Vol. XXXV, Number 4 N November 1, 2013
Poor oversight costs city big bucks Page 5
w w w.PaloA ltoOnline.com
Scientists, nonproﬁt groups work to protect Palo Alto marshlands PAGE 33
Eating Out 23
N Arts Jérôme Bel: postmodern dance provocateur
N Home Fall ﬂoral wreaths from Hidden Villa
N Sports Paly girls win CCS golf title
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Daylight Saving Time is ending Set your clocks back one hour at 2 a.m. this Sunday.
Local news, information and analysis
City management lapse may have cost $281,000 New City Auditor report: Lack of oversight increased risk of ‘fraud, waste and abuse’ by Gennady Sheyner nsufficient oversight of a con- city’s contract with Casey Constructractor and poor contract man- tion, a company that dug trenches agement may have resulted in and provided underground electric the City of Palo Alto Utilities pay- work to the city between 2009 and ing roughly $281,000 more than 2012. It highlights a number of it should have, a new audit from flaws in the way the city awarded the office of Acting City Auditor and administered the contract, Houman Boussina has found. criticizes the Utilities and AdminThe audit, which was released istrative Services departments for Wednesday afternoon, targets the their failure to maintain necessary
documents and adequately monitor the work being done. “Due to inadequate documentation and the nature of the work, we were unable to provide reasonable assurance that the city paid for work that had been appropriately planned and executed under the terms and scope of the contract,” Boussina wrote. “A lack of adequate procedures and controls to manage the contract and monitor the performance of the contractor greatly increased the risk
of fraud, waste and abuse.” Boussina made four critical findings about the Utilities Department’s contract with Casey — a contract that began with a flawed bid and that ultimately spanned three years and totaled about $1.9 million. The audit found that the city did not “effectively address” the large gap between the city’s estimate for the work and Casey’s bid (which was 35 percent below the estimate); the city “did not appropriately re-
evaluate or renew the City’s contract”; the city did not enforce the billing terms on which the contract was based; and the city did not appropriately manage the contract. When the city approved the contract in August 2009, it had intended to manage most of the trenching services under “lump sum” pricing, in which a fixed rate is set for a service. The fixed prices put the burden on the conVÌÕi`ÊÊ«>}iÊ£Î®
City still unsure about 2014 ballot measure With a year until election day, Palo Alto officials approve more polling by Gennady Sheyner
The Roller & Hapgood & Tinney funeral home in Palo Alto closed Thursday after 114 years in business. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer bought the 1.16-acre property at 980 Middlefield Road.
Palo Alto’s oldest funeral home closes amid high land values, changing times Roller & Hapgood & Tinney demise marks end of era in local funeral industry
he closure of Roller & Hapgood & Tinney, Palo Alto’s oldest mortuary, on Oct. 31 is a sign of a changing funeral industry, local mortuary owners said this week. With 80 percent of families choosing cremation of their loved ones over burial, land prices skyrocketing, and a trend toward full-service mortuaries at cemeteries, funeral directors said they are shrinking their facilities while trying to offer personalized services to survive the times. Family-owned Roller & Hapgood & Tinney was the city’s first funeral home. It had been located at 980 Middlefield Road since 1951. Retired cabi-
by Sue Dremann net maker Josiah Roller started the firm in 1899 after years of crafting coffins. He agreed to make the funeral arrangements for a friend whose relative had died in exchange for help establishing the Palo Alto funeral home. Frank Hapgood joined as partner in 1912, and Roller & Hapgood acquired local funeral home Tinney & Sons in 1976. Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer bought the property on Oct. 7 for an undisclosed sum, said Jim Spangler, president of Mountain View-based Spangler Mortuaries, which purchased some of Roller’s business assets.
In a press release, mortuary owner Paul Roller commented on the sale: “The property value in Palo Alto is so great it can no longer justify use as a funeral home.” John O’Connor, funeral director of Menlo Park Funerals, has known the Roller family for many years. Roller & Hapgood faced pressure to stay relevant in today’s funeral market, and ultimately, it made more sense to sell the property for millions, he said — “which they did.” But the high cost of Palo Alto and Menlo Park land is only part of the reason for Roller VÌÕi`ÊÊ«>}iÊ®
aced with a long wish list, a tight deadline and disagreements within its own ranks, the Palo Alto City Council agreed on Monday to conduct more polls before making any decisions on mounting a 2014 ballot measure to pay for citywide infrastructure fixes. The council went ahead with the recommendations of its fourmember Infrastructure Committee, but not without scathing criticism from Councilman Pat Burt, who argued that the full council should have a greater role in the process. The surveys will explore five different revenue-raising ideas: an increase in the city’s hotel tax, a sales-tax increase, creation of Mello-Roos districts to pay for new garages, and two separate bond packages, one focusing on public safety and another centering on transportation. Burt argued Monday that the committee’s specific recommendation of the five revenue options effectively left the council-atlarge out of the discussion and unnecessarily limits potential revenue sources. “I think the way that the polling is being groomed is making some de facto policy decisions,” Burt said, questioning the power of the advisory committee. Though Burt voted with the 6-1 majority (with Greg Schmid dissenting and Gail Price and Karen Holman absent), it was only after his colleagues agreed to add language specifying that the full council, and not just the committee, will get to dis-
cuss the poll results and that full council will have the discretion to consider alternative revenue sources to the ones proposed by the committee. Schmid, for his part, argued the city hasn’t provided the public with enough “contextual information” to make informed decisions on the survey questions. The city’s infrastructure wish list comprises about $200 million in projects, with the police building estimated at $57 million and two new fire stations (to replace the two obsolete ones near Mitchell and Rinconada parks) estimated at $14.2 million. Other big-ticket items on the list include a package of bike and pedestrian projects ($25 million), deferred park maintenance ($8.9 million) and an upgraded Animal Services Center ($6.9 million). Burt also leveled criticism Monday at the proposed Mello-Roos districts, which allow the city to levy different assessments on different types of property owners. He characterized the Mello-Roos concept as one “being driven by individual preferences of members of the committee, and not the council as a whole.” He singled out Mayor Greg Scharff, who voiced a willingness to explore MelloRoos districts during the last two committee meetings. Scharff briefly interrupted Burt to defend himself, characterizing Burt’s comment as “an VÌÕi`ÊÊ«>}iÊ£ä®
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EDITORIAL Editor Jocelyn Dong (223-6514) Associate Editor Carol Blitzer (223-6511) Sports Editor Keith Peters (223-6516) Express & Online Editor Eric Van Susteren (223-6515) Arts & Entertainment Editor Rebecca Wallace (223-6517) Assistant Sports Editor Rick Eymer (223-6521) Spectrum Editor Tom Gibboney (223-6507) Staff Writers Sue Dremann (223-6518), Chris Kenrick (223-6512), Gennady Sheyner (223-6513) Editorial Assistant/Intern Coordinator Elena Kadvany (223-6519) Staff Photographer Veronica Weber (223-6520) Contributors Andrew Preimesberger, Dale F. Bentson, Peter Canavese, Kit Davey, Tyler Hanley, Iris Harrell, Sheila Himmel, Chad Jones, Karla Kane, Kevin Kirby, Terri Lobdell, Jack McKinnon, Jeanie K. Smith, Susan Tavernetti Intern Kimberlee D’Ardenne ADVERTISING Vice President Sales & Advertising Tom Zahiralis (223-6570) Multimedia Advertising Sales Christine Afsahi (223-8582), Adam Carter (2236573), Elaine Clark (223-6572), Connie Jo Cotton (223-6571), Janice Hoogner (223-6576), Wendy Suzuki 223-6569), Brent Triantos (223-6577), Real Estate Advertising Sales Neal Fine (223-6583), Carolyn Oliver (223-6581), Rosemary Lewkowitz (223-6585) Inside Advertising Sales David Cirner (223-6579), Irene Schwartz (223-6580) Real Estate Advertising Assistant Diane Martin (223-6584) Legal Advertising Alicia Santillan (223-6578) ADVERTISING SERVICES Advertising Services Manager Jennifer Lindberg (223-6595) Sales & Production Coordinators Dorothy Hassett (223-6597), Blanca Yoc (223-6596) DESIGN Design Director Shannon Corey (223-6560) Assistant Design Director Lili Cao (223-6562) Senior Designers Linda Atilano, Paul Llewellyn, Scott Peterson Designers Rosanna Leung, Kameron Sawyer EXPRESS, ONLINE AND VIDEO SERVICES Online Operations Coordinator Ashley Finden (223-6508) BUSINESS Payroll & Benefits Susie Ochoa (223-6544) Business Associates Elena Dineva (223-6542), Mary McDonald (223-6543), Cathy Stringari (223-6541)
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The Palo Alto Weekly (ISSN 0199-1159) is published every Friday by Embarcadero Media, 450 Cambridge Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306, (650) 326-8210. Periodicals postage paid at Palo Alto, CA and additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for Santa Clara County. The Palo Alto Weekly is delivered free to homes in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, East Palo Alto, to faculty and staff households on the Stanford campus and to portions of Los Altos Hills. If you are not currently receiving the paper, you may request free delivery by calling 3268210. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302. ©2013 by Embarcadero Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. The Palo Alto Weekly is available on the Internet via Palo Alto Online at: www.PaloAltoOnline.com Our email addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Missed delivery or start/stop your paper? Call 650 223-6557, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also subscribe online at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Subscriptions are $60/yr.
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Maybe we should blow it up and start over again. —John Hennessy, Stanford University president, on how the system of funding a school district with city property taxes engenders inequality. See story on page 7.
COMMERCIALIZE THIS! ... The City Council swiftly put the kibosh on a proposal to place a city-owned digital billboard in Palo Alto in order to help raise up to $1 million for infrastructure fixes that plague the city. The idea became unpopular with residents almost as quickly as it was proposed, and the council voted 7-0 with Karen Holman and Gail Price absent to strike it from the books entirely. But before they could, they got an earful from residents, both in person and through numerous letters. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth by letter writers and vengeful Town Square commenters on PaloAltoOnline.com who complained that the idea didn’t fit the character of Palo Alto, decried the vapid and garish nature of the signs, and bemoaned the disruptive effect the sign’s presence would have on views of the picturesque Baylands and East Bay Hills. Annette Glanckopf, vice chair of the Midtown Residents Association, said: “This is a serious step in commercialization of Palo Alto, with a slippery slope.” City Manager James Keene was quick to point out that the proposal was, in fact, only a proposal and served to identify ways the city could theoretically make money for pricey improvements — like a new public-safety building. “This really is just a matter of leaving no stone unturned in a sense, as far as presenting ideas to the council,” he said. The council’s strong and unanimous reaction quickly put residents’ anxieties to rest. So did Keene’s assurance to Mayor Greg Scharff at the conclusion of Monday’s quick discussion. “Just so we’re clear with this, Mr. Mayor: We’re done with this forever,” Keene said. CHALKBOARDS ... THE NEXT GENERATION ... If sometime in January you’re confronted by a giant “smart screen” at a local library or community center and questioned about Palo Alto values, don’t be confused or alarmed. The big screens are one of three channels that the city is proposing to reach out to the community before the City Council adopts the city’s “core values” at its retreat early next year (the other two channels are Open City Hall, a website that allows users to comment on main agenda actions, and a video of Palo Altans talking about values).
The outreach was prompted by the council’s recent decision to reform its priority-setting process. In the past, official “priorities” included such feel-good-but-hardto-define items as “civic engagement” and “youth well-being.” This year, the council agreed to limit its list to priorities that are “actionable” and that take no more than three years to achieve. On a parallel track, council members agreed to come up with a list of “core values” that would be more permanent in nature, addressing things like environmental sustainability and the government’s responsiveness to its citizens. Hence, the giant smart screens, which according to the report would be “50 inch and bigger” and that would “allow users to write on the screen, erase and save their work.” Staff proposes to install two or three screens at various locations, including City Hall and possibly local libraries and community centers. If electronic boards prove too burdensome, staff would pursue the cheaper approach known all too well to local startups. “A lowtechnology alternative could be the placement of traditional white boards at various locations to capture community interest,” the staff report states. PALY GETS PUBLISHED ... Several Palo Alto High School photography students made a splash in October when their photos were published on Lens, The New York Times’ photography blog. This year, teacher Margo Wixsom required all of her students to submit photos to Lens for the blog’s “My Hometown” contest, which set out to answer the question, “What does America look like to young people today?” The Times asked high schoolers across the country to submit photos of their lives and communities Paly photogs submitted tech-centric photos (one that got on the blog shows a student’s parents and siblings all completely absorbed on their Apple devices, standing outside the Stanford Shopping Center Apple store) as well as scenes from the Baylands, local parks, the California Avenue Farmers Market and more. Some students’ photos were selected to be archived in the Library of Congress (as photos from the Farm Security Administration project were in their time, too). N
Stanfordâ€™s Hennessy questions California teacher tenure laws Panelists also decry â€˜crazy, immoralâ€™ inequities in school funding by Chris Kenrick
tanford University President John Hennessy this week questioned why California grants job tenure to K-12 teachers after only two years of teaching. â€œHow can we give tenure at two years when itâ€™s simply too early to make that judgment (of whether someone is a good teacher)?â€? Hennessy asked. â€œWhy do we encode this in law? We donâ€™t do that for any other profession.â€? Hennessy spoke in a panel discussion Tuesday convened by the Stanford Pre-Education Society, a club of undergraduates interested in pursuing education careers. Society president and moderator Julia Quintero, a history and human biology major who aspires to be a teacher, introduced the session, saying that â€œcareers in education are often overlooked by students at elite institutions like Stanford. Weâ€™re here to change that.â€? She asked panelists to address what the U.S. can do to â€œattract the brightest students to careers in education, especially teaching.â€? â€œWe as a society need to change to make (teaching) a high-status profession,â€? Hennessy said. He noted that â€œmany people who go into teaching careers (in the U.S.) come from the lower third of their college classâ€? while â€œin the rest of the world they come from the top thirdâ€? â€” and in high-performing Finland, teachers earn as much as doctors. â€œWe need to put more value on (teaching),â€? he said. â€œIn the United States, letâ€™s face it, the salary you earn says something about how important your profession is.â€?
Panelist Michael Kirst, a retired Stanford professor and current chairman of Californiaâ€™s State Board of Education, called the stateâ€™s tenure law â€œa historical artifactâ€? of an era when the Legislature enacted job protections because teachers were not permitted to unionize. â€œWhen collective bargaining came (in 1975) we didnâ€™t repeal those (tenure and job-security) laws, we just piled the collective bargaining on top of the existing laws and have been unable politically â€” either by votes of the Legislature or by the people â€” to change this around,â€? Kirst said, agreeing that two years is â€œtoo earlyâ€? to determine tenure. But an initiative by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to extend the probationary period before tenure from two years to five years (Proposition 74 in 2005) was soundly defeated, he noted. More than 60 percent of Californiaâ€™s 310,000 public-school teachers now come from the California State University system â€” schools like San Jose State University that originally were founded as teachersâ€™ colleges, Kirst said. Another 20 percent to 25 percent come from â€œa set of for-profit, non-selective institutions,â€? he said. â€œSelective institutions like Santa Clara University, UC and Stanford are 10 percent to 15 percent of our supply,â€? Kirst said. State education leaders are looking at reforms that would place greater emphasis on having teaching students demonstrate their skills rather than just spend
time in the classroom, he said. Hennessy said many teachereducation programs across the country spend less money perstudent than they spend on almost any other major in the university. â€œWeâ€™re sending a message right there about the importance of this profession,â€? he said. Program costs are low, he said, because most students sit in the college classroom, and â€œThatâ€™s exactly the wrong thing to do.â€? He said an exception is the
â€˜How can we give tenure at two years when itâ€™s simply too early to make that judgment (of whether someone is a good teacher)?â€™ â€”John Hennessy, president, Stanford University 12-month Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), which interweaves instruction with hands-on teaching experience and leads to a masterâ€™s degree and preliminary California teaching credential. A recent survey of STEP graduates from 2002 to 2011 indicated that 75 percent of them are still working in K-12 classrooms â€” far better than the oft-cited 50 percent to 60 percent overall retention rate of teachers after five years, STEP Director Rachel Lotan said. Claude Steele, Stanford Graduate
Palo Alto looks at trenches for Caltrain Proposed study would estimate costs for underpasses, trenches
School of Education dean, cited his schoolâ€™s outreach efforts that expose undergraduates to careers in education, including a theme house focused on education and society and an education minor. â€œWe hope that helps make (education) a kind of normative, even a cool thing to do,â€? Steele said. Though Steele said his feelings about Teach for America â€” a national nonprofit that places young college graduates in some of the nationâ€™s most challenging, low-income classrooms for two years â€” are â€œvery mixedâ€? and â€œcomplex,â€? he said the sought-after program has motivated people to pursue education careers. Kirst said California desperately needs Spanish-speaking teachers and those prepared to handle a growing wave of students with autism. When he first served on the State Board of Education in 1982, special education was 11 percent of operating expenditures and now itâ€™s 22 percent, he said. Of the 6.2 million children in California, 53 percent are Latino and 1.6 million of them â€œcannot function in English in the classroom.â€? Hopeful news for aspiring teachers lies in the new Common Core State Standards now being implemented in California and most other states, Kirst said. â€œItâ€™s a much higher and deeper curriculum and one that teachers want to teach to,â€? Kirst said, citing a survey that found that 73 percent of teachers nationwide are enthusiastic about Common Core.
â€œIt will end the sole reliance we now have in California on the fillin-the-bubble exam and closedend questions ... which has led to scripted textbooks and scripted lessons for teachers.â€? Hennessy and Steele said teachers have unfairly been made scapegoats as national resources have been diverted from the young to the old. â€œWeâ€™re spending more and more on health care entitlement programs. Weâ€™ve driven down the poverty level of old people ... but weâ€™ve driven up the poverty level of young people. ... Weâ€™ve got to redress this imbalance, and if we donâ€™t, we wonâ€™t be the country we aspire to be,â€? Hennessy said. All four panelists decried funding inequities in California public education. â€œA beginning teacherâ€™s salary is $38,000 in Oakland; in San Francisco itâ€™s $48,000, and in Mountain View-Los Altos itâ€™s $60,000,â€? Lotan said. â€œThatâ€™s wrong; thatâ€™s immoral. ... That should not be.â€? Hennessy said teachers working with struggling, low-income students should be paid more than other teachers, not less. â€œHow did we ever get into this crazy situation where taxes support school districts so thereâ€™s an attachment between the neighborhood you live in and the quality of your school? â€œItâ€™s a crazy system, and maybe we should blow it up and start over again,â€? he said. N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at ckenrick@ paweekly.com.
Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School
Inspiring Minds... Creating Community
Please Join Us For Our Open Houses
by Gennady Sheyner
ommuting by train may be on the rise in job-rich Palo Alto, but when the City Council meets on Monday to discuss the local rail line, its focus will be on burying Caltrain, not to praising it. Specifically, the council will consider commissioning a study to evaluate the cost of digging a trench for Caltrain between San Antonio Road and Matadero Creek. The study would also evaluate the costs of submerging the roadways at Churchill Avenue, Meadow Drive and Charleston Road as they cross the railroad tracks, while leaving the Alma Street intersection at grade. The idea of separating roadways from the tracks has been lingering in the background for years but has become more prom-
inent since 2009. The prospect of a high-speed rail system getting built between San Francisco and Los Angeles has prompted serious conversations about train alignments, with many local residents and council members urging an underground system for the new trains. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has been loathe to commit to such a system, though, citing high costs and engineering complications. The design currently on the table has high-speed rail and Caltrain sharing two tracks on the Peninsula. Yet the prospects of underpasses and trenching continue to tickle the imaginations of Palo Alto officials and residents, many of whom remain concerned about the dangers of trains and cars both running at street level.
While most experts acknowledge that grade separations would be expensive and complicated, reliable cost estimates have been hard to come by. In 2011, the firm Hatch Mott McDonald estimated that the cost of building a 4-mile, two-track trench from one end of Palo Alto to another would cost in the ballpark of $500 million to $650 million. That study did not, however, consider such factors as shoe-fly tracks (those set up for temporary use) or temporary road construction and did not look at underpasses. The new $127,550 study, which the councilâ€™s Rail Committee had approved by a 3-1 vote on Aug. 22, with Councilman Larry Klein dissent(continued on page ÂŁÂŁ)
Primary Grades Open House For Prospective Parents Thursday, November 21, 2013 7:00 - 8:30pm
Middle School Open House For Prospective Parents & Students Sunday, November 3, 2013 1:00 - 3:30pm For more information and to RSVP: Aileen Mitchner, Director of Admission 650-494-4404 | email@example.com 450 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306 www.hausner.com &$,6 :$6&DFFUHGLWHG&RQĂ€GHQWLDOVFKRODUVKLSVDYDLODEOH6FKRODUVKLSVSDUWLDOO\ SURYLGHGE\WKH6FKZDUW]PDQ)DPLO\6FKRODUVKLS)XQG WKH-HZLVK&RPPXQLW\ )HGHUDWLRQRI6DQ)UDQFLVFRWKH3HQLQVXOD0DULQDQG6RQRPD&RXQWLHV
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Call for Entries
22nd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest The Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest is open to anyone who lives, works or attends school full-time in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside, Atherton, Stanford, Portola Valley, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and East Palo Alto*. Three categories:
UÊÊPortraits: Limited to portraits of people as subjects
UÊÊBay Area Images: Photographs taken in the greater Bay Area of local people,
UÊÊViews Beyond the Bay: All other photographs — pictures taken around the state,
places or things as subjects. country or during travel abroad. May also include photos that do not fit into either of the two categories above. Two judging divisions: Adult and Youth (under 17 as of 1/3/14) Prizes include cash and gift certificates from our sponsors. Reception and exhibit at Palo Alto Art Center in March. $25 entry fee per submission. Youth entry fee is $15. Limit of one entry per category. (For complete rules and entry procedures, visit PaloAltoOnline.com/photo_contest
ENTRY DEADLINE January 3, 2014 Entry fees: Adult $25 per image Youth $15 per image One entry per category
For more information, visit
PaloAltoOnline.com/photo_contest or contact Miranda Chatfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650.223.6559
Judges: Angela Buenning Filo, David Hibbard, Brigitte Carnochan, Veronica Weber. See judges' bios on website. Entry deadline: January 3, 2014 at 11:55 p.m. Page 8ÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊ£]ÊÓä£ÎÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°V
*Palo Alto Weekly employees, sponsors and their employees, and freelancers are not eligible to participate.
REAL ESTATE TRENDS
by Samia Cullen
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer buys funeral-home property Palo Alto parcel had been eyed by city for 21 housing units by Sue Dremann
tor of planning and community environment. “Any new development would need to go through a re-zoning process — Planning and Transportation Commission review and City Council approval required,” he said. In addition to 980 Addison, the entire block — bounded by Middlefield, Addi- Marissa Mayer son, Webster Street and Channing Avenue — has been zoned as “planned community,” including an adjacent PC zone for the Webster Wood Apartments for low-income families. But the city’s Comprehensive
is $7,000, he noted. “The difference is $17,000 against $2,500. It’s a vast difference,” he said. The Roman Catholic Church is also affecting traditional funeral homes by getting into the funeral business, he said. “Catholic churches in some states have funeral homes in their cemeteries,” he said.
& Hapgood’s demise, he said. People are changing how they are being buried and where they have services, he said. O’Connor has been a licensed funeral director for 50 years and a funeral director in Menlo Park for 25 years. He once had a 7,000-square-foot facility near downtown Menlo Park. In the 1980s, cremations constituted 20 percent of his business, but they jumped to 50 percent within 10 years, he said. “We were no longer doing two to three funerals a night with services in two to three chapels, so we downsized to 3,000 square feet,” he said. When cremation rates again rose he retired and sold the business, he said. O’Connor took an extended trip around the world for eight years. He returned to the business in 2010 after people complained of the void in Menlo Park. Now, cremations constitute 80 percent, he said. “Funeral directors ask me, ‘John, what the hell is going on in California?’ I don’t have an answer,” he said, noting that in other parts of the country, the cremation rate is 20 percent, he said. Most people in Palo Alto and Menlo Park can afford a traditional funeral, so O’Connor doesn’t think the change is due to money. But the difference in costs might be enticing. A cemetery plot costs $10,000; the price tag for scattering ashes by air or sea is $500. O’Connor charges $2,000 for a cremation. A traditional funeral, according to AARP,
‘We were no longer doing two to three funerals a night with services in two to three chapels, so we downsized to 3,000 square feet.’ —John O’Connor, funeral director, Menlo Park Funerals Catholic churches are also building wall niches in new churches to accommodate parishioners’ cremated remains, he said. Jim Spangler moved into O’Connor’s 7,000-square-foot Menlo Park space after O’Connor downsized. In 2009, when Spangler’s rent tripled, he closed the funeral home. Now his staff meets with families at their homes to make arrangements, and the firm works collaboratively with some local churches. O’Connor’s business model has also dramatically changed since returning to funeral directing. He works from a 500-square-foot office on Chestnut Street, and he answers his cell phone at any time of
ahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is the new owner of the property that housed the now-closed Roller & Hapgood & Tinney funeral home, sources at the mortuary told the Palo Alto Weekly, which first reported the story, on Monday. The 1.16-acre property at 980 Middlefield Road, at the corner of Addison Avenue, is located a block east of Mayer’s Addison home and across the street from Addison Elementary School. Speculation has abounded this week as to what Mayer plans to do with the property. But she has stayed mum on the purchase and her plans for the corner lot. The site is currently zoned “planned community” (PC) and allows only a commercial funeralhome to use the land, said Aaron Aknin, Palo Alto’s assistant direc-
Plan has designated the area for “multi-family use,” which allows between 8 and 40 housing units per acre depending on the zoning. On June 26, 2012, a city staff report identified the funeral-home property as a potential site for up to 21 residences. The corner lot is, however, across the street from blocks designated for single-family homes. It is also one block away on Addison from single-family residences. The land deal closed Oct. 7, according to Jim Spangler, president of Mountain View-based Spangler Mortuaries, which purchased Roller & Hapgood & Tinney’s business assets. Mayer’s current 5,600-squarefoot home, on 0.3 acres, was the site of a Democratic fundraising dinner with President Barack Obama in October 2010. N
How To Improve Your Credit Score Before Applying For a Loan If you are planning to buy a house or reﬁnance it’s a great idea to start working on improving your credit score several months before you apply for a loan. Boosting your credit score could help you qualify for a lower loan rate. Paying your bills on time is a must and has a big impact on your credit score. In addition here are other strategies that can make a difference:
it will look as if you’re maxing out your available credit, which can hurt your score. Check your credit reports for errors. Checking your own credit score in advance prevents surprises when you apply for a mortgage. You can get free copies of your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus every 12 months.
Start paying down your card balances. Paying down your cards is by far the best way to improve your scores quickly. Don’t open new credit cards. Don’t Start early because the low balances don’t open or even apply for any credit cards always appear on your credit report right within six months before applying for a loan. Lenders look at inquiries made within away. the past several months and may think that Once you do start shopping for you’ve taken on new debt that hasn’t yet mortgage rates, try to limit that period been reported. to 30 days. Credit inquiries can affect your Don’t close any credit cards. Lenders are score if it looks to prospective lenders as very interested in the ratio of your current if you’re about to take on a lot of debt. balance to the available limit. If you close The FICO score recognizes all inquiries a card that had a high credit limit but keep for a mortgage made within a limited time your balance the same on your other cards, period and it will count as one inquiry. If you have a real estate question or would like a free market analysis for your home, please call me at 650-384-5392, Alain Pinel Realtors, or email me at email@example.com. For the latest real estate news, follow my blog at www.samiacullen.com
the day or night. Marilyn Talbot, general manager at Palo Alto’s Alta Mesa Memorial Park, which includes the city’s sole remaining mortuary, said the full-service funeral home was added in 2010, including a chapel and reception area where people can order or bring catered food. “The trend is that people want to go to one place instead of a lot of different places,” she said. People also expect and want technology to play a role in funerals, Talbot said. Alta Mesa offers tribute videos, memorial websites and live funeral webcasting. Since many family members live out of the country and can’t attend a funeral, Alta Mesa’s chapel has a huge drop-down screen so all parties can see each other. “People have live-streamed services all over the world,” she said. As for Roller & Hapgood & Tinney, Spangler said, families can continue to use the firm’s phone number or visit its website. Persons wanting to view family funeral records and consult on prearrangements made with Roller & Hapgood can contact Spangler at 650-967-5546. Spangler has offices in Los Altos, Mountain View and Sunnyvale. N Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@ paweekly.com.
LET’S DISCUSS: Read the latest local news headlines and talk about the issues at Town Square at PaloAltoOnline.com
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attack on me personally.â€? Councilman Larry Klein, another committee member, also deflected Burtâ€™s allegation that the committee has overstepped its advisory role and was now setting policy. â€œPolling is not policy,â€? Klein said. â€œItâ€™s just polling. Itâ€™s information. ... If the council doesnâ€™t like the questions asked at this time, they can order up another poll come December and January.â€? N
CityView A round-up
of Palo Alto government action this week
City Council (Oct. 28) Infrastructure: The council authorized polling for five possible revenue measures that would appear on the November 2014 ballot: a hotel-tax increase, a sales-tax increase, Mello-Roos districts and bond packages focusing on transportation and public safety, respectively. Yes: Berman, Burt, Klein, Kniss, Scharff, Shepherd No: Schmid Absent: Holman, Price Billboard: The council directed staff not to proceed any further with a proposed digital billboard along U.S. Highway 101. Yes: Berman, Burt, Klein, Kniss, Scharff, Schmid, Shepherd Absent: Holman, Price Technology: The council directed staff to proceed with two master plans, one for creation of a â€œfiber to the premiseâ€? system and another for a citywide wireless plan. Yes: Berman, Burt, Klein, Kniss, Scharff, Schmid, Shepherd Absent: Holman, Price
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News Digest Suspect at large in downtown robbery Palo Alto police are looking for one of three suspects who beat up, robbed and threatened to stab a man on Hamilton Avenue on Tuesday night. The strong-arm robbery occurred at around 11:30 p.m. on the 400 block of Hamilton Avenue, between Waverley and Cowper streets. Police said the victim, a man in his 30s, was walking west on Hamilton when a man jumped onto his back, knocking him to the ground. Three people then surrounded him, punched him in the face and possibly kicked him, police said. One suspect allegedly threatened to stab the victim and demanded his property. The man handed over his cell phone and credit cards, and the three attackers walked away. After the robbery, the victim ran two blocks to the police department to report the robbery. Palo Alto police immediately went to the site but could not find the robbers. They relayed the robbers’ descriptions to nearby agencies. Within the hour, a Menlo Park officer who heard the descriptions spotted three individuals who matched them in East Palo Alto, at the intersection of Manhattan Avenue and O’Connor Street. When he approached them, one of the three ran away, police said. The other two, both 16-year-old residents of East Palo Alto, were detained and arrested for robbery after the victim’s property was found in their possession. Both were booked at the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall. The third suspect remains at large, police said. He was described as a black male, about 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a medium build and wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt. Anyone with information about the robbery may call the department’s 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. — Gennady Sheyner
Teachers get 4 percent raise in tentative pact Palo Alto teachers this year will get a 4 percent raise along with a onetime bonus of 2 percent under a tentative collective-bargaining agreement between the Palo Alto Unified School District and the Palo Alto Educators Association. The raise comes atop a 3 percent salary boost and 1.5 percent bonus given last year — the first raise since 2007-08. The raise is subject to union ratification and approval by the Board of Education. Teachers agreed to absorb 75 percent of this year’s increase in health care costs, which amounted to more than $1 million for calendar year 2014, the district said. The raise announced Wednesday would boost the pay of a beginning teacher from the current $53,000 to about $55,000. Additional costs to the school district include some $13,000 in health benefits and 12.5 percent contributions to the California State Teachers Retirement System. Palo Alto’s average teacher salary of $85,721 (before last year’s raise) ranked fifth among averages in nine nearby school districts, according to a comparison by EdData, which publishes fiscal, demographic and performance data about California’s K-12 public schools. Salaries and benefits consume about 84 percent of the district’s operating budget. Wednesday’s announcement contained no information on raises for non-teaching staff or management, but raises for those groups previously has tracked those of teachers. — Chris Kenrick
Planning for the future of East Palo Alto As East Palo Alto begins to look at how it will update the plan that guides everything from land use to employment, the city is calling on residents to participate in the process and share their input during two community meetings to be held in November. The city’s General Plan is a state-mandated document that the city will use over the course of 20 years to prioritize issues that affect the community, such as development and affordable housing. The plan, called Vista, is slated to be completed in 2015. The first meeting will include presentations on the state of the neighborhoods located to the west of U.S. Highway 101. Community members will discuss their visions for the area. This meeting will be held Saturday, Nov. 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel ballroom, 2050 University Ave., East Palo Alto. Spanish translation, child care and refreshments will be provided. A following Nov. 23 meeting will include a broader look at the general plan and will be presented as a workshop. Interested community members can visit the East Palo Alto General Plan Update website at Vista2035epa.org to get more information, sign up for email alerts, and get the schedule for future workshops and meetings. — Eric Van Susteren
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ing, would be more refined and based on a new set of assumptions. The 2011 study used data supplied by the California HighSpeed Rail Authority. The new one will use “current and local construction cost information” based on information obtained about BART and other similar projects. “The recent and local data is more relevant for Peninsula/ South Bay purposes, compared to the CHSRA information which was primarily based on statewide averages,” a report from the Office of City Manager’s Office states. At the Aug. 22 meeting, members of the Rail Committee emphasized the study would be a useful tool for educating the public about trenching alternatives and for enhancing the city’s ability to lobby for grade separation. Councilwoman Liz Kniss and Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd both cited local anxieties about having trains and cars remain at street level. This could become a bigger issue in the coming years, as the Caltrain system becomes electrified and more trains are added. The city’s station at University Avenue is already the secondbusiest in the system, behind San Francisco’s. Klein argued against the study, citing the earlier study and arguing that the city should not spend any money on a project that is so uncertain. He also argued that studying trenching in only the south end of the city would violate the city’s guiding principle to treat all areas of the city the same (staff is recommending not studying trenching for the entire corridor because of the complexity of burying the tracks around the San Francisquito Creek, at the northern border). “It just doesn’t make any sense to go further,” Klein said. Councilman Pat Burt disagreed and joined Kniss and Shepherd in arguing that the study will provide much-needed information that would strengthen the city’s ability to seek funds for grade separation. “I think, like we’ve seen in other projects, there are possibilities long term for much greater funding that we might envision or see available at the present time,” Burt said, citing possible funds to stem major impacts of train projects. Shepherd said it would also be helpful to provide the community with more information about what it would take to create underpasses or to put the rail line in a trench. “There still is angst and there is uncertainty in the community,” Shepherd said. “I think this will allow us to get a little closer to certainty and feasibility.” N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
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Online This Week These and other news stories were posted on Palo Alto Online throughout the week. For longer versions, go to www. PaloAltoOnline.com/news.
Police search for witnesses East Palo Alto police are still trying to determine a motive in a Tuesday evening shooting that left three city residents suffering from gunshot wounds, a police officer said today. (Posted Oct. 31, 8:58 a.m.)
Citywide fiber plan moves ahead The good news for Palo Altoâ€™s technophiles is that if all goes as planned, construction of a long-sought, citywide ultra-high-speed Internet network could begin by the end of next year. The bad news is that so far, in the cityâ€™s frustrating slog toward what is known as â€œFiber to the Premise,â€? almost nothing has gone as planned. (Posted Oct. 30, 9:55 a.m.)
Restaurant bag ban starts Friday
Inspirations a guide to the spiritual community
Plastic to-go bags at Palo Alto restaurants are going to go as of Friday, Nov. 1, when the third phase of Palo Altoâ€™s ordinance banning plastic bags takes effect. (Posted Oct. 30, 9:49 a.m.)
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This Sunday: Getting What They Deserve Rev. David Howell preaching An Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ We celebrate Marriage Equality!
Woman robs bank in Menlo Park A woman in her mid-20s robbed Bank of the West in downtown Menlo Park on Tuesday, police report. (Posted Oct. 30, 9:08 a.m.)
East Palo Alto police chief to leave Ronald Davis, East Palo Altoâ€™s police chief for the past eight years, will leave his post to take a new job in Washington, D.C., the city announced today, Oct. 25.
