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Palo Alto eager to run airport — has no choice Page 3
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Palo Alto to pay, honor ‘retired’ public works head City’s settlement agreement with Glenn Roberts calls for $130,655 in severance; official retirement ‘proclamation’ by Gennady Sheyner
alo Alto Public Works Director Glenn Roberts will receive $130,655 and a special City Council proclamation in exchange for an immediate retirement and a promise not to sue the city. The council announced Roberts’ retirement just before midnight
Monday, after nearly an hour in closed session. City Manager James Keene issued a statement Tuesday morning acknowledging Roberts’ 18 years of public service and wishing him “the best in the next phase in his life.” The city’s settlement agreement with Roberts, made public Tuesday morning, indicates that Roberts’ departure was neither voluntary
nor amicable. The agreement bluntly states that a “dispute has arisen between City and Roberts regarding the continuance of Roberts’ employment with the city.” It says the parties wish to “save the time and expense” of potential claims, arbitration and litigation. Under the terms, Roberts would receive $130,655 and a “proclama-
tion for Roberts upon his retirement consistent with proclamations issued for other employees who have retired voluntarily from City service in good standing.” In return, Roberts agreed to waive “any rights he may have had, or now has, to pursue any and all remedies available to him under any cause of action against the City” or any city officials. Roberts also agreed not to
“apply for any permanent, hourly, consulting or any other position with the City, unless invited to do so by the City.” Roberts approved the settlement on Oct. 8. The council agreed to the settlement terms Monday night, at the end of its meeting. The closed session was listed on the agenda as (continued on page 7)
Stress-busting steps work, principals say Later start time, major schedule changes greet Paly students this fall
plan for an early takeover. For the council, the airport represents both an opportunity and a burden. The city is obligated to take over management of the airport at a time when airports nationwide are struggling to keep their services intact. R. A. Wiedemann, the consultant who performed the business analysis on Palo Alto Airport, told the committee that most airports saw significant losses in usage because of the Great Recession. This has led to a decrease in revenues and services. “There is an economic squeeze now,” Wiedemann told the committee. “Generally, aviation is the first to get hit and the last to recover.” The risk is particularly troublesome because of stringent Federal Aviation Administration regulations. The FAA, which provides grants for airport maintenance and improve-
by Chris Kenrick nitiatives to cut student stress at Gunn and Palo Alto high schools this fall are working well, according to principals at both schools. Paly students have experienced the most dramatic changes: a later morning start time, a new weekly “tutorial” period and a “block schedule” in which classes meet every other day but for twice as long. There are fewer obvious changes at Gunn, where the weekly tutorial has been a staple for at least a decade. Last weekend (Oct. 16-17) the school sent a team of students, teachers and parents to brainstorm stress-reducing ideas at a national conference on youth well-being at Stanford University. Both campuses are awaiting an imminent decision likely to have a major impact on high-school-student life in Palo Alto — the Board of Education’s Nov. 9 vote on whether to shift first-semester final exams to before the December break. Superintendent Kevin Skelly has recommended the calendar change — which also shifts the entire school year from mid-August to the end of May — starting in the 2011-12 school year. Most high schools in the area, including Menlo-Atherton, Los Altos, Mountain View, St. Francis, Castilleja and Menlo, already have moved to pre-winter-break finals. Paly’s stress-busting initiatives this fall are a legacy of former Principal Jacquie McEvoy, who convened a task force that recommended the changes last spring. “It’s something we’ve been working on for a very long time,” Paly
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Sweet torture! As the San Francisco Giants win Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, Jeff Barbachano (left), who works in downtown Palo Alto, and Lamonte Brown, born and raised in San Francisco, root for the home team over the Phillies at the Old Pro on Wednesday.
Palo Alto eager to run airport – has no choice City officials push for early takeover of Palo Alto Airport management after they learn they can’t close it by Gennady Sheyner
ear after year, Palo Alto’s gritty little airport defies the odds. As airports across America languish under diminished demand, the Palo Alto Airport continues to attract flocks of aviators to its aging hangars. More than 500 aircraft use the 102-acre facility as their base. Though the number of operations at Palo Alto Airport dropped from about 200,000 three years ago to nearly 160,000 in 2009, most other
municipal airports would envy these numbers, an airport expert told a City Council committee Tuesday night (Oct. 19). These statistics are looming large in the minds of Palo Alto’s elected officials, who are now positioning themselves to enter the airportmanagement business. The airport has been managed by Santa Clara County since 1967 under a lease that will expire in 2017. County officials have indicated that they do not in-
tend to extend the lease or make any major investments in the aging facility. This means that at some point between 2012 and 2017 Palo Alto will have to assume the risks and reap the rewards of airport management — whether the city wants to or not because of FAA regulations. This week, the council’s Finance Committee began preparing for this takeover when it discussed an independent business analysis for the airport. The study, by the Kentuckybased firm R. A. Wiedemann & Associates, found that the city could generate a hefty profit by either managing the airport in-house or by hiring a private company to manage it on its behalf. The committee unanimously agreed that the city should take the airport over from the county as soon as possible, rather than wait until 2017. Committee members set the wheels in motion by directing staff to come back in December with a
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Upfront 450 CAMBRIDGE AVE, PALO ALTO, CA 94306 (650) 326-8210 PUBLISHER William S. Johnson EDITORIAL Jay Thorwaldson, Editor Jocelyn Dong, Managing Editor Carol Blitzer, Associate Editor Keith Peters, Sports Editor Tyler Hanley, Express™ 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 Sally Schilling, Sarah Trauben, Georgia Wells, 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.
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EXPRESS, ONLINE AND VIDEO SERVICES Rachel Palmer, Online Operations Coordinator Rachel Hatch, Multimedia Product Manager 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 MEDIA 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 Media, 450 Cambridge Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306, (650) 3268210. 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 ©2010 by Embarcadero Media. 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
Commitment To Excellence
We’re chugging up this hill and the hill seems to be getting steeper. — Superintendent Kevin Skelly on rising enrollment in the Palo Alto Unified School District. See story on page 16.
Around Town TRANSITIONS ... Gary Baum’s colorful six-year tenure as Palo Alto’s city attorney will come to an end this month, when Baum leaves his office on the seventh floor of City Hall to pursue a career in private practice. Since taking over the city’s top attorney job in July 2004 he’s helped shepherd the City Council through a litany of thorny subjects, from high-speed rail and Stanford Hospital’s massive expansion to municipal elections and the city’s green-building code. Though Baum occasionally weathered public criticism from council members, he will be showered with honors Monday night, when the council passes a special resolution commending him for his service. The resolution thanks Baum for his “integrity, honesty and professionalism,” his “commitment to mentoring and supporting others,” and his “compassion and dedication to service,” which include his pro bono work on behalf of victims of domestic violence. For this work, Baum received a Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award in 2007 and an Access to Justice Award in 2009. The council is also scheduled to meet Tuesday behind closed doors to consider its recruitment process for the next city attorney. Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin will serve as the interim city attorney until Baum’s permanent replacement is selected. Baum isn’t the only council-appointed officer to depart from City Hall this month, though he is the only one who can’t blame a baby for his absence. City Auditor Lynda Brouchoud took off for maternity leave earlier this month, prompting the council to appoint Michael Edmonds as her temporary replacement. City Manager James Keene, meanwhile, missed the council and the Finance Committee meetings this week because he’s awaiting the birth of his first grandchild. TRAFFIC MESS ... California officials routinely praise the voterapproved high-speed rail project as a panacea to both the state’s unemployment rate and its transportation woes. Members of the California High-Speed Rail Authority say the system is necessary to get people out of their cars and reduce future highway congestion. But in Palo
Alto, where the rail proposal is about as popular as rush-hour traffic, officials fear high-speed rail would have the exact opposite effect, particularly if the authority chooses to build a rail station in the city. The City Council’s High-Speed Rail Committee voted unanimously Thursday morning to oppose a local rail station, largely because of traffic impacts. Mayor Pat Burt noted that the city’s traffic is already slated to increase because of Stanford Hospital’s massive expansion project. Bringing in a high-speed-rail station, which authority estimates would attract about 15,600 daily riders, would add more cars to local streets, he said. This would directly conflict with the city’s long-term goal of reducing automobile intensity, he said. Councilwoman Gail Price also said she doesn’t think Palo Alto has the “infrastructure capacity” on its road system to accommodate a high-speed-rail station. “I don’t think a station location here makes sense,” she said. The full council is scheduled to discuss the topic Monday night. TOP OF THE CLASS ... Palo Alto’s library system is in the midst of a dramatic metamorphosis, with three local libraries (Main, Mitchell Park and Downtown) preparing for major reconstruction, and a fourth (College Terrace) getting ready to open its doors after renovations. But while city officials often point to the libraries’ bright future, the present system appears to be working just fine. This week, Library Director Diane Jennings announced that the city’s library system won the “Star Library” designation from the Library Journal for the second year in a row. The award is based on library visits, items that are checked out, attendance at library programs and computer use. “This Star rating reflects many factors that make this library one that people want to and do use — good collections that meet people’s needs, quality programs, accessible hours and services, and great customer service,” Jennings said in a statement. “Congratulations to the hardworking library staff who play an important part in earning us this rating.” N
Three vie for two seats on East Palo Alto City Council Second-time candidate Doug Fort is taking on incumbents Ruben Abrica and David Woods by Jocelyn Dong
wo years ago, nine candidates vied for three seats on the East Palo Alto City Council in the November election. Since then, the recession and other challenges have left the city of 33,900 in a state of limbo. The council race this year is quieter than in 2008, with just three candidates contending for two open slots. Two are incumbents, current Mayor David Woods and Ruben Abrica. The other is second-time candidate Doug Fort, who placed fourth in 2008. Issues the new council will confront include personnel and financial challenges, with some bright spots. Alvin James, the cityâ€™s at-times embattled city manager, retired earlier this year. A recent search for a new city manager has fizzled, sending the council back to the drawing board, one official said. Police Chief Ron Davis, who has been well-respected in the community, made his career aspirations known this year by interviewing (and being selected as a finalist) for the police-chief posts in Seattle and New Orleans. The city continues to struggle financially, having seen home values and property taxes plummet along with those of many other California cities due to the Great Recession. But there are, and have been, bright spots. After three decades without a full-service supermarket, Mi Pueblo opened a 35,000-square-foot store in November 2009. A drawn-out legal war over the cityâ€™s Rent Stabilization Ordinance with the cityâ€™s largest landlord, Page Mill Properties, has finally come to a close following Page Millâ€™s financial implosion and subsequent acquisition by Wells Fargo. And officials, ever hopeful for an economic boon, continue to work at turning a former industrial area in the northeastern corner of the city into a revitalized business district. The five-member council also includes current Vice Mayor Carlos Romero and Laura Ramirez, both of whom were newly elected in 2008, and longtime councilman A. Peter Evans.
Doug Fort Fort is best known as the founder of the anti-violence organization â€œFor Youth By Youth.â€? Currently studying for a law degree from the Silicon Valley Law School, he holds a bachelorâ€™s degree in criminal justice. Fort feels strongly that the city should reform its system of govDoug Fort ernance by adding more commissions to allow more residents to participate in municipal decision-making. â€œWe have very intelligent people in the city, but they donâ€™t have a place to engage,â€? Fort said. He favors launching commissions that could address public safety, finance, immigration and environmental protection. (The city currently has boards or committees for planning, rent stabilization, senior, youth and transportation.) The reform would prevent City Council meetings from running so long and inefficiently, in part by curtailing the need for the council to conduct so many study sessions, Fort said. Plus, the council listens repeatedly to residents who feel they arenâ€™t getting answers to their concerns at any other level. â€œThereâ€™s nothing like your community talking to you â€” but first to the commissions,â€? said Fort, who said he watches council meetings on TV rather than regularly attending. Though Fort compliments Chief Davis on â€œdoing an excellent job,â€? he also calls Davis â€œan island.â€?
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â€œWe are a police state,â€? Fort said. â€œI see (police) strategies put out there that criminalize children of color. â€œThe â€˜overchargingâ€™ is what I have problems with,â€? he said, referring to charges being escalated â€” drug dealers charged with gang activity when theyâ€™re not gang members, for example. (Fort, for the record, said he sold drugs at one point.) Fort briefly served on the Ravenswood Business District advisory board but dropped out when his daughter was born prematurely. He was also on the community board that interviewed candidates for city manager. He is enthusiastic about the redevelopment district and favors hiring a city manager with depth of experience in that area. â€œBringing in jobs, shops â€” all these things. We need to go in that direction. We need that expertise to help us,â€? he said.
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David Woods David Woods was first elected to the council in 2002 and has served as mayor three times. He believes the strongest reason for voters to re-elect him is â€œmomentum.â€? â€œWeâ€™ve made good strides in the last six years. We can keep the ball rolling,â€? he said. â€œAt this juncture, experience is very imDavid Woods portant. ... We have relationships with (federal and other) agencies that have been able to get funding.â€? It takes time to learn the issues, and there are two members (Romero and Ramirez) who have served just two years, he said. â€œOne more new person will stall things,â€? he said. One of Woodsâ€™ concerns is the cityâ€™s fiscal health. â€œWe still lag behind per capita in tax,â€? he said. â€œThe biggest challenge in the next couple of years is the propertytax revenues. Our property values have plummeted.â€? Some properties have been reassessed at half of what they were previously, and 40 percent of the cityâ€™s general fund is derived from property taxes. Woods doesnâ€™t favor new taxes. He said he does want to start collecting fees that are currently waived for seniors and nonprofit organizations. Heâ€™d also like to recoup costs for services the city is providing for free or at almost no charge â€” such as police overtime expenses for staffing parades. â€œWeâ€™re not doing a good job of collecting whatâ€™s on the books now. Itâ€™s run on emotions,â€? he said. He compliments former City Manager James for keeping the city going â€œin the right directionâ€? but said he wants to see several departments in the city restructured. He defends how City Council meetings are run, despite some tumultuous exchanges. â€œThe end product is good. How we get there is just a little rough.â€?
