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Firefighters’ overtime costs soar Page 3
Etsy.com allows local artists to share their wares in an online market PAGE 19
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N Arts Paying tribute through memorial quilts
N Sports Stanford women play in ‘Sweet 16’
N Home Creatively hanging photos and art
Learn the Guitar this Spring
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Local news, information and analysis
Palo Alto firefighters’ overtime costs soar Department exceeded overtime budget by more than half due to injuries, minimum-staffing requirement by Gennady Sheyner alo Alto’s firefighters have already used up more than 150 percent of their overtime budget for fiscal year 2009-2010 — a number that’s expected to continue climbing in the last three months of the year, which ends June 30. According to a city report released
earlier this month, the 123-member department had spent $1.57 million on overtime by the end of January, far exceeding its $1 million budget for the fiscal year. The report attributes this rise largely to the department’s “minimum staffing” requirement, which is written into the city’s
contract with Palo Alto Firefighters, Local 1319. The requirement forces the Fire Department to keep at least 29 firefighters on duty at all times, or 31 firefighters when Station 8 in the foothills is open. So when several firefighters get injured, go on vacation or take a bereavement leave, their colleagues in the department have to put in extra time. Another city document released this month — a list of all city work-
ers’ gross salaries for 2009 — illustrates the department’s overtime spike. In 2009, eight of the City of Palo Alto’s top 10 overtime earners were in the fire department. Fire Captain Jason Amdur led the field by earning $86,179 in overtime — a number that boosted his overall salary to $207,585. By contrast, in 2008, only four firefighters made it into the city’s top 10. The department’s overtime costs have routinely exceeded its budget
and have escalated over the years, rising from $1.23 million in 2003 to $1.6 million in 2009. The number is expected to go up another notch in 2010. Fire Chief Nick Marinaro told the City Council’s Finance Committee on March 2 the department’s overtime numbers could be partially attributed to Station 8 and Medic-1 — programs that rely on overtime (continued on page 9)
Merchants baffled by parking problem For drivers, downtown parking lots and garages are the city’s best-kept secret by Gennady Sheyner
W Vivian Wong
Enjoying a breath of spring
Stanford student Andrew Elmore reads by “The Claw,” one of Stanford’s many fountains.
Jumbo home OK’d by Palo Alto planners 11,000-square-foot residence in foothills would stand near Portola Valley border by Gennady Sheyner
eeks after Palo Alto’s planning commissioners rejected setting maximum sizes for new houses in the foothills, they found themselves staring at the city’s latest development proposal — an 11,184square-foot “English manor-style” house and swimming pool in the city’s pristine open-space district. The Planning and Transportation Commission unanimously approved the project after voicing minor concerns about the building’s architecture, tree selection, grading and light impacts. Though normally opposed to large developments in the foothills, commissioners agreed that the project has been well thought out and
merits approval. “I think this is a great project that, I think, as a community we can be proud of,” Vice Chair Samir Tuma said. The application for the new house at 805 Los Trancos Road has been in the city’s pipeline since 2004, when the Langenskiold Family Trust first proposed it. On March 3, during a discussion of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which guides future planning, several commissioners said they would hate to see new mansions pop up in Palo Alto’s open-space zone, potentially degrading the environment and blocking visitors’ views of the rolling hills. After hearing from several angry residents, commissioners agreed
the city’s existing regulations and procedures for review are stringent enough to ensure eco-friendly buildings that don’t impact views. The commission recommended not setting maximum house sizes but said that if the council chooses to impose housing limits despite the recommendations, 12,000 square feet would be a reasonable number. The Los Trancos Road proposal, which comes close to the hypothetical maximum, includes a 75-footlong swimming pool and new palm trees that would screen the property from view. The two-story building would stand in a flat area about 120 feet away from Los Trancos Road, close to the Portola Valley border. Planning staff said the building would not be visible from any of the city’s public lands. The only locations from which the new house could be viewed are the slopes west of the site, near Portola Valley. The 26 new trees would also reduce the property’s visibility from public roads. Commissioner Eduardo Martinez wondered aloud whether the building’s English manor style is consis(continued on page 6)
hat good is free and abundant downtown parking when visitors don’t know it’s there? That’s one of the questions Palo Alto’s downtown-business leaders wrestled with Wednesday morning at a brainstorming session on downtown’s future. The event, sponsored by the Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association, focused on ways to make University Avenue and surrounding streets more attractive for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Downtown business owners and city officials split on some of the more radical (and costly) ideas that emerged during the discussion — including the perennial proposal to turn University Avenue into a pedestrian mall and a suggestion to make Hamilton and Lytton avenues one-way streets. But just about everyone in the room agreed that a few extra signs and some maps directing visitors to parking structures would help. Attendees at Wednesday’s discussion acknowledged that Palo Alto has significant advantages over other downtowns when it comes to parking, including a scattering of surface lots and multi-story parking structures on High Street, Cowper Street and Hamilton Avenue. The fact that all that parking is free also helps. But too few out-of-towners are aware of these parking structures, which are subsidized by downtown business owners. As a result, too many cars creep along University Avenue throughout the day, making life less pleasant for pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers. “Our customers think there’s no parking in downtown Palo Alto,” said Cornelia Pendleton, chief financial officer of University Art on Hamilton Avenue. “You go to any garage and there are floors of parking spaces,
but there’s a perception that there’s no parking and that it’s hard to get into downtown Palo Alto. “We should invest in signage.” Downtown business owners long ago identified parking as a top priority. Businesses currently participate in a parking-assessment district that pays for new lots and garages and for maintenance of the current facilities. But even with 18 lots and garages over the roughly 30-square-block area, masses of drivers wander through downtown every day looking for a spot, business owners complained. Jeff Selzer, general manager of Palo Alto Bicycles, said the noise from trucks and cars on University Avenue often makes it impossible for him to speak on the phone inside his business. The city should do more to limit the number of trucks on the prominent thoroughfare, Selzer said. Business owners encouraged city officials to put up signs directing people toward parking and to print more maps identifying downtown lots and garages. “There is such an investment in parking in this city,” said Sherry Bijan, president of the Downtown Business and Professional Association. “It’s the information that’s not coming through.” Bijan also encouraged local architects and urban designers to bring forth new concepts and design ideas for improving downtown Palo Alto. City planners and community volunteers put together a University Avenue “concept plan” in 1993, but the plan has largely fallen by the wayside. The plan recommended, among other things, one-way traffic flow near University Circle, new bicycle connections and underground tunnels for railroad tracks. Curtis Williams, the city’s plan(continued on page 7)
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PUBLISHER William S. Johnson EDITORIAL Jay Thorwaldson, Editor Jocelyn Dong, Managing Editor Carol Blitzer, Associate Editor Keith Peters, Sports Editor Tyler Hanley, Expressâ„˘ and Online Editor Rebecca Wallace, Arts & Entertainment Editor Rick Eymer, Assistant Sports Editor Chris Kenrick, Gennady Sheyner, Staff Writers Sue Dremann, Staff Writer, Special Sections Editor Karla Kane, Editorial Assistant Veronica Weber, Staff Photographer Jeanne Aufmuth, Dale Bentson, Colin Becht, Peter Canavese, Kit Davey, Iris Harrell, Sheila Himmel, Kevin Kirby, Jack McKinnon, Renata Polt, Jeanie Forte Smith, Susan Tavernetti, Robert Taylor, Contributors Martin Sanchez, Mike Lata, Editorial Interns
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DESIGN Shannon Corey, Design Director Raul Perez, Assistant Design Director Linda Atilano, Diane Haas, Scott Peterson, Paul Llewellyn, Senior Designers Laura Don, Gary Vennarucci, Designers PRODUCTION Jennifer Lindberg, Production Manager Dorothy Hassett, Blanca Yoc, Sales & Production Coordinators ADVERTISING Walter Kupiec, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Judie Block, Esmeralda Flores, Janice Hoogner, Gary Whitman, Display Advertising Sales Neil Fine, Rosemary Lewkowitz, Real Estate Advertising Sales David Cirner, Irene Schwartz, Inside Advertising Sales Cathy Norfleet, Display Advertising Sales Asst. Diane Martin, Real Estate Advertising Assistants Alicia Santillan, Classified Administrative Asst. EXPRESS, ONLINE AND VIDEO SERVICES Rachel Palmer, Online Operations Coordinator Molly Stenhouse, Online Sales Consultant BUSINESS Mona Salas, Manager of Payroll & Benefits Elena Dineva, Mary McDonald, Sana Sarfaraz, Cathy Stringari, Susie Ochoa, Doris Taylor, Business Associates ADMINISTRATION Amy Renalds, Assistant to the Publisher & Promotions Director Alana VanZanten, Promotions Intern Janice Covolo, Receptionist Ruben Espinoza, Courier EMBARCADERO PUBLISHING CO. William S. Johnson, President Michael I. Naar, Vice President & CFO Walter Kupiec, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Frank A. Bravo, Director, Information Technology & Webmaster Connie Jo Cotton, Major Accounts Sales Manager Bob Lampkin, Director, Circulation & Mailing Services Alicia Santillan, Circulation Assistants Chris Planessi, Chip Poedjosoedarmo, Computer System Associates The Palo Alto Weekly (ISSN 0199-1159) is published every Friday by Embarcadero Publishing Co., 450 Cambridge Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306, (650) 326-8210. Periodicals postage paid at Palo Alto, CA and additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for Santa Clara County. The Palo Alto Weekly is delivered free to homes in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, East Palo Alto, to faculty and staff households on the Stanford campus and to portions of Los Altos Hills. If you are not currently receiving the paper, you may request free delivery by calling 326-8210. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302. Copyright ÂŠ2010 by Embarcadero Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Printed by SFOP, Redwood City. The Palo Alto Weekly is available on the Internet via Palo Alto Online at: www.PaloAltoOnline.com Our e-mail addresses are: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. Missed delivery or start/stop your paper? Call 650 326-8210, or e-mail circulation@paweekly. com. You may also subscribe online at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Subscriptions are $60/yr.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
450 CAMBRIDGE AVE, PALO ALTO, CA 94306 (650) 326-8210
We should invest in signage. â€” Cornelia Pendleton, chief financial officer of University Art, on the perception itâ€™s hard to find parking in downtown Palo Alto. See story on page 3.
THE THIN ENVELOPE ... With seniors at Gunn and Palo Alto high schools celebrating college acceptances this month, many are making a to-do about their rejections as well. Gunn student Steven Zhou reported to the Palo Alto school board Tuesday that students have mounted their annual â€œrejection wall,â€? posting their bad news from colleges on a wall facing the schoolâ€™s inner quad. â€œItâ€™s just sort of a fun thing to make people feel better about themselves, that theyâ€™re not alone,â€? Zhou said. Paly student Jason Willick said there is talk that Palyâ€™s rejection wall â€” highly visible in front of the school library last year â€” may go online this year. HIGHER EDUCATION ... Assemblyman Ira Ruskin (D-21) is preparing to tour through the 21st district to talk to his constituents about higher education and its future in the state. The discussions will focus on the progress of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Master Plan, which he co-chairs. The committee is putting together a report assessing Californiaâ€™s higher-education needs. Ruskinâ€™s first meeting will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 27, in the Redwood City Community Activities Building, 1400 Roosevelt Ave., Redwood City. Ruskin is also scheduled to hold a meeting in Palo Alto between 10 and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 10, at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. The same day, he will also hold a â€œcoffee and conversationâ€? meeting in Los Altos between 3 and 4:30 p.m. at Brianâ€™s Restaurant at the Rancho Shopping Center.
FUNDING SAFETY ... Palo Altoâ€™s effort to fund private security guards for the West Meadow train crossing continues, but police Chief Dennis Burns notes some recent good news: â€œThrough the concerted efforts of a number of private persons there has been more than $80,000 donated, which is truly awesome.â€? The guards have been patrolling the tracks since late November, prompted by concern in the community over distressed teenagers lingering at the crossing. The guards cost the city more than $3,000 a week. The city is still seeking and receiving donations,
Burns said, and has established a PayPal account for online contributions. Donations can also be made by check, and all are taxdeductible. Both the PayPal site and the Safety Net Fund mailing address can be found at http:// tinyurl.com/PAsecurity.
