multiple ways. “It’s hard to keep up with them,” said Michael Sayman, a participant in Facebook’s high school internship program. “They have so much energy, and they’ve been asking a lot of questions about Facebook. It’s awesome.” This year’s event, exclusive to interns and local students, was inspired by Facebook’s annual game day, an all-com-

pany tradition that started with 10 employees playing capture the f lag about a decade ago. The first- through fifthgraders came from local communities, such as East Palo Alto, east Menlo Park and North Fair Oaks. Partnering with Redwood City and after-school programs such as

The social media company aims to build student connections with fun. the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Facebook brought in 300 children. Redwood City Parks and Recreation Services provided the equipment and training for the event. Facebook provided transportation for the students. According to Susan Gonzales, director of community engagement at Facebook, the

event is a way to give back to the community. “It’s an opportunity for locals to interact with students studying technology,” said Ms. Gonzales. “We want to expose kids to the idea of education in science and technology.” The company wanted interactions to happen organically, noted Ms. Gonzales, when asked about the focus on games rather than other types of engagement. “It’s a fun way for the kids to become exposed to different opportunities,” said Redwood City Councilwoman Alicia Aguirre. “Many don’t have these types of role models.” And the event is rewarding not only for the young students, but the interns as well. “It’s nice to get time to spend away from the computer and interact with the community,” said Chyheim Alon Jackson Burgess, a college intern studying at the University of California at San Diego. “A lot of them are interested in programming.” A

he San Mateo County Community College District is going back to voters and asking them to approve a large bond measure for construction and modernization projects. At its July 23 meeting, the college district board voted unanimously to put a $388 million bond measure on the Nov. 4 ballot. Three years ago, the district’s $564 million bond measure won the favor of 53.1 percent of the voters, shy of the 55 percent required for passage. The new measure also requires 55 percent voter approval. A recent survey showed that 75 percent of potential voters, when informed of the goals of the proposal, would support the $388 million bond measure, according to Godbe Research in San Mateo. The $388 million measure works out to an annual property tax increase of $8.22 per

$100,000 of assessed value, district board President Helen Schwarz told the Almanac. This is the fourth bond measure proposed by the community college district since 2001. All but the 2011 measure passed. The previous measures raised $675 million, but all three campuses — Canada College in Woodside, Skyline College in San Bruno, and the College of San Mateo in San Mateo — still have classroom buildings that are 40 to 50 years old, officials have said. The goals of this year’s ballot measure are essentially the same as those for Measure H in 2011. The money would be used to modernize classrooms and labs to “prepare students for universities and high-demand jobs.” Facilities would be built to improve access by disabled people, do seismic retrofitting, and increase energy efficiency. Go to to view the list of projects that the college district says the bond measure would pay for. A

Atherton homeowner fined, barred from use of home By Barbara Wood Almanac Staff Writer


judge has decided in favor of the town of Atherton in its lawsuit alleging that the home at 67 Redwood Way was a “drug house.” San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Joseph Scott on July 16 ordered the homeowner, James Kristofferson, to pay a $25,000 penalty as well as $26,223 in legal fees and abatement costs to the town. The ruling bars Mr. Kristofferson from any use of the property, including putting it up for sale or rent, until next April, a year from the time he was first ordered to

move out in a preliminary ruling on the case. Atherton City Attorney Bill Conners said the term “drug house” is defined in the Health and Safety Code as “a place where illegal drugs are sold, served, manufactured, stored, used, kept, distributed, or given away.” The drug house abatement laws are “designed to deter illegal conduct and to abate the nuisances that inevitably flow from such illegal drug uses,” Mr. Conners said. Mr. Conners said Mr. Kristofferson has indicated he will See ATHERTON, page 6

It’s an election in Atherton: Fourth City Council candidate qualifies for ballot The race is on in Atherton. On July 30, a fourth candidate for the three open Atherton City Council seats qualified to add his name to the Nov. 4 ballot. Michael Lempres, an attorney

and a member of the town’s Transportation Committee and its Rail Committee is the latest candidate to join the race. Incumbents Bill Widmer and Rick DeGolia are also running along with Rose Hau, an

architect who is vice chair of the Civic Center Advisory Committee. Mr. Widmer is completing his first four-year term. Mr. DeGolia was elected to a one-year term last year to fill the seat left vacant when

Jerry Carlson resigned because he was moving from Atherton. The council now has only four members. Jim Dobbie, whose term was to expire in November, resigned in March due to poor

health, and his unfilled seat is one of the three that will be on the ballot this fall. Mr. Dobbie died on July 24. The deadline for filing is Friday, Aug. 8.

July 30, 2014QTheAlmanacOnline.comQThe AlmanacQ5


Atherton homeowner fined, barred from use of home continued from page 5

appeal the ruling. The civil lawsuit, cataloging more than 120 police calls to the address and describing unsafe living conditions, was originally filed against Mr. Kristofferson in San Mateo County Superior Court in April. He and a number of others living in the house were first ordered to move out in a preliminary ruling on April 25. The lawsuit says that between January 2011 and April 2014, the Atherton Police Department responded to the address “in excess of 120 times due to calls for service, including, but not limited to, complaints of multiple disturbances of the peace, service of arrest warrants, reports of parole violations, allegations of assault and battery (with) some resulting in arrest, dog fights, loud noise, suspicious vehicles, illegal parking, suspicious persons and complaints of suspected drug activity.” The house was inspected by the town and red-tagged for numerous violations on March 26, the lawsuit says. The town’s building official “cited numerous incidents of structures and equipment in various stages of construction without valid permits,” the lawsuit says. “Among the more dangerous conditions were electricity improperly being sourced from a running car in the yard, altered electrical panels and sub-panels, violations of the fire code, and an empty un-fenced pool in the yard. The official also noted a lack of heat, ventilation, plumbing, and electrical,” according to the lawsuit. “The neighborhood had been seriously impacted from nuisances attributed to this drug house,” Mr. Conners told the Almanac It was, Mr. Conners said, “a serious drain on scarce police resources dealing with all of these problems.” In March, the lawsuit says, the house was searched after a confidential informant told police he had purchased drugs from someone living in the Redwood Way home on three occasions. Only the final purchase occurred on the Atherton property, the lawsuit says. According to the lawsuit: “Controlled substances, illegal drugs, and drug paraphernalia were found. Defendant was arrested and charged with Possession for Sales - Methamphetamine, Possession of Paraphernalia, Possession of Concentrated Marijuana, and Maintaining a House for Nar6QThe AlmanacQTheAlmanacOnline.comQAugust 6, 2014

cotics Use. Three other persons, found on the premises and claiming to reside at the house, were also arrested on similar charges.” San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Mr. Kristofferson was charged with three misdemeanors for alleged possession of methamphetamine, concentrated cannabis and drug use paraphernalia. “The evidence was not sufficient to prove for Kristofferson or any of the other three defendants that the drug possession was for sale rather than for personal use,” Mr. Wagstaffe said. Trial is set for Sept. 15 and he is out of custody on supervised own recognizance, he said. Three others were also arrested at the home: Lauren Weil and Robin Vaka, charged with felony possession counts, and Yvette Marie Simmons, charged with misdemeanor possession counts. All four have courtappointed attorneys, Mr. Wagstaffe said. In his response to the lawsuit, acting as his own attorney, Mr. Kristofferson said he had owned the Atherton home for 10 years, with no problems for the first seven. He complained of “three years of Atherton Police Department’s harassment” as well as” the continued practice of falsifying police reports.” Mr. Kristofferson said that the drugs he was charged with possessing belonged to others living his home. He said he “has never nor will he ever allow drugs on his property.” In his response to the lawsuit, Mr. Kristofferson said he got a building permit from the town after his home was red-tagged and in March, when he filed his response, he had completed 80 to 90 percent of the required work. Mr. Conners said neighbors of the house now “report a new quiet enjoyment that they have not experienced for some time.” “At the present time, the owner remains barred from entry onto the premises and the neighborhood is free of nuisances attributed to this site for the first time in several years,” Mr. Conners said. Mr. Conners said town officials “do not believe Atherton has an extensive drug house problem, but we are committed to provide relief to neighbors whenever we find such a situation in the future.” Zillow, the online real estate website, estimates the home at 67 Redwood Way is worth close to $2.4 million. A