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With Election Day just around the corner, the nonprofit looking to build a bitterly contested housing development on Maybell Avenue has further widened its fundraising lead over the projectâ€™s opponents by injecting another $60,000 into its political campaign. (Posted Oct. 25, 9:40 a.m.)
tractor to contain costs and are thus considered a low-risk strategy for the city, the audit notes. But in the end, only 19 percent of the $1.9 million that the city paid to Casey was based on fixed prices. About $1.4 million, or 74 percent, was based on “optional bid line items,” for which the contractor charges the city based on time and material expenses. As Boussina points out, such contracts provide “no positive incentive to the contractor for cost control or labor efficiency, requiring additional controls to ensure efficient methods and effective cost controls are being used.” Another $144,141 was spent on items “not identified by any line item in the contract.” Tomm Marshall, assistant director of engineering in the Utilities Department, said this sum was spent on an excavator that was needed for a project. Utilities and Administrative Services officials acknowledged on Wednesday that the city’s contract-administration process needs improvement and outlined their strategy for addressing the auditor’s recommendation. These include enhanced training procedures for contract management, staffing changes to ensure more contract oversight, better use of technology and more stringent record keeping. In the Utilities Department’s engineering division, which was the target of the audit, one position has already been reclassified and charged with contract administration, Marshall said. Utilities Director Valerie Fong said some of these initiatives had been launched even before the audit. She acknowledged that there had been “procedural lapses” in the department’s contract administration, but stressed that these mistakes “did not in any way diminish the value of the services that we needed and paid for under the contract.” “We really do recognize that contract administration is extremely important and we are really committed to improving our processes, our procedures and our training to ensure contracts are properly executed and administered,” Fong said. Some of the reasons for the inadequate oversight had to do with inexperienced staff, she said. Over the past four years, the engineering and operations divisions have seen a 40 percent turnover. This was partly because of the council’s decision in the economic downturn to reform the city’s pension formula and require a greater contribution from employees. One of the unintended consequences was a spike in retirements and a resulting loss of workers with decades of experience. “As a result, we had staff who were not necessarily fully trained in every aspect of contract management,” Fong said. At the same time, with construction projects ramping up again as the economy revived, the city saw
more demand for underground utilities work, officials said. The higher-than-expected number of customers surpassed the staff’s estimate and prompted a gradual switch from the safer “lump sum” methodology to the “time and materials” one that favored the contractor, Marshall said. The contract effectively became an “ad hoc” agreement based on customer requests, he said. The city’s agreement with Casey was made despite the contractor’s admission that its bid, while low, was based on flawed assumptions. In particular, Casey didn’t factor in a provision having to do with paving, said Lalo Perez, the city’s chief finance officer. Nevertheless, after city officials spoke to Casey and explained this provision, Casey agreed to honor its contract and abide by its terms. The audit suggests that the city’s decision to award the bid despite the early errors may have contributed to the complications that occurred down the road. “Based on available evidence, including correspondence with Casey staff and actual Casey contract billings, we conclude that while the city awarded the contract to the lowest bidder, it did not award the contract to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder, which may have resulted in additional costs of approximately $281,000,” the audit states.
The figure assumes that the city would have awarded the contract to the second-lowest bidder and that this bidder would have been monitored and would have performed a similar amount of work. The audit faults staff for not accurately communicating to the City Council the reasons for the low bid or why the city was awarding the contract to Casey despite the flaws. Furthermore, the audit found that the city had authorized $1.7 million of its $1.9 million to Casey without a “valid, renewed contract.” Rather than reissuing the contract every year, as specified in the 2009 agreement with Casey, the city used a less stringent “purchase requisition” procedure that automatically extended the conditions. In a response to the audit, prepared by Perez and Fong on behalf of City Manager James Keene, they acknowledged the contract “required more diligent management” and that construction work was not well-documented. “In the future, staff responsible for contract and project management will follow the procedures as outlined in the contract, including a formal evaluation of the contractor’s performance, contract compliance, and responsiveness within 12 months at a minimum,” they wrote. N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
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A preview of Palo Alto government meetings next week CITY COUNCIL ... The council plans to hold a study session with Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian; consider commissioning a study focusing on trenching and grade separation along the Caltrain corridor; and discuss a public outreach plan for adoption of the city’s “core values.” The session with Simitian will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). A regular meeting will follow in the Council Chambers. BOARD OF EDUCATION ... The board will consider staff recommendations for $1.9 million in school “program additions” for the 2013-14 school year. The board also will hear a report from the citizens’ committee overseeing $378 million in construction spending under the 2008 “Strong Schools” facilities bond, as well as an outside auditor’s report on the bond spending. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the boardroom of school district headquarters (25 Churchill Ave.). COUNCIL FINANCE COMMITTEE ... The committee plans to discuss the audit of contract oversight in the Utilities Department’s trenching and electric substructure operation; the city’s development-impact fees; and the city’s cost-recovery policy. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). HISTORIC RESOURCES BOARD ... The board plans to review 1027 Bryant St., an application by Fergus Garber Young Architects on behalf of John Tarlton and Jennifer Deerborn, for a redesign of a multi-family building that was originally constructed in 1898 and that is located in the Professorville National Register Historic District. The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). UTILITIES ADVISORY COMMISSION ... The commission plans to hear a presentation on the city’s plans for additional renewable energy projects; discuss modifications to rate schedules; and hear updates on PaloAltoCLEAN and on the semi-annual strategic plan. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD ... The board plans to review 429 University Ave., a proposal by Hayes Group Architects on behalf of Kipling Post LP for a four-story building with ground-floor retail, two floors of office and one floor of residential. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.).
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NOTICE OF A PUBLIC MEETING of the Palo Alto Planning & Transportation Commission
Michael Repka Before you select a real estate agent, meet with Michael Repka to discuss how his real estate law and tax back-ground beneďŹ ts Ken DeLeonâ€™s clients.
Please be advised the Planning and Transportation Commission (P&TC) shall conduct a public meeting at 6:00 PM, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 in the Council Chambers, Ground Floor, Civic Center, Palo Alto, California. Any interested persons may appear and be heard on these items. Staff reports for agendized items are available via the Cityâ€™s main website at www.cityofpaloalto.org and also at the Planning Division Front Desk, 5th Floor, City Hall, after 2:00 PM on the Friday preceding the meeting date. Copies will be made available at the Development Center should City Hall be closed on the 9/80 Friday. Public Hearing 1. Urban Forest Master Plan Draft Review and Comment: A staff presented overview will be followed by comments to inform edits as the plan progresses toward further review and completion.
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2. Matadero Bike Boulevard: Recommendation by the Planning and Transportation Commission to the City Council Recommending Approval of the Matadero Avenue-Margarita Avenue Bicycle Boulevard Project and Phasing Plan
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Questions. For any questions regarding the above items, please contact the Planning Department at (650) 329-2441. The ďŹ les relating to these items are available for inspection weekdays between the hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. This public meeting is televised live on Government Access Channel 26.
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ADA. The City of Palo Alto does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities. To request an accommodation for this meeting or an alternative format for any related printed materials, please contact the Cityâ€™s ADA Coordinator at 650.329.2550 (voice) or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. *** Aaron Aknin, Interim Director of Planning and Community Environment
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Eat, laugh and have a good time! Support the children and families of Palo Alto by dining out on Nov. 14. Participating restaurants will donate a portion of your food tab to help provide quality childcare to low-income working families. Dine for Kids sponsored by:
Pulse A weekly compendium of vital statistics
POLICE CALLS Palo Alto Oct. 22-29 Violence related Assault w/ a deadly weapon. . . . . . . . . 1 Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Domestic violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Theft related Checks forgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Commercial burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Identity theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Shoplifting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Vehicle related Abandoned auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Auto recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Bicycle theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Driving w/ suspended license . . . . . . . 4 Hit and run: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Lost/stolen plates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Misc. traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Theft from auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Vehicle accident/mnr. injury . . . . . . . . 10 Vehicle accident/prop. damage 9 Vehicle impound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Vehicle stored . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Alcohol or drug related Drunk in public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Open container. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Miscellaneous Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Misc. penal code violation . . . . . . . . . . 1 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Other/misc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Psychiatric hold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Suspicious circumstances . . . . . . . . . . 3 Town ordinance violation . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Warrant/other agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Sick & cared for . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Menlo Park Oct. 22-28 Violence related Assault w/ a deadly weapon . . . . . . . . 2 Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Robbery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Sexual assault. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Spousal abuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Theft related Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Residential burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Shoplifter in custody . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Vehicle related Auto recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Driving w/ suspended license. . . . . . . . 5 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Vehicle accident/mjr. injury . . . . . . . . . . 1 Vehicle accident/mnr. injury . . . . . . . . . 2 Vehicle accident/prop. damage . . . . . . 6 Vehicle tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Vehicle tampering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Bicycle accident/mnr. injury . . . . . . . . . 1 Alcohol or drug related Drug activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Drunk in public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Drug registration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Miscellaneous Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Info. case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Located missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Medical aid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Outside assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Psychiatric hold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Warrant arrest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Warrant/other agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Threats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Domestic dispute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Parole violation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Hour hold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Gang info . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Al & Joanne Russell, Avid Bank, Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Burr Pilger Mayer, Dr. S. Brian Liu D.D.D, M.S., Kawakita Graphics, Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto, Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, Palo Alto FireďŹ ghters Charitable Fund, Pasternak Patent Law, SpoLoan Mortgage Banking
For more information and the list of participating restaurants, please visit: www.pacc.org/dine_for_kids Page 14ĂŠUĂŠ ÂœĂ›iÂ“LiĂ€ĂŠÂŁ]ĂŠĂ“Ă¤ÂŁĂŽĂŠUĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?ĂžĂŠUĂŠĂœĂœĂœÂ°*>Â?ÂœÂ?ĂŒÂœ"Â˜Â?ÂˆÂ˜iÂ°VÂœÂ“
Palo Alto 3979 Middlefield Road, 10/22, 8:33 a.m.; Assault w/ a deadly weapon
Menlo Park 400 block Ivy Drive, 10/25, 2:45 p.m.; Assault w/ a deadly weapon 300 block Waverley St., 10/28, 12:18 a.m.; Assault w/ a deadly weapon
Just because Measure D is a political campaign, does not mean opponents can stretch the truth or intentionally mislead voters. Below are the top 15 inaccuracies and corresponding truthful facts about Measure D and the Maybell Affordable Senior Apartments. Inaccurate Statements The Maybell project is incompatible with the neighborhood, the site is not appropriate for this project, and the project will harm a single-family neighborhood.
THE FACTS FALSE. The project is directly adjacent to two existing apartment complexes — the 8-story Tan Plaza apartments with 61 units to the south and the Arastradero Park Apartments with 66 affordable family units to the east.
The planned community “PC” zoning was not needed to FALSE. All age-restricted senior housing in Palo Alto exists under the PC zone. The PC also mandates affordability. build affordable senior housing and is an abuse of PC zoning. A yes vote on Measure D will result in PC zoning changes and massive high-density housing all over Palo Alto including in single family neighborhoods.
FALSE. These types of scare tactics and rhetoric are unfortunate and untrue. A yes vote on Measure D only approves the project at Maybell.
The 12 single-family homes will be ”stack and pack” houses.
FALSE. The homes will be 2 stories on Maybell and 3 stories on Clemo (but only 2 ½ feet taller than existing homes on Maybell,) with 20 feet average front setbacks and 10 feet between the homes, similar to the existing homes on Maybell.
41 affordable senior homes can be built under existing zoning.
FALSE. 8nder existing zoning, between 34-46 multi-bedroom residences can be built. ,t would not be ŵnancially viable to build only 41 one-bedroom low-income senior units. The cost per unit would be very expensive and would prohibit the project from securing public and private sector ŵnancing.
Voting No on Measure D will stop all future development in Palo Alto.
FALSE. Voting no on Measure D ONLY will prevent 60 low-income seniors from having an affordable, safe home.
,ncreased trafŵc will endanger hundreds of children who bike and walk to schools.
FALSE. This project will have an insigniŵcant impact to trafŵc. The lower-income seniors will be mostly retired, will not all own cars, and typically do not drive during school commute hours.
The surrounding neighborhood was not aware of the project.
FALSE. This project spanned over 9 months of public hearings, including 3 voluntary community meetings, numerous one-on-one meetings with neighbors, and a 10-hour mediation session with opponents. The project will actually create sidewalks along Maybell where there are currently none.
The City of Palo Alto illegally loaned money to the Palo Alto Housing Corporation.
FALSE. City loans for affordable housing projects in early development stages are standard practice and completely legal; money comes from the City’s Affordable Housing Fund. These funds are developer fees – not taxpayer dollars from the general fund. The loan documents clearly state that they do not constitute pre-approval of the project.
PAHC is using taxpayer funds for the Measure D Campaign.
FALSE. ZERO taxpayer funds are being used for the Measure D campaign. PAHC has engaged legal counsel to ensure all of our campaign activities are 100% legal and ethical.
There is confusion about what can be built under existing zoning.
FALSE. The Palo Alto zoning code is crystal clear. 8nder current zoning, according to the City’s Planning ofŵcials, a fully built-out project could be up to 46 apartments or condos. Even the opposition has acknowledged that current zoning could accommodate 41 units plus the 4 homes (equal to 45 units).
If Measure D fails, PAHC will not sell the Maybell site to market-rate developers.
FALSE. If Measure D fails, a sale to a for-proŵt market rate developer is the only likely outcome. PAHC is a non-proŵt and does not have funds to make ongoing interest and mortgage payments on the $16 million loan.
If Measure D fails, the City of Palo Alto will make up the missing funding.
FALSE. It is our understanding that at this time, the City of Palo Alto has zero dollars in the Affordable Housing Fund to cover additional costs. The City does not use general fund dollars (e.g., taxpayer money) for affordable housing.
The Palo Alto Housing Corporation is a for-proŵt developer who will stand to make a proŵt if Measure D is approved.
FALSE. PAHC is a non-proŵt affordable housing organization that has operated over 00 affordable apartments all over the City of Palo Alto since 190. PAHC will make no proŵt on the Maybell affordable senior apartments; and the sale of the 12 home sites will fund the construction of the 60 senior apartments.
The Project will only have 36 parking spaces for 60 senior affordable apartments.
FALSE. The project will have 4 parking spaces – a 8% parking ratio is above and beyond the typical 50% need for affordable senior housing.
On November 5 or by Mail, Yes on D: Good for Seniors. Good for Palo Alto. Paid for by Palo Altans for Affordable Senior Housing, YES on Measure D, with major funding by Palo Alto Housing Corporation. ÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°VÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊ£]ÊÓä£ÎÊU Page 15
Editorial Mercifully, election day cometh Campaign tactics and emotion marred Measure D debate from the start
n a community that prides itself on both its intelligence and the ability to debate issues at a high level, the campaign over Measure D has not been our best work. The ballot measure allows voters to decide if the City Council made the right decision in unanimously approving a zoning change to permit the development of a four-story, 60-unit lowincome apartment building and 12 houses on Maybell and Clemo avenues, across from Briones Park on the southern edge of the city’s Barron Park neighborhood. The referendum is the only item on the ballot for Palo Alto residents, and an expected low turnout means the outcome will depend on which side can do a better job of turning out its supporters. A “yes” vote upholds the City Council’s rezoning of the 2.5-acre property, now the site of four homes and an orchard, so that the Palo Alto Housing Corporation can proceed with its plan. A “no” vote keeps the zoning as is, retaining four two-family homes on Maybell and permitting a number of possible options, including new homes, condominiums or apartments on the remainder of the property. The bitterness and anger of the campaign, fueled mostly by the neighbors who gathered the 4,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot and felt ignored and disrespected by the city and the Housing Corporation from the start, resulted in an ongoing whirlwind of assertions that too often were distortions and exaggerations. And for their part, the nonprofit Housing Corporation and the city officials who rallied around it to support Measure D have been unable to clearly document and indisputably prove their key point: that defeating Measure D will actually result in a worse and more intensive development than the project being proposed. A barrage of campaign mailings extol the value and need for senior housing. Sadly, the campaign has pitted friends against each other, divided the Barron Park neighborhood and tapped into a festering unease in the community about how zoning decisions are made, who pays the price and who benefits. The Weekly urged a “no” vote on Measure D (see our Oct. 18 editorial), primarily because we believe the City Council failed to strike the appropriate balance between mitigating the impacts on the neighborhood and the Housing Corporation’s desire to maximize its returns in selling half the site to a private home developer. In not recognizing the potential for conflict early on and taking steps to forge compromise, the city and Housing Corporation mistakenly sowed the seeds for this bitter contest and emboldened opponents. Hopefully, whether Measure D passes or is defeated, both sides will be able to put the emotions of the campaign behind them and unite behind a common goal of supporting the creation of more affordable housing for seniors.
Too glitzy for Palo Alto In a flash, digital billboard idea panned and discarded
nce in awhile an idea comes along that is so outlandish that everyone runs away from it as fast as possible. That was the case Monday night, when Mayor Greg Scharff and his colleagues disposed of a loser of an idea in record time. Even calling this a “proposal” is probably unfair to the city staff, which asked for “direction” from the Council on a moneymaking endeavor that first surfaced when the Great Recession was severely impacting city finances and all potential revenue angles were being pursued. The staff dutifully looked into operating an electronic billboard on city property along the highway, estimating that it was located in such a prime spot it might generate $1 million a year in advertising revenue. The idea was immediately ridiculed by residents on Palo Alto Online’s Town Square forum, and Council members got an earful through letters and emails. Why the Mayor and City Manager ever allowed this item to even come before the Council is bewildering. Perhaps they were just looking for something to lighten up the evening. But next time a dumb idea comes along, let’s not waste the time.
