This bird won’t sing ARTS&EVENTS | P.19 APRIL 30, 2010 VOLUME 18, NO. 17
INSIDE: WEEKEND | PAGE 22
After much ado, City Council finally approves Minton’s project By Daniel DeBolt
he City Council gave the green light once and for all on Tuesday night to a 203-unit luxury apartment complex which will take the place of Minton’s Lumber and Supply at 455 W. Evelyn Ave. — but not without a word from a few council members. After much controversy and debate in the downtown neighborhood about the project, council members Jac Siegel and Laura Macias were the only opponents in a 5-2 council vote. Public comment was
largely taken at a previous meeting. was a whole range of perspectives in each cat“There was a revolt in this neighborhood egory,” said council member Margaret Abe over this Koga. “Can project,” said I say there is Siegel, who “I don’t know why we aren’t listening to a majority spent more or a voice than 20 min- the neighborhood and what they want.” one way or utes railing the other? I JAC SIEGEL against the would have proposal. “I to say no.” don’t know why we aren’t listening to the Council members in favor of the project neighborhood and what they want.” said its location, across the street from the Other council members disagreed. downtown train station, was ideal for the “I heard opinions from both sides — there relatively large buildings, which will be four
stories tall along Evelyn Avenue and transition to two stories along Villa Street. It is estimated that the high-end apartments, to be built and managed by Prometheus Real Estate Group, will garner rents ranging from $1,800 a for a one bedroom apartment to $2,500 for a two bedroom apartment. Council member Mike Kasperzak said paying such rents will likely be more attractive than putting a $300,000 down payment on a $1 million home downtown, where the council believes many people want See COUNCIL, page 8
Pot club owner initiates court battle with city By Daniel DeBolt
legal under state law. But that question may soon be settled in n hopes of taking the issue all an appellate court in Southern the way to the state Supreme California in the case of QualiCourt, the operator of a fied Patients Association vs. the newly opened medical marijuana City of Anaheim, which could dispensary in Mountain View decide the legality of that city’s is suing the city over its ban on ban on medical marijuana dispot clubs. pensaries. A ruling in that case, Matt Lucero, a well-to-do law- expected within the next few yer who lives months, could in Campbell, have major filed the suit “I’m going to spend i mpl ic at ion s after the City for city bans Council voted millions of my own on dispensaries last week to money to do this.” statewide. take legal action If Anaheim to close down wins, Lucero MATT LUCERO Buddy’s Cansaid, he will nabis Patient continue his Collective, which he runs with a lawsuit in hopes a Northern dozen other members. California appellate court disThe dispensary opened April agrees. “Then it goes to Califor10 at 2632 Bayshore Parkway nia Supreme Court — that’s my despite Mountain View’s tem- strategy,” he said. porary ban, which took effect in “I’m going to spend millions March and was supposed to buy of my own money to do this,” the city time to craft regulations he added. “Maybe they will fine on medical marijuana dispensa- me thousands of dollars a day. ries — an idea which, ironically, Maybe they will fine our landa council majority seems to sup- lord. I already told them — ‘I’ll port. pay it.’” The central issue in Lucero’s But if Anaheim loses its case, lawsuit is whether Mountain “basically we win,” Lucero said. View’s temporary ban on mediSee POT CLUB, page 9 cal marijuana dispensaries is
A Stanford engineering degree — and no job By Kelsey Mesher
ountain View resident Chad Bowling, 23, never thought he would fall a victim to the down economy. As a chemical engineering student at Stanford University, “I assumed that I would not have a hard time finding a job,” he said. His plan was to work for a few years before applying to graduate programs in his field, a move
RECESSION TALES This story is part of a series exploring ways the recession has affected Mountain View and its residents
often encouraged by professors to broaden a student’s perspective. In the fall of his senior year, Bowling casually began his search.