Shahriar Rahimzadeh, 32 Shahriar Rahimzadeh, 32, who had lived in Atherton for 22 years, died Wednesday, July 23, after being struck by a car on El Camino Real as he was walking home. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While Shahriarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life would seem too short, those who knew him are trying to accept that the quality of his existence far exceeded the quantity of time in which he lived,â&#x20AC;? a family member said.â&#x20AC;? His amazing intelligence, love of music, broad knowledge of history and random trivia, contagious laughter, sweet sense of humor, innocence and uncanny ability to love and accept unconditionally, all made him too good for this world.â&#x20AC;? Mr. Rahimzadeh was born in Tehran, Iran, on Aug. 29, 1981. In 1983 his family immi-


Shahriar Rahimzadeh had lived in Atherton for 22 years.

grated to the United States and settled in Atherton. He attended Menlo Park schools and graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School in 2001. He is survived by his parents, Sohrab and Mastaneh Rahimzadeh of Atherton; his brother, Dara Rahimzadeh, who currently lives in Los Angeles but is returning to Atherton; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Services were held on Sunday, July 27, at Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made to the International Society for Children with Cancer. Go to memory001 to see the familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s memorial on Lasting Memories.

Atherton works on El Camino safety By Barbara Wood Almanac Staff Writer


ong before the July 23 fatal accident on El Camino that took the life of 32-year-old Atherton resident Shahriar Rahimzadeh , the town of Atherton had been looking at ways to improve its 1.6-mile section of El Camino Real. In fact, Atherton has been meeting with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), which has ultimate control over the roadway because it is a state highway, for more than 18 months. Talks began after an accident on El Camino in September 2012, when two women in a crosswalk at Isabella Avenue were struck and badly injured. That accident was two years to the day after a 62-year-old bicyclist was struck and killed in the same crosswalk. Town officials say that since 2007 there have have been six serious incidents, three of them fatal, involving bicycles or pedestrians on El Camino Real. Four of the victims were in crosswalks. The meetings with Caltrans have had some results. Caltrans has agreed to put two pedestrianactivated stoplights, called pedestrian hybrid beacons, at the El Camino intersections of Isabella Avenue and Alejandra Avenue. However, the work is not scheduled to be started until August 2016, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Gidget Navarro. City officials seem even more pessimistic, with Community Services Director Michael

Kashiwagi stating in a recent report that â&#x20AC;&#x153;construction is scheduled to begin in late 2016. Therefore, it is anticipated that the pedestrian hybrid signals within Atherton will be under construction in 2017.â&#x20AC;? Town officials are working to move up the installation date. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They need to be installed now,â&#x20AC;? said Councilman Rick DeGolia. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In my opinion it simply isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t safe for any pedestrian, cyclist or vehicle to cross six lanes of state highway without a traffic light.â&#x20AC;? Councilman Bill Widmer, who said that he started the talks with Caltrans and other state officials when he was mayor in 2012, said he has been trying to get the state to agree to let Atherton advance the money to pay for the signals so they could go in sooner. The state would then pay Atherton back when it had the money budgeted, he said. Mr. Widmer said he has spoken with state Senator Jerry Hill and has a meeting scheduled with Assemblyman Rich Gordon as well as county officials. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My goal is to get everybody coordinated,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m trying to get things organized to get it going.â&#x20AC;? Caltrans has done some work to increase safety at five intersections within Atherton, adding signs and pavement markings at: Selby Lane, Stockbridge Avenue, Almendral Avenue, Isabella Avenue and Alejandra Avenue. The town has also cut and removed vegetation along El Camino to improve visibility Atherton is also considering major changes along El Camino Real, including cutting

the roadway to two lanes in each direction through the town and adding dedicated bike and pedestrian lanes and paths. The townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budget for 20142015 includes funding for the preliminary studies that would be needed to move ahead with those changes. The town has promised to meet with all the other jurisdictions that would be affected by a slimmed-down El Camino Real, including Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Mateo County and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. The townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan, now in the final stages of approval, shows how El Camino Real could be completely transformed with fewer motorized vehicle lanes, additional crosswalks and separated bicycle and pedestrian lanes. There is strong support on the Atherton Council for the changes on El Camino. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I disagree that we should make ECR faster for cars,â&#x20AC;? said Councilwoman Elizabeth Lewis. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I want to make it safer for bikes and pedestrian travel, to take cars off of ECR.â&#x20AC;? Councilman Rick DeGolia agreed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In my opinion, there needs to be one bike lane on at least one side of ECR and there should be at least a pedestrian lane on the other side,â&#x20AC;? he said. Councilman Bill Widmer said working with Caltrans has been frustrating. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Two years have passed and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re back almost exactly where we were before,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even if we get something tomorrow, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a hollow victory.â&#x20AC;? However, he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re being ignored.â&#x20AC;? A

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Woodside council likely to decide mansion’s fate By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


he future remains uncertain for the partially demolished three-story mansion at 360 Mountain Home Road in Woodside. The mansion made news in 2012 when it was sold for $117.5 million, a new U.S. record for a single-family home, according to news reports at the time. The town’s Planning Commission deadlocked on July 31 over what to do about the unauthorized removal of the first floor and first-floor framing as part of what was described in a staff report as a “simple remodel.” The town’s stop-work order has been in place since July 3, and the mansion’s second and third floors have been resting on steel beams in mid-air above a hole in the ground. Should work be allowed to continue, but with added conditions? Or should the owner be forced to seek new permits based on what staff now considers a demolition?Both questions were voted on by the sevenmember Planning Commission, and both received 3-3 votes, leaving the property owner with two paths forward: canceling the project or appealing to the Town Council. The deadline for an appeal is Monday, Aug. 11. An appeal is expected. Commissioner Aydan Kutay was absent. Staff reports list the owner of the 8.74-acre property as SV

Projects LLC. The owner has been represented in public meetings by the Mill Valley firm Van Acker Construction Associates, and by attorney John Hanna of the Palo Alto firm Hanna & Van Atta. What happened?