Spectrum Editorials, letters and opinions
Evaluate the facts Editor, The opponents of Measure D claim that under existing zoning, 41 affordable homes could be built on the site next to the four existing market-rate homes. This is simply not true. Affordable housing projects cannot be financed at such a low density. Nor can existing zoning guarantee that any units will be permanently affordable for low-income seniors. The City Council’s zoning decision is the only legal tool to ensure the 60 Maybell apartments remain affordable and age-restricted for seniors in perpetuity. As people learn more about Measure D between now and Nov. 5, and they hear arguments on both sides of this issue, I would only ask that they evaluate the facts of the Maybell project and this project alone. If they agree we need more affordable senior housing, then I urge them to vote “yes” on Measure D. Craig Bright Alma Street, Palo Alto
Reasons for “yes” Editor, Vote “yes” for affordable senior independent housing. That’s yes to 60 housing units that will shelter low-income people age 62 and older. There are many types of housing specifically for people who are 62 and older. The Maybell development is a rental project whose rents are being kept low through several funding sources. This is an independent development meaning that the residents provide their own care or make arrangements themselves for additional care if needed. This is not assisted living. Vote “yes” for well-planned housing. These 60 small units are located directly behind the 100foot-tall Tan Apartments complex. The 50-foot height of the building is a transition to the 30foot standard height of the twostory single-family units that face Maybell Ave. A transition down in height is good zoning. Vote “yes” for an excellent nonprofit manager of affordable apartments. The reputation of Palo Alto Housing Corporation is among the best. Their units are kept in excellent condition. Vote “yes” because funding for senior units is difficult to obtain. There is competition to fund our many community needs. The city dedicated money from the Stanford Hospital expansion that should have gone to affordable housing, into youth services and infrastructure. If the Weekly knows of other money that can be used to fund affordable housing
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please find it! Let us celebrate a creative solution to providing senior affordable housing units. Vote “yes” on Measure D! Phyllis C. Cassel Wellsbury Way, Palo Alto
Zoning for sale Editor, In 2009, when running for city council, Mayor Scharff said that “Planned Community zoning has the advantage of requiring the developer to give something to benefit the community.” The mayor has unusual standards as to what constitutes a “benefit.” In May 2012, Scharff was one of seven council members who voted in favor of the Lytton Gateway project, calling the building itself a benefit: “I think this is a prime site and having an office building — a Gateway project — is itself a public benefit.” Councilwoman Nancy Shepherd agreed, saying the building itself was a contributor to the public-benefit package. Back in the 1990s, council member Micki Schneider said that PC zoning allowed developers to benefit at the city’s expense. Another council member at the time, Ron Andersen, said it was “zoning for sale.” More recently, Councilwoman Liz Kniss said developers gained too much at the public’s expense and PC zoning was one of the biggest issues raised during her council campaign. In March of this year Planning Commissioners Martinez, Michael and Alcheck called for major changes to planned-community zoning, calling the existing process “the greatest challenge to land-use planning in Palo Alto today.” With all the talk, it took the Maybell community to finally stand up and say, “No more rezoning!” As the owner of a Palo Alto home in which a family member lives, I urge people to vote against Measure D. Pat Marriott Oakhurst Avenue, Los Altos
A godsend for seniors Editor, There are many senior and retired couples living on fixed incomes in Palo Alto who have children and grandchildren living in the area. When the rents exceed their income, and they certainly will, where are they going to live? Palo Alto would not be an option for them. They would be forced to get out of town. There are also seniors, who have lived and worked in Palo Alto for
many years and who have established a network of friends, and relationships, for whom it would be very stressful to move away and start a new life. Do we want our city to be a place where only young professionals and the very wealthy can live? For many seniors, these 60 new belowmarket units would be a godsend. Vote “yes” on Measure D. Linda Lopez Otero Curtner Avenue, Palo Alto
More affordable housing Editor, We are all residents of Barron Park, and the Maybell affordable senior apartment project is in our neighborhood. In fact, one of us lives on the same block. We fully support this project, and we will all be voting “yes” on Measure D. We can all agree that Palo Alto is not the same place it was 10, or 20, or 30 years ago when many of us moved here. Progress is inevitable, and we empathize with the growing concern about the pace of development, traffic congestion and overall impacts to our quality of life. But the fact remains Measure D is about one thing and one thing only — the ability to build 60 much-needed affordable senior apartments and 12 single-family homes on a large parcel of land at the corner of Maybell and Clemo avenues in our neighborhood. Here are some of the reasons why we support Measure D: - Building this project will allow Palo Alto seniors on fixed incomes to remain close to their families and in the community they call home. - The need for affordable senior housing in Palo Alto is well-documented and undeniable. - Maybe someday our parents or one of us may need a safe, affordable place to call home. - We have carefully evaluated this project from a neighborhood and quality-of-life perspective and we support it. So if people agree Palo Alto needs more affordable housing for senior residents, then we hope they will join us in voting “yes” on Measure D. Don Anderson Alta Mesa Avenue, Palo Alto Trina Lovercheck McGregor Way, Palo Alto Lynnie Melena Magnolia Drive, Palo Alto
A better place with D Editor, I have lived in downtown Palo Alto for many years. There have been many changes over these years: some good, some bad. I appreciate the increased vitality of our downtown; I don’t like the
Check out Town Square! Hundreds of local topics are being discussed by local residents on Town Square, a reader forum sponsored by the Weekly on our community website at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Post your own comments, ask questions, read the Editor’s blog or just stay up on what people are talking about around town!
Senior citizens counting on ‘yes’ vote for Measure D by Lisa Ratner and Jean Dawes Editor’s note: On Oct. 11, the Weekly editorialized against Measure D and argued that the City Council had struck the wrong balance in rezoning the land to allow development of a low-income senior housing project proposed by the Palo Alto Housing Corporation. This guest opinion, submitted by the Housing Corporation, is in response to that editorial. easure D has generated debate about the future of Palo Alto, our values and the impacts of new development throughout our city on traffic and parking. But what is really at stake is the ability of low-income seniors to stay in the community they call home. Your vote will be the difference between 60 lowincome seniors having an affordable, safe home — or not. Voting yes on Measure D will allow the construction of 60 one-bedroom affordable apartments for low-income seniors by the nonprofit Palo Alto Housing Corporation and allow the sale of 12 single-family lots to generate funds to pay for the land and build the affordable senior housing. It will affirm the City Council’s unanimous decision to rezone two parcels on Maybell and Clemo (zoned RM15 and R2), adjacent to two existing apartment complexes. And, it will legally ensure that the apartments remain affordable for low-income seniors only. Voting no on Measure D will mean that 60 needed affordable senior apartments will not be built. It will mean that the site could be sold to a for-profit developer who could build up to 46 multi-bedroom market-rate apartments or condos. Measure D has pitted the need for affordable homes for 60 senior citizens against pent-up frustration in Palo Alto about growth. In capitalizing on this frustration, opponents have not fought fairly, but have
traffic and parking problems. One thing I know for sure is that the problems have been the result of rampant commercial development, not residential development. I understand the frustration of Measure D opponents, but affordable senior housing developments by nonprofit developers are not the problem. A vote for Measure D will allow this single project for low-income seniors to move forward. Palo Alto will be a better place for it. Paul Goldstein Emerson Street, Palo Alto
A vote for inclusion Editor, A “yes” vote on Measure D is a vote for an inclusive community, one that makes optimal use of our painfully scarce land. The Palo Alto Housing Corporation has always worked to maximize the benefits and minimize the negatives of its projects. Financing
encouraged confusion and stirred fear. Opponents have disingenuously compared the nonprofit Palo Alto Housing Corporation with for-profit developers. The Lisa Ratner housing corporation is a Palo Alto based nonprofit organization established in 1970 by the Palo Alto City Council to build and maintain affordable housing. The PAHC owns and operates more than 700 units of affordable housing in Palo Alto and provides on-site services to residents, such as educational classes, fitness and community activities. Most of our volunteer board of directors are long-time Palo Altans who are committed to maintaining Palo Alto’s quality of life. There is a silent epidemic in Palo Alto of senior citizens who are struggling to make ends meet. County statistics show that nearly 20 percent of Palo Alto seniors are living near or below the poverty line; and 54 percent of Palo Alto senior households are low-income, according to the City’s 200714 Housing Element. There are hundreds of local seniors on affordable-housing waiting lists. These include seniors who have exhausted their assets on medical costs, those who must sell their home to finance assisted living or nursing-home costs for a spouse, those who lost their savings in the recession and those subsisting on Social Security. Seniors 62 and older, earning approximately $21,000-$43,000 annually would be eligible to live in the Maybell apartments. Their monthly rents would range between approximately $500-$1,100. There are
low-income housing is not work for the faint of heart — there is no single way to do it, so PAHC has to piece together many sources to make a project work financially. With the Maybell project, we will have a development we can all be proud of, and we’ll have embraced low-income seniors in a time when meeting their housing needs needs to be way up in our community priorities. Vote “yes” on measure D. Ray Bacchetti Webster Street, Palo Alto
A good choice Editor, In a suburban town in the 1970s, a local official said publicly, “If you people can’t afford to live in our town then you’ll just have to leave.” I’d like to think that Palo Alto of 2013 has nothing in common with that time and place. “Yes” on Measure D honors neighborhood zoning. “Yes” on
no entry fees or monthly dues, and preference is given to those working or living in Palo Alto. Opponents claim the site isn’t suitable for senior apartments. The Maybell site was Jean Dawes carefully chosen because it is adjacent to two existing apartment complexes: the eight-story Tan Plaza Apartments (61 market-rate units) and the mostly threestory Arastradero Park Apartments (66 affordable family units) owned by PAHC. The site is close to a park, public transportation and every amenity is within easy access. The PAHC will provide a van to the residents of the senior apartments, allowing them to shop for groceries, get to a doctor and do other activities, so they do not need to own a personal car. If Measure D does not pass, up to 46 multi-bedroom apartments or condos could be built — for a total of about 161 bedrooms. This means more cars, more school impacts, more traffic. Opponents claim 40 affordable senior apartments could be built. Not so. At this lower density combined with the high cost of land, financing for these affordable units would be impossible. Opponents claim that the use of Planned Community (PC) zoning is an abuse of the zoning process. The PC ensures affordability and age restrictions. PC zoning has been used at many “senior only” residences in Palo Alto, including Lytton Gardens, Channing House, Palo Alto Commons and Stevenson House. Opponents claim PAHC does not need
Measure D creates both marketrate and below-market-rate residential housing within an existing residential neighborhood. “Yes” on Measure D does not threaten any Palo Alto neighborhood with inappropriate non-residential development. “Yes” on Measure D expands affordable living opportunities for seniors to stay in our community. Don’t let the tactics of fear and prejudice cloud the facts. Vote “yes” on Measure D. Dena Mossar Emerson Street, Palo Alto
We want to stay here Editor, “Where would we live if something catastrophic happened in our lives?” This is a question that I’ve asked myself many times. We’ve been prudent and done what we can to protect ourselves financially, but what if it isn’t enough?
to sell 12 single-family lots. Not so. The PAHC needs to sell the 12 lots to pay land and construction costs. Opponents claim they would be satisfied with eight houses instead of 12. Sadly, this debate is over an additional four houses that are essential to financing the project. Opponents claim project traffic impacts are too great. The reality is that seniors don’t typically drive during the morning commute of 7 to 9 a.m. Studies show this project will have no significant impacts on parking, traffic and schools. The senior apartments will have 47 parking spaces, a ratio of spaces to apartments that is even higher than typical for low-income senior housing. Opponents claim if you vote yes on Measure D, your neighborhood will be the next “PC” zone. This is simply false. Measure D is about the Maybell site only. The site was not zoned single-family; it was zoned mostly RM15 (multi-family) and a portion R2 (two-family), next to two apartment complexes. What if Measure D is defeated? The PAHC will need to sell the site, will almost certainly sell to a for-profit developer, and there will be no new affordable senior housing. As a nonprofit, we cannot hold the property for an uncertain future, as this would require interest payments on the acquisition loans of about $16 million, more than $600,000 per year. Sale of the property is needed to pay back the city and other lenders. Our low-income seniors deserve this opportunity to stay in the community they call home. Your yes vote can make this happen. N Lisa Ratner and Jean Dawes are president and vice president, respectively, of the Palo Alto Housing Corporation board of directors.
As newlyweds moving here 45 years ago, we soon learned that Palo Alto was the place we wanted to stay and raise a family. It had things important to us — community values, good schools, access to cultural events and ideal weather. As our children grew, we were active in their activities and in the community. Over the decades, Palo Alto has changed — mostly, but not always, to our liking. It’s not a small town anymore but part of a larger, vibrant area with more to offer. Our lives here revolve around our family, friends and community. We want to stay here. If it became necessary to drastically downsize our lives, we’d want to remain in a safe, comfortable place. The Maybell senior affordable apartments would be such a place. It’s a safety net for many, including us. It has been carefully designed to blend into the neighborhood surrounded by existing apartments, a park and homes
across the street. It will be an asset to the community. Please join us in voting “yes” on D. Lawrence Lovercheck McGregor Way, Palo Alto
Let’s encourage equality Editor, I am a City Council member. I strongly support more affordable senior housing in Palo Alto and voted for the Maybell project. I live in Barron Park and welcome this well-designed project. What is unstated in the debate is inequality. Our town will increasingly become one of privilege where housing will only be available to those with means (earned or inherited) or those who have lived here for some time. Without “affordable” options, the result will be less economic, cultural, social and age diversity. The site redevelopment will (continued on next page)
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consist of 60 affordable housing units and 12 single-family homes and will yield significantly less greenhouse gas emissions, traffic and parking requirements than permitted under current zoning. This is not “Manhattanization” but a four-story building located adjacent to 10- and three-story residential buildings. Be compassionate and socially responsible, and vote “yes” on Measure D. Gail Price Orme Street, Palo Alto
Preservation of values Editor, I am one of the many Barron Park residents who hope people will vote “yes” on D. The opponents of this measure have, in my opinion, tried to frame the measure as the complete opposite of what is really at stake. The truth is that Measure D, for all its rezoning, is actually about preserving the values of our community as they have always been. Opposition to Measure D is about changing the town and, in particular, saying goodbye to a group of people who want to be here and whom we always previously wanted as neighbors. One of the many unfortunate side effects of the housing boom that hit us a few years past was that it made it difficult for many people who had lived here all their lives to continue living here. In current conditions, if we want folks like our low-income seniors to be able to live here, we can’t rely on an overheated market — we have to take steps to make it possible. This actually is a fairly stark choice. If people want a new kind of town with a single-income level, they are likely to be against the measure. But if they want to preserve the diversity that is our heritage and enable low-income seniors to live in our town, they will vote for Measure D. Jeff Rensch Chimalus Drive, Palo Alto
A record of our values Editor, The 19th century British politician William Gladstone remarked that budgets are not simply matters of arithmetic, they are also a record of our values. So it is with Measure D. On the arithmetic side, it is not possible to build low-income housing in a high-income area like Palo Alto without increasing density. While opponents of measure D argue a project with fewer units is an option, this ignores the reality that, given the costs of land here, low-income housing projects need to qualify for federal grants and tax credits to be sustainable. For example, the affordable-housing facility that recently opened at the corner of Homer and Alma was only feasible at its current density, which necessitated that it be four stories tall. Had it been less dense, it wouldn’t have quali-
fied for the federal, state and local financing needed. The alternative would have been a three-story condominium development, with units selling for $1.5 million. This then raises the issue of values. We agree with some of the values opponents of D raise: They are rightly concerned that zoning variances not be misused to line private coffers without contributing to the public good. But this is not at issue in Measure D, which offers a substantial public benefit: a more economically and socially diverse community. Given the dichotomous choice under current regulations — affordable housing at a higher density or marketpriced housing at a lower density — we are strongly in support of the affordable-housing option and will vote yes on D. Debra Satz and Don Barr Ramona Street, Palo Alto
Let’s be realistic Editor, Although most homeowners in Palo Alto would like the city to stay small and quaint, that isn’t realistic in 2013. We need housing not only for seniors but for the workers in our restaurants, hair salons, car-repair shops, drug stores, etc. — people who help make Palo Alto the place we love. I’d also like to think we could have a town made up of all kinds of people, not just the wealthy and senior homeowners who were lucky enough to buy their piece of nirvana before prices went through the roof. I’m voting “yes” on Measure D. Kelly Kvam Mackall Way, Palo Alto
For seniors in need Editor, As a long time Palo Alto resident, I urge voters to support Measure D so our community can offer 60 more affordable homes for lower-income seniors. The nonprofit Palo Alto Housing Corporation is an experienced developer and manager of quality affordable homes that has since 1970 built and managed over 700 affordable rental units all over town — including 68 deeply affordable family units in my neighborhood next to Addison School. The City Council wisely (and unanimously) approved the plan for the Maybell development, which also includes the sale of 12 single-family-home lots in order to make financially feasible the 60 apartments. Most deed-restricted, belowmarket-rate homes built throughout the Bay Area have been developed with Planned Community zoning that requires and regulates the affordability of the housing. Most, if not all, affordable senior housing built throughout the Bay Area includes reduced parking. The seniors who will live in these homes will be mostly retired, will not all own cars and will not typically drive during school commute hours. No place is ever perfect and this location is more convenient and
healthy for our seniors who have family and connections here than moving across the bay, out of state or becoming homeless. I will be voting “yes” on Measure D so the doors to these muchneeded homes can open for those among us who must retire on low, fixed incomes. Let’s open our minds to the facts and our hearts to the greater good to build a better, more responsive community. Carol Lamont Kingsley Avenue, Palo Alto
Not a huge impact Editor, In my discussions with people about Measure D, the vast majority of those who object to it have one overall reason: They feel Palo Alto is getting over-populated and believe voting “no” will help reduce that problem. If one considers the impact of the 60 mostly one-bedroom, lowincome senior units plus the 12 single-family homes that Measure D provides for, one will find it is much less than the 46 multi-bedroom units that the city’s current zoning allows for. Low-income seniors don’t have kids who attend local public schools, and they drive much less. They usually don’t even make much noise (if you don’t count snoring). A person may take the position that we can change the zoning, but who will be the driving force behind that? The City of Palo Alto certainly cannot afford to buy it. What developer is going to spend additional money and time to reduce profits? The Palo Alto Housing Corporation should be able to go ahead with the plan for affordable senior units. Vote “yes” on Measure D on Nov. 5. Greg James Toyon Place, Palo Alto
Imagine the good Editor, I have lived and worked in Palo Alto for about 30 years. I urge everyone to vote “yes” on Measure D in Palo Alto. Simply put, it will provide safe, affordable housing for seniors with the same or less of an impact on the neighborhood from what is permitted and likely to move forward if Measure D fails. The opposition would have you believe that Palo Alto Housing Corporation, the developer, is some suspect evil developer out for themselves rather than the community. Nothing could be further from the truth. Palo Alto Housing Corporation has done many exemplary developments for many years that have done nothing but add value and retain diversity in our city. Whatever problems there may or may not be with planned-community zoning, this is not the time, place or way to work them out. I heartily commend and congratulate the City Council members who voted unanimously on this effort. I am deeply saddened that so much time, effort and
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money has been spent by both sides on a referendum that should never have been. Imagine the good we could have accomplished with all that time, effort and money if directed elsewhere. Paul Taylor Waverley Street, Palo Alto
Stop PC zoning Editor, The Maybell development proposed by Palo Alto Housing Corporation (PAHC) typifies what is wrong with Planned Community (PC) zoning and demonstrates how staff and the City Council ignore the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance to the serious detriment of the community. It also violates established practices for predicting traffic impacts and proposing mitigations. This PC is unprecedented in the policies and positions it violates — putting high-density development in low-density residential zones, including high-density marketrate housing to fund below-market housing, using obsolete data and models to justify incorrect predictions of little traffic and parking impacts, doing traffic analyses that ignored pedestrian and bike traffic along Maybell that serves four schools. These are just some of the violations. An expert traffic consultant detailed 11 major errors and omissions in the traffic study from PAHC. Last year the council adopted a policy of protecting singlefamily residential areas and to not increase development scale in low-density residential zones. Less than a year later they have violated that policy by approving a project that quadruples the housing density on much of the Maybell site. Neighbors offered to compromise on Maybell if PAHC would trim it down, reduce the bulk, density, and scale of the development. PAHC refused, saying size and density was dictated by competition for state and federal government grants. Effectively land use and project scale in Palo Alto are being determined by outsiders bestowing grants. This must stop. Vote against Measure D. Bob Moss Orme Street, Palo Alto
Follow the Golden Rule Editor, My 11-year-old son rides up the Maybell “safe route to school” every day and knows about dodging cars in the crowded traffic around the site of the Measure D high-density rezoning. He knows about the plans to build threestory homes on 3,000-square-foot lots and knows many of the Barron Park families who have great concerns about the unprecedented high-density project. We saw a “Yes on D” sign and he asked with contemplative innocence: “Dad, why do people who live far away from the orchard get to vote on Measure D?” The truth of that innocent question sunk in — a simple truth.
