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Parents irate over math standards Page 3
Palo Alto makes room for new lodging page 33
Donate to the HOLIDAY FUND page 42
Spectrum 14 Movies 25 Holidays 29 Eating Out 45
N Sports Castilleja grad wins national soccer honor Page 20 N Arts Local LEGO world is a miniature metropolis
N Home Homemade holiday gifts from the heart
# " $!$ Obstetricians Karen Shin and Mary Parman spend their days caring for patients and delivering babies. When each doctor became pregnant with her ďŹ rst child, the choice of where to deliver was clear: right here where she delivers her patientsâ€™ babies â€” Lucile Packard Childrenâ€™s Hospital. â€œ When youâ€™ve seen how skilled and supportive the physicians, nurses and staff are, you instinctively want that level of care for you and your baby. â€? ! 0 " %" labordelivery.lpch.org
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Local news, information and analysis
Students, parents challenge schools on math Palo Alto groups call for curriculum that meets but does not exceed basic UC/CSU entrance criteria by Chris coalition of students and parents challenged the Palo Alto school board Tuesday (Dec. 13) to ensure the district’s two high schools offer a basic, non-honors track in math and science that satisfies entrance requirements for University of California (UC) and
Kenrick California State University (CSU) schools. School board members in turn asked Superintendent Kevin Skelly to clarify current course offerings after the students and parents angrily testified against what they called the “math letter,” a statement signed
by Palo Alto High School’s math department in May. In the letter, department head Radu Toma and his colleagues had argued against raising Palo Alto’s graduation requirements to meet UC/CSU entrance criteria because doing so would “either stop a significant number of students from graduating or, alternatively, force us to drastically lower standards in our courses as too many other
schools have done.” Toma indicated that Paly’s “regular lane” Algebra 2 class exceeds “basic benchmarks.” Easing those standards so that they meet but do not exceed UC/CSU entrance requirements would hurt the school district’s reputation, he wrote. In emotional testimony at Tuesday night’s school board meeting, students and parents criticized the letter as “arrogant, elitist and pater-
nalistic,” reflecting a math and science program at Palo Alto’s two high schools that caters to high achievers while failing to offer a basic path to college for many students. They called for the district to ensure the availability of at least one lane of high school math and science offerings that meet, but do not exceed, the UC/CSU requirements. (continued on page 7)
Palo Alto eyes major changes to Cogswell Plaza City seeks to deter ‘unsavory activity’ by changing landscaping, adding tables to downtown plaza by Gennady Sheyner
S Veronica Weber
Rudf Robles, 1, with her mom Alondura Robles, looks at her wrapped present, which was given by Ani Safavi and Moms Against Poverty. More than 800 presents were handed out at the Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto on Dec. 14. See story on page 11.
Housing agency offers support for struggling parents Program hopes to reach more groups, individuals in the community by Angela Johnston
ike many parents, Nina Haletky struggled to make her relationship with her young son a positive one. “It was a constant battle. I was reading different books and trying different things, but it’s hard when you’re a single mom and you can’t talk with anyone,” Haletky said. “I just didn’t want to fight every single night. I wanted to control my temper and learn how to stay calm.” Now, with the help of Palo Alto Housing Corporation’s parent-support services, Haletky’s relationship
with her 8-year-old son is improving every day. Haletky began taking parenting classes offered by the nonprofit housing corporation, which manages the apartment complex she lives in, five years ago. The classes slowly evolved into an informal discussion group for low-income families, in which parents discuss problems and brainstorm solutions in an open and supportive forum. “I was blown away by the strategies and how quickly my son’s behavior changed because I changed,” Haletky
said. “I saw changes within a week.” Some of the most common concerns are routine-related, such as getting ready for school in the morning or getting the kids to bed at night, explained Sue Garber, a parenting coach hired by the housing corporation when it introduced parentsupport services in 2005. “We fix these problems by creating exercises that put responsibility on kids,” she said. “We find the strengths of the parents and the children and utilize those strengths to move forward.” Haletky said the group has encouraged her to model her behavior so her son would emulate it. She uses strategies from “Positive Discipline,” a guidebook the group uses, such as hosting family meetings and checking in to see how her son is feeling. (continued on page 6)