The 7,423-square-foot mansion was completed in 2009. The 2013 remodeling plans included replacing wooden siding with stone, expanding the basement, and replacing the roofs with gray slate. While the 2009 home was considered by the Architectural and Site Review Board and the Planning Commission as “inconsistent” with the town’s design criteria, the limited scope of proposed changes in 2013 led to the town’s permission to expand the house, including adding 400 square feet of floor space. The project was presented to the town by the applicant as a “simple remodel, with recladding and small additions,” according to a staff report. Once into the project, contractors said they discovered issues, including a potential for leaks between old and new basement walls and a problem with the load factor of stone siding, the report says. The town granted a permit to demolish the basement and recognized the need to elevate the house, but specified that it be done without removing the first floor or its framing. “I thought

that was a very clear line,” Planning Director Jackie Young said. On a site visit in mid-May, town inspectors found the house with the first floor and firstfloor framing gone, contrary to the permissions granted by the town. The missing framing “tipped the project into the realm of being reasonably considered a demolition of the existing residence,” the report says. At the July 2 meeting, commissioners split on their views of the situation. Adolph Rosekrans,

Planning Commission deadlocks on dealing with demolition work that the town says was not authorized. Elizabeth Hobson and Ms. Kutay spoke of forgiveness and allowing the owner to continue work. Chair Marilyn Voelke, Karen Rongey-Conner, Grant Huberty and Suzanne Muller were less forgiving. Ms. Muller sided with Mr. Rosekrans and Ms. Hobson on the July 31 tie votes. Van Acker spokesmen apologized for not consulting with the town on complications with the basement demolition, but the commission voted 6-1 to refer the matter to Planning Director Jackie Young, recommending that she send the project back to the ASRB. Instead, Ms. Young

Commission eyes Greenheart proposal By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


he amount of office space vs. retail in Greenheart’s proposed 420,000-squarefoot project on El Camino Real at Oak Grove Avenue in Menlo Park may vary depending on what the market supports, according to the developer. Greenheart’s project includes two three-story office buildings with 210,000 square feet of commercial space, and up to 220 apartments on its nearly 7-acre site. The commercial space would include at least 188,000 square feet of offices and 22,000 square feet set aside for other commercial use. The residential building would include 7,000 square feet of retail. Ninety-five percent of the on-site parking would be provided by an underground garage with entrances off El Camino Real and Garwood Way.

The amount of retail vs. office space in the non-residential portion of the complex could change depending on market demands, said Greenheart representative Bob Burke, who explained that the company has earmarked 22,000 square feet within the two commercial buildings as “flex space.” The EIR will study the possible impacts from this space being retail or office, Mr. Burke said. “We are and will continue to market this ground floor space for retail uses but we have the ability for it to become office if retail use does not prove to be viable.” The downtown/El Camino Real specific plan noted that the site is not a strong retail location, according to Mr. Burke. “We want to increase the pedestrian activity along El Camino so we are going to try our best to make retail work. However, no one wants blacked out storefronts if the retail space does not prove viable.” The 7,000-square-feet of

8QThe AlmanacQTheAlmanacOnline.comQAugust 6, 2014

ground floor space in the residential portion of the project, along Oak Grove Avenue, is not flex space and will be reserved for retail, he said. The company will provide public benefits for allowing a higher floor-area ratio and taller buildings. The two office buildings would reach 48 feet, with the top stories set back, a height comparable to other structures in the neighborhood, according to Greenheart. The proposal also includes renovating Garwood Way and creating a bicycle/pedestrian path to connect with the Caltrain station on Merrill Street. The Planning Commission was scheduled to outline the scope of an environmental impact report for the project on Aug. 4 after the Almanac’s print deadline. Go to to see a staff report. Check for updates. A

issued a stop-work order pending further consideration by the commission. Pretty dramatic

On July 31, attorney John Hanna, representing the property owner, spoke to the commission. “I’m here to try to restore some order to the chaos and confusion we went through at the prior meeting,” he said. “It was hard, for me, I know, to see the forest for the trees.” Basement demolition became complicated, he said, upon discovering that the first-floor composition was not traditional wooden joists but a combination of concrete and corrugated steel. It was not detachable from the basement and had to come out, he said. The framing that hung from the elevated second floor then became a safety issue and had to be taken down, he said. “That went beyond the scope for demolition,” Mr. Hanna admitted. “It’s pretty dramatic. You look at this and your first reaction is, ‘This is a remodel?’ ... The point is that we could have done a better job ... and we didn’t.” “What are we going to do about it? That’s really the question,” he said. “Are we going to use that to kill the project?” “This will be a learning experience for both of us, I think,” he added. “We firmly believe that this is not an event that rises to the level that the whole project be sent back to the

drawing board.” Several commissioners didn’t buy it, including Ms. Voelke: “I see the trail of how we got here as quite different than you do,” she said. The real issue, she said, is that the commission’s approval was based on representations about the project, and that the extent of demolition has undermined it. Van Acker admitted having access to the home’s original plans from the start of their involvement. “You have represented yourselves to be one of the very best and experienced (in the business) and (you were) in possession of plans,” Ms. Voelke said. “I feel, I believe, that this situation was manipulated,” she said. “The entire picture that was painted led us to the position to grant (approvals). That is my struggle. We have to treat everybody the same,” she said. “People come to the board and they expect to be treated the same. What do we tell the next person (who) says, ‘You let that guy off’?” There would be consequences to a denial, Mr. Hanna said. If the project is allowed to proceed, the concrete first floor will be replaced and resulting home will be as originally approved. The exterior should be finished by fall 2015, and the interior and landscaping a year later, he said. If delayed, it could be eight years, he said, adding: “I think you have to temper your decision.” A

Ex-police officer sues Menlo Park over firing By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


olando Igno, formerly of the Menlo Park Police Department, has filed a lawsuit against the city on grounds that previous allegations of lying to his supervisors should not have been considered in a recent decision to terminate his employment. He was fired in April after nearly seven years with the department, according to documents filed July 31 with the San Mateo County Superior Court. In 2012, the lawsuit states, Mr. Igno negotiated a suspension of 100 hours for failing to appear in traffic court. In exchange, he says, allegations of lying were supposed to be deleted from his personnel record. Those allegations involved lies related to taking time time off work for a

fishing trip instead of appearing in traffic court; attempting to hide evidence of a traffic stop to avoid appearing in traffic court; and trying to hide a failure to check a neighborhood while on patrol following a theft report. Documents filed with the lawsuit state that Mr. Igno had three previous incidents of misconduct on his record already — failing to appear in traffic court in 2010; a two-shift suspension without pay for speeding through a red light with two prisoners in the backseat of the car in 2009; and failing to show up for an internal affairs interview in 2009. Part of the agreement regarding the 100-hour suspension included a “last chance” clause that Mr. Igno “agreed to be terminated if he is hereafter deterSee OFFICER SUIT, page 14