WATER HEROES ... Cisco Systems, the Campbell Union School District and the City of Hayward all received awards this week for their water-conservation efforts from a coalition of Silicon Valley green and business groups. The three agencies were among the six winners of the second annual Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards, which were handed out on World Water Day, March 22. Nurserymenâ€™s Exchange, the California Landscape Contractors Association and Humane Society Silicon Valley also received awards for drastically reducing water usage. â€œWith water shortages in the news on a weekly basis, water conservation has become a critical issue facing Silicon Valley,â€? said Mike Mielke, senior director of environmental programs and policy at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, one of the sponsors of the award. â€œTo maintain our leading edge in the economy, Silicon Valley must also be a leader in the efficient use of water.â€? WEIGHTY MATTERS ... Palo Altoâ€™s Human Relations Commission normally wrestles with issues of police oversight, civic engagement and employee relations, but every once in a while, weightier matters intrude. Last week, the commission looked beyond city borders and unanimously endorsed a resolution opposing the death penalty in California. The resolution was proposed by the Santa Clara Coalition for Alternatives to Death Penalty, a group that includes Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Green Party and other deathpenalty opponents. Commissioner Claude Ezran argued that the death penalty is immoral and that Palo Alto should take a stand against it. â€œItâ€™s not only about victims or about murderers; itâ€™s also about us,â€? Ezran said. â€œItâ€™s about who we are in the society, as individuals, as a nation and as part of human kind.â€? N
Upfront PUBLIC POLICY
Local policy, health administrators weigh in on health care bill
The Bowman program builds confidence, creativity and academic excellence.
Community clinics could get more funding, questions remain about supply and demand by Sue Dremann
uisa Buada breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday after federal health care legislation was signed by President Barack Obama. As CEO of Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto, Buada witnesses firsthand how a lack of health insurance affects her clients, many of whom avoid seeing a doctor until they are seriously ill or develop chronic diseases, she said. But the health billâ€™s passage is also of personal significance for Buada. Her 18-year-old son has pre-existing conditions that she feared would make him ineligible for insurance under her policy unless he went to college, she said. â€œI was praying for the bill to pass,â€? she said. The bill could be life-changing for many of Ravenswoodâ€™s patients, according to Buada. For starters, the preventive care they will receive will help lower health costs in the long term. Then, once people get insurance (which wonâ€™t happen until 2014) patients will start taking care of medical issues before they become serious. Uninsured patients often wait until they are sick enough to go to a hospital for care, costing the system more money, Buada said.
In 2014, a pool of insurance plans will kick in to allow a range of coverage from â€œcatastrophic to Cadillac,â€? she said. Having more options for insurance will improve the quality of life for many by ensuring they are covered for certain illnesses, she said. Samima Hasan, CEO of the MayView Community Health Center, which has a clinic in Palo Alto, said patients who have been denied coverage due to pre-existing health conditions could qualify for the new high-risk pools to be set up within 90 days. Starting in six months, two additional features of the bill could insure people who have lost insurance and currently have MayView as their only affordable option for health care, according to Hasan. â€œChildren can be covered under their parentsâ€™ policy until they are 26 and children with existing health problems cannot be denied coverage,â€? she said. In 2011, new funding will help community health centers provide basic care for low-income and uninsured people. If MayView qualifies, it could then receive enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, purchase prescription and non-pre-
Survey probes traits of â€˜senior technical womenâ€™ Theyâ€™re more assertive than male peers, but where are the â€˜tech goddessesâ€™? by Chris Kenrick
omen occupying the highest ranks of Silicon Valley technology companies differ in some key respects from top men in technology, while sharing many of the most important traits. The conclusions come from a survey of 1,795 men and women at seven local high-technology companies, conducted by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology in Palo Alto and the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. Despite possessing technical expertise on par with top men, the senior technical women were more likely to be in management rather than â€œindividual contributorâ€? roles that often set the fundamental technology agendas for their companies. They were more likely than their male peers to view themselves as â€œassertive,â€? but less likely to consider themselves entrepreneurial or innovative. At just 4 percent of the sample, senior technical women represent a rarity in the technology industry.
Researchers combed the data for clues as to how these high achievers had forged their paths to success in the male-dominated tech world. â€œIn this report we asked, â€˜What about the women who have made it, who beat the odds? What can they tell us about what it takes to achieve these positions?â€™â€? according to social scientist Caroline Simard, a coauthor of the study and research director for the Anita Borg Institute. The institute was launched in 1997 by local computer scientist Anita Borg, who named it the Institute for Women and Technology. It was renamed for Borg after she died of brain cancer in 2003 at the age of 54. Borg believed women should â€œassume their rightful place at the tableâ€? in actively driving the conception and development of lifedefining technologies. The institute is supported by corporate â€œpartners,â€? including major tech companies such as Google, HP, Microsoft, Intel, Yahoo and Cisco. (continued on page 6)
scription medications for outpatients at reduced cost through the federal drug-pricing program and add personnel from National Health Service Corps, among other benefits. Buada is concerned about the impact of newly insured patients on the current infrastructure of medical care. San Mateo County has 5,000 patients in need of a primary care physician and currently there are not enough doctors, she said. Ravenswood has limited capacity for 1,000 patients at its Belle Haven clinic in Menlo Park but no room at its East Palo Alto facility, she said. Under the current system many doctors chose specialties rather than internal medicine because the reimbursement rate was better, she said. But the health care bill could change that trend. Doctors, nurses and dentists who choose a career in primary care and participate in a community clinic will be eligible to have their federal loans paid off through the National Health Service Corps. â€œIt will make a huge difference in areas that are less desirable for people to work in,â€? she said. Emily Lam, Silicon Valley Leadership Group senior director of health care and federal issues, is also concerned about having enough doctors to meet the demand. â€œAre we ready to handle the load?â€? she asked. â€œThere are 8.2 million uninsured Californians. Weâ€™ve been under-investing in clinics. ... There is money in the bill to encourage primary care physicians, and they should get paid more and see an increase in reimbursements. But how fast are we absorbing the 8.2 million people and producing primary care physicians?â€? she said. Lam said one big benefit of the bill could be that patients wonâ€™t be cut off from insurance payments in the middle of their therapy, benefiting many with cancer and chronic diseases. The bill has money for preventive and wellness care, which will ideally bring down the cost of medical care in the coming years and that could make significant changes in the health of community clinic patients, she said. Lam said a fundamental question regarding the health care package is whether costs for the whole health care system can be kept down. But people whose concerns about the bill revolve around â€œcosts, costs, costsâ€? are missing the big picture, she said. â€œIt has nothing to do with the bill. Itâ€™s the dysfunctionality of the system. ... If we canâ€™t bend the curve of high health costs, weâ€™re still in trouble. Irrespective of the bill, private insurance is on a crash course unless we keep costs down,â€? she said. (continued on page 9)
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Simard said the research was designed to answer companiesâ€™ questions about the best policies for recruiting, retaining and advancing technical women. â€œThey (the companies) come to us and say, â€˜We want to get more insight about whatâ€™s happening with our technical women and how we can support them in advancing their careers,â€™â€? she said. She declined to specifically name the seven high-technology companies in Silicon Valley from which the data was gathered in 2008. Women and men at senior technical levels largely agreed when asked to identify â€œattributes for successful people in technology.â€? Those were listed, in order of importance, as analytical, innovative, questioning, risk-taking, collaborative, entrepreneurial and assertive. Senior tech women and men viewed themselves in similar numbers as analytical, questioning, risktaking and collaborative. Nearly 56 percent of senior women saw themselves as â€œassertive,â€? while only 48.4 percent of senior men considered themselves so. One mid-level woman said assertiveness is necessary for female success in the male-dominated engineering culture, even if it does not come naturally. â€œThere are certain behaviors that are required of women in technology because of the behaviors that
male engineers display,â€? said one survey participant, a mid-level technical woman. â€œThereâ€™s a way of communicating where male engineers communicate in such a way that it sounds like they know what theyâ€™re talking about and they are right. And you know, sometimes it comes across as arrogant and annoying, but itâ€™s effective. â€œAnd I think that often women donâ€™t learn to do that in technical careers. They never sort of advance up the technical ladder.â€? Simard also noted that the propensity for assertiveness varies along cultural dimensions. A senior woman described how she had to change her style to fit the North American technical culture. â€œI was raised to not be aggressive, be very modest, donâ€™t toot your own horn. â€œI think in America you need to be a little more assertive. You often have to sell yourself, promote yourself. Let people know what youâ€™ve done, what youâ€™re capable of doing.â€? Another senior technical woman said self-promotion had been necessary for success. â€œIâ€™ve had to ask for it,â€? she said. â€œIf I was just complacent and I just did my work ... I wouldnâ€™t be where I am. Iâ€™ve had to be very aggressive and basically say: â€˜Hey, Iâ€™m ready for a promotion. Letâ€™s sit down and talk about this. I should be at a higher level.â€™â€? While 60.2 percent of senior technical men described themselves as â€œinnovators,â€? only 38.1 percent of
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top technical women saw themselves that way. â€œA loss of diverse ideas in the innovation process represents lost business opportunities for companies,â€? Simard said. Many tech companies categorize positions in terms of whether they are â€œindividual contributorsâ€? or managers. This dual-ladder career structure was widely adopted in the 1950s by firms heavily dependent on scientific talent. It was a way to provide advancement opportunities for high-performing technical employees who did not have managerial aspirations. Simard said it is a matter of concern that top women are more likely to be in management rather than â€œindividual contributorâ€? roles because the â€œICsâ€? have greater opportunities to achieve deep technical specialization, set technical directions for company products and be involved in patenting and publishing activities. â€œAt a certain level (in our company), you have to choose whether you will be an engineer or a manager,â€? said a mid-level technical man. â€œAnd I cannot name you a single female (top level) technical leader that I know of at this company.â€? A mid-level technical woman said, â€œ(At the highest level) we donâ€™t have women technical Fellows or anything like that; we have women VPs. â€œFellow is the equivalent of â€˜technical god.â€™ There are no women. Then there are (top-level engineers) one step lower, and I think that one is a woman. It makes me so mad.â€? In the area of work-life balance, the survey found that nearly a quarter of senior technical women rely on a spouse who has primary responsibility for the household. However, senior women are more than twice as likely as senior men to have a partner who works full-time. Senior women are significantly more likely than senior men to report that they delayed having children and cut back on their social lives to achieve their career goals. N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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tent with the natural landscape of the foothills. He encouraged applicant Mark Conroe to â€œlook at really expressing the building in a more sympathetic way to the beautiful environment where it will sit.â€? Commissioner Susan Fineberg suggested the palm trees chosen by Conroe are better suited to Stanfordâ€™s quad-heavy campus than to the former farmland site. Commissioners also questioned Conroeâ€™s plan to build a culvert to allow the Buckeye Creek to flow through the property. Some commissioners, including Tuma and Greg Tanaka, said a bridge might be a more appropriate design element. But commissioners had more praise than criticism for the proposal, with Lee Lippert calling it a â€œgreat projectâ€? and Tuma lauding its sensitivity to the environment. N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
Upfront LAND USE
Palo Alto restarts talks with Foothill College Council votes 8-1 to discuss â€˜use and possible saleâ€™ of 8 city-owned acres at Cubberley by Gennady Sheyner
alo Altoâ€™s stalled proposal to sell a portion of Cubberley Community Center to Foothill College officially re-emerged Monday night after the City Council agreed to schedule a meeting with Foothill officials to discuss the possible sale. The sale would make possible a phased rebuilding of Foothillâ€™s Middlefield Campus. After an hour of debate behind closed doors, the council voted 8-1 to schedule a meeting with officials from the Foothill-De Anza Community College District to discuss selling 8 acres of Cubberley to the district. Vice Mayor Sid Espinosa was the lone dissenter, but he declined to comment after the meeting, citing Brown Act restrictions.
Mayor Pat Burt said the meeting between council members, college officials and members of the Palo Alto Unified School District will be scheduled within the next 60 days. The discussions, the council agreed, will focus on â€œexploration of the use and potential saleâ€? of the city-owned portion of Cubberley, which is located at 4000 Middlefield Road in south Palo Alto. The city had previously considered selling a portion of Cubberley to Foothill in 2008, but talks collapsed after several council members insisted on leasing the land instead. College officials wanted to buy the land outright and hoped to fund the purchase with the $40 million the district has leftover from a 2006 facilities-bond measure.
Foothill currently leases about 57,000 square feet at Cubberley, where it serves about 4,000 parttime students each quarter. College
â€˜Foothill has $40 million thatâ€™s just sitting there and waiting to be used.â€™ â€”Ken Horowitz, professor, Foothill College officials had hoped to build a new â€œeducation centerâ€? at Cubberley, a project that would expand the collegeâ€™s share of the Middlefield Road facility by 43 percent.
Councilwoman Gail Price said Monday that the discussion between city, school district and college district officials would go beyond the specific land-sale proposal and consider the broader issue of land use at Cubberley. Price is one of four council members who joined the council this year and did not take part in the earlier negotiations. â€œWe are also assuming that in the discussion it would be an opportunity to clarify the existing relationship, agreements and background to the overall current and future potential uses of the broader Cubberley site,â€? Price said. Though none of the college districtâ€™s trustees attended Mondayâ€™s meeting, one Foothill professor publicly encouraged the council to cut a deal with the college. Ken Horowitz, a Palo Alto resident who teaches at the collegeâ€™s dental-hygiene program, called the sale a â€œwin-winâ€? situation for the city and the school. â€œWeâ€™d have a beautiful facility,â€? Horowitz told the council. â€œThe district is committed to putting in $40 million for the project.