It goes like this: Neighborhoods are like family members who need to stick up for each other. The neighbors have properly expressed great alarm at the density that is being imposed. Zoning protections are being stripped away by big money proponents of density that offer the tempting thought that “just a little” San Jose-style stack-and-pack marketrate housing is OK as long as it is not in my backyard. I propose we should follow the Golden Rule and do onto others as we would have them do unto us. Just the fact that more than 4,000 residents signed the petition to bring the council’s actions to a referendum is evidence enough. We need to offer unconditional support to a “family member” in distress. Next time it will be someone else’s turn to be supported, it will take a unified city to retain our quality of life. Vote against Measure D. Tim Gray Park Boulevard, Palo Alto
What if we vote “no”? Editor, Measure D is about what will be built if we pass Measure D vs. what is likely to be built if we don’t pass Measure D. If we vote “yes,” we get 60 units of affordable senior housing, tucked far back from the street. We get less commute traffic because seniors drive less. We get two-story housing on Maybell, with 10 feet between the houses. We get Clemo houses that no one will notice because they are shielded by huge oak trees. If Palo Alto votes no on D? There is no saving the orchard and there are no further negotiations, since the future development will be within zoning. The houses on Maybell will still be two-story and they will be as large as possible, because that is what developers do today, even in single-family zoning. We’ve all seen it. There will be more commute traffic and no affordable senior housing. Measure D is the better deal. Vote “yes” on D. Edie Keating Alma Street, Palo Alto
Moldaw corrections Editor, Recent discussion has mentioned Moldaw Senior Residences as a comparison to the Measure D Maybell project. I am a resident of Moldaw and would like to clarify some of the points made in recent articles. Moldaw Senior Residences is an independent and assisted-living residence facility in Palo Alto. Independent Living units are now 84 percent occupied and Assisted Living and Memory Support units are essentially 100 percent occupied. The City of Palo Alto requires 24 below-market-rate units for seniors in Moldaw. To date, 12 of the BMR units have been sold at the required discounted rates. They are not rentals such as are
Spectrum planned for the Maybell project. Even though these units sell at below market rates, it is difficult to find buyers who qualify and can afford the discounted prices and monthly rates — both assets and income are taken into consideration. Buying a unit in a facility such as Moldaw is very different from renting and would not be appropriate for the population that is under consideration in the Maybell project. Carole Stein East Charleston Road, Palo Alto
Support housing, values Editor, Everyone agrees that affordable housing in Palo Alto is an ongoing and critical need in our city. Measure D, which provides affordable housing for our senior population, is a key step to alleviating this problem. In building the senior housing that Measure D provides, we are preserving the diversity and values of our community that makes our city a unique place to live. The alternative of leaving the zoning as is, with the likelihood of building up to 46 multi-bedroom homes on the same property, will increase traffic flow at peak commute hours and school enrollment much more than the Measure D project. This is a well-thought-out and researched measure supported unanimously by our elected City Council. That’s why we’re voting “yes” on Measure D on Nov. 5. Mid and Cheryl Fuller Mackall Way, Palo Alto
The deck is stacked Editor, I’m a resident of Barron Park who is voting against Measure D. I have been talking with people from all over Palo Alto explaining my position. The PAHC proposal is a highdensity intrusion into our residential neighborhood, and not a good one at that. It brings high-density burdens that none of us in the area want: spillover parking into the nearby residential streets due to inadequate on-site parking — both for seniors and the 12 new single-family homes; increased traffic along Maybell will compromise Safe Routes to Schools; a poorly designed senior apartment building with no senior-serving amenities making senior living only remotely pleasant. As a senior, I wouldn’t want to live there, far from basic services. People understand that. People from all Palo Alto neighborhoods are disappointed and dissatisfied with the high-density development throughout Palo Alto that has been approved by the City Council, maybe even encouraged by the council. Current zoning regulations, which we all rely upon and expect to be followed, are swept aside in favor of whatever can be negotiated between the developer and council. City staff seems to understand what the council wants and drafts their reports accordingly. The deck is stacked against the residents as our voices are barely “listened to,”
and apparently “dismissed.” Those residents, as do I, want that to change. That is why I, and they, are voting against Measure D. Ruth Lowy Thain Way, Palo Alto
“Yes” for diversity Editor, The main reason I’ll vote “yes” on Measure D is that I value economic and social diversity in Palo Alto. I live on the same block as the proposed low-income senior housing on Maybell and two blocks away from Juana Briones Elementary School. When my daughters were at Briones it had the most diverse population in the Palo Alto district. Unlike half our Barron Park neighbors with schoolage children, I chose to send my daughters to their local school, to learn and become friends with a mix of children from widely different backgrounds. I also chose to teach there. To me, voting “yes” on Measure D is consistent with a commitment to diversity. We need a place for everyone in our neighborhood. Kathleen Canrinus Alta Mesa Avenue, Palo Alto
Real, positive impact Editor, We urge readers to vote “yes” on Measure D in Palo Alto. This will allow the nonprofit Palo Alto Housing Corporation to build affordable housing for low-income seniors. Despite attempts to redefine the facts by the opposition, this has been shown to have real positive impact on available housing and minimal impact on traffic, in fact less than the likely alternative. The current development plan has been designed with significant community input over many months, has the look and feel of the surrounding neighborhood, is supported by both residents and city leaders, and reflects the values of the community. We strongly support this project for our city. Markus Fromherz and Heike Schmitz Amaranta Avenue, Palo Alto
Some telling quotes Editor, Quotes that are very telling about the Palo Alto process: When the Planning Commission voted to initiate a “planned community” zone change, allowing developers to break zoning rules in exchange for “public benefits.” Commissioner Tanaka marveled at the lack of people attending the meeting and surmised that neighbors were unaware. “I think if the people really knew what was being built across the street, there would be more of an outcry there.” (February 2013) What is allowed at Maybell was critical in the council’s decision on whether to approve the zone change. The R-2 zone allows a second unit but requires a 6,000-square-foot lot. The R-2 site is 14,000 square feet with four homes, meaning the lot sizes are
nowhere near the 6,000-squarefoot minimum. That calls into question the city’s calculation for two residences on each lot. When asked about staff reports, City Manager Keene emphasized the limitations, “The findings in the staff reports tend to support the particular staff recommendation rather than represent all views.” (July 2013) Mayor Scharff (against PCs when running for council) now says “PC zones are not springing up in your local neighborhood.” (October 2013) The council has approved three PC projects (Lytton Gateway, Edgewood Plaza and Maybell ) since Scharff joined the council in January 2010. This has become divisive for a neighborhood that has embraced low-income housing. The process is flawed and the outcome is a flawed development with no winners. Maybell should not be rezoned. It makes perfect sense to start over with unbiased information and work within current zoning. Cynthia Schenk Maybell Avenue, Palo Alto
No on supersized Maybell Editor, Measure D is about a misguided City Council. The Council “upzoned” to create “monster buildings” in downtown and the failed Miki’s Market — eyesores that will last decades. It spent $1 million (despite objections from most neighbors) to redesign Arastradero. Now, its dysfunctional lane switches and constrictions make a more congested, dangerous thoroughfare. The Council is considering redesigns of California Avenue (over objections from merchants and neighbors) and the massive Jay Paul project that will substantially worsen traffic and the housing imbalance. The Edgewood market appears empty. The Council’s study of downtown traffic may omit the Arillaga development. The list goes on of myopic projects that fail to fit together, and exacerbate traffic, housing and fiscal problems. The Maybell project is another example. It could be built without “upzoning” — 40 units of affordable senior housing and modest market-rate housing. But PAHC insists on “supersize,” even as it apparently converts its nearby property to market rate. PAHC has accomplishments, but it’s also a wealthy (look at all those flyers), politically connected developer. It gets millions in loans in advance of zoning from the Council, big city grants and a “pass” on doing solid studies of traffic, demand and services. Most citizens support PAHC, but not every PAHC project is worthy. “Supersized” Maybell is a poor idea. Let PAHC come back with a balanced plan. Remind the Council about Comprehensive Planning and voices of ordinary citizens. Thanks, Weekly, for incredibly accurate reporting. Please vote “no” on D. Kathleen Eisenhardt Donald Drive, Palo Alto
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Transitions Denis George Babson
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Denis George Babson died in his Palo Alto home on Oct. 11 after a battle with lymphoma. He was 90 years old. Born in Los Angeles on Aug. 17, 1923, the only son of Horace Perkins Babson and Olga Marie Zenker, he went on to graduate from Stanford University in 1945. Stanford is also where he met and married his lifetime partner, Rose Durment Macartney. His wideranging interests included cattle ranching, fly fishing, tennis, skiing, gardening, music and travel. He will also be remembered as a negotiator and entrepreneur. He is survived by his his daughters and sons-in-law Anne (Punky) and Bob Talbott, Joan Moeller and Marcia and Michael Barthelow; five grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, “Rosie;” his sister, Mary Connor Bill and his
son, Stephen Denis Babson. Donations may be made to the Stephen D. Babson Foundation, Stanford University, 2700 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025.
William Scammell Schuyler William S. Schuyler — writer, educator and resident of California since 1950 — died of respiratory failure on Oct. 17 at Webster House in Palo Alto. Born in St. Louis, Mo., on July 5, 1912, he attended public schools as well as John Burroughs School growing up. He completed his undergraduate years at Harvard and Washington universities, receiving a B.A. in English from Washington University. In 1938, he married Dorothy Church. He also served three years in the Navy, with six months in the Pa-
D = DECIDE! Is this YOUR Palo Alto?
cific Theater, including Okinawa. Following the war, he received a master’s degree in English literature and creative writing and a doctorate in education at Stanford University. He taught in the California state universities until his retirement in 1972. He is survived by his daughter, Barbara Schuyler, and her wife, Patricia Wilson, of Sykesville, Md.; her sons Ben S. Tucker (Jessica) and new baby, Miriam, of Plymouth, Minn., and Aaron D. Tucker of Lynnfield, Mass. Bill’s son, Thompson C. Schuyler, predeceased him in 1989. When his first wife died in 1970, he married Jean Wilding Mitchell of Palo Alto. Jean had four children by her first marriage: Polly Henderson (Paul) of Leicester, England; Robin Mitchell of Cloverdale, Calif.; Gregory (Pati) Mitchell of Fayetteville, Ariz.; and Page (Michael) McNall, of Herndon, Va. Jean Schuyler died in 2001. Donations may be made to the Webster House Fund, 401 Webster St., Palo Alto, CA 94301.
BIRTHS Jose and Elizabeth Ramirez, East Palo Alto, Oct. 15, a boy. David and Monica Stein, Mountain View, Oct. 15, a boy. Maria Elise and Jonathan Piazza, Mountain View, Oct. 19, a boy.
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Arts & Entertainment Lorenz Seidler
A weekly guide to music, theater, art, movies and more, edited by Rebecca Wallace
In a past performance of the Jérôme Bel dance piece “The Show Must Go On,” dancers and non-dancers blend their own individual styles. The Stanford version will be performed on Nov. 13.
Stanford festival celebrates radical French choreographer Jérôme Bel by Elena Kadvany
érôme Bel does dance differently. The French choreographer and dancer has a reputation for charismatic provocation and radical reinvention. He’ll put a mic on famous dancers and ask them to dance and speak to the audience simultaneously, telling the stories of their careers. He’ll incorporate untrained “civilians” into a performance, asking them to stand on a stage with headphones on, listening and dancing to music the audience cannot hear. He’ll collaborate with a Swiss theater company composed of actors with learning and mental disabilities and ask the actors to come on stage, one by one, and stand in complete silence in front of the audience.
“Jérôme Bel is one of the preeminent, I don’t want to say bad boys of postmodern dance, but he’s a renegade; he’s a radical; he’s an intellectual; he’s a provocateur,” said Janice Ross, Stanford University’s dance-division director and professor in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. Ross was instrumental in
bringing Bel to Stanford for an upcoming festival that celebrates his work. The festival runs Nov. 13 through Dec. 3, with live performances, a film screening and a free talk by Bel. Each event illustrates the ways in which Bel challenges and inverts dance traditions and norms. In Nov. 13’s “The Show Must Go On,” Bay Area profes-
sional dancers, local residents and Stanford faculty, staff and students will be on stage, with headphones plugged in as they listen to a playlist of classic pop songs. All the people look to be free-form dancing in their own worlds, but when and where they move is predetermined. The dancers wear their own clothes; there are no props or set. A D.J. who would normally be backstage controlling the lights and sound cues sits center stage with his back to the audience. Any sense of performance in the traditional sense is stripped from the stage. “So yes, you’re seeing people perform. But, wait a minute: They’re performing for themselves,” Ross said. “The audience just becomes incidental.” “The Show Must Go On” was premiered in 2001 and has been performed on many stages since. In a 2008 performance at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, seen on YouTube, a group of 18 or so people stand scattered across the stage, listening to music via headphones. Some sway or nod their heads, just barely
moving to a beat the audience cannot hear; some suddenly break out in song as if singing in the car alone, inviting laughs from the audience. “This piece is questioning the relation of the audience with the performance,” Bel wrote in an email to the Weekly. “It is questioning the need for representation, the unarticulated desire of the audience. Why are we all here in this space, all together spectators and performers? Why do we need to gather in this archaic structure as a theater?” Ross echoed Bel’s sentiment, explaining that the performance critiques the very space it’s held in, Memorial Auditorium. “That was the postwar model for what theaters had to look like: big boxes,” Ross said. “So we start the festival in that space so he can basically explode it and (explode) conventions of theater with a work that, as I said, is emblematic of his spirit.” Ross said Stanford put out an open call to recruit both trained dancers and untrained people of all ages, body types, ethnicities and abilities to participate. They
were asked to commit to 55 hours of rehearsal over 10 days. Each person’s precise actions are personal, but they’re set within a structured system. When they dance, for how long and where they are on the stage is all rehearsed beforehand. The festival’s second dance performance, “Cédric Andrieux,” moves the festival to Bing Concert Hall on Nov. 18. It’s an 80-minute solo piece, choreographed by Bel and performed by Andrieux, a French dancer who trained with the French Lyon Opera Ballet and performed in America with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Here, Andrieux speaks while he dances, performing sections of various ballets and Merce Cunningham choreography that marked his career. The work parallels the 2004 Bel piece “Véronique Doisneau,” in which the Paris Opera Ballet dancer of the same name bids farewell to her career. With a mic on, her costumes in her arms and no makeup, Doisneau (continued on next page)
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Arts & Entertainment dances and tells the audience about never getting the star role, about injuries she suffered, her income, her age. “It’s the deep backstage,” Ross said. Bel said “Cédric Andrieux” is meant to be a documentary-like investigation of sorts that allows dancers to share with the audience in a different way. “I have noticed that dancers are usually mute; they don’t talk about their work. They dance but we don’t ask them to talk. I thought dancers could have a lot to say from their experience of dancing.” The festival is also about more than performance. Discussion sessions are also built into the festival; a question-and-answer session with New York Times dance critic Claudia LaRocco will follow “Cédric Andrieux.” A discussion led by Peggy Phelan, a Stanford professor in the arts, drama and English, will also follow a filmed Bel performance, “Pichet Klunchun and Myself,” screening Dec. 2 in Bing Concert Hall. The film shows Bel dancing with Pichet Klunchun, a contemporary Thai dancer and choreographer. The 2005 performance is a cultural exchange, with the two having a dialogue — via dance and spoken word — about their cultural traditions. This becomes complex: Bel was
born in Montpellier, France, in 1964, but raised in Algeria, Iran and Morocco. He got his professional start in France, but also performed in Italy for many years. He studied not only dance history, but also philosophy. He said he is influenced by philosophers such as Roland Barthes and Gilles Deleuze. There will also be a free discussion with Bel the day after the film screening, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m. in Pigott Theater. The festival is linked to a new residential program at Stanford called ITALIC (Immersion in the Arts: Living in Culture), launched by Ross and two other Stanford professors, Jonathan Berger (music) and Scott Bukatman (film and media studies). A small pool of freshmen, 43 this year, will be selected to spend the year immersed in the arts, learning about the historical, critical, theoretical and practical purposes of art. ITALIC collaborated with Stanford Live to host the Bel festival, and Ross said she hopes to continue bringing in a range of arts greats each quarter as part of the class. (Some ITALIC students will be on stage in “The Show Must Go On.”) “It’s very exciting and it puts Stanford on this international dance circuit, finally,” Ross said. Bel has performed only once before in the Bay Area, in 2009, she added. “(There’s) New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area has
generally been passed over,” she said. Though Bel’s unconventional, experimental work is celebrated by many, it’s also no stranger to strong criticism. Some say he’s pretentious; his work is not dance; his shows are uncomfortably provocative. (Bel said audience members sometimes ask him to give their money back. He doesn’t.) “If you look at it initially, you might think: ‘Wait a minute, this is the biggest sham going on. There’s no dance here. Where’s the dance?’” Ross said. “I think it unsettles you. And if you stop there, then you’re pissed off. But if you stay with it and let it kind of unfold in time — one of the beauties of dance — then I think you’re taken to a different level of insight.” N Editorial Assistant Elena Kadvany can be emailed at email@example.com. Info: The Festival Jérôme Bel contains four events: “The Show Must Go On” (7:30 p.m. Nov. 13, $20-$50 general admission, Memorial Auditorium); “Cédric Andrieux” (7:30 p.m. Nov. 18, $32-$50 general, Bing Concert Hall); “Pichet Klunchun and Myself” (7:30 p.m. Dec. 2, $20 general, Bing); and a free talk with Bel (11 a.m. Dec. 3, Pigott Theater). Go to live.stanford.edu or call 650-724-2464.
The film “Pichet Klunchun and Myself,” which will be shown at Stanford on Dec. 2, shows Jérôme Bel dancing with Klunchun, a Thai dancer and choreographer.