eeking to spruce up and revitalize one of downtown’s most neglected open-space areas, Palo Alto officials are planning to add new landscaping, furniture and lighting to Cogswell Plaza. The plaza, which once hosted the city’s “Brown Bag Concert” series, has been getting little use in recent years, despite its prominent location one block north of University Avenue. Those who do patronize the plaza often engage in what the city’s landscape architect, Peter Jensen, called “unsavory activities,” often involving drugs, alcohol and urination. The problem has gotten worse in recent months, Jensen said, since El Camino Park across from the Stanford Shopping Center closed to accommodate construction of a new reservoir. Among the major problems with Cogswell, located at Lytton Avenue and Ramona Street, is the landscaping. Jensen said the hedges and shrubs at the periphery of the plaza screen plaza visitors from view and make it hard for police to catch perpetrators. The city’s $150,000 renovation plan would remove these shrubs, improving visibility and bringing more attention to the plaza’s crop of oaks and redwoods. Jensen said the goal is to encourage more daytime visitors — including people from the adjacent Avenidas senior center — to spend time at the plaza. “Right now, it’s really an unused outdoor space in downtown — which is unfortunate because there’s not a lot of outdoor space that’s open in the downtown area,” Jensen told the Parks and Recreation Commission Tuesday night (Dec. 13). The proposed improvements include removing the old shrubs and hedges and installing low-growing
plants. In a report, Jensen said the new plantings will “give the Plaza a fresh clean look, require less water and maintenance and will grow to an appropriate size to allow clear lines of sight through the space from one side to another.” The plan also calls for removal of a turf area in the north section of the plaza and installation of a circular seating area with game tables; repair broken sections of concrete pathways; install trash receptacles and make lighting improvements. Jensen said staff hopes to begin renovations in the coming year. In their first look at the renovation plan, commissioners expressed enthusiasm for the project, which they agreed would vastly improve the long-neglected plaza. Commissioner Edward Lauing called Jensen’s proposal a “great plan” and said the current situation definitely calls for more lighting. Commissioner Sunny Dykwel agreed, calling the existing plaza “aesthetically not pleasing” and stressing the importance of removing the “trip hazard” at the plaza. The only debate Tuesday evening centered on whether the plan should include more tables or more benches. Chair Daria Wash advocated for benches. Visitors to Cogswell Plaza, she said, tend to come either alone or in small groups and do not need tables to accommodate them. “People who really enjoy that park are sitting on the bench, and a few more benches might make it more attractive at lunch,” Walsh said. Commissioner Jennifer Hetterley disagreed and said she prefers to sit at a table, rather than on a bench, when visiting a park. Jensen said staff has been talking to Avenidas about the proposed plans and has the full support of the (continued on page 10)
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FINALLY! A VERY SPECIAL GIFT
THE SCOTTE VEST Available At
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Palo Alto Uniﬁed School District 25 Churchill Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306
REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATION OF BIDDERS PQ-11-JLS J.L. STANFORD MIDDLE SCHOOL MODERNIZATION& NEW CONSTRUCTION The Palo Alto Uniﬁed School District is inviting qualiﬁcation information from General Contractors to provide Construction Services for the following upcoming construction project. J.L. STANFORD MIDDLE SCHOOL (JLS): Construction of a new classroom building, permanent storage additions, remodeling and upgrades to multiple existing buildings, and site & landscape modernization. ($12 Million estimated cost) Contractors that were previously prequaliﬁed for PQ 11-01 Gunn High School New Classroom Buildings A&B, PQ 11-02 Gunn High School New Gymnasium and remodeling of the existing Gym and/ or PQ 11-03 Palo Alto High School New Classroom & Media Arts, and/or PQ-11-MS Jordan and Terman Middle Schools conducted earlier this year of 2011 only need to submit Part I – Contact Information & Part III-E –Financial Strength to provide updated ﬁnancial information. Due to the disparity in estimated cost of construction, Contractors that were previously prequaliﬁed for only PQ-11-FM Fairmeadow Elementary School ($6.5 Million estimated cost) must re-submit a full, completed Prequaliﬁcation Questionnaire. There will be MANDATORY prequaliﬁcation conferences for Contractors who have not previously attended a prequaliﬁcation conference conducted by the District during 2011, on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 10:00 AM and Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 10:00 AM at 25 Churchill Avenue, Building “D”, Palo Alto, CA. The project and the Prequaliﬁcation package will be discussed. Contractors may attend either of the mandatory conferences listed above to comply. All responses to this RFQ must be received no later than 4:00 PM Wednesday, January 4, 2012. Interested ﬁrms shall