Ruben Abrica Abrica considers himself something of an elder statesman of East Palo Alto, having served on the council when the city first incorporated in the 1980s and currently since 2004. He said he is most proud of the planning that he and other council members have accomplished. â€œAs a result of some good plan-
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by Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto police officer who secretly recorded a phone conversation between an East Palo Alto tenant activist and an official from Page Mill Properties in December 2008 and then released the transcript to Page Mill violated a department policy, a recently completed internal investigation found. The investigation was prompted by a March 2009 complaint from tenant activist Chris Lund, who has been one of Page Millâ€™s most vocal critics. The Palo Alto-based property manager bought more than 1,800 units in East Palo Alto in 2006 and 2007, but lost these units in August 2009 after defaulting on a $50 million loan. The investigation, which was conducted by retired police Capt. Brad Zook, found that a Palo Alto officer released the transcript of Lundâ€™s conversation with Russell Schaadt, Page Millâ€™s director of asset management, in violation of a department policy on confidential information. The summary of findings, which the Weekly obtained this week, states that the officer â€œshould not have released the telephone recordings.â€? The officer, who is not named in the summary, violated a policy regarding â€œunauthorized, intentional release of designated confidential information, materials, data, forms or reports.â€? The summary states that the â€œinvolved employees have received counseling and training regarding our policy for retaining and releasing evidence.â€? Police Chief Dennis Burns wouldnâ€™t say which officer violated the policy, but the transcript of the phone call has Agent April Wagnerâ€™s name written on top of it. Burns would not confirm or deny Wagnerâ€™s involvement in the pretext call, citing personnel laws. Wagner has since been promoted to sergeant. Palo Alto police recorded the phone call between Lund and Schaadt upon request from Page Mill officials. Page Mill had filed a claim against Lund, accusing him of trying to extort the company. Police
recorded the conversation as part of their investigation into the extortion claim. During the phone call, Schaadt repeatedly offered Lund $20,000 to halt his campaign against the company. He told Lund he would â€œjust as soon get you out of the pictureâ€? and offered him money. â€œI mean, you are continuing to disgrace me, you know, and our company, you know, with going around and posting these things,â€? Schaadt said, referring to fliers Lund had posted criticizing Page Mill. â€œBut that seems to be what it is about at this point and I would just as soon accommodate you in your request, get you out of the picture, and I want, you know, to move on.â€?
â€œI (would) just as soon give you the twenty grand,â€? Schaadt later added. Lund declined the offer, saying his opposition to Page Mill â€œis not about the moneyâ€? and â€œhas never been about a personal settlement.â€? He was cleared of all charges shortly after the phone call. Burns said that while itâ€™s typically illegal to record phone conversations without the consent of the parties, it is acceptable to do so during the course of a criminal investigation. The â€œpretext callâ€? was arranged because of Page Millâ€™s allegations against Lund. Burns said an officer released the recording to Page Mill with the understanding that the company would transcribe the phone conversation and facilitate the departmentâ€™s investigation against Lund. Police turned the recording over to Jim Shore, a former Santa Clara County deputy district attorney who served as Page Millâ€™s general counsel.
Shore then released the transcript to the Daily News, much to the surprise of Palo Alto police. â€œThey offered to transcribe the tape to facilitate the investigation and then went ahead and released it without our knowledge,â€? Burns said. â€œWe were not releasing it to Page Mill with the intent to have it released to the press. â€œIt was not the intent to release it to the press or to damage in any way the reputation of Mr. Lund,â€? he added. The transcript of the phone call was released last month by CalPERS, which lost $100 million by investing in Page Mill. The pension fund was ordered by a San Francisco Superior Court judge to release thousands of documents pertaining to its failed investment in Page Mill. The group First Amendment Coalition sued CalPERS after the pension fund refused to release the documents. In his complaint, Lund asked for the name of the Palo Alto officer who released the transcript to Page Mill. He also wrote that it is his understanding â€œthat such evidence, or in this case, lack thereof, generally remains under seal.â€? The pretext call wasnâ€™t the only case in which a member of the Palo Alto Police Department intervened on behalf of Page Mill. Lund also complained to the police about an incident on Jan. 29, 2009, when a man allegedly walked up to Lundâ€™s house with a camera and began taking pictures. The man refused to identify himself and fled the scene after Lund called East Palo Alto police. The man was later identified as Palo Alto police Lt. Tim Morgan, who moonlighted as Page Millâ€™s head of security. He retired from the Palo Alto department days after Lundâ€™s allegation became public. A transcript of the phone conversation between Lund and Schaadt can be viewed at www.paloalto online.com /mediarepor ts / 1287685522.pdf. N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
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ing conversations in the community about the large redevelopment project. He appointed a joint committee and a community group of advisers to gather input on what residents and business owners would like to see in that area of town. This time next year, he expects the city will have developed whatâ€™s known as a specific plan for the district. He agrees with Fortâ€™s idea to add more commissions but opposes adding them this year, given that each commission requires staff time. People arenâ€™t clamoring to serve on the existing boards anyway, he said. In regards to the Police Department, Abrica praises the recent decision to commission a $40,000 study
of violence with Measure C funds in order to develop a comprehensive plan for what the city can do to reduce crime. Demographic-based race relations are improving, Abrica said. The city is now nearly 60 percent Latino, and Abrica believes the transition of political power from the former AfricanAmerican council majority to a Latino majority has been â€œsuccessful.â€? â€œWeâ€™ve gotten into some fights, but ultimately you have to fight it out in public, and thatâ€™s how weâ€™ve done it,â€? he said. â€œSo Iâ€™d say weâ€™re in good shape.â€? N Weekly Managing Editor Jocelyn Dong can be e-mailed at jdong@ paweekly.com.
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ning over the last few years we were able to balance our budget, didnâ€™t lay anyone off, gave small cost-ofliving adjustments and maintained a small reserve,â€? he said in an interview with the Weekly. The council also created a capital improvement plan, and with federal stimulus funds streets are being repaired for the first time. â€œWeâ€™re starting to see the results of that,â€? he said. Ravenswood Business District planning is underway, and he takes credit as mayor in 2006 for start-
â€˜I (would) just as soon give you the twenty grand.â€™
â€”Russell Schaadt, director of asset management, Page Mill Properties
Upfront DEBORAHâ€™S PALM
a NEW non-profit Womenâ€™s Community Center in downtown Palo Alto presents a symposium on:
Becker, Schmidt seek new water board seat
Caring for Aging Parents
Longtime Los Altos City Council member and environmental lawyer vie to represent area by Nick Veronin alo Alto residents, along with voters from five other Peninsula cities, are being asked in the Nov. 2 election to choose between two men running for the newly created District 7 seat of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The two candidates are Lou Becker, a Los Altos City Council member, and Brian Schmidt, an environmental attorney. Bern Beecham, a former Palo Alto mayor, initially planned to run but changed his mind before the filing deadline. The new district, which comprises Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno and Los Gatos, was created after the Water board of directors approved a redistricting plan May 14. This is the first time county residents will vote on the District 7 seat. Previously, Palo Alto was a part of District 5, which was represented by Patrick Kwok of Cupertino. Though part of the water district, Palo Alto receives its water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir via the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The water district is responsible for oversight, construction and maintenance of various water-related structures, facilities, trails and other projects in the county. Board members are paid $260 for attending up to 10 district-related meetings. These can be advisory meetings, public meetings with district constituents, briefings with the districtâ€™s CEO and board of directors meetings. Directors also may be reimbursed for any expenses they incur in the execution of their duties.
Lou Becker, 76, has lived on the Peninsula since 1962. He has a masterâ€™s degree in civil engineering, and has worked his whole life as an engineer in one form or another, he said. He founded the company TIW Systems, which went through many name changes and is now a part of General Dynamics. Becker, whose council term ends in November, said his private-sector experience, along with his 12 years on the Los Altos City Council and his 10 years on the Santa Clara Valley Water Commission, which advises the water district, makes him the ideal candidate for the director of District 7. â€œIâ€™ve always been somewhat interested in water,â€? Becker said. He said he decided to run because he is â€œconcerned about the board. I feel that itâ€™s not functioning the way it should.â€? Becker said he feels that in the past individual members of the board have given preferential treatment to â€œpet projectsâ€? instead of focusing on their core mandates â€” to protect the districtâ€™s watersheds and deliver quality water in appropriate quantity to serve district constituents while keeping an eye on the bottom line. He is concerned with high employee salaries and benefits, as well as escalating water rates. If elected, Becker said, he would work to bring those core mandates back into focus.
Brian Schmidt, 43, has lived in the area for nearly 15 years. He studied and has taught environmental law at Stanford University, and is the â€œadvocateâ€? for Santa Clara County of the Palo Alto-based Committee for Green Foothills. Schmidt has served on the water districtâ€™s environmental advisory committee and the performance audit committee. If elected, the Mountain View resident said he would work to cut costs, make changes to the board of directorâ€™s operational structure and place a priority on mercury reduction in local waterways. To reduce expenses, Schmidt pointed to superfluous dredging of waterways and taking advantage of the poor economy to obtain lower bids from contractors as ways the district might save money. He also feels district directors are currently paid too much. While he would like to keep the per-diem Schmidt said he would be in favor of cutting the rate of compensation by half. â€œIf youâ€™re not doing a lot of work there is no reason you should be paid the whole amount,â€? he said. Schmidt said he would work to have public board meetings moved to evenings so citizens with day jobs can more easily attend. Currently, meetings are held every second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 9:30 a.m. N Mountain View Voice Staff Writer Nick Veronin can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
was to be housed in a large metal building near the cityâ€™s wastewater treatment plant on land dedicated for parkland once the landfill operation ends in the next year or so. The ESC proposal â€” significantly different than the present, partially below-ground-level plan for a composting operation â€” divided environmentalists and community members until it was voted down by the City Council. The department is currently in the middle of a heated dispute over the local landfill, which is scheduled to close in the next few years. A coalition of environmentalists is lobbying for the city to build a composting/waste-to-energy plant on the landfill site. Others argue that the landfill should be quickly filled and the site converted to parkland. Roberts is one of several department heads who have either retired or announced plans to retire in recent months. City Attorney Gary Baum will conclude his tenure at the end of this month, while Library Director Diane Jennings said she would retire later this year. Fire Chief Nick Marinaro retired this summer. Roberts is also one of several Palo Alto department heads whose
contracts include a six-month severance provision. Lalo Perez, director of the Administrative Services Department, also has such a provision in his employment agreement. Keene, who took over as city manager in 2008 and who has the authority to hire and fire department heads, has been designating all his new executive-team hires as â€œat willâ€? employees. Keene said in his statement that he plans to name an interim public works director within two weeks. He also said Roberts had not filed a claim against the city, as had been erroneously reported by the Daily Post. Robertsâ€™ 2009 salary was $179,902, city records show. His severance pay, Keene said in a statement, â€œis similar to the standard built into contracts for other Department Directors on the Cityâ€™s Executive Leadership Team.â€? â€œThe administrative leave approved allows Glenn to retire, effective December 30, but also permits me to begin to plan the transition in the Department immediately,â€? Keene said. N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
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â€œsignificant exposure to litigation.â€? Robertsâ€™ forced departure ends what has been a long and at times tumultuous career at the helm of one of the cityâ€™s most complex and controversial departments. Last fall, Roberts issued a public apology after his staff authorized the felling of 63 holly oaks on California Avenue before the public-notice period concluded. Roberts vowed to do a better job reaching out to the public during future tree-removal operations. In July, Roberts again found himself in the hot seat after Public Works officials discovered a $6.7 million deficit in the cityâ€™s Refuse Fund â€” after Robertsâ€™ department listed a reserve of more than $6 million but neglected to tell the council that under state regulations it had to be kept for closure of the landfill. The council last month approved rate increases and cost-cutting measures at the cityâ€™s landfill to help close the budget gap. Several years ago, Roberts strongly advocated creating a major recycling operation known as the â€œEnvironmental Services Center,â€? that
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Stress-busting (continued from page 3)
Guidance Counselor Susan Shultz said. Shultz said when the school’s “stressed-out students committee” was unsuccessful in its campaign for pre-break finals calendar several years ago, it began focusing on “things we could do on our own campus for our kids” — and McEvoy supported those efforts. This fall, Paly’s morning start time was moved from 7:50 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Under a new “block schedule,” students have no more than three or four classes per day — except on Mondays
when all seven periods meet, as was traditional in past years. A mandatory “tutorial” period every Thursday encourages students — after check-in with their sixthperiod teacher — to scatter around the campus to seek assistance from teachers or simply study in the classrooms of their choice. All changes at Paly are being tested under a one-year pilot. Student, parent and teacher feedback will be solicited before a second-semester evaluation of the initiatives, Shultz said. The concept behind the tutorial is to give students an opportunity within the regular school day to gain extra access to teachers in whatever way they feel is necessary, Paly Principal Phil Winston said.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING of the City of Palo Alto Historic Resources Board Please be advised the Historic Resources Board shall conduct a meeting at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 in the Civic Center, Council Chambers, 1st Floor, 250 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, California. Any interested persons may appear and be heard on these items. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: September 15, 2010; October 6, 2010 OTHER BUSINESS 1. Discuss items for the joint study session with Council Members on December 13, 2010. Questions. If interested parties have any questions regarding the above applications, please contact the Planning Division at (650) 329-2441. The ﬁles relating to these items are available for inspection weekdays between the hours of 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and staff reports will be available for inspection at 2:00 PM the Friday preceding the hearing. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Steven Turner, Advance Planning Manager
