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City closes in on $139 million budget Page 3
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City to debate $139 million budget
Palo Alto council has until July 1 to close $7.3 million budget gap by Gennady Sheyner
everal controversial Palo Alto budget proposals â€” to set a fee for actors who participate in Childrenâ€™s Theatre, charge for access to the cityâ€™s open-space preserves, close the cityâ€™s libraries on Mondays and eliminate two fraud investigators from the police department â€” were tentatively turned down this week as the City Coun-
cilâ€™s Finance Committee finalized its recommendations for the fiscal year 2011 budget. Over the past month, the committee has reviewed dozens of measures intended to close a projected $7.3 million budget gap, including layoffs and frozen salaries, new fees for rental of city facilities and shorter library hours.
On Monday night, the full council will review the committeeâ€™s recommendations with the aim of approving a $139 million budget before July 1, the start of the fiscal year. Committee members this past Monday scrapped a â€œpay to playâ€? fee for Childrenâ€™s Theatre participants after the nonprofit group Friends of the Childrenâ€™s Theatre vowed it would give the city $35,000 to avoid the new fee. The group argued at previous committee meetings that the new fees, which would range from $50
to $300 depending on the production, would discourage low-income residents from participating. Alison Williams, the theater groupâ€™s costume supervisor, stressed the theaterâ€™s educational programs and strong ticket sales under recently hired Artistic Director Judge Luckey. The ticket sales are at the â€œhighest level,â€? with 23,000 sold so far this year, she said. Councilman Larry Klein proposed accepting the groupâ€™s offer, provided the city and the Friends have a contract in place and re-
viewed by both the committee and the full City Council by Sept. 30. If not, the fees would take effect as initially proposed, he suggested. Committee Chair Greg Schmid said he would support the proposal provided the financial contributions become â€œenduring over timeâ€? and not a one-time payment. The committee agreed and voted to accept the groupâ€™s offer with little discussion. Palo Altoâ€™s nature lovers, mean(continued on page 7)
Cubberleyâ€™s future deliberated City, school district, Foothill eye 35-acre campus by Chris Kenrick alo Alto school board members Wednesday expressed deep-seated fears about selling any portion of the dilapidated, 35-acre Cubberley Community Center, saying the school district may need space there to educate generations yet unborn. The aging facility at 4000 Middlefield Road served as a high school from 1955 to 1979. Wednesday night it was praised as a â€œcrown jewel of Palo Altoâ€? in a historic but tense City Hall meeting of the school board, Palo Alto City Council and Board of Trustees of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District. The school district owns 27 of the acres; the City of Palo Alto owns 8. Foothill-De Anza, currently the major tenant at Cubberley, wants to buy the cityâ€™s 8 acres, which are located next to the Charleston Shopping Center. Community college officials have previously indicated the district would raze the old classrooms and construct a â€œstate-ofthe-artâ€? facility that would offer its traditional programs as well as new ones, possibly in collaboration with the Palo Alto school district. â€œA partnership would allow us not only to continue needed services, but expand opportunities to serve our mutual constituencies,â€? Foothill-De Anza Chancellor Linda Thor said. â€œBest practices include dual and concurrent enrollment of high school students and community college students, and Middle College, not to mention possibilities for
Camp Iris Way counselor Olivia Johnson (left) demonstrates how to hula hoop to Molly Mackris, Claire Eberhart and 4-year-old Clare during the weeklong day camp for kids on Iris Way.
Turning a neighborhood into a playground Palo Alto mothers get kids out of the house by Carolyn Copeland
water balloon arched in the air and splashed down on 9-year-old Stephanie Nemetâ€™s feet Tuesday before she giggled and ran away from the little
girl who threw it at her. Little boys played foursquare in the street as girls their age chased each other in their bathing suits. A lot can be said about Iris
Way, a Palo Alto neighborhood located off of Embarcadero Road. It has everything a suburban family could possibly want â€” beautiful houses, giant trees, quiet streets and plenty of sun. Now residents have one more thing to cross off their checklists: Camp Iris Way. Diana Nemet and Jennifer Antonow founded Camp Iris Way, which runs this week from 9 a.m. to noon, so neighborhood kids could play games, do arts and crafts and meet the other children. The camp is for kids ages 4-15 living on Iris and one nearby street.