submit Qualiﬁcations as described in the Prequaliﬁcation Package to: Palo Alto Uniﬁed School District Facilities Department 25 Churchill Avenue, Building “D” Palo Alto, CA 94306 Attn: Heidi Rank Please note the District mail room is closed from December 17, 2011 thru January 2, 2012. Please direct any questions regarding this Request for Qualiﬁcation (RFQ) to Heidi Rank at hrank@pausd. org or faxed to (650) 327-3588. These are not requests for bids or offers by the District to contract with any party responding to this RFQ. The District reserves the right to reject any and all responses. All materials submitted to the District in response to this RFQ shall remain property of the District and may be considered a part of public record. Page 4ÊUÊ iViLiÀÊ£È]ÊÓä££ÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞ
450 CAMBRIDGE AVE, PALO ALTO, CA 94306 (650) 326-8210 PUBLISHER William S. Johnson EDITORIAL Jocelyn Dong, 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 Tom Gibboney, Spectrum Editor Sue Dremann, Chris Kenrick, Gennady Sheyner, Staff Writers Veronica Weber, Staff Photographer Kelsey Kienitz, Photo Intern Dale F. Bentson, Colin Becht, Peter Canavese, Kit Davey, Iris Harrell, Sheila Himmel, Chad Jones, Kevin Kirby, Jack McKinnon, Jeanie K. Smith, Susan Tavernetti, Robert Taylor, Contributors Yichuan Cao, David Ruiz, Editorial Interns DESIGN Shannon Corey, Design Director Raul Perez, Assistant Design Director Linda Atilano, Diane Haas, Scott Peterson, Paul Llewellyn, Senior Designers Lili Cao, Designer PRODUCTION Jennifer Lindberg, Production Manager Dorothy Hassett, Samantha Mejia, Blanca Yoc, Sales & Production Coordinators ADVERTISING Tom Zahiralis, Vice President Sales & Advertising Judie Block, Janice Hoogner, Gary Whitman, Display Advertising Sales Neal Fine, Carolyn Oliver, Rosemary Lewkowitz, Real Estate Advertising Sales David Cirner, Irene Schwartz, Inside Advertising Sales Cathy Norfleet, Display Advertising Sales Asst. Diane Martin, Real Estate Advertising Asst. Alicia Santillan, Classified Administrative Asst. Wendy Suzuki, Advertising Sales Intern EXPRESS, ONLINE AND VIDEO SERVICES Rachel Palmer, Online Operations Coordinator Rachel Hatch, Multimedia Product Manager BUSINESS Susie Ochoa, Payroll & Benefits Elena Dineva, Mary McDonald, Claire McGibeny, Cathy Stringari, Business Associates ADMINISTRATION Janice Covolo, Doris Taylor, Receptionists Ruben Espinoza, Courier EMBARCADERO MEDIA William S. Johnson, President Michael I. Naar, Vice President & CFO Tom Zahiralis, Vice President Sales & Advertising Frank A. Bravo, Director, Information Technology & Webmaster Connie Jo Cotton, Major Accounts Sales Manager Bob Lampkin, Director, Circulation & Mailing Services Alicia Santillan, Circulation Assistant 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) 326-8210. Periodicals postage paid at Palo Alto, CA and additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for Santa Clara County. The Palo Alto Weekly is delivered free to homes in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, East Palo Alto, to faculty and staff households on the Stanford campus and to portions of Los Altos Hills. If you are not currently receiving the paper, you may request free delivery by calling 326-8210. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302. Copyright ©2011 by Embarcadero Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. The Palo Alto Weekly is available on the Internet via Palo Alto Online at: www.PaloAltoOnline.com Our email addresses are: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. Missed delivery or start/stop your paper? Call 650 326-8210, or email circulation@paweekly. com. You may also subscribe online at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Subscriptions are $60/yr.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
FOR THE MAN OR WOMAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING!
This doesn’t mean there’s a problem with their brains, just their school. — Lucas Brooks, a black senior at Palo Alto High School, on why some students struggle to learn math. See story on page 3.
Around Town OPEN DOORS ... Downtown Palo Alto’s bookworms have a reason to rejoice these days. The newly refurbished Downtown Library is about to add an extra day of operations. The city announced this week that starting Jan. 5, the library would be open on Fridays, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. (the same hours as Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; Thursday hours will be noon to 6 p.m.). Library Director Monique le Conge said in a statement that library officials have been getting requests from patrons to extend hours ever since the downtown library reopened last summer, equipped with better lighting, a new community room, better furniture and other amenities. “It’s obvious that our customers are enjoying the changes,” le Conge said. “I’m thrilled that we’re able to meet the demand.” The city’s library-renovation effort is also scheduled to receive a major boost on Monday night, when the Palo Alto Library Foundation is set to present a $1.9 million check to the city for furniture and equipment at the new Mitchell Park library, currently under construction.