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“If a student goes to an English teacher’s classroom but does math homework there, I find that acceptable,” Winston said. “It means they’re comfortable with that teacher, which draws them in. “When we talk about the socialemotional needs of students, there are simple things we can do to increase people’s connectedness, such as offering them the ability to go to any teacher they choose. “These kinds of conversations build relationships, and make students more connected and comfortable at school.” If a student wants to check in to P.E. and shoot baskets for 20 minutes, “I want them to have that flexibility. Or maybe they just want to read a book in the quad,” Winston said. “It’s about meeting them where they are.” Winston said the new 8:15 start time has been “enormously beneficial.” “Students come in vibrant, awake and ready. There’s a different level of energy with just 25 extra minutes of sleep.” Start time at Gunn this fall is 7:55 a.m. Gunn students have had a weekly tutorial period for at least a decade thanks to former Principal Noreen Likins, who instituted the practice. “Teachers and students utilize it in a variety of ways: setting up student-teacher meetings; classwork, homework and/or project help, review assignments, test review, make-up tests and/or test re-take,” Katya Villalobos, Gunn’s new principal, said. “It is an invaluable time built into the school day for students to access a valuable resource — their teachers,” she said. At last weekend’s Stanford conference on teen well-being, the hot topics were block scheduling, later school start times and pre-break finals, according to Gunn Assistant Principal Tom Jacoubowsky, who accompanied the Gunn team. The conference was convened by the Stanford-based organization Challenge Success, founded by Senior Lecturer Denise Pope, psychologist Madeline Levine and education consultant Jim Lobdell. Gunn already runs on what Jacoubowsky called a “modified block schedule,” in which students have no more than five or six class periods in a day. The sixth and seventh period rotate in and out on alternate days. Villalobos said Gunn’s “big push” in the area of student social-emotional health this fall is adoption of the “Developmental Assets” approach, developed by the Minneapolis-based Search Institute and promoted locally by Project Cornerstone of San Jose. The developmental assets are “the positive relationships, opportunities, values and skills that young people need to grow up caring and responsible,” Project Cornerstone says. Students across the Palo Alto school district took a baseline survey on Developmental Assets this month. The results, which will be available in February, “will provide a road map of where our kids are and how we can build on those strengths,” Villalobos said. N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
News Digest No animals for three years, plea bargain says Ana Ramos and Jose Rubio won’t be able to keep any animals in their trailer home in Palo Alto for three years, according to a plea-bargain agreement reached this week. The couple was arrested and charged with keeping more than 40 dogs and cats in their trailer. The charges were dropped in a plea bargain reached on Tuesday . The terms of the plea bargain forbid the couple from adopting animals during a three-year probation period, according to Assistant City Attorney Don Larkin. “Ramos and Rubio pled no contest to animal cruelty, and in exchange were given credit for time served as well as three years of probation during which time they cannot adopt, own or have any contact with animals,” Larkin said. Police officers first learned of the hoarding on May 28, when they arrived at the Buena Vista mobile home park on El Camino Real in response to a minor property-damage report. They noticed more than three dogs, a violation of the city’s Municipal Code, housed in unhygienic conditions. In response, they sent for animal-control officers who discovered 25 dogs and 17 cats in varying health conditions. Six cats were euthanized but the others are in shelters and up for adoption. Ramos and Rubio were charged with four code violations as well as three misdemeanor counts. If convicted, they would have been subject to a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a fine of $1,000 dollars per violation. “We’re happy that we were able to reach a plea bargain, and are hopeful that Miss Ramos and Mr. Rubio will learn from the events and take better care of animals in the future, should they choose to have them,” Larkin said. He said the terms of plea-bargain will be available to lawenforcement officials statewide. N — Sarah Trauben
‘Misconduct’ prosecutor Liroff defends his record Lane Liroff, a Santa Clara County deputy district attorney from Palo Alto who was listed in a “prosecutorial misconduct” report, Wednesday sharply defended his record. Liroff is among six county prosecutors listed as possibly committing misconduct during a trial, according to a report by the Northern California Innocence Project at the Santa Clara University. Other deputy district attorneys listed include Troy Benson, James Demertzis, Benjamin Field, Jaime Stringfield and Brian Welch. But a bar association official cautioned that not all “misconduct” listings are the fault of the prosecutor, such as when police may have withheld information. Liroff’s reported error in a 1996 first-degree murder trial led to the conviction being tossed out in 2007 for “failure to disclose exculpatory evidence.” Liroff ran for a judgeship in 2008 but lost in a run-off election with San Jose attorney Diane Ritchie. He has no public record of discipline or administrative actions, according to the bar association. Liroff responded to the Weekly by e-mail on Wednesday. The court did not make a finding of “prosecutorial misconduct,” he said. “Indeed, there is no such finding in the case. This case has a convoluted fact pattern. “The claim advanced in the law review article wrongly oversimplifies and makes sensational something to serve the authors’ purpose. A fair reading of the case demonstrates that their claim is not justified,” he said. The “Misconduct Study” looked at 4,000 state and federal appellate rulings regarding cases of prosecutorial misconduct between 1997 and 2009. Six hundred prosecutors were found to have committed acts of misconduct that ranged from technical errors to deception and hiding evidence. For the full story, visit www.paloaltoonline.com. N — Sue Dremann
Applicants sought for open-space board vacancy Applications are being accepted for the vacant Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board position caused by the death of longtime board member Mary Davey Oct. 2. The deadline to apply is Nov. 8. Davey occupied the Ward 2 seat on the seven-member board, representing part of Palo Alto and all or part of Stanford, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and a small portion of Santa Cruz County. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, a registered voter and reside within Ward 2, according to an announcement on the district’s website, www.openspace.org. The board is scheduled to appoint a replacement by Nov. 29. There will actually be two openings for the Ward 2 seat: one for the one month remaining of Davey’s existing term, ending on Jan. 2, 2011, and the second for a term beginning Jan. 3, 2011, and ending with the district’s next general board election in November 2012. The board will decide in January whether to appoint a director or call a special election, according to Michelle Radcliff of the district staff. Applications are available online or at the district offices at 330 Distel Circle, Los Altos. N — Palo Alto Weekly staff LET’S DISCUSS: Read the latest local news headlines and talk about the issues at Town Square at www.PaloAltoOnline.com
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ments, has requirements prohibiting agencies from closing airports even if they’re losing money. In Chicago, officials decided to close its Meigs Field airport without properly notifying the FAA, and ended up spending $1.6 million on fines and legal costs. Since then, the fine for closing an airport without notifying the FAA has been raised from $1,000 per day to $10,000 per day, according to Wiedemann’s report. Furthermore, the process of converting airport land to other uses requires FAA approval, which could take years, if not decades.
But the facility doesn’t have to be a financial drain, Wiedemann told the committee. The Palo Alto Airport has many upsides, he said. Its tie-down rates, which range from $129.50 to $188.50 a month, are among the highest in the state and the country. The Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose charges between $120.50 and $157, while the San Carlos Airport charges $118. “It’s hard to screw this airport up,” Wiedemann told the Finance Committee Tuesday. “It’s a very successful cash-cow airport that has a lot of principles working for it. On paper, and in every other kind of way, it makes the grade of being a good investment.” The investment, however, isn’t
L U C I L E PA C K A R D
without risks. Despite its high level of activity, Palo Alto Airport has been losing money for years, county documents show. According to a business plan the county approved in 2006, the county’s investment in the airport has exceeded airport revenues by $808,000 in the first 39 years of the lease. The business calls its existing arrangement with the city “awkward and untenable for the County.” This is largely because the county doesn’t have control over land-use decisions at the Palo Alto Airport like it does at the Reid-Hillview and the South County airports. The city’s land-use plans, which bar intensification of development in the Baylands, make it all but impossible for the county to add hangars or
C H I L D R E N ’ S H O S P I TA L
pursue any other revenue-creating capital projects. “The airport faces a structural financial problem in that operating costs are rising faster than revenue and additional capital investments in the airport infrastructure will be required, yet future opportunities to generate additional revenue will be extremely limited,” the business plan states. Wiedemann said about 90 percent of general-aviation airports don’t make money, but argued that Palo Alto Airport could be an exception because of its heavy activity. Despite its historic losses, the airport has been making a small profit in recent years. In fiscal year 2008, Palo Alto Airport’s operating revenues exceeded its operating expenses by $119,653, according to county data. “A hundred acres is a postage stamp of an airport, but you have 400 to 500 airplanes on it,” Wiedemann said. “That’s highly unusual. A lot of airports are happy with 50 airplanes.” Wiedemann’s report estimates
that if the city were to take over the airport by 2012 and manage it in-house, it could make a cumulative profit of $13.5 million by 2037. If a third party manages Palo Alto Aiport, the profit could be $16.2 million by 2037 because of greater efficiency in controlling costs. Councilman Larry Klein pointed out at Tuesday’s meeting that the council really has only two options: taking over the airport in 2017 or to doing it sooner. Given these options, the committee agreed that sooner is better. The committee unanimously directed staff to come back with a time line and a list of staff resources that would need to be expended. David Creemer, chair of the Joint Community Relations Committee for the Palo Alto Airport, said his committee and other members of the Palo Alto’s vocal airport community would be happy to help city leaders as they transition into airport management, particularly if this means improving the local facility. “We are extremely enthusiastic to help this process one way or another,” Creemer said. N
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Your Child’s Health University
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.
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital offers classes and seminars designed to foster good health and enhance the lives of parents and children.
Palo Alto committee blasts rail station proposal
ALL ABOUT PREGNANCY
Palo Alto’s chances of hosting a high-speed-rail station suffered a heavy blow Thursday morning (Oct. 21), when a City Council committee unanimously agreed to oppose a local station. (Posted Oct. 21 at 9:52 a.m.)
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Menlo Park man gets nine months for robbery A Menlo Park man received a sentence of nine months in San Mateo County jail Monday (Oct. 18) after pleading no contest to robbery charges in connection with a Redwood City incident involving the forcible taking of a gold chain and the intervention of a Good Samaritan (the prosecutors’ term), who happened to be a witness. (Posted Oct. 21 at 8:55 a.m.)
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FETAL AND MATERNAL HEALTH As part of the Packard Children’s Anniversary Lecture Series please join us for tea and a special presentation by Dr. Susan Hintz, Medical Director, Packard Center for Fetal and Maternal Health, and learn more about this unique oﬀering of comprehensive services and support for complex fetal patients, expectant mothers and families. To reserve a space for this free lecture, please visit our online calendar. - Sunday, November 14: 3:00 pm
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Call (650) 723-4600 or visit www.calendar.lpch.org to register or obtain more information on the times, locations and fees for these and other courses.
Police arrest man for occupied-home burglary Jose Luis Fernandez, a suspect in an Oct. 8 residential burglary in the 1100 block of Hamilton Avenue, was arrested Wednesday (Oct. 20), Palo Alto police announced. The Oct. 8 burglary took place at 6 a.m. while the home’s occupants slept. The suspect entered via a window and stole several items as well as the family vehicle, which was later recovered in Menlo Park. (Posted Oct. 20 at 5:07 p.m.)
Teen’s joyride in Mountain View ends in arrest A 14-year-old Redwood City boy was arrested on suspicion of recklessly evading police Saturday night (Oct. 16). A police officer attempted to pull over a black Ford Ranger, but the driver fled at high speed, blowing through stop signs and making erratic turns and lane changes, police said. (Posted Oct. 20 at 8:47 a.m.)
Two judges named to Santa Clara County court Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed two Santa Clara County Superior Court judges Monday (Oct. 18): Deputy District Attorney Javier Alcala, 57, of Mountain View, and Court Commissioner Deborah Ryan, 57, of San Jose. (Posted Oct. 19 at 9:23 a.m.)
Secretary Geithner vows not to devalue dollar America must invest in infrastructure and education to spur economic recovery, but it will not devalue its currency to gain a competitive advantage over other nations, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told an audience in Palo Alto Monday afternoon (Oct. 18). (Posted Oct. 18 at 10:09 p.m.)
L U C I L E PA C K A R D
Recendes admits sex assault of woman, 94
C H I L D R E N’S
Roberto Recendes has pleaded guilty to the 2002 rape and beating of a 94-year-old woman at Palo Alto Commons, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. He faces a 17-year sentence under a plea-bargain. (Posted Oct. 18 at 2:05 p.m.)
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Palo Alto government action this week
City Council (Oct. 18)
Golf course maintenance: The council heard a presentation on a staff proposal to outsource maintenance of the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course. The council is scheduled to approve the proposed contract at a later meeting. Action: None Grants: The council adopted a Community Development Block Grant Citizen Participation Plan. Yes: Unanimous Glenn Roberts: The council approved in closed session a settlement with Public Works Director Glenn Roberts, who will retire at the end of this year and receive six months of severance pay.
