News - October 6, 2010

Briefs: No-confidence vote on bullet train?

by Sandy Brundage

Those interested in the future of high-speed rail on the Peninsula may want to attend the Menlo Park City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 5.

The council may issue a vote of "no confidence" on high-speed rail, or make a formal resolution opposing the project, as Orange County did. Council members can also choose to do nothing.

On Sept. 21 the council voted to join Palo Alto and Atherton in a lawsuit challenging the project's environmental impact report.

Palo Alto earlier last month also passed a "no confidence" vote, based on the rail authority's flawed ridership projections, estimated $42.6 billion construction cost, and deteriorating community relationships, according to the staff report.

The Menlo Park City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center, 700 Laurel St.

Smoking ban passes

With zero discussion, the Menlo Park City Council waived a second reading of the revised smoking ordinance, thus making the new laws official. The changes go into effect Nov. 29.

Major revisions include no more smoking in outdoor areas like Cafe Borrone's patio, unless the business owner chooses to set aside a designated, unenclosed space for smokers.

While residents can still smoke within their own apartments, or while walking in the street, common use areas of multi-unit housing will become smoke-free zones, according to City Attorney Bill McClure.

'Town Hall' meetings on state issues

State Sen. Joe Simitian will discuss state issues affecting local communities, including high-speed rail, at town hall meetings open to the public. One meeting is set for Wednesday, Oct. 6, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Redwood City Council Chambers, 1017 Middlefield Road in Redwood City.

Opponents meet on Proposition 23

Local environmental activists are holding a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, about Proposition 23, a statewide initiative that would freeze reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in California until unemployment drops to 2007 levels — essentially reversing the state's global warming statute. Prop. 23 will appear on the ballot for the Nov. 2 elections.

Former Menlo Park mayor Gail Slocum, who works for PG&E as an attorney on energy policy, said in a press release the initiative undermines the state's ability to attract investors in clean technology.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the community room at the Menlo Park Library on Alma Street.

Go to for the No on 23 website.


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