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2 Arts & Entertainment A weekly guide to music, theater, art, movies and more, edited by Rebecca Wallace

THE TRUMAN SHOW

PALO ALTAN PORTRAYS PLAIN-SPOKEN PRESIDENT

Peter Vilkin as Harry Truman.

BY REBECCA WALLACE

R

Kimihiro Hoshino

ight about now, Marilyn Langbehn usually digs out the Truman campaign button she inherited from her grandmother. In an election year, she figures, the nation can use a dose of the late president’s plainspokenness. “Harry Truman keeps coming up at certain times in our lives, because we so desperately just want someone to sit us down and tell us the truth,� she says in a phone interview. “He didn’t shy away from his opinions. He was very principled. You felt, I think, as if you knew where you stood.� Thanks to the one-man play “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry,� Truman keeps surfacing on

stage. Playwright Samuel Gallu wrote the script after the Watergate scandal, and it went to Broadway and film in 1975, with James Whitmore playing Truman. “There are some obvious digs to Nixon� in the script, Langbehn says. “They’re pretty much guaranteed to get some kind of ‘things never change’ reaction from the audience.�

Now, in another era when the public is repeatedly shocked, shocked to hear that a politician has lied, “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry� will be back on stage locally, courtesy of Palo Alto Players. A desk with the famous “The buck stops here� sign will soon preside over the Lucie Stern Theatre stage. The minimal set will recall the Oval Office that Truman occupied from 1945 to 1953, during the end of World War II, the dropping of the bomb, Truman’s nail-biting election victory in 1948, the Korean War and the nascent civil-rights movement. (continued on page 35)

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Palo Alto Historical Property Values - 2011 BARRON PARK Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 33 25 15 30 33 31 40 53 54 24

Median $ 1,482,000 1,400,000 1,500,000 1,607,000 1,695,000 1,258,000 1,325,000 1,255,000 940,000 941,250

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 22 24 18 16 25 27 30 30 25 30

Median $ 1,275,000 1,735,000 1,105,000 1,441,000 1,365,000 1,420,000 1,200,000 995,000 852,000 1,055,000

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 22 21 18 19 29 26 25 31 24 39

Median $ 2,151,000 1,790,000 1,827,000 2,000,000 1,850,000 1,726,500 1,950,000 1,375,000 1,252,000 1,250,000

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 33 25 28 20 34 19 48 35 26 32

Median $ 2,535,000 2,425,000 1,910,000 2,075,000 2,375,257 1,700,000 2,161,500 2,050,500 1,445,000 1,753,750

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 22 19 14 20 31 27 26 32 18 21

Median $ 1,610,000 1,367,000 1,544,000 1,658,500 1,700,000 1,425,000 1,534,500 1,415,500 1,016,500 1,100,000

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 15 18 6 4 12 14 15 19 16 24

Median $ 1,610,000 1,360,500 1,412,000 1,565,000 1,814,000 1,508,500 1,300,000 1,402,000 1,008,500 935,000

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 55 61 50 39 44 70 59 71 85 78

Median $ 1,500,000 1,470,000 1,413,000 1,550,000 1,567,000 1,425,000 1,350,000 1,210,000 915,000 962,500

Min $ 830,000 682,500 1,055,000 675,000 950,000 755,000 900,000 575,000 610,000 579,000

MIDTOWN Max $ 2,275,000 2,969,250 2,700,000 2,500,000 3,495,000 2,800,000 2,300,000 3,635,000 2,400,000 1,639,000

Avg $ / SF $805 $781 $737 $917 $889 $782 $834 $661 $575 $1,015

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 63 59 54 55 57 61 71 70 80 74

Median $ 1,380,000 1,365,000 1,337,000 1,515,000 1,475,000 1,200,000 1,180,000 975,000 828,000 850,000

Max $ 3,695,000 2,700,000 2,310,000 2,778,000 2,150,000 2,650,000 2,100,000 2,000,000 1,850,000 2,130,000

Avg $ / SF $853 $801 $860 $1,063 $959 $866 $890 $752 $623 $590

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 47 30 21 35 41 50 51 58 44 42

Median $ 2,575,000 2,044,000 2,000,000 2,085,000 2,500,000 1,915,000 1,703,000 1,737,500 1,513,500 1,337,500

Max $ 4,908,000 3,650,000 4,830,000 3,900,000 15,000,000 4,250,000 3,500,000 3,325,000 2,349,000 4,175,000

Avg $ / SF $948 $881 $1,000 $975 $1,068 $898 $939 $835 $686 $695

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 13 15 14 6 8 16 14 19 19 16

Median $ 2,350,000 1,990,000 1,400,000 1,767,500 2,300,000 1,427,500 2,060,000 1,750,000 1,149,000 1,477,500

Max $ 6,025,000 4,450,000 4,995,000 6,900,000 9,750,000 4,500,000 6,200,000 4,500,000 3,750,000 4,650,000

Avg $ / SF $940 $879 $842 $1,022 $995 $938 $885 $828 $675 $794

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 100 120 121 94 117 127 115 153 122 119

Median $ 1,229,000 1,246,500 1,188,000 1,350,000 1,350,000 1,150,000 1,100,000 930,000 799,000 788,000

Max $ 3,775,000 2,200,000 2,995,000 3,800,000 4,850,000 4,900,000 3,000,000 2,825,000 2,550,000 2,750,000

Avg $ / SF $967 $815 $812 $954 $934 $813 $839 $709 $573 $628

Year 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

# Sold 9 13 9 6 8 20 15 13 16 9

Median $ 900,000 815,000 903,000 900,000 1,244,000 888,500 835,000 731,000 639,500 596,000

Max $ 3,350,000 2,450,000 1,900,000 1,860,000 2,750,000 2,600,000 2,440,000 2,525,000 2,050,000 2,000,000

Avg $ / SF $833 $809 $751 $829 $891 $712 $686 $573 $553 $564

Max $ 2,470,000 3,150,000 4,050,000 4,150,000 3,595,000 3,400,000 2,703,000 2,425,000 3,000,000 2,729,000

Avg $ / SF $812 $866 $796 $914 $915 $810 $786 $713 $589 $598

COLLEGE Min $ 630,000 675,000 746,000 892,000 723,000 484,000 696,000 450,000 425,000 495,000

Min $ 740,000 755,000 815,000 960,000 810,000 750,000 550,000 629,000 594,000 558,000

Max $ 5,800,000 7,300,000 3,500,000 7,800,000 8,250,000 6,500,000 6,800,000 3,850,000 4,200,000 3,400,000

Avg $ / SF $1,016 $994 $925 $1,031 $1,030 $989 $905 $829 $705 $698

Min $ 1,100,000 775,000 810,000 1,300,000 1,625,000 788,000 765,000 649,000 477,000 750,000

Max $ 4,900,000 7,995,000 3,270,000 9,850,000 4,600,000 2,600,000 4,350,000 4,700,000 2,200,000 5,000,000

Avg $ / SF $834 $933 $742 $1,080 $873 $884 $855 $793 $637 $742

Max $ 2,388,000 2,350,000 2,300,000 2,690,000 2,400,000 2,296,000 2,395,000 2,550,000 2,280,000 1,950,000

Avg $ / SF $794 $719 $704 $839 $840 $740 $724 $603 $532 $532

Max $ 1,590,000 918,000 1,195,000 1,285,000 1,617,000 1,500,000 1,110,000 1,150,000 1,095,000 730,000

Avg $ / SF $651 $735 $776 $906 $848 $746 $747 $623 $528 $559

SOUTH PALO ALTO

DOWNTOWN Min $ 610,000 645,000 1,000,000 899,000 975,000 575,000 1,010,000 535,000 380,000 653,000

Avg $ / SF $844 $800 $754 $865 $957 $835 $797 $670 $609 $594

PROFESSORVILLE

CRESCENT PARK Min $ 701,000 710,000 800,000 1,269,000 710,000 1,010,000 899,000 969,000 595,000 640,000

Max $ 2,950,000 2,615,000 2,499,000 2,722,000 3,100,000 3,000,000 1,953,000 1,775,000 2,150,000 1,652,000

OLD PALO ALTO

COMMUNITY CENTER Min $ 800,000 985,000 1,170,000 750,000 729,000 767,000 950,000 550,000 575,000 725,000

Min $ 770,000 835,000 745,000 720,000 860,000 762,000 730,000 561,000 572,300 475,000

Min $ 760,000 802,500 775,000 845,000 935,000 800,000 800,000 659,000 570,000 548,000

VENTURA Min $ 672,000 690,000 703,000 825,000 815,000 580,000 660,000 525,000 485,000 460,000

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Arts & Entertainment

Joyce Goldschmid

In character, Peter Vilkin re-creates Harry Truman’s triumphant moment in 1948 when — despite an infamous newspaper error — he won the presidential election.