Finance Committee (Oct. 19)
Airport: The committee accepted a recently completed business plan for the Palo Alto Airport and directed staff to create a plan for the city’s takeover of airport management from Santa Clara County. Yes: Unanimous Landfill: The committee approved a staff proposal to fill the city’s landfill as soon as possible and cap it within the next year or so. Yes: Unanimous
Planning & Transportation Commission (Oct. 20) Housing Element: The commission continued its discussion of the Housing Element, which identifies the city’s housing needs and possible ways to meet these needs. The discussion is part of the city’s effort to upgrade its Comprehensive Plan. Action: None
High-Speed Rail Committee (Oct. 21)
Station: The committee passed a resolution recommending that the council oppose the construction of a high-speed rail station in Palo Alto. Yes: Unanimous
Architectural Review Board (Oct. 21)
Stanford Hospital: The board held a preliminary review for the landscape design, circulations and revisions at Building 1 in the Stanford University School of Medicine. The project is part of Stanford University Medical Center Facilities Renewal and Replacement Project. Action: None
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A preview of Palo Alto government meetings next week
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CITY COUNCIL ... The council plans to approve resolutions of appreciation for City Attorney Gary Baum and Library Director Diane Jennings, both of whom are scheduled to retire. The council will also hold a study session on high-speed rail; consider a contract for hourly SEIU employees; and consider an EIR for 405 Lincoln Ave., a proposal to demolish and replace a residence in the Professorville neighborhood. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). BOARD OF EDUCATION ... The board will discuss proposed academic calendars for 2011-12 and 2012-13, with a final vote scheduled for Nov. 9. Board members also will hear a summary of the state budget outlook and a proposal for 2011 summer school. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, in the board room of school district headquarters (25 Churchill Ave.). CITY COUNCIL ... The council plans to meet in closed session to discuss the recruitment process for selecting the next city attorney. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION ... The commission plans to discuss the El Camino Park Reservoir Project; prepare for its upcoming joint meeting with the City Council; and plan for a special meeting to discuss the capital-improvement needs in local parks and recreation facilities. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). CITY-SCHOOL LIAISON COMMITTEE ... The committee plans to discuss recent City Council and school board meetings, school transportation and teen mental health. The meeting will begin at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). POLICY AND SERVICES COMMITTEE ... The committee plans to meet at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). PLANNING AND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION ... The commission plans to discuss the California Avenue/Fry’s Area Concept Plan, which evaluates various land-use scenarios for the area around California Avenue. The commission will also review a feasibility study for Highway 101 Pedestrian/ Bicycle Bridge near Adobe Creek and San Antonio Avenue. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). LIBRARY ADVISORY COMMISSION ... The commission plans to review programs for Mitchell Park and Main libraries; consider shelving capacity at these two libraries; and make a recommendation on the location of the Guy Miller Archives of the Palo Alto Historical Association. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.).
*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ"VÌLiÀÊÓÓ]ÊÓä£äÊU Page 11
A weekly compendium of vital statistics
Palo Alto Oct. 12-18 Violence related Assault w/a deadly weapon . . . . . . . . . .1 Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Child abuse. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Domestic violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Theft related Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Identity theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Vehicle related Abandoned auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Auto recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Misc. traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Miscellaneous Disturbance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Disturbing phone calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Located missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Other/misc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Outside assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Psychiatric hold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Sex registrant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Threats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Warrant arrest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Lewd/lascivious . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Other/misc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Psychiatric hold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Suspicious circumstances . . . . . . . . . . .3 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Warrant/other agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Suspended license . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Theft from auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Vehicle accident/major injury . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle accident/minor injury . . . . . . . . .7 Vehicle accident/property damage. . . . .8 Vehicle tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Alcohol or drug related Drunk in public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Miscellaneous Defrauding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Disturbance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Disturbing phone calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Indecent exposure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Violence related Robbery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Theft related Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Residential burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle related Auto recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Driving without license . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Failure to yield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Suspended license . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Vehicle accident/minor injury . . . . . . . . .2 Vehicle accident/property damage. . . . .3 Alcohol or drug related Drunk in public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Atherton Oct. 12-18 Violence related Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Shots fired . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Theft related Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle related Abandoned auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Parking/driving violation . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Suspicious vehicle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Vehicle accident/major injury . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle accident/minor injury . . . . . . . . .2 Vehicle accident/prop. damage . . . . . . .3 Vehicle code violation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Alcohol or drug related Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Miscellaneous Animal call. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Citizen assist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Disturbance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Fire call . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Hang up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Hazard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Juvenile problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Medical aid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Meet citizen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Outside assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Perimeter check . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Suspicious circumstance . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Suspicious person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Town ordinance violation . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Welfare check . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Wire down. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
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Deaths Leslie Hyman
Leslie Hyman, 58, a longtime Palo Alto community member, died of breast cancer Oct. 5. She was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Rome, Italy. She attended Tufts University where she got a bachelorâ€™s degree in early-childhood education. She received her masterâ€™s degree in education from Harvard University. She then went to the University of Southern California, where she got a Ph.D. in clinical psychology specializing in learning disabilities. She did her postdoctoral internship at Stanfordâ€™s Children Health Council. For the past 26 years she had a private practice in Palo Alto. Her focus was psychological evaluations and counseling for children and adults. She was a resident of Half Moon Bay.
She is survived by her husband of 35 years Steven; sons David and Daniel; her mother, Dr. Selma Minet; and her three sisters, Alison Young, Pamela Lucid and Cindy Minet. There will be a â€œcelebration of lifeâ€? memorial Sat., Oct. 23, at 11 a.m. on the bluffs overlooking the ocean at the end of Redondo Beach Road in Half Moon Bay. Following the service will be a reception at 2120 Saint Andrews Road in Half Moon Bay.
Charles Mitchell Charles Sidney Mitchell, 70, a longtime Palo Alto resident, died Oct. 4. His grandfather was John Pearce Mitchell, for whom Mitchell Park is named. A fifth-generation native Palo Altan, he earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford
University in 1962. He married Elizabeth Robinson Mitchell in 2001 and together they had three children Charles Sidney Mitchell II (6), Katherine Digges Mitchell (5) and William Christophe Mitchell (3). He was a serious-minded engineer with a gentle, wry humor and insatiable curiosity, loved ones said. He is also survived by two siblings, James E. Mitchell and Susan Miles. A memorial service will be held at Stanford Memorial Church, with reception to follow at the Mitchell residence in Portola Valley, on a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to the Jean B. Mitchell Grandchildrenâ€™s Trust, an educational fund to benefit the Mitchell children, in care of Atherton Lane Advisors.
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-52)%, . 4%3,%2 Muriel N. Tesler passed away in Palo Alto on October 16, 2010 at age 93 of natural causes. Beloved wife of the late Isidore Tesler, M.D. for 38 years; loving mother of Chuck (Debbie), Larry (Colleen) and Alan (Michele); adoring grandmother of Lisa, Glenn, Laura, Scott, Julie and Zach. She will be fondly remembered for her quick wit and devotion to family. Muriel was born in the Bronx in 1917, the only child of Ellis and Pauline (Friedlander) Krechmer. During high school, in the midst of the Great Depression, she traveled to Manhattan every evening to work at a department store. At age 15, she and Isie met. They married six years later upon his graduation from medical school. While raising their children, Muriel assisted Isie in his medical practice. In 1962, Muriel and Isie moved to North Hollywood, California and later to Encino. After the loss of her husband in 1976, she volunteered at the Jewish Home for the Aging of Greater Los Angeles, in Reseda, California. She became a resident of Menlo Park in 1995 and of Palo Alto in 2000. On October 18, Muriel was laid to rest alongside Isie. In lieu of ďŹ‚owers, the family suggests donations to Stanford Hospital and Clinics. SINAI MEMORIAL CHAPEL PA I D
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Lou Becker for water district board Two strong candidates surface for the usually low-profile Santa Clara Valley Water District wo solid candidates, longtime Los Altos Town Council member Lou Becker and environmentalist Brian Schmidt, are vying for one open seat on the obscure but vitally important Santa Clara Valley Water District board. The sprawling district bears responsibility for water supplies, watersheds and flood protection in Santa Clara County. For the Palo Alto and North County areas, the district is best known for its work in flood control, especially its funding of preliminary studies relating to long-term flood prevention for the volatile San Francisquito Creek. Countywide the district’s profile has risen due to county Grand Jury reports that have been harshly critical of its operations and expenditures. The race has been among the most civil of this political season, with each acknowledging the other’s abilities and experience. In our opinion either would do a fine job. Schmidt is an environmental lawyer who has written a handbook on the Endangered Species Act, and has taught environmental law at Stanford University. He currently works for the Palo Alto-based Committee for Green Foothills (CGF) as its Santa Clara County “advocate”— essentially an environmental lobbyist. Water is a special interest of his, and for six years he has served on the water district’s environmental advisory board. If elected, he said he would resign from the advisory group but continue work with CGF, recusing himself from votes when there is a potential conflict of interest. Becker, in addition to serving 12 years on the Los Altos Town Council, holds a masters degree in civil engineering and spent 40 years in that profession, including starting his own engineering firm. For 10 years he has served on the Santa Clara County Water Commission, an advisory group to the water district. Both candidates vow to increase the district’s “transparency” and examine its staffing levels, now at about 700 persons. Our preference for Becker stems from his focus on the need to reform the way the board operates, including narrowing its work to its core mission. He is appropriately critical of the current board for attempting to gerrymander the voting districts and for not being more restrained in spending practices. Schmidt shares these views, but is more interested in the how the district can develop stronger environmental protections for the watershed and water quality. We believe Schmidt will continue to be effective before the water board on environmental issues as the CGF advocate, while Becker’s engineering, financial and management experience will make him the most effective member of the water board. The water district needs a clear focus, and we believe Becker is the best bet to help provide that.
Elect Abrica, Woods Challenger Doug Fort does good work in community, but doesn’t match the experience and leadership of the incumbents wo veteran East Palo Alto City Council members are being challenged by a street smart community activist known for his work in support of kids and against violence and drug dealing. Doug Fort is challenging current Mayor David Woods and former Mayor Ruben Abrica for two open council seats. Fort has been an important positive force, especially by intervening to prevent or stop violence when teens in different neighborhoods have turned against each other, usually related to drugs. He was the founder “For Youth by Youth” and continues to actively work to support youth in East Palo Alto. Woods has served three times as mayor since he was elected in 2002 and Abrica is in his second time around on the council, having served first in the 1980s and being elected again in 2004. Both have worked hard to unite the disparate constituencies in the community at a time of great change and hope for East Palo Alto. They each emphasize the importance and value of continuity to the workings of the council, and their desire to continue with the progress underway to solidify the tax base, strengthen community policing, and plan for future successful commercial development. If there were a third seat available, we would have no hesitation recommending Doug Fort, as we did two years ago when he ran unsuccessfully. But Ruben Abrica and David Woods have been good and thoughtful leaders and deserve another term.
Spectrum Editorials, letters and opinions
Yes on E Editor, Foothill and De Anza community colleges are critical partners in supporting the Silicon Valley economy through their specialized job-training programs. As a member of the NOVA Workforce Board for ten years, I am familiar with the ability of the colleges to work with local businesses to design and deliver training tailored to local needs. The community college budget crisis puts these efforts at risk. The colleges must first strive to protect their role in providing a great education for the 2/3 of college students in California who attend community colleges. This drains time and resources from their training role at exactly the time when more students want to or have to improve their skills through specialized training programs. Voting yes on Measure E provides a double bonus. It helps minimize the cutbacks in education to the growing number of community college students, which is the state’s lowest-cost college education. And Measure E will support our economy at a time of great need by providing resources to maintain and expand critical job training. Stephen Levy Director Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy
Yes on R Editor, There is an old adage in law: When you are wrong on the facts, insult your opponent. Sadly, insults have been the favored approach by the opponents and by the Weekly in opposing Measure R. The opponents claim Measure R is a “Power Grab.” This is not true. The opponents know there is language in the existing labor agreement that preserves existing emergency shift staffing levels. Measure R transfers staffing-level decisions to the electorate and away from the firefighters! “Power Grab?” Nonsense. And this is just one obfuscation. The opponents claim that the firefighters’ station-closure concerns are “insulting and disingenuous.” Yet, it is indisputable that the city’s representatives have repeatedly told the firefighters that they want to reduce emergency-response staffing levels beyond the minimum current levels that have existed for well over a decade. Fire Department overall staffing has already been reduced by more than 20 percent during the last decade. It is fact, not fiction, that if additional emergency medical and firesuppression staffing is implemented that a fire station in Palo Alto will have to be closed. Why in Palo Alto and not at Stanford? The two sta-
tions at Stanford could not be closed without breaching the agreement at Stanford. Yet 48 percent of the $26 million Fire Department budget is paid for by outside sources, with 33 percent of the budget paid for by Stanford. The opponents claim that the firefighters are “greedy.” The opponents are again misinformed. This year the firefighters have offered to give back their 4 percent salary increase plus a 1 percent retirement contribution with NO salary increases for fiscal years 2010-11 and 2011-12. The savings to the city from the firefighters’ offer totals $1.4 million. The city’s representatives rejected the firefighters’ offer. It is long past time for Measure R to be considered on its own merits and not with name-calling and insults. Measure R removes emergency medical and fire-suppression response staffing levels from the collective bargaining process and provides the residents with the ultimate authority to approve reductions in emergency-response staffing levels. Measure R should be approved. Alan C. Davis St. Michael Drive Palo Alto
For healthy kids Editor, As a supervisor of Santa Clara County, a registered nurse, a mother and grandmother, I strongly support Measure A. Our community has already benefited a great deal from the Healthy Kids programs. Not only has Healthy Kids helped more than 37,000 children receive health insurance over the last nine years, it brings $24 million additional state and federal funds and $6 million to $7 million in local school funding to our county each year. Access to preventive care has kept our children healthier and reduced the amount of missed school days. Thus, children are more prepared for school and have a greater opportunity to succeed in the future. I am proud to have been part of the development of this first-of-akind, universal-health program for children started in our county and duplicated by 27 other California counties. I support the decision of the Palo Alto and Sunnyvale city councils in their unanimous endorsements of Measure A. Please help all mothers and fa(continued on nex page)
YOUR TURN The Palo Alto Weekly encourages comments on our coverage or on issues of local interest.
What do you think? Were you impacted (politically or otherwise) by President Obama’s visit to Palo Alto Thursday evening? Submit letters to the editor of up to 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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!
Editorial The Weekly recommends: n recent weeks the Weekly has taken editorial positions on candidates and issues we felt were most important or of interest to Palo Alto area voters. Following is a summary of those recommendations, with references to the archived editorials.
STATE PROPOSITIONS Proposition 19: Yes
YES on Measure E: Foothill-De Anza parcel tax County’s Measure A will quietly help children
Proposition 20 removes elected representatives from establishment of congressional districts and gives that authority to a bipartisan 14-member redistricting commission. Proposition 27 eliminates 14-member state redistricting commission and returns redistricting authority to elected representatives.