Nemet and Antonow decided that they wanted to encourage the kids in their neighborhood to go outside and play after the pair of mothers read blogs on Playborhood.com, a Menlo Park-based website. â€œWe decided to do it the first week of summer so that the kids could get to know each other more and can play together for the whole summer,â€? Antonow said. The two sent out e-mails and printed fliers to get other neighborhood parents involved. While Nemet and Antonow originally (continued on page 8)
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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 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 Katia Savchuk, Carolyn Copeland, Piyawan Rungsuk, Editorial Interns DESIGN Shannon Corey, Design Director Raul Perez, Assistant Design Director Linda Atilano, Diane Haas, Scott Peterson, Paul Llewellyn, Senior Designers Gary Vennarucci, Designer PRODUCTION Jennifer Lindberg, Production Manager Dorothy Hassett, Samantha Mejia, 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 BUSINESS Penelope Ng, Payroll & Benefits Manager Elena Dineva, Mary McDonald, Cathy Stringari, Susie Ochoa, Doris Taylor, Business Associates ADMINISTRATION Amy Renalds, Assistant to the Publisher & Promotions Director 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
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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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Weâ€™re on a roller-coaster ride. â€”Kevin Skelly, Palo Alto Unified School District superintendent, on how school-enrollment trends could influence the districtâ€™s desire to retain ownership of Cubberley Community Center. See story on page 3.
Around Town LA DOLCE V ... Inhabitants of the luxury senior community on Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto have something new to call home. The apparently too-fusty name â€œClassic Residence by Hyattâ€? has been replaced by â€œVi at Palo Alto,â€? it was victoriously announced last week. The new title (pronounced â€œveeâ€?) comes from the Latin â€œvita,â€? meaning life, and is intended to reflect an attitude of vitality, vibrancy and vigor for todayâ€™s seniors, according to the companyâ€™s vivacious press announcement. â€œGiven both the life expectancy and high lifestyle expectations of todayâ€™s older adults, we have identified four Vital Elements that signify everything our new brand stands for and delivers,â€? Vi President Randal J. Richardson stated. â€œThese Vital Elements â€” Home, Wellness, Connection and Vitality â€” are the foundation of Vi.â€? All 19 former Classic Residence by Hyatt properties nationwide are to take the new Vi name, and a new website can be visited at www.viliving.com. The â€œfull Vi experience,â€? it says, vaguely, will be online by July 12. HERE COMES THE SUN DAY ... If Monday feels a little long, youâ€™re not hallucinating. Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, falls on June 21 this year, prompting a sun-themed celebration across the nation this weekend. Most of the celebrations around the Bay Area are set for Saturday, which has been declared â€œSolarDay 2010.â€? Palo Alto is commemorating the longest day of sunlight with a special proclamation, citing cityâ€™s support for â€œsolar energy and energy conservation and SolarDay 2010 events.â€? The proclamation, signed by Mayor Pat Burt, also urges all citizens to participate in SolarDay activities. The city will also commemorate SolarDay with a Tuesday event focused on solar water heating. Attendees will hear a presentation by Katrina Phruksukarn, who manages the Solar Water Heating Program at the California Center for Sustainable Energy, and learn how solar-water-heating technologies could help reduce fuel consumption and lower oneâ€™s carbon footprint. The event will
be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 22 at the Lucie Stern Community Center Community Room, 1305 Middlefield Road. LEGAL BATTLE ... Palo Alto City Attorney Gary Baum won a tentative victory for his department during a Monday night showdown with two other attorneys. Councilmen Larry Klein and Greg Scharff, both attorneys, sought to trim a legal secretary from the City Attorneyâ€™s Office budget â€” a proposal that would have saved the city about $117,000. Faced with the looming cut, Baum issued a detailed memo analyzing the workload in his office and arguing against the proposed cut. The office, he said, receives 295 calls a week, with roughly half coming from city residents and the rest from city staff. It also receives about 3,000 work requests per year, he wrote. â€œThe demands on our support staff are intense,â€? Baum told the committee. â€œThey include handling every document you see and every contract the city sees.â€? His argument persuaded the two non-lawyers on the Finance Committee, Vice Mayor Sid Espinosa and Chair Greg Schmid. Espinosa acknowledged Kleinâ€™s and Scharffâ€™s expertise in legal matters but said Baum made a â€œcompelling case.â€? With the committee split 2-2, the proposal to lay off the legal secretary failed. It could, however, still re-emerge in the coming weeks, when the full council is scheduled to review and adopt the 2011 budget. DID SOMEONE SAY â€˜HELPâ€™? ... If youâ€™re going to have an accident, it pays to do so near the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. A cyclist found that out firsthand Tuesday after riding headlong into a leash stretched between a dog and its owner, Barron Park resident Bob Moss reports. Lying stunned on the path, the cyclist was first approached and aided by a respiratory doctor. Then along came a surgeon, who assured the injured man he might need one or two stitches at most. â€œTypical Palo Alto,â€? Moss wrote. â€œLots of experts and specialists ... and very willing to help.â€? N