Specific plan initiative supporters critique consultantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s analysis By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


he backers of an initiative to change the Menlo Park downtown/El Camino Real specific plan have released their take on a consultantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s analysis of the initiative. Lisa Wise Consulting carried out the $148,420 analysis at the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s request. The contractor was selected partly on the basis of having never before worked for Menlo Park or developers, such as Stanford University and Greenheart Land Co., with a stake in the outcome. The initiative, championed by grassroots coalition Save Menlo, will be on the Nov. 4 election ballot. It seeks to restrict the amount of office space in any individual development to 100,000 square feet; limit total new office space to 240,820 square feet; and cap overall new, non-residential development to 474,000 square feet within the specific planâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boundaries. The initiative would also redefine open space to mean only areas no higher than 4 feet off the ground, thereby preventing balconies from counting as open space. Voters would have to approve changes to the initiative as well as projects that would exceed the non-residential development caps â&#x20AC;&#x201D; requirements that Lisa Wise Consulting concluded could make investment riskier while making the specific plan area less attractive to developers. Among other â&#x20AC;&#x153;unintended consequencesâ&#x20AC;? should the initiative pass, Menlo Park could see â&#x20AC;&#x153;a dampening or complete stoppage of future nonresidential development in the ECR/D Specific Plan area as developers invest elsewhereâ&#x20AC;? in cities that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have such a requirement, according to the report. The initiativeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s supporters have now responded with a critique written by a group composed of four former planning commissioners, seven former council members and other interested parties, according to initiative co-sponsor Patti Fry. The group contends that the â&#x20AC;&#x153;most glaringâ&#x20AC;? deficiency in the LWC report is its failure to con-

sider whether the Stanford and Greenheart mixed-use projects fit the intention of the specific plan. Other criticisms levied at the analysis: Q The report obfuscates or overlooks some positive impacts of the initiative; the group proposes that its initiative would increase net revenue within the specific planâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boundaries by capping office space. Q The report â&#x20AC;&#x153;blames the Initiative for uncertainties inherent to the Specific Plan â&#x20AC;&#x153;and those uncertainties put the city at risk of legal liability with or without the initiative. Q The report overstates the impact of the initiative on the specific plan and staff costs and describes a shift in jobs from office to retail/hotel as a limit on job growth. Q Contrary to the report, the initiativeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s authors state above-ground space could count towards open space requirements for residential developments in some zoning areas. Q The report fails to characterize as a benefit a shift in commuter traffic away from downtown Menlo Park if developers decide to build office space elsewhere. The initiativeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s backers hope their analysis makes the city take a second look at the consultantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s report. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even though we collectively know more about Menlo Park, its history, and zoning ordinances than the authors of the Wise report, our critique of the Wise report should not be construed as a competing report,â&#x20AC;? initiative proponent and former councilman Heyward Robinson commented. Instead, the groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s report is an analysis of the consultantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work and its deficiencies, he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;City staff is ultimately responsible for the report and its accuracy. Staff has the in-house expertise to evaluate our critique and revise the report as necessary. They should use this expertise to do a thorough, in-depth analysis of both the report and the criticisms of it.â&#x20AC;? City Manager Alex McIntyre said Lisa Wise Consulting will be responding to the critique. A



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Menlo Park police released this photo Aug. 3, 2014, in connection with an investigation of home and vehicle burglaries in Menlo Park.

Two arrested in connection with burglary investigations An Atherton man and a Menlo Park woman, both age 22, were arrested Saturday, Aug. 2, in connection with an investigation into recent home and vehicle burglaries in Menlo Park. William Lee Patton of Atherton and Gabriella Bird Flower of Menlo Park, were arrested without incident, police said. On Saturday afternoon, police investigating burglaries were led to the area of Avy and Lucky avenues, where a stolen iPad gave off a signal. Officers said they saw Mr. Patton leave a vehicle that had been reported stolen on July 23. Police said they found several items in the vehicle that were

reported stolen during a residential burglary on July 27. Further investigation led officers to a home in the 1000 block of Lucky Avenue, where they found several more items that were reported stolen during other residential and vehicle burglaries. Ms. Flower, a known associate of Mr. Patton, was found to be in possession of narcotics and narcotic paraphernalia, police said. Menlo Park police ask anyone with information about this matter to call the police department at (650) 330-6300 or the anonymous tip line at (650) 330-6395.

Atherton cops seek witnesses



Atherton police are looking for witnesses who might have information about a burglary on Melanie Lane on Thursday afternoon, July 31. Jewelry was taken from a master bedroom and other rooms were ransacked but nothing seems to be missing from them, police said. The burglary took place between 2 and 6:30 p.m., and there are no signs of forced entry, police said, adding that entry may have been via an

unlocked door in the back of the home. Police are seeking any surveillance camera footage that captured activity on Melanie Lane or information from anyone who saw unusual activity in the area Thursday afternoon. They ask residents to seek information from anyone visiting their property during that time. Call the Atherton Police Department at 688-6500 with any information.


Ride Day registration 7-10am @ Menlo-Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield Rd, Atherton Sponsored by

12QThe AlmanacQTheAlmanacOnline.comQAugust 6, 2014

Good for Business. Good for You. Good for the Community. July 30, 2014QTheAlmanacOnline.comQThe AlmanacQ12


Five candidates file for local school boards seats With the clock ticking down in the filing period for the Nov. 4 election, a few more people have filed as candidates in the two school board elections coming up in the Menlo Park City and Las Lomitas school districts. But neither district yet has more candidates than there are seats available. Each school district has three positions open on its governing board. /DV/RPLWDVGLVWULFW

As of Aug. 1, two incumbents on

ing period for the Las Lomitas district election will be extended to Aug. 13.


the Las Lomitas School District board, Richard Ginn and Christine Heaton, had filed as candidates. John Earnhardt, director of corporate communications at Cisco and a district parent, had taken out nomination papers but had not yet returned them. Incumbent and current Las Lomitas board president Jay Siegel has not yet filed and if he does not do so, the fil-


In the Menlo Park City School District, incumbents Terry Thygesen and Joan Lambert are both candidates as is Stacy Jones, who is co-chair of the district’s advisory council and has three children in district schools. Incumbent Scott Hinshaw, who was appointed to fill the remainder of Laura Rich’s term in February, has not

So far, neither district has more candidates than there are seats available. picked up nomination papers. If he does not file, the filing period for the Menlo Park district will be extended to Aug. 13. If the two incumbents do file, Friday, Aug. 8, is the filing deadline.

Menlo Park seeks views of downtown business owners The city of Menlo Park is trying to make communication a two-way street, but so far the response from downtown business owners asked to complete a survey has been sparse. Economic Development Manager Jim Cogan said the survey was created in response to requests for more communication made at the city’s first small business roundtable earlier this year. The seven-question survey asks proprietors to rate the impact of events such as the monthly 100 OCT Cars and Croissants show and the weekly Farmers’ Market on their businesses. The proprietors were also asked what the city can do to support them and whether they’d like to see more foot traffic downtown. Answer options include: Q “No, I like to have free time at work.” Q “Maybe, I don’t know ... leave me alone!” Q “Yes, but my customers don’t care about cars or music.” Other outreach efforts have included going door-to-door, fliers, phone calls, and media coverage “to get the word out that the city is genuinely interested in hearing from our business community,” Mr. Cogan said. With a second roundtable this fall, he encouraged business owners to complete the online survey. Get the link by emailing

Relay for Life Relay for Life Menlo Park, an overnight community fundraising walk, will be held in Burgess


Park on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9-10. The opening ceremony is at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the closing ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. This year’s event theme is “Carnival/Carnaval” to encourage family participation, according to Betty Meissner, one of the organizers. Events include the survivor’s lap, when cancer survivors take the first lap around the track, and the luminaria ceremony, when small candle-lit paper lanterns are used to honor people who have fought cancer. Relay for Life aims to “increase community awareness to support cancer prevention, treatment, and cure,” Ms. Meissner said. Relay for Life Menlo Park is about halfway to its $77,000 goal, she noted. Go to to sign up or donate.