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Made-to-order Mexican Los Altos Taqueriaâ€™s fresh, tasty offerings hold up amidst stiff competition in Mountain View by Sheila Himmel
os Altos Taqueria has always been in Mountain View. Did the owners want it to be in Los Altos? Not at all. They had two reasons, neither of which is an illusion of grandeur nor the need to hitch up with a Spanish surname. The owners, brothers Armando and Ruben Ruiz, come from Los Altos de Jalisco, the eastern part of that Mexican state. The
strip-mall taqueria recalls the Los Altos of their childhood. And, says Armando, â€œIt is very close to Los Altos.â€? Itâ€™s a tad closer to Palo Alto, but never mind. For 17 years Los Altos Taqueria has quietly and efficiently defended its corner of the golden triangle of taquerias at Old Middlefield Way and Rengstorff Avenue with La Bamba and La CosteĂąa (which
is soon to move). The food is fast and nourishing. The friendly counter woman flips smoothly between â€œHola!â€? and â€œHi. Can I help you?â€? Much of the clientele at lunch comes from the nearby businesses. If you need a car repair or kitchen remodeling, you could easily assemble a crew in here. â€œHow would you like your eggs?â€? she asks, about an order of huevos rancheros ($6.25). How often does that happen? The plate overflows with eggs topped with grilled onions and peppers. Shredded lettuce, beans, rice and steaming corn tortillas accompany. Taqueria Los Altos pays attention to breakfast, opening every day at 8:30 a.m. Other eye-openers include eggs with Mexican
sausage, ham and eggs, and chilaquiles. Fresh-squeezed orange juice is $3.50 for the 16-ounce â€œsmallâ€? size. Where some places use warming trays, Taqueria Los Altos cooks to order. Chips are fried in-house. Salsa is not up-to-theminute salsa fresca, just tomato sauce, onions and a little cilantro, but itâ€™s sloppily addictive on warm chips that so recently were tortillas. They are served when you sit down, or with your takeout bag. No extra charge. At the inside end of a strip mall with plenty of parking, Taqueria Los Altos is colorfully draped in faux brick tiles, bright yellow tabletops and blue-seated chairs. Tabletops are cleared immedi-
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Los Altos Taqueriaâ€™s nachos with carne asada are topped with melted cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream.
Discover the best places to eat this week! Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra Saturday, November 9, 2013 7:30 pm Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra Benjamin Simon, conductor Yoonie Han, piano with The Music Animation Machine
Cubberley Theatre @ Cubberley Community Center 4000 MiddleďŹ eld Road, Palo Alto
FREE The Great Fugue The Grosse Fuge was an almost-crazy experiment in dissonance and disruption by the by-now-completely-deaf Beethoven. Called â€œrepellentâ€? and â€œincomprehensibleâ€? by his peers, Stravinsky considered it â€œan absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever.â€? Enjoy the â€œgreat fugueâ€? while you watch the incredible visual representations of the score produced by Stephen Malinowskiâ€™s Music Animation Machine projected onto a screen above the orchestra. Rising young piano star Yoonie Han makes her PACO debut with a late, great Mozart concerto and we prepare your ears for Beethoven with fugues by Mozart and Mendelssohn.
856-7700 1700 Embarcadero East, Palo Alto www.mings.com
941-2922 1031 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos www.armadillowillys.com
The Old Pro 326-1446 541 Ramona Street, Palo Alto www.oldpropa.com
New Tung Kee Noodle House 947-8888 520 Showers Drive, Mountain View www.shopmountainview.com/luunoodlemv INDIAN
Janta Indian Restaurant
462-5903 369 Lytton Ave. www.jantaindianrestaurant.com
254-1120 1390 Pear Ave, Mountain View www.cucinaventi.com CHINESE
Chef Chuâ€™s 948-2696 1067 N. San Antonio Road www.chefchu.com
Read and post reviews, explore restaurant menus, get hours and directions and more at ShopPaloAlto, ShopMenloPark and ShopMountainView
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ately. No sitting down to dribbles of juice from the previous customer’s salsa. Burritos, from $5.79 to the most expensive Super Burrito Wet ($7.25), are enormous. As a plumbing-supply guy said to his colleague: “You know what, Joe, we should’ve split one.” There are vegetarian versions, but the focus is on meat. Ten choices for burritos, tacos and quesadillas cover the usual chickens (barbecued and grilled), pork (green chile, fried, barbecued), beef, tripe and tongue. The carnitas were crispy bits and the lengua was the opposite: tender, juicy chunks. Both were just right. The rice is fluffy and flavorful, not just filling. Ask for whole
pintos, black beans or refried. Maybe start with an excellent shrimp ceviche tostada ($2.99), with a crisp tortilla standing up to lots of baby shrimp seasoned with fresh onions and a touch of cilantro. The sandwich we tried, a chicken torta ($5.49), was less successful. The bread was toasted, but the shredded chicken got lost in
melted cheese and wilted lettuce. Other items include a kid-size burrito ($3.49), breakfast burrito ($5.52) and on weekends, menudo (tripe soup). A recent $6.99 dinner combination contained an enchilada, a chile relleno, rice, beans, lettuce and tomato — or the same accompaniments with two tacos, one hard, one soft. N
ShopTalk by Daryl Savage INDOOR CYCLING AT STANFORD ... An indoor cycling studio is riding into Stanford Shopping Center, with construction underway. SoulCycle, which started in New York in 2006, is known for creating a kind of cardio-sanctuary for participants, where riders pedal by candlelight in a dimly lit studio. The Stanford location will be its third in the Bay Area. The 2,800-squarefoot space on the El Camino Real side of the mall will have 50 bikes for exercisers, along with locker rooms, showers and a retail store.
Los Altos Taqueria, 2105 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View; 650-965-7236, losaltostaqueria.org Hours: 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. ,iÃiÀÛ>ÌÃ
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Los Altos Taqueria co-owner Armando Ruiz takes a customer’s lunch order.
MORE OPENINGS AT THE MALL ... Also at Stanford was the recent opening of the Container Store, which took over the Andronico’s space next to Nordstrom. This Container Store location is the fifth in the area and the 63rd in the country; the store donated 10 percent of its opening-weekend sales to TheatreWorks. Meanwhile, American Girl, known for its line of dolls and accessories, has scheduled its opening weekend for Nov. 16 and 17, with balloon artists, face painters and gifts. The two-level, 15,000-square-foot store is the first American Girl store in Northern California and the 16th in the country. In addition to selling dolls
and products, the store will have a hair salon for its dolls and a bistro that serves lunch and dinner. TUTORING CENTERS ABOUND ... What is it that attracts tutoring companies to South Palo Alto? Two more centers are on the verge of opening in the south part of town. Kumon Learning Center is taking over the former space of Papa Murphy’s Pizza at 3730 Middlefield Road, ending the one-year vacancy in the small strip mall. The after-school math and reading tutoring service plans to relocate from its current spot at Cubberley Community Center in late fall. Also looking at a late-fall opening, at 3775 El Camino Real, is Eye Level Learning Center. The Singaporebased tutoring center has pegged Palo Alto as its eighth location in this country. Kumon and Eye Level join three other tutoring centers already doing business in the south part of town. Huntington Learning Center opened in Charleston Shopping Center earlier this year; C2 Education had its grand opening in August at 3990 El Camino; and Think Tank Learning operates at 4131 El Camino Real. Wow. That’s one heck of a lot of learning.
Heard a rumor about your favorite store or business moving out, or in, down the block or across town? Daryl Savage will check it out. Email email@example.com.
DINNER BY THE MOVIES AT SHORELINE’S
Cucina Venti Happy
AY! D Y R E V 4-7 E
LIVE MUSIC 1390 Pear Ave., Mountain View (650) 254-1120 www.cucinaventi.com
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
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Wednesday & Thursdays 5-8pm
Century Theatres at Palo Alto Square
READ MORE ONLINE PaloAltoOnline.com
12 Years a Slave ---1/2
Last Vegas ---
(Palo Alto Square, Century 20) It can be hard to see the tree for the forest when it comes to films about culturally loaded topics, none more so than American slavery. Itâ€™s useful to keep in mind that â€œ12 Years a Slaveâ€? is the story of a man: another tale of physical and emotional survival that, unlike â€œAll is Lostâ€? and â€œGravity,â€? derives from a true story. The man is Solomon Northup, who endured the titular torture before penning his autobiography of the same name (as told to white lawyer David Wilson). Director Steve McQueenâ€™s cinematic adaptation, scripted by John Ridley, begins in 1841, where free New York resident Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a husband and father, entertains an offer to play the violin on tour with a circus. The offer turns out to be a ruse, and Northup is kidnapped, transported by a domestic slave ship to New Orleans, and sold into slavery. As such, and above all, â€œ12 Years a Slaveâ€? explores one manâ€™s terrifying realization of the fragility of his existence and, accordingly, his sense of self. His initial captors attempt to break him, reassigning him the identity of an illiterate runaway slave. Northup learns to outwardly maintain a wary acquiescence, but in his mind, he fiercely clings to his self-knowledge of life as an educated, free family man and artist. Solomonâ€™s mental torture transcends physical torments and fosters a potent, gut-level emotional experience for the audience. The strong suit of â€œ12 Years a Slaveâ€? isnâ€™t intellectual, but its evocation of terrible feeling. As far as the institution of slavery, the film cracks into that chestnut of Holocaust movies: the moral implication of both victimizers and survivalist victims. Northupâ€™s first owner, preacher William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), comes described as â€œa decent man ... under the circumstances,â€? who pleads economic necessity as his excuse for holding Solomon. Matters devolve further when Northup is sold off to plantation owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), who takes out his miseries â€” in a maelstrom of physical and sexual abuse â€” on his slaves, including the death-wishing Patsey (Lupita Nyongâ€™o, making a striking debut). McQueen effectively employs two key visual motifs. The first is of blithe or fearful bystanders (white and black) who avert their eyes or morality to keep putting one foot in front of the other. In the narrativeâ€™s signature episode of torture, Solomon dangles from a noose, hanging on to choked breaths by tiptoe on muddy ground. As he does, his fellow slaves pass behind him, understandably unwilling to intervene. Similar willful ignorance attends rape, family separation and human trafficking. The second visual motif is Ejioforâ€™s face, a tuning fork of intellect and emotion. McQueen often plants his camera squarely at Ejiofor and lets him just be Solomon in what passes for repose: contemplating, hoping, losing hope, finding understanding. The actor doesnâ€™t miss a beat. One wonders if â€œ12 Years a Slaveâ€? will herald a new trend of prestige slavery pictures to rival the international bull market for Holocaust films. Beyond a certain point, â€œtastefulâ€? films about horrific historical events exhaust their usefulness and begin to look like gauche awards-bait exploitation. But â€œ12 Years a Slaveâ€? works land that has thus far commonly been left fallow. Though it mildly (and needlessly) distorts a few minor elements of Northupâ€™s narrative, and a latepicture supporting turn by producer Brad Pitt distracts (rightly or wrongly, it comes off as self-righteous self-casting, allowing the star to be the filmâ€™s moral exemplar), the film succeeds by simply, plainly placing audiences in the emotional crucible of preabolition America and firing their imaginations. Rated R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality. Two hours, 13 minutes. â€” Peter Canavese
(Century 16, Century 20) Four iconic Hollywood actors share the spotlight and shine in this lighthearted buddy chuckler. At first glance, â€œLast Vegasâ€? seems a bit like â€œThe Hangoverâ€? for the 60-and-over crowd (minus the raunch). But the class-act cast and a solid script from screenwriter Dan Fogelman (â€œCrazy, Stupid, Love.â€?) keep the film fresh, funny and thoroughly entertaining. The story follows four childhood friends as they reunite in Las Vegas for the wedding of one of their own. Billy (Michael Douglas) is a wealthy charmer set to marry a woman more than 30 years his junior. Sam (Kevin Kline, in top form) is a Florida retiree struggling to rediscover the passion in his 40-year marriage. Air Force vet Archie (Morgan Freeman) has grown weary of his sonâ€™s cautious care. And tough guy Paddy (Robert De Niro) has rarely left the apartment â€” or the comfort of his bathrobe â€” since the death of his wife. A Vegas bachelor party is exactly what this quartet needs. While Sam (given permission to be promiscuous) and Archie are eager to break the age barrier and rage like teenagers, Billy and Paddy have unresolved issues that need addressing before they can let loose. Those issues grow more complex with the introduction of sultry lounge singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen). A smart-mouth concierge (Romany Malco of â€œThe 40-Year-Old Virginâ€?) and dim-bulb frat boy (Jerry Ferrara of HBOâ€™s â€œEntourageâ€?) help energize the affair. There is something special about watching these four accomplished actors unite on screen. Kline has the strongest comedic background and it shows, as his delivery and dialogue spark the most laughs. The dynamic between Archie and Sam (and, accordingly, between Freeman and Kline) is especially rich. Douglas and De Niro are cast in roles they could virtually sleepwalk through, but both refuse to phone it in. Douglas in particular impresses during a poignant scene that has his character coming to terms with his age and how quickly the years have passed. â€œLast Vegasâ€? has its share of heavy-handed sentimentality and predictable scenarios. The soundtrack is serviceable but not particularly memorable, and the cascade of age-related jokes gets a little, well, old. But it is clear the cast-mates are having fun, and the viewer canâ€™t help but to have fun along with them. Director Jon Turteltaub (â€œWhile You Were Sleepingâ€?) deserves credit for keeping the atmosphere loose and playful. At a certain point â€” and it happens early on â€” we readily excuse cliche and gratuitous tear-jerking for the sake of a good time. And, like the central characters themselves, weâ€™re not quite ready for it all to end. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language. One hour, 30 minutes. â€” Tyler Hanley
To read Weekly critic Susan Tavernettiâ€™s review of â€œAbout Time,â€? go to PaloAltoOnline. com/movies. She gave the timetraveling comedy two stars and called it predictable.
12 Years a Slave â€“ 1:00, 2:30, 4:00, 5:30, 7:00, 8:30, 10:00
12 Years a Slave â€“ 11:30, 1:00, 2:30, 4:00, 5:30, 7:00, 8:30, 10:00
12 Years a Slave â€“ 11:30, 1:00, 2:30, 4:00, 5:30, 7:00, 8:30
Mon thru Thurs 12 Years a Slave â€“ 1:00, 2:30, 11/04 - 07 4:00, 5:30, 7:00, 8:30
Tickets and Showtimes available at cinemark.com
Sign up today at www.PaloAltoOnline.com
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Kill Your Darlings ---1/2 (Aquarius) An oft-overlooked chapter in literary history comes to life in â€œKill Your Darlings,â€? a lurid yet penetrating look into Allen Ginsbergâ€™s formative influences. The stranger-than-fiction story finds Ginsberg escaping his dysfunctional home life in Paterson, N.J., and taking his first tentative steps into the louche, libertine, literate social group that would come to be called the Beat Generation. Arriving in New York to attend Columbia University, Ginsberg finds his way to William Burroughs (an effectively drawling (continued on page Ă“Ăˆ)
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Movies "6 ĂŠ/ All showtimes are for Friday â€“ Sunday only unless otherwise noted. For other times, reviews, theater addresses and trailers, go to PaloAltoOnline.com/movies. Sunday show times for the Century 20 were not available by press time. 12 Years A Slave (R) (((1/2
Century 20: 12:40, 3:50, 7, 10:05 p.m. Palo Alto Square: 1, 2:30, 4, 5:30, 7, 8:30 p.m. Fri-Sat also at 10 p.m. Sat also at 11:30 a.m.
Enderâ€™s Game (PG-13) Century 16: 10 & 11:30 a.m. & 1, 2:30, 4, 5:30, 7, 8:30, 10, 11 p.m. Century 20: 1, 3:50, 6:40, 9:30 p.m. In XD 11:35 a.m. & 2:20, 5:05, 7:55, 10:45 p.m.
About Time (R) Century 16: 10:05 a.m. & 1:05, 4:05, 7:05, 10:05 p.m. Century 20: 11:05 a.m. & 1:55, 4:50, 7:45, 10:40 p.m.
Escape Plan (R)
All Is Lost (PG-13) (((1/2 Guild Theatre: noon & 2:45, 5:30, 8:15 p.m.
Century 20: 11:10 a.m. & 1:50, 4:25, 7:05, 9:45 p.m.
Blue Jasmine (PG-13) (((
Century 16: 6:15 p.m. Sat-Tue also at 12:05 p.m.
The Caine Mutiny (1954) (Not Rated)
Stanford Theatre: 7:30 p.m. Sat-Sun also at 3:10 p.m.
Captain Phillips (PG-13) ((( Century 20: 1:05, 4:10, 7:20, 10:20 p.m.
Century 16: 12:30, 3:50, 7:10, 10:15 p.m. Century 20: 12:30, 2:55, 5:30, 8:05, 10:30 p.m.
Century 16: 11:35 a.m. & 2:15 p.m.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (PG) Century 20: 11:15 a.m. & 4:15, 6:55 p.m. In 3D 1:40, 9:15 p.m. The Counselor (R) (1/2
Century 16: 10:35 a.m. & 1:25, 4:30, 7:25, 9, 10:15 p.m. Century 20: 11:25 a.m. & 12:50, 2:15, 3:35, 5, 6:25, 7:55, 9:25, 10:40 p.m. Diana (PG-13) Century 16: 10:20 a.m. & 1:20, 4:15, 7:15, 10:10 p.m. Century 20: 11:20 a.m. & 2:20, 5:10, 7:50, 10:35 p.m. Century 16: Sat 2 p.m. Sun 2 p.m. Mon 2 p.m. Tue 2 p.m.
Dirty Harry (1971) (R) Don Jon (R) ((
Century 16: 11:20 a.m. & 9:45 p.m.
Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), who would go on
to write â€œNaked Lunchâ€? and â€œOn the Road,â€? respectively. But as â€œKill Your Darlingsâ€? depicts, it took Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), Ginsbergâ€™s classmate, to make these introductions.
Enough Said (PG-13) (((
Aquarius Theatre: 2:30, 5, 7:30 p.m. Fri-Sat also at 9:55 p.m. Century 16: Sat-Sun 9:50 p.m. Century 20: 11:10 a.m. & 4:55, 10:35 p.m.
Free Birds (PG) Century 16: 10 a.m. & 2:55, 7:45 p.m. In 3D 12:25, 5:20, 10:10 p.m. Century 20: Fri 11 a.m. & 1:30, 4, 6:35, 9:05 p.m. In 3D 12:10, 2:40, 5:!5, 7:45, 10:10 p.m. Sat 11 a.m. & 1:30, 4, 6:35, 9:05 p.m. In 3D 12:10, 2:40, 5:!5, 7:45, 10:10 p.m. Gravity (PG-13) (((1/2 Century 16: 10:10 a.m. & 5:40 p.m. In 3D 12:35, 1:50, 3, 4:20, 7, 8:20 p.m. Century 20: 10:55 a.m. & 8:25 p.m. In 3D noon & 1:20, 2:30, 3:40, 4:50, 6, 7:15, 9:40, 10:45 p.m. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (R) Century 16: 11:15 a.m. & 12:30, 1:55, 2:55, 4:35, 5:25, 6:55, 8, 9:30, 10:25 p.m. Sat-Sun also at 11:15 a.m. Century 20: 11:40 a.m. & 12:20, 1:10, 2, 2:45, 3:30, 4:25, 5:10, 5:55, 6:45, 7:30, 8:20, 9:20, 10, 10:45 p.m. Kill Your Darlings (R) (((1/2
Aquarius Theatre: 2, 4:30, 7 p.m. Fri-Sat also at 9:30 p.m. Century 16: 11 a.m. & 2:45, 6:30 p.m. Fri-Sat also at 10:20 p.m.