â€œIt will be seismically safe and a great asset for the city.â€? In discussions two years ago, Foothill indicated that some of the college would be willing to share some facilities with residents and the city. Horowitz noted that some of the council members who opposed the sale in 2008, including former Councilman Jack Morton, are no longer on the council. The city also has a new city manager, James Keene, and a $6.4 million budget deficit in the 2010 fiscal year. The turnover on the council and on city staff, coupled with the cityâ€™s economic struggles, could make Palo Altoâ€™s negotiations with Foothill more fruitful this time around, Horowitz said. â€œThereâ€™s a new council, a new city manager and a new environment where the city is talking about making staff reductions and service cuts,â€? Horowitz said. â€œMeanwhile, Foothill has $40 million thatâ€™s just sitting there and waiting to be used.â€? N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
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ning director and facilitator of Wednesdayâ€™s discussion, said more signs directing people toward parking structures could be a relatively low-cost way to improve traffic conditions downtown. But some of the bolder proposals coming out of the group â€” including banning cars on University Avenue altogether â€” were met with opposition and skepticism by other attendees. Claude Ezran, member of the cityâ€™s Human Relations Commission and coordinator of last yearâ€™s World Music Day in downtown Palo Alto, resurrected the â€œpedestrian mallâ€? idea and argued that closing a portion of University Avenue to traffic would bring more foot-traffic and, hence, more business to local stores. The idea to create a pedestrian mall on University Avenue has been popping up just about every year in Palo Alto. Last year, a group of Stanford University graduate students led a drive to promote the idea and received an endorsement from a scattering of local businesses and city officials. Ezran said cities all over Europe have pedestrian malls featuring music, entertainment and crowds of people walking the streets. And when people walk, retailers benefit, he said. â€œTo enter the store, you canâ€™t do it from your car, you have to be walking,â€? Ezran said. But America is not Europe, countered architect Tony Carrasco, who has worked on several pedestrianmall projects in other parts of the country. Malls require a steady flow of slow-moving cars for sustenance, he said, citing two pedestrian malls in Kansas that failed and had to be reopened to traffic. â€œAs long as you have cars that drive 5 or 10 mph â€” cars are what cause the mall to survive and thrive,â€? Carrasco said. N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
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The Palo Alto UniďŹ ed School District 25 Churchill Avenue, Building â€œDâ€? Palo Alto, CA 94306 March 26, 2010 REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS OHLONE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MODERNIZATION AND NEW CONSTRUCTION The Palo Alto UniďŹ ed School District is inviting qualiďŹ cation information from highly qualiďŹ ed and experienced Contractors to provide General Construction Services to the District for the Ohlone Elementary School Modernization and New Construction project. This project consists of the construction of one new 2 story 12 room classroom building as well as the modernization of existing buildings and is valued at 7.5M. This project is anticipated to bid late summer 2010 with construction commencing early fall. If interested and qualiďŹ ed, proposal packets may be obtained from the Palo Alto UniďŹ ed School District Facilities OfďŹ ce - Phone (650) 329-3927. Palo Alto UniďŹ ed School District Facilities Department 25 Churchill Avenue, Building â€œDâ€? Palo Alto, CA 94306 Attn: Alex Morrison Questions regarding this request for qualiďŹ cations (â€œRFQâ€?) may be directed to Alex Morrison at amorrison@pausd. org ALL RESPONSES TO THIS RFQ MUST BE RECEIVED BY 2:00 PM, Wednesday, April 28, 2010. This is not a request for bids or an offer by the District to contract with any party responding to this RFQ. The District reserves the right to reject any and all Proposals. All materials submitted to the District in response to this RFQ shall remain property of the District and may be considered a part of public record. Page 8ĂŠUĂŠ>Ă€VÂ…ĂŠĂ“Ăˆ]ĂŠĂ“Ă¤ÂŁĂ¤ĂŠUĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?Ăž
Palo Alto retirees cash in on â€˜cash outâ€™ payments City paid $5.3 million last year to workers with unused sick, vacation days by Gennady Sheyner
ay raises may be a thing of the past in Palo Alto, but some city workers managed to supplement their salaries with hefty â€œcash outâ€? payments last year by turning in unused sick and vacation time. The city doled out $5.3 million in cash-out payments in 2009 to workers in exchange for their unused sick and vacation days. Hundreds of workers took modest cash-out payments when they had worked more days than required â€” most less than $10,000 but some into five digits. But the largest sums by far were given to some of the cityâ€™s most seasoned veterans, many of whom retired last year amid tough contract negotiations. Gayle Likens, a longtime manager in the transportation division of the cityâ€™s planning department, led the field by receiving a $157,865 cash-out payment â€” a figure that boosted her overall salary to $250,792. Likens, who retired last year but came back to work for the city on an hourly basis, was one of five city workers whose cash-out figures reached six digits in 2009. She was trailed by Utilities Supervisor Phillip Ignoffo (a $144,600 cash-out payment), Fire Deputy Chief Daniel Lindsey
($137,520), Fire Captain Kenneth Cardinale ($109,393) and custodian Ted Schroder ($106,069). City Manager James Keene said the largest cash-out payments went to employees who were hired before 1983, back when the city had no limits on how many sick days and vacation days can be cashed out. Ignoffo, for example, was hired in 1966, while Lindsey and Cardinale both joined the city in 1981. All three retired last year. â€œThe big driver here is the ability for pre-1983 employees to cash out almost all of their accrued vacation and sick leave,â€? Keene said. In January 1984, the city changed its policy and set limits on the number of unused vacation days workers can swap for cash. Lalo Perez, director of the Administrative Services Department, said workers can no longer cash out their sick days and have limits on how many vacation days they can trade in for cash. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) workers, who make up more than half of the cityâ€™s work force, can cash out up to three weeks of vacation leave per year. The management group, which doesnâ€™t get paid overtime, can cash out up to two weeks of vacation and can also
trade in their two weeks of â€œmanagement leaveâ€? (the time off they get as compensation for working extra hours) for cash. The cityâ€™s tough contract negotiations with the SEIU and the management group likely played a major role in driving up the cash-out payments last year, Perez said. Last year, the city imposed new (and less lucrative) conditions on the SEIU and stopped giving bonuses to management employees, prompting a wave of retirements. But retirees werenâ€™t the only ones cashing in last year. Some of the younger employees also chose to take cash instead of vacation to compensate for the lack of pay raises and bonuses, Keene said. The trend is expected to continue in the coming years as most salaries are expected to remain flat. Palo Alto is facing a $6.3 million budget gap in the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30. The gap is projected to gradually expand to about $19.6 million in fiscal year 2020 if the city doesnâ€™t cut costs or find new revenue sources. The city spent $93 million on regular salaries â€” not including overtime or cash outs â€” in 2009. Given the projections, Keene said salary increases for city workers are unlikely in the near future. â€œI donâ€™t see us having pay raises next year and itâ€™s hard for me to see us even having pay raises in fiscal year 2012, given the financial state of the city,â€? Keene said. â€œOur focus will clearly be on cost containment related to salaries.â€? N
Thank You Palo Alto. Lets Celebrate Our
City of Palo Alto - Top overtime earners in 2009
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for their staffing. According to a report from the Administrative Services Department, the two programs account for about $435,000 of the departmentâ€™s 2010 overtime costs. But the other $1.1 million can be traced primarily to the minimumstaffing requirement, the report states. The number is particularly high this year because an extraordinarily high number of firefighters went on full disability. Marinaro said the department had 13 employees on disability as of the end of January â€” seven more than a year ago. This included four firefighters who suffered their injuries while off duty, including one who got injured while skiing and another one who hurt himself while playing basketball. â€œWe had an extraordinary number of disability personnel, and when theyâ€™re on disability we have to backfill for them,â€? Marinaro said. â€œThe number almost doubled â€” itâ€™s really an aberration.â€? In each case, the minimum staffing requirement forced other employees to take over for those on leave and, in the process, pick up overtime hours. Some firefighters chose to shoulder more than their fair share of extra duty and, as a result, ended up on top of the cityâ€™s overtime list, Marinaro said. Marinaro said four of the 13 injured employees have since returned to duty. Staffing levels at the department are expected to be a hot topic in coming months, as Palo Altoâ€™s administrators begin contract negotiations with the firefighters union. With the city facing a $6.3 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year, City Manager James Keene has asked each department to identify possible savings. Tony Spitaleri, president of the Palo Alto Firefight-
Fire Captain, Hazardous Materials, EMT
Fire Apparatus Operator, EMT
Public Safety Dispatcher
Fire Captain, EMT
Fire Captain, EMT
Fire Apparatus Operator, Hazardous Materials, EMT
Fire Fighter, EMT
Fire Fighter, EMT
Fire Captain, EMT
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Paying doctors for preventative care â€” helping patients address diet and lifestyle issues that could lead to chronic disease â€” will be crucial, she said. In the future, she predicts â€œaccountable care organizationsâ€? that address those issues will be as ubiquitous as health-maintenance organizations. Lam said regardless of the challenges, she considers the health care bill â€œa huge victoryâ€? for the 32 million Americans who will get insurance. â€œThis is it. It finally came. People want to debate, â€˜Is this bill good or bad?â€™ My entire career Iâ€™ve been waiting for this moment for us to step forward. The devil is in the details. Whether we see something come out of it depends on what we as policy makers put into it. â€œThe bill is not inherently bad. Itâ€™s only bad if policy makers donâ€™t get involved in who gets what, when, why they get it â€” all the nitty gritty,â€? she said. N Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at sdremann@paweek ly.com.
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Source: City of Palo Alto ers, Local 1319, said the department is already at a â€œbare bonesâ€? level and has nothing left to give. Palo Altoâ€™s current three-year contract with the union will expire June 30 and the department has hired a consultant to analyze its scope of services and staffing levels. Marinaro told the Weekly the Finance Committee will hear an update on the study on April 20 and that most of the study is scheduled to be completed by May 17. The full report is scheduled to be completed by June 7, he said. Meanwhile, the firefightersâ€™ union is hoping Palo Alto voters will prevent the city from trimming the departmentâ€™s staffing levels. Earlier this month, the union began an effort to put a measure on the November ballot that would require Palo Alto voters to approve any reduction to the Fire Departmentâ€™s staffing levels and any proposal to shut down a fire station. The union needs to get 5,446 sig-
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natures from Palo Altoâ€™s registered voters to get the measure on the ballot. On Monday night, Councilman Larry Klein encouraged voters not to support the measure, noting that administering the election will cost the city $200,000. Klein said he plans to talk to local civic and neighborhood groups in the coming weeks and ask them not to sign the petition. â€œFirefighters would like to freeze things as they are right now,â€? Klein said at the end of the council meeting. â€œThe easiest solution would be if our citizens donâ€™t sign the petitions,â€? he added. â€œThatâ€™s the message Iâ€™ll be trying to get across.â€? N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
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Spurred by hefty contributions from entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and technologists, Josh Becker has taken a commanding fundraising lead over fellow Democrats Yoriko Kishimoto and Rich Gordon in the race for Ira Ruskinâ€™s seat in the 21st Assembly District. Becker, a venture capitalist who focuses on green technology, raised $110,211 between Jan. 1 and March 17, new campaign finance data shows. Kishimoto and Gordon raised $32,897 and $28,629 over the same period, respectively. Beckerâ€™s strong fundraising in the latest reporting period further widened his lead over Kishimoto and Gordon. His ending cash is listed at $224,099, compared to Kishimotoâ€™s $92,457 and Gordonâ€™s $82,516. The three will face off in the Democratic primary elections in June. Ruskin is termed out at the end of this year. Beckerâ€™s campaign chest was greatly bolstered by sizeable contributions from high-tech executives, including officials from Google, Cisco, Facebook and HP. The Menlo Park resident also received a flurry of quadruple-digit contributions from dozens of venture capitalists, lawyers and technologists, including ones his venture-capital firm, New Cycle Capital, has invested in. Though most of his support came from outside Palo Alto, Becker also received $2,000 from local developer Jim Baer and $500 from former Palo Alto Mayor Gary Fazzino. Kishimoto, who served on the Palo Alto City Council for eight years before reaching her term limit last year, earned the bulk of her support from past and present Palo Alto officials, neighborhood leaders, environmentalists and family members. She also loaned $20,000 to her campaign just before the reporting deadline. Gordon, a San Mateo County supervisor, received much of his support from Silicon Valley attorneys, construction companies and labor unions. Gordon also received $3,900 in contributions from Assemblywoman Fiona Maâ€™s campaign and from the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee. N â€” Gennady Sheyner
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Thief steals Haiti-relief funds from Gunn High
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An Advanced Placement (AP) Mandarin course and a class in engineering design are likely to be added to this fallâ€™s class selection at Gunn and Palo Alto high schools. The Palo Alto school board Tuesday night reacted favorably to presentations about the new classes, indicating it will vote to approve them at its next meeting April 3. Gunn teacher Bakari Holmes, who has developed an â€œengineering pathwayâ€? curriculum at the school that he plans to expand over the next several years, said the engineering design course will introduce ninthand tenth-graders to the design process, research and analysis processes, global engineering standards and technical documentation. Holmesâ€™ engineering program, so far offered just at Gunn, has received funding from Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE). Holmesâ€™ program is aligned with Project Lead the Way, a national organization that has worked with industry and other partners to boost learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Chinese language and culture course will offer advanced Mandarin to students who already have completed three years in the language. This yearâ€™s enrollment in Mandarin 3 is 22 students at Paly and 20 at Gunn. Paly World Languages Instructional Supervisor Kevin Duffy said the new Chinese course will be offered at both high schools if there is sufficient interest, noting that some â€œheritageâ€? Mandarin speakers not currently enrolled in Mandarin 3 may come along to join the AP class. In other business, the board voted to confer tenure, or â€œpermanent status,â€? on 36 teachers and administrators, including the principals of Jordan Middle School and Nixon Elementary School. The employees are about to complete their second â€œprobationary yearâ€? and have been closely observed by their supervisors to ensure they meet or exceed a variety of â€œteaching performance standards.â€? The board also discussed the likely elimination of 12 full- and parttime staff positions, six of which are currently vacant. The staff reductions, estimated to save about $410,000, are part of the fallout of a $3.8 million budget-cutting package approved by the board last month. N â€” Chris Kenrick Someone stole money earmarked for disaster-relief efforts in Haiti from a Gunn High School classroom last weekend, Palo Alto police Officer Marianna Villaescusa said. Police are investigating the theft of $200, which had been donated by Gunn students, she said. Investigators believe the thief or thieves entered the classroom through an open window. â€œThey werenâ€™t sure if the window was locked because there was a substitute teacher in the classroom last,â€? she said. Villaescusa said the burglary occurred sometime between Friday (March 19) and Monday (March 22), when school administrators reported the theft. Police have no suspects at this time, she said. N â€” Martin Sanchez
Online This Week
These and other news stories were posted on Palo Alto Online throughout the week. For longer versions, go to www.PaloAltoOnline.com/news or click on “News” in the left, green column.