Truman

(continued from previous page)

Later in the play, Truman spends time back home in Missouri, recalling the pivotal conversations and people of his past, including the general and war hero Douglas MacArthur, whom Truman fired for insubordination. Overall, the episodic play is more of a personal profile than a study of history. “The playwright has chosen some very select pieces (of the president’s life) to paint Truman as the champion of the little guy, the average American,� Langbehn says. “If you’re going into the script looking for some big dissection of his role in the bombing of Hiroshima or the desegregation of the military, they’re not in there.� What is part of this production is a seasoned team. Langbehn is in her 25th year as a director. By day, she’s the marketing and PR manager of the California Shakespeare Theater in Berkeley. She’s directed three other shows for Palo Alto Players, including the acclaimed “Rabbit Hole� in 2010. Interestingly, she just helmed an East Bay production of “Frost/Nixon.� Playing Truman — holding the stage alone while embodying a historical figure, all in a Missouri accent — is no small task. In the role is a veteran actor, longtime Palo Alto resident Peter Vilkin. Vilkin has been busy with his career as a real-estate developer and hasn’t been on stage in 13 years. As Truman might have said, this is a hell of a role to return with. But

Palo Alto Players executive director Peter Bliznick had enough faith in Vilkin to pre-cast him. “They’d have to find someone crazy enough to memorize an hour and 45 minutes of dialogue,� Vilkin says recently at the theater, laughing. “If you add up all the roles I’ve ever played, this is more than that.� Add up those roles, and you get a swell acting resume. Vilkin balanced work and theater after graduating from Stanford University in 1980, acting with Palo Alto Players in such shows as “The Three Sisters,� “Oklahoma!� and “Dancing At Lughnasa.� Roles with other companies included Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing,� the title role in “Sweeney Todd,� and Emile in “South Pacific.� The pinnacle was getting cast in the national tour of “Les Miserables� in 1990. Vilkin was in the ensemble but also understudied Javert, and went on many times as the persistent policeman. “I felt like I was hoisted out of the ranks of community theater. Everything was the Cadillac,� Vilkin recalls dreamily. “We had full-time hair people. ... They made us custom wigs in England. It cost about two thousand dollars. And they would make your boots custom for you.� Vilkin is an accomplished singer but only a self-described “mover� when it comes to dance. “Les Miz� gave him a crash course in the waltz. “I’m now the most expert waltzer after 386 performances,� he says. But Vilkin had never played the

leader of the free world. Now he stands confidently on the stage in a generously lapeled suit that he’ll wear in the show. (“I bought it on eBay,� he says.) His shoes are shiny, and he has the kind of easy, down-to-earth poise that you just might see in a former Midwestern haberdasher who made it to the White House. Like Langbehn, Vilkin clearly also admires Truman. “He did what he felt was right all the time. ... Wish we had that today.� As Truman, Vilkin sometimes muses to himself (“I can’t help but wonder how Franklin would be running the show�), and sometimes addresses the audience. He has a lot to say about the other figures in his life (“Richard Nixon could lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time�), and a lot to say to them: Vilkin has several imaginary one-sided conversations in the play. At one point, he discusses with Franklin Roosevelt the decision to drop the atomic bomb. When asked if the action bothered him, Truman says he had no choice. “I’d do the same damn thing tomorrow and not bat an eye if it would end the war,� Vilkin says in character. Speaking in character also means mastering a Missouri accent. Vilkin has been practicing — along with studying his lines — for months. It’s a subtle accent, flatter, with different rhythms than California patterns. “It’s a very horizontal sound,� Vilkin says. “My friend said, ‘You can picture the plains spreading out before you.’� Vilkin will also have to whiten his hair. A young-looking 57, he is playing Truman when he was in his early 60s. His director has confidence that he’ll more than do justice to the role. “He is diligent and filled with humor and just keen to the challenge,� Langbehn says. Both director and actor are also big fans of the script. “It has a great sense of having people in the living room with a fire going and a glass of wine, and you’re telling a great story,� Vilkin says. Langbehn says audience members don’t have to be students of history to appreciate the play; the themes in Truman’s life can feel surprisingly contemporary. One scene re-creates a speech that Truman gave on the Senate floor in 1937. He criticized the United States’ “worship of money instead of honor,� and, like today’s Occupy protestors, said financial control is in the hands of too few. “There’s all kinds of little resonances like that in the script,� Langbehn said. “There’s a lot for a modern audience to gain.� N

Always in Season Sun Hats Sunday Afternoons Hats

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What: Palo Alto Players presents the one-man play “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry,� by Samuel Gallu. Where: Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto When: The show previews at 8 p.m. Jan. 27 and runs through Feb. 5, with shows at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Cost: Tickets are $20 for the preview and $29 for other shows, with discounts available for students, seniors and groups. Info: Go to paplayers.org or call 650329-0891.

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Arts & Entertainment

The war at home Powerful drama puts a personal face on Iraq conflict by Karla Kane

A

verage Americans may think about the most recent war in Iraq only in abstract terms, or buzz words — when they think of it at all. Images that come to mind might be the overthrow of a brutal dictator; a Bush-administration blunder; the horrors of Abu Ghraib; a far-off incident in a foreign land. How many Americans have ever met an Iraqi, know something of their war experience, or are familiar with Iraqi culture? For the people of Iraq, the war was an up-close-and-personal force that ripped apart lives and changed the face of a nation, for better or worse. It’s the voices of these average, middle-class civilians — men and women not too different, it turns out, from their American counterparts — that are brought to light in “Aftermath,� the powerful, compelling drama currently being presented in its West Coast premiere by the Palo Alto Players. To gather the tales told in “Aftermath,� American playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen traveled to Jordan to interview 35 Iraqi refugees who fled their native land during and after the war. The information gleaned from these interviews forms the ba-

THEATER REVIEW sis of the play, which focuses on nine characters (plus one cameo) in a straightforward, documentary style, told largely in monologues. True to the material’s origins, the production is no-frills, with players lined up across the stage in everyday clothing with simple furnishings and props. The characters are a cross-section from various walks of Iraqi life. A pharmacist from Fallujah; a theater professor and his painter wife; a wealthy Baghdad dermatologist (the hilarious Paul Jennings in a standout role); a Christian wife and mother; an Islamic cleric (wonderfully played by Indianborn actor/director Ravi Bhatnagar); and others take turns telling their stories. Mohamed Chakmakchi’s Shahid serves as narrator and translator. Between vignettes he interjects helpful facts, interesting tidbits and occasional jokes about the culture, people and history of the diverse and ancient land known as the “cradle of civilization.� In addition to some acting veterans (Jennings, Bhatnagar, Gary Gerber and others) the cast includes several Iraqis and Iraqi-

Americans, most of whom have little to no theater experience. Their naturalness works well in this case, as they bring the characters to life convincingly with just the right touch of honest awkwardness. Especially impressive is Chakmakchi in the leading role and as dramaturg, serving as the bridge between the audience and the rest of the cast. A warm and engaging presence, Chakmakchi lights up the stage. It’s surprising to learn that this is the Mountain View teacher’s first play. All the actors spend some time directly addressing the audience, offering tea and coffee as if viewers were guests in their homes, creating the sense of a personal connection between performer and watcher. And though the play is performed mainly in English, Arabic phrases are frequently mixed in to nice effect. The structure follows a vaguely chronological timeline, with characters in rotation describing their lives under Saddam Hussein and then the changes they faced after the American invasion, with its “Shock and Awe� campaign, military checkpoints and more. At first the tone is light and peppered with humor. Life under Saddam’s regime, while not easy, is somewhat stable (though restrictive). Husbands and wives meet, court and marry. Careers are pursued. Houses are built. Children are born. Once the American occupation

February 4, 2012 Fox Theatre, Redwood City

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Shruti Tewari (front), Anna Rubchinskaya (right), Yara Badday (back center), Dolfakar Mardan (back right) and Gary Gerber (back left) in “Aftermath.� begins, the stories grow more harrowing and the tone darkens. A college student is murdered by U.S. troops in front of his mother and sister; a car bomb wipes out nearly an entire family; a man is wrongfully imprisoned and tortured at Abu Ghraib. Friends, neighbors and cherished possessions are left behind. The horrors of war are given a human face. The characters all demonstrate the suffering, anguish and anger their situations have brought them.

But in the end there is optimism, too, as they reaffirm their Iraqi identities and love for their country, despite their exile, and retain their senses of self. Of course a brief play (one act, no intermission) cannot hope to offer an in-depth look at the complexities of an entire people. Instead, it very successfully gives American audiences a small taste of the war’s impact on folks who, in the end, seem not so foreign at all. Chakmakchi says it best in a note in the program: “We believe this play can show you something of the trials and tribulations, the hopes and humanity of these Iraqis whose lives have become so inextricably tied with our own.� Or, as I overheard an audience member remark upon exiting the theater, “It gives you a lot to think about.� “Aftermath� is simple, effective and moving, and should be required viewing for anyone hoping to expand awareness of a muchmaligned yet vibrant culture. N What: The play “Aftermath,� written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, presented by Palo Alto Players Where: Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto When: Through Jan. 22, with shows at 8 p.m. this Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Cost: $29, with discounts available for seniors, students and groups. Info: Go to paplayers.org or call 650329-0891.

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Eating Out RESTAURANT REVIEW

Visions of grandeur Lyfe execs dream of a national chain, but Palo Alto prototype needs some basic fixes by Dale F. Bentson

Veronica Weber

L

Fish tacos are light on fish but loaded with slaw, cilantro, avocado and chipotle aioli.

DINNER BY THE MOVIES AT SHORELINE’S

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yfe Kitchen received a lot of press before and after its October opening, much of it selfwritten thanks to an almost hyperactive PR effort. The concept restaurant is part of a company founded by former McDonald’s executives and a venture capitalist, with the executive team also including Fortune 500 consultants. The 100-seat Palo Alto address is the prototype that execs hope will soon blossom into a 250restaurant national chain. And the food? It’s made eschewing butter, cream, high-fructose corn syrup and fried items. Menu items are all under 600 calories with less than 1000 mg of sodium. The mantra is to produce great-tasting, nutritious food — and get it to the table quickly. It’s a step up from fast

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Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

food, falling into the fast-casual category, where food is swiftly made to order. The menu at Lyfe (an acronym for Love Your Food Everyday) was developed by two high-profile chefs. Art Smith is Oprah’s former personal chef and now a celebrity chef in his own right, and Tal Ronnen is a leading vegan chef, cookbook author and caterer to the stars. The conscientious planning didn’t stop in the kitchen, either. The interior properties are made from recycled and sustainable products: bamboo flooring, soy-based foam upholstery, low-voltage Xenon lighting, recycled stainless steel and aluminum, and Douglas-fir bleacher wood salvaged from colleges and high schools. Table tops are cleaned and sanitized with ionized water.