Published Oct. 8, www.paloaltoonline.com/ weekly/story.php?story_id=13712
Proposition 21: Yes
Rich Gordon ready for state Assembly
Proposition 22: Yes
Published Oct. 1, www.paloaltoonline.com/ weekly/story.php?story_id=13673.
Published Oct. 8, http://www.paloaltoonline. com/weekly/story.php?story_id=13711
A mixed bag of state propositions A brief recap of leading state propositions, published Oct. 15, www.paloaltoonline.com/ weekly/story.php?story_id=13757
Yes on S for savings in Palo Alto elections Published Oct. 15, http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?story_id=13756
Measure R deserves overwhelming defeat Published Oct. 15, www.paloaltoonline. com/weekly/story.php?story_id=13755
U.S. CONGRESS 14th Congressional District: Anna Eshoo
Legalizes marijuana under California but not federal law.
Letters (continued from previous page) thers provide health care for their children and vote yes on Measure A. Liz Kniss Santa Clara County, 5th District
No on R
Proposition 24: Yes
Editor, I have lived in Palo Alto since 1974. I am a retired surgeon who, during my career, was chief of the department of surgery, chairman of the operating-room committee, president of the hospital medical staff and a member of the executive committee at the hospital where I worked. At no time did we ever consider putting to a vote of the public how many ICU beds or emergency-room beds the hospital needed, how many operating rooms we needed, or the staffing pattern of nurses and physicians in the operating room, emergency room or the ICU. These decisions were best left to the professionals who were hired to make such decisions. For this reason I oppose Measure R. Fire-department staffing is best left to those we hire or elect to make such decisions and not to a public referendum. Daniel Tuerk Greenwich Place Palo Alto
Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to lower their tax liability.
No on T
Proposition 20 and 27: Yes, No
Establishes $18 annual vehicle-license fee to help fund state parks and wildlife programs. Prohibits the state from diverting funds intended for transportation, redevelopment or local government projects.
Proposition 23: No, No, No! Suspends air-pollution-control law AB 32 until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent for a full year.
Proposition 25: Yes Changes legislative vote requirement to pass budget and budget-related legislation from two-thirds to a simple majority.
Proposition 26: No Requires certain state and local regulatory fees be approved by two-thirds vote.
Editor, “Opponents” of Menlo Park Measure T are not exaggerating traffic impacts, but our good friend Planning Commissioner Katie Ferrick is denying them. She’s pretending that impacts legally classified as “significant, unmitigated” are insignificant and mitigated. Not true. The terms “significant, unmitigated” are legal
terms used in environmental impact reports as required by state law. “Significance” is based on objective community standards. Opponents have correctly stated EIR findings for traffic: nine “significant”, “unmitigated” impacts for delay and volume, one for traffic-related noise on nearby neighborhoods. These impacts are severe enough that state law required Menlo Park to make a special set of legal findings just to approve them. This is the state’s way of asking, “Are you sure?” Ferrick says that “most” project traffic uses 101 and SR 84, causing only a “few seconds” of delay. The few seconds of delay is inflicted on each of tens of thousands of rush hour trips on 101, resulting in hours of total delay. And project traffic isn’t just magically plunked down onto 101 by helicopter. It uses local streets, Marsh and Willow roads, already clogged, to get access to and between Dumbarton (SR84) and 101. Intersections surrounding the project from Marsh at Middlefield to Bayfront south of University, and on two locations on Willow Road will experience delays. Those among us who know the law and do the math advise Menlo Park not to approve these impacts. Vote No on Measure T. Charlie Bourne Martin Engel Transportation Commissioners City of Menlo Park
Today’s news, sports & hot picks
Which issues are important to you in the upcoming election? Asked on California Avenue in Palo Alto. Interviews by Sally Schilling and Sarah Trauben. Photographs by Vivian Wong.
Alumni Director, Menlo College University Heights, Menlo Park “There are so many issues to think about: For people who are my age, you have to really consider the issues because they’ll filter down to the next generation.”
Teacher Crescent Park, Palo Alto “Proposition 23, because I don’t like the idea of interests outside the state misrepresenting the environmental impact of the proposed law and think decisions that effect California’s environment should be made by Californians.”
Information Security Consultant Downtown, Palo Alto “What’s important to me is the need to keep municipal costs down and to provide a stronger police presence to fight an increase in violent crime.”
Waiter Midtown, Palo Alto “The most important issue is the deficit because right now there’s too much mud-slinging going on and not enough action.”
Photographer Cowper Street, Palo Alto “Trying to ensure that the Democrats stay in office because they have not had enough time to accomplish what they set out to do.”
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SCHOOL ENROLLMENT RIDES THE ROLLER COASTER W
room space. Of the 344 additional K-12 students this fall, more than two-thirds come at the elementary level — shattering upper-end growth projections for that group. That bumper crop is bound to keep cohorts large as they work their way through the system. School trend-watchers recently have noticed a new phenomenon that could add to those already high numbers — an increasing rate of families moving into town who already have school-age children. And once-reliable patterns of the past — such as enrollment dips during economic recessions — have not held true lately, suggesting possibly steeper growth ahead. For example, Palo Alto housing turnover in 2008 and 2009 fell substantially short of the typical 500 to 600 transactions per year, but
English instructor Niloufar Shokrani teaches an English as a Second Language class at Cubberley Community Center, shown here in 2007. The Palo Alto school district owns all but 8 acres of the 35-acre Cubberley site, which it currently leases out to the City of Palo Alto.
With bumper crops of kindergartners, school district chugs uphill by Chris Kenrick
enrollment growth proceeded apace. Another simple harbinger — kindergarten headcount — was 457 in 1981-1982; 744 in 1996-1997; and 905 this fall.
nlike the last enrollment boom era of the late 1960s, the Palo Alto Unified School District this time has less real estate to accommodate the growth. Storied old elementary schools, with names like Van Auken, Ortega, Ross Road and Crescent Park, are long shuttered and demolished and, in many cases, paved over with housing. The aging Cubberley campus, which served as a comprehensive high school from 1956 until closing in 1979, operates as a community center under a lease agreement with the City of Palo Alto. To meet the fastest-growing demand for space in the younger grades, the school district
ith Palo Alto elementary classrooms filled to overflowing this fall, old timers wince at the memory of having closed 11 of the city’s 22 elementary schools a quarter century ago. Back in the 1980s, campus after campus was shuttered as enrollment fell and postProposition 13 school budgets had planners terrified of going broke. One fateful night in February 1987, the Board of Education voted to convert Gunn into the district’s sole middle school — with a plan to leave Paly as the community’s single high school. Oh baby, how times have changed. After what seemed like an enrollment free fall when Baby Boomers graduated, Palo Alto classrooms are crowded again. This year, at 12,024, enrollment is aiming toward the district’s all-time high of 15,575 at the crest of the Baby Boom — and shows no sign of slowing down. “One of our biggest challenges we have is providing enough capacity for all of our students,” Superintendent Kevin Skelly said. “We keep riding this (enrollment) roller coaster and it’s going up. We’re chugging up this hill and the hill seems to be getting steeper, not less steep.” Palo Alto voters historically have offered enthusiastic support to their high-performing, nationally ranked public schools. Two years ago, residents overwhelmingly backed a $378 million facilities bond to add classrooms and other spaces to the district’s 17 campuses and modernize them for the coming decades. Many of those millions have been committed. Students at Gunn, Paly and Ohlone are co-existing with major construction on their campuses this fall. Renovations at the three middle schools and other elementary campuses are in the planning stages. But the full allocation of bond funds is not yet decided, and plans are subject to change. Even as existing campuses are built out, planners are scouting elsewhere for more class-
The private Stratford School rents the site of the former Garland Elementary School on North California Avenue near Louis Road. The Stratford lease requires three years’ notice of termination.
is erecting or planning to build once unheard of two-story classroom buildings at Ohlone, Fairmeadow and JLS. Gunn and Paly are being renovated to accommodate up to 2,300 students apiece. Demographic projections are, at best, an imprecise art and science. As they closed schools in the 1970s and 1980s, community leaders were analyzing real estate turnover and local birth records, among other data. One of their dominant conclusions — that Palo Alto’s steep housing prices posed an insurmountable barrier for any significant number of couples with young children to settle here — turned out to be just about 100 percent wrong. That assumption failed to anticipate a technology boom that would mint 25-year-old millionaires and continue to push prices upward. The ill-fated vote to close Gunn as a high school sparked a November 1987 school board election remembered as one of the most fiercely fought in city history. The advocates of keeping Gunn as it was won big — and turned the conventional wisdom of the city’s power structure on its head. On the very night they took office the newly elected insurgents, Stanford University Professor Henry Levin and parent volunteer Diane Reklis, pushed through a reversal of the Gunn decision. Within three years, enrollment began the steady increase that continues today — though not as steeply as in the Baby Boom era.
s the enrollment roller coaster clatters upward, leaders year by year must make incremental calls about where to put new classrooms. A case in point — a recent mini-drama over whether to re-open Garland Elementary School, at 870 N. California Ave. — illustrates how agonizing those choices can be.
Parent volunteer Rebecca Thompson talks with a kindergartner during activity time at Palo Verde Elementary School this week. In 2008 and 2009, architects hired by the school district worked up a blueprint for a $15.5 million renovation of Garland, with a plan to re-open it as the district’s 13th elementary school in 2012.
‘In an ideal planning scenario we want to build classrooms where the kids live so they’re not commuting all across town.’ — Barb Mitchell, former president, Palo Alto school board
ntil recently, the school board’s Policy on School Size and Enrollment dictated that the “desired range” for elementary school headcount is 340 to 450 students; for (continued on next page)
But in August 2009 — barely six weeks after giving the thumbs up to the architect’s “schematic designs” — the school board got cold feet. Members were staring down projected multi-year, multi-million dollar “structural deficits,” a scary state budget outlook, and anecdotal evidence that Palo Alto enrollment was in a recession-induced stall. In a rare split vote on the consensus-minded board, four of the five members opted for the fiscally conservative decision to scratch the Garland re-opening and extend a $750,000 lease with the private Stratford School, committing the district at least through 2013. The lone dissenter, then-board president Barb Mitchell, vowed she would “shave (her) head” if the district managed to comfortably accommodate the growth she foresaw in the next three years without re-opening Garland. To date, Mitchell still has her full head of hair — but she is nervous. “The bottom line is to look at all the indicators we can — even though none of them
provide certainty — and make decisions incrementally, based on the most current information. And hopefully stay one step ahead of the children coming in,” Mitchell said. Having enough classroom space is one thing. Having the space in the right part of town — where the growth is — is something else entirely. In days gone by, families generally could count on sending their kids to the nearest elementary school. But with elementary schools increasingly maxing out and “overflowing” their neighborhood kids to other campuses, that’s no longer much of guarantee. A new family in town may find the neigh-
borhood school has room for their thirdgrader, but not for their fourth-grader or their kindergartner — but that a campus across the city can accommodate all three. Those “overflow” conditions have ripple effects on family logistics, neighborhood health and citywide traffic that are worrisome to Mitchell and others. “Schools are important for the neighborhood character we all value — getting to know your neighbors, playing with your neighbors, walking to school with your neighbors,” Mitchell said. It is tricky, she said, to “plan classrooms without spending money in the wrong places, or locking ourselves in, should trends change.” Notwithstanding the sell-off of school property in the 1970s and 1980s, the district retains two elementary sites, Garland, and Fremont Hills at 26800 Fremont Road in Los Altos Hills (currently leased to Pinewood School), which in time could be taken back. A third elementary campus — Greendell, at 4120 Middlefield Road — is occupied by the district-run preschool programs Pre-School Family, Young Fives and Springboard to Kindergarten. In addition, the school district retains a right of first refusal on a fourth elementary campus, the now city-owned Ventura site at 3990 Ventura Court. It currently serves as a community center. “In an ideal planning scenario we want to build classrooms where the kids live so they’re not commuting all across town,” Mitchell said. In theory, Cubberley remains available as a third high school, and Garland and Fremont Hills as additional elementary campuses. But there is no such space on tap for another middle school. “At the middle school level, we’re heading up to 1,000 kids at Jordan and JLS — and that’s about the number we hit when we decided we needed a third middle school,” Mitchell said. “The third middle school (Terman, reopened in 2001) has gobbled up all the growth since then and we’re back to where we were. We’ve got the same dynamic, a higher growth projection and a huge challenge of considering alternatives there. “Where would we put a fourth middle school, and what would the trade-offs be? It’s the identical dilemma we have at the high school level, except we have Cubberley.”
The Palo Alto Unified School District has asserted an interest in acquiring the 3-acre site of the Peninsula Day Care Center, whose owner announced he will retire and close the center next June. The site, at 525 San Antonio Road, currently is under contract with SummerHill Homes, a housing developer.
Does new housing equal new students? Half of district’s new students move into old Palo Alto homes by Chris Kenrick
ajor new housing developments, particularly in the southern end of Palo Alto, are often blamed for generating overcrowding at schools like Fairmeadow and Palo Verde elementary schools. However, new housing in the past five years accounts for only about half the school enrollment growth, according to demographers. The other half comes from turnover of existing homes — when retirees whose kids have grown sell to young families. Planners are nervously watching to see what will happen once the housing market rebounds. They’re also facing constant pressure from the state government to add housing.