Palo Alto firm, with Stanford ties, scores big IPO The auspicious initial public offering of a Palo Alto-based financialadvice firm last week has IPO watchers hopeful that more good things could be coming for Silicon Valley companies — if they price things right. (Posted March 24 at 10:57 a.m.)
Liz Kniss witnesses health care bill signing Liz Kniss, a Santa Clara County supervisor who was invited to Washington, D.C., for the signing of President Obama’s health care overhaul, said the mood among Democrats was jubilant but that lawmakers have a lot of work ahead to implement the changes and make sure citizens understand them. (Posted March 24 at 7:35 a.m.)
Reported mountain lion sightings way up Mountain lion sightings in Woodside, Portola Valley and other wooded areas of San Mateo County are on track to triple or quadruple in 2010, according to figures from the county Sheriff’s Office. (Posted
Come celebrate our 80th anniversary with an evening featuring the personal vision of Gary Fisher April 22 - Thursday 7:00p.m. Palo Alto Bicycles Limited Seating RSVP Required
March 23 at 1:37 p.m.)
Fight at Opportunity Center lands one man in jail An argument in the day room of Palo Alto’s Opportunity Center Saturday night erupted into a physical attack involving a frying pan, chair and metal table. (Posted March 23 at 9:56 a.m.)
www.paloaltobicycles.com 171 University Ave Palo Alto, CA 94301-P650.328.7411
County TB cases still high despite statewide drop Tuberculosis cases in Santa Clara County are the third highest in the state and remain high despite a large drop in the rest of the state, according to a report released March 22 by The Tuberculosis Prevention Partnership of Santa Clara County. (Posted March 22 at 4:36 p.m.)
Menlo Park residents brace for garbage rate hike If you live in Menlo Park, taking out the trash is about to get a lot more expensive. (Posted March 22 at 2:37 p.m.)
Foothill Palo Alto campus may be rebuilt slowly Foothill College could expand the square footage it occupies at Palo Alto’s Cubberley Community Center by 43 percent and still have room to provide adequate parking, according to a 2008 plan concept being discussed tonight. But that plan may be changed or phased in and near-term enrollment increases are unlikely due to no state funding, officials say. (Posted March 22 at 8:28 a.m.)
Area Democrats laud ‘historic’ health care bill A bill reforming America’s health care system, what one Bay Area congressman said was “one of the most important bills in the past 40 years,” was approved Sunday night by the U.S. House of Representatives, with seven votes to spare. (Posted March 22 at 12:45 a.m.)
Police arrest two, seek third in EPA shooting Police arrested two suspects Friday and are looking for a third person of interest in a shooting at the Boys & Girls Club football field in East Palo Alto last week. (Posted March 22 at 12:15 a.m.)
Schwarzenegger campaigns for organ donation Speaking at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Friday morning, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stumped for a different kind of candidate — people who need an organ transplant. (Posted March 19
Find your strength at the YMCA. Try us FREE for 1 week! “My time to unwind, my well being, my family’s best investment–that’s my Y.” -YMCA Member
Get your free trial and enter to win great prizes like a 6-month YMCA membership! Visit ymcasv.org/giveaway by April 18. Trial is for consecutive days and must start by 4/24/10. See YMCA for details.
at 6:01 p.m.)
YMCA of Silicon Valley
Terman student competes in Geographic Bee
Terman Middle School eighth-grader Adam Price is headed to Sacramento next month, where he will compete in the 2010 California Geographic Bee. (Posted March 22 at 11:35 a.m.)
Jury finds Koloto guilty of first-degree murder A Santa Clara County Superior Court jury has convicted a Gilroy man of first-degree murder in connection with the killing of 27-yearold Philip Lacy during a robbery in downtown Palo Alto two years ago. Otto Emil Koloto, 23, faces life in prison without parole. (Posted
Enrich your life.
March 19 at 12:36 p.m.)
Paly community honors office clerk Lue Phelps Palo Alto High School’s band is brushing up on “When the Saints Go Marching In” to honor Lue Phelps, who, at 89, was still working at Paly until a month before she died Sunday. (Posted March 19 at 11:38 a.m.) Want to get news briefs e-mailed to you every weekday? Sign up for Express, our new daily e-edition. Go to www.PaloAltoOnline.com to sign up.
19th Annual Photo Contest DEADLINE NEXT WEEK
ENTRY DEADLINE: April 2, 2010, 5:30pm ENTRY FORM & RULES AVAILABLE at www.PaloAltoOnline.com For more information call 650.223.6508 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org *>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ>ÀV ÊÓÈ]ÊÓä£äÊU Page 11
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A round-up of
City Council (March 22)
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Foothill College: The council voted to schedule a meeting with Palo Alto school board and Foothill-De Anza Community College District officials in the next 60 days to discuss selling a cityowned 8-acre parcel of land at Cubberley Community Center to Foothill College. Yes: Burt, Klein, Holman, Schmid, Scharff, Yeh, Shepherd, Price No: Espinosa Council priorities: The council officially adopted its five priorities for 2010: environmental sustainability, city finances, land use and transportation planning, emergency preparedness and community collaboration for youth well-being. Yes: Unanimous
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Parks and Recreation Commission (March 23)
Teen mentoring: The commission discussed leadership and mentoring opportunities for teens in the Community Service Department. Action: None 2011 budget: The commission discussed the 2011 budget and
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Palo Alto government action this week
Board of Education (March 23)
Tenures: The school board granted tenure to 34 teachers and to principals of Jordan Middle School and Nixon Elementary School. Yes: Unanimous Google: The school board voted to support Palo Altoâ€™s application for the Google Fiber to the Communities Program. Yes: Unanimous
Planning and Transportation Commission (March 24)
Greenhouse: The commission approved a proposal to build a new greenhouse and shed adjacent to the Duck Pond in the Palo Alto Baylands. Yes: Unanimous 805 Los Trancos Road: The commission approved a new 11,184-square-foot house at 805 Los Trancos Road, in the open-space zone district. Yes: Unanimous
Public Agenda PLANNING AND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION ... The commission plans to discuss the Transportation Element in the cityâ€™s Comprehensive Plan and to review a neighborhood survey regarding single-story overlay zoning in the Fairmeadow neighborhood. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). HIGH-SPEED RAIL COMMITTEE ... The committee plans to discuss the â€œcontext-sensitive solutionsâ€? process for the design of Californiaâ€™s proposed high-speed rail system and to talk about
the committeeâ€™s guiding principles. The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 1, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD ... The board plans to hold a study session on the second phase of the California Avenue improvement project, which includes new benches, trash cans and kiosks and reduction of lanes on California Avenue. The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 1, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.).
l Photo Co a u n n
the budgetâ€™s potential impacts on the Community Services Department. Action: None
Call for Entries 19th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
Categories and Prizes U PENINSULA PEOPLE
1st Place â€“ $250 Cash, $100 Gift Certificate to University Art, and a One-year Membership to Palo Alto Art Center 2nd Place â€“ $200 Cash, $100 Gift Certificate to Jungle Digital 3rd Place â€“ $100 Cash, $100 Gift Certificate to Bear Images
1st Place â€“ $250 Cash, $100 Gift Certificate to University Art, and a One-year Membership to Palo Alto Art Center 2nd Place â€“ $200 Cash, $100 Gift Certificate to Jungle Digital 3rd Place â€“ $100 Cash, $100 Gift Certificate to Bear Images
1st Place - $100 Cash 2nd Place - $50 Gift Certificate to University Art 3rd Place - $25 Gift Certificate to University Art
*Los Altos north to San Francisco
*Los Altos north to San Francisco
1st Place - $100 Cash 2nd Place - $50 Gift Certificate to University Art 3rd Place - $25 Gift Certificate to University Art
U VIEWS BEYOND THE PENINSULA ADULT
1st Place â€“ $250 Cash, $100 Gift Certificate to University Art, and a One-year Membership to Palo Alto Art Center 2nd Place â€“ $200 Cash, $100 Gift Certificate to Jungle Digital 3rd Place â€“ $100 Cash, $100 Gift Certificate to Bear Images
*Any image of people or places shot outside the Peninsula
1st Place - $100 Cash 2nd Place - $50 Gift Certificate to University Art 3rd Place - $25 Gift Certificate to University Art
ENTRY DEADLINE: April 2, 2010, 5:30pm Entry Form and Rules available at:
For more information call 650.223.6508 or e-mail email@example.com
Judges VERONICA WEBER
Veronica Weber, a Los Angeles native, first began working at the Palo Alto Weekly in 2006 as a photography intern. Following the internship, she was a photographer for The Almanac in Menlo Park. She is currently the Weekly staff photographer responsible for covering daily assignments and producing video and multimedia projects for PaloAltoOnline.com. She has a BA in Journalism from San Francisco State University and currently resides in San Francisco.
ANGELA BUENNING FILO
Angela Buenning Filo photographs landscapes in transition, most recently focusing on Silicon Valley and Bangalore, India. Her photographs have been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Jose Museum of Art and will be on view later this year in the new terminal of the San Jose Airport.
David Hibbard, a Menlo Park resident, has photographed natural landscapes and wild places most of his life. He is represented by Modernbook Gallery in Palo Alto. He is the author of, "Natural Gestures," published by Edition One Studios last year.
In November-December, Moderbook Gallery in Palo Alto will be exhibiting Brigitte's new photographic series "Floating World". Her series "Imagining Then: A Family Story 194147" was recently featured in Color Magazine. She teaches regularly through the Stanford Continuing Studies Program.
Transitions Deaths Geoff Blood
Geoff Blood, 59, a resident of Mountain View, died March 9 after a four-year battle with lung cancer. He was born in Salem, Mass. He was an Eagle Scout and graduated from Bucknell University in 1972. During his subsequent three years in the U.S. Army, he received training as a computer programmer and pursued that career throughout his life. Although raised in New England, he spent much of his adult life in Mountain View, Calif. Loved ones recall him as a caring and passionate man. He enjoyed Frisbee, music, refereeing local youth soccer and basketball, officiating track and field meets, playing bridge, and square dancing. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Judith Burke Blood of Mountain View; his children, Christopher Finley Blood and Katherine Howe Blood; his mother, Patricia Worcester Blood; his four siblings Timothy Leighton Blood, Elizabeth Blood Bascom, Laurence Alley Blood Jr., Kenneth Worcester Blood; and by many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Geoff Blood Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank or mailed to the family. Funds will be used for an improvement for the Mountain View High School Track and Field program in his honor. Any additional funds will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
Mary Jo Shaw Mary Jo Shaw, 89, co-founder and longtime owner of the Peninsula Day
Care Center on San Antonio Road in Palo Alto, died March 3 of natural causes. Born Mary Jo Barnett in Decatur, Texas, she showed a gift for music at an early age, playing piano and other instruments at church. She married the Rev. Max Martindale and, moving to California, the couple built three homes together in Los Altos, living in the city for many years. In the early 1950s they pioneered a church in Palo Alto, which later moved to San Antonio Road on the border between Palo Alto and Mountain View. Widowed early in her first marriage, Shaw later married the Rev. Herman Shaw. Together, with their daughter Myra, they started the Peninsula Day Care Center at the church on San Antonio. Today, according to Shaw’s family, it is one of the largest child care centers in Northern California, serving children from Mountain View, Los Altos and Palo Alto. She remained active at the center until her death. In addition to her work with Peninsula Day Care Center and with church leadership, she enjoyed traveling. She visited more than 60 countries and every state in her lifetime, and collected hundreds of dolls from around the world. She and her husband also supported numerous missionary projects worldwide. Family members recalled her faith, humor, integrity, generosity and toughness. Shaw is survived by her husband, Herman; son Victor Martindale and his wife Ellie; son Warren Shaw and his wife Sherril; daughter Myra Gishi and her husband Alan; and nine grandchildren.
