Editorials

2019

Your friend, not enemy

Unprecedented attacks on the media hit the very protectors of our democracy
In an effort to focus public attention on the dangers of President Donald Trump's attacks, we join in an unprecedented coordinated expression of concern by newspapers across the country.

August 16, 2018 | 20 comments
Unfortunate choices in sheriff's race

Those who remember and continue to be troubled by appointed Sheriff Carlos Bolanos' 2007 escapade in Las Vegas, when he and then-sheriff Greg Munks were detained at an illegal brothel, face a dilemma in the race for sheriff this election season.

May 25, 2018 | 63 comments
Support Measure R to finish campus projects

Las Lomitas school district officials are asking voters to support Measure R, a $70 million bond measure on the June ballot that would allow the district to finish the job, started in 2014, of repairing and renovating existing buildings, some of which have leaking roofs and outdated electrical and security systems.

May 21, 2018 | 8 comments
Fire board should broaden representation with appointment

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District board will soon appoint a new board member to fill a vacant seat. There are seven qualified applicants for the post, but one outstanding candidate would enhance the board's ability to understand the needs of an underrepresented area of the district.

October 4, 2017 | 9 comments
Threatened legal action is opportunity for better representation

The city of Menlo Park is the latest local jurisdiction to be threatened with litigation over its at-large election of governing-body members. And while threatened legal action may not create the best environment for making public policy, the City Council should consider this an opportunity.

September 6, 2017 | 5 comments
Menlo Park library decision should be revisited

The city is poised to embark on a major capital project that will require the spending of more than $20 million in public funds without having first identified that project as a priority and, equally troubling, without a meaningful public discussion.

August 16, 2017 | 21 comments
Time for city to create a policy on accepting gifts

Who should decide the timing of public-facilities development and the spending schedule for city funds in Menlo Park? The recent offer of a local philanthropist to contribute at least $25 million toward the rebuilding of the city's main library muddies the answer to that seemingly simple question.

August 1, 2017 | 10 comments
Protecting our community in the era of Trump

Last week the Menlo Park City Council gave preliminary approval to two ordinances that might be seen as "Resist Trump" measures. They may appear to be symbolic gestures now, but given White House rhetoric and recklessness, they may become needed strategies in the future.

May 30, 2017 | 7 comments
Vote yes on Atherton's Measure A to fund new civic center

Atherton's Measure A asks voters whether the town should supplement private donations and existing dedicated funds with available non-dedicated money from the general fund to build a new complex to replace the decrepit set of buildings and trailers that now serve as the Town Center.

May 23, 2017 | 4 comments
School district's lapse undermines public trust

The Woodside Elementary School District is doing the right thing this week by setting on a more transparent path in filling a board vacancy after earlier stumbling on a course of action that raised many questions about the openness of the process.

May 17, 2017 | No comments yet
Scope of Menlo Park library study far too narrow

Given the popularity of the city's library branch in Belle Haven, and the significant limitations of that branch with regard to space and hours that it's open to the public, why did the city focus only on the needs of the main library's users when considering the future of library services in Menlo Park?

April 7, 2017 | 7 comments
Pig chase is cruel, and sends wrong message to kids

Does an event that allows children to chase down frantically fleeing baby pigs to capture one for a ribbon constitute animal abuse? An equally important question: Do the values imparted to children who participate in such an event reflect the values we want our children to embrace as they find their way in the world?

March 15, 2017 | No comments yet
Woodside council ducks ethics issue, despite code's mandate

The town of Woodside says it spent nearly $27,500 on an ethics-related investigation of one of its longtime volunteers, an expenditure that Woodside residents might hope would result in something beneficial. What they got instead are troublesome unanswered questions, not the least of which is whether the investigation was warranted or merely a witch hunt.

February 22, 2017 | 3 comments
Woodside council needs to follow the ethics code, conclude investigation process

After the town of Woodside spent nearly $27,500 on an ethics-related investigation of one of its longtime volunteers, the Town Council at its meeting Tuesday (Feb. 14) may drop the matter cold without issuing a ruling on whether the volunteer actually violated the town's ethics code. The town's mayor is recommending that the matter be closed and "no further action be taken on this complaint" -- which is ironic, given that closing the case now may itself be a violation of the ethics code.

