Almanac

News - October 16, 2013

Briefs: 'State of Menlo Park' talk; city signs sister city deal

Menlo Park Mayor Peter Ohtaki will present the annual State of the City speech on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 5:30 p.m. at the Stanford Park Hotel, located at 100 El Camino Real in Menlo Park.

During the event, the city will sign a "sister city" agreement with Galway, Ireland, with Galway's mayor, Padraig Conneely, in attendance.

Members of the Menlo Park Historical Association have been working for months to bring the two cities together. What's the connection? In Galway sits a neighborhood called Menlo Park, the former home of Dennis Oliver, who later came to the United States during the 1800s and with his brother-in-law, D.C. McGlynn, erected an arched gate in what became known as Menlo Park, California.

'Oughta Be a Law"

Menlo Park resident Dan Hilberman earned a certificate of recognition from State Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, for suggesting a law that allows those who vote by mail to verify that their ballot was counted. Sen. Hill presented the certificate to Mr. Hilberman at Café Zoe on Friday, Oct. 11.

The new law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014, requires county election offices to establish a system allowing vote-by-mail voters to know whether their ballot was counted, or why it wasn't.

Counties may choose whether to notify voters by phone, online or in person. Sen. Hill noted that the 2012 general election in California was the first time a majority of California voters cast mail-in ballots.

Kepler's meeting

To celebrate the end of its first year as a restructured business, Kepler's Books and Magazines will hold a "state of the bookstore" community meeting on Monday, Oct. 21. The bookstore intends to make this an annual event, according to representatives. Snacks will be provided.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the bookstore, located at 1010 El Camino Real.

Bike harassment

Menlo Park is considering whether to implement a bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance at the request of the Bicycle Commission, which was scheduled to discuss the matter at its Oct. 14 meeting.

A bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance, similar to laws passed in Los Angeles and Sunnyvale, would make it illegal for a motorist to intentionally force or attempt to force a bicyclist off the road with the intent to injure or distract the cyclist, according to Menlo Park Transportation Manager Jesse Quirion.

The ordinance wouldn't preempt criminal charges, but could make it easier for a cyclist to file a civil lawsuit against a motor vehicle driver, he said.

Track Caltrain

Caltrain has launched a website as well as a smartphone application to let people track train departures in real time, thanks to GPS units mounted on the trains and the operating control system.

A box on the right side of the home page, caltrain.com, allows users to select a station and see departure times for the next three trains in both directions. Departure times for individual stations are displayed on the corresponding station page.

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