‘The short-term focus for the new housing element is to find some ways that focus more on smaller units and senior units and housing types less likely to produce school-age children.’ – Curtis Williams, Palo Alto planning director Palo Alto Planning Director Curtis Williams said the city hopes to satisfy state mandates with smaller, seniororiented units to minimize impacts on school enrollment. Non-compliance with state housing requirements is not a possibility; it can result in loss of certain state grants to the city. “The short-term focus for the new housing element is to find some ways that focus more on smaller units and senior units and housing types less likely to produce school-age children,” he told a recent meeting of the City-School Liaison Committee. The city’s new housing plans have become a regular discussion topic at the monthly gathering of the City-School Liaisons committee. Stanford University is not likely to produce a host of new K-12 students. Ten years ago the university obtained county permission to build up to 3,000 new housing units — but much of that already has been built, and 2,000 of the units are for single students, according to Stanford’s Director of Community Relations Jean McCown. “In terms of the school district’s thinking about this, that (3,000) number doesn’t represent a figure that’s going to produce children for the schools,” said McCown, a former mayor of Palo Alto. N *>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ"VÌLiÀÊÓÓ]ÊÓä£äÊU Page 17
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Parent volunteer Heather De La Cruz helps a trio of kindergarten students with leaf rubbings during activity time in their Palo Verde Elementary School classroom. Palo Verde is one of several elementary schools so crowded that it had to refer some neighborhood children to other campuses.
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middle schools, 600 to 950 students and for high schools, 1,200 to 1,950 students. Two years ago, as some campuses began to exceed those ranges, the board replaced the old policy with less specific language. The new policy contains no numbers. It â€œplaces a high priority on having students attend their neighborhood schools,â€? while acknowledging practical difficulties in consistently achieving that goal. It encourages principals to â€œdevelop methods to promote student connections within the larger school context.â€? Board members agree the district must stay nimble and be ready to handle the growth, wherever it occurs.
â€œOur biggest problem right now is elementary school space, and itâ€™s pretty hard to match where the growth is to where our space actually resides,â€? Board Vice-President Melissa Baten Caswell said.
â€˜Our biggest problem right now is elementary school space, and itâ€™s pretty hard to match where the growth is to where our space actually resides.â€™ â€” Melissa Baten Caswell, vice president, Palo Alto school board â€œWe really need to figure out how to accommodate growth in the southeast area, where the new town homes are. If you look at the schools
over there (Fairmeadow, Palo Verde, El Carmelo, theyâ€™re all impacted (by overflow).â€? Elementary enrollment growth in the past four or five years alone â€œcould fill an elementary school,â€? she noted. â€œWe grew 200-something kids this year at the elementary level. The elementary schools are usually under 500, so it doesnâ€™t take long to fill one, and thatâ€™s our biggest issue. â€œOf course, thatâ€™s going to roll into middle school and high school in the long term.â€? As for Garland, Caswell said: â€œWould it give us more space? Yes. But it wouldnâ€™t give us more space where the kids are. â€œWe could redraw boundaries, but having kids cross Oregon Expressway is a tough decision. Iâ€™m not saying we wouldnâ€™t make it, but itâ€™s a tough decision to make.â€? (continued on page 20)
Kindergarten Enrollment Trend 1,000 900 800 816
300 200 100 0 â€™73 â€™75 â€™77 â€™79 â€™81 â€™83 â€™85 â€™87 â€™89 â€™91 â€™93 â€™95 â€™97 â€™99 â€™01 â€™03 â€™05 â€™07 â€™09
Kindergarten enrollment (excluding Young Fives) Kindergarten enrollment crossing a new hundred mark Page 18ĂŠUĂŠ"VĂŒÂœLiĂ€ĂŠĂ“Ă“]ĂŠĂ“Ă¤ÂŁĂ¤ĂŠUĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?Ăž
Courtesy of Palo Alto Unified School District
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Palo Verde teacher Andy Blumberg, right, leads a group of kindergartners through volunteers help lead separate activities for the 22 students.
(continued from page 18)
ith a nervous eye on the roller coaster â€” and the haunting memory of past land sales â€” the school district has been hanging tough with any extra space under its control, and reaching for more. To date it has rebuffed bids from the Foothill-De Anza Community College
District to purchase and redevelop 8 acres of the 35-acre Cubberley site into a state-of-the-art satellite campus to serve the Palo Alto community. The district recently asserted an interest in acquiring a 3-acre parcel adjacent to the Greendell campus â€” currently under contract with a housing developer. The parcel, at 525 San Antonio Road, has for decades been occupied by the Peninsula Day Care Center. The cen-
PAUSD Enrollment History an
(Projections include Alta Vista, Childrenâ€™s Hospita
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h a science activity while Heather De La Cruz, standing, and fellow parent
ter’s owner told families earlier this year he’ll close the day care operation in June 2011 in order to retire. Developer SummerHill Homes has unveiled preliminary plans to build 26 single-family, 3- and 4-bedroom homes on the property. School Superintendent Skelly, without indicating specific plans, said the Peninsula Day Care parcel is of interest to the school district because of its size and location.
al and Middle College)
“We don’t know what will happen with enrollment — all of us who have to plan for classroom space certainly wish we did,” he said. “If you look at the last 20 years, it seems that our enrollment is impervious to some factors. Whether the economy is good or bad, enrollment continues to increase. “If you look at school districts across the country, there seems to be a growing premium on quality education. “Families are more willing to make sacrifices in order to move their students to quality schools. We look at the future, and we believe our growth is going to continue.”
Courtesy of Palo Alto Unified School District
‘If you look at the last 20 years, it seems that our enrollment is impervious to some factors. Whether the economy is good or bad, enrollment continues to increase.’ — Kevin Skelly, superintendent, Palo Alto Unified School District School board member Mitchell notes that the “squeaky wheels” on the roller coaster aren’t making any noise because they are families who haven’t even moved to Palo Alto yet. “It’s up to the rest of us who care about how our schools have been — either for altruistic purposes, sentimental purposes, or property-value purposes — to figure this out,” she said. N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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From left, Sindhu Natarajan, Lalita Kristipati, Anu Ranganathan and Anjana Dasu take part in an Abhinaya Dance Group rehearsal.
T elling stories through
Anjana Dasu’s face is full of emotion.
(continued on page 24)
PERFORMANCE BRINGS BALINESE AND INDIAN TRADITIONS TO PALO ALTO
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PALO ALTO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Notice is hereby Given that proposals will be received by the Palo Alto UniďŹ ed School District for bid package: Contract Name: Interactive White Board & Classroom Audio system Contract No. WBS-2 & WBS-3 DESCRIPTION OF THE WORK: The work includes, but is not limited to: The supply and installation of Interactive White Boards and Classroom Audio Systems at four elementary schools and one middle school. Work includes the removal and disposal of older existing Interactive White Board, the removal and replacement of standard white boards, Installation/ ModiďŹ cation of tack able wall surface. Patch and paint wall surfaces as may be necessary. Bidding documents contain the full description of the work. There will be a mandatory pre-bid conference and site visit at 1:00 p.m. on October 27, 2010 starting at the District Facilities OfďŹ ce located at 25 Churchill Building D. Palo Alto, California Bid Submission: Proposals must be received at the District Facilities OfďŹ ce building D, by 10:00 a.m. for WBS-2 and 10:30 a.m. for WBS-3 on November 15, 2010. Bonding required for this project is as follows: Bid Bond 10% of the total bid, Performance Bond to be 10%, Payment Bond is to be 10%. PREVAILING WAGE LAWS: The successful Bidder must comply with all prevailing wage laws applicable to the Project, and related requirements contained in the Contract Documents. Palo Alto UniďŹ ed School District will maintain a Labor Compliance Program (LCP) for the duration of this project. In bidding this project, the contractor warrants he/she is aware and will follow the Public Works Chapter of the California Labor Code comprised of labor code sections 1720 â€“ 1861. A copy of the Districts LCP is available for review at 25 Churchill Avenue, Building D, Palo Alto, CA 94306. 1. A pre-job conference shall be conducted with the contractor or subcontractors to discuss federal and state labor law requirements applicable to the contract. 2. Project contractors and subcontracts shall maintain and furnish to the District, at a designated time, a certiďŹ ed copy of each payroll with a statement of compliance signed under penalty of perjury. 3. The District shall review and, if appropriate, audit payroll records to verify compliance with the Public Works Chapter of the Labor Code. 4. The District shall withhold contract payments if payroll records are delinquent or inadequate. 5. The District shall withhold contract payments as described in the LCP, including applicable penalties when the District and Labor Commissioner establish that underpayment of other violations has occurred. Bidders may examine Bidding Documents at Facilities OfďŹ ce, Building â€œDâ€?. Bidders may view the Plans and SpeciďŹ cations at the Districts Facilities ofďŹ ce. All questions can be addressed to: Palo Alto UniďŹ ed School District 25 Churchill Avenue, Building D Palo Alto, CA 94306-1099 Attn: Alex Morrison Phone: (650) 329-3927 Fax: (650) 327-3588
Arts & Entertainment
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Bali steps with exquisitely precise fluidity, every muscle taut, each fingerâ€™s controlled tremolo expressive of deep emotion. Indian dancer Anjana Dasuâ€™s face conveys delight, hesitation, surprise, anticipation, joy and hope by turns as her body bends and stretches in graceful stylized movements. When the two dancers finally lock eyes, you feel you could truly be witnessing the climactic meeting of Rama and Sita, one of the peak moments in a religious and mythological tradition shared by the majority of both Indians and Balinese. The collaboration between the Abhinaya Dance Group of San Jose, founded by Mythili Kumar in 1980, and the Gamelan Sekar Jaya (which marked its 30th anniversary last year), is a tribute to the power of dancing traditions that have not only survived the transfer to America but are thriving, changing and gaining strength from one another. Abhinaya is roughly translated as â€œthe art of expression.â€? In the South Indian classical style known as bharatanatyam, dancers are trained to reflect a sometimes mesmerizing gamut of emotions as the hands perform complex mudras or gestures, each with a specific meaning. The Balinese style, by contrast, is more abstract and more subtle, says Kumar, without the strongly stylized mime element for which bharatanatyam is famous. Mythili Kumar was among the first of the intrepid Indian classical dancers to establish their art in the Bay Area. She began performing and teaching 30 years ago, after studying from the age of 8 in Bombay (Mumbai) and then Hyderabad. After gaining a masterâ€™s degree in nutrition there, she came to the U.S. on a Rotary scholarship, later studying biochemistry at U.C. Davis where she met her husband. A computer scientist, who also sang in the Indian classical tradition, B.
Kumar helped provide the musical underpinnings for Mythiliâ€™s solo dance recitals and later for their two daughtersâ€™ solo debuts. Earlier this year, Abhinaya staged a collaboration with a taiko drumming group, showing how far this art form has come in its willingness to experiment. â€œBharatanatyam is not stagnant at all; itâ€™s completely evolving, in Europe, India and here,â€? said Kumar, who regularly brings master dancers and musicians from India to teach her students and perform as guest stars. An Oct. 24 Palo Alto performance with Gamelan Sekar Jaya will celebrate the strong bond between two cultures that take the epic poems â€œRamayanaâ€? and â€œMahabharataâ€? as their central myths. Many members of the audience will know that the meeting of Sita and Rama is not just love at first sight, but a reflection of the eternal bonding of their earlier incarnation, the god Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi. Though the story was first written about 2,400 years ago, Sita is a distinctly modern princess. â€œSwayambara,â€? one of the dances to be performed by the ensemble, means â€œchoosing a relationship by oneself,â€? Kumar said. The moment when Sita chooses Rama is still powerful, especially in a culture where most Hindu marriages are arranged by the families to this day. Many of the characters in the story are male â€” Sitaâ€™s father and her suitors, for example â€” but they are danced with power and assurance by young Indian-American women, most of whom have demanding careers to manage as well as their dancing commitments. Rasika Kumar, for example, is both choreographer and principal dancer at age 27. The older daughter of Mythili Kumar, she has a masterâ€™s degree from M.I.T., and works as a computer scientist at Google. Taught classical dance from the earliest age by her mother, Rasika has an impressive command of the language
CITY OF PALO ALTO NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, PURSUANT TO Government Code Section 55022.3, that the City Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, November 8, 2010, at the hour of 7:00 p.m. or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard in the Council Chambers, City Hall, 250 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, California. to consider adoption of the 2009 Edition Of The International Fire Code, As Amended By The State of California, Also Known As The 2010 Edition of the California Fire Code, With Local Amendments And Related Findings (Chapter 15 of the Palo Alto Municipal Code). Copies of the of the 2009 International Fire Code and the 2010 California Fire Code are on ďŹ le in the City Clerkâ€˜s OfďŹ ce and open to public inspection during normal business hours. Additional copies of the 2009 International Fire Code, the 2010 California Fire Code and local amendments are on ďŹ le in the Fire Department and open to public inspection during normal business hours. This notice is being published in accordance with Government Code Section 6066. DONNA J. GRIDER, MMC City Clerk
of bharatanatyam. â€œExpression is a huge part of what it means to be a bharatanatyam dancer. Itâ€™s not just facial expressions, but posture, demeanor, gestures, how all contribute. The audiences should feel all the shades of emotion without it being obvious or melodramatic. â€œ As the Demon King Ravana, Rasika Kumar conveys both the emotion and the comedy of a powerful, disdainful character who considers defeat beneath him. In order to portray such legendary characters, Kumar said, â€œYou have to soul search. You have to delve into the character and discover how you would portray that, then control every muscle in your body and all your facial muscles to sustain it.â€? It is a climactic moment when Ravana fails in his attempt to lift a massive bow that once belonged to the Lord Siva, and crumbles â€” while struggling not to show his disappointment in failing to win the Princess Sita. Part of Abhinayaâ€™s goal is to keep such stories alive for the Indian community in the West. In India, the dances are performed for audiences who know the stories intimately, but with modern Bay Area audiences, this familiarity with culture and traditions cannot be assumed. The conventions of a stylized art form are not always understood either, so people who expect instant entertainment may find they need to work harder to understand the complexities. One way to understand them is to learn to perform the dance. It takes enormous discipline and hard work to master bharatanatyam, which in India involves countless hours of immersion in every aspect of the art. In Mythili Kumarâ€™s studio, most students take classes only once or twice a week. But the benefits go way beyond the dance itself, Rasika said. â€œItâ€™s not just the dance, itâ€™s a culture youâ€™re learning when you come to a dance class. Thatâ€™s awesome, because when youâ€™re exposed like this itâ€™ll become a part of your identity.â€? N What: The Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose marks its 30th anniversary with a performance with the Balinese music and dance ensemble Gamelan Sekar Jaya. When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24 Where: Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto Cost: Tickets are $20 general and $15 for students and seniors. Info: Go to abhinaya.org or call 408871-5959.