Sundays: 4:30 to 5:30pm

Prenatal Yoga

This graceful program incorporates stretching, toning, posture and body mechanics most applicable in pregnancy and in the birthing process. Ongoing monthly classes can be started at any point in your pregnancy.

New Family Program Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford offers two group forum options for new parents and their infants. Our groups provide support and camaraderie for parents while promoting confidence and well-being. Both groups free of charge! Mother-Baby Mornings for babies 0-6 months: Tuesdays, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm Movers & Shakers for babies 5-10 months: Mondays, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm Visit us at

Hazardous waste drop-off day On Saturday, Aug. 9, residents of Menlo Park may drop off hazardous household waste such as car batteries, flammable liquids and cleaning products, so long as they have an appointment. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon at 333 Burgess Drive. Amounts per appointment are limited to 10 gallons or 50 pounds of waste. Radioactive, explosive, medical or commercial waste will not be accepted. Go to or call 363-4718 to sign up.

Teens and Their Parents: Promoting Stress Reduction and Improving Wellness in this Go-Go World Monday, September 22: 7pm to 8:30pm

Join us for an evening lecture followed by Q & A with Dr. Shelley Aggarwal, Clinical Instructor in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Dr. Jennifer Derenne, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine as they discuss ways to reduce stress and increase a sense of well-being for teens. This seminar is free of charge however seating is limited. Please RSVP at

Infant Massage 4-week Class 4 Fridays, September 26-October 17: 11am to 12:30pm

Support 7KH$OPDQDF·V print and online coverage of our community. -RLQWRGD\6XSSRUW/RFDO-RXUQDOLVPRUJ$OPDQDF

Learn the techniques of infant massage along with tips to relieve gas, aid digestion and soothe the soreness of vaccination sites on your baby. Recommended for infant from one month of age to crawling. Call (650) 724-4601 or visit to register or obtain more information on the times, locations and fees for these and other courses. August 6, 2014QTheAlmanacOnline.comQThe AlmanacQ13


George Bull, Jr. May 21, 1924 – July 17, 2014 George Bull Jr., born May 21, 1924, passed away on July 17 in Scottsdale, Arizona. George was the owner and pharmacist for 35 years at “Bull’s Ladera Pharmacy.” He cared deeply for his family and friends as well as his customers at the pharmacy. He made many long time friends in Ladera and Portola Valley. He was the loving husband of Edith who passed away several years ago. George served honorably in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He had a lifelong interest in Native American culture. He was loved and will be missed. Thanks for the memories! PA I D


Nancy J. Reavis August 14, 1959-May 19, 2014 Born in San Francisco, Nancy was a lifelong resident of San Mateo County, living primarily in Menlo Park. A graduate of Woodside High, she earned a degree in Political Science from UC Berkeley in 1983. She received her law degree in 1998 from Golden Gate University and was admitted to the California State Bar on December 7, 1998. Nancy lost her battle with cancer on May 19, 2014. She was predeceased by her parents, Albert Paul and Jane Holleran Reavis, as well as her younger brother, Tom. She is survived by her brother, William Reavis of Fort Worth, Texas, as well as many nieces, nephews, extended family members and close friends. A celebration of Nancy’s life will be held on Saturday, August 16, 2014, at 1:00 PM at Mahany Hall, 1336 Arroyo Avenue, San Carlos. In lieu of flowers, donations in Nancy’s memory may be made to the San Carlos Lions Club, P.O. Box 94, San Carlos, CA 9407 PAID


Portola Valley’s Jim Kohlberg behind ‘Outlander’ TV series By Kate Daly Special to the Almanac


ortola Valley’s Jim Kohlberg says he’s excited to see positive reviews come out in the Wall Street Journal and Entertainment Weekly about his latest Hollywood project, “Outlander,” a new TV series adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling historic fantasy book with the same name. The show is scheduled to premiere on the STARZ cable TV channel on Aug. 9. Mr. Kohlberg is the executive producer. Ronald D. Moore, known for his work on “Battlestar Galactica,” is serving as both executive producer and creator of “Outlander.” The story starts post-World War II with a British nurse mysteriOFFICER SUIT continued from page 8

mined to have violated any City or Department policy regarding truthfulness, dishonesty, or false statements to a supervisor.” That clause appears to play a role in Police Chief Bob Jonsen’s decision to fire Mr. Igno following further alleged dishonesty. In January 2013, according to a memo attached to the lawsuit, Mr. Igno allegedly lied about what happened during an offduty contact with at least one man in a Safeway parking lot in Aptos.

ously transported back in time to 1743 in the Scottish Highlands, where British soldiers are skirmishing with clansmen. With a “strong Jim Kohlberg woman character with a great love story, great romance ... plenty of bodices ripping,” Mr. Kohlberg says, it’s no wonder 80 percent of “Outlander fans” are females. “We’re hoping the fan base will broaden” with the show, he says. The popular author recently spoke at Foothill College to promote her eighth book about the same characters. Her first “Outlander” book came out in 1991. “I had the rights for over five years and we tried to do it as a

film,” Mr. Kohlberg says, but it was “too tough to shoehorn 800 pages,” so a TV series felt like a better fit. “I feel really good about it,” he says. “Each episode builds up and is better than the next.” Sixteen episodes are scheduled to air this season. “We’re still filming the last couple of episodes in Scotland,” he says. It’s too soon to tell whether there will be a second season. The cast includes Irish actress Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall and Scotsman Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser. Mr. Kohlberg produced and directed the 2011 film, “The Music Never Stopped.” He is currently in pre-production on two films, “The Yellow Birds” and “Dial M for Murdoch,” and he’s developing some other TV series.

The memo includes a list of previous alleged misconduct by Mr. Igno, which the lawsuit claims violates the agreement negotiated in 2012. The complaint also claims that the officer was not given a chance to review or respond to the comments still in his personnel file, and that the department refused to delete the references to the prior alleged misconduct. “Respondents use of the dishonesty allegation from the prior case shows an intent to taint the arbitrator who will be hearing the current case in dispute between the parties by disclosing uncharged, unsustained, and unmitigated allegations of dishonesty,” the lawsuit states. Mr. Igno is asking for monetary damages, court costs, and an order to prohibit the police department from using the prior allegations against him and to require the department to delete all references to the incidents.

criticism for using binding arbitration to resolve disputes over police disciplinary actions after the Almanac broke the story of how Officer Jeffrey Vasquez, fired after being caught naked with a prostitute in a motel room in Sunnyvale and reportedly admitting that it wasn’t the first time he’d solicited a hooker for sex, was reinstated through binding arbitration and awarded $188,000 in back pay. He remains employed by the city. The council and employee unions negotiated a minor tweak to the process in the wake of the Vasquez stories — either party can now ask to select an arbitrator from a pool of retired San Mateo County judges rather than being limited to a list of arbitrators provided by the state. But the arbitrator’s decision remains final and confidential. The Almanac obtained 17 redacted decisions from multiple California jurisdictions and found that in 10 of those cases, arbitrators reversed the discipline decision. Arbitrators reinstated the officers nine times, and shortened one suspension. They upheld terminations in the remaining seven cases. Academic studies of similar binding arbitration cases in Chicago and Houston showed approximately the same 50 percent reversal rate. Mr. Howell also represented Officer Vasquez during that disciplinary appeal. A

Binding arbitration

Mr. Igno is looking to both the court and arbitration for relief, his attorney, Sean D. Howell, confirmed. Mr. Howell said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of an open case. In general, he explained, there are times when certain issues must be resolved by the court prior to going to arbitration in an attempt to “narrow the issues” before the arbitrator hears the case. Menlo Park earned sharp

14QThe AlmanacQTheAlmanacOnline.comQAugust 6, 2014

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Back to school, back to class! Menlo Park’s local class offerings provide plentiful opportunities — for both adults and kids — to develop new interests and hobbies while meeting others in the community. Courses in fitness, arts, cooking and foreign languages are just around the corner. With the changing of the seasons, you can train comfortably for that half-marathon in the crisp autumn air, learn to paint with falling leaves as your inspiration, or get prepared to make your best-ever baked goods this coming holiday. The Class Guide is published quarterly by The Almanac, the Palo Alto Weekly and the Mountain View Voice.