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Carmen Morton Christensen, 96, a resident of Atherton for more than 60 years, died in her home on Feb. 26. A native of Salt Lake City, UT., she received a BA from University of Utah and a Masters degree from UC Berkeley prior to WWII. A noted Bay Area philanthropist, with her husband she co-founded Palo Alto-based Christensen Fund, an international grantmaking foundation, and as an individual signiﬁcantly sup-
ported a number of diverse Bay Area non-proﬁts over the years. A founding donor to the Cantor Center of the Arts at Stanford (where her name is inscribed over the main entrance), she also made endowment gifts to the Peninsula Volunteers, the Department of Art at Stanford, the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, the Opportunity Center, the Silicon Valley Humane Society, local schools and other institutions. A member of the Atherton Garden Guild and the PVs, she enjoyed classical music and was an accomplished pianist and artist. She is survived by three children and ﬁve grandchildren. Donations may be made to the Cantor Center or the Peninsula Volunteers. PA I D
O B I T UA RY
Answers to this week’s puzzles, which can be found on page 60
6 4 3 7 9 8 5 1 2
2 1 9 3 5 4 7 6 8
8 5 7 1 6 2 4 3 9
1 8 4 5 7 3 2 9 6
7 3 6 9 2 1 8 4 5
5 9 2 8 4 6 3 7 1
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www.PaloAltoOnline.com *>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ>ÀV ÊÓÈ]ÊÓä£äÊU Page 13
GUIDE TO 2010 SUMMER C AMPS FOR KIDS
n n o e C c p t i o m n a C For more information about these camps, see our online directory of camps at PaloAltoOnline.com/biz/summercamps To advertise in a weekly directory, contact 650-326-8210
The Girls’ Middle School Summer Camp Mountain View
Sports Camps Player Capital/Plan Toys Tennis Camp
Player Capital Tennis and Plan Toys summer camp provide the perfect balance for your child’s physical, educational, and social development. Join us Mon - Fri 9am12pm. (Age 3.5 - 9) www.playercapital.com 650-968-4783
Spring Down Camp Equestrian Center
Spring Down camp teaches basic to advanced horsemanship skills. All ages welcome. Daily informative lecture, riding lesson, supervised hands-on skill practice, tacking/untacking of own camp horse, and fun horse arts and crafts. www.springdown.com 650.851.1114
Champion Tennis Camps
CTC provides an enjoyable way for your Junior to begin learning the game of tennis or to continue developing existing skills. The 4-6 year olds have fun learning eyehand coordination and building self-esteem! www.alanmargot-tennis.net 650-752-0540
Two great programs — SOLO Day Camp: One-week sessions of 5 full days (9:00 – 4:00) featuring instruction in swimming and fun activities; lunch included. SOLO Sharks Program: Spring/Summer weekly afternoon swim clinics for all ages and abilities. www.soloaquatics.com 650-851-9091
Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Redwood City day and overnight camps for youth Pre-K through 10th grade. Enriching lives through safe, fun activities. Sports, arts, technology, science, and more. Field trips and outdoor fun. Accredited by the American Camp Association. www.ymcasv.org/summercamp.com 408-351-6400
Matt Lottich Life Skills
At Matt Lottich Life Skills, all of our camps focus on giving high-level basketball instruction while highlighting the life skills that this sport reflects. Grades 2-11, two camp styles — Day and Elite Camps. www.mllscamp.com 1-888-537-3223
Stanford Baseball Camps
All Day or Half-Day Baseball Camps at beautiful Sunken Diamond. For ages 7-12, Stanford Baseball camps feature personalized Baseball instruction, fun activities and drills, and exciting Baseball games. Camps for beginner and advanced players. Camps for older players also available. Camp availability from June 14th-August 6th. Receive $25 off by calling 650-723-4528. www.StanfordBaseballCamp.com 650-723-4528
Academic Camps iD Tech Camps and iD Teen Academies
Experience North America’s #1 Tech Camp — 4 Bay Area Locations! Ages 7-18 create video games, websites, movies, iPhone® & Facebook® apps, robots and more during this weeklong, day and overnight summer tech program. Teen Programs also available at Stanford. Save w/code CAU22. www.iDTechCamps.com 1-888-709-TECH (8324)
Summer @ Harker
K-Gr. 8 Morning academics – focusing on math, language arts and science – and full spectrum of afternoon recreation. Highly qualified faculty and staff. Also: swim lessons; swimming, tennis and soccer camps; academics for high school students. www.summer.harker.org 408-553-0537
Summer at Saint Francis
Summer at Saint Francis provides a broad range of academic and athletic programs for elementary through high school students. It is the goal of every program to make summer vacation enriching and enjoyable! www.sfhs.com/summer 650-968-1213 x446
Nueva Summer offers unique and enriching summer camps for students entering PreK - 8th Grade. June 21 - July 30. We have camps that will inspire every age: from Marine Biology to Tinkering, and Model UN to West African Drumming. Half or full day camps, from one to six weeks. Healthy lunch is provided for full day campers. Extended care available. www.NuevaSummer.org 650-350-4555
Summer Institute for the Gifted Berkeley/Hillsborough Gifted students in grades K-12 can participate on the renowned Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG) program. Hosted at some of the most famous colleges and universities in the U.S., SIG combines both traditional summer fun and a challenging academic schedule. Day programs are available for younger students. www.giftedstudy.org 866-303-4744
Page 14ÊUÊ>ÀV ÊÓÈ]ÊÓä£äÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞ
New from GMS - Day camp for girls entering grades 4-7. Explorations in Science, Technology, and the Arts in the morning, Moving and Making, includes sports and games, swimming, arts and crafts, in the afternoon. www.girlsms.org/summercamp 650-968-8338
Woodland School Summer Adventures
For kindergarten through 8th grade. Offers academics, sports, field trips and onsite activities. June 28 - July 30. firstname.lastname@example.org 650-854-9065
Oshman Family JCC Camps
The Oshman Family JCC offers outstanding camps for preschoolers through teens. With both traditional camps and special focus camps like sports, travel, performing arts and more, our innovative staff will keep campers entertained all summer! www.paloaltojcc.org 650-223-8600
Stratford School - Camp Socrates
Academic enrichment infused with traditional summer camp fun—that’s what your child will experience at Camp Socrates. Sessions begin on June 28 and end on August 13 with the option for students to attend for all seven weeks or the first four weeks (June 28-July 23). Full or half-time morning or afternoon program are available to fit your schedule. 12 locations. www. stratfordschools.com 650-493-1151
Write Now! Summer Writing CampsPalo Alto/Pleasanton Emerson School of Palo Alto and Hacienda School of Pleasanton open their doors and offer their innovative programs: Expository Writing, Creative Writing, Presentation Techniques, and (new!) Media Production. Call or visit our website for details. www.headsup.org 650-424-1267, 925-485-5750
TechKnowHow Computer & LEGO® Camps
Fun and enriching technology classes for students, ages 6-14! Courses include LEGO and K’NEX Projects with Motors, Robotics, and Game Design. Many locations, including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Sunnyvale. Half and all day options. www.techknowhowkids.com 650-474-0400
ISTP Language Immersion
International School of the Peninsula camps offered in French, Chinese, Spanish or ESL for students in Nursery through Middle School. Three 2-week sessions, each with different theme. Students are grouped according to both grade level and language proficiency. www.istp.org 650-251-8519
Theatreworks Summer Camps
In these skill-building workshops for grades K–5, students engage in languagebased activities, movement, music, and improvisational theatre games. Students present their own original pieces at the end of each two-week camp. www.theatreworks.org/educationcommunity 650-463-7146
Art and Music Camps Summer Rock Camp
Palo Alto/Redwood City
Ages 7-18. SRC provides the training needed to play rock music with others. Learn about music theory, rhythm, tricks, and tone. Play popular songs or originals on stage at the Friday night concert. Learn a lot while having tons of fun. www.summerrockcamp.com 650-722-1581, 650-856-3757
Community School of Music & Arts (CSMA)
50+ creative camps for Gr K-8! Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Collage, Comics, Jewelry, Digital Arts, Musical Theater, American Idol Workshop, more! Two-week sessions; full and half-day enrollment. Extended care available. Financial aid offered. Early registration discount (May 15). www.arts4all.org 650-917-6800 ext.0
Where will your kids be this summer?
Pulse A weekly compendium of vital statistics
Palo Alto March 17-23 Violence related Armed robbery attempt . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Assault with deadly weapon . . . . . . . . . .1 Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Family violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Strong-arm robbery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Theft related Check forgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Commercial burglary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Credit card forgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Identity theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Residential burglary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Shoplifting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Vehicle related Abandoned auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Bicycle theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Misc. traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Suspended license . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Theft from auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Vehicle accident/minor injury . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle accident/property damage. . . . .5 Vehicle impound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Alcohol or drug related Drunk in public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Sale of drugs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Miscellaneous Disobeying court order . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Disturbing/annoying phone calls. . . . . . .2 Forgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Misc. penal code violation . . . . . . . . . . .1 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Noise ordinance violation . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Possession of stolen property . . . . . . . .1 Psych. subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Restraining order . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Suspicious circumstances . . . . . . . . . . .3 Terrorist threats. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Warrant/other agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Menlo Park March 17-23 Violence related Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Theft related Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Forgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Shoplift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle related Auto theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Driving w/ suspended license. . . . . . . . .7 Hit & run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Misc. traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Theft from auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Vehicle accident/prop damage. . . . . . . .2 Vehicle tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Alcohol and drug related Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Drug activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Registrant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Substance possession . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Miscellaneous Animal call. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Gun shots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Info case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Juvenile problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Mental evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Other/misc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Suspicious person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Threats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Trespassing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
VIOLENT CRIMES Palo Alto Middlefield Road, 3/17/10, 7:18 a.m.; battery. 30 Block Encina Avenue, 3/20/10, 11:57 p.m.; assault with a deadly weapon Alma Street, 3/21/10, 12:46 p.m.; family violence. 300 Block Portage Avenue, 3/23/10, 5:46 p.m.; strong-arm robbery. 300 Block Pasteur Drive, 3/23/10, 10:18 p.m.; armed-robbery attempt.
Menlo Park 1000 block of El Camino Real, 3/19/10, 1:44 a.m.; battery. 1200 block of Madera Avenue, 3/19/10, 6:14 p.m.; battery.
Janetta Price CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT A c c o u n t i n g & Ta x S e r v i c e s
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A Guide to the Spiritual Community
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L U C I L E PA C K A R D
C H I L D R E N â€™ S H O S P I TA L
First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto Sunday School for all ages â€“ 9:00 a.m. Sunday Services â€“ 10:25 a.m. â€œThe children in our midst, the mission at our doorstep, a place of hospitality and graceâ€? 625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto
(650) 323-6167 s WWW&IRST0ALO!LTOCOM FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, UCC
Jazz Concert with Taylor Eigsti this Sunday at 7:00 pm Tickets: www.fccpa.org Easter Worshipâ€“April 4 at 9:30 & 11:00 am Egg Hunt for children between Services
Stanford Memorial Church University Public Worship Palm Sunday Sunday, March 28th, 10:00 am
â€œJoining The Paradeâ€? All are welcome. Information: 650-723-1762
Rev. Dr. C. George Fitzgerald Music featuring Guest Organist, David Parsons. http://religiouslife.stanford.edu
We Invite You to Learn and Worship with Us.
FPCMV welcomes our new Pastor Timothy R. Boyer. Biblically based Sermons and Worship Service 10:30 AM.
Your Childâ€™s Health University Lucile Packard Childrenâ€™s Hospital offers classes and seminars designed to foster good health and enhance the lives of parents and children.