Even though about 20 people were outside the Alma Street nightclub when the 12:20 a.m. shooting occurred, no one reported seeing the shot fired, police said. The club has since closed down. But the pain goes on for Hsiao and her close-knit family. Maria, described as a sweet and thoughtful young woman, had three brothers and a sister in addition to her parents. She was active in her church. The weekend before last, the Hsiaos held a time of remembrance at Mariaâ€™s Oakland gravesite, just as they have done every year. For the past week, they have been volunteering in Bay Area schools through the charity they launched in honor of Maria, the Ria Foundation (â€œRiaâ€? was her nickname). They and other volunteers brought T-shirts, paint and supplies to 900 second- and third-graders in cities ranging from San Jose to Oakland to Martinez. After being shown how to paint and mix colors, the students depicted their hopes and dreams on the T-shirts. For some disadvantaged kids, it was a rare chance to express themselves through art, Hsiao said. â€œSeeing the wonder and joy of each one of these children renews our faith in people and our future. Maria would be so proud,â€? she said. Since the nonprofitâ€™s founding in 2002, nearly 7,000 school kids have received art lessons. Mariaâ€™s mother also has tried to channel her broken-heartedness into service to others. She works at the cemetery where Maria is buried and helps the families of other violentcrime victims to plan their loved oneâ€™s funerals. For all the good work they are doing, Hsiao said, the familyâ€™s emotional wounds are still fresh. Not knowing what happened nine years ago has prevented them from healing normally. â€œItâ€™s a long, drawn-out grieving process,â€? she said. Even the familyâ€™s happy moments
voice for my sister because her voice and life were taken from her,â€? Hsiao said. â€œShe would have wanted justice, and I will never give up the search for it for her.â€? Anyone with information, however small, about the night of June 10, 2001, can text or e-mail anonymous tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. The TipNow service encrypts the senderâ€™s name, phone number and
ndrea Hsiao still thinks of her sister every day, even though itâ€™s been nine years since Maria was shot and killed outside the Q CafĂŠ nightclub in downtown Palo Alto. Hsiao remembers how she and Maria were so crazy for the Backstreet Boys, they once stood in line all night to buy tickets to the boy bandâ€™s concert. She thinks about the long talks she and her younger sister used to have. She thinks about how, now that she is a mother, her little girls would have adored their Auntie â€œRia.â€? And she wonders: When will someone finally step forward with the information thatâ€™s needed to solve the mystery of who killed Maria? For Palo Alto Police Capt. Bob Beacom, coordinator of the departmentâ€™s investigative-services division, the case is very much alive. Last week, on the ninth anniversary of Mariaâ€™s death, the department held a press conference and called for any witnesses to the shooting to contact the police and help them find justice for Maria, who was a 21-year-old art student out for a night of fun. Police Chief Dennis Burns said he hoped the passage of time, along with a $100,000 reward and the police departmentâ€™s new anonymoustip system, would prompt a witness to step forward after years of silence. â€œPeople change and relationships change,â€? Burns said. â€œItâ€™s possible that the person with information about Mariaâ€™s killer may be more inclined to come forward now because they have matured or because their relationship with the suspect has changed.â€? Sometimes, Beacom said Wednesday, time helps people to listen to their consciences. â€œWeâ€™re confident someone knows what happened,â€? he said. Perhaps now that person will feel it is the right time to come forward and give the information only he or she knows.
by Jocelyn Dong and Gennady Sheyner
Police, relatives of Maria Hsiao urge witnesses to step forward about 2001 shooting at Palo Alto nightclub
Nine years after homicide, family longs for justice
â€” weddings, births, graduations â€” are bittersweet, as they think of how each of the milestones would have been for Maria, she said. Thatâ€™s why Hsiao continues to seek closure and why she wants those with information about the homicide to know that the $100,000 reward could be theirs, following the shooterâ€™s arrest and conviction. â€œAs long as I live, I will be the
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Andrea Hsiao, left, in March 2001 with her sister, Maria, who was fatally shot June 10, 2001, while saying goodbye to friends outside a Palo Alto nightclub. There is a $100,000 reward for information leading to the shooterâ€™s conviction.