CALENDAR PUP ... Gizmo, a 4-yearold toy Yorkshire terrier from Palo Alto, appears to be achieving his 15 minutes of fame — in Workman Publishing’s 365 Puppies-AYear 2012 calendar. Loura Kobza, Gizmo’s owner, says her husband loves to take pictures of Gizmo running around the backyard. “I always bought the puppy calendars and knew that you could submit photos, so we submitted one of my husband’s photographs. Three years later, we received a package with the calendar and a letter saying Gizmo had been chosen!” Kobza says Gizmo, who has caramel whiskers and a jet-black body, has grown into one of the “most fabulous dogs.” “When we bought him he was 1 pound, 4 ounces. Now he weighs
6 pounds and thinks he is bigger and stronger than our two beagles, Roxy and O.D.,” Kobza says. Workman Publishing assembles a year’s worth of the “most-talented, bestlooking and most interesting canine and feline companions” submitted to them from around the globe, according to its press announcement. Gizmo shares his spotlight, Nov. 5 and 6, with pictures of 23 other terriers in the November section of the calendar. TURN IT DOWN! ... The Federal Communications Commission gave U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo a birthday present Dec. 13 when it issued rules that broadcasters must follow to comply with Eshoo’s CALM Act. The act, whose acronym stands for Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation, targets annoyingly loud television commercials. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, who was celebrating her 69th birthday that day, said it was gratifying to see the approval take place on her special day and lauded the CALM Act for addressing one of the most common (and most ignored) consumer complaints. The act, which cleared Congress and was signed into law a year ago, mandates that commercial volumes not exceed the highest decibel level of regular programming. Broadcasters have one year to comply. “More than anything, it’s an acknowledgement that consumers across the country have been clamoring for a long, long time,” Eshoo told the Weekly. “While the country has huge challenges before it and Congress is being held in such a low esteem, there is this one small bright spot.” A NATURE APP-ORTUNITY ... Eager to walk the Baylands? There’s an app for that. A new free app for a self-guided walking tour of the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve has been created by the nonprofit Environmental Volunteers. The Baylands Walking Tour app directs users to eight different locations throughout the preserve, offering short audio narrations about a range of topics, including the importance of bay marshes, the preserve’s flora and fauna, and the history of the preserve and the San Francisco Bay. It also features more than 100 pictures from local photographers. Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa officially launched the app Wednesday with a group of students guiding him. N
Upfront SAN FRANCISQUITO CREEK
Residents near creek may be asked to tax themselves Joint Powers Authority eyes finance district for residents in flood-prone areas of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto by Gennady Sheyner
ith federal funding up in the air, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park officials may look to residents who live near the volatile San Francisquito Creek to tax themselves in order to pay for flood protection. The San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (JPA), an agency that includes elected officials from the three cities, is considering creating a finance district for residents in about 5,400 parcels near the floodprone creek. This includes about 3,600 Palo Alto parcels, according to Len Materman, executive director of the creek authority. Materman told the Palo Alto City Council Monday night (Dec. 12) that the goal is to pass a bond that would help owners in the floodplain properties leave the National Flood Insurance Program, which costs an average household $1,300 a year. Materman said the bond would cost the parcels between $600 and $700. Once construction is completed property owners would see major
savings, he said. With flood-insurance rates rising by about 3 percent annually, the annual rate is slated to go up $2,000 in 15 years and more than $3,500 in 35 years, Materman said. “We do know that an argument for passing a bond measure would be to achieve substantial savings for property owners following the construction period,” Materman said. The proposed finance district is one of many funding sources the creek authority is considering to pay for its ambitious plan to calm the fickle creek. The agency was formed in 1999, one year after the creek flooded, causing tens of millions of dollars in damages (including $28 million in Palo Alto alone). The creek authority — which also includes elected officials from the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the San Mateo County Flood Control District — is also seeking various state grants to build a new levee downstream and to upgrade bridges in the three cities.
‘If we rely on the Corps it could be several decades.’
— Len Materman, executive director, San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority
Officials from the three cities had initially hoped to acquire federal funding for the proposed flood-protection measures. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the midst of a feasibility study analyzing ways to protect the properties around the creek from the “100-year flood” (an event that, by definition, takes place once every 100 years). The study was launched in 2005 and still has a way to go, Materman said. Both the appropriations for the study and the progress with the appropriations have been “suboptimal,” he said. Given the slow progress on the federal front, the cities are now
focusing on funding sources at the state, county and local levels. “If we rely on the Corps it could be several decades, but if we take ownership of funding and try to apply for a two-county funding district, it’s faster,” Materman said. The creek authority had earlier this year applied for a state grant to help pay for the design costs associated with upgrading the Newell Road bridge between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. It is planning to seek a similar grant for the Middlefield Road bridge between Palo Alto and Menlo Park. The Pope-Chaucer Street and University Avenue bridges would be next in line. Other funds could come from the water district, which passed a bond in 2000 with support from Palo Alto voters. The water district is now considering asking voters for another bond next year. Some of the proceeds from the future bond could also potentially be used to support the creek authority’s flood-protection effort.