INFANT AND CHILD CPR This 2-1/2 hour course provides an opportunity for new parents, grandparents and other childcare providers to learn the techniques of infant and child CPR and choking prevention. Infant and child mannequins provide hands-on training. - Saturday, April 10: two classes offered: 9:00 - 11:30 am & 12:00 - 2:30 pm
COMFORT TECHNIQUES FOR LABOR For couples who have already completed Childbirth Prep, this class provides additional tools and practice for relaxation, breathing and comfort measures for labor. - Saturday, April 17: 1:30 - 3:00 pm
DADS OF DAUGHTERS: THE JOYS & CHALLENGES OF RAISING TEENAGE GIRLS Julie Metzger, RN, creator of our â€œHeart to Heartâ€? program, hosts an evening for fathers who want to foster better understanding and open communication with their teenage daughters. - Tuesday, April 27: 7:00 - 8:30 pm
MOTHER-BABY MORNINGS LPCH oďŹ€ers a group forum for new mothers with infants 0-6 months of age. Our group provides support and camaraderie for new parents while promoting conďŹ dence and well-being. - Tuesday mornings, 10:00 - 11:30 am
www.fpcmv.org 1667 Miramonte (Cuesta at Miramonte) 650.968.4473
INSPIRATIONS A resource for special events and ongoing religious services. To inquire about or make space reservations for Inspirations, please contact Blanca Yoc at 326-8210 x6596 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Call (650) 723-4600 or visit www.lpch.org to register or obtain more information on the times, locations and fees for these and other courses.
L U C I L E PA C K A R D
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Fire union initiative is a terrible concept Palo Alto firefighters union proposal demonstrates how dramatically out of touch they are with today’s city-budget realities
ony Spitaleri, president of the International Association of Firefighters Union Local 1319, has gone way over the top with his plan to circulate an initiative petition to change Palo Alto’s City Charter so any reduction in staffing would require a citywide vote. When asked, residents should decline to sign the petitions about to be circulated around the community, and should reject any “in the name of public safety” warnings that accompany them. The city’s contract with the firefighter’s union expires June 30, but no talks have begun. The contract negotiations will be the first under City Manager James Keene, who has asked all city departments how they can reduce their budgets to help fill a budget gap projected to grow to nearly $20 milllion by 2020. The Fire Department budget is an albatross around the city’s financial neck due to an existing contractual guarantee that requires the city to maintain a “minimum staffing” standard for the entire department, rather than the more common minimumstaffing standard for engine companies. The upcoming new labor contract should abandon the current minimum-staffing requirement. As reported in today’s paper, maintaining that departmentwide minimum standard results in huge amounts of overtime and a rigidity of staffing. One firefighter received more than $87,000 in overtime last year and another’s overall salary exceeded $207,000 due to overtime. Sometimes it makes sense to use overtime rather than add another full-time position, but we’d like to see a thorough outside or city auditor analysis of current overtime practices and policies. That minimum standard was negotiated many years ago by City Council members long gone from the scene, dating back to at least the very early 1980s. These staffing guarantees are by negotiated contract and cannot be altered unilaterally by city management or the council. But the current initiative-petition drive being pushed by the firefighters union would eliminate all vestige of council and management control over the department’s budget and operations, and lock in job protections for one component of city operations. This in itself would be terrible public policy, giving one segment of city employees a rigid protective wall locked into the City Charter. This “privileged class” of employee would be eyed by other employees with envy, while some members of the public, already appalled by the overall level of pay and benefits for public employees generally, become increasingly bitter. We simply cannot fathom what the union’s local leadership was thinking in trying to place this initiative measure onto the November ballot — most likely it is a negotiating ploy. There is a history of using exaggerated scare tactics by the union local when there have been past proposals to curtail costs — as happened in 2005 when former City Manager Frank Benest attempted to close Station 8 in Foothill Park to save about $180,000 a year. Faced by two bad wildlands fires, the City Council later restored peak-season staffing of Station 8, all on overtime to save annual salary/benefits costs while other firefighters were moved to fill in for the foothills crew, a double budget whammy. Spitaleri, a former Palo Alto firefighter, is a blunt-spoken advocate for his union local, often couching his positions behind the “public safety” position. He feels the firefighters have “taken a beating” from the media on the overtime issue. He also said the publicized backing off of the firefighters from an initial commitment to defer nearly $700,000 in salary increases was complicated in that it was linked to an adjustment in health benefits. And, he said, subsequent offers that would have saved even more money for the city were not acted upon or were rejected. He told the Weekly the initiative effort could be stopped anytime. That, we believe, is the best idea yet. Page 16ÊUÊ>ÀV ÊÓÈ]ÊÓä£äÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞ
Spectrum Editorials, letters and opinions
High-speed rail Editor, California’s high-speed train planners are committed to the California Environmental Quality Act process. In fact, High-Speed Rail Authority board Chairman Curt Pringle has said publicly that he believes in the environmental review process and that there is no need to shortcut it, not even in the name of federal stimulus funding. What’s more, exempting the highspeed train project from California’s state environmental review would not benefit the project’s schedule because it must also comply with the National Environmental Protection Act, which also requires rigorous review and public involvement. The High-Speed Rail Authority has not been involved in the creation of any bills that would exempt it from state environmental review, and it is not in support of any such legislation. We are committed to a thorough environmental review process through Palo Alto and city and county through which the planned system will run. We believe it will make for a better project. Robert L. Doty Peninsula Rail Program Director California High-Speed Rail Authority
Landfill energy Editor, I was shocked that Utilities is proposing contracting for energy from yet-to-be-built landfills. It is one thing to capture methane from existing landfills that already have organic matter (e.g., paper, cardboard, yard trimmings/landscape debris and food scraps) disposed, but it makes no sense to support future landfills so that they can be filled with organic matter, subject it to anerobic conditions to create methane and sell it to the city as “green” energy. This is like instructing people to print every e-mail and document instead of reading them online, so you can recycle the paper afterward and claim you are recycling more paper. Landfills recovering methane need a constant supply of paper, cardboard, yard trimmings/landscape debris and food scraps to put in their landfills in order to stay in the business of recovering methane. Every jurisdiction in California has collection programs in place to divert paper and yard trimmings/landscape debris from landfills. There is now a trend for cities to also implement food-scrap collection programs for composting. Logically, if recyclables and compostables-collection programs are effective and fully utilized by the communities using these proposed landfills, there will be no organic matter to deliver to these landfills and therefore, no methane to capture. Palo Alto should not be undermin-
ing other jurisdictions collection programs (for not wasting) with competing landfill initiatives (for wasting) by supporting/entering into energy recovery from landfills not yet built. This proposal indicates the city continues to operate in information silos. The city’s Climate Protection Plan (ZW Chapter) and Zero Waste Operational Plans call for sending zero waste to landfills and to advocate for zero waste everywhere. Annette Puskarich Kendall Avenue Palo Alto
Bad decision Editor, Tuesday’s decision by the Finance Committee to reject proposed contracts to increase Palo Alto’s supply of renewable energy is misguided. In March 2007 the Palo Alto Utilities staff received a directive from the City Council to increase the city’s renewable energy portfolio to 33 percent by 2015 and to keep the average retail rate increase to pay it for under 0.5 cents/kWh. The staff has done exactly that, by producing a set of power-purchase agreements that meet the desired criteria. The power purchase agreements are reasonable deals given the current
demand for renewable energy. This demand will only accelerate as we approach the state-mandated deadline of 33 percent by 2020; locking in rates now is a wise move. These agreements (four in total) also provide 24/7 base-load power — obtained by generators powered by landfill gas. Taken together, these agreements will convert 12 percent of Palo Alto’s brown power to clean, renewable energy, and retire more than 6 percent of the total carbon footprint of Palo Alto. That’s a huge number — we should be grateful for such a reduction. The arguments advanced by the Finance Committee for not moving forward with the contracts were weak. I’d expect the committee to judge the contracts on their financial merits based on the criteria laid down by the City Council. Instead they seemed to leap to a forgone conclusion based on incorrect assumptions of long-term trends. We need reasoned analysis, not orthodoxy. I urge concerned citizens to write the City Council in support of the staff’s proposal. Bruce Hodge Janice Way Palo Alto
YOUR TURN The Palo Alto Weekly encourages comments on our coverage or on issues of local interest.
What do you think? Do you feel a composting operation merits removing 8 acres from the dedicated Byxbee Park in the baylands? Submit letters to the editor of up to 250 words to email@example.com. Include your name, address and daytime phone number so we can reach you. We reserve the right to edit contributions for length, objectionable content, libel and factual errors known to us. Anonymous letters will generally not be accepted. You can also participate in our popular interactive online forum, Town Square, at our community website at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Read blogs, discuss issues, ask questions or express opinions with you neighbors any time, day or night. Submitting a letter to the editor or guest opinion constitutes a granting of permission to the Palo Alto Weekly and Embarcadero Publishing Co. to also publish it online, including in our online archives and as a post on Town Square. For more information contact Editor Jay Thorwaldson or Online Editor Tyler Hanley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650-326-8210.
Check out Town Square! Hundreds of local topics are being discussed by local residents on Town Square, a reader forum sponsored by the Weekly on our community website at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Post your own comments, ask questions, read the Editor’s blog or just stay up on what people are talking about around town!
Guest Opinion Baylands park debate raises question of ‘How green is green?’ by Emily Renzel
alo Alto in the 1960s had parks, but city fathers often wanted to use them for parking lots, firehouses, developer deals and other things. By the time the public missed whole parks or parts of them it was too late. In 1965 Enid Pearson led others in circulating an initiative petition drive for a City Charter amendment to protect our parks by requiring a public vote if any park or part of a park were to be permanently or temporarily taken out of park use. That passed with 80 percent in favor, becoming the Parks Dedication Ordinance of today. As a result we have a remarkable park system that contributes greatly to our quality of life and our property values. Our baylands and foothills are our crown jewels, with open spaces in which to refresh ourselves. All the city’s baylands were park dedicated in 1965 except for a few municipal facilities. Since 1977 the city has had a Baylands Master Plan guiding constant improvements to our baylands. Acres of wetlands have been restored. Trails, benches and restrooms have been provided. Best of all, our baylands connect to parks in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and Mountain View to provide tremendous bayside recreation opportunities. An attempt, beginning in 1999, to grab land from Byxbee Park for an Environmental Services Center, a garbage processing facility, was quashed by the City Council in 2005 following years of contentious debate. It would
have taken 19 acres for a large industrialstrength building. A 22-member Zero Waste Task Force, on which I served and attended every meeting, then worked for two years and recommended using regional facilities for composting. Former Councilman Peter Drekmeier in 2007 proposed another grab, to keep composting where it is on 7.5 acres of Byxbee Park. The city’s Parks Commission and the Planning and Transportation Commission both recommended against it. A Composting Task Force was appointed and ultimately recommended removing composting from Byxbee Park when the landfill was closed in 2012. The task force found that transportation within 50 miles or so was a relatively minor source of carbon production compared to sewage-sludge incineration. Ignoring the task force, the council then asked staff to review land southeast of the Wastewater Treatment Plant — all dedicated parkland. That is where the matter now stands. Now, in the name of clean energy, a movement is afoot to circulate an initiative to undedicate 8 acres of Byxbee Park to build an industrial anaerobic-digestion composter on our park that will be prominent within its viewshed — a featured park asset. If 8 acres of Foothills Park were proposed for such a use there would be outrage. ByxbeePark deserves no less respect. The promise of a costly 4-acre “green roof” is just a promise. Palo Alto’s garbage rates are nearly the highest in the Bay Area and the council is unlikely to raise those rates for a green roof. Despite staff recommendations against it, the initiative proposes to cut into existing landfilled areas. It is “greenwashing” to pur-
port to be addressing global warming with a composting facility that rips out more than 2 acres of mature landscaping and paves more than 8 acres of parkland. Current efforts snub the public vision . Over the years hundreds of people helped to plan our Baylands. Three generations have waited for completion of this major pastoral open space park, and no less than 10 city councils have reaffirmed their commitment to Byxbee Park’s completion. Sabotaging Byxbee Park now violates that long effort. Anaerobic digestion is experimental and costly. Not a single full-scale anaerobic digestion facility has been built anywhere in the U.S. to process food waste, yard waste and sewage sludge. All economic projections are therefore speculative at best. We ratepayers will bear that risk. We don’t need to risk millions or use parkland. In partnershp with Mountain View and Sunnyvale, we have taken care of our garbage at the regional SMaRT Station since 1992 This is not an issue about whether we continue to compost our organics. It is a matter of “where.” The 2008 Zero Waste Plan recommended the regional approach for composting. All of the economic analyses have shown that SMaRT is the most cost-effective. As the Compost Feasibility Study points out, such operations are typically located in rural areas such as Gilroy due to noise, dust, odors, and traffic, as well as proximity to end-user markets. The normal 1000-foot buffer for noise, odors and other impacts would encompass all of Byxbee Park. The market is unknown for compost with
What is the best April Fools’ Day prank you’ve heard of?
sewage sludge in it. Palo Alto has had difficulty in marketing our yard trimmings compost and there is even more market resistance to compost that has food waste or sewage sludge in it. The finished product will have to be shipped long distances to whatever markets exist for it. An initiative has no environmental review or engineering feasibility. If the council were to initiate park undedication, there would have to be an engineering feasibility study and programmatic environmental impact report. However, the California Environmental Quality Act does not apply to a citizen initiative, so voters will be buying a pig in a poke. Once the parkland is undedicated, it could be used for anything without voter approval. On April 5 the council will consider a staff recommendation to defer any further consideration of anaerobic digestion of compost unless a viable site is identified. Staff also recommends looking at conversion technologies for sewage sludge in the Water Quality Plant Master Plan process (contained within the existing plant site) — identified as a major carbon savings. Those are reasonable recommendations reflecting the concensus of all our advisory boards. They will allow for orderly closure of our landfill and, finally, completion of Byxbee Park. N Emily M. Renzel served as a City Council member from 1979 to 1991 after serving earlier on the city Planning and Transportation Commission. She is coordinator of the Baylands Conservation Committee and has long been active in baylands-protection efforts, with a baylands wetlands area in recognition of her efforts. She can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
Asked on California Avenue. Interviews by Mike Lata. Photographs by Vivian Wong.