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other contact information to make sure the personâ€™s identity remains anonymous. Witnesses can also contact Detective Aaron Sunseri at 650-3292569. N Managing Editor Jocelyn Dong can be e-mailed at jdong@ paweekly.com. Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
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Upfront LAND USE
Palo Alto Commons plans expansion Commission: Forty-five rental units necessary to house cityâ€™s graying population by Sue Dremann
lans for a 45-unit senior rental-housing development won unanimous recommendation from the Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission Wednesday evening, with commissioners citing affordable senior housing as a priority as Palo Altoâ€™s population grays. The new housing would expand the existing Palo Alto Commons, a housing and assisted-living center, and would be located on 0.83 acres at 4041 El Camino Way, adjacent to the current Commons facility. The existing senior assisted-housing facility has 121 rental units with 140 beds, according to a city staff report. The need for additional affordable senior housing is exemplified by the more than 50 deposits on Palo Alto Commonsâ€™ waiting list, project architect Rob Steinberg said. The average age of Commons residents is 87, according to Steinberg. The facility addresses the needs of a population of seniors who canâ€™t afford to move into costlier Palo Alto facilities such as Channing House or Classic Residences by Hyatt (now
called â€œVi of Palo Altoâ€?), which require huge upfront payments. Many seniors are also beyond the age when they could be accepted to those facilities, said Steve Player, who supports the new project. â€œThis rental opportunity ... was a lifesaver for my mother. She was eligible to move in on a month-tomonth basis,â€? he said. Commissioners gave the Commons Addition project the go-ahead with some caveats and recommended a zoning change from Neighborhood Commercial (CN) and Multi-Family Residential (RM-15) to Planned Community (PC), which would match Palo Alto Commonsâ€™ current zoning. Currently, two aging commercial buildings sit on the land. The PC zone has a controversial history in Palo Alto, as it allows for denser â€” and typically more lucrative â€” projects. But making exceptions for the project requires the developer to provide â€œpublic benefitsâ€? in exchange. The Commons Addition project proposes to improve a bus stop and
access along El Camino Real. Jennifer Cutler, project manager for the city, said Wednesday that granting the Commons Addition a PC designation would conform to the cityâ€™s guiding land-use plan. It would also allow for a smooth transition between the existing Palo Alto Commons and the surrounding neighborhood, she said. The building is proposed as a Cshaped structure around a courtyard that preserves a large heritage oak tree. Its design would â€œstepâ€? from two stories to three stories. Residents living in adjacent Jacobs Court, a 19-home neighborhood with many families with young children, said they oppose the projectâ€™s 34.5-foot height, which they said would tower above their homes and create the equivalent of a three-story wall. Residents said developers are comparing their project to other PC-zone projects approved by the city, including the Campus for Jewish Life on Charleston Road, which includes senior housing. But those developments are adjacent to commercial properties or are otherwise separated from residential housing, residents said. Commissioner Eduardo Martinez said he had visited the Jacobs Court site on Saturday and wants to see developers break down the long block of the third story with a different design. Commissioner Arthur Keller said he was particularly uneasy with two units directly facing Jacobs Court. (continued on page 10)
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shared facilities, laboratories and expertise.â€? Though some school board members expressed interest in possible collaboration, all five said their first priority is preserving all options for enrollment needs for decades to come.
â€˜A partnership would allow us not only to continue needed services, but expand opportunities.â€™
â€”Linda Thor, chancellor, Foothill-De Anza Community College District
Largely unspoken, but recalled with deep regret, were school board decisions in the 1980s â€” a temporary period of declining enrollment â€” to sell shuttered school sites to housing developers. School-district enrollment now stands at 11,600, down from the 15,000 to 16,000 in the peak of the Baby Boom era but on a steady increase for the past 20 years. The district has struggled recently with accommodating that new growth, approximately 2.3 percent a year. Currently it is spending a $378 million facilities bond to modern-
ize and expand its 17 campuses to meet the demand. â€œIf you look at our enrollment over the last 50 years, weâ€™re on a roller coaster ride,â€? Superintendent Kevin Skelly said. â€œThe next twist and turn is unclear, but whatâ€™s clear is weâ€™ve gone from a high in the 1960s to a consistent fall down into the 1980s and a steady increase over the past 20 years. â€œWeâ€™re headed up again and that growth is happening at all levels.â€? Skelly said continued recent growth appears to be â€œimperviousâ€? to factors that typically would slow it down, such as the recession or declines in local real-estate transactions. â€œThereâ€™s a growing premium on quality education, and families are more willing to make sacrifices in order to move their students to quality schools,â€? he said. Noting the cityâ€™s â€œvery significant financial constraints,â€? City Manager Jim Keene said the city spent $6.7 million on maintenance at Cubberley between 1996 and 2009, and that it will require at least another $8 million between now and 2015. The idea of a renovated, and college-district-owned, Foothill campus at Cubberley was initially floated in 2007 but was dropped following months of discussion. At the time, Foothill-De Anza officials indicated they were exploring other options. N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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while, might continue to park and frolic for free at three prominent parklands â€” Foothills Park, the Baylands Preserve and Pearson/ Arastradero Preserve, the committee decided Tuesday night. A proposed $5 â€œvehicle access feeâ€? ($40 for an annual permit) would have raised about $100,000. Councilman Greg Scharff said he had received a large volume of e-mails from residents who oppose the park access fees. Based on the community input, and the fact that the budget gap could be closed through other measures, the committee voted 3-1, with Councilman Sid Espinosa dissenting, not to impose park fees. â€œThe important thing is to listen to the community and to make cuts that have the least impact for quality of life for people,â€? Scharff told the Weekly. â€œClearly, this was something people were concerned about.â€? Scharff was also the most adamant advocate of keeping library branches open on Mondays, even if services were limited; City Manager Jim Keene had proposed that Main, Mitchell Park and Childrenâ€™s libraries be shuttered one day a week. â€œI assume most people would rather have a library open with no services that day,â€? Scharff said. The committee recommended that the library branches, which currently open at 10 a.m., open at noon instead. Klein said he thinks the changes in the library hours will have â€œlittle negative impact on the communityâ€? and characterized the changes as a â€œreasonable compromise in this era.â€? The newly renovated College Terrace branch will be closed on Mondays, though the committee had abandoned a previous proposal to keep the branch closed for the entire fiscal year.