Brian Schmidt, a member of the water district’s board of directors, told the council that the board still hasn’t decided whether to put the bond on next year’s ballot. And even if the bond measure goes on the ballot, there is no guarantee that it would pass, he said. “I think we’re going to do it if we think we’re going to win, but we don’t know yet,” Schmidt said. The first phase of the creek authority’s plan targets the vulnerable downstream area between U.S. Highway 101 and the San Francisco Bay. It includes excavating a channel, connecting the creek to the Baylands and building a levee (a project that would require reconfiguration of the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course). The project, which would provide protection from a 100-year flood to the downstream area, has an estimated cost of $26 million. The second phase would focus on the area between 101 and El (continued on page 10)
Palo Alto bids farewell to ‘Downtown’ Sandra Brown Popular lieutenant retires after 24 years in the Palo Alto Police Department by Gennady Sheyner
Courtesy of City of Palo Alto
fter nearly a quarter century of patrolling the streets, testifying at trials, and counseling students, “Downtown” Sandra Brown is stepping down. Lt. Brown, whose energetic presence and distinguished career made her one of the department’s most popular and well-known officers, received a standing ovation and a special resolution Monday night (Dec. 12) from the City Council. She is retiring at the end of this week. The resolution, which Councilwoman Karen Holman read into the record Monday, cites her long list of assignments, including stints as a field-training officer, a traffic-team supervisor, a recruiting officer, community-relations officer and a bike officer — an assignment that prompted the San Jose Mercury News to give her the moniker, “Downtown” Sandra Brown. The council resolution also praises Brown for her “genuine care for people” and “passion for youth.” Interim Public Safety Director Dennis Burns praised Brown Monday for being an “outstanding ambassador not only for city but also for police department.” Brown, he said, is “someone who made everyone play better every day.”
Lt. Sandra Brown “(She is) probably the most recognized Palo Alto police officer in our recent history and one of the best known personalities around,” Burns said. A well-known presence in downtown Palo Alto who earned her nickname in the 1980s while patrolling, Brown is lauded in the council resolution being “instrumental in the Department’s problem-solving and community policing approach to crime and quality of life issues in the Downtown area” and for her “creative and inventive collaboration with the business community.” In accepting the council reso-
lution, Brown thanked the volunteers at the Palo Alto Police Department and her colleagues, whom she praised for honorably serving the community even while getting disparaged by the city’s vocal police critics. The citizens of Palo Alto, she said, can “sleep peacefully.” She also thanked Burns and her colleagues in the department for “all the adrenaline rushes and for the opportunity to lead and be led.” Former Mayor Vic Ojakian said he met Brown more than a decade ago, when he was on the City Council, and said he was “impressed with her and how she connected with the people in this town. “I’m very grateful that she served on the force, and we are losing a real asset,” Ojakian said. Brown’s departure is the latest in a department that has seen an exodus of experienced officers in recent months. Lieutenants Scott Wong and Douglas Keith and Sgt. Rebecca Lynn Phillips had all received council resolutions over the past month in recognition of their recent retirements.N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
Busy Palo Alto intersection could see new hotel City board members generally like Hilton Garden Inn, but some residents critical by Gennady Sheyner
he latest addition to Palo Alto’s dynamic hotel scene could soon go up near one of the busiest intersections on the south part of the city. A four-story Hilton Garden Inn, featuring 176 rooms and various upscale amenities, has been proposed for 4217 El Camino Real, across the street from where the venerable Rickey’s Hyatt once stood. The proposal, which received its first review at Thursday’s Architectural Review Board (ARB) meeting, is the fourth hotel application the city has received in the past two years (see cover story on page 33), though one has since been withdrawn. Unlike the others, it would not need to go through extensive planning commission and council meetings because it would conform to the site’s commercial zoning. The board did not vote on the proposal and had mostly good things to say about the planned design, which includes a U-shaped building and a porte-cochere fronting El Camino Real. Jeffrey MacAdam from the firm Architectural Dimensions, which presented the plan to the ARB, said the new hotel would have two levels of parking to accommodate 178 parking spaces along with 28 bike racks. But the proposal by OTO Development also drew some criticisms
from area residents and board members, some of whom said they were concerned that the 50-foottall building would be too massive for a block currently dominated by shorter structures such as car-rental agencies and a dry-cleaning business. The hotel would stand across the street from Arbor Real, a townhouse development that replaced Rickey’s Hyatt. The Garden Inn would stand just south of the prominent intersection of El Camino and Arastradero Road — an intersection that is frequented by students commuting to Gunn High School, Terman Middle School and several smaller schools. The city is in the midst of a multiyear traffic-calming effort aimed at making the busy stretch of Arastradero west of El Camino safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Four speakers, including three Arbor Real residents, shared with the board their concerns about the project’s impact on the intersection. They called for the city to undertake an independent study to evaluate the traffic impacts of the new hotel. Land-use watchdog Bob Moss was the most vehement critic of the proposed hotel design, saying, “On a good day, I’d call it ghastly.” He compared it to the Arbor Real development, which is frequently criti(continued on page 10)
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N OT I C E
(continued from page 3)
Upgrade existing storm drainage system throughout the property to improve dispersal of rain ﬂow from the property.