“I never considered that a year or two break would be a hard ordeal,” he said. Fall passed, and winter and spring quarters rolled by. It was graduation time and Bowling still didn’t have anything lined up. By that time, he was “desperate,” he said. He decided to widen the pool of jobs he would apply for, and continue his search from See RECESSION, page 9
GOINGS ON 26 | MARKETPLACE 27 | MOVIES 25 | REAL ESTATE 30 | VIEWPOINT 15
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■ CITY COUNCIL UPDATES ■ COMMUNITY ■ FEATURES
Poll shows support for school bond
From the Editor’s Desk
MV WHISMAN COULD RAISE $200-PLUS MILLION IF ISSUE GOES TO NOV. BALLOT
The long goodbye
By Andrea Gemmet
By Don Frances
’M HEADED to the hospital — and everything’s fine. It’s been a great five years as your editor here, but changes are afoot: I’ve taken a job at El Camino Hospital, where I’ll be a media relations guy. Happily, then, I’ll still be in town. But this newspaper is the last one I’ll be doing for the good old Mountain View Voice. My boss announced the change in an interoffice e-mail with the subject line “Don is heading to El Camino Hospital.” Everybody thought something terrible had happened. No, not terrible. But bittersweet to be sure. This move comes five years almost to the day since I began my tenure at the Voice, and you can’t walk away from such a long and fruitful run without feeling a pang. In that time I’ve written some goofy things, including problematic headlines (“More teachers getting preggers”), fun ones (“Squirrels fight back”), and a good number of these columns. My best-received column was actually an op-ed piece — “What’s eating Aaron Katz,” a 2006 take-out on a Saratoga lawyer whose litigiousness was causing difficulties for local districts. The piece won me an award and, coincidentally or not, it was the last we ever heard from Aaron Katz. I’ve also made a few small tweaks to the paper and instituted a few things, like the intermittent but ever-popular “Seen Around Town” feature photo. Who knew so many residents were amateur See EDITOR’S DESK, page 14
Left to right: Dean Hughes, Blaine Easter and Randy Lord, whose companies ran the three top ditchdigging machines, receive their prizes while Google project manager Minnie Ingersoll looks on.
Ditch diggers drag for Google BEST TRENCHER GETS INSIDE TRACK ON FIBER PROJECT By Daniel DeBolt
or the ultra-fast broadband network Google wants to build in some lucky U.S. city, lots of small trenches will have to be dug for fiber optic cables. That led to a strange scene at Google on a recent Friday: basically a drag race between five ditch-digging machines. The April 16 competition,
which tore up a Google parking lot at 1206 Charleston Road, was organized by Google employees who not only thought it was the best way to select a “micro trenching” machine, but also to catalyze innovation among the manufacturers of such equipment. The scene was complete with a checkered flag, a camera crew and a winner’s podium. Five different companies showed up
to put their equipment to the test. Google founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin looked on as the strange event began on a painted course about equal to the width of a soccer field. Earplugs were passed out to the crowd of onlookers, mostly Google employees. Crews of workers wearing hardhats See GOOGLE, page 6
City picks new top librarian ROSANNE MACEK A LIBRARY VETERAN WITH HIGH-TECH BACKGROUND By Daniel DeBolt
he city has selected Cupertino library director Rosanne Macek to head Mountain View’s library after Karen Burnett retired in January. Macek is leaving a county-run library which she headed for just over a year. It is reportedly the busiest library in the Santa Clara County library system and one of the busiest in the country. She will start April 30 and earn $152,000 a year.