Krrish 3 (Not Rated)
Last Vegas (PG-13) ((( Century 16: 10:15 & 11:25 a.m. & 12:55, 2:20, 3:45, 4:55, 6:45, 7:55, 9:25, 10:30 p.m. Century 20: 11:20 a.m. & 2, 4:35, 7:15, 9:50 p.m. Guild Theatre: Sat midnight.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (R) Rush (R) ((
Century 20: 1:55, 7:40 p.m. Stanford Theatre: 5:25, 9:45 p.m.
Touch of Evil (1958) (PG-13)
The libertine Carr encourages the mousy Ginsberg to break out of the circular pattern of life that has him following a curved line to nowhere but death. â€œLife is only interesting if life is wide,â€? Carr insists,
and itâ€™s not long before theyâ€™re on Benzedrine-fueled creative kicks. Ginsberg proposes they formalize Carrâ€™s philosophy as â€œthe New Vision,â€? after Yeats, a vision to be expressed partly in Ginsbergâ€™s na-
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scent poetry. â€œItâ€™s our turn,â€? Ginsberg says. â€œLetâ€™s show them what we can do.â€? But a shadow runs through it in the form of Carrâ€™s ruinous relationship with David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall). Kammerer has a sexual interest in Carr, and favors are exchanged: Kammerer writes the disinterested Carrâ€™s school papers, and the younger man periodically disappears behind closed doors with his stalkerish elder. Meanwhile, Ginsberg contends with his blooming homosexuality, flushing with his crush on Carr. Passions come to a head in a murder that momentarily pumps the brakes on the Beat Generationâ€™s flaunting of speed limits. Director John Krokidas â€” who co-wrote the screenplay with Austin Bunn â€” approaches all this in an uncompromising, aggressively stylish manner thatâ€™s suitable to the charactersâ€™ youthful energy and abandon, and engagingly applies textured visuals and cannily chosen source music. From Ginsberg slow-dancing with his mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to calm her troubled mind to the triple-penetrative climax (one not as dirty as it sounds, though the film does have a sex scene), â€œKill Your Darlingsâ€? fearlessly explores dark places and the compulsion to exorcise the shadows and remake the world through art. That the film works as well as it does owes a great deal to the sensitive work of Daniel Radcliffe (in what has to be his best screen performance to date) and DeHaan, who cements his status as a star of tomorrow. As for that title, it refers to â€œthe first principle of good creative workâ€? (be willing to cut loose even your favorite phrases if they donâ€™t serve the overall artwork) but just as well as the undercurrent of real-world violence that promises to emerge. To become legends, Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs had to kill their fear, kill their socially acceptable selves. As Ginsberg says: â€œThe circle is broken. But with death comes rebirth.â€? Rated R for sexual content, language, drug use and brief violence. One hour, 44 minutes. â€” Peter Canavese
We believe you deserve the right doctor. With doctors located in cities throughout the Bay Area, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, part of Sutter Health, makes it easier than ever to ﬁnd the care you need, close to home. It’s one more way we plus you. During open enrollment, make sure you choose a health plan that gives you access to Palo Alto Medical Foundation doctors. 1-888-398-5677 TheDoctorForYou.com/PAMF
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LivingWell A monthly special section of news
& information for seniors
Aging of the U.S. workforce ‘Reasons to keep working are not just about financial need,’ scholar says by Chris Kenrick
decades. The center convenes employers, policymakers and scholars to discuss trends and “walk away with a set of questions everyone wants answered to effect change,”
‘We think working longer is a good thing. ... Now we’re seeing that people are indeed working longer not only for financial reasons but also for engagement.’
tive emotions, better ability to handle tense situations and fewer conflicts than their younger counterparts, Stanford Center on Longevity Director Laura Carstensen told conference participants. Younger people do process new information faster and better, but acquisition of knowledge and skills does not stop at any age, she said. For most people, cognitive gain in knowledge and expertise compensates for age-related decline in processing speed. VÌÕi`ÊÊ«>}iÊÎ£)
Lyn Carr, 67, assistant manager of participant services at Avenidas, works in her office at the center in late October.
— Martha Deevy, senior research scholar, Stanford Center on Longevity Deevy said. For example, in the case of the aging workforce, Deevy said, is it possible to create an objective measure of the value of an older worker’s experience? How have countries in Europe and elsewhere — which are ahead of the U.S. on the aging of their workforces — managed to retain older workers? She cited a major German automaker that found older workers met or exceeded productivity measures after the company made physical adaptations to the assembly line, such as placing chairs at the site. “There was a lot of discussion about worker value and worker productivity, and whether we truly understand the true value of their experience and maturity,” she said. Older workers have greater emotional stability, fewer nega-
orkers, get ready. Older colleagues, age 55 and above, will almost double their ranks as a share of the U.S. labor force between 2000 and 2020 — from 13.1 percent to 25.2 percent. The jump reflects two trends: The overall population is aging, and an increasing number of older people are working longer. A majority — but not all — of those will keep toiling because they need the money. Those projections on the aging of the U.S. workforce emerged from a conference earlier this year convened by the Stanford Center on Longevity and Marsh & McLennan Companies. Scholars and employers — including representatives of Bay Area companies like Wells Fargo, Intel and Cisco — gathered to discuss ways companies could adapt to the aging of the U.S. workforce. Major employers of blue-collar workers such as Target and Wal-Mart also participated. “We think working longer is a good thing,” said conference convener Martha Deevy, a senior research scholar and director of the Financial Security Division of the Stanford Center on Longevity. “A lot of people, during the depths of the recession, were angrily saying, ‘I have to work longer,’ but now we’re seeing that people are indeed working longer not only for financial reasons but also for engagement. They’re saying, ‘I want to do something.’” Research at the Stanford Center on Longevity seeks to redefine life phases to account for the fact that people now live longer lives and remain healthier in their later
Peter Webb, 72, a teacher at Avenidas, offers Burt Lustig advice on choosing the right Internet browser during a private computer-tutoring session. Webb also offers classes on using PCs and building computer skills, as well as leading a weekly discussion group on current affairs.
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Do your feet need a treat? Then come to Avenidas, where our affordable health services can rejuvenate your feet:
NOVEMBER 2013 Calendar of Events
Friday, Nov. 1
Workshop on Building a Financial Plan
Aveneedles Needlework Club
Wine appreciation club
@Avenidas 2-3:30pm Free Call(650) 289-5400 to register
@Avenidas 2:30-4:30pm Call for info on fee (650) 289-5400
@Avenidas, 3-4:30pm $12. RSVP to (650) 289-5400
Friday, Nov. 8
Monday, Nov. 18
Oral Health Lecture
Armchair Travel to Estonoia
@Avenidas at 12:30-1:30pm Followed by screening 1:30-2:30 Free. Call (650) 289-5400 for info
@Avenidas, 1-2:30pm $5/$7
@Avenidas 2:15-3:15pm Free
Tuesday, Nov. 19 Garden Club
Drop in Blood Pressure Screening @Avenidas 10-11:30am, Free
@Avenidas, 1-4pm Free
@Avenidas, 1-2pm “Backyard Fruit Tree Basics” Call (650) 289-5400 to register
UNA Film Festival
Monday Nov. 11
“True Whispers” @Avenidas 2-3:30pm Free
Veteran’s Day Celebration
Monday, Nov. 4 Chinese Classical Mahjong
Wed. Nov. 20 CA Highway Patrol Driver Safety For Seniors @Avenidas 9am-1pm Free but call (650) 289-5400 to register
@Avenidas in La Comida 11:15am-12:15pm Lunch & music Suggested $3 donation
Thurs. Nov. 21 Monthly Book Group
Tuesday, Nov. 5
s .AIL #ARE s &OOT -ASSAGE s 0ODIATRY s !CUPUNCTURE
Lecture on the Changes in Medicare
Tuesday, Nov. 12
& Medical @ Avenidas 2:30pm Free (NOTE: For Santa Clara Residents only)
Parkinson’s Exercise Class
@Avenidas 3-4pm, Free
@Avenidas 3-4:30pm Free
Friday, Nov. 22
10am Free @Shoreline Park
Estate Planning: Risks & Rewards @Avenidas 12:30-1:30pm, Free
@Avenidas 1-4pm Free
Monday, Nov. 25
Clutter Busters Group
Wed. Nov 13
@Avenidas 11am-12:30pm, Free
@Avenidas 1-3pm 4 classes/$40 Call(650) 289-5400 to preregister
Workshop on “Managing Your Hospital Stay”
Spouse & Partner Caregivers Group
Wed. Nov. 6
Book your appointment today at (650) 289-5400
@Avenidas 6-7:30pm Free
Thurs. Nov. 7
@Avenidas 2-3:30pm Free
Improving Care for Veterans Facing Illness and End of Life
Thursday Nov. 14
8:30 am – 4:00 pm Xilinx Corporation, 2100 Logic Drive, San Jose Registration $75 Hospicevalley.org/hfa2013
Free lecture just in time for the holidays on
Movie “It’s Complicated”
Friday, Nov. 15
“Understanding Family Dynamics” In Mountain View at Avenidas Rose Kleiner Center (270 Escuela Avenue, MV) RSVP to(650) 289-5498
Resources and programs for positive aging
@Avenidas 1:30pm Free/members $2/non
Social Dance @Avenidas 3-4:30pm Free
450 Bryant St., Palo Alto, CA 94301 www.avenidas.org
9:15-10:30am, $25 Call (650) 289-5400 for appointments
Tuesday,Nov. 26 Thanksgiving Celebration Lunch @Avenidas in La Comida 11:15am-12:15pm Suggested Donation $3
Wed. Nov. 27 Meditation @Avenidas 2-3pm, Free
Thurs & Friday, Nov 28-29 Avenidas CLOSED for Thanksgiving Holiday
Ask The Audiologist First About hearing loss and the latest hearing devices.
How do I know if I have hearing loss? It’s often difﬁcult to know if you have a hearing loss because the brain adapts and compensates for missing information so well. People with hearing loss often report others are mumbling or have trouble understanding speech in background noise. They ask people to repeat parts of conversations. Most often, other people notice your hearing loss ﬁrst. Do others tell you that the TV is too loud or you’re speaking loudly? If so, it may be time to get your hearing checked. Set up a Complimentary Consultation today.
Los Altos: 496 First Street, Suite 120 (650) 941-0664
Los Altos Open 2nd & 4th Saturdays!
Menlo Park: 3555 Alameda de las Pulgas, Suite 100 (650) 854-1980
Two Ofﬁces To Serve You. Complimentary Consultation. Serving the Bay Area for over 35 years!
22nd Annual Photo Contest CALL FOR ENTRIES DEADLINE Jan. 3, 2014
Open Your Ears To New Possibilities!
For information and to enter, visit PaloAltoOnline.com/photo_contest ÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°VÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊ£]ÊÓä£ÎÊU Page 29
Making the decision to move, selling your home, and moving is a big job.
It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You don’t have to do it all alone.
Nancy and her experienced team will assist you from start to ﬁnish. Planning Prioritizing Pricing and marketing your home Completing the myriad of forms Negotiating offers Managing the escrow process Packing Cleaning Estate Sales Donations Finalizing your sale while coordinating with you and your family
NANCY GOLDCAMP Seniors Real Estate Specialist Certiﬁed Residential Specialist
(650) 752-0720 www.nancygoldcamp.com DRE # 00787851
or advisors to assure a successful outcome
Introducing Your Style, Your
NEIGHBORHOOD Our Apartment Homes.
Welcome to Webster house, Palo Alto’s most gracious senior living community, now a member of the not-for-proﬁt 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 ﬁnd a mix of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. You’ll also ﬁnd peace of mind and a welcoming community offering the advantages of continuing care. To learn more, or for your personal visit, please call 650.838.4004.
Your style, your neighborhood.
401 Webster Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301
A non-denominational, not-for-profit community owned and operated by Episcopal Senior Communities. License No. 435294364 COA #246. EPWH654-01AA 042613
EXERCISE AND COGNITION ... Neurologist Thomas Rando, a professor at Stanford School of Medicine and deputy director of Stanford’s Center on Longevity, is co-recipient of a $4.26 million “transformative research” award from the National Institutes of Health to encourage high-risk, high-reward approaches to biomedical and behavioral research. Along with neurologist Tony WyssCoray, professor of medicine and senior research career scientist at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Rando will explore the basis for physical activity’s robust positive effect on cognitive function. Aging is associated with progressive decline in cognitive ability. Muscle is increasingly understood to be a secretory tissue with effects on bone structure, metabolism and blood vessel formation. Rando and WyssCoray will test the idea that factors produced in exercised muscle are secreted into the circulation, where they gain access to the brain and induce cognitive benefits. They will identify the neural cells whose behavior is modified by those secreted factors and that mediate the effects those factors induce during exercise and afterward. LET’S DO LUNCH ... The La Comida Lunch Program for Seniors has been serving nutritious and affordable hot lunches to seniors 60-plus since 1972. Diners enjoy a complete three-course meal served Monday through Friday from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Cost is a “suggested contribution” of $3. The lunches allow for socializing in a cheerful, friendly setting, sometimes with live musical entertainment. The dining room is in downtown Palo Alto at 450 Bryant St., inside the Avenidas building. For more information and current menus visit www.lacomida.org or call 650322-3742. ABOUT CAREGIVING ... A series of free seminars for caregivers is underway at the Stanford Health Library addressing topics such as handling isolation, the evolution of living with an illness, a shifting sense of self and managing emotions and finances. The first two seminars, given in September, were filled to capacity of 50 attendees. But space is still available for seminars Nov. 7 (“I Can’t Do It All — Getting Help Caring for a Loved One”) as well as seminars Nov. 21 (“Where Will the Money Come From? Navigating the Legal and Financial Aspects of Caregiving”) and Jan. 9 (“At the End of the Day, How Can I Care for Myself? Identifying Resources and Coping Skills for Healthcare Professionals”). The sessions are cosponsored by the Stanford Health Library, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Stanford Cancer Institute and the Fremontbased Cancer Prevention Institute
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Living Well ing, according to the U.S. Census. By 2020, 35 percent of men and 28 percent of women ages 65 to 74 will still be working, most of them full-time, according to pro-
jections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “We’re living longer and living healthier, even with chronic diseases, and as a whole the population is finding itself in a position
where they can and should think about working longer,” Deevy said. N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at ckenrick@ paweekly.com.
The New Definition of Home Care caregiver noun \-,giv-, r\ an individual who provides direct care to the elderly or chronically ill, may or may not have experience and/or Department of Justice background check. home care assistance caregiver noun \’hõm-\ \ -’sis-t n(t)s\ a professional aide with at least two years experience, who passes a comprehensive background check and psychological evaluation and undergoes formal training in home care. Home Care Assistance caregivers are also trained in cognitive stimulation to keep clients mentally engaged.
Another hot topic had to do with designing “more flexible and nuanced retirement paths” for older workers,” Deevy said. “Oftentimes people in their 60s want to continue to work, but want to work differently — they want or need more flexibility,” she said. “So there was a lot of discussion about, can you more effectively pre-plan someone’s exist ramp over the course of several years, affording different and more flexible opportunities so you can retain them when you need them but give them the flexibility they’re asking for?” She acknowledged that alternative transitions can be “easier to talk about for white-collar workers, but it isn’t just about white collar workers. The tougher discussions come in industries that have physically demanding, physically challenging jobs.” Another discussion was “multigenerational workforces — some industries find themselves with three generations working simultaneously together, and that’s really unprecedented,” she said. Well-educated workers in particular are more likely to delay retirement than less-educated workers, and labor-force participation rates have risen primarily for older Americans who are college-educated and in the highest income groups, Deevy said in a recent blog titled “Surprising Reasons Boomers Are Working Longer.” “Research suggests the decision to keep working may not be exclusively about financial need,” she said. “There are many social, emotional and psychological benefits that come from work.” Among them, she said, are that working helps people avoid social isolation and keeps them connected to communities; working gives meaning to people’s lives; working allows older people to use their knowledge and experience, stay physically and mentally healthy and can be a source
of pleasure. Of the 55-year-old to 74-yearold non-working population in 2008, 62 percent of them — or 16 million people — were healthy enough to still be work-
Call to learn about the Home Care Assistance difference:
148 Hawthorne Ave, Palo Alto, CA www.HomeCareAssistance.com San Francisco Oakland Danville Marin Palo Alto San Mateo Los Gatos
Sponsor a Student Call Today for a Personal Tour
650.327.0950 www.channinghouse.org E
850 Webster Street Palo Alto, CA 94301 DSS license #430700136
Bob Hoover (Director) and Craig Allen (Channing House Resident), Team up to support East Palo Alto’s Junior Golf Program Info at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 650-776-9116
ÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°VÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊ£]ÊÓä£ÎÊU Page 31
Senior Focus VÌÕi`ÊvÀÊ«>}iÊÎä® of California. The Thursday, 7 to 9 p.m. sessions are at the Health Library, located in the Hoover Pavilion near Stanford Shopping Center at 211 Quarry Road, Suite 201. Reservations are required. Call 650-4987826 or go to healthlibrary@stanford. edu. NEW ALZHEIMER’S FINDING ... Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have shown how a protein fragment known as beta-amyloid, strongly implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, begins destroying synapses before it clumps into plaques that lead to nerve cell death. Key features of Alzheimer’s, which affects about 5 million Americans, are wholesale loss of synapses — contact points by which nerve cells relay signals to one another — and a parallel deterioration in brain function, notably in the ability to remember. “Our discovery suggests that Alzheimer’s disease starts to manifest long before plaque formation becomes evident,” said Carla Shatz, professor of neurobiology and of biology and senior author of the study, published Sept. 20 in the journal “Science.” Using an experimental mouse strain that is highly susceptible to the synaptic and cognitive impairments of Alzheimer’s disease, Shatz and her colleagues showed that if these mice lacked a surface protein ordinarily situated very close to synapses, they were resistant to the memory breakdown and synapse loss associated with the disorder. The study demonstrated for the first time that this protein, called PirB, is a high-affinity receptor for beta-amyloid in its “soluble cluster” form, meaning that soluble betaamyloid clusters stick to PirB quite powerfully. That trips off a cascade of biochemical activities culminating in the destruction of synapses.
campus life at Stanford. Now we’re loving campus life nearby.
Items for Senior Focus may be emailed to Palo Alto Weekly Staff Writer Chris Kenrick at email@example.com.