“Every kid needs a voice and a chance to make choices,” she said. “I learned to involve my son in making rules and give him more responsibilities.” Kate Young, the director of resident services at the housing corporation, introduced the parent-support services along with Garber, a parent coach affiliated with MorrisseyCompton educational services. “Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world,” Young said. “A lot of parents reach out for support in one way or another, but those services aren’t really available to the parents in low-income housing.” Haletky agreed and said that most people who live in low-income housing can’t afford to pay for counseling services or buy self-help books. Haletky and a group of mothers meet once a month in a small classroom off the main community room at Arastradero Park apartments on Arastradero Road near El Camino Real in Palo Alto. The community center is a new addition to the apartment complex and features a big-screen TV on which kids can play video games while their parents meet. The housing corporation also offers complementary childcare and healthy dinners during the parenting sessions. Garber leads discussions based on “Positive Discipline,” a popular book written in the 1980s by Jane Nelsen. “We provide each parent a free copy of the book in English or Spanish,” she said. Haletky said even though the group lacks an interpreter, many of the stronger English speakers pair up with Spanish speakers who need help. “We have formed a really strong neighborhood community,” Haletky said. “It’s been amazing, and I’m really lucky.
GENERAL SCOPE OF WORK: 1. Provide trenching for 160’ down center between front of buildings 1 and 2 with borings under sidewalks for 4” piping. 2. Run eight 3” lines to buildings to attach onto existing downspouts. 3. Provide cleanout ﬁttings at high end of pipe and 100’ downstream. 4. Saw cut driveway 6’ out from grass area and install bubbler box to disperse rain ﬂow to high end grade of driveway. 5. Provide 220 feet of 3” DWV copper pipe and ﬁttings each along back side of building 1 and 2 and attach to 6 existing downspout roof ports. Set grade of pipe as necessary to disperse rain ﬂow to front of property. 6. Clean work area daily and remove debris off-site. 7. All materials used must be manufactured in the USA. Bid speciﬁcations pertaining to this project are available from (Friday, Dec 16, 2011) to (Friday, Dec 30, 2011). Please call to schedule a mandatory job walk. Bid closing date is (Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012) at 5:00 PM. Bid opening at 725 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301 on (Thursday, Jan 19, 2012) at 10:00 AM. This project is funded by the City of Palo Alto Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. All federal regulations listed in the Bid Speciﬁcations will apply, including equal opportunity, non-discrimination, and Federal Labor Standards provisions (Davis-Bacon). Reference is hereby made to bid speciﬁcations for further details, which speciﬁcations and this notice shall be considered part of the contract. For information and bid walk-through, contact Jim Brandenburg at 650321-9709 ext. 19.
N OT I C E NOTICE INVITING SEALED BIDS for WINDOW REPLACEMENT in two buildings consisting of six units each (#1 thru #12) of Ventura Apartments, 290-310 Ventura Street, Palo Alto, CA 94306. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The project is to remove and replace old windows with glass energyefﬁcient products in two buildings with six residential units each. GENERAL SCOPE OF WORK: 1. Remove existing windows and screens. 2. Contractor to supply storage for supplies and materials. 3. Furnish and install double-paned Low-E glass sliding windows and screens to ﬁt individual dimensions of existing openings. 4. Seal and caulk installations as appropriate. 5. Furnish and install locks on all windows. 6. Remove and dispose of all old material each day. 7. Clean glass and window/door frames. 8. All materials used must be manufactured in the USA. Bid speciﬁcations pertaining to this project are available from (Friday, Dec 16, 2011) to (Friday, Dec 30, 2011). Please call to schedule a mandatory job walk. Bid closing date is (Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012) at 5:00 PM. Bid opening at 725 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301 on (Thursday, Jan 19, 2012) at 10:00 AM. This project is funded by the City of Palo Alto Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. All federal regulations listed in the Bid Speciﬁcations will apply, including equal opportunity, non-discrimination, and Federal Labor Standards provisions (Davis-Bacon). Reference is hereby made to bid speciﬁcations for further details, which speciﬁcations and this notice shall be considered part of the contract. For information and bid walk-through, contact Jim Brandenburg at 650321-9709 ext. 19.
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NOTICE INVITING SEALED BIDS for Upgrade of Site Storm Drainage at 290-310 Ventura Street, Palo Alto, CA 94306.
Kate Young, director of resident services for the Palo Alto Housing Corporation, provides parenting workshops and support groups for residents with a grant from the Palo Alto Weekly’s Holiday Fund. “We share stories and talk about our situations. It’s so nice to realize that I’m not alone, and it isn’t just me who’s struggling.” Garber explained parents tend to feel isolated, and some parents don’t want to admit they need help. She said she is amazed at how supportive and understanding the participants have been so far. “This group has been so honest, open and non-judgmental. It’s very emotional, and it’s really impressive how much empathy and support there is,” Garber said. Recently the housing corporation added individualized coaching to its support services, which allows parents to participate in two one-hour sessions with Garber to address specific needs. “It’ll be a new concept, and I hope more people will join as they build trust with me,” Garber said. Haletky and a handful of other residents have already registered. “We expect this number will grow as parents settle into the group and feel more comfortable expressing
their needs,” Young said. As a Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund recipient of $5,000, the housing corporation has completed half of the parent-support group meetings funded by the grant. The support groups will continue for another six months at the Arastradero Park complex. With the funding, Young and Garber hope the program will reach more parents in the community and provide more individual counseling opportunities “We would like to see the group grow,” Young said. “There are moms who we know would benefit from this program but just aren’t coming yet, so we’ve asked each mother to bring one of their neighbors next time.” Haletky said she hopes the services will impact other families in the same way they helped her and her son. “It’s been life changing. I’d recommend it to anyone, anywhere.” N Editorial Intern Angela Johnston can be emailed at ajohnston@ paweekly.com.