February 13, 2017 | 2 comments
Yes on Measure X to keep schools thriving

The Menlo Park City School District community is appealing to voters once again to support a parcel tax, 10 months after two tax measures went down in defeat.

February 7, 2017 | 68 comments
Compassion needed as the vulnerable face uncertainty

It's no coincidence that the incidence of harassment and crimes targeting vulnerable populations nationwide has soared over the last year with the rise of a presidential candidate who made a toxic practice of ridiculing and vilifying "the other" -- Mexicans and Muslims, for example, and the disabled.

December 28, 2016 | 20 comments
Menlo Park general plan update promising, but not ready for adoption

The Menlo Park City Council is poised to approve zoning changes to the portion of the general plan governing the city's M-2 area, east of U.S. 101, when it meets on Nov. 29. If the update is approved, the action will conclude a two-year process that included dozens of community meetings and deliberation by city advisory committees and commissions, as well as the council. But a bit more time is needed to improve the 30-year plan.

November 28, 2016 | 5 comments
County's Measure K is too vague; vote 'no'

Measure to extend half-cent sales tax would not go into effect for seven years
Over the last several years, an increasing number of San Mateo County residents have come to see the light regarding the pressing need for more affordable housing.

October 20, 2016 | 1 comment
Editorial endorsement: Mueller, Taylor for Menlo Park City Council

Menlo Park voters may have a tough time deciding on which two of the three candidates running for seats on the City Council to cast their ballots for this November, considering the impressive ballot roster.

October 11, 2016 | 8 comments
Editorial endorsement: Ackerman and Lucas for Menlo Park City School District board

The Almanac endorses David Ackerman and Caroline Lucas for the two open spots on the Menlo Park City School District board. We believe they can offer valuable new perspectives to the district's decision-making team.

October 4, 2016 | 80 comments
Caltrans must act swiftly on crosswalk safety

Trying to cross El Camino Real at an uncontrolled intersection in Atherton can carry great risk, as evidenced in the number of deaths and injuries occurring in crosswalks at these intersections in recent years. Although measures are being put into place at several of these locations, action has been far too slow, and not all of the dangerous crossings are being upgraded.

August 10, 2016 | No comments yet
A more regional vision needed for Facebook expansion

Menlo Park will reap a package of community benefits valued at over $15 million as Facebook expands its campus and adds some 6,500 employees. What will neighboring cities gain, besides traffic gridlock and more burdensome housing woes? It's time to think regionally about massive development projects on the Peninsula.

July 27, 2016 | 15 comments
Supervisors' bad decision to rush appointment of sheriff

"The public was completely removed from this process," Supervisor Dave Pine says, referring to the rushed and unexpected appointment of Carlos Bolanos to the office of San Mateo County sheriff.

July 18, 2016 | 64 comments
Housing crisis requires bold steps to resolve

Solving the housing crisis that plagues the Bay Area will demand Herculean resolve and enterprise if cities continue to welcome job-generating high-tech companies to set up shop. San Mateo County is taking a number of steps in the right direction, and is considering a ballot measure that could result in a giant step forward.

July 14, 2016 | 3 comments
Vote 'yes' on Measure AA, Bay restoration parcel tax

The nine-county, $12-per-parcel tax to fund the restoration of San Francisco Bay shorelines to functioning tidal marshes would deliver a bang for the buck.

May 26, 2016 | 22 comments
Vicki Veenker for District 24 Assembly seat

There are three standouts in the field of eight candidates for the state Assembly. We think Vicki Veenker would bring a fresh and important perspective to Sacramento.

May 16, 2016 | 11 comments
Careless with facts, but not talking about it

In March, the Woodside Elementary School District board endorsed a "polling and communication strategy" for an effort to renew the district's parcel tax. That plan included the mailing of a "public education" brochure to be sent out in March or April.