Support Local Business
Grandparenting and having fun can keep you busy. Just ask Eileen and Jerry Lehmer. Since moving to The Sequoias Portola Valley, they attend their granddaughter’s volleyball games and Stanford games with the family. Jerry plays golf, Eileen paints watercolors. They hike, attend lectures, and more. No cooking or cleaning necessary; it’s all provided. So every day is a new adventure. Are yours? If not, call Marketing at (650) 851-1501 to learn more.
A Life Care Community (650) 851-1501 sequoias-pv.org 501 Portola Rd, Portola Valley, CA 94028
This not-for-profit community is part of Northern California Presbyterian Homes and Services. License #410500567 COA #075.
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The online guide to Palo Alto businesses ShopPaloAlto.com
saving the 6iÀV>Ê7iLiÀÊ
Scientists, nonprofit groups work to protect Palo Alto marshlands BY SUE DREMANN
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he Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve marshlands, home to the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse and the California clapper rail, have turned to fall colors of red and gold. Behind the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center, yellowing native Pacific cord grass nods at the channel’s edge, and the succulent pickleweed, which tastes briny and tart, is crimson. Last week, long-billed dowitchers and godwits pecked at mudflats exposed by the receding tide. The elusive clapper rail did not appear along the watery channel known as “rail alley.” But there were signs: Marks in the mud bank showed where the birds had scooted down to water’s edge from hollows made in the pickleweed. A lone feather clung to a nearby plant. Chances of seeing the rails are slim. Ruddybreasted, with tan and black striping and sturdy legs, the chicken-sized California clapper was fairly common in the San Francisco Bay 50 years ago. But today, there are only an estimated 1,500 birds in the area — about 15 to 20 of them in the Palo Alto Baylands, according to the nonprofit organization Point Blue Conservation Science. More elusive still is the tiny salt marsh harvest mouse, which weighs as much as a quarter and does not live anywhere else in the world except for San Francisco Bay’s marshes. No one really knows their numbers, experts said. Environmental groups are engaged in a battle
to save these endangered species, focusing mostly on preserving the wetlands they and other species call home. Over the years, as much as 80 percent of the San Francisco Bay marshlands have disappeared, according to scientists. Development and salt-pond conversion are the chief culprits. So far, the work of re-establishing the marshes appears to be helping. Birds and mice are increasing in numbers where some habitat restoration has occurred, scientists said. But it is a long-term and ever-changing fight. A predicted rise in sea levels due to climate change will, in future years, flood the marshes, washing away nests and making the habitat unsuitable for clapper rails and other species, according to a Point Blue study of projected sea-level-rise impacts.
he best time to spot clapper rails and harvest mice is during the highest solstice tides, said Richard Bicknell, a City of Palo Alto supervising ranger. The mice and rails emerge from their thickets of pickleweed and cord grass and seek higher ground. The rails climb onto the boardwalk or perch on driftwood; the mice cling to the tops of the plants. In his four years of working at the Baylands, Bicknell thinks he saw a harvest mouse once, hanging from the pickleweed. He has seen clap(continued on next page)
At top: The snowy egret, the salt marsh harvest mouse and burrowing owls all make local marshes their homes. But the owl, seen here in Mountain View’s Shoreline Park, hasn’t been spotted in Palo Alto for years. Below: The Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve is home to endangered species.
ÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°VÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊ£]ÊÓä£ÎÊU Page 33
Byxbee Park plans still uncertain, but restoration goes on Last 51 acres of former landfill are being covered, but fate of 10 acres still to be decided
per rails twice, he said. Howard Shellhammer, emeritus professor of biology at San Jose State University, has studied the salt marsh harvest mouse since 1961. He said the loss of tidal marshes has forced species that used to live in the lower half to lower third of the marsh zone to higher land. And that leaves them more at risk of running into predators. “The upper part of the high marsh zone is where the salt marsh harvest mouse, various shrews and other small mammals, plus a variety of birds, escape to during the highest tides ... when the larger birds feast on all those cover-dependent animals forced out of cover,” Shellhammer said. Though endangered, clapper rails aren’t the only birds whose numbers have dropped. The populations of black-crowned night herons and snowy egrets, which nest in the trees near the duck pond during the spring, have decreased dramatically in the past two to three years, Bicknell said. The showy herons, which sport red eyes and two long head feathers on their greenish-black caps, are known to soar gracefully through the sky, while the snowwhite egrets glide like prehistoric creatures, making unearthly gargling noises as they flap their wings in the trees. No one knows why there have been fewer of the herons and egrets, Bicknell said. Perhaps the habitat has changed in some way to make it less favorable; perhaps the much-loved birds sought a
the 2011 initiative Measure E from passing. The initiative reserves a 10-acre portion of the park for 10 years while the city considers if an energy/compost facility should be built there. Voters approved Measure E, and a final decision by the City Council on proposals for the facility is expected in February 2014, according to Daren Anderson, Palo Alto’s manager of open space, parks and golf. Eventually, additional trails will open, and the elevated area will afford a panoramic view of the bay, Shoreline Park in Mountain View, the East Bay hills and all of the surrounding Palo Alto Baylands. Large graders are currently preparing the site, rumbling over mountains of dark brown soil. The earth will create a foundation, and a protective cap will keep hazardous landfill materials from seeping into the marshes. Nearby, pickleweed and cord grass, used by the endangered more favorable locale where they don’t have to put up with human onlookers pointing oversized camera lenses at their nests. The Point Blue “State of the Birds: San Francisco Bay 2011” report asserts that the primary threats to both birds are the loss or disturbance of nesting sites and noise from construction, which scares the birds away. Several species of ducks — such as the canvasback, greater scaup, a diving duck, and surf scoter, a deeper-water duck — are also decreasing in population, the report found. Those losses could be significant. The San Francisco Bay populations of scaup and scoters represent between 40 and 50 percent of all scaup and scoters counted in the Pacific Flyway. There is some good news in the report: Populations of some birds, including the black rail, are increasing.
t’s not only the loss of marshes but the invasion of the wrong type of plants that threaten the clapper rails and salt marsh harvest mice. A nonnative, invasive species of cord grass, Spartina alterniflora, is pushing out the native variety, Spartina foliosa, Bicknell said. The aggressive weed is replacing plants on which the rail and mouse depend. But volunteers, including from the nonprofit organizations Acterra and Save The Bay are working to remove the invasive plant, he said. Lynn Hori, a retired Palo Alto High School teacher, started working with students on science research projects at the Baylands
California clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse, cover the landscape in large swaths broken up by water channels that wind toward Mayfield Slough. On a recent afternoon, flocks of ducks and geese, disturbed by some marshland denizen — perhaps one of the native gray foxes — created a raucous rush across the water. When capping is completed in a year, the city will seed native grasses over the area, providing cover and food for insects and small animals. Anderson is also spearheading a new “vegetation island” concept — native flora planted in low mounds — that would help a variety of wildlife. The area won’t serve the clapper rail or harvest mouse, which stay in the tidal salt marshes and are not attracted to the drier upland area. But the city is looking at ways to welcome the scarce burrowing owl, a small bird that lives underground. Two birds
he 126-acre Byxbee Park, located at the center of the Palo Alto Baylands Preserve, is perhaps the most emblematic of the question of how the Baylands should be managed. The park — formerly the city’s landfill — has taken shape in stages. As parts of the landfill closed, levees and trails opened up, providing visitors with roughly 1 mile that connected the Palo Alto Duck Pond, Lucy Evans Baylands Interpretive Center and Harriet Mundy Marsh with the Adobe Creek Loop Trail that leads to Shoreline Park in Mountain View. But the closure of the last 51 acres of landfill in 2011 has raised questions regarding whether the Baylands should forever be a dedicated open space, or if other uses can be factored in. Open-space proponents, including former City Councilwomen Enid Pearson and Emily Renzel, who were instrumental in preserving the land in the 1960s, fought hard to prevent
The native plant nursery at the Palo Alto Baylands features thousands of seedlings that will be planted by volunteers after the first rain. in 1997. Students took a raft and collected samples of the cord grasses, which were genetically tested at U.C. Davis. The tests showed which plants were nonnative Spartina, she said. The invasive plant was discovered west of the sailing station and in Charleston Slough and Hooks Island, a flat, arrowhead-shaped spit of land at the preserve’s easternmost edge. It hybridized with the native cord grass, making it harder to tell one from the other, she said. “Some picked up the roots characteristics; some picked up the height or the flowers. You almost had to test it all to find out what was native or nonnative. It just comes in and takes over. It grows denser than the native species and makes it harder for animals to move around. It is interfering with the dynamics of the marsh,” she said. The students monitored various
Page 34ÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊ£]ÊÓä£ÎÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°V
by Sue Dremann
Crews on Oct. 28 lay a protective dirt covering over the former Palo Alto landfill, some of which is scheduled to become part of Byxbee Park in the Baylands. previously inhabited the Baylands, but now they are gone. Only a few of the owls remain in Mountain View, Anderson said. The Palo Alto Baylands and the rare creatures living there exist today due to the perseverance of several residents dating back to 1960. Pearson, Renzel and the late Harriet Mundy and Lucy Evans all have played prominent roles. Pearson and others launched a lawsuit that stopped a massive commercial development in 1961 and prompted the council to develop the Baylands Master Plan. But the Baylands’ future is not secure, Pearson and Renzel say. Despite climate change, the marshlands’ fate lies largely with the will of the people to areas in search of the nonnative species, and they used tarpaulins to smother some of the plants. They replaced the invasive Spartina at Hooks Island with native cord grass, she said. Groups have made major efforts to cull invasive Spartina throughout the bay region. Work by the California Coastal Conservancy’s San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Project reduced the weed from a high of 800 acres to 40 acres, said Amy Hutzel, coordinator for the project. Save The Bay has removed invasive Spartina and added native cord grass plugs in Palo Alto, said Seth Chanin, the nonprofit’s restoration program manager. The organization has restored 45,000 acres of wetlands around the bay over the past decade, with a goal of 100,000 acres. Levees, which have poor, degraded soil and have been taken over by invasive European weeds such as wild fennel, mustard, radishes and ice plant, are also the focus of restoration work. Volunteers collect local native seeds at the marshes in the fall and install plants in the winter during the rainy season. Save The Bay is propagating 40,000 plants at a nursery set up in the Palo Alto Baylands, Chanin said. “We go into undisturbed transition zones (from one kind of plant habitat to another) and look at what’s growing and try to replicate that,” Chanin said. They use 25 to 30 plant types, including salt-tolerant grasses and low shrubs that provide cover for animals and a food source, he said.
support keeping wild places wild, Renzel said. “In the 1970s, there was a new appreciation of wildlife habitat. There was a huge movement to protect open space and wildlife,” she said. But generations change, and with them, their priorities, she added. Perhaps ironically, human progress did help create a greater appreciation for the Baylands. When Pearson first walked there in 1952, the marshes were not easily accessible, she said. But when the city knocked down 101 homes to make way for Oregon Expressway, it used the concrete and other debris as fill for paths and levees along the Baylands’ perimeter trail, she said. N Save The Bay, Acterra and the East Palo Alto nonprofit organization Collective Roots are working jointly on projects to restore habitats in East Palo Alto’s FaberLaumeister Tract. The project is paid for through a grant from the 2007 Cosco Busan oil spill, said Alex Von Feldt, Acterra’s stewardship program director. The restoration also involves schoolchildren from the East Palo Alto Charter School and Youth Community Services. A Junior Bay Stewards program will teach East Palo Alto students about marshland ecology, she said. This past summer the project started a clapper-rail habitat restoration project, she said. Save The Bay has planted halfmile stretches of native species at Palo Alto’s 126-acre Byxbee Park. The plants line the edge of a levee overlooking the pickleweed and cord grass. Chanin has seen a clapper rail once in the three years he has worked there, but volunteers often hear its loud, distinctive call: keck keck keck keck keck keck keck keck.
he Bay Area’s tidal marshes comprise an ever-shifting system, and the presence or absence of animals presage its future condition. The shorebird population in San Francisco Bay has shifted north, where their numbers have increased in the north bay, and away from the central and south bay, according to the State of the Birds report. The numbers of one of the more common species, the Western sandpiper, has declined Bay Area-wide, while two other common species, the
Above: Only 15 to 20 California clapper rails still live in the Palo Alto Baylands. Left: Richard Bicknell, supervising ranger for the City of Palo Alto, stands by â€œrail alley,â€? a thoroughfare for the California clapper rail, on Oct. 28. to wetlands, she said. A 2012 Point Blue study found the number of clapper rails increases dramatically following restoration of tidal marshes, but the increase begins after 17 to 20 years, she noted. â€œCurrently, we donâ€™t have data on clapper rail response to restoration through planting. However, we do know that much of the depredation of clapper rails occurs during high tides, when clapper rails are forced to seek refuge on higher ground. Plantings adjacent to tidal wetlands can provide the cover that the clapper rails need to hide from predators during high tide,â€? she said.
he effects of higher tides from climate change â€” and the human response to it â€” is a concern for many scientists. Claire Elliott, a senior ecologist with Acterra, said there has been talk of raising the levees in response to sea-level rise. That will have an impact on what kind of plant refuges are available to the animals, she said. â€œMy fear is that the levees will isolate species from areas they need to access,â€? she said. Local officials are indeed planning for a sea-level rise â€” but theyâ€™re also taking Baylands animals into account. The San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, a coalition that includes Palo Alto, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the San Mateo County Flood Protection District, is in the midst of a major multi-year project to protect surrounding communities from flooding. The work includes the widening of channels, reconstruction of levees and a complete reconfiguration of the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course. Though flood control is the main objective, habitat restoration is also part of the
Tom Hill prepares to plant native flora at the Palo Alto Baylands last December during a Save the Bay volunteer event.
plan. The Environmental Impact Report for the project lists as its first objective to provide a â€œgolf course that has enhanced wildlife habitat, improved wetland areas and a more interesting course.â€? One of the goals, in fact, is to make the golf course feel more like the Baylands. The reconfiguration would reduce the area of â€œmanagedâ€? turf from 135 acres to 81 acres. Rob de Geus, assistant director of the Community Services Department, noted that the project will â€œadd over 50 acres of natural Bayland.â€? Former councilwoman Enid Pearson, who along with former councilwoman Emily Renzel was largely responsible for saving the Baylands in the 1960s, said she fears the marshes will be damaged by attempts to stem flooding. The flood-control plan would direct overflowing water from the San Francisquito Creek, between the Baylands and U.S. Highway 101, toward the Faber Tract in East Palo Alto, where clapper rails and harvest mice live. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shares her concern. In July, the agency raised flags in a letter to the creek authority. The Wildlife Service stated that flood waters in the Faber Tract could result in the loss of refuge for the clap-
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least sandpiper and the willet, have increased greatly. Burrowing owls that nested in the Palo Alto Baylands are gone, while along Mountain Viewâ€™s shoreline, habitat improvements have helped the species. In 2008, the clapper rail population dropped, especially in the south bay. â€œWe suspect the entire Bay Area really crashed in 2008. Most likely, it was weather-related. Pressures could have caused poor reproduction. We really donâ€™t know,â€? said Julian Wood, Point Blueâ€™s San Francisco Bay program manager. Pollution can seriously upset the food supply, according to Joanne McFarlin, a senior ecologist with Acterra, who three years ago examined bugs at Stevens Creek. Endangered steelhead trout and clapper rails feast on invertebrates. When samples from the upper creek found only pollution-tolerant insects, such as black flies and midge flies, McFarlin suspected a pollution source in the surrounding neighborhood was emptying into the water. Soil analysis found very high levels of pesticides known as pyrethroids, which are commonly used in backyard gardens, she said. An outreach program to educate residents by the City of Cupertino resulted in lower levels of pesticides, which in turn allowed insects that are important on the food chain to repopulate the waterway, she said. Some restoration work covers large swaths of land. The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, a massive plan by state and federal agencies and private foundations, purchased 15,100 acres from Cargill Inc., with plans to restore 50 to 90 percent of south bay ponds to a mix of tidal marsh and shallow, managed ponds. Restoration has brought back large numbers of leopard sharks and native fish to south bay waters, Hutzel said. Restored areas include near the Dumbarton Bridge at Ravenswood Open Space Preserve, near Moffett Field in Mountain View, at Eden Landing near Hayward, in Alviso in the South Bay and at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Jen McBroom, clapper-rail monitoring manager at Berkeley-based habitat restoration and monitoring firm Olofson Environmental, Inc., has done hundreds of surveys of clapper rails all around the bay. Some hope is coming to the rails as a result of returning salt ponds
per rails and the mice, exposing them to predators. The project, the agency argued, â€œhas the potential to have severe adverse effects to the California clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse.â€? Among the creek authorityâ€™s plans, it is looking into ways to protect the species, including building mounds that harvest mice could climb, should flooding occur. Rising sea levels pose challenges more widely, McBroom and Hutzel said. â€œWeâ€™ve built communities up to the edge of the bay. If that wasnâ€™t there, the marshes could move upward and inland, but they will get squeezed between the communities and a rising bay,â€? Hutzel said. But Wood said computer modeling by Point Blue indicates that marshlands might have more resilience in the face of a sea-level rise than previously thought. Sediment deposits could increase in some areas, building up the marshland. As sediment builds, marsh plants start to grow. â€œThe sooner that happens, the more likely it is that the marsh can keep pace with sea-level rise,â€? he said. But he added a caveat: â€œIf there is a faster rise, will they be able to do it faster?â€? The study, which is found at
www.prbo.org/sfbayslr, shows that some areas currently under water will become mudflats in the Palo Alto Baylands by 2030, with low sediment deposits and a more than .52-meter sea-level rise. Under a scenario with higher sediment deposits, much of the lower marshes will fill in to become so-called â€œmid-marshâ€? zones. The Baylands would have a less-varied habitat, according to many of the models. While that could portend big changes for wildlife that depend on varied zones for their survival, Wood said the models also offer tools for marshland managers to design habitats that could help species to survive. McBroom agreed that humans, who have contributed significantly to the demise of the marshes, must have a hand in saving species. Clapper rails need large, round marshes with a range of elevations, from low marsh to forage in during low tides to high marsh in which to take cover during high tides, she said. â€œTheir habitat will shrink as the rising waters drown the tidal wetlands â€” unless we are able to increase the elevation of these marshes or allow them to expand landward,â€? she said. Daren Anderson, Palo Altoâ€™s manager of open space, parks and golf, said the city must consider the best ways to manage the competition between the rising tides, wildlife and community. In its search for ways to care for the Palo Alto Baylands, the city will seek ways to manage and preserve the tidal marshes for generations of wildlife and humans to come. N Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@ paweekly.com. On the cover: Photo of Palo Alto Baylands by Veronica Weber.
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