The committee also turned down Keeneâ€™s proposal to eliminate the jobs of two police agents who are responsible for probing some of the cityâ€™s most intricate, longest and most complex cases â€” ones dealing with financial fraud, identify theft and other technological crimes. The job cuts were projected to save the city $332,000. Police Chief Dennis Burns told the committee the two investigators would be particularly hard to replace given their high level of training. Because of the technical nature of their job, fraud investigators serve for five-year assignments while other investigators typically have three-year rotations.
â€œFraud investigation is extremely complex,â€? Burns said. â€œNot all of our detectives could be fraud investigators.â€? In recent years, the agentsâ€™ caseload has been getting heavier. Identity theft has been spiking across the nation, particularly in an affluent city such as Palo Alto, which is teeming with financial institutions and which has a large number of elderly residents who are prone to financial fraud. Over the past year, the two officers have also dispensed tips on fraud prevention at community meetings throughout the city. Scharff said one of the cityâ€™s top priorities is to ensure public safety,
and proposed keeping the positions in the 2011 budget. â€œThis is very important to the city and it would be a huge mistake to cut it,â€? Scharff said. The department still stands to lose a community-outreach specialist and the crime analyst, who compiles quarterly reports on demographic data from traffic stops. The committee also recommended trimming the five-officer traffic-enforcement team to four members. The councilâ€™s effort to close the budget gap received a boost Monday when police officers in Palo Altoâ€™s largest police union agreed to defer their negotiated 6 percent raise for the second year in a row. The
move is expected to save the city about $800,000 in fiscal year 2011, according to Sgt. Wayne Benitez, president of the Palo Alto Peace Officers Association. â€œIt is the hope of PAPOA that this will help the city balance the budget while maintaining city services and preventing layoffs,â€? Benitez said. The full council is scheduled to discuss the budget Monday night (June 21) and to adopt the full budget on June 28. Two spillover meetings have been scheduled if needed for June 29 and 30. N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
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Neighborhood fun (continued from page 3)
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thought they would only attract enough kids to fill a back yard, the camp directors ended up with 44 of the approximately 60 kids living in the neighborhood. With so many parents wanting their children to participate, Nemet and Antonow had to call the City of Palo Alto to get permission to have part of the street blocked off. â€œThe idea was for kids to open their front door and come outside to play,â€? Nemet said. â€œWe never thought it would be this big. Itâ€™s been wonderful to see how much theyâ€™re already bonding.â€? The older kids are counselors and the fifth- and sixth-graders are counselors in training. The camp is broken up into four teams to make things more manageable. Each team has two counselors who run the activities for the day. â€œIâ€™m moving into this neighborhood over the summer so itâ€™s a cool way to meet everyone,â€? said 14-yearold counselor Rachel Wood. â€œMost of the kids have seen each other in the neighborhood but didnâ€™t know them. They became friends really fast.â€? Stations are set out every morning for the kids to play foursquare and hula hoop. At 9:30 a.m., campers join their teams and play games. After that, they break for a snack and then do an activity with the rest of the campers. â€œWe let the counselors decide what activities everyone will be doing,â€? Nemet said. â€œWe want the kids to run the camp.â€? Many other parents have gotten involved. Thereâ€™s a snack coordinator, camp banker, photographer, art supply person, equipment coordinator and two T-shirt coordinators. Each day the camp moves to a different part of Iris in order for each kid to show the others where they live. â€œItâ€™s great having all the kids grow up together,â€? said Cathy Vieara, a mother of twins participating in the camp. â€œWeâ€™re currently living in Mountain View because weâ€™re rebuilding our house on Iris. My kids stay connected to the neighborhood through camp.â€? The neighborhood kids have already started playing together in their free time. â€œYesterday after camp my doorbell wouldnâ€™t stop ringing,â€? Nemet said. â€œThe kids from camp kept coming over asking my kids to come out and play. As far as Iâ€™m concerned, mission accomplished.â€? N Editorial Intern Carolyn Copeland can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corrections In the June 11 edition of the Weekly, two photo captions were incorrect. In one, Jared Beesonâ€™s name was misspelled. In another, Miles Mathews was identified as Gunn High student-body president; heâ€™s the senior-class president. To request a correction, contact Managing Editor Jocelyn Dong at 650-223-6514, jdong@ paweekly.com or P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302.