Princess Kyana Walker
“I knew someone who sent her boyfriend a Fathers Day E-card that said she was pregnant.”
“The way someone got me good was he told me someone was hurt over the phone and once I got there nothing happened. It was a rush at first driving there.”
“Putting salt instead of sugar so they put it in their coffee.”
“When I was in Hawaii we ‘teepeed’ our family’s condominium.”
“I always enjoy thinkgeek.com and they always have April Fools’ products as pranks. Last year the response was so positive for one it became a product. It was like one of those Tauntaun sleeping bags, like Luke Skywalker slashed through in ‘Empire Strikes Back’.”
Student Stanford University
Restaurant Employee Farrington Way, East Palo Alto
Student California Avenue, Palo Alto
Student Almendral Avenue, Menlo Park
Software Engineer Cambridge Avenue, Palo Alto
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Guest Opinion Anaerobic digestion would protect the environment and save money by Peter Drekmeier
magine a scenario in which Palo Alto could make tremendous progress on its zero-waste and climate-protection goals while saving more than a million dollars per year. We have this opportunity right now through the creation of an anaerobic digestion facility that could convert our 60,000 tons per year of organic waste into valuable products. As a longtime environmentalist who grew up in Palo Alto, I care deeply about our baylands, our foothills and other natural areas. As a former member of the Palo Alto City Council, I have been actively engaged in promoting healthy choices for our environment and for people, locally and globally. In Palo Alto, we presently face an important choice. After months of study by citizens and city officials, we face the decision of whether to keep composting local or to truck our organic waste to a distant site. In the past few years I have become impressed with a technology that offers both environmental protection and revenue generation. Anaerobic digestion is a technology that uses microorganisms in enclosed vessels to break down organic waste (yard trimmings, food scraps and sewage sludge) into natural gas
(methane) and high-quality compost. This process could reduce Palo Altoâ€™s greenhouse-gas emissions by 20,000 tons per year. Anaerobic digestion is a tried and true technology, with more than 15 facilities currently operating in Germany and another nine in the pipeline. Such a facility would allow the city to retire its sewage-sludge incinerator (one of only two in the state), reducing our community-wide natural-gas consumption by 3 percent while producing renewable energy. It also would save money. Last year we used $800,000 worth of energy to incinerate our sludge, and spent another $230,000 to dispose of the waste ash. By isolating our sewage sludge from our food and yard waste, we could address any concerns raised by composting the sludge. By locating the digester in Palo Alto we would ensure that our city receives all of the benefits. Estimated revenues include $1.4 million in annual energy sales, more than $1 million in disposal fees, $200,000 in compost sales and possibly the sale of â€œcarbon credits.â€? The electricity produced from anaerobic digestion would be enough to power 1,400 homes. This clean locally generated energy would be
available during emergencies to keep the wastewater treatment plant operating, even when the grid that transports electricity into Palo Alto goes down, as recently happened.
An issue such as this, with strong good-faith opinions on both sides, should be decided by the people. What could be more democratic?
The facility also would maintain the current convenience to residents of being able to drop off yard trimmings and to pick up compost for their gardens. Without this project, Palo Altans would have to travel to Sunnyvale. An estimated 80 percent of more than 1,000 people who responded to an informal survey by Palo Alto Online favored maintaining a composting facility in Palo Alto. The challenge is that the only feasible location for an anaerobic digester is at the entrance to the city landfill next to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, not far from where we currently compost. The site already has been heavily impacted by the dump and has little value as '!&#)+",+!(3,.0&
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A Benefit Golf Tournament for St. Elizabeth Seton School
Stanford Golf Course Monday, May 17, 2010 11 AM Shotgun For information, please call the Development Office
650-326-1258 *Sponsors needed - various levels available
St. Elizabeth Seton School is a Catholic Community school that offers a realistic private school choice for East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park families. Setonâ€™s doors are open to all students regardless of their ethnic, religious and socio-economic background.
of San Antonio Road could be restored to wetlands with actual habitat value. Currently there are no funds dedicated to completing Byxbee Park, which means that even when the dump closes we are not guaranteed a finished park. By dedicating a portion of the revenues generated from anaerobic digestion, we could facilitate the expeditious transformation of the remaining landfill into usable parkland. To better help the people and city determine the merits of this project, the council should commission a feasibility study, including a cost/ benefit analysis that would allow us to weigh all the pros and cons. The council is scheduled to consider this issue on April 5. Palo Alto faces a unique opportunity to protect the environment while generating badly needed funds for the city. Letâ€™s not pass this up without serious consideration and calm comparison of the pros and cons. N Peter Drekmeier served on the City Council from 2006 through 2009, and served as mayor in 2009. He was a co-founder of Bay Area Action, which later merged with the Peninsula Conservation Center Foundation to become Acterra. He currently is Bay Area program director for the Tuolumne River Trust. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE PALO ALTO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND THE PALO ALTO WEEKLY are pleased to announce the
31st ANNUAL TALL TREE AWARDS April 29, 2010 Crowne Plaza CabaĂąa 4290 El Camino Real Mediterranean Ballroom 5:30-7:00 p.m. Silent Auction
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Online registration: www: PaloAltoChamber.com FOR RESERVATIONS AND INFORMATION Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce
wildlife habitat. The catch is that the landfill is scheduled to become part of the 126acre Byxbee Park when it closes in 2012, and rezoning about 8 acres would require a citywide vote according to the 1965 Park Dedication Ordinance. An issue such as this, with strong good-faith opinions on both sides, should be decided by the people. What could be more democratic? Anaerobic digestion is a clean process, with minimal impacts from noise, odor and dust. Enclosed vessels ensure that it will be much cleaner than our current windrow composting operation, and a â€œgreen roofâ€? of native grasses could hide much of the facility from Byxbee Park. Additional trees would help further screen the adjacent Wastewater Treatment Plant. This isnâ€™t a question of a park versus no park. Even with an anaerobic digestion facility, we would still have 93 percent of Byxbee Park, in addition to 2,000 acres of baylands around it, plus 100 percent of the benefits of converting our organic waste into green energy and compost. To offset the loss of future parkland, we could dedicate an equal amount of land elsewhere in the city. For example, three or four acres of undevelopable land at the old Los Altos Treatment Plant site at the end
Etsy allows local artists to share their wares in an online market
rtists often struggle to promote their homespun goods, yearning to be seen amidst the big-box retailers. Shoppers, meanwhile, strive to find the perfect gift or the most specialized item, not easy in an off-the-rack age. But since the advent of Etsy (www.etsy. com) four years ago, crafty folks the world over, including in and around Palo Alto, are now able to offer up their work with the click of the mouse while savvy shoppers can easily access a plethora of unique creations. The Brooklyn-based Etsy, which launched its website in 2005, bears the motto “Buy, Sell and Live Handmade,” and handmade, craftsupply and vintage items are the only types of goods permitted for sale. Etsy currently boasts 4.2 million users, more than 400,000 of them sellers, and 5.4 million items listed for sale. 2009 saw gross merchandise sales of $180.6 million. The social connections fostered by Etsy, with buyers readily able to communicate with sellers, is part of the site’s success. “A big part of Etsy’s popularity is due to the fact that it’s connecting people. Yes, there’s a lot of cool stuff on there, but what’s even more appealing is that you can meet the people creating these objects and have a dialogue with them,” Etsy spokesman Adam Brown said. The goal of Etsy, founded by artist Rob Kalin, is to offer an alternative to both the generic, mass-marketed goods available in stores as well as to the auction-style marketplace of such websites at eBay.com. And Etsy is open to anyone — from the professional, full-time art merchant selling hundreds of items to the
Some of Courtney Jasiulek’s handmade notebooks, which she binds herself.
Left: Courtney Jasiulek of Palo Alto sells her handmade blank books and hollow books on Etsy. Above: Jasiulek’s materials include an awl, thread, paintbrushes and glue.
first-time crafter or hobbyist. Etsy sellers start by paying a small fee (20 cents per item for four months). If an item is sold, the seller also pays a 3.5-percent transaction fee. Sellers set up their profiles and customized banners (“Choose your username carefully,” Brown said — it can’t be changed — and make sure to have great photographs) and decide their own shop policies, such as how to handle shipping. “It’s not very difficult to use, or expensive, and you learn as you go,” Brown said.
Local craftspeople are taking part in the Etsy trend and finding there is a home out there for each of their one-of-a-kind offerings, including glass paintings, eggshell art, goddess greetings and hand-bound books.
olly Trezise (Etsy name: MollyTrezise) uses stencils and spray paint on glass to create bold and colorful designs, often featuring animal or human portraits against swirling patterned backdrops. “I opened my little shop a year ago,” said the stylish Trezise, who resides in Stanford University’s Escondido Village with her graduate-student fiancé.
“I had been doing some custom artwork, and someone at my office suggested I try Etsy.” Her “Designs by Molly Trezise” shop welcomes browsers with a tie-dye yellow and pink banner and a note informing potential buyers that each item in her online gallery is one-of-a-kind, “no prints or reproductions.” Highlights of her collection include a series of chicken portraits, commissioned as a wedding gift for a couple with beloved pet hens; paintings of black cats on vibrant backgrounds; and custom portraits of children. “The bright colors and fun patterns” along with her ability to do custom paintings make her work attractive as gifts, she said. “People like that it can be collaborative,” she added. Mary Vogt, a Kansas City resident who purchased one of Trezise’s works through Etsy, said she had been searching for a gift for her daughter-in-law, a swim coach, and found Trezise’s $70 portrait of a swimmer, outlined in (continued on page 20)
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A hollowed egg ornament with a breakfast theme.
(continued from page 19)
Jennifer Barrows of Mountain View displays the materials she uses to create hollowed egg ornaments.
One of Barrows’ egg ornaments depicts a “tiki” man in a coconut-style egg. Page 20ÊUÊ>ÀV ÊÓÈ]ÊÓä£äÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞ
black and blue against a lime-green checked pattern, to be the perfect choice. “Molly’s work, painting on glass, is beautiful and … unique. My daughter-in-law loves the piece,” she said. Trezise said she’s pleased with her Etsy experience thus far. “It’s going really well,” she said. “I’m selling a couple of pieces a month.” Trezise minored in art at Wellesley College and has always been involved with drawing and painting, but she said she isn’t looking to make it a full-time gig at this time. “I work at a nonprofit in San Francisco. I don’t have a ‘game plan’ to do art full time.” Because of the effort involved in creating her works, they sell for around $70-$100 a piece. She said she’s sold about 40 pieces through Etsy and earns, on average, $250 monthly. Trezise is also herself a loyal Etsy shopper. “For the holidays I think I purchased most, if not all, of my gifts from other artists selling on Etsy, and I’ve certainly picked up a number of things for myself, too. I love supporting other small-scale artists like myself. There are so many talented people selling their work,” she said. Trezise said Etsy is probably not the ideal platform for a career in her type of art because of the higher prices of her portraits. She estimates that each piece she creates costs her $12 in materials. She said she would probably need an order for a large amount or a line of pieces, such as would be sold in shops or galleries, to earn a living from art. “It’s almost impossible to have that be your job,” she said. “Anything that I earn selling art is a very pleasant ‘extra.’” She is, however, working on a different style of art that she hopes to have available on Etsy in the near future: a line of pen-and-ink drawings as custom wedding invitations, featuring woodland creatures and outdoor themes. “Etsy’s great for selling really creative, interesting things for cheap,” she said.
ollowed eggs featuring delicate owls, religious motifs in miniature, teeny waffles and even President Barack Obama are featured in Jennifer Barrows’ (Etsy name: Eggenius) online shop. The former Palo Alto, current Mountain View and soon-to-be Fremont resident said she first heard about Etsy on National Public Radio and checked it out “just to look at other people’s stuff.” By the fall of 2008, she was selling her own original creations — detailed eggshell ornaments and dioramas. She first learned the craft from her sister-in-law and then “got rather obsessed,” she said, sometimes spending up to four hours a day on her projects during the holidays. She makes gifts for 20 family members (“including the dog”) annually, plus some for friends and colleagues. She decided to sell some of her work to offset some of the costs. “It takes lots of glue, a lot of patience, a lot of pins,” she said of her egg art, which she sometimes works on when taking a break from grading piles of papers (Barrows is an art-history professor). “I used egg-making to save my sanity. I find it very calming. “My husband jokes that it took over the dining room,” she said of her workspace, but added she’s kept her supplies mostly contained to a desk and bookshelf. “In the new house, I’ll have all the supplies in my office,” she said. Her pieces are made mostly from chicken eggs, with occasional quail, duck and goose eggs. She frequents hobby shops to obtain the tiny trinkets that inhabit the eggshells and keeps boxes filled with sequins, ribbons, buttons and trimmings of every color on hand. Vivacious and warm, Barrows said taking up traditional artistic fields such as painting or sculpting never appealed. Instead she enjoys creating mini-masterpieces in short time spans. “A lot of art takes years, whereas I can have a finished product in a week. It’s a nice creative outlet,” she said. “More or less all my revenue supports my ‘egg habit,’” Barrows said. She’s sold around 20 eggs at $15 each on average in her first year on Etsy, with business picking up around the egg-centric Easter holiday and Christmas, when people are looking for ornaments.