“She is coming from a busy, active library and coming to a busy, active library,” said city manager Kevin Dug- Rosanne Macek gan. One reason for her wish to move, Duggan said, is that Mountain View’s library is locally controlled by the city rather than the county. Duggan said Macek was excited about work-
ing closely with the city government and the community. “She has a real kind of enthusiasm and dedication to the library field and believes in the value libraries provide to the community,” Duggan said. “I think she is going to be a really good library director. She is very aware of the costs of providing these services.” Macek worked in the private sector until 2002 when she was See LIBRARY, page 6
t would seem like a bad time to ask anyone for money, but a new survey of likely voters shows a strong level of support for a school construction bond measure in the Mountain View Whisman School District. Officials in the district have come up with 10-year master plan that identifies $422 million in construction and renovation projects at its elementary and middle school campuses. Figuring out how to finance even a portion of those projects is a big hurdle in California, as the cash-strapped state has been steadily chipping away at education funding. A phone survey of 350 people conducted in late March shows that a clear majority of likely voters would support a bond measure, even at the highest level of $30 per $100,000 of assessed property value, according to the district’s pollster, Gene Bregman. People surveyed reacted even more favorably to being taxed at lower rates, with 71 percent in favor of $15 per $100,000 of assessed value, he said. “Even at the top tax rate, (approval) is still at 61 percent,” Bregman told the school board at its April 22 meeting. “It’s very encouraging.” The bond measure would require a 55 percent majority to pass. Even at the highest tax rate, it would only raise $200 million — not quite enough for the $240 million projected cost of top priority projects. Board members opted to proceed cautiously with the survey results, asking for more information before they decide whether to seek the bond measure. In order to qualify for the November ballot, the board must act by Aug. 6. “It’s interesting that there’s so much support,” said board See MV WHISMAN, page 10
APRIL 30, 2010 ■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■
The “Shark Cutter” digs a trench in a Google parking lot.
Continued from page 5
manned the five machines, each one capable of plunging a saw blade into the asphalt to create a ditch a little more than an inch wide — just big enough for fiber optic network cables. “Are we ready to do this or what?” cried Google global infrastructure team member Christine Bennett through a megaphone. “OK, on your marks, get set, go!” After the roar of asphalt grinding commenced, it took about 10 minutes for the first machine to dig its way to the end of the course. The winner was the “Shark Cutter” from BSE Inc., pushed by a Bobcat bulldozer and leaving a pile of pebbles in its wake. It was closely followed by the professionallooking “Ditch Witch” machine, which left behind the cleanest cut
Continued from page 5
named director of the countyrun library in Morgan Hill, where she stayed until last year. During her tenure there she oversaw construction of a new library that opened in 2007. Before that she spent 15 years at Apple Corp. where she was a manager of corporate library services, research and product promotion. She wrote a book about the use of Apple computers in libraries titled “Library MacIntosh,” published in 1987. She also has held jobs at Hewlett Packard and Nortell Networks. 6
■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■ APRIL 30, 2010
thanks to a large vacuum hose attachment. Most of the others were much farther behind, some taking more than 20 minutes to finish the course. Once the dust settled it was clear that some machines did the job quicker, some left more of a mess and some dug deeper or wider ditches than others. For fun, three top finishers were declared and given trophies. Standing at the top of a wooden podium was Ditch Witch regional manager Blaine Easter, who was handed some flowers and got a hug from Google project manager Minnie Ingersoll. In second place was Randy Lord, president and CEO of Broadband Service Group, Inc, for its Seacore 800 machine. Taking a third place trophy was Dean Hughes, chief operating officer for BSE, which ran the messy but fast Shark Cutter. The real prize — which has yet to be awarded — is a contract with
Macek wrote a book about the use of Apple computers in libraries titled “Library MacIntosh,” published in 1987. Duggan said he believed Macek would continue Burnett’s legacy of bringing the Mountain View library into the 21st century with new technology. Burnett brought in an automated book checkout
