Spring Real Estate | P.21 APRIL 23, 2010 VOLUME 18, NO. 16
INSIDE: WEEKEND | PAGE 16
El Camino Hospital takes $11 million hit this year OFFICIALS PLAN TO UP REVENUE THROUGH ‘PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY MEASURES’ By Andrea Gemmet
Matt Lucero, right, and his nephew Jesse Lucero stand inside “Buddy’s Cannabis Patient Collective,” their recently opened medical marijuana club located on Bayshore Parkway.
Pot club opens in Shoreline area, against city’s wishes WELL-HEELED LAWYER MATT LUCERO SAYS HE’S READY FOR LEGAL BATTLE believed the city would allow them to open dispensaries legally sometime in the next year. City Council members met in closed session on Tuesday night to discuss a potential lawsuit
nie Quinn said the council had decided to “initiate an action” he City Council decidagainst the pot club, but declined ed Tuesday to take legal to say what that action would be action against the first until it actually happened. known storefront pot club in If the city does move forward Mountain View, with legal action, “I operated by a mulam absolutely ready timillionaire lawyer “We have very considerable financial for them,” Lucero who says he is ready said Wednesday. resources and the backing of some He said he believes for a legal fight. Lawyer Matt Luclaw supersedes really, really hard-hitting lawyers.” state ero and his nephthe city’s moratoew Jesse opened a rium. MATT LUCERO medical marijuana “We have very dispensary called considerable finanBuddy’s on April 10 in a ware- meant to close the dispensary. cial resources and the backing of house at 2632 Bayshore Parkway. The city considers the club to be some really, really hard-hitting Its opening came as a surprise to illegal under a moratorium on lawyers — people who have won city officials, and to other pro- pot clubs the council approved See POT, page 9 spective pot club operators who in February. City attorney JanBy Daniel DeBolt
l Camino officials say there are several reasons why their financial picture isn’t as rosy as expected, but the bottom line is clear: The Mountain View hospital and its affiliates have a shortfall of about $11 million so far for this fiscal year. Hospital officials said the struggling economy is affecting hospitals everywhere, but that El Camino is taking swift measures to increase productivity and improve performance. “Because of our revenue performance, we’ve been living out of our savings account to a small degree. That’s a trend we don’t want to continue,” said hospital CFO Marla Marlow, who presented the year-to-date financials as of February during the hospital board’s April 14 meeting. While revenues are up compared with last year, they are still running below budgeted projections, Marlow said. “The investment income is down. We had to liquidate some investments to cover our costs for the month,” she said. There’s no shortage of patients, but El Camino is seeing a different mix of patients that is bringing in less revenue, Marlow said. Fewer babies are being delivered, fewer elective surgeries are being scheduled, and more ailments are being treated medically rather than surgically. El Camino is also seeing a higher percentage of uninsured or “self-payer” patients, Marlow said. Lower reimbursements for Medicare patients are also a factor. “The sky is not falling, but it’s imperative we get started on revenue enhancements and productivity improvements,” said
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board member David Reeder. The $11.3 million in net income loss includes January’s $8 million write-down of uncollectible bills, said hospital spokeswoman Chris Ernst. Hospital officials made the decision in March to take a onetime write-down rather than to spread it out, she said. “While the year-to-date losses are $11 million, what we are doing about it is important to consider. We have already been putting productivity and efficiency measures in place in early winter,” Ernst said. “We’ve identified hundreds of initiatives that are already underway, with a benefit of $50 million to $70 million in the next nine months.” See EL CAMINO, page 14
Architect’s words inspire City Council .By Daniel DeBolt
n a council meeting intended to focus on the redevelopment of the Shoreline area Tuesday, famous green architect and designer William McDonough stole the show with a multimedia presentation full of big ideas and practical concepts. By the time McDonough was finished at 10 p.m., council member Laura Macias suggested the council take his ideas beyond the Shoreline area to the entire city. See COUNCIL, page 11
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■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■ APRIL 23, 2010
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Asked in Downtown Mountain View. Pictures and interviews by Ellen Huet.
