News - August 18, 2010

Briefs: Pension reform lawsuit in legal limbo

Those following the pension reform initiative lawsuit will have to wait a while to find out what the court intends to do. At a hearing on Aug. 12, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge George Miram agreed to consider the lawsuit, but gave no indication of when he might reach a decision.

Attorney Richard Miadich, who represents one of the plaintiffs, said the judge has 90 days. That leaves open the question of whether the lawsuit will be decided before the Nov. 2 elections.

A grassroots campaign led by Citizens for Fair and Responsible Pension Reform gathered enough signatures to have the initiative placed on the ballot. The initiative seeks to raise the retirement age for new, non-police public employees five years to 60, and also decrease their pension payments.

Two unions, Service Employees International Union Local 521 (SEIU) and American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 829 (AFSCME), filed the lawsuit to argue that only the City Council has the authority to change pension compensation.

Free-speech zone

At the final Chamber of Commerce block party of the summer on Aug. 11 in downtown Menlo Park, two groups appeared to enjoy their new positions within the established free-speech areas.

Nancy Couperus, founding member of the Menlo Park Downtown Alliance, a group of business and property owners who promote an alternative to the city's downtown development plan, said 60 people signed the alliance's petition this time.

The alliance clashed with the chamber during the last block party for advocating the alternative from a table in front of Posh Bagel, on property owned by Ms. Couperus. The chamber drew criticism for saying the alliance had to be in a free speech zone, but not asking representatives of the Bohannon Gateway Project to do likewise.

On Aug. 11, however, the alliance sat on Crane Street, with tables lined up at the border of Santa Cruz Ave. where the action was. "One young woman came up to us and put her foot across the sidewalk line, saying, 'Oh, I don't think I feel any difference here; this free-speech zone doesn't seem to be affecting me at all," said Ms. Couperus.

And the Bohannon Gateway Project? Representatives were working the crowd from another free-speech zone a bit further down the block from the alliance.

M-A class reunion

The Menlo-Atherton High School Class of 1970 will celebrate its 40th reunion on Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Crown Plaza Cabaña in Palo Alto. Members of the class, along with spouses, friends and family, are invited.

Cocktails by the pool start at 6 p.m., followed by dinner on the terrace at 7:30 p.m., then dessert, dancing, and catching up. Tickets are $100, or two for $190, and will not be sold at the door.

Go to for more information.

Outdoor movie

The Portola Valley Cultural Arts Committee invites the community to watch a free movie "under the stars" on Friday, Aug. 20, at the courtyard lawn of the Portola Valley Town Center.

The movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean — the Curse of the Black Pearl," will be shown at 8 p.m. Popcorn, non-alcoholic drinks and treats will be sold, said Deirdre Clark, co-chair of the committee.

"Folks are encouraged to come at 6:30 to picnic, socialize and listen to music CDs from local bands," she said. "We welcome your family and friends. Bring jackets, blankets and a picnic. Dogs are welcome on a leash."


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