ClassGuide FALL

Health & Fitness

Dance Expressions

701 Laurel St., Menlo Park 650-450-3209 Maryanne Fernandez-Richardson, Throughout the year, Dance Expressions provides dance instruction for children and teens of various skill levels, focusing on jazz technique. Fall classes begin on Sept. 2.


Fleet Feet Training Classes

859 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park 650-325-9432 Lisa Taggart, classes-at-fleet-feet Fleet Feet Menlo Park offers training programs throughout the year to bring camaraderie and skill building to runners and walkers of all levels. Additionally, Thursday Fun Runs are held every week at 6:30 p.m. and are free of charge.

Values Community


150 Andeta Way, Portola Valley Betty Johnson, 408-732-3778 • Jacki’s Aerobic Dancing offers hour-long classes that combine elements of dance, stretching and resistance training and are specifically choreographed for non-dancers. Classes meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 a.m. at the Ladera Recreation Department.


800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park 650-703-1263

Jazzercise blends aerobics, yoga, Pilates and kickboxing movements into dance routines set to new music. All fitness levels are welcome. Classes are ongoing; go directly to the class to register.

Jim Gorman Swim School

3249 Alpine Road, Portola Valley 650-854-6699 ext. 1000 Jim Gorman and a group of instructors give a range of swim lessons for all ages, held at Ladera Oaks Tennis and Swimming Club in Portola Valley. The pool is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends; all classes are held throughout open pool hours.

Menlo Park Gymnastics

Arrillaga Family Gymnastics Center, 501 Laurel St., Menlo Park 650-330-2224 The City of Menlo Park offers a number of gymnastics classes for youths and adults, with a special focus on children under the age of 6.

Menlo Pilates & Yoga

1011 El Camino Real, Menlo Park Francesca Philip, 408-480-8977 Menlo Pilates & Yoga provides a range of yoga, pilates and fitness classes for all levels.

Menlo Swim and Sport

Burgess Pool, 501 Laurel St., Menlo Park 650-328-7946

Belle Haven Pool, 100 Terminal Ave., Menlo Park 650-330-2237 • Menlo Swim and Sport has a range of youth, adult and community programs at Burgess and Belle Haven pools, including swim lessons, swim school, lap swimming, masters swimming, water polo workouts, water polo for adults, basic exercise and more.

Peninsula Boxing & Fitness

2860 Spring St., Unit 1, Redwood City 650-290-1920 Peninsula Boxing & Fitness offers recreational boxing programs suitable for the general public. It offers non-contact boxing fitness and conditioning classes for men, women and children ages 8 and up.

Studio Rincon

3536 Alameda de las Pulgas, Suite 2, Menlo Park 650-861-0242 Studio Rincon serves up a fresh approach to yoga, fitness and dance with classes offered for men, women and children. Classes are offered on a drop-in or class pass basis, with no membership fees.

Sports Kidz Love Soccer

Burgess Soccer Field, 701 Laurel Ave., Menlo Park 408-774-4629 Kidz Love Soccer offers youth soccer classes for boys and girls of all ages and abilities.

Menlo Park Tennis

Sand Hill School at Children’s Health Council

Open House Dates:

Love School.

Sunday October 26 Sunday December 7

Our caring teachers and specialists know how to teach bright children with dyslexia, language-based learning differences, and attention and social challenges so they can learn to love school again.

2:00-4:30 pm

RSVP to Marily Lerner Director of Admissions

2014-15 Program includes: sGrades K-6 with 6:1 student/teacher ratio sOutstanding support from CHC specialists sSocial emotional learning and academic instruction sVisual and performing arts, science and PE classes

Tayside Sport Horses School should be fun.

Accepting Applications now. See our website or sign up for a parent visit to observe classrooms and talk with our Sand Hill School staff.

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650 Clark Way s Palo Alto, CA 94304 s 650.688.3605

Sand Hill School

3674 Sand Hill Road, Woodside 650-704-1127 Tayside Sport Horses provides training for rider and horse in dressage, jumping and eventing. Classes are for adults and children age 8 and up.


Children’s Health Council

Nealon Park Tennis Courts on Middle Avenue and University Avenue, Menlo Park Jim Heebner, 650-814-6734 Menlo Park Tennis offers tennis classes for adults and children ages 5 and up. All levels are welcome.

2720 Alpine Road, Portola Valley 650-854-7755

Palo Alto Prep CHANGING LIVES...REDEFINING EDUCATION Palo Alto Prep is a unique private high school designed to help students succeed in every aspect of life. We believe that school should be enjoyable and every student experience the pride of personal and academic accomplishment. International trips are experiential activities create a fullfilling high school atmosphere.

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OPEN HOUSE NOV 13TH 5-7:30pm Call for Details

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2462 Wyandotte Street, Mountain View 650.493.7071

C L A S S The Webb Ranch Riding School gives instruction for beginning and intermediate riders, in both Western and English seats. Current students also have the opportunity to lease one of the ranch’s horses, offering more riding time and a glimpse into horse ownership.

Language Courses ABC Languages

1370 Willow Road, Menlo Park 650-204-7908 ABC Languages offers over 20 different language classes to adults and children, including both private and corporate lessons and at-home tutoring. The teaching staff is composed of experienced instructors who are native speakers of the language they teach.

Language Pacifica

585 Glenwood Ave., Menlo Park 650-321-1840 Language Pacifica is an English as a Second Language school for adults and offers full-time and part-time intensive English courses for TOEFL preparation, English for business and/or personal enrichment.

Music, Arts and Crafts


650-854-2468 home Circle of Friends Preschool uses a playbased early childhood curriculum with activities in art, music, reading, writing, math, science, social studies, physical education and dramatic play. The preschool is open throughout the year, including during the summer.


275 Elliott Drive, Menlo Park 650-324-8617 • German-American International School (GAIS) is an international school serving more than 300 students from preschool through eighth grade. No prior German language knowledge is necessary.


1148 Johnson St., Menlo Park 650-323-8667 • Kirk House Preschool is a Christian, playbased school that offers a developmentoriented curriculum in a park-like setting.


657 Oak Grove Ave., Menlo Park 650-326-7600 Bridgepoint Music is an instrument store and repair shop that also offers private lessons in the flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, violin, guitar, piano and voice, among other musical disciplines. For a list of teachers and their contact information, please visit the store’s website.

Color Me Mine


602 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park 650-328-4486 Color Me Mine’s workshops allow adults and kids to paint their own ceramic pieces, while the staff takes care of the kiln firing. An array of practical and decorative dishes are available for students to paint.