Do you know of any travel plans disrupted by the Icelandic volcano? â€œI was supposed to leave yesterday to India for my wedding, but my flight through Heathrow was canceled. Iâ€™m flying out on Friday from San Francisco through Hong Kong instead. The whole thing was a bit stressful for my fiancee, but Iâ€™ll definitely be back in time.â€? Binny Mathews, Sunnyvale
â€œI have a friend whoâ€™s planning to go to Europe in a couple weeks, and sheâ€™s a little worried, but Iâ€™m not sure itâ€™ll still be a problem then. Iâ€™m going to Hawaii soon, which is thankfully not going to be affected.â€?
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BATTERY 500 block N. Shoreline Blvd., 4/18
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DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE Cypress Point Dr./Moffett Blvd., 4/13 W. El Camino Real/S. Shoreline Blvd., 4/14 Latham St./S. Rengstorff Ave., 4/15 W. Middlefield Rd./Moffett Blvd., 4/16 Central Expy./Hwy 85, 4/17 Castro St./Villa St., 4/17 Hwy 101/Moffett Blvd., 4/17
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The Mountain View Voice is published every Friday by Embarcadero Publishing Co. 450 Cambridge Ave, Palo Alto CA 94306 (650) 964-6300. Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Rates is Pending at Palo Alto, CA and additional mailing offices. The Mountain View Voice is mailed free to homes and apartments in Mountain View. Subscription rate of $60 per year. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mountain View Voice, 450 Cambridge Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306.
■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■ APRIL 23, 2010
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■ CITY COUNCIL UPDATES ■ COMMUNITY ■ FEATURES
Former city manager Dick DeLong dies
City taps Utah chief to head fire department
By Daniel DeBolt
ichard “Dick” DeLong, Mountain View’s city manager from 1973 to 1976, died April 11 in his home near San Luis Obispo after a long struggle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 79. “He’s probably the most extraordinary city manager I ever knew,” said Phil Rose, an intern and assistant to DeLong during his three years here. Before running Mountain View, DeLong was the longestserving city manager of Milpitas, spending Dick DeLong 11 years there. He retired in 1990 after 14 years as city manager of San Mateo. What set DeLong apart was his sense of humor and a love of art. He once had his wife redirect traffic so he could trace an ornate manhole cover onto a piece of felt, which he hung on his wall for many years, Rose said. While in Mountain View, DeLong had an unusually active internship program, with as many as eight interns at a time. His predecessor, John O’Halloran, usually had only two. “The organization had a hard time with that,” Rose said. “We were sort of unruly. But we got a lot of things done. He was trying to get kids involved in local government.” It worked: Many of those interns went on to become city managers and department heads. Rose became city manager of Placerville, then Los Altos. Many large city projects were underway with DeLong at the helm, including the revitalization of downtown and the creation of Shoreline Park. But some cited DeLong’s biggest accomplishments as more to do with day-today activities, such as involving more community members in decisions and making the city budget easier to understand. Current city manager Kevin Duggan was also inspired by DeLong, who he first met when See DELONG, page 10
By Andrea Gemmet
Shawn Hatten feeds a practice dummy as Asnakech Gebre watches and Ramsina Mikhalzadeh helps during a patient care practice session at the Adult School’s nursing assistant class.