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Arts & Entertainment
From left, Percy Martinez (playing Alvaro), Gabriel Manro (Don Carlo) and Olga Chernisheva (Leonora) in West Bay Opera’s “La forza del destino.”
A tale of love, honor and redemption West Bay Opera applies its magic to Verdi masterpiece by Mort Levine
est Bay Opera in Palo Alto is 55 years old and it has waited all this time to present Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino,” the massively complex and convoluted tale of love, honor and spiritual redemption. It was worth waiting for. Within its nearly four hours is some of the most beautiful dramatic opera music ever written. In many ways, it was a remarkable achievement for the regional company. The title’s translation could be “the power of destiny.” And it may be that West Bay was compelled by fate to tackle such an awesome assignment. WBO has the array of outstanding singers, and a dedicated creative team of artistic specialists in operatic music, staging, set design and all the myriad other tasks involved in this most complex performance medium. And Midpeninsula audiences are highly supportive of reaching beyond the old familiar offerings. This season, West Bay’s entire schedule is made up of works few regional opera theaters ever take on. “Forza” takes us back to the 1740s in Spain and Italy. The proud Marquis of Calatrava is shocked to discover his daughter, Leonora, is about to elope with Alvaro, a Peruvian half-caste (although he is an Inca prince). When Alvaro’s pistol is tossed away, it accidentally kills the father. This sets in motion a commitment on the part of Carlo, Leonora’s brother, to kill both of the lovers, who separately reach a monastery where Carlo forces a duel and is himself killed, but not before he has mortally stabbed his sister. Offstage, fortunately. Leonora’s anguished death brings her wish for her lover’s redemption.
OPERA REVIEW Outstanding voices and strong dramatic acting marked all of the principals. Leonora is sung by the young Russian soprano Olga Chernisheva whose versatility was heard in the title role of Manon Lescaut last season at West Bay. Her vibrant aria renditions, such as “Pace, Pace Mio Dio,” evoked memories of Leontyne Price and Maria Callas in earlier days in this role. Her Inca prince, Don Alvaro, is sung by tenor Percy Martinez, who is actually a native of Peru. Carlo is Gabriel Manro, a powerful baritone making his first company appearance, who seemed to thrive on the evil deeds to which fate was driving him. Several other key singing roles were critical to the total impact, especially in bringing forth the many changes of mood, a hallmark of the
Cardoza-Bungey Travel late Verdi operas. The outstanding acting talents coupled with strong vocal presentations came from mezzo soprano Michele Detwiler as the feisty gypsy army camp follower, Preziosilla; bass-baritone Peter Graham was pivotal in the calming, authoritative role of Padre Guardiano; and a contrasting clerical role of the bumbling Friar Melitone, was well-sung by Carl King in his WBO debut. The adult and boys chorus takes on special duties in “Forza,” more so than most Verdi operas. Led by the booming bass of Carlos Aguilar, the chorus was almost as critical as the principals in moving the story forward. Credit much of the success to the theatrical wisdom and experience of director David Ostwald, a Portola Valley resident when he isn’t in New York. The director amazingly was able to move huge forces seamlessly around the small stage. One scene even used all of the aisle space at Lucie Stern for a candlelight march by the monks. Conductor of the opera Michel Singher not only did the reduction of the score from a huge symphonic orchestra to a 30-piece ensemble, he also guided the talented set of musicians in the small pit, but over video monitors in several spaces he could not see. His superb command brought out the fullness of the score despite the orchestra’s spatial limitations. The theater’s intimate size allowed excellent balances between the voices and the instruments. Gifted veteran WBO set designer Jean-François Revon created a giant tapestry that depicts scenes from the opera much in the style of what might be hanging in a Spanish grandee’s castle. Each area was illuminated like a storyboard by lighting designer Robert Ted Anderson. British costume designer Claire Townsend made her debut dressing the company in appropriate 18thcentury color tones and style. N What: West Bay Opera presents Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino.” When: Saturday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 24, at 2 p.m. Where: Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto Tickets: $40-$60 Information: Go to www.wbopera. org or call 650-843-3900.
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Answers to this week’s puzzles, which can be found on page 56
3 5 1 8 2 4 7 9 6
6 8 4 7 1 9 5 3 2
2 7 9 6 3 5 4 8 1
9 6 5 3 4 8 2 1 7
1 3 7 9 5 2 6 4 8
4 2 8 1 7 6 9 5 3
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â€œWrestling Grounds,â€? a film made in Senegal and Burkina Faso, will be shown at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival.
African Film Festival A new Peninsula film festival makes its debut this weekend, showcasing 30 creations from 16 African countries. The Silicon Valley African Film Festival kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m. with a flag- and drumfilled opening ceremony. Hosted by the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, the event is co-sponsored by Mountain Viewâ€™s Oriki Theater. Feature films, shorts and animated movies by new and experienced
filmmakers are set to be screened. â€œThe festivalâ€™s mission is to promote an understanding and appreciation of Africa and Africans through moving images,â€? festival director Chike C. Nwoffiah of the Oriki Theater said in a press release. Films will include â€œOrigins of Sin,â€? a Ugandan film directed by Patrick Sekyaya. It follows a married young woman who incurs the godsâ€™ wrath in a traditional society. Sekyaya is scheduled to speak after the 2 p.m. screening on Oct. 23. â€œWrestling Grounds,â€? directed by Cheikh Nâ€™Diaye, screens at 11 a.m. on Sunday; itâ€™s about a 17-year-old
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For more information go to: www.paloaltogp.org Page 26ĂŠUĂŠ"VĂŒÂœLiĂ€ĂŠĂ“Ă“]ĂŠĂ“Ă¤ÂŁĂ¤ĂŠUĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?Ăž
joining an African champion wrestling team. The festival runs 11 a.m. through 1 a.m. on Oct. 23 and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 24. Ticket prices vary from $5 to $30, with options including single tickets and day passes. The school is at 230 San Antonio Circle in Mountain View. Go to svaff.org or call 415-774-6787.
Two separate concerts this weekend demonstrate the variable nature of the stringed instrument in its vast range of sounds. Palo Alto cellist Michelle Djokic, whose regular gigs include playing with Quartet San Francisco and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, will be featured with the youthful players of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra in a concert called â€œMusical Maiden.â€? The program includes Schubertâ€™s â€œDeath and the Maidenâ€? and music by Jean-Baptiste Lully, Felix Mendelssohn and Northern Californiaâ€™s Lou Harrison. PACO performs at 8 p.m. in the Eagle Theatre at Los Altos High School, 201 Almond Ave. Tickets are $15 general, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. Go to pacomusic. org or call 650-856-3848. Meanwhile, Palo Altoâ€™s Tuttle family explores the bluegrass side of stringed instruments with a concert that also celebrates the playersâ€™ new CD, made with musical cohort A.J. Lee. Mandolin, guitar and banjo tunes will be among the sounds mingling with bluegrass singing. The show is the first of the season for Redwood Bluegrass Associates, which presents concerts at the First Presbyterian Church at 1667 Miramonte Ave in Mountain View. Jamming starts at 5 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the concert at 8. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 on the day of the show, with some discounts available. Go to rba.org or buy tickets in person at Gryphon Stringed Instruments, 211 Lambert St., Palo Alto.
A&E DIGEST CATCH THAT WAVE ... Video producers from Palo Altoâ€™s Midpeninsula Community Media Center scored seven WAVE awards at a ceremony in Reno last weekend, the center reported. The videos honored included â€œSmall Plane Crash in East Palo Alto,â€? produced by Rebecca Sanders; a public-service announcement on polio by Edoardo De Armas; and â€œIcon: Hangar One,â€? a profile of Moffett Fieldâ€™s historic Hangar 1, by Daya Curley and Mark D. Messersmith. The Western Access Video Excellence Awards honor community-based video programming and are given out by the western region of the Alliance for Community Media. The winning shows can be watched online at midpen media.org and will also be replayed on local channels; check the website for information.
THE MOVIE OF THE YEAR
P E T E R T R AV E R S
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images, and for brief strong language. 2 hours, 6 minutes. â€” Tyler Hanley
Inside Job ---1/2
Matt Damon in â€œHereafter.â€?
(Century 16, Century 20) Imagine taking a road trip to the Grand Canyon. The drive is long and tiresome. Your legs ache and you find yourself getting irritable as the trek drags on and on. Then you arrive â€” just as the sun is rising. The American landmark stretches out before you, accentuated by vibrant rays of red and gold. Breathtaking. That was how I felt watching â€œHereafter,â€? a poignant film that is more about the destination than the journey. Director Clint Eastwoodâ€™s thoughtful drama is slow and plodding (one audience member was audibly snoring at the screening I attended). It is not for the Vin Diesel or Freddy Krueger crowd that demands its thrills fast and furious. Rather, â€œHereafterâ€? is deep and deliberate. It requires patience and emotional maturity from its audience. Those willing to give it will be rewarded with a cinematic experience that is complex, heartfelt and spiritually uplifting. Three characters in different parts of the world are united by death. A devastating tsunami leaves famed French journalist Marie LeLay (Cecile de France) with remarkable glimpses of the afterlife; soft-spoken British lad Marcus (played by real-life identical twins Frankie and George McLaren) struggles with the untimely death of his twin brother Jason; and San Franciscan George Lonegan (Matt Damon) has an uncanny ability to communicate with the deceased â€” whether he likes it or not. Marieâ€™s professional life starts to unravel as her near-death experience consumes her. She sets out to pen a novel about the hereafter, much to the chagrin of her philandering lover/boss. Georgeâ€™s â€œgiftâ€? is a constant barrier to intimacy, rearing its ugly head as he tries to kindle a romance with cookingclass partner Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard). But Marcus suffers
the most as the traumatic loss of his brother shatters his world. His heroin-addicted mother can offer little help, so he sets out to seek the aid of those with metaphysical expertise. And the lives of these three individuals seem fated to intertwine. The filmâ€™s production values are impressive, which is to be expected with any Eastwood picture. Lighting is used effectively and the cinematography is often striking. â€œHereafterâ€? was shot on location in San Francisco, Paris, London and Hawaii, so the varying locales are a visual treat. The music is appropriate but tends to lull the pace substantially (there is a lot of plunky piano and soft violin), and the story borderlines on melodramatic. The actors all perform admirably, although the McLaren twins are a bit out of their league. (Marcus is not very emotive save for some periodic tears.) Damon is particularly compelling, proving once again that he is a very strong leading man capable of carrying almost any film. Howard serves up a terrific performance in her minor role, and De France shines with a charismatic portrayal. In 2002, Martin Scorseseâ€™s â€œGangs of New Yorkâ€? was met with decidedly mixed reactions. Some lauded it as a masterpiece while others condemned it as a faulty misfire. It went on to be nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. I expect â€œHereafterâ€? to similarly divide viewers. There is a soulful depth that many may find hard to grasp, especially while munching on Milk Duds or buttered popcorn. Eastwoodâ€™s enlightened endeavor â€” perhaps a subtle commentary on his own mortality (the icon celebrated his 80th birthday this year) â€” presents the afterlife in a peaceful light instead of as something morbid or terrifying. And that sort of optimism is easy to applaud.
(CineArts) Sometimes a good documentary is one for the history books. â€œInside Jobâ€? â€” written, produced and directed by Charles Ferguson â€” may end up being that sort of film. The wounds recounted may be too fresh just now for â€œInside Jobâ€? to be broadly appreciated, but itâ€™s a cogent synthesis of the factors leading to, defining and resulting from the global economic crisis of the last couple of years. Thereâ€™s no question that â€œInside Jobâ€? is wonky in its studious explanations of derivative schemes, credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations. Daily readers of Bloomberg News will probably sigh and think, â€œTell me something I donâ€™t know,â€? while those like me, with only the most limited understanding of this financial sleight-of-hand, will inch a bit closer to enlightenment thanks to Fergusonâ€™s patient explanations. In any case, Ferguson works hard to give his documentary big-time cinematic polish. This includes Peter Gabrielâ€™s song â€œBig Timeâ€? (which accompanies aerial photography of New York City under the opening credits), narrator Matt Damon to deliver those economics lectures, and the unusual choice to frame the film in a panoramic aspect ratio usually reserved for epic (or â€œartyâ€?) films. Even the most casual observers of the economic crisis will have to consider much of â€œInside Jobâ€? to be old news, but Ferguson delivers it doggedly and without succumbing to blatant emotional appeal. As such, the film isnâ€™t as entertaining or wide-ranging as Michael Mooreâ€™s â€œCapitalism: A Love Story,â€? but the journalistic tone contributes to the filmâ€™s sobering effect. With clear-eyed repetition, Ferguson drums in the decades-long pattern (abetted by the administrations of both major political parties) of Wall Street banditry. The tip of Fergusonâ€™s spear points squarely at the only sane solution: strong and incorruptible government regulation of investment and investment banking. Ferguson takes his shots, including some at Obama for bending to banking interests. (Robert Gnaidza of consumer advocacy group the Greenlining Institute puts it plainly: â€œItâ€™s a Wall Street governmentâ€?). Former Federal Reserve board governor Frederic Mishkin (continued on next page)
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Alpha and Omega (PG) (Not Reviewed)
Century 20: 11:20 a.m.; 1:35, 3:50, 6, 8:15 & 10:25 p.m.
Beware, My Lovely (1952)
Stanford Theatre: Fri. at 6 & 9:30 p.m.