1010 University Drive, Menlo Park 650-685-3704 Draeger’s cooking classes are taught by chefs and cover a wide array of regional cuisines.

1095 Cloud Ave., Menlo Park 650-854-4973 Littlest Angels Preschool teaches young children from ages 2 to 5 a Christian, multidisciplinary curriculum with developmentally-appropriate programs. The new school year starts on Sept. 4.

Lydian Academy

815 El Camino Real, Menlo Park 650-321-0550 Lydian Academy is a personalized middle


1340 Willow Road, Menlo Park Janel Coughran, 650-321-1991 ext. 103 • Mid-Peninsula High School is an independent, nonprofit co-ed day school for grades 9 to 12. The school is suited for teenagers who can benefit from a smaller and more flexible educational environment. Students receive support from guidance counselors and close relationships with teachers.

Adult Education

3247 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park 650-306-8866 Sequoia District Adult Education offers English as a Second Language, computer skills and career enhancement classes. Students can also earn a high school diploma or GED certificate. Counselors are available to help students transition to Canada College to continue their educations.

330 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park (Preschool Campus) 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park (Elementary School Campus) 650-854-0288 • Trinity School is a co-ed independent Episcopal school that teaches children from all backgrounds from preschool through grade five. The curriculum combines with rigorous academics with a child-centered approach.

Music For Families Inc.

75 Arbor Road, Suite N 650-917-2354 Music For Families Inc. offers Music Together classes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, older youths and their primary care-givers. Music Together is an internationally-recognized early childhood music and movement program with a focus on a research-based, developmentallyappropriate curriculum with an emphasis on adult involvement.

Admission Open Houses


Saturday, November 22, 2014: Middle School (Grades 6 to 8) - 10:00 a.m. Upper School (Grades 9 to 11) - 2:00 p.m.

360 La Cuesta Drive, Portola Valley 650-854-9065 Woodland School is an independent school covering junior-kindergarten through 8th grade. Classes include core subjects like language arts, math, science and social studies, as well as specialty courses like technology, art, music, French and etiquette. The Class Guide is published quarterly in the Palo Alto Weekly, Mountain View Voice and Menlo Park Almanac. Listings are free and subject to editing. Due to space constraints, local classes are given priority. To inquire about placing a listing in the next Class Guide, email Editorial Assistant Sam Sciolla at or call (650) 223-6515. To place a paid advertisement in the Class Guide, call the display advertising department at (650) 326-8210.

Saturday, December 6, 2014: Middle School (Grades 6 to 8) - 10:00 a.m. Upper School (Grades 9 to 11) - 2:00 p.m.

Call Admissions at 650.851.8223 or visit the website at :WPYP[\HSP[`࠮/VZWP[HSP[`࠮0U[LNYP[`࠮0UKP]PK\HSP[`࠮*VTT\UP[` “We believe these values are made real in a community in which every student is known and loved.” Woodside Priory School 302 Portola Road • Portola Valley, CA 94028

Trinity School


1026 Alma St., Menlo Park 650-325-8981 • Iberia teaches cooking classes on how to make paella, tapas and other Spanish cuisine.

California’s Benedictine College Preparatory School 50 acre Campus 3 miles West of I-280 freeway Neighboring Stanford University


3300 Alpine Road, Portola Valley 650-854-0295 Ladera Community Church Preschool uses a play-based, developmentally-appropriate approach to teaching and learning. The school welcomes children of any culture or religious background, has low studentteacher ratios and provides need-based tuition assistance. The school is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Bridgepoint Music

and high school with rolling admissions and a one-on-one teaching format. It welcomes new students every week, year-round.

the right size to give each child a voice We guide children to self-discovery. We celebrate the child’s growth in critical thinking, character development and social responsibility. Trinity School encourages preschool to Grade 5 children from all backgrounds to love learning. We foster rigorous academics grounded in child-centered content. Trinity upholds the values and traditions of the Episcopal Church and honors the role of family in educating children.

Old World Designs

727 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park 650-321-3494 Old World Designs offers stitching and needlepoint classes for all levels.

School Days

RSVP for a tour:

650-854-0288 x100

2 6 5 0 S a n d H i l l R o a d , M e n l o Pa r k w w w. t r i n i t y - m p . o r g

&LUFOHRI)ULHQGV3UHVFKRRO 3214 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park

August 6, 2014QTheAlmanacOnline.comQThe AlmanacQ17

Serving Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, and Woodside for 49 years. NEWSROOM Editor Richard Hine (223-6525) Associate Editor Renee Batti (223-6528) Lifestyles Editor Jane Knoerle Staff Writers Dave Boyce (223-6527), Sandy Brundage (223-6529), Barbara Wood (223-6533) Contributors Marjorie Mader, Kate Daly Special Sections Editor Carol Blitzer (223-6511) Photographer Michelle Le (223-6530) DESIGN & PRODUCTION Marketing and Creative Director Shannon Corey (223-6560) Design and Production Manager Lili Cao (223-6562) Designers Linda Atilano, Colleen Hench, Rosanna Leung, Paul Llewellyn, Peter Sorin ADVERTISING Vice President Sales and Marketing Tom Zahiralis (223-6570) Real Estate Manager Neal Fine (223-6583) Real Estate & Advertising Coordinator Diane Martin (223-6584) Legal Advertising Alicia Santillan (223-6578) ADVERTISING SERVICES Advertising Services Manager Jennifer Lindberg (223-6595) Sales & Production Coordinators Dorothy Hassett (223-6597), Blanca Yoc (223-6596) 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:



When it’s time to turn in the keys


ast week’s harrowing accident involving an elderly driver car through the plate-glass window of Avanti pizza parlor on the who crashed his car into a downtown Palo Alto cafe, injur- Alameda de las Pulgas in 2010. People facing the prospect of losing driving six people, has provoked the usual ing privileges in our society are understandably chorus of dismay over the fact that the California ED ITORIA L troubled for a multitude of reasons, including the Department of Motor Vehicles lags behind other The opinion of The Almanac difficulty of getting around in our car culture, states in imposing stricter requirements for older ED ITORIA L where public transit is often inadequate. And drivers who want to renew their licenses. The The opinion of The Almanac same concerns were raised last year after a 90-year-old driver’s adult children of parents who are showing the warning signs that SUV struck two 6-year-old boys in downtown Menlo Park when driving may no longer be safe face a difficult challenge in trying to the vehicle hopped the curb and pinned them against a building. persuade those parents to hand over the car keys. But the safety of Regarding last week’s incident, Palo Alto police said the driver, others, as well as of the driver whose abilities are in sharp decline, who is in his 90s, accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the must be given a higher priority. After last week’s incident, Palo Alto Weekly reporter Chris Kenbrake while trying to park his vehicle. In the Menlo Park incident, in which one of the little boys was severely injured and required a rick spoke with several local people involved with senior issues, long hospitalization and numerous surgeries, the driver appeared including Paula Wolfson of Avenidas senior center. Ms. Wolfson disoriented. After getting out of the vehicle to allow others to move said, “The best approach for discussion with a frail senior is to not humiliate them, but to help honor them for being civic-minded and it, he needed a walker to stand, according to witnesses. Fortunately, these types of accidents don’t happen frequently, but concerned about the safety of others, including oneself and one’s they’re not as rare as they should be. About half the states in the family.” That sensitive, sometime painful discussion may not produce nation have laws that require drivers who reach a certain age — in most cases 65, 70 or 75 — to renew their license more often than desired results immediately, and other options might be explored. younger drivers must, according to the Insurance Institute for For example, Menlo Park’s Little House is among several local Highway Safety. California, which requires license renewal every venues offering the AARP’s driver safety course for seniors. Two five years, has no such accelerated renewal cycle for older drivers. sessions are scheduled for Sept. 10 and 17 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. In Menlo Park alone, there have been far too many traffic acci- (Call Little House at 326-2025 for information.) But while seniors and their adult children try to navigate the dents, some involving serious injury or death, caused by an elderly driver. In addition to last year’s tragedy involving the 6-year-old uncertainty and distress over an elderly person’s ability to drive twins, those incidents have included: a Menlo Park woman being safely, the issue of safety to others — strolling in crosswalks, walkstruck and killed in a Santa Cruz Avenue crosswalk in 2004 by an ing down sidewalks, or enjoying lunch outside on a sunny after83-year-old driver who, according to witnesses, appeared disori- noon — must be taken more seriously in Sacramento. Concerned ented when she exited her car after driving a short distance before people should contact their representatives in the state Senate and stopping; a 91-year-old driver crashing into the Flegel’s storefront Assembly, and urge them to work toward changes in the driving on Santa Cruz Avenue in 2008; and an 80-year-old motorist pin- laws that will require elderly drivers to meet more rigorous stanning a cashier beneath counter equipment after she drove her dards if they are to continue driving. A