Laid-off workers turn to nursing ADULT SCHOOL’S AFFORDABLE CLASSES POPULAR FOR THOSE EYEING CAREER IN MEDICINE By Kelsey Mesher
t the medical and nursing assistant classes run by the Mountain ViewLos Altos Adult School, the impact of the recession is clear: Ask the students who has recently been laid off and hands shoot up around the room. And while many agree that losing a job pushed them toward a career shift, the students have high hopes and ambitions for their futures in
RECESSION TALES This story is part of a series exploring ways the recession has affected Mountain View and its residents
the field of medicine. “I had been a private caregiver for 10 years, and my client passed away,” said Mountain View resident Carmen Marti-
nez, a student in the Certified Nursing Assistant program. “I had been certified before, but my license expired; with my license not up to date I can’t go to a hospital or agency to look for a job.” “I need to make more money and there are no jobs in my area,” said Gilberto Soza of San Jose, who was laid off from a retail position. He added, “I like helping people, and I like See RECESSION, page 6
Someone help those poor Madrigals! MVHS SINGERS TRAPPED IN PARIS DUE TO ICELANDIC VOLCANO By Andrea Gemmet
ue to unforeseen circumstances, the Mountain View High School Madrigals have spent the past week trapped in Paris. But they’re making the best of it. The singers learned during their “farewell dinner” last week that, thanks to an erupting volcano in Iceland, they would not be heading home April 16 as scheduled. The 40 students who sing in the choir, plus parent chaperones, choir
director Jill Denny and a couple of accompanists, have been figuring out ways to pass the time in the City of Lights while they wait for airports to reopen and air travel to resume. With a little luck, they will be flying home on Thursday, April 22, one week late. Though there are worse places to be stuck, the situation wasn’t always fun for the students. “At first the kids were excited, but as the day went on, there was anxiety,” said parent chaperone Cynthia Haines, whose daughter, junior
Beth De Vogelaere, sings in the madrigal choir. “The kids are upset that they’re missing boyfriends, birthdays, tests, you name it.” The madrigal choir, which goes on an annual international tour, performed Renaissance vocal music in London at St. Paul’s Cathedral before heading to Paris and singing at Notre Dame. But the plume of volcanic ash sweeping across Europe has transformed the two-week trip into a
radley C. Wardle, a veteran firefighter from Utah, will head the Mountain View Fire Department beginning on April 30, city officials said. Wardle is currently chief of the West Jordan City Fire Department in Utah. He was tapped recently by city manager Kevin Duggan to fill MVFD’s top slot, which Bradley Wardle has been empty ever since Chief Michael Young retired in August after 21 years in Mountain View. (Police Chief Scott Vermeer has been serving as interim fire chief.) Duggan said Wardle is a highly regarded fire chief in Utah. “He’s very knowledgeable from a technical perspective, he has very strong experience, but the thing that really set him apart is he’s a very effective leader at the department-head level,” said Duggan. “We’re very pleased to be able to attract someone of his quality. I think he’ll be an excellent fire chief.” Wardle has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s in consumer studies and economics, both from the University of Utah. He earned an associate’s degree in fire science from Utah Valley State College. Wardle served as fire chief in West Jordan City from 2004 to 2007, and again from 2008 until the present. During his year away he was an administrator and faculty member at the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy at Utah Valley University. He is a past president of the Utah Fire Chiefs Association, Duggan said. Wardle’s salary will be $190,000 a year to head the department, which has five fire stations and approximately 85 employees, Duggan said. V
See MADRIGALS, page 6 APRIL 23, 2010 ■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■
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â– MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE â– APRIL 23, 2010
C E N T E R S G A R A G E S
The Mountain View High School Madrigals in Paris.
Continued from page 5
three-weeks-and-counting trip. â€œWe saw Delta (Airline) employees at the laundromat, and they didnâ€™t know any more than we did,â€? Haines said Monday in a phone interview from Paris. â€œEvery day they say, â€˜Tomorrow weâ€™ll see,â€™ but every day everything is canceled.â€? Despite the stress, Haines said the extra week in Paris is going well. The group, 54 people in total, is still ensconced in its hotel near the Eiffel Tower overlooking the Seine River. â€œWeâ€™re very lucky we didnâ€™t go to the airport first,â€? said choir director Denny. â€œIf we had, weâ€™d have been swimming home by now.â€? Instead, with help from their Parisian tour guide, the group has gotten to experience a lot more of Paris. Theyâ€™ve picnicked on a small island in the Seine, staved off homesickness with burgers and fries from the Hard Rock Cafe, and taken a day trip to Versailles, Haines said. Theyâ€™ve strolled past the Louvre museum at night, and gone bowling.