May 5, 2016 | 8 comments
A reluctant 'no' on school parcel tax measures

The Menlo Park City School District's parcel tax measures contain a fatal flaw: They have no sunset clause, and that's why we cannot support them.

April 12, 2016 | 77 comments
Electronic billboards on freeway? Kill this plan now

It's hard to know where to begin in trying to sort out the San Mateo County manager's ill-conceived plan to boost revenue by installing billboards -- some, if not all of them, electronic -- on county-owned land along Highway 101 and Interstate 280.

March 23, 2016 | 7 comments
Why is Caltrans still spraying toxics along roadside?

Opponents of roadside herbicide spraying in San Mateo County are watching closely as Caltrans reviews its weed-removal policies affecting the county's state highways, including Highway 84.

February 10, 2016 | 3 comments
A means to help neighbors in need

Almanac readers have for 22 years risen to the challenge of helping neighbors in need during the holiday season, and we trust that this year will be no exception. Our Holiday Fund supports 10 local nonprofits, with private donations doubled by three foundations.

November 25, 2015 | 6 comments
'Clean energy' program the right choice for local towns

All towns and cities in the county are being asked to participate in what Supervisor Dave Pine calls "the biggest single step to reduce greenhouse gases for decades to come" — a program making renewable energy available to all. We urge our local communities to sign on.

November 4, 2015 | 4 comments
A troubling trend in public employment contracts

The departure of the Portola Valley School District's superintendent spotlights a problem: the lack of openness and public disclosure about the nature of a top leader's exit, even when a large sum of taxpayer dollars is involved.

October 23, 2015 | 5 comments
Editorial endorsement: Woodside Elementary School District

Edwards and Johnson for school board
With challenger Joel Hornstein announcing he has suspended his campaign, district residents shouldn't be concerned that they are left without good choices. Incumbents Kevin Johnson and Silvia Edwards are two deeply committed board members asking voters for another term, and the Almanac endorses them.

October 14, 2015 | No comments yet
Editorial endorsement: Sequoia Union High School District

Du Bois, Martinez and Weiner for school board
With plans to build two new high schools in the works, the continuing roll-out of the Common Core curriculum, and the pressing need for solutions to the district's achievement gap, particularly evident at Menlo-Atherton High School, members of the Sequoia Union High School District board have important work ahead during the next four years.

October 14, 2015 | No comments yet
When silence isn't golden

Nick Pegueros last month left his post as Portola Valley town manager under a shadow. But thanks to a new provision inserted into his contract only months before, the public and potential future employers may never know the nature of that shadow -- an "involuntary resignation" that followed a series of closed-session meetings of the Town Council to evaluate his performance.

September 2, 2015 | 13 comments
Drivers, stay calm -- give plan a chance

The city's project to put traffic safety measures into place in the Ravenswood-Alma area, near the train tracks, is a welcome move, but it's only a trial. Constructive criticism and ideas for improvement are welcome. Road warriors' tantrums-on-wheels are not.

June 17, 2015 | 4 comments
Increase the pressure on water wasters

Many individual area residents and our local water agencies have made tremendous efforts to save water in the face of the drought that's parching the state. But more effort will be required as we enter our fourth year of dry weather with no relief in sight anytime soon.

April 7, 2015 | 6 comments
Kudos to watchdog and city, but herbicide spraying issue is unresolved

Janet Davis of the Stanford Weekend Acres neighborhood, known by many as a watchdog of public works and traffic-related services provided by the county and the city of Menlo Park in the Alpine Road area, deserves a round of applause for her relentlessness in helping to track down the truth of the March 17 herbicide spraying right next to San Francisquito Creek.

March 26, 2015 | 1 comment
New leadership needed at Filoli

Unanswered questions about controversial decisions affecting some 1,500 volunteers at the historic Filoli estate continue to keep the ground fertile for anger, confusion and pain among those volunteers. And sadly, Filoli's leaders continue to remain silent about their actions, which have led to a mass exodus of volunteers.

March 17, 2015 | 24 comments
What's behind the Filoli fiasco?

