News - December 22, 2010

Briefs: Burglars at Lutticken's Deli clean out cash registers

Sometime during the dark, damp hours of Saturday night and Sunday morning, burglars broke into Lutticken's Deli and cleaned out two cash registers. Employee Jack Gergridge discovered both doors to the Menlo Park store at 3535 Alameda de las Pulgas were unlocked when he reported to work around 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19.

Lt. Ray Lunny of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department said the unknown suspects stole $1,000 to $1,500.

On Monday morning, owner Bob Lutticken changed the locks.

Christina Smolke named to commission

Christina Smolke, recently seen asking the Menlo Park City Council to spare a heritage redwood tree located on a neighbor's property at 240 University Drive, was appointed to the Environmental Quality Commission on Dec. 14.

The commission advises the city on requests for heritage tree removals, among other matters of environmental importance. Since the heritage tree policy went into effect two years ago, the city has approved 652 tree removals, and denied only 21, according to Rebecca Fotu, environmental programs manager.

Union to resume bargaining with MP

New Menlo Park council members were briefed on union negotiations at the Dec. 14 meeting just in the nick of time. The Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Local 521 plans to resume bargaining with the city in January, according to union spokesman Jerry Jimenez.

He declined to elaborate on specific points of negotiation, but said, "We're hoping to reach an amicable resolution."

When the last round of talks stalled, the council imposed new limitations on SEIU pension benefits, raising the retirement age for non-police city employees from 55 to 60, and decreasing benefits from a maximum of four-fifths of annual salary to three-fifths.

Eshoo CALM Act becomes law

Television viewers will be able to stop reaching for the mute button during commercial breaks, thanks to a new law. The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, requires advertisers to lower the volume of commercials to match regular programming.

President Barack Obama signed the bill on Wednesday, Dec. 15. Advertisers have one year to comply with the new law.

"While this small bill doesn't solve the many challenges facing our country, it is a commonsense solution for a national nuisance," Ms. Eshoo said in a statement issued after the President ratified the act.

Meetings cancelled

One hopes Menlo Park's gadflies have backup plans for their Tuesday nights, as the City Council has cancelled its Dec. 21, Dec. 28, and Jan. 4 meetings.

The council will not convene again until Jan. 11, 2011.


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