Continued from page 5
medicine.â€? In the medical assistant class, students prepare for work in hospitals, clinics and private practices. They practice taking vital signs, drawing blood and other essential skills. Mountain View resident Deseree Williams works as a substitute teacher at a local day care center, but decided she needed to commit to something more long-term. She was drawn to medicine because, she said, her father died of a heart attack when she was young. â€œYou want a permanent career,â€? said Williams, who is training to become a medical assistant. â€œIn the medical field, thereâ€™s always an
The students even gave an impromptu performance in a picturesque alleyway with good acoustics. Musicians from a private party nearby heard them and invited them over, Haines said. â€œThey played, we sang â€” we had a whole impromptu little concert. Weâ€™ve had magical moments like that,â€? she said. Haines said sheâ€™s been impressed at how Denny has kept the group calm and organized. â€œThe kids all miss their families, theyâ€™re concerned that theyâ€™re falling behind in school, but all that aside, they are trying to make the most of it,â€? Denny said. â€œWeâ€™re seeing all the parts of Paris we missed the first time around.â€? The American Church in Paris is lending the group rehearsal space while its school is on vacation, Denny said. â€œPeople have been bending over backwards to make it nice for us,â€? she said. Besides the stress of keeping a large group of teenagers safe and happy, adults on the trip are fretting over how to pay for the unexpectedly long sojourn in Paris.
â€œWe are running up credit cards,â€? Denny said. She estimates that every extra day in France is costing roughly 100 Euros per person, â€œand thatâ€™s not us being extravagant,â€? she said. Denny said she looked into finding a cheaper hotel, relocating to a campground, or even taking the train to a less expensive country like Spain.But lots of other stranded travelers have had the same ideas, so the group has had to stay put, Denny said. Plans are in the works for a fundraiser to defray the mounting costs of the trip, Denny said. The group might hold a concert and serve chocolate lava cakes, or it may make a CD of recordings from its European performances, she said. â€œWeâ€™re going to find ways to use their music to make some money,â€? Denny said. Anyone interested in helping support the Mountain View High School Madrigals can contact Denny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
opportunity no matter where you go. People always need health care and health care professionals.â€? â€œI think thatâ€™s why everyoneâ€™s here â€” for a secure job,â€? she said. The local high school districtâ€™s Adult School classes cost between $550 and $750 â€” thousands of dollars less than private vocational programs. â€œWe try to keep ours low-cost for the students,â€? said Brenda Harris, assistant director of the Adult School. â€œIn this economy, people have trouble affording the $550.â€? Maintaining the program has been a priority for the Adult School, even though it had to cut more than $1 million from its budget last year and faces more cuts this year. â€œI decided to take the course through Mountain View because
itâ€™s less expensive than other programs,â€? said Andrea Johnson, of Sunnyvale. â€œWhen you have three kids, economy matters.â€? Johnson said she has been out of the workforce for seven years to take care of her children, including a son with special needs. She had been a nursing assistant before, but needed to renew her certification. Her goal is to eventually become a registered nurse. â€œWe know right now that health care is a fast growing field,â€? Harris said. She said many students use the nursing and medical assistant courses as a stepping-stone into medical careers. â€œWe want to train people and give them a new opportunity and give them a better financial status to help their families,â€? she said.