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Preparation: Put 4 large sheets of aluminum foil on a clean work surface. Form an edge, about 1 1/2 inches high, on all sides of foil sheets. Heat oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. Add chili and garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add mussels/ clams and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil and parsley; cook for 5 minutes more. Remove pan from heat; remove and discard chili pepper, garlic and basil leaves. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add spaghetti and cook just until very al dente. Reserving 2 tablespoons cooking liquid; drain pasta. Immediately add pasta, cooking liquid, squid, prawns and shrimp to pan with mussels, stir together and cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Divide pasta and sauce among foil sheets; add garnish to each packet and fold foil over pasta, crimpingedges to make four sealed pouches. Place pouches on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Transfer pouches to plates and open at the table.


my table. The tacos were light on fish but loaded with shredded veggies to fatten them out: carrot, cabbage, jicama, cilantro, onion, avocado. A larger portion of fish would have made the price more palatable. The sweet potato had been cut, fry-like, and baked. The fries were bland and limp despite being burnt around the edges. The potato would have been better had it been crisped, or at the very least seasoned. It was a near-flavorless filler. Better was the grilled artichoke ($3.99) with lemon aioli, which made a fine appetizer. The BBQ chicken flatbread ($7.99) featured free-range chicken, sweet corn, roasted onion, cilantro, agave barbeque sauce and a five-cheese blend that was especially good. Both dishes would have been great to share. Alas, there were no ex-

tra plates at the table or at the water/ utensil station, which made sharing difficult. On the subject of dishes: The white dinnerware is chic and matches well with the decor but grrr, they are oddsized plates and knives are impossible to place over the edges. They simply fall off and clatter on the table or slide down into the food on the plate. I liked everything but the price on Art’s unfried chicken ($11.99). The chicken was about the size of a small boneless breast, breaded and baked. It was fork-tender and the accompanying Brussels sprouts and squash, bathed in cashew cream and Dijon vinaigrette, were delightful. Despite the small ration of chicken, it was filling. Desserts are all $3.99. The lemon pound cake topped with fresh fruit

was satisfying. The volcano cake was very chocolaty, but a word of caution on the minute slice of non-dairy banana rum cheesecake: The pecan crust was soggy while the pie had a soupy texture and was way too sweet. A botched effort, in my opinion. While Lyfe has a token selection of beers and wines, it excels with coffees, teas, smoothies and coolers. The cranberry-pomegranate cooler ($2.99), with cucumber and agave, was refreshing and delicious. Lyfe is an ambitious project whose foundation is right here, right now. The prices might put some people off; the portions of some dishes could be enlarged; and a couple of items need rethinking. Overall, though, Lyfe is what it claims to be: a restaurant that delivers naturally prepared, satisfying food, quickly. N

Veronica Weber

Barbecue chicken flatbread paired with cranberry-pomegranate cooler. Even the men’s room uses a Sloan hands-free waterless urinal. For some people, it’s the future. For others, it’s just hyperbole. On the surface, Lyfe is almost the anti-McDonald’s, but it really isn’t and I’m sure management doesn’t view it that way. It’s a business opportunity, pure and simple, and there is nothing wrong with that. The executive team understands fast food: an unpretentious menu using nominal ingredients, an efficient kitchen where the number of footsteps to complete an order is minimal, high-tech appliances, state-of-the-art communications, fresh ingredients, and durable dining-room seating that is comfortable enough but discourages long-term table use. Check, check and check; they’ve got it. But not quite all of it yet. On a recent visit, I found that the sweet corn chowder ($3.99), made with cashew cream and chopped herbs, was supposed to be topped with multigrain croutons — but there were none on mine. The chowder was tasty, with the dish arriving before I had my coat hung up. Okay, fast. But the surface

of the soup was tepid at best while the interior was boiler-hot, suggesting the bowl had been zapped in a microwave. The kitchen should have stirred the soup to even the heat. Fourteen seconds later, the two fish tacos ($8.99) and the side of sweet potato fries ($2.49) were piled onto Lyfe Kitchen 167 N. Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto 650-325-5933 lyfekitchen.com Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Reservations



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Cover Story

Palo Alto Police Department’s female ofďŹ cers serve with wit, wisdom and determination

Agent Mariana Villaescusa speaks with a Palo Alto resident on Jan. 15 in downtown Palo Alto. Palo Alto’s police department has one of the highest percentages of female officers in the state.

On her third day as a Palo Alto police ofďŹ cer, Agent Marianna Villaescusa got a wake-up call: A man tried to run her down with his car during a trafďŹ c stop. She hopped up on her cruiser to avoid being struck. by Sue Dremann Photos by Kelsey Kienitz

Page 40ĂŠUĂŠ>Â˜Ă•>ÀÞÊÓä]ÊÓä£ÓÊUĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?Ăž


Cover Story

E

very day Palo Alto’s 14 female officers put their lives on the line along with the rest of the city’s police force. Over the past three decades, women in blue have made great strides in their profession. Despite sometimes-prejudicial treatment from the public, lingering biases in specialized teams and still-small numbers, women on the Palo Alto police force do everything their male counterparts do, they said. And they love their work, whether they’re removing a child from an abusive home or wrestling a bank robber to the ground. Being a police officer is the greatest career choice they could have made, several female officers have said. They attribute that rosy perspective to a department that has spent more than three decades developing a culture that views women as equals and offers them on-par opportunities, the officers said. Palo Alto’s police department has one of the highest percentages of female officers in the state. Fourteen officers — 15.5 percent of the force — are female, compared to an average for most departments in California of 6 to 10 percent, retired Lt. Sandra Brown said. At one point, nearly 25 percent of the force was comprised of women. Palo Alto started integrating its force in the 1970s and ’80s under former Chief Jim Zurcher, with a goal of achieving 50 percent minorities and women. “He did a lot to shift the culture. The number of women in Palo Alto is rare,� said Menlo Park police Commander Lacey Burt, a former Palo Alto officer who joined that department in 1983. Zurcher’s plan was “visionary,� current Chief Dennis Burns said. “For 30 years women have always been part of the organization’s fabric. I look at them as absolute equals in every regard. They contribute completely. They might bring a different perspective to a situation. We would be a different organization without

women. They enrich it,� he said. Women in the department said their longtime presence has removed attitudes that caused early female colleagues much grief. “Most men are accustomed to being outranked by women,� Brown said. “Any fight was fought by women before me.� Male colleagues don’t see women on the force as “girls� or “women cops,� Brown said. In uniform, they are just officers. Other women in the department noted Palo Alto has many women of high rank, from agents to sergeants to lieutenants, and many have gone on to other police departments to become captains and commanders. Former Palo Alto Chief Lynne Johnson was one of the first women to work in Palo Alto’s force, they noted. (Johnson retired in December 2008 following a controversial statement in which she said she had instructed officers to make “consensual contact� with black men who matched the description of a purse-snatcher. Her comment was interpreted as condoning illegal racial profiling, which she denies.) But the officers also acknowledged that a few challenges remain for women in law enforcement. In some police agencies and specialized teams, women still have a difficult time getting into the old-boy club, they said. Lt. April Wagner, a former hospital charge nurse (continued on page 42)

Top: Agent Mariana Villaescusa has been hospitalized five times from incidents in the line of duty. Above left: Villaescusa and Officer Cynthia Kono prepare shotguns on Jan. 5 as part of their daily routine before patrol. Above right: Villaescusa retrieves a shotgun from the department’s equipment room. Technology and weapons such as stun guns make the job less dangerous than it was in the past.

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Cover Story (continued from page 41)

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and a Palo Alto officer for 13 years, said only one woman, former officer Corey Preheim, has served on the SWAT team. Currently no women are on the team, she said. Sgt. Kara Apple said there’s a higher expectation of women that comes out of an assumption that women can’t physically do the same things as men, which implies that women have to prove themselves to get onto specialized teams. “But not all men are beefy, brawny guys,� she said. Brown agreed there are biases. “They don’t see women in tactical positions because they’ve never seen it,� Brown said. “Women also don’t see ourselves in that position. We don’t have the upper body strength of a man. Some tests preclude you from passing the test.� Wearing a 75-pound pack is going to be different for a man who weighs 220 pounds and a woman who weighs 140, she said. If those measurements were adjusted to a percentage of body weight, the playing field for testing would be more level, she said. Burt said achieving high rank also does not mean the road gets any easier. “Women have to prove themselves all over again,� Burt said. “I used to think when I got a rank commission, I would get respect, but it really didn’t work out like that.� You continually have to prove that you are operationally sound. I think you have to be very credible, very unemotional with male subordinates who interact with you. Otherwise, you come off as an ‘emotional female,’� she said. Burt said police agencies have come a long way, and they still have a way to go. “Now departments train against sexual harassment. But ... women are still in minority numbers in this profession,� she said. She estimated that

in 2012 women hold 5 percent of law enforcement positions in the U.S. But current hurdles pale by comparison to the more overt acts of prejudice women in law enforcement once faced in Palo Alto and elsewhere, according to the officers. Burt said when she came on board in 1983, male officers would not cover her when she called for backup. And someone created “PMS kits� for male officers who had female partners and put them in the men’s mailboxes. When Brown first joined Palo Alto in 1988, a former male colleague patted her bottom, she said. But Villaescusa, an officer for 10 years, said the most uncomfortable thing she has dealt with was when her male partner opened the door for her. She didn’t want people to think there was a need to be treated differently, she said. Burns acknowledged he’d heard about the harassment that occurred “years ago.� “I’m glad to say that we have evolved as a profession and as a department since the 1980s. Today our employees are judged on their character, ability and productivity, not their gender. We have some very clear policies that forbid such behavior, and violating these policies can have career-ending consequences,� he said. Ironically, the pressure women officers feel today comes from holding themselves to higher standards, she said. “We always think we have to prove ourselves. That’s one thing about Palo Alto. Our males don’t expect us to prove ourselves,� she said.

