News - March 17, 2010

Menlo Watch: Union negotiations at impasse

by Sean Howell

Menlo Park city officials continue to meet with representatives from the city's largest union in mediation sessions over stalled contract negotiations.

Employees with the union, Service Employees International, have been working without a contract since late October. In public meetings, some have argued that the city is making unreasonable demands, and asking its lowest-paid employees for the most salary concessions.

The city and union representatives met with mediators on March 12, according to City Manager Glen Rojas, who said the fact that the two sides are still talking is encouraging.

While the union has made several claims about what the city is asking for, saying among other things that it's calling for structural pension changes similar to what a group of residents is advocating, the city has not commented on the substance of the closed-door negotiations.

March 25: Planning for aging population

Don Weden, a Santa Clara County planner, will speak at the new Menlo-Atherton High School performing arts center at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 25, about land-use planning to accommodate an aging population. The center is at 555 Middlefield Road in Atherton.

Mr. Weden focuses on "what we can do to adapt our cities to assure that our growing senior population — and others in the community — can live active, interesting and productive lives, without having to drive or own a car," Menlo Park resident Patricia Boyle writes in an e-mail.

Ms. Boyle sits on the city's Housing Commission, which is a sponsor of the event along with the League of Women Voters.

Grant will help police enforce alcohol law

A $6,000 grant from the state will allow Menlo Park police to employ underage decoys to try to bait people into buying alcohol for them.

The grant comes through the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's "shoulder tap" program, according to police spokeswoman Nicole Acker. The state instituted the program after finding that minors were increasingly turning to adults to buy them alcohol, following a statewide crackdown in the mid-1990s on alcohol vendors.

Landscaping classes

People who want to learn about native landscaping and water-conservation techniques may be interested in two free upcoming classes, sponsored by the Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency.

A class on March 20 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Menlo Park will focus on native landscaping. A class on April 17 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Menlo Park will offer water-saving tips for gardeners.

Both classes require registration.

E-mail or call 349-3000 to register or obtain more information.


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