Easy A (PG-13) (Not Reviewed) Century 20: 12:25, 2:45, 5:10, 7:30 & 9:50 p.m. Hereafter (PG-13) (((1/2
Century 16: 11 a.m.; 12:10, 2, 3:30, 4:55, 7, 8:25 & 10:30 p.m. Century 20: 11:25 a.m.; 12:50, 2:30, 4, 5:30, 7, 8:30 & 10 p.m.
Inside Job (PG-13) (((1/2
Palo Alto Square: 1:55, 4:40 & 7:20 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. also at 9:55 p.m.
Itâ€™s Kind of a Funny Story (PG-13) (((
Century 20: 2:25 p.m.; Fri.-Wed. also at 7:50 p.m.
Jackass 3 (R) (Not Reviewed)
Century 16: In 3D at 11 a.m.; noon, 1:20, 2:20, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9:40 & 10:35 p.m. Century 20: In 3D at 1:05, 2:15, 3:30, 4:35, 7:10, 9:30 & 10:40 p.m.; Fri., Sat., Mon., Wed. & Thu. also at 11:55 a.m.; 5:50 & 8:15 p.m.; Sun. also at 5:50 & 8:15 p.m.
Stanford Theatre: Sat.-Mon. at 5:50 & 9:10 p.m.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Gaâ€™Hoole (PG) (Not Reviewed)
Century 16: In 3D at 11:05 a.m.; 1:30, 3:55, 6:40 & 9:05 p.m. Century 20: In 3D at 1:55, 4:20, 6:50 & 9:15 p.m.; Fri., Sat. & Mon.-Thu. also at 11:30 a.m.
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Stanford Theatre: Sat.-Mon. at 7:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. also at 4:10 p.m.
Life As We Know It (PG-13) (Not Reviewed)
Century 16: 12:20 & 3:40 p.m. Century 20: 11:40 a.m.; 2:15, 4:55, 7:35 & 10:15 p.m.
Maoâ€™s Last Dancer (PG) ((
Aquarius Theatre: Fri. at 3 p.m.; Sun. at 5:30 & 8 p.m.; Mon. at 3 p.m.; Tue.-Thu. at 3, 5:30 & 8 p.m.
The Metropolitan Opera: Boris Century 20: Sat. at 9 a.m. Palo Alto Square: Sat. at 9 a.m. Gudonov (Not Rated) (Not Reviewed)
â€œTHE BEST CAST FOR AN ACTION COMEDYâ€ŚEVER.â€? â€“ Roger Moore, ORLANDO SENTINEL
â€œ . â€˜REDâ€™ HAS THE MOST GLITTERING ENSEMBLE CAST AND MOST DEFIANT ATTITUDE OF ANY MOVIE THIS YEAR.â€?
â€“ Sally Kline, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
â€œTHE BEST PART OF â€˜REDâ€™
IS THE SPECTACLE OF TERRIFIC ACTORS BEING TERRIFIC IN NOVEL WAYS.â€?
â€“ Joe Morgenstern, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
â€œâ€˜REDâ€™ IS ABSOLUTELY, THOROUGHLY ENJOYABLE.
The Metropolitan Opera: Century 20: Wed. at 6:30 p.m. Palo Alto Square: Wed. at 6:30 p.m. Das Rheingold (Not Rated) (Not Reviewed) Never Let Me Go (R) (((
Aquarius Theatre: 2, 4:30, 7 & 9:30 p.m.
Nowhere Boy (R) (((
Century 16: 11:45 a.m.; 2:10, 4:40, 7:50 & 10:15 p.m.
Paranormal Activity 2 (Not Reviewed)
Century 16: 11:25 a.m.; 12:25, 1:45, 2:45, 4:20, 5:20, 7:10, 8:10, 9:50 & 10:40 p.m. Century (R) 20: 11:35 a.m.; 12:15, 1, 1:50, 2:35, 3:20, 4:10, 4:55, 5:40, 6:40, 7:20, 9:05 & 10:30 p.m.; Fri.-Wed. also at 8:05 & 10:30 p.m.
Pickup on South Street (1953) Stanford Theatre: Thu. at 7:30 p.m. Red (PG-13) (((
Century 16: 11:15 a.m.; 12:15, 1:55, 2:55, 4:35, 5:35, 7:30, 8:30 & 10:10 p.m. Century 20: 11:45 a.m.; 12:55, 2:20, 3:40, 5:15, 6:30, 8, 9:20 & 10:35 p.m.
RiffTrax Live: House on Century 16: Thu. at 8 p.m. Century 20: Thu. at 8 p.m. Haunted Hill (Not Rated) (Not Reviewed) The Rocky Horror Picture Show (R) (Not Reviewed) Saw 3D (R) (Not Reviewed) Secretariat (PG) ((1/2 The Social Network (PG-13) (((1/2
Guild Theatre: Sat. at midnight. Century 16: Thu. at 12:01 a.m. Century 20: Thu. at 8 & 10:20 p.m. Century 16: 12:05, 3:20, 6:50 & 9:55 p.m. Century 20: 11:15 a.m.; 2, 4:45, 7:40 & 10:30 p.m. Century 16: 11:30 a.m.; 12:40, 2:25, 3:50, 5:15, 7:05, 8:20 & 10 p.m. Century 20: 11:15 a.m.; 2:10, 5, 7:55 & 10:40 p.m.; Fri., Sun.-Tue. & Thu. also at 12:40, 3:35, 6:25 & 9:25 p.m.; Sat. also at 3:10 p.m.; Wed. also at 12:40 & 3:25 p.m.
The Sound of Music Century 16: Tue. at 6:30 p.m. Century 20: Tue. at 6:30 p.m. Sing-Along Event (Not Rated) (Not Reviewed) Stone (R) ((1/2
Century 16: 11:35 a.m.; 2:05, 4:45, 7:40 & 10:25 p.m.
Sudden Fear (1952)
Stanford Theatre: Fri. at 7:30 p.m.
Tamara Drewe (R)
Century 16: 11:10 a.m.; 1:50, 4:30, 7:25 & 10:05 p.m.
The Town (R) (((1/2
Century 16: 7:20 & 10:20 p.m. Century 20: 1:25, 4:15, 7:05 & 9:55 p.m.
UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez Century 20: Sat. at 7 p.m. (Not Rated) (Not Reviewed)
Waiting for Superman (PG) (Not Reviewed)
â€“ Robert Wilonsky, LA WEEKLY
Century 20: 11:50 a.m.; 2:25, 5:05, 7:45 & 10:20 p.m. Palo Alto Square: Fri. at 1:45, 4:30, 7:15 & 9:50 p.m.; Sat. at 4:30, 7:15 & 9:50 p.m.; Sun.-Tue. & Thu. at 1:45, 4:30 & 7:15 p.m.; Wed. at 1:45 p.m.
Wall Street: Money Never Century 20: 11:25 a.m.; Fri.-Wed. also at 4:50 & 10:15 p.m. Sleeps (PG-13) (Not Reviewed)
â€œEXPLOSIVE, FUNNY AND LOADED WITH ACTION!!â€?
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
Stanford Theatre: Thu. at 5:45 & 9 p.m.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (R) (((
Guild Theatre: 3:45, 6 & 8:15 p.m.
( Skip it (( Some redeeming qualities ((( A good bet (((( Outstanding
â€“MosĂŠ Persico, CTV MONTREAL
lInternet: For show times, plot synopses, trailers, theater addresses and more information about films playing, go to PaloAltoOnline.com.
â€œGO SEE THIS MOVIE.
(continued from previous page)
and former Under Secretary of the Treasury for the Bush administration David McCormick squirm a bit under Fergusonâ€™s spotlight, while
â€˜REDâ€™ IS JUST FLAT-OUT FUN!â€? â€“ Kelli Gillespie, XETV CW6
SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS A di BONAVENTURA PICTURES PRODUCTION A ROBERT SCHWENTKE FILM â€œREDâ€? KARL URBAN WITH RICHARD DREYFUSS PRODUCED MUSIC BY LORENZO di BONAVENTURA MARK VAHRADIAN BY CHRISTOPHE BECK BASED ON THE SCREENPLAY DIRECTED BY ROBERT SCHWENTKE BY JON HOEBER & ERICH HOEBER GRAPHIC NOVEL BY WARREN ELLIS AND CULLY HAMNER ÂŠ 2010 SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
MOBILE USERS: For Showtimes, Text Message RED and Your ZIP CODE to 43KIX (43549) Cinemark !"$ #!# San Mateo 800/FANDANGO 968#
Cinemark !"$ #!# Redwood City 800/FANDANGO 990#
!!!$ "! #!
Cinemark !"$! The Shops @ Tanforan 800/FANDANGO 998#
Inside Job 1:55, 4:40, 7:20, 9:55 Waiting Superman 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 9:50 Sat 10/23: Inside Job 1:55, 4:40, 7:20, 9:55 Waiting for Superman 4:30, 7:15, 9:50 10/24-26, 28: Inside Job 1:55, 4:40, 7:20 Waiting for Superman 1:45, 4:30, 7:15 Wed 10/27 Inside Job 1:55, 4:40, 7:20; Superman 1:45
Glenn Hubbard, former chief economic advisor to Bush, does his best to remain slippery. The talking heads found defending our culture of economic amorality are emblematic of the problem but hardly the worst of the culprits (most of those declined to be interviewed, natch). Among the â€œfriendly witnessesâ€? are Paul Volcker, George Soros, Barney Frank, Eliot Spitzer and Raghuram Rajan, the former IMF chief economist whose warning flag was dismissed. Intriguing sidelines include discussion of the psychology and brain chemistry informing Wall Streetâ€™s vice-ridden decisions, and business academiaâ€™s blase attitude to conflicts of interest. Still, the blunt impacts of this recession post-mortem are all
too familiar: the endangered middle class, gutted retirement funds, lost jobs in the tens of millions, and, looking ahead, an estimated total of 15 million home foreclosures. Meanwhile, as Ferguson notes with quiet anger, those responsible walked away with millions in personal compensation. Rated PG-13 for some drug and sex-related material. One hour, 49 minutes. â€” Peter Canavese Weekly critic Peter Canavese awarded three stars to the â€œcharmingâ€? British film â€œTamara Drewe.â€? To read the review, go to PaloAltoOnline.com/movies.
PIZZA Pizza Chicago 424-9400 4115 El Camino Real, Palo Alto This IS the best pizza in town
of the week
Spot A Pizza 324-3131 115 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto Voted Best Pizza in Palo Alto www.spotpizza.com
POLYNESIAN Trader Vic’s 849-9800
Armadillo Willy’s 941-2922
Peking Duck 321-9388
Sun 4:30 - 9:30pm
1031 N. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos
151 S. California Avenue, Palo Alto
Available for private luncheons
We also deliver.
4269 El Camino Real, Palo Alto Dinner Mon-Thurs 5-10pm; Fri-Sat 5-11pm;
Su Hong – Menlo Park
4224 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
Dining Phone: 323–6852
Also at Town & Country Village,
To Go: 322–4631
Palo Alto 327-4111
Winner, Palo Alto Weekly “Best Of”
8 years in a row!
Lounge open nightly Happy Hour Mon-Fri 4-6 pm
SEAFOOD Cook’s Seafood 325-0604 751 El Camino Real, Menlo Park Seafood Dinners from
$6.95 to $10.95
Darbar Indian Cuisine 321-6688
Scott’s Seafood 323-1555
Burmese & Chinese Cuisine
129 Lytton, Downtown Palo Alto
#1 Town & Country Village, Palo Alto
3950 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto
Lunch Buffet M-F; Open 7 days
Green Elephant Gourmet
(Charleston Shopping Center)
Open 7 days a week serving breakfast, lunch and dinner
Janta Indian Restaurant 462-5903
Happy Hour 7 days a week 4-7 pm
Dine-In, Take-Out, Local Delivery-Catering
369 Lytton Ave., Downtown Palo Alto
Full Bar, Banquets, Outdoor Seating
Lunch Buffet M-F; Organic Veggies
Chef Chu’s (650) 948-2696
1067 N. San Antonio Road
Spalti Ristorante 327-9390
Thaiphoon Restaurant 323-7700
on the corner of El Camino, Los Altos
417 California Ave, Palo Alto
543 Emerson St., Palo Alto
2008 Best Chinese
Full Bar, Outdoor Seating
MV Voice & PA Weekly
Jing Jing 328-6885
Pizzeria Venti 650-254-1120
443 Emerson St., Palo Alto
1390 Pear Ave, Mountain View
Authentic Szechwan, Hunan
Siam Orchid 325-1994
Food To Go, Delivery
Fresh, Chef Inspired Italian Food
496 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto
JAPANESE & SUSHI
Visit Sundance The Steakhouse for the Best Steak PRIME CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF • FRESH SEAFOOD & SHELLFISH • AWARD WINNING WINE LIST
1921 El Camino Real Palo Alto 650.321.6798
Best Thai Restaurant in Palo Alto
The only organic Thai in Palo Alto
www.mings.com New Tung Kee Noodle House 520 Showers Dr., MV in San Antonio Ctr.
Free Delivery to Palo Alto/Stanford 4-6p.m. 25% off menu price M-F
Ming’s 856-7700 1700 Embarcadero East, Palo Alto
3 Years in a Row, 2006-2007-2008
Fuki Sushi 494-9383 4119 El Camino Real, Palo Alto Open 7 days a Week
STEAKHOUSE Sundance the Steakhouse 321-6798 1921 El Camino Real, Palo Alto Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2:00pm
Voted MV Voice Best ‘01, ‘02, ‘03 & ‘04
Palo Alto Sol 328-8840
Dinner: Mon-Thu 5:00-10:00pm
Prices start at $4.75
408 California Ave, Palo Alto
Fri-Sat 5:00-10:30pm, Sun 5:00-9:00pm
Search a complete listing of local restaurant reviews by location or type of food on PaloAltoOnline.com
*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ"VÌLiÀÊÓÓ]ÊÓä£äÊU Page 29
Buy 1 entree and get the 2nd one
with coupon (Dinner Only)
,UNCH "UFFET - &