Administrators of the historic Filoli estate have a lot to answer for with their strangely inept handling of introducing a first-ever volunteer agreement -- an ill-advised, five-item document that has sparked a rebellion among the people who donate their time and energy to keeping the venerable institution open.

February 25, 2015 | 8 comments
When 'choice' undermines public health

There's little to celebrate about the measles outbreak now hitting the nation. But one positive outcome is the level of attention being given to laws that allow parents to opt out of immunizing their children.

February 12, 2015 | 22 comments
Progress made on Menlo Park police camera policy; more needed

Rule on when officers can turn off cameras must include more specific criteria
Menlo Park Police Department and city officials, with the help of an advisory committee of residents, are stepping up to the challenge inherent in the department's decision to require police officers to wear body cameras, working to create a responsible and effective protocol for the cameras' use.

February 4, 2015 | No comments yet
$156K raised for Almanac Holiday Fund

Almanac readers reached deeper into their pockets this holiday season to help their less-fortunate neighbors with food, housing assistance, job-skills training and other needs through the Almanac's Holiday Fund.

January 27, 2015 | No comments yet
School district was right to cancel meeting

The Menlo Park City School District board's scheduled closed-session meeting late last week to discuss "existing litigation" would have violated the Brown Act, according to a legal expert on the Act. The district ended up canceling the meeting, and deserves credit for doing so.

January 13, 2015 | 3 comments
Fatal shooting calls for camera policy refinement

Body-worn cameras for police work has escaped much of the criticism directed toward other technological surveillance tools. But the policy for using the cameras must be carefully crafted and followed, as the recent fatal shooting in Menlo Park has demonstrated.

December 4, 2014 | 15 comments
Menlo Park consultant's election-year work needs hard look

Menlo Park's divisive Measure M initiative may have been settled at the ballot box earlier this month but, regrettably, newly surfaced facts about the city's dealings with a consultant hired to "inform and educate" the community on the issues that led to the ballot initiative continue fanning flames that might otherwise be dying into embers by now.

November 11, 2014 | 12 comments
Money and politics in Menlo Park

The unseemly role of money in politics at the state and national levels has a local counterpart these days. Rather sizable amounts are being spent for and against Menlo Park's Measure M, which aims to reduce the scale of office complexes allowed on El Camino Real.

October 29, 2014 | 30 comments
Almanac No on Measure M

When they vote on Measure M this fall, Menlo Park residents will be participating in what may be the most consequential ballot-box decision ever made regarding the future character of their community. One of the most complicated as well.

October 16, 2014 | 188 comments
Making streets safe for kids walking to school

A mother's anger and the tempest that ensued over a recent incident involving a Menlo Park police officer's decision to help a young child get home after school has resulted in a welcome dialogue about children's safety on our streets.

September 24, 2014 | 22 comments
Bills would help curb growing crisis over antibiotics

Good news hails from Sacramento in the form of two bills successfully sponsored by Sen. Jerry Hill. Both are important first steps in reining in the overuse of antibiotics in an effort to control the growing health crisis that results from that excess.

August 21, 2014 | 2 comments
More must be done for safety on El Camino

The death last week of 32-year-old pedestrian Shahriar Rahimzadeh, who was struck by a car and killed while crossing El Camino Real in Atherton at Almendral Avenue, near his home, has thrust the issue of pedestrian and bicyclist safety on that major thoroughfare onto center stage, once again.

July 29, 2014 | 24 comments
Get serious about conserving water

Town council members from both Portola Valley and Woodside at recent meetings expressed concern about the significant increase in water usage in the towns. Portola Valley appears to be more serious than its neighbor about addressing the troubling development.

July 18, 2014 | 6 comments
Good move by Woodside commission on construction violations

Every so often city council members and planning commissioners are put in the uncomfortable position of trying to determine whether residents who have violated the terms of their building permits are being sincere when they say: "Oops. I made a mistake. I'm sorry -- have mercy." The Woodside Planning Commission was in just that situation on July 2, and acted wisely.