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Peninsula Christmas Services
â€œThis letter is offensive on so many levels I donâ€™t have time to explain,â€? parent Kim Bomar said. â€œFor Mr. Toma to say (certain students) cannot be expected to pass is a total abrogation of the duty to teach.â€? About 20 percent of Palyâ€™s and Gunnâ€™s Class of 2011, including a disproportionate number of black and Latino students, graduated without fulfilling the entrance requirement for CSU and UC, the socalled â€œA-G requirements.â€? While itâ€™s possible to graduate without meeting the four-year-college-prep curriculum, Palo Alto has struggled to boost the percentage of its graduates who meet the UC/ CSU entrance requirements. The concern was identified as a priority in the districtâ€™s 2008 strategic plan, and the board set a goal of having 85 percent of its graduates meet the criteria by 2012. Skelly in May recommended that the school board boost Palo Altoâ€™s
graduation requirements to align with the UC/CSU entrance criteria as one way of raising expectations for all students. That idea has been endorsed by a variety of interest groups, including the Student Equity Action Network, the Network of Parents of Students of Color and the group We Can Do Better Palo Alto, which has pushed for measures to reduce academic stress. But the Board of Education reacted cautiously to Skellyâ€™s May proposal, expressing worries about unintended consequences for struggling students, including many in special education. At the time, Skelly said he would bring the issue back to the board after researching why some students are not fulfilling A-G. He returned with an analysis in October. At Tuesdayâ€™s board meeting, students and parents criticized the tone of the math letter as â€œunacceptable in every possible wayâ€? while renewing their request that Palo Alto align its graduation standards with UC/ CSU entrance criteria. Lucas Brooks, an African-American
â€˜But the elitist attitudes expressed in the letter should be repudiated in the strongest possible terms.â€™
â€” Wynn Hausser, member, We Can Do Better Palo Alto
senior at Paly and member of the Student Equity Action Network, said heâ€™s fortunate to have â€œtwo MIT graduates, constant access to the Internet, and the time and money to hire a tutor. â€œBut unfortunately, most of my minority and economically disadvantaged friends as well as many others cannot say the same,â€? Brooks said. â€œUnfortunately, they go home and struggle to teach themselves material designed for students like me. This doesnâ€™t mean thereâ€™s a problem with their brains, just their school. â€œIt doesnâ€™t make sense to me to design even the middle lane classes so that students in them need to
learn much more than theyâ€™ll need to achieve their collegiate dreams,â€? Brooks said. He also urged the board to reform graduation requirements to comply with UC/CSU entrance criteria. Parent Wynn Hausser, a member of We Can Do Better Palo Alto, said he was â€œflabbergasted to read the letter from the Paly math department that indicates these teachers are more concerned with reputation and awards than doing their jobs as educators â€” that is to educate all their students to the best of their ability. â€œI do not think, or at least I hope, that this letter does not represent the viewpoint of the majority of Palo Alto teachers. But the elitist attitudes expressed in the letter should be repudiated in the strongest possible terms,â€? Hausser said. Skelly apologized to the parents, saying he took responsibility for overlooking Tomaâ€™s comments in the context of the A-G debate in May. â€œI should have gone back to the math department and worked on that issue,â€? he said Tuesday. â€œI think the math department re-
grets the contents of that letter and wish theyâ€™d expressed concerns about the psychic implications for students more articulately and more sensitively. â€œWhile folks may not trust the math department on this, I do. Theyâ€™re people of good will who want to see kids be successful.â€? Skelly said he will bring the A-G matter back to the board but wants assurance that staff members will have a safe environment to express their views. â€œWeâ€™re not proud of the results we have (on A-G attainment) to date and I take those as personal failures,â€? he said. â€œI think others do as well, including the math department.â€? N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at ckenrick@paweekly. com.
TALK ABOUT IT
www.PaloAltoOnline.com Should the Palo Alto Unified School District reform its graduation requirements to conform with UC/CSU entrance criteria? Share your opinions on Town Square on Palo Alto Online.
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St. Bedeâ€™s Episcopal Church 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, 854-6555 www.stbedesmenlopark.org
Celebrate the Season of Promise Fulfilled! Sunday, December 18th
Christmas Eve at Bethany 5:00 p.m. Family Christmas Children tell the story of Jesus, as shepherds, angels, wisemen, and the holy family. Join us between services to enjoy wonderful food and Christmas cheer!