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Suspicious bag shuts downtown light rail ANOTHER BOMB SCARE IN SF, PLUS A STALLED CAR IN PALO ALTO, MAKE FOR BAD COMMUTES Staff Reports
his week began badly for rail passengers after two apparently unrelated bomb scares, one in downtown Mountain View, disrupted service Monday evening. Those incidents were followed by another Caltrain delay Tuesday morning when a car stalled on the tracks in Palo Alto. The Mountain View incident resulted in the closure of the VTA Light Rail station in downtown Mountain View on Monday night after someone noticed a suspicious bag in the area at around 7:15 p.m., according to Valley Transportation Authority spokesperson Brandi Childress. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office responded to the station, which remained closed until about 9:30 p.m., she said. A “bus bridge” was set up to take passengers between the Mountain View and Whisman stations. Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Rick Sung told the Voice the bag was a duffel containing a battery with soldered wires. The department’s bomb squad used a water cannon to safely dispose of the bag, he said, and bomb technicians are
investigating the remnants of what appear to be a small electronic device to determine if it actually was an explosive. The closure also affected some Caltrain service in the area, which had experienced its own problems earlier that day after a bomb threat was called in to the agency, halting all trains between San Francisco and Millbrae for several hours. According to Caltrain spokesperson Christine Dunn, someone called Caltrain at about 2:45 p.m. Monday claiming there was a bomb on one of the southbound trains leaving San Francisco. Trains were inspected by transit police, and 150 passengers and crew aboard one train were evacuated and taken by bus to Millbrae. Caltrain resumed to full service later that afternoon. On Tuesday morning, trains were again delayed after a car stalled on the tracks in Palo Alto, according to Dunn. It was not hit by a train and no one was injured, she said. All trains reportedly were back on schedule as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. No one was hurt in any of the incidents. Bay City News contributed to this report.
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POLICE: KNIFE-WIELDING BOY ARRESTED Mountain View police say they arrested a 15-year-old boy Saturday in connection with a strong-arm robbery on Middlefield Road in which a six-inch knife was used. The victim, a Mountain View resident, was walking down the sidewalk toward Easy Street at around 10:50 p.m. April 17 when he approached a group of three people walking toward him, said police spokesman Steve McCoy. While the other two walked by, the suspect pulled out a six-inch knife and demanded money from the victim, McCoy said. The suspect, who has not been named by police because of his age, got away with about $50, McCoy said. The victim went home and called police, and about 10 minutes later an officer spotted the 15-year-old, chased him down and detained him, McCoy said, adding that the suspect dropped the money and knife during the foot chase. “The suspect was initially arrested for resisting arrest, and then charged with robbery and violation of probation,” McCoy said. The young sus-
pect was wearing an ankle monitor, he said, and was on probation for assault on a police officer. He was booked into juvenile hall. — Andrea Gemmet
EPA MAN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY SHOOTING AT COPS A man suspected of firing a gun at two police officers during a traffic stop in East Palo Alto on Tuesday was arrested early Thursday morning on Calderon Avenue in Mountain View, police said. After four hours of negotiations with Mountain View’s SWAT team, Miguel Alvarado, 20, was taken into custody without incident at about 4:30 a.m. He was found inside a Mountain View apartment at 210 Calderon Ave. where his 18-yearold girlfriend reportedly lives. Police said Alvarado shot at two officers Tuesday morning, then fled. No one was injured. Alvarado has reportedly been charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, carrying a loaded weapon and giving a false identity to police. — Staff Reports APRIL 23, 2010 ■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■
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Mountain View police bust nets $100,000 in pot plants AUTHORITIES SAY GROWER NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH PROP. 215 By Andrea Gemmet
ountain View police say they seized more than $100,000 worth of marijuana plants growing in a house near Aptos after a local dealer arrested by officers led them to the operation. Mountain View police Sgt. Pete De La Ossa said the case began when a patrol officer arrested a suspected drug dealer. The investigation stemming from that initial arrest, which is still ongoing, led police to Campbell resident Anthony Contento, 29, so police set up a meeting, De La Ossa said. Contento was arrested April 2 in Sunnyvale on charges of possessing marijuana for sale, and was booked into county jail.