W

hen women strap on their weighty guns and belts, don their bulletproof vests and roll out in their squad cars, they do the same job any officer does and they face the same dangers, Villaescusa said. “This is one of the few jobs where we have a death list. We have to name who gets notified if you die and (who)

carries your casket. You fill out your funeral arrangements,� she said. Villaescusa said she has been in the hospital five times from five different incidents. She sustained a concussion after a Ford F150 broadsided her squad car. “This is one profession where I’m not going to wear my joke underpants,� she said, smiling wryly. Early in her career, while answering a call for help, she was confronted by a large woman who immediately tried to grab her gun. “She said, ‘I’m going to take your gun and kill you,’� Villaescusa recalled. That’s the moment “when all of your training kicks in. I was down there fighting for my life,� she said. Brown said officers are trained to never give up in a fight. If she could just hang on for three minutes, backup would arrive, she said. While strength and size can be an asset, the range of new technologies has helped make the job less dangerous for all police than it was in the era of the 1950s-1970s, she said. Officers today have communications systems that help organize backup quickly. Weapons such as stun guns and pepper spray help the police subdue unruly suspects, reducing the need for hand-to-hand combat.

I

f anyone thinks female cops are pushovers because of their smaller size or gender, Brown and others said they should think again. “I’ve been on my back with a guy on top of me fighting. Never did I say I would give up. You know it’s going to hurt, but you just jump in,� she said. But as much as they don’t hesitate to battle if necessary, women also have a gift for talking that Chief Burns calls an asset. Brown recalled encountering an enraged man at Cubberley Community Center who wasn’t backing down. “He was spitting anger,� she said.

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Page 42ĂŠUĂŠ>Â˜Ă•>ÀÞÊÓä]ÊÓä£ÓÊUĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?Ăž

Officer Kono and Agent Villaescusa review a case report before patrol in early January.

(continued on page 44)


Cover Story

Officer Kono and Agent Villaescusa change into uniform before patrol on Jan. 5. There are 14 female officers, out of 90-member force, in the Palo Alto Police Department.

Above left: Lt. April Wagner returns to the station after meeting with her team last Sunday. She has been a Palo Alto officer for 13 years. Above right: Wagner goes over paperwork in her office. She was formerly a hospital charge nurse.

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Cover Story

Far left: Commander Lacey Burt of the Menlo Park Police Department said she’s had to prove herself to her colleagues as she’s risen through the ranks. Middle: Villaescusa and Officer Cristela Solorzano of Menlo Park go over patrol plans on Jan 15. Left: Retired Lt. Sandra Brown was an officer in the Palo Alto Police Department for 24 years.

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(continued from page 42)

She called for backup, but for several minutes she would have to tangle alone with the 6-foot-4-inch man, she said. And a lot can happen in that time. So she took a different approach — saying something no male colleague would, she recalled. “Two things are going to happen today,� she said she told the man. “You are going to jail today, I will guarantee that. And I’m going to go home and make love to my husband. I don’t know in what order that is going to happen, but I do know those two things are going to happen today,� she said. The man looked stunned. “What did you say?� he asked. So she repeated the statement. “That’s cool. I’m not going to keep a man from that,� he said, according to Brown. By the time a male officer came on the scene, bristling and hollering for the man to get down on the ground, Brown had the situation under control. “We talked all the way to the jail,� she said. Brown’s approach — to use humor, compassion or verbal shock and awe to diffuse a critical situation — is emblematic of the different approach female police officers take, they said. Many male officers come out of the military and bring their skills and approach from that experience, Brown said. Little boys are trained early on in tactics and combat through toy soldiers and G.I. Joes, but not little girls. “I have to start setting up, to get a mindset. It’s a little extra step because it doesn’t come naturally,� she said. Women’s ability as peacemakers can help resolve situations before they get violent, Apple said. That quality helps forward the aim of every police officer: to help their communities and make a valuable contribution. Villaescusa has made herself wellknown in south Palo Alto, in neighborhoods where Latino families live. Residents became accustomed to her driving down the street outside the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, rousing schoolchildren in the morning by yelling, “Hey — it’s time to get up,� she said. She has left gift cards and socks and other items anonymously on the doorsteps of families she was trying to help. She was recently invited to the wedding of two people she had arrested, she said.

I

ronically, the most prejudice Palo Alto’s officers face today comes from the public, they said. “Palo Alto was the first place I ever felt discriminated against,� Villaescusa said. “I’ve never felt so much prejudice. There would be calls (to dispatch) where people didn’t want a female to respond.� One time they called and said, ‘I don’t want this Mexican coming to my house,’� she said. Brown, who prior to her law-enforcement career was a marketer in the high-tech field, also encountered racism more frequently than sexism, although that hasn’t happened in the last 10 years, she said. She has been called a second-class citizen and the “N� word. And once while she stood in full uniform on the corner of Bryant Street and University Avenue, a woman told her the only reason she was on the force was because of affirmative action, she said. Peace officers have to take the harsh words and can’t react with force just because someone tries to incite their anger, she said. “You have to hold your bar up here,� she said gesturing above her head. But Brown, who retired from the Palo Alto department in December, said it’s gratifying that most residents just have faith in their ability to do the job, regardless of gender. She and another female officer once went to investigate a person lurking in a resident’s yard. The resident, a man who was 6 feet 5 inches tall, answered the door. “He was asking us, two women, ‘Is it OK to come out?’ “ Brown said, smiling. Brown said she loved her 24 years in the Palo Alto Police department: “It’s the best decision I ever made. It’s the best career for women. It opens doors and opportunities for you.� When Brown gives motivational speeches to schoolgirls, she focuses on raising their awareness of how exciting the career can be. Brown said she suspects the drop in Palo Alto’s number of female officers is due to retirements, injuries or opportunities in other police departments. Brown thinks the drop in recruits has more to do with a negative image of police, which has been increasing in the media in the last six or seven years, she said. And although there are some bad apples, she doesn’t believe it reflects all law enforcement. “We were never the heroes,� she said.

Drifting back to an all-white, allmale force isn’t likely. “That doesn’t project what society is about and what the public expects. ... In the near future, in the next few years, we need to figure out how to recruit (not only) women but minorities as well,� she said. Burns said there are 15 positions to be filled in his department, and women and minorities are welcome. In 2005 Burt and another former Palo Alto police officer, Alana Forrest (now a captain in Los Gatos), started the Women Leaders in Law Enforcement conference. The two met over coffee and realized they had been in law enforcement for 20 years, but there was still “not a lot of support. There was no place where women could feel empowered and inspired,� Burt said. Out of their own money they put on a four-hour workshop at Zibibbo restaurant in downtown Palo Alto and planned for 125 spots. Within a week, the workshop was full and they had a waiting list, she said. “People crashed the workshop. We thought, ‘Holy cow. There really is a need for this,’� she said. In 2011, the conference attracted 1,100 people at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, including men, she said. It received support from the California Chiefs of Police Association, California Highway Patrol, California Sheriffs’ Association and others. Wagner said the conference gives women quality training and opportunities to network and meet women of rank. The officers can also commiserate over the little things that still need changing: pants that zip up the opposite side and body armor that is not designed for breasts or the logistics of going to the restroom while wearing a belt of dangling guns, batons, flashlights and other equipment. Burt said some law-enforcementequipment magazines are reaching out to offer merchandise for women. “But more times than not the models are wearing pink shirts or have pink handcuffs,� she said. “Really? Really?� she laughed. “Is that what you think we want?� N Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@paweekly. com. About the cover: Weekly photo illustration. Photograph by Kelsey Kienitz


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Neil Barton Ingels III

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Oct. 31, 1963-January 12, 2012

Resident of Palo Alto, California Neil Ingels III, age 48, passed away peacefully on January 12, 2012, surrounded by his loving family. Neil will be deeply missed by his son Luke. He is also survived by his mother and father, Judy and Neil Ingels, and his sister, Anne Ingels. Neil will be missed by many friends and family members. Neil was born in the Stanford University Medical Center and graduated from Palo Alto High School and the University of California, Santa Barbara. He lived for many years in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, Colorado where he had many friends. Services were held in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Donations may be made in Neil’s memory to the Cancer Institute of the Stanford University School of Medicine. Arrangements entrusted to Roller & Hapgood & Tinney Funeral Home in Palo Alto. PA I D

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Transitions Births, marriages and deaths

Robert B. Kavinoky Robert Kavinoky, 91, died Dec. 20 at home in Palo Alto. Bob, as he was known to family and friends, was born and raised in Pasadena, Calif. He attended Pasadena City College, where he met his future wife, Bee, at a Halloween dance. They were married April 2, 1942, in San Diego, Calif., when he was in the Navy. He was in the Navy from 1942 to 1945 and was stationed at Pearl Harbor during World War II. After the war, he earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in civil engineering from Stanford University. During his career as a civil engineer he worked for Purity Stores, Westinghouse, Bechtel Corp. and Stanford University. He was active with his wife for more than 60 years at Wesley Methodist Church. He was also involved

in Friendly Visiting and The California Avenue Development Association. He and his wife lived in College Terrace for more than 60 years, where they raised their three children. His wife of 60 years died in February. He is survived by his three children and their spouses, Larry and Sue Kavinoky of Palo Alto, Rick and Sue Kavinoky of Santa Rosa and Chris and Karen de Vos of Lake Tahoe. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and 12 greatgrandchildren. A memorial service will be held Saturday, Feb. 4, at 11 a.m. at Wesley Methodist Church, 470 Cambridge Ave., Palo Alto. In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation can be made in his memory to VITAS Hospice Charitable Fund, 5430 N.W. 33rd Ave., Suite 100, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309; or to your favorite charity.