4:00pm A Service of Christmas Lessons & Carols
7:00 p.m. Musical Christmas
Saturday, December 24th Christmas Eve
Joy-ďŹ lled music to honor and remember the birth of Godâ€™s son.
4:00pm Christmas Pageant & Holy Eucharist 10:00pm Candlelight Choral Eucharist
Sunday, December 25th Christmas Day 9:00am Holy Eucharist with Carols, Rite I
10:00 p.m. Candlelight Christmas A quiet, contemplative time to refocus your evening with familiar hymns in the glow of candlelight.
Sunday, January 1st Feast of the Holy Name 9:00am Holy Eucharist with Carols, Rite II
BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH 1095 CLOUD AVENUE MENLO PARK at the corner of Avy & Cloud
www.bethany-mp.org *>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?ĂžĂŠUĂŠ iViÂ“LiĂ€ĂŠÂŁĂˆ]ĂŠĂ“Ă¤ÂŁÂŁĂŠU Page 7
Peninsula Christmas Services ESaZSgC\WbSR;SbV]RWab1Vc`QV 1Vc`QVWa`SbVO\Ac\ROga=^S\W\U6SO`ba;W\RaO\R2]]`a
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Vineyard Christian Fellowship of the Peninsula CHRISTMAS EVE CELEBRATION
CHRISTMAS at FIRST LUTHERAN 600 Homer Avenue, Palo Alto | 650-322-4669 www.flcpa.org Pastor Kempton Segerhammar
December 24, 5:00 p.m. | Family Worship
Holy Communion and Carols First Lutheran children dramatize the Christmas story. First Kidsâ€™ Choir sings
December 24, 10:00 p.m. | Pre-service Music Harpist Dan Levitan joins Choir to present Benjamin Brittenâ€™s Ceremony of Carols
10:30 p.m. | Holy Communion by Candlelight
Katherine McKee, Choir Director | Andrew Chislett, Organist
Saturday December 24th, 2011 5:00pm
December 25, 10:30 a.m. | Worship | Holy Communion
Cubberley Community Center, Pavilion 4000 MiddleďŹ eld Road, Palo Alto
All services include congregational singing of traditional carols.
Lessons and Carols for Christmas | Andrew Chislett, Organist
Come join us for a beautiful relaxed time together. Special refreshments served at 5:00 pm followed by a candlelight service. Children of all ages welcome.
For more info on this service and other Advent events, go to www.vcfp.org
Valley Presbyterian Church in the Redwoods
St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish, Palo Alto
945 Portola Road, Portola Valley, CA 650-851-8282 www.valleypreschurch.org
Our Lady of the Rosary, 3233 Cowper Street St. Albert the Great, 1095 Channing Avenue St. Thomas Aquinas, 751 Waverley Street
Christmas Eve Worship 5:00 pm
Family Candlelight Service
Candlelight Service Lessons & Carols
Christmas Day Worship 10:45 am
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CHRISTMAS EVE â€“ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24TH 5:00 pm Family Mass â€“ Our Lady of the Rosary (Childrenâ€™s Christmas Pageant during Mass) 5:00 pm Family Mass â€“ St. Albert the Great (Childrenâ€™s Christmas Pageant during Mass) 6:00 pm â€“ St. Thomas Aquinas 7:00 pm â€“ Our Lady of the Rosary (Spanish) Midnight Mass 12:00 am â€“ St. Thomas Aquinas (Gregorian)
CHRISTMAS DAY â€“ SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25TH 7:30am â€“ St. Thomas Aquinas; 9:00am â€“ Our Lady of the Rosary (Spanish) â€” St. Albert the Great; 10:30am â€“ Our Lady of the Rosary; 10:30am â€“ St. Thomas Aquinas; 12:00 Noon â€“ St. Thomas Aquinas (Gregorian)
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH PALO ALTO . #ALIFORNIA AT "RYANT s WWWFIRSTBAPTIST PALOALTOORG
Sunday, December 18, 10:00 AM: Family Worship, â€œGratitude and Loveâ€? followed by finger food brunch
Peninsula Christmas Services
Friday, December 24, 5:30 PM: Christmas Eve Family Service Sunday, December 25, 10:00 AM: Family Worship, â€œJesus, the Light of the Worldâ€?
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, UCC
All Saintsâ€™ Episcopal Church
A Child is Bornâ€Ś Join Us for the Celebration Christmas Eve
5:00 pm Family Eucharist with Choir & Blessing of the CrĂ¨che 10:30 pm Musical Prelude with Choir 11:00 pm Festive Candlelight Eucharist 10:00 am Communion & Carols
ST. MARKâ€™S EPISCOPAL CHURCH PALO ALTO CHRISTMAS EVE V 4:00 pm Childrenâ€™s Christmas Pageant & Communion V 10:00 pm Festive Choral Christmas Eve Holy Communion beginning with Carols
www.asaints.org (650) 322-4528
Sundays 8am & 10am 555 Waverley at Hamilton, Palo Alto