“He’s got a substantial amount of marijuana on him, and there’s also evidence in his vehicle that he has a grow (pot growing operation) someplace,” he said. According to De La Ossa, the “grow” turned out to be an indoor marijuana nursery in a house in a rural part of unincorporated Aptos in Santa Cruz County. Officers who searched the house April 14 and found fertilizer, grow lights, marijuana plants and a “large amount of currency,” he said. Police aren’t releasing the name of the first suspected drug dealer because they believe his safety is in jeopardy. De La Ossa said he didn’t believe the operation is part of any legitimate medicinal marijuana dispen-
sary as allowed under California’s Proposition 215. He declined to give the location of the dispensary it supplied, but said it is in Santa Clara County and has a connection to Mountain View. “What got him into trouble — although he may allege in court that it was all for medicinal use under Prop. 215 — is he made errors, based on our investigation, that shows he is not compliant with the laws,” De La Ossa said. “Some folks are trying to hide behind the Compassionate Use Act.” De La Ossa said Mountain View police do not go after legitimate medicinal marijuana dispensaries that operate within the law: “If they’re compliant, we leave them alone.” V
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California Supreme Court cases,” Lucero said. “We’re going to stay.” Some of those financial resources may come from Lucero himself, who said he made his millions working as a lawyer for large tech companies. “I’ve been significantly a millionaire for many years,” he said. Originally from Staten Island, Lucero has lived in the county since 1988 and currently resides in Campbell. He said the dispensary isn’t about making money or making a political point: “It’s about getting medicine to people who need it — people who are fighting AIDS and fighting cancer. I will absolutely continue to fight for the rights of the seriously ill residents of Santa Clara County.” The dispensary opened to the chagrin of prospective pot club operator Brian David, who wanted to work cooperatively with the city to open a pot club in the same Shoreline industrial neighborhood. “Personally I feel he is breaking the law, and being an attorney does not make him above the law so he should be arrested, fined or both,” David said in an e-mail. He added that pot club regulations could be approved by the council later this year, so he worried that the city would try to pass on a lawsuit against the dispensary. Lucero said he picked Mountain View because it appeared that the City Council was relatively supportive of dispensaries. While a majority of council members supported the idea of allowing dispensaries in a February meeting, the council wanted more time to create regulations on them and placed a temporary ban on them
Buddy’s offers several different varieties of marijuana. MICHELLE LE
starting in March. Because of that moratorium, the city had rejected an application for a business license by the operators of Buddy’s. The pot club’s “discreet” location on Bayshore Parkway was selected in respect for concerns from city officials, Lucero said. “If you don’t know it is here you are going to drive right by it, which is exactly how we want it,” he said. A look inside The dispensary is located in a warehouse building that is partly used by Intuit for storage (Intuit has no connection to the pot club). On display in small jars are the various strains of marijuana for sale, which Lucero said are legally grown by collective members. Inside, electronic music bounces off the pink walls and blackand-white floor. A large mural of the Virgin Mary is one of the first works by local artists that the collective hopes to have on display. The place is well fortified: An alarm system uses laser beams to alert police to break-ins, heavy bars are installed over the windows, and soon security cameras will be installed. Prospective club members are directed into a waiting room made from covered cyclone fence,
where their doctor’s notes are verified before a membership card is issued. Members are then allowed through a locked door into the dispensary. “No one gets through that caged area unless we’ve verified their doctor’s recommendation,” Lucero said. “We do not distribute to non-members ever, ever.” The pot club had over 100 members join in the first week and took in $4,000 in sales, Lucero said. Lucero said he hopes the pot club will be a “very positive community center” where artists can display their art and medi-pot users can take classes about how to grow their own marijuana. Buddy’s is a nonprofit, and its surplus revenue will be available to local charities and other nonprofits, Lucero said. According to Lucero, the dispensary has already been visited by Mountain View police, a building code enforcement officer, city attorney Quinn, city manager Kevin Duggan, planning director Randy Tsuda and council members John Inks and Tom Means. “I assured them it would be lawful,” he said. V
E-mail Daniel DeBolt at firstname.lastname@example.org APRIL 23, 2010 ■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■
Still no challengers in race for council
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