COMMUNITY MEETING City of Palo Alto Golf Course Please join us for a community discussion on the future of the City of Palo Alto Golf Course.

Wednesday  January 25  8:30–10 am

Thursday, January 26, 2012, 7:00 PM

Westin Hotel, 675 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

Lucie Stern Community Center Community Room 1305 MiddleďŹ eld Road Palo Alto, CA 94301

$20 (includes full breakfast) Reservations: PaloAltoChamber.com or 650.324.3121

The Palo Alto Golf Course is being impacted by the realignment of the San Francisquito Creek Levee Project. Given this unique situation, the City is considering reconďŹ guration and other alternatives for the Golf Course in the context of the community’s overall Parks, Open Space and Recreational needs.

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Meeting hosted by City of Palo Alto Recreation Services (650) 463-4908 Go to www.CityofPaloAlto.org/Golf for more information.

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Albert James Himes Sr.

NOTICE OF A PUBLIC MEETING of the City of Palo Alto Architectural Review Board (ARB)

Sept. 28, 1925-Jan. 1, 2012

Albert James Himes Sr., 86 passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, January 1, 2012. He was born in San Francisco, California and had two siblings Flo and Kathy. He graduated six months early from Sequoia High School, Redwood City in order to join the U.S Navy. He served during WWII from 1943 to 1946. After his service with the Navy he returned home to Palo Alto. In 1947, Albert married Mary Adams and they had three sons, James, Steven and Thomas. Al worked in the retail clothing business for more than ďŹ fty years. He was the manager of the clothing stores Roos Atkins and Levi Brothers. He was the “STARâ€? salesperson at Widemans, Palo Alto until he retired. After his retirement from the retail business he worked at the Stanford Hotel in Menlo Park. He always wanted to be busy. Albert loved to ride his bike for exercise. He rode his bike to the Peninsula Creamery on High St. in Palo Alto every day to meet friends for lunch until he was unable to do so due to his illness of Parkinson. In January 2010 due to his health he moved

to Manteca, California to be closer to family. His survivors include his sons, Jim and Steve, six g ra ndch i ld ren, Angela, Rachelle, Thomas, Sarah, Abby, Emily and three great grandchildren, Jose, Logan, Dylan and his younger sister Kathy. Albert will be missed by all, but he now joins his beloved wife Mary and son Thomas. He loved people and they loved him. He was a “Star� and what better day to depart this world and enter into Heaven than on the biggest celebration day of the year, “New Years Day.� He will always shine. A memorial celebration will be held Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 11:00am at Saint Patrick’s Church, 19399 E. Hwy 120 Ripon, California 95336. PA I D

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O B I T UA RY

8:30 A.M., Thursday, February 2, 2012 Palo Alto Council Chambers, 1st Floor, Civic Center, 250 Hamilton Avenue. Go to the Development Center at 285 Hamilton Avenue to review ďŹ led documents; contact Diana Tamale for information regarding business hours at 650.329.2144. 2080 Channing Avenue [10PLN-00198]: Request by Sand Hill Properties for Architectural Review of a Planned Community proposal for the Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center for the renovation of the three existing, Eichler retail structures, on-site relocation of one of the retail structures, construction of 10 new single-family homes, and creation of a 0.22 acre park. The Draft Environmental Impact Report prepared for the project has been published and circulated between September 30 and November 14, 2011. This item has been continued from the October 20, 2011 meeting. Amy French Manager of Current Planning


Pulse

A weekly compendium of vital statistics SHAPING THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW

POLICE CALLS Palo Alto Jan. 11-16 Violence related Arson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Assault w/a deadly weapon . . . . . . . . . .1 Theft related Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Identity theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Residential burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Vehicle related Bicycle theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Driving w/suspended license . . . . . . . . .4 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Misc. traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Suspicious vehicle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Theft from auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Vehicle accident/minor injury . . . . . . . . .2 Vehicle accident/property damage. . . . .6 Vehicle tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Alcohol or drug related Drunk in public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Misc. drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Open alcohol container in public . . . . . .2 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Miscellaneous Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Other/misc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Psychiatric hold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Resisting arrest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Suspicious circumstances . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Warrant/other agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Vehicle tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Alcohol or drug related Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Under influence of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Miscellaneous Disturbance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Disturbing/annoying phone calls. . . . . . .1 Information case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Located missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Medical aid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Psychiatric hold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Suspicious person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Truancy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Warrant arrest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Atherton Jan. 11-16 Theft related Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Residential burglary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle related Abandoned auto 1 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Parking/driving violation . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Suspicious vehicle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Vehicle accident/property damage. . . . .1

Vehicle code violation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Miscellaneous Animal call. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Hazard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Medical aid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Meet citizen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Outside assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Pedestrian check . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Suspicious circumstances . . . . . . . . . . .5 Suspicious person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Town ordinance violation . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Welfare check . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Private Preschool through 8th Grade 30 years of academic excellence in a family friendly environment

OPEN HOUSE Thursday, February 9th - 9a.m.

VIOLENT CRIMES Palo Alto 1400 block Alma Street, 1/13, 10:52 p.m.; arson. Unlisted block N. Shoreline Boulevard, 1/15, 1:36 a.m.; assault with a deadly weapon.

Menlo Park Unlisted location, 1/11, 2:34 p.m.; assault. 700 block Arbor Road, 1/12 10:12 p.m.; battery.

www.LACS.com RSVP: LaSha.Heard@lacs.com ĂˆĂ“xĂŠ>}`>Â?i˜>ĂŠĂ›i°]ĂŠÂœĂƒĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂƒ]ĂŠ ʙ{äÓ{ĂŠUĂŠĂˆx䰙{n°ÎÇÎn

Menlo Park Jan. 11-16 Violence related Assault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Theft related Embezzlement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Identity theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Residential burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Vehicle related Abandoned auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Auto recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Driving w/suspended license . . . . . . . . .1 Driving without license . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 False display of registration. . . . . . . . . . .1 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Misc. traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Vehicle accident/minor injury . . . . . . . . .2 Vehicle accident/property damage. . . . .1

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SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY donate to the

NEIGHBORHOOD Our Apartment Homes.

Welcome to Webster house, Palo Alto’s most gracious senior living community, now a member of the not-for-proďŹ t organization that owns and operates Canterbury Woods, Los Gatos Meadows, Lytton Gardens, San Francisco Towers, Spring Lake Village, and St. Paul’s Towers. Here, you’ll enjoy the rare combination of ideal location, dedicated staff, amenities, and services, all within walking distance of downtown Palo Alto, where you’ll ďŹ nd a mix of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. You’ll also ďŹ nd peace of mind and a welcoming community offering the advantages of continuing care. To learn more, or for your personal visit, please call 650.327.4333.

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CLICK AND GIVE

Thank you for your generous support of the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

Last Year’s Grant Recipients Abilities United ...........................................$5,000 Adolescent Counseling Services ............$7,500 American Red Cross - Palo Alto Area ....$3,000 Art in Action ................................................$5,000 Baby Basics of the Peninsula, Inc. .........$2,000 Bread of Life................................................$5,000 Breast Cancer Connections .....................$7,500 California Family Foundation ....................$3,500 Cleo Eulau Center.......................................$3,500 Collective Roots..........................................$5,000 Downtown Streets Team ........................$15,000 East Palo Alto Children’s Day Committee ..................................................$5,000 East Palo Alto Kids Foundation ................$5,000 East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring .........$5,000 East Palo Alto Youth Court ........................$3,000 Environmental Volunteers ........................$3,000 Foothill-De Anza Foundation ....................$2,500 Foundation for a College Education ........$5,000 Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo ...........................................$5,000 InnVision ......................................................$5,000 JLS Middle School PTA.............................$3,500 Jordan Middle School PTA.......................$3,500 Kara ..............................................................$5,000 Lytton Gardens Senior Communities ......$5,000 Music in the Schools Foundation ............$5,000 New Creation Home Ministries ...............$5,000 Northern California Urban Development ....$5,000 Nuestra Casa ..............................................$5,000 Palo Alto Art Center Foundation ..............$5,000 Palo Alto Community Child Care ..............$5,000 Palo Alto YMCA ..........................................$5,000 Palo Alto Housing Corporation ................$5,000 Palo Alto Library Foundation .................$17,500 Peninsula HealthCare Connection ..........$7,500 Quest Learning Center of the EPA Library ..................................................$5,000 Reading Partners .......................................$5,000 St. Elizabeth Seton School .......................$5,000 St. Francis of Assisi Youth Club ...............$3,000 St. Vincent de Paul Society ......................$6,000 The Friendship Circle.................................$5,000 TheatreWorks .............................................$2,500 Youth Community Service .........................$7,500 CHILD CARE CAPITAL GRANTS Children’s Center at Stanford ...................$4,000 Palo Alto Community Child Care ..............$5,000 The Children’s Pre-School Center ...........$5,000

Non-profits: Grant application and guidelines at www.PaloAltoOnline.com/ holidayfund

O

nce again, our readers came through with generous donations to support local nonprofits serving children and families in the Palo Alto area. Thanks to you, over $340,000 in grants will be awarded this spring. Thanks also to our foundation partners: Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Packard, Hewlett, Arillaga

and Peery foundations, and an anonymous Palo Alto family foundation that made an unprecedented $100,000 gift this year. Together, they helped us set a new record for donations raised. See you in the fall when we launch our 2012-2013 Holiday Fund campaign!