News Digest Palo Alto animal hoarder could face fines, jail Ana Maria Ramos, a Palo Alto woman who was arrested for having 25 dogs and 17 cats in her single-wide trailer, has been charged with five misdemeanors and four infractions, according to Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin. She was arraigned June 11 in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto. If convicted, Ramos could face more than $1,000 in fines and a total of 3.5 years incarcerated. Ramos was arrested May 28 after police and animal-control officers found the dogs and cats crammed into her trailer at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, 3980 El Camino Real. Jose Rubio, 61, who also lives in the trailer, was arrested June 10 for seven counts relating to animal abuse. An animal-control officer found only one box of food and a single water bowl in the trailer, according to police. The animal-rescue operation was the cityâ€™s largest involving cats and dogs that Superintendent Sandi Stadler of Palo Alto Animal Services could recall. Ramos was charged with two counts of failing to care for animals; one count of mistreatment of confined animals; and two counts of resisting, obstructing or delaying an officer. If convicted on all counts, she could face a 3.5-year sentence, Larkin said. She is also charged with four municipal-code violations: one each for having too many dogs and cats, unspayed female dogs and unspayed female cats. Each infraction is punishable by a $250 fine. N â€” Sue Dremann
Firefightersâ€™ petition heads for November ballot A proposal by Palo Altoâ€™s firefighters union to freeze the staffing levels at the Fire Department is bound for the November ballot after the union received more than enough signatures to qualify it for the election. Palo Alto Professional Firefighters, Local 1319, submitted more than 6,100 signatures to the City Clerkâ€™s office June 15, City Clerk Donna Grider said. The union needed 5,446 signatures from Palo Altoâ€™s registered voters to qualify its initiative for the ballot. The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters is scheduled to verify the signatures over the next month. The unionâ€™s measure would change the City Charter to require the city to hold a referendum any time it wants to reduce firefighter staffing levels or close fire stations. Any such proposal would require two public hearings in front of the City Council and an election. The firefighters union submitted its petition the day after the City Council Finance Committee recommended keeping staffing in the department largely intact in fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1. Though the department stands to lose an administrative assistant and a hazardous-materials specialist, its expenses are slated to increase by $754,399 in the next fiscal year because of increases in firefightersâ€™ salaries and benefits. The committee considered more drastic cost-cutting measures, including eliminating three fire inspector positions and one deputy chief position, but ultimately decided not to adopt those proposals. The city still hopes to achieve savings through negotiations with the firefighters union, which kicked off last month. The unionâ€™s current contract is set to expire June 30. N â€” Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto police nab two burglars in two days Palo Alto police arrested a Daly City man Monday afternoon after they caught him carrying stolen property from a Mariposa Avenue home â€” the second burglary the police had averted in two days, they said. Police were notified about a possible burglary by a resident of the 1600 block of Mariposa who saw the stranger walk into a neighborâ€™s back yard at about 2 p.m. The witness knew the neighbors werenâ€™t home and called the police immediately to report suspicious behavior. The neighborhood is located next to Palo Alto High School. Police arrived and found the intruder leaving the house through the back yard. He was carrying tools, clothes and other items from the home, according to Agent Max Nielepko. Police arrested Daymon Cooper, 44, and charged him with burglary. He was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail. The Mariposa incident was the second burglary Palo Alto police stopped in progress in two days. On Saturday night, police arrested another man who climbed into an Alma Street apartment through an unlocked balcony door. Police caught Hector Zavala, 35, of Sunnyvale, after neighbors called to report a tattooed male climbing a tree to the roof to the building. Zavala was arrested for burglary and was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail. N â€” Gennady Sheyner LETâ€™S DISCUSS: Read the latest local news headlines and talk about the issues at Town Square at www.PaloAltoOnline.com
Bobcat Ridge to re-open Saturday Tule, one of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zooâ€™s two bobcats, watches ducks and a goose from her favorite spot in her new habitat. The grand opening of the newly constructed Bobcat Ridge will take place Saturday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to noon (with a membersâ€™ sneak-peek breakfast preview at 9 a.m.). The new habitat includes a sculpture garden, dubbed â€œThe Kittensâ€™ Den,â€? which features a mama bobcat, kittens and a mountain lion. The nonprofit Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo raised $450,000 for the project. Future zoo upgrades include improving Raccoon Creek, the Bat Cave and the Owl Aviary, bringing in new animals and building a bird tree house.