Google to help lay the groundwork for an ultra fast broadband network somewhere in the U.S. In a competition which drew publicity stunts from city officials across the U.S., Google received 160,000 responses from individuals who wanted the network in their community. Google hopes to “catalyze” innovation in every aspect of broadband technology, including microtrenching equipment. As one Google employee said Friday, many people don’t realize that Google isn’t just an Internet company — it’s also an “infrastructure company.” Driving the “Google fiber” project is Google’s desire for open access to the Internet. Ingersoll said that in terms of “cost, penetration and speed” of Internet service, “The U.S. is 19th in the world and falling. We feel we need to catalyze better and faster Internet.” V
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and return system and the city’s high-tech, Google-funded bookmobile, among other things. According to her LinkedIn profile, Macek has been working on her master’s degree in public administration for the last three years at San Jose State University, the same place she got her bachelor’s in English and a master’s in library science. According to her Facebook page, Macek is a Campbell resident and a fan of Barack Obama, writer Sylvia Plath, the rock band Muse, San Jose Sharks hockey player Joe Thornton and the TV show “True Blood,” among other things. V
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Saint Francis teen helps school in India VISIT TO BANGALORE SUBURB LEADS TO FUNDRAISING EFFORT By Andrea Gemmet
angalore is known as the Silicon Valley of India, but in the shadow of its huge IT companies are Vivek Vinayak schools without electricity, let alone classroom computers. It was a startling discovery for Mountain View resident Vivek Vinayak, who saw the schools while he was visiting family in India last year. “I got a shock to see there was no running water or electricity, because the government wouldn’t pay for them,” said Vinayak, a junior at Saint Francis High School. Vinayak, 16, said he decided to help, so he’s tapped friends and family to raise money for one of the schools, Government Higher Primary School in Mahalaxmipuram, a suburb of Bangalore.
His Web site, www.tinyurl.com/ ghp-school, features photos, testimonials from his donors and Vinayak’s plans for the funds he raises. “I talked to the principal and said I wanted to help, and she was extremely grateful,” he said. Vinayak said he’s raised $1,000 so far, and sent a first installment of $200 to the school to cover several months of electricity, he said. He just sent a second check to pay for a new roof, and future installments will pay for books and other school supplies, he said. He’s hoping to expand his pool of donors by getting public service announcements placed on KLOK 1170 AM, a radio station that carries Indian programming. He’s also seeking ideas and help from his high school. “I want to raise awareness that there are places where basic needs are not met and if each one of us does something, we will make a difference,” Vinayak said. V
Student sees Rwanda up close TEN-DAY MEDICAL MISSION OPENED EYES OF MVHS SENIOR By Ellen Huet
ince Cortinas, Jr., a senior at Mountain View High School, could never have predicted that coaching a Little League baseball team would lead to his first trip overseas. But one of the player’s parents, Drew Patterson, was involved with a group called Medical Mission for Children (MMFC) through Stanford Medical Center. Patterson invited Cortinas to come along on one of MMFC’s medical service trips to Gitwe, Rwanda, and Cortinas couldn’t turn down the opportunity to help others in need. A national medical service organization, MMFC connects doctors across the U.S. with hard-to-access areas where medical care is most needed, in countries such as Rwanda, Guatemala, Peru, Ukraine, Tanzania and India. In missions to Gitwe, most procedures are cleft lip and goiter surgeries for village residents who have no other access to such help. Cortinas, along with a team of surgeons and anesthesiologists from Stanford and Northwestern Universities, arrived in Kigali,
the capital of Rwanda, on Feb. 28, and spent 10 days in Gitwe, a small village about a two-hour drive away, where medical facilities were less than ideal. “They had a ‘hospital,’ but it was just a building with empty rooms,” Cortinas said. According to Cortinas, MMFC plans annual trips to Gitwe, but some are postponed because of unrest in the country. While in Gitwe, Cortinas was able to observe surgeries and took part in other medical tasks. The group also brought other supplies to Rwanda such as pens and paper, which seemed “like gold” to village residents, Cortinas said. He also helped install a computer system that will allow hospitals at Stanford and Northwestern to access medical forms from Gitwe, improving the quality of medical care in the village. Although the purpose of the trip focused on medical and technical help, Cortinas felt he benefited in other ways. “My favorite part of the trip for sure was visiting the elementary school in Gitwe,” he said. “When we rolled up, the kids just mobbed us — they were so excited.” V
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