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. ©2014 by Embarcadero Media. All rights reserved. Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years. Go to

Q WHAT’S YOUR VIEW? All letters 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 Email your views to: and note this it is a letter to the editor in the subject line. Mail

or deliver to: Editor, The Almanac 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas Menlo Park, CA 94025


the Viewpoint desk at 223-6528.

Menlo Park Historical Association

Looking back This undated photo shows two facing saloons — Meyer’s and O’Keefe’s — in Menlo Park’s downtown. Many locals “regarded drinking alcohol as an inalienable right,” even during the federal Prohibition of the 1920s, according to Michael Svanevik and Shirley Burgett, authors of “Menlo Park Beyond the Gate.” In October 1924, they write, “a major speakeasy was raided on Santa Cruz Avenue. Thirty-six inebriates were arrested and a large supply of bootlegged liquor was confiscated.”

18QThe AlmanacQTheAlmanacOnline.comQAugust 6, 2014


The specific plan is not functioning as advertised By Morris Brown


he most often heard argument against the SaveMenlo initiative is: “The specific plan went through numerous public hearings, at which time the public had opportunities to voice their opinions through fully transparent processes, and therefore the net result of development, under the specific plan, will reflect the desired wishes of Menlo Park voters.” Wrong! Let me bring forth an example at the state level. Some years ago, the state Legislature made the decision to “deregulate” the electrical power industry and let the free market determine pricing (remember AB-1890 of 1996). Fully vetted, agreed to and signed into law after numerous public meetings, this legislation directly led to the outrageous pricing and power

LETTE TTER RSS LE Our readers readers write write Our

El Camino Real safety: Suggestions and a pledge Editor: It is clear that Atherton needs to do something to stop the carnage on El Camino Real and that waiting for Caltrans to act means that nothing will happen in the near future. Here are my recommendations: 1. Add two pedestrian-activated overhead traffic lights with emergency vehicle pre-emption devices at Almendral and at Watkins avenues; 2. synchronize all of the traffic lights on El Camino from Highway 84 to the Palo Alto border at the 35 mph speed limit; 3. narrow the six lanes to 11 feet each, but keep six lanes from Highway 84 to the Palo Alto border; 4. use the space gained from the narrowed lanes plus the existing unused right-of-way to create a protected bicycle path on both sides of El Camino; and 5. have these changes in place within 12 months, at the latest. My wife and I will pledge $10,000 for the installation of overhead traffic lights with emergency vehicle pre-emptors at the Atherton intersections on El Camino. I hope that other Atherton residents will join us in this effort. Peter Carpenter Larch Drive, Atherton

outages across the state. The cost opment in three to five years or to California of this legislation less; development was supposed was in the multi-billions of dol- to evolve over a 30-year period. Quite simply, the spelars. This legislation cific plan is not workgets top ranking as ing as promised, just some of the worst ever as deregulation of the conceived and enacted electrical power indusin California. try in the state did not Here in Menlo Park, work a few years ago. after the city spent The net result $1.8 million on it, the of the visioning prospecific plan is now GUEST cess in the creation dictating development of a specific plan was along El Camino Real OPINION GUEST and Santa Cruz Ave- OPINION that Menlo Park would maintain its smallnue. The results are a town character, with a variety of disaster. At no time during the vision- businesses; and would contain ing process was there any con- a hotel and senior housing. We sensus for El Camino to become now see that this specific plan an office park with huge high- is converting El Camino into an rise, high-density office space office park. The City Council refused to dominating the scene. At no time was the specific plan envisioned adopt the SaveMeno initiative. to produce the amount of devel- Nothing surprising here. For a regular basis. Due to the nature of my travel, I use different destinations almost every time I board the train, making bringing my bike a necessity. Without the Bikes on Board program I would be forced back into my car for these trips, costing Caltrain a regular fare, and adding another car to our congested roads. It is very important that the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project EIR include an evaluation of the benefits of bringing bicycles on board Caltrain. The reasons are simple, but critical. People who bring bikes on the train take cars off the road. Bikes on the train take cars out of the parking lots, making room for other Caltrain customers to park. Caltrain has seen consistent increases in ridership from passengers who bring bikes on the train, even when overall ridership has dropped. Every time additional bicycle carriage space has been added on the trains, it fills beyond capacity at peak travel times. This shows the customer demand for the service. Bob Mack San Jose

council members to speak in favor of the initiative would be admitting the failure of this council’s actions, as well as previous councils’. In fact, this council spent another $150,000 on a report (the Wise report) to justify its position. The report is deeply flawed. The scope of the report was purposely limited to not including the results of the visioning process, and the report contains numerous factual errors. This City Council did not even ask for an evaluation of how the initiative would affect the nowin-the-works proposals from Stanford and Greenheart.

Morris Brown is a 42-year Menlo Park resident.

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Benefits of bikes on trains Editor: I use Caltrain for business and personal travel on

A relatively small change to the specific plan will result when the voters of Menlo Park pass the initiative in November. Menlo Park voters should not listen to the scare tactics that will be advertised by well-funded opposition to the initiative. This funding will be supplied by development interests, who, believe me, have as their only goal to have their projects make for them as much money as possible. They certainly do not worry about any effects to the quality of life for Menlo Park residents A . AlmanacNews Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

August 6, 2014QTheAlmanacOnline.comQThe AlmanacQ19

represented by Scott Dancer

Woodside Estate Offered at $10,950,000

Coldwell Banker #1 Agent, Woodside/Portola Valley Offices, 2013 #3 Agent, Internationally, 2012 Ranked #35 Nationally by The Wall Street Journal, 2013 20QThe AlmanacQTheAlmanacOnline.comQAugust 6, 2014

Scott Dancer 650.888.8199 CalBRE# 00868362 2969 Woodside Road Woodside, CA 94062

Almanac August 6, 2014  

Section 1

Almanac August 6, 2014  

Section 1