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Senior housing (continued from page 6)
Commissioner Susan Fineberg also had reservations and said the design will need work, but she favored the development.
â€œThere is something very special with this project,â€? she said, adding that additional support services wonâ€™t be added because they already exist at the other Palo Alto Commons site. Resident Tom Reese, a founder of Avenidas Village, a citywide assisted-living program, agreed. The
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likelihood of any stand-alone assisted-living such as Channing House being built is slim, considering costs to build such facilities, he said. The project would eliminate a small amount of existing retail-tax revenue by removing the commercial buildings, but commissioners doubted that retail such as the Love Bug Lice Control was producing significant tax revenue. Any loss would be lessened or made up by recurring annual revenues of $159,000 and one-time impact revenue of $592,000 from the
senior-housing project, according to a city staff report. Commissioner Keller said the revenue is likely to exceed current sums from the retail properties. Some commissioners agreed the bus-stop upgrade might not be enough of a public benefit. But the intrinsic value of providing moderately priced housing could potentially be considered a public benefit in itself, they indicated. Several residents spoke in favor of the project. Marguerite Fletcher said her 92-
CityView A round-up of Palo Alto government action this week
Finance Committee (June 14) www.matchedcaregivers.com
2011 budget: The committee voted to approve the proposed budget for the Fire Department, reduce Monday hours at Main, Mitchell Park and Childrenâ€™s libraries, keep the College Terrace library closed on Mondays, and to reinstate the two-officer fraud-investigation unit in the Police Department. Yes: Unanimous
City Council (June 14)
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San Francisquito Creek: The council heard a presentation from Len Materman, executive director of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, on the status of capital improvements along the San Francisquito Creek. Action: None Stanford Hospital: The council reviewed the Visual Quality chapter of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Stanford University Medical Center expansion project. The council also concluded its discussion on the Land Use Chapter of the DEIR. Action: None
Finance Committee (June 15)
2011 budget: The committee wrapped up its discussion of the fiscal year 2011 budget, discussed the Public Works refuse fund, and adopted the municipal fee scheduled for the next fiscal year. The committee also voted to remove the proposed fees for park use from the fee schedule. Yes: Scharff, Schmid, Klein No: Espinosa
Public Agenda A preview of Palo Alto government meetings next week
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CITY COUNCIL ... The council will hold a closed session to discuss the status of labor negotiations. The council will then discuss the Finance Committee recommendations for the fiscal year 2011 budget and consider a resolution to encourage council members to voluntarily take a 10 percent pay cut in fiscal year 2011, and hold a site and design review for a new 11,857-square-foot home at 805 Los Trancos Road. The closed session is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, June 21, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. The regular meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. or as soon as possible after the closed session. BOARD OF EDUCATION ... The board plans to vote on a proposed budget for 2010-11; schematic designs for expansion of JLS Middle School and conceptual designs for a new theater and stadium renovations at Palo Alto High School. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, in the board room of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave. POLICY AND SERVICES COMMITTEE ... The committee will discuss the City Councilâ€™s 2010 priority work plan and the cityâ€™s social-media policy. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION ... The commission plans to discuss underground water
year-old mother lives at Palo Alto Commons and would have moved in earlier if space was available. â€œWe scoured to find a space that felt residential and felt like a home,â€? she said. Nancy Muellerâ€™s mother entered Palo Alto Commons in 2000. â€œThere really is nothing like (the Commons). How we care for our elders is a metric of our society. We owe it to our parents to care for them in their sunset years,â€? she said. N Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
City Council/Board of Education/ Foothill-De Anza Community College Trustees (June 16)
Cubberley: The three boards discussed their interests regarding a Foothill-De Anza request to purchase eight acres of the 35-acre Cubberley Community Center. Action None
Planning & Transportation Commission (June 16)
Stanford Hospital: The commission discussed the Traffic Impacts chapter of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for Stanford Universityâ€™s proposed expansion of its hospital facilities, including Stanfordâ€™s proposed traffic-demand management measures. The discussion was one of the cityâ€™s 11 public hearings on the DEIR. Action: None
Architectural Review Board (June 17)