Regret me not Humor site Regretsy lampoons, celebrates odd Etsy finds
Los Altos resident Corinne Wayshak makes pen-and-ink designs featuring ancient goddesses and witty words of wisdom.
One popular ornament, the aforementioned Barack Obama egg (“sequins, ribbon and glitter turn a real chicken eggshell into a patriotic setting for a miniature Obama bust,” the item’s description reads) was even featured on the Etsy-mocking site Regretsy.com (see sidebar). The egg was included in the site’s Christmas-themed “advent calendar” of amusing Etsy finds, Barrows admitted, laughing. Buyer Paco Schiraldi, who collects both eggs and ornaments as well as singing in a church choir, found the perfect Christmas egg for his interests on Barrows’ site. “When I discovered the three egg ornaments with angels playing instru-
ments inside I bought them immediately. The workmanship and materials are ‘eggcellent!’” he said. As for what happens to the insides of the many eggs after their shells are hollowed out for decorating? “My family eats most of them,” Barrows said.
os Altos resident Corinne Wayshak (Etsy name: GroovyGoddesses) had never thought of herself as an artist until three years ago when, after undergoing a tumultuous personal experience, she began waking up in the middle of the night with ideas for drawings of ancient goddesses mixed with witty words of wisdom.
“I just started having these inspirations,” she said. And with that unexpected call from the muses (literally), Groovy Goddess was born. “This was my first time doing any kind of illustration,” she said of her pen-and-ink designs, which feature such mythological female figures as Pandora and the snake-haired Medusa with captions including, “It took a goddess to think out of the box,” and “Even a goddess has bad hair days.” She’d always liked the stories of the ancient goddesses, Wayshak said, but “I don’t know where the ideas came from. I guess when you have personal
rom embroidered toilet paper to “Christmas nativity meerkats,” Etsy.com is full of intriguing items. Some such creations, deemed worthy of extra attention, show up on Regretsy (www.regretsy. com), a blog that pokes fun at Etsy’s offerings and has taken on a life of its own. Cheekily subtitled, “Where DIY meets WTF,” Regretsy is the brainchild of Los Angeles comedian/writer April Winchell, who calls it “a marketing tool, a humor site and a community of creative, funny people.” She created the site last fall under the pseudonym “Helen Killer,” inspired by some of the comically strange, creepy or just plain baffling items she stumbled upon while browsing Etsy. “I didn’t have much purpose at first beyond making people laugh,” Winchell said. She left out sellers’ identifying information, not wanting to embarrass them. “I thought ... readers might write to the sellers and start trouble with them,” she said. But about a week after the site’s launch, Etsy sellers themselves gave the site a real purpose. “I started hearing that the sellers actually wanted to be linked. They saw this as an opportunity. When I started linking, things started selling pretty briskly,” she said. The formula for Regretsy is simple: Post a link and photo of an amusing Etsy item; write a brief caption mocking it; hilarity ensues. “Some of the highlights for me have been an oil painting of roadkill on a Pennsylvania highway, a taxidermied fish head grafted onto the body of a squirrel and a woman who makes embroidered toilet paper. My favorite Regretsy purchase so far is a small sculpted head of British actor Bill Nighy, glued to the metal workings of an old wind-up toy. It’s fantastically peculiar,” she said. The site was an instant hit with viewers and Etsy sellers alike. “In that first weekend it just exploded. It was everywhere, in all kinds of traditional and new media. The Wall Street Journal covered it twice in two weeks,” she said. The blog now has new items added and linked daily. Winchell has even compiled a Regretsy book, due out April 6, showcasing some of the favorite finds with her trademark snarky commentary. “About a third of the book is laid out like the site is. I’ve also written some long-form pieces that I hope people will enjoy,” she said. The book also features a sellers’ guide of participating Etsy shops, as well as comments from sellers. “They all share their experiences and their thoughts on criticism and creating,” she said. Any profits earned through Regretsy, such as through advertisements and merchandise, go into the “Regretsy Alchemy Fund.” “I don’t keep a penny. When I reach $200 in profits, I hire an Etsy seller to make handmade items for charity. There are actually quite a few charities that solicit handmade goods,” Winchell said. She said Etsy has taken the creation of Regretsy with good humor. “To my surprise, they had no interest in shutting me down. They simply asked that I add a disclaimer stating that we were not affiliated in any way, and that I change some of my colors to help separate the look of the two sites. They could not have been nicer about it. “We do fill a need, in our own weird way. We send millions of hits to Etsy and drive a lot of business to sellers whose aesthetic isn’t exactly their front page,” Winchell added. “It’s another place to get your work featured,” Etsy spokesman Adam Brown said. “It’s supposed to be funny, and it is.” N — Karla Kane
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Anyone who may have knowledge about allegations that a member or members of Stanford Law School may have communicated negative information about former Stanford Law School students between 2001 and the present, is urged to call 415-205-8925. All responses will be kept conﬁdential. Information may be pertinent to a pending lawsuit, case #CIV489678,ﬁled in San Mateo County Superior Court. NOTICE OF A PUBLIC MEETING of the City of Palo Alto Architectural Review Board (ARB) Please be advised that Thursday, April 15, 2010, the ARB shall conduct a public hearing at 8:30 AM in the Council Chambers, 1st Floor, 250 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, California. Any interested persons may appear and be heard. 2500 Embarcadero Road [09PLN-00224]: Request by Save The Bay, on behalf of the City of Palo Alto, for Site and Design Review for a new 560 square foot greenhouse and a 625 square foot shed (replacing the existing 400 square foot shed) adjacent to the existing Duck Pond. The project involves the minimal removal of vegetation to accommodate the new structures; existing trees are not impacted. Zone: PF(D) Environmental Review: An Initial Study has been completed and a Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared for this project in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements. The City of Palo Alto does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities. To request accommodations to access City facilities, services or programs, to participate at public meetings, or to learn more about the City’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), please contact the City’s ADA Coordinator at 650.329.2550 (voice) or by e-mailing email@example.com.
Amy French Manager of Current Planning
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trauma, the mind opens up.” Wayshak, who proudly sports the purple and green T-shirts bearing her designs, originally sold the “divinely inspired” images on apparel items through her own website (www.groovygoddess.com). About a month ago, she started her Etsy shop to sell her designs in the form of greeting cards, sold both individually ($3.50) and in sets of 10 ($30). The ease with which Etsy is able to link up with other social-networking sites, such as Facebook.com, is one of Wayshak’s favorite features. “It’s great to have an outlet with a social component. It’s really changed who can be reached,” she said. Kate Wolf-Pizor, a faculty member at Palo Alto’s Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, said she was excited to purchase Wayshak’s work because it was relevant to her school’s program in women’s spirituality. “The goddess comes into the world in so many ways,” she said. Fellow Los Altos resident and Etsy seller Vanessa Barri (Etsy name: Rasbarri) has also purchased products featuring Wayshak’s art. Barri said, “Etsy users often shop and search for other local Etsy users. We see the value in handmade, sustainable items. No mass manufacturing. All is made with love and creativity.” A relative newcomer to Etsy, Wayshak is optimistic about her prospects. “I just opened my shop one month ago. In that month, I got three sales which, I have been told by other ‘Etsians’ in the community chats, is a great start. I netted around $50,” she said. Though she continues to work a day job as a business-development consultant, she is embarking on an e-mail marketing campaign directing potential buyers to her Etsy store and plans to make her burgeoning artistic career a bigger part of her life. “That’s the goal,” she said.
ourtney Jasiulek of Palo Alto (Etsy name: TealStripes) creates handmade blank books and hollow books, using collage techniques to create a range of
Molly Trezise of Stanford sits with the portraits she creates with stencils and spray paint on glass. cover and interior designs. Her Etsy shop description states she finds inspiration from a variety of sources, “from cute to simple and elegant.” A benefit of Etsy, Jasiulek said, is that “everything’s in the seller’s control.” The youthful, bespectacled Jasiulek prides herself on the careful work she puts into making imaginative and engaging product descriptions to help attract customers, along with an eye-catching banner. For example, her “The Lion Says” notebook — decorated with an orange-striped cartoon lion and a comic-book-style “speech bubble” on the cover that then repeats as a motif on the inner pages — is featured with some suggestions for use.
“There‘s no place like home.”
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“Write ideas, dreams, wishes, worries, thoughts, daily rants. Write funny phrases in the speech bubbles! Color the little lions blue, green. Doodle on the blank pages!” she writes. Gunn High School graduate Jasiulek has her bachelor’s degree in fine arts (learning book-binding techniques her senior year) and is currently earning her teaching credential at San Jose State University. She, like many, first found Etsy as a buyer, although she said she’s now made more money selling items there than she’s spent buying them. “I really liked the idea that there is a place on the Internet to sell handmade goods,” she said. “It took me a few months to work up the nerve to sell anything. You really have to think carefully to come up with an interesting title and design, descriptions and tags.” She currently sells three or four books a month, netting around $60, but fears that her relatively highpriced items ($13-$25 per book, with Jasiulek spending around $8 to create each piece) could turn off potential shoppers who can buy massmarketed books for much cheaper through other outlets. “It’s hard to compete,” she said. But her carefully crafted works of paper art have found fans all over the world, thanks to the connections Etsy allows. “I’ve sold things to some far-off places, like Canada and London,” she said. “That is pretty cool.” N Editorial Assistant Karla Kane can be e-mailed at kkane@ paweekly.com.
A resource for special events and ongoing religious services.
Join us during Holy Week Maundy Thursday â€˘ Good Friday â€˘ Easter Sunday For worship times, see www.fprespa.org/worship 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto
For more information please call Blanca Yoc at 650-326-8210 ext. 6596 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Holy Week & Easter Services â€“ All are welcome â€“
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HOLY WEEK SERVICES March 28 Palm Sunday Worship - 9:30 a.m. April 1 Maundy Thursday Seder Meal + Worship - 6:30 p.m. April 2 Good Friday - 7:30 p.m. Service of Darkness April 4 Festival Service - 9:30 a.m.
Easter Egg Hunt and Celebration Reception immediately following service
The Reverend Michael E. Harvey
Woodside Village Church 3154 Woodside Road, Woodside, CA
Discover Hope HOLY THURSDAY - APRIL 1 MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: "SHADOWS" A SERVICE OF TENEBRAE - 6:30PM
EASTER SUNDAY - APRIL 4 SUNRISE SERVICE & COMMUNITY BREAKFAST - 6:30AM EASTER MORNING WORSHIP - 10:25AM
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Holy Week and Easter at St. Bedeâ€™s Episcopal Church 2650 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park www.stbedesmenlopark.org April 1 âœĽ MAUNDY THURSDAY 12 noon Footwashing 12:10 pm Holy Eucharist & Healing Rite 7:15 pm Foot Washing in Narthex 7:30 pm Holy Eucharist April 2 âœĽ GOOD FRIDAY 12 noon Service of music, reflection, and prayer 7:30 pm Meditation on the Passion of Christ April 3 âœĽ HOLY SATURDAY 9 pm Great Vigil of Easter, Holy Baptism & Eucharist April 4 âœĽ EASTER DAY 8 am Eucharist with Hymns 10:15 am Sung Eucharist 11:30 am Easter Egg Hunt in the Courtyard Nursery available 10-11:30 pm April 5 âœĽ EASTER MONDAY Parish Office closed
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