459 donors through Jan. 13 totalling $266,472; with match $343,472 has been raised for the Holiday Fund Donate online at siliconvalleycf.org/paw-holiday-fund 54 Anonymous .................. 121,405

Newly Received Donations Katherine W. Remsen ................ ** Edward K. Kanazawa ................. ** Roger V. Smith ......................... 200 Dorsey Bass ............................. 300 Karen L. Sipprell................... 1,000 Catherine Dolton ........................ ** Chris Zaharias .......................... 500 Jeanne Wangsness ...................... 25 Robert Balint ............................ 100 Nanette Stringer ....................... 100 Nancy and Michael Hall ....... 1,000 Larry Klein ............................... 500 Gavin and Tricia Christensen ..... ** Leannah Hunt ............................. ** Jean Doble.................................. 75 Katherine Dumont.................... 100 Shailan Shah............................. 100 Ken Schultz .............................. 100 Alan Wachtel ............................ 250 Ellen S. Krasnow...................... 250 Spencer Brook Fund ................ 100 Reed and Judith Content .......... 150 Van Whitis and Laurie Miller .. 200 Elizabeth Weingarten ................. ** Bob and Jan Hermsen ................ ** Ellen M. King............................. ** Robert Barrett and Linda Atkinson........................... ** Marian R. Gex ............................ 50 Jill and Brian Bicknell ............. 100 Linda Selden ............................ 125 Madeleine Smeets .................... 150 Kim Orumchian ....................... 250

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Eileen E. Brennan .................... 500 Teresa L. Roberts .................. 1,000

In Honor Of Sally and Dick Werling ............ 100 Richard C. Van Dusen and Kaye H. Kelley ....................................... 250 M. Kerhin ................................. 150 Linda Longstreth ........................ 50

In Memory Of Jim Burch ................................... 25 Joe, Mary Fran, and Stephen Scroggs, Carole Pedersen, Dalyn Wells, and Katharine R. King .................150 Jim Burch ................................. 500 Clara and Sal Abel ..................... ** Peggy Niioka ............................ 100 Tinney Family .......................... 500

Previously Published Donors Mrs. Stanley R. Evans ................ ** John & Lee Pierce .................... 200 Carol & Leighton Read .............. ** Freddy & Jan Gabus................... ** Peggy & Chuck Daiss ................ ** Adele & Donald Langendorf ... 200 Lynnie and Joe Melena .............. 75 Karen and Steve Ross ................ ** Chuck & Jean Thompson ........... ** Jason and Lauren Garcia ............ ** M. D. Savoie .............................. ** Werner Graf................................ ** Kenneth E. Bencala .................. 100 Philip C. Hanawalt ................... 300 Richard A. Greene ................... 300 Chet FrankenďŹ eld ....................... **

Dorothy Saxe.............................. ** Kathrine Schroeder .................... ** Joyce Nelsen ............................ 200 Memorial Fund, Inc. ................ 300 Mark R. Shepherd .................... 250 Bill Johnson & Terri Lobdell ..... ** Hal and Iris Korol ...................... ** Gwen Luce ................................. ** Theresa Carey .......................... 250 Ted & Ginny Chu ....................... ** Harry Press ............................... 100 Penny & Greg Gallo ................. 500 Isabel & Tom Mulcahy ............ 100 Nancy Lobdell ............................ ** John & Olive Borgsteadt ............ ** Ted & Jane Wassam ................. 250 Barbara Riper ............................. ** Daniel & Lynne Russell ........... 250 Ellen & Tom Ehrlich .................. ** Donna & Jerry Silverberg ........ 100 Nan Prince................................ 100 Andy & Liz Coe ....................... 100 George & Betsy Young .............. ** Walt & Kay Hays ..................... 100 Jeanne & Leonard Ware ............. ** Lorrin & Stephanie Koran.......... ** David & Nancy Kalkbrenner ..... ** Jim & Ro Dinkey ....................... 60 Attorney Susan Dondershine ... 200 David & Karen Backer ............. 100 Drew McCalley & Marilyn Green .......................... 100 Diane Doolittle ........................... ** Richard Kilner.......................... 100 Tony & Carolyn Tucher ............. ** Shirley & James Eaton ............... **

Barbara Klein & Stan Schrier .... ** Roy & Carol Blitzer ................... ** John & Mary Schaefer ............. 100 Margot D. Goodman .................. ** Brigid Barton ........................... 250 Sue Kemp ................................. 250 Elisabeth Seaman ....................... ** Dena Goldberg ......................... 100 Linda & Steven Boxer................ ** Micki & Bob Cardelli ................ ** Debbie Mytels ............................ ** The Ely Family ........................ 250 Ian & Karen Latchford ............. 100 Richard A. Baumgartner & Elizabeth M. Salzer .............. 350 Carolyn & Richard Brennan ...... ** Lynn & Joe Drake ...................... ** Eugene & Mabel Dong ............ 200 Nancy & Richard Alexander .... 500 Diane E. Moore ........................ 350 Sally & Craig Nordlund ........... 500 Arthur D. Stauffer .................... 500 Michael Hall Kieschnick....... 1,000 Mark Kreutzer ............................ 75 Nehama Treves......................... 200 Les Morris ................................ 250 Christina S. Kenrick .............. 1,000 Susan H. Richardson ................ 250 Leif and Sharon Erickson......... 250 The Havern Family ............... 3,500 The Wihtol Family Fund .......... 500 John N. Thomas ....................... 100 Anthony F. Brown ...................... 50 Diane Simoni ........................... 200 John J. McLaughlin.................. 100 Braff Family Fund .................... 250


Richard Rosenbaum ................... ** Zelda Jury................................... ** Eric & Elaine Hahn ............... 1,000 Nancy Huber .............................. ** Susan Woodman......................... ** Arthur R. Kraemer ..................... ** William E. Reller ....................... ** John and Florine Galen .............. ** David and Virginia Pollard ...... 150 Tony and Judy Kramer ............... ** Eve and John Melton ............... 500 Andrea Boehmer ........................ 50 Patti Yanklowitz and Mark Krasnow............................ ** Harriet and Gerry Berner ........... ** Roy Levin and Jan Thomson ..... ** Sylvia J. Smitham .................... 100 Kenyon Scott ............................ 200 Gil and Gail Woolley ............... 200 Henry and Nancy Heubach ...... 100 Marc and Margaret Cohen ....... 100 Jeremy Platt and Sondra Murphy .....** Don and Ann Rothblat ............... ** Jon and Julie Jerome .................. ** Richard Cabrera ......................... ** Richard and Bonnie Sibley ........ ** Barbara Zimmer & Kevin Mayer .....** John and Ruth DeVries .............. ** Rita Vrhel ................................. 150 Robyn H. Crumly ....................... ** Lori and Hal Luft ..................... 100 Neva and Tom Cotter ............ 2,000 Ralph R. Wheeler ..................... 350 Johnsson, Richard ................. 1,000 Shirk, Martha ........................... 500 Pam Mayerfeld ......................... 100 Ralph Cahn................................. 50 Kate Dreher ................................ 18 Gloria Schulz ........................... 200 Solon Finkelstein ..................... 250 J. Stephen Brugler .................... 300 Marlene Prendergast .................. ** Rosalie Shepherd ..................... 100 Bob & Edie Kirkwood ............... ** M. M. Dieckmann .................... 300 Tom and Peg Hanks ................... ** Marcia & Michael Katz ........... 200 Ms. Carolyn Frake ..................... 25 Betty Gerard ............................... ** Peter S. Stern............................ 250 Nancy & Stephen Levy .............. ** Daniel Cox ............................... 200 Christine M. Wotipka ............... 100 Marc Igler and Jennifer Cray ..... 50 Richard A. Morris ................. 2,000 Greg and Anne Avis ................... ** Cathy Kroymann ...................... 250 Martha Mantel............................ 25 Lolly T. Osborne ...................... 150 Shulman, Lee ............................. ** David and Lynn Mitchell ......... 300 Andrews, Ron........................... 500 Patricia Levin ........................... 100 Robert and Joan Jack ................. ** Mary Jackman .......................... 100 Marianne and Tom Moutoux...... ** Robert and Betsy Gamburd ........ ** Hugh O. McDevitt.................... 200 Michael L. Foster ..................... 500 Ann, Mike and Fiona O’Neill .... 25 Jean Dawes................................. 50 Mrs. Eleanor Settle................... 500 Nancy and Joe Huber ............... 100 Mimi Marden ............................. ** Robert K. Aulgur ....................... ** Bobbie and Jerry Wagger ........... **

Donate online at siliconvalleycf.org/paw-holiday-fund Enclosed is a donation of $___________________________

Make checks payable to

Silicon Valley Community Foundation and send to: PAW Holiday Fund c/o SVCF 2440 W. El Camino Real, Suite 300 Mountain View, CA 94040

Name _______________________________________________________________ Business Name ______________________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip ________________________________________________________

E-Mail __________________________________________________ Phone _______________________________ Q Credit Card (MC or VISA) ________________________________________ Expires______________________ Signature ________________________________________________________ I wish to designate my contribution as follows: – OR –

Q In name of business above

Q In my name as shown above

Q In honor of:

Q In memory of:

Q As a gift for:

_________________________________________________________ (Name of person) Q I wish to contribute anonymously.

Q Please withhold the amount of my contribution.

The Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund is a fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All donors will be published in the Palo Alto Weekly unless the coupon is marked “Anonymous.�

Morgan Family Fund ............ 5,000 Jane Holland............................... ** Ray and Carol Bacchetti ............ ** Helene Pier ................................. ** Lawrence Naiman .................... 100 Jonathan J. Macquitty ........... 1,000 Marc and Ragni Pasturel .......... 100 Chris and Beth Martin................ ** Gloria R. Brown ....................... 200 Stuart and Carol Hansen ............ 50 Ellie and Dick MansďŹ eld ........... ** Alice Smith .............................. 100 Ron Wolf .................................. 100 Russell C. Evarts ...................... 300 Sally Hewlett ............................ 250 John Tang ................................. 150 Ed and Linda De Meo .............. 100 John and Barbara Pavkovich .... 200 Anna Wu Weakland ................. 100 Susan & Harry Hartzell............ 100 Sallie I. Brown ........................... ** Amy Renalds.............................. ** Maureen and John Martin .......... ** Lani Freeman and Stephen Monismith .................... ** Larry Breed .............................. 100 Claude Madden .......................... ** Ellen and Mike Turbow............ 200 Elkind Family Foundation ....... 250 Roger and Joan Warnke ............. ** Bjorn and Michele Liencres .. 1,000 Lijun Wang & Jia-Ning Xiang ....200 Mary B. Fuller.......................... 100 Constance Crawford................... ** Sallie and Jay Whaley ................ ** Lindsay Joye ............................ 100 Victoria Wendel........................ 150 Helen C. Feinberg ................. 3,000 Ken Schroeder & Fran Codispoti.......................... 500 Al Russell & Joanne Russell .... 250 Pat and Tom Sanders .................. ** Bonnie B. Packer...................... 100 Lee Sanders ................................ 36 Robert F. Bell ........................... 150 Bryan Wilson ........................... 100 Meri Gruber & James Taylor ..... ** Stephanie Klein and Larry Baer ............................. 1,000 Jim and Alma Phillips .............. 250 Ruth K. Chippendale.................. ** Mahlon and Carol Hubenthal ..... ** Sandy Sloan ............................. 100 Ira Kanter ................................. 100

Thomas Rindeisch ................. 250 Bob Donald ................................ ** Jim and Nancy Baer ................... ** Virginia E. Fehrenbacher ......... 100 Mandy Lowell ............................ ** Robert and Constance Loarie ..... ** Luca and Mary CaďŹ ero .............. ** Bruce Campbell .................... 1,000 Scott Wong ............................... 200 Jan Krawitz ................................ ** Bonnie Street............................ 100 Elizabeth Yasek and Michael Fleice.......................... 100 Michael Roberts ....................... 100 Elgin Lee .................................. 250 Keith Lee .................................. 550 Boyce and Peggy Nute ............... ** Matt Glickman and Susie Hwang Fund ................... 250 Allan and Marilyn Brown .......... ** Jim Voll and Scout Voll .............. ** Diane and Harry Greenberg ..... 500 Nancy and Norm Rossen............ ** Suzan Stewart ............................. ** Marilyn Slater Family Trust ..... 100 Elliot Margolies.......................... 25 Mitchell Rosen ........................... 50 A. Carlisle Scott ....................... 100 Barbara and Charles Stevens...... ** Joy L. Sleizer ............................. 50 Tony and Jan Di Julio................. ** Mary Ann & Keith Kvenvolden .....100 Hoda Epstein .............................. ** Susan Elgee and Steve Eglash ... ** Joan Norton ................................ ** Jean Colby.................................. ** Lawrence Yang and Jennifer Kuan ......................... 1000 Adrienne Dong ......................... 100 Annette Glanckopf and Thomas Ashton ................. 100 Jean-Yves Bouguet .................. 500 Alice Fischgrund ........................ 50 Vic and Norma Hesterman ......... ** Janice Bohman & Eric Keller .. 250 Nancy Moss ............................... ** Richard Barr ............................. 200 Deirdre C. Dolan .................... 1000 Daniel Chapiro ......................... 500 David Labaree .......................... 200 Deborah L. Plumley ................... 50 Morton Maser........................... 120 Craig & Susie Thom ................ 100 Dee and Don Price ..................... **

Nancy Montague ........................ ** Barbara Noparstak & Duane Bay.............................. 50 Elizabeth Miller ......................... ** Mimi Webb ................................ ** Kingsley Jack ........................... 100 Don and Jacquie Rush.............. 200 Rick and Eileen Brooks ........... 250 Peter Sturrock........................... 100 Peter Skinner and Marie Earl ... 100 John and Marjan Wilkes........... 300 Gina Signorello & Chuck Katz ...450 Feldman, David ........................ 350 Robert A. Weeks ........................ 25 Stewart Family Trust ................ 100 Irene V. Schwartz ....................... 50 Madeline Wong ........................ 100 Richard Mazze ......................... 200 Stephen Westfold ..................... 400 United Methodist Women of the First United Methodist Church .........1,000

In Honor Of Emma Claire Cripps and Elizabeth Marie Kurland .......... 300 Patricia Demetrios ................. 1,000 Sandy Sloan ............................. 100 Marilyn Sutorius ...................... 150 Elizabeth McCroskey ................. ** Lucy Berman’s Clients .......... 1,500 Ruth & Marty Mazner.............. 100 Andrew Luchard and Caitlin Luchard ........................ 100 Ro and Jim Dinkey..................... 50 Paul Resnick............................. 100 Alan Stewart ............................... 25 Ellen Turbow ............................ 100 Public School Teachers .............. 36 Darla Tupper, 860 Harvard Avenue ................ 100 The Barnea-Smith Family .......... ** Paul and Barbara Madsen .......... 25 Steve Jobs ................................... 50

In Memory Of John O. Black ........................... 500 Yen-Chen Yen .......................... 250 Charles Bennett Leib................ 100 Mdm. Pao Lin Lee ..................... ** Al and Kay Nelson ..................... ** Pam Grady ............................... 200 Leo Breidenbach ........................ ** Thomas W. and Louise Phinney ** Marie and Donald Anon........... 100 Jacques Naar & Wanda Root ..... **

Bob Makjavich ........................... ** Dr. John Plummer Steward ...... 100 Bertha Kalson............................. ** Al Bernal .................................... ** Helene F. Klein .......................... ** Ernest J. Moore .......................... ** Jack Sutorius ............................ 150 Ruth & Chet Johnson ................. ** Robert Lobdell ........................... ** Jim Burch ................................... ** Fred Everly................................. ** Aaron O’Neill ............................ ** Michael Coghlin....................... 100 Alan Herrick............................. 100 Nancy Ritchey ............................ ** Helene F. Klein .......................... ** Our Dad Albert Pellizzari .......... ** Jim Burch ................................... 50 Jim Burch ................................. 100 Leonard Ely, Jim Burch and Aggie Robinson................. 500 Nancy Tincher ............................ 50 Mary Floyd and Betty Meltzer ... ** Jim Burch ................................. 100 Al Jacobs .................................. 100 Jim Burch ................................. 100 August King ............................... ** Nate Rosenberg ........................ 100 Becky Schaefer .......................... ** Emmett Lorey ............................ ** Irvin B. Rubin .......................... 150 Helen Rubin ............................. 150 Anna and Max Blanker ............ 150 James Burch ............................... 25 James Burch ............................... ** Jim Burch ................................. 100 Steve Fasani ............................... ** Maria Serpa ................................ 20 Bill Land .................................... ** Bob Donald ................................ ** Glen A. Lillington, M.D. ......... 100 Jim Byrnes ................................. 50 Hattie and Stephen Tokar ........... 50 Florence Kan Ho ........................ ** Lucy Nystrom .......................... 100 Jim Burch ................................. 100 Carole Hoffman.......................... ** Jim Burch ................................. 100 Aggie Robinson ....................... 100 Jim Burch ................................... 50 Jack F. Cline ............................... ** Robert Spinrad ........................... ** Joseph Perlmutter ..................... 200 Frank and Gene Crist ............... 100 Our son Nick ............................ 500 James Burch ............................... 50 Marty Wood ............................. 100

Businesses & Organizations Thoits Bros Inc......................... 500 Harrell Remodeling.................... ** The Palo Alto Business Park...... ** The Palo Alto Business Park...... ** “No Limit� Drag Racing Team .. 25 Alta Mesa Improvement Company .................................. 750 deLemos Properties.................. 250 The Palo Alto Business Park...... ** Communications and Power Industries (CPI) ............... ** Lasecke Weil Wealth Advisory Group, LLC .............................. 100 Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run .................... 27,000 Your Energy Systems, LLC .. 1,000 ** Designates amount withheld at donor request

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Editorial

Our crumbling infrastructure Citizens commission challenges City Council to adopt program for catching up on huge backlog of needed repairs and improvements uided by some of the best minds in Palo Alto, a group of 17 dedicated citizens just completed a year-long effort to identify and recommend ways to upgrade the core infrastructure of the city. This task was not taken lightly, and the result in an impressive 170-page report that took center stage during a long and wideranging discussion Tuesday night between the City Council and members of the Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission. The panel looked into every nook and cranny of most city departments to find where improvements are needed and then prioritized their findings, looking out up to 25 years. Co-chairmen Leland Levy and Ray Bacchetti, who have served on the council and school board, led the effort, which concluded that the city was woefully in need of more upkeep. Their report defines “infrastructure� as “all that the city owns that does not move on wheels or rest on a floor� and in addition to city offices includes hundreds of acres of parks and open space in the Baylands and foothills, community centers and much more. It did not address city utilities or so-called enterprise funds relating to water, gas, electricity, waste water, etc. The group explained its rankings of where work is needed as “Keep-up or annual maintenance,� “catch-up� maintenance and finally, “new and replacement,� for facilities that can no longer meet their designed purpose. The commission determined that catching up on deferred maintenance alone would cost $41 million. In the current fiscal year, the city has allocated $30 million for maintenance and capital improvement, which the task force found was short $2.2 million to truly meet the city’s needs. But the most compelling conclusion of the commission is the finding that five major facilities, including the current police headquarters adjacent to City Hall and two fire stations (at Rinconada Park and Mitchell Park), must be replaced at an estimated cost of $79 million. Replacing the Municipal Services Center east of the highway for an estimated $93 million is by far the most expensive project recommended, while a new Animal Services facility would cost $6.9 million. In sifting the options, the commission labeled the public safety improvements funded by a voter-approved general obligation bond issue as the best way to begin, while the same projects paid for by more expensive certificates of participation, which do not need voter approval, was the committee’s second choice. Other alternatives were presented but the message from the task force was clear — the city can no longer afford to put off replacing the aging police headquarters, which would be vulnerable if a major earthquake struck Palo Alto. There are plenty of good arguments for replacing the police station, including the findings of five studies over the years. The most recent, in 1998 and 2006, recommended that the building be replaced, a finding the task force said is all the more necessary with today’s much stronger focus on emergency preparedness. The task force devoted a major portion of its report to the desirability of ending the city’s lease with the school district for most of the Cubberley school property, a prospect that brought justifiable cautions from two former mayors, Mike Cobb and Lanie Wheeler. They correctly point out that an open, community-wide process for considering the future of Cubberley was just adopted and should be followed during the course of the next year. The council and community will wrestle with this valuable report over the next few months and, we hope, will place a bond measure on the November ballot to fund a new public safety building and renovate the two fire stations. These are such critical and obvious needs that the council must dedicate itself to getting into the community and making the case clear to the average Palo Alto property owner. Infrastructure needs have been talked about for years in Palo Alto, but thanks to the work of the citizens commission the problems, challenges and potential solutions have never been better presented for public debate. The test will be whether Palo Alto residents are ready to demonstrate their confidence in the city’s leadership at the ballot box.