Stanford Hospital: The board held a preliminary review for the proposed design for Stanford Hospital and Clinics. Board members voiced concerns about some of the details in the exterior of the main hospital building. Action: None San Antonio Road: The board discussed the proposed improvements at medians on San Antonio Road, which include tree replacements and new landscaping along medians between Middlefield Road and Highway 101. Board members recommended new signage and some changes in tree species, but said they strongly support the project, which includes removing the existing 101 trees and planting between 100 and 120 new trees. Yes: Unanimous
High-Speed Rail Committee (June 17)
High-speed rail: The committee discussed meetings with Caltrain representatives regarding the agencyâ€™s electrification project, an update on legislation relating to high-speed rail and the cityâ€™s draft comments on the Alternatives Analysis for the San Francisco-to-San Jose segment of the high-speed-rail line. Action: None
tank at El Camino Park; hear an update on floodcontrol improvements at San Francisquito Creek; and hear an update on Project Safety Net, a task force working on teen emotional-health issues. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. CITY COUNCIL ... The council plans to discuss the cityâ€™s comments on the Alternatives Analysis for the San Francisco-to-San Jose segment of the proposed high-speed-rail line. The council also plans to discuss the cityâ€™s Comprehensive Plan Amendment and Housing Element. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. PLANNING AND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION ... The commission plans to review the Climate Change and Air Quality chapters of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Stanford University Medical Center expansion project. The commission also plans to hear a presentation on capital improvements along the San Francisquito Creek. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 24, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. LIBRARY ADVISORY COMMISSION ... The commission plans to discuss the public art selection for Mitchell Park Library and Community Center and hear a report from a commission subcommittee on potential adjustments to the Mitchell Park building program. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 24, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.
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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 â€œNewsâ€? in the left, green column.
Old sprinklers kept Menlo Park fire from spreading An old but still effective sprinkler system prevented a major fire in downtown Menlo Park from causing even more extensive damage than it did to four businesses, according to fire officials. The fire apparently started when embers from the Cafe Silan restaurant flue escaped and ignited an attic area. (Posted June 17 at 9:40 a.m.)
Stanford drama professor named undergrad dean A 54-year-old Stanford University drama professor has been named to oversee programs for the universityâ€™s 6,500 undergraduates, including general education and overseas studies. Harry J. Elam Jr. will become vice provost for undergraduate education July 1. (Posted June
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An IBM community relations manager with a background in education has been named the new principal of Addison School. Jocelyn Garcia-Thome, since 2002 an education and community relations manager with IBM, will succeed John Lents, who is moving to head Duveneck School. (Posted June 16 at 2:38 p.m.)
Judge orders Mountain View pot club to close A judge has granted Mountain Viewâ€™s request for a temporary injunction to close Buddyâ€™s Cannabis Patient Collective on Bayshore Parkway, which must now close by 5 p.m. July 7. (Posted June 15 at 3:46 p.m.)
Coroner identifies man killed by Caltrain Monday The San Mateo County coronerâ€™s office Tuesday morning identified a pedestrian who was hit and killed on the Caltrain tracks in San Mateo Monday evening as Redwood City resident Charles Fulk. (Posted June 15 at 8:55 a.m.)
Speier to speak at scholarship event June 19 U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier will be the speaker at an Atherton awards ceremony Saturday (June 19) for 18 â€œtalented, needyâ€? students who earned college scholarships from the Peninsula College Fund. (Posted June 15 at 8:45 a.m.)
Two robbed at gunpoint in Mountain View garage Two visitors to Mountain View were robbed at gunpoint at a parking garage in the 100 block of Bryant Street at about 10:45 p.m. on Friday (June 11), police said. (Posted June 14 at 11:50 a.m.)
Stanford graduates celebrate with â€˜wacky walkâ€™ Saluting their childhoods and their futures, members of Stanford Universityâ€™s class of 2010 expressed themselves in the traditional â€œwacky walkâ€? at Sundayâ€™s commencement ceremony. â€œI donâ€™t deserve to be this happy,â€? read a poster carried by one graduate. (Posted June 13 at 11:40 p.m.)
Stanford gradsâ€™ future â€˜linked to boy in Africaâ€™ Stanford University graduates Sunday were implored to end poverty, cure disease and clean up the planet â€” all for a little boy in Africa.
A man was shot multiple times late Friday night (June 11) in East Palo Alto in a flurry of 17 gunshots, police said. (Posted June 12 at 6:44
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Manager from IBM named new Addison principal
Tesla Motors hopes to raise up to $178 million through its highly anticipated initial public offering of stock, the Palo Alto-based car manufacturer announced in a Security and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday. (Posted June 15 at 4:42 p.m.)
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