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Spectrum Editorials, letters and opinions

Winter lodge land swap Editor, I so appreciated the Palo Alto Weekly’s coverage of the Palo Alto Women’s Golf Club’s letter to the City Council, as well as the wonderful story about the success of Winter Lodge. The voters of Palo Alto did indeed vote to save the ice rink but the little-published story is the fact that golfers helped make it possible. There was a Golf Course Corporation Committee that had to approve the land swap in order for it to take place. I was on that committee. After the vote, we had a number of meetings with the members of the council and were encouraged by them to vote for this swap. We also met with the parks and recreation administrators and were assured if we voted to swap the Geng/Embarcadero corner of the course for the ice rink land, it would not impact the golf course. We were assured that the golf course was a valuable asset to the city and would always be there for the community golfers. The majority of the committee voted for the land swap. I was one of them and have never regretted my decision. I do feel that now is the time for our council to step up to the plate, do the right thing and do what they have to do to make sure Palo Alto always has an 18-hole course that is properly maintained. I might point out that there are more than 500 golfers who belong to clubs based at our course. Golfers from Palo Alto and the surrounding community provide a lot of revenue to our city. Bonnie Miller Lois Lane, Palo Alto

Save the arts Editor, A disturbing trend seems to be setting in regarding a fix to our state money problems. Apparently many people think that the way to control our education costs is to eliminate non-essential courses in our schools. The basics are all that are necessary for a good education for our kids, according to this view. Arts, music, drama, physical education — forget them; they’re not needed. Stick with the basics. However, don’t touch competitive sports. They’re needed to feed our kids into the college and pro teams in the future. After all, a robust society cannot exist without its sports entertainment. Yeah, sure. The problem with this thinking is that it fails to recognize the value of the arts. The arts not only enrich our kids, they also add great value to society. The arts, in their various forms, broaden peoples’ perspectives — and guess what else? — they make a society more creative, innovative, in ways that “the basics� alone cannot

match. Band, orchestra, drama, etc., are all life enriching, as I recall. If we abandon the arts in our kids’ educational process, our society will quickly become narrower in its

thinking — colder and uncreative, unable to keep up with the rest of the world. Ruben Contreras Waverley Street, Palo Alto

This week on Town Square Town Square is an online discussion forum at www. PaloAltoOnline.com Posted Jan. 17 at 10:25 p.m. by Bob, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood: I am pleased to see Congresswoman Eshoo take this position against the “Stop Online Piracy Act.� Unlike our two Senators. The SOPA and similar measure in the Senate will cause serious damage to the Internet. While online piracy is a real problem, this measure doesn’t do anything about the illegal content, it only attempts to limit access to this content. It’s a very flawed bill. Posted Jan. 18 at 11:16 a.m. by A, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood: As the father of a Gunn student who struggled greatly with Algebra 2 (and who is white, high income and getting an A in most other subjects), and as a math major myself, I can tell you exactly what the problem is. The issue is that even lower track classes have to cover too many topics for the allotted time. For example, how many readers studied synthetic division in high school? All these more exotic topics are fine for kids with innate math talent who can absorb it quickly, but for most others, it simply means there is less time to absorb the more fundamental topics.

YOUR TURN The Palo Alto Weekly encourages comments on our coverage or on issues of local interest.

What do you think? Should the City increase the sales tax to help fund deferred maintenance projects? Submit letters to the editor of up to 250 words to letters@paweekly.com. Include your name, address and daytime phone number so we can reach you. We reserve the right to edit contributions for length, objectionable content, libel and factual errors known to us. Anonymous letters will generally not be accepted. You can also participate in our popular interactive online forum, Town Square, at our community website at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Read blogs, discuss issues, ask questions or express opinions with you neighbors any time, day or night. Submitting a letter to the editor or guest opinion constitutes a granting of permission to the Palo Alto Weekly and Embarcadero Media to also publish it online, including in our online archives and as a post on Town Square. For more information contact Editor Jocelyn Dong or Online Editor Tyler Hanley at editor@paweekly.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 blogs or just stay up on what people are talking about around town!

Guest Opinion

Ramona Street home was a labor of love Former owners and longtime residents share memories of their life in a historic Palo Alto structure by Bill and Barbara Busse he house at 935 Ramona St. was historic because it was constructed 113 years ago. As many Palo Alto residents know, recently it was deemed “nonhistorical� by the City Council. It will probably be torn down and replaced by a more contemporary structure. As owners of the home for 29 years, we would like to share a bit of history along with our feelings on seeing our old home scheduled for demolition. It began in October 1975 when a group of Portola Valley residents bid on five homes that the Palo Alto Medical Clinic had for sale. The Clinic had planned to build a hospital adjacent to the Clinic, but it was turned down by the voters and hence the need to sell their white elephants. A group of us bid on the properties and were successful in purchasing the homes – one on Homer Avenue, three on Waverley Street and one on Ramona Street for the total price of $256,000. The house at 935 Ramona was deemed to be worth $60,000. We had all been interested in moving from Portola Valley to reduce our commute time to Downtown Palo Alto. The story was chronicled in some detail by the Country Almanac on Feb. 16, 1977. There was some curiosity on the part of the Town of Portola Valley as to why residents of their fair community would choose to move to Palo Alto. At the time of purchase 935 was a shambles. The basement walls and ceiling were painted black. The floors were rotting wood (partly covered by linoleum) all di-

T

Weekly file photo

Bill and Barbara Busse on the deck of 935 Ramona St. in 2004. rectly on dirt. The backyard was decorated with two abandoned cars, old water heaters and washing machines, along with assorted debris. In general, it didn’t contribute much to the quality of the neighborhood. Undaunted, we went to work and turned it into a very livable duplex with an attic rental. The backyard was made into a beautiful garden that was featured in the September 1981 issue of Sunset Magazine. We planted fruit trees, a large vegetable garden, added a work shop, carport and

large deck. Perhaps the most unique aspect was removing the back fences and having a common landscaped garden with our two neighboring families. This, in turn, led to such events as an annual neighborhood ice cream social and a great deal of friendly interaction. Over time friends also used the garden for weddings and a memorial service. We bought the entire house from our duplex neighbors in 1994. We then converted their half into a recreation room

complete with snack bar and table tennis room, a computer office and a large television room. For us, 935 was the center of activity for our extended family and was definitely our dream home. As you can imagine, we fell in love with the neighborhood and cherished the many improvements made to our home over the years. However, as time moved on we decided to sell, in part due to the three flights of stairs that seemed to be getting longer and steeper. We put our home on the market in 2005 and it sold for $2.15 million. (Sweat equity and the Palo Alto market helped us realize a sizable gain.) What followed was a major interior remodeling and addition by the new owner, who in turn sold it, we believe, to the current occupants. Fortunately we have no regrets that the City Council deemed 935 Ramona St. unworthy of historical status. We learned when we moved to Palo Alto from Portola Vallely that you don’t look back. We wish the current owners the very best as they move ahead with what we assume will be their dream home. (We were interviewed by Jocelyn Dong for an article in one of the 25th Anniversary Issues of the Palo Alto Weekly. She then wrote an article for the paper about the Ramona Street neighborhood featuring 935.) N Bill and Barbara Busse now live at The Hamilton, a condominium development for seniors in downtown Palo Alto, “about as close to the center of things as 935 Ramona,� Bill Busse said.

Streetwise

What do you think the 49ers’ chances are now that they’ve beaten the Saints? Asked on California Avenue, Palo Alto. Interviews and photographs by Eric Van Susteren and Cristina Wong.

Dieter Sherer

Engineer Louis Road, Palo Alto “After watching the last few minutes of the last game, I think they’ve got the spirit to beat the Giants.�

Ryan Waters

Intervention assistant College Terrace, Palo Alto “I think they’re great and they’ve got a real chance. The Bay Area is itching for another win and who’s got it better than us? Nobody.�

Dennis Wright

Physicist Sand Hill Road, Stanford “I think the Giants are going to win this week. The people I know who read this are going to kill me.�

Julia Leighton

Editor California Avenue, Palo Alto “I’d give the Niners the nod. Harbaugh is just totally fired up.�

Trudy Hartman

Physician Midtown, Palo Alto “The sky’s the limit and our hopes are up. It’s going to be a wild Sunday. The streets will be quiet and the bars will be loud.�

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Palo Alto Weekly 01.20.2012 - Section 2