July 9, 2014 | 1 comment
Solid year for Almanac's Holiday Fund

During a year when the economy was lukewarm at best, Almanac readers dug deep and contributed more than $150,000 to the Holiday Fund, which supports 10 of the area's nonprofit agencies.

February 7, 2014 | No comments yet
Senators try to close transitional kindergarten loophole

The bill is a long way from passage, but at least two influential state legislators, Sens. Jerry Hill and Darryl Steinberg, are committed to passing a measure that would require all school districts in the state to provide another full year of kindergarten, allowing 4-year-olds to attend.

January 30, 2014 | 3 comments
Gym teacher's firing still hurts

Despite a state ruling that there was no illegal behavior involved prior to the dismissal of Menlo Park gymnastics instructor Michelle Sutton, she may continue to press her case in a civil lawsuit.

January 19, 2014 | 1 comment
The food truck conundrum

Although we are sympathetic to the concerns of unfair competition raised by some Menlo Park restaurant owners, we do not think any of these establishments will be irreparably harmed if the city permits eight to 12 food trucks to set up shop for a few hours once a week in the Caltrain parking lot.

January 8, 2014 | 33 comments
Permanent solution needed for noisy planes

Surely there is a way for the Federal Aviation Administration to address the sea-change in noise impact caused by a small airline's eight flights per day over North Fair Oaks and Atherton into the San Carlos Airport.

December 19, 2013 | 81 comments
Editorial endorsement: Rick DeGolia for Atherton council

Besides deciding whether to renew the parcel tax Atherton residents will select one of three City Council candidates to replace Jerry Carlson, who resigned in July.

October 24, 2013 | No comments yet
Clear choices in fire board race

In this election in the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, five candidates are vying for three seats, including one being vacated by Stephen Nachtsheim after only one term on the board.

October 22, 2013 | 19 comments
Hands off open government laws

Residents of California, you nearly got screwed. The latest attempt by Sacramento to weaken the public's access to their government has been defeated, thanks to quick-acting open-government advocates who last week succeeded in getting lawmakers to kill a provision in a bill, soon to be signed into law, that would have made compliance with a key component of the California Public Records Act (CPRA) optional for local governments.

July 3, 2013 | 2 comments
Norm Colb leaves a rich legacy

The local education community has lost a major player with the departure this month of Norman Colb, who has retired from his post as Menlo School headmaster after 20 years.

June 23, 2013 | 2 comments
Gap year -- a Year of Living Adventurously

It's not always obvious when we as individuals arrive at a crossroad. Decisions that seem inconsequential at the time can lead to events and situations that can be life-changing. Some crossroads, however, are quite predictable and it is useful to consider the options when we're at one. Personal character could be at stake.

June 13, 2013 | 3 comments
Binding arbitration leaves public in dark

Menlo Park and at least 15 other jurisdictions in California rely on binding arbitration to resolve police disciplinary cases. The Almanac spent five months investigating the process. Among the findings: The arbitrator's decision can be legally and factually wrong, and it's still binding.

June 4, 2013 | 6 comments
City has bargaining chips on Stanford project

The protracted debate over the Stanford/Arrillaga application to build up to 450,000 square feet of offices, housing and retail space on eight acres at 300-500 El Camino Real, the gateway to Menlo Park's downtown, is well under way and now the City Council must decide its position.

April 23, 2013 | 12 comments
Tax would help Portola Valley schools

Officials at the two-school Portola Valley district have their hopes riding on a successful outcome of the Measure O election. Note: Ballots must be received by the Elections Office no later than 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 7. This is a mail-only election.

May 1, 2013 | 7 comments
City needs to release results of probe

Menlo Park's stance that the results of an investigation into the firing of instructor Michelle Sutton and allegations of a toxic workplace environment within the gymnastics program are not public record is yet another in a series of missteps by the city that have characterized this messy situation from the start.

April 11, 2013 | 7 comments
Holiday Fund shines for 20th year

Donors give $162,537 to 10 community organizations
As they have for the last 20 years, residents of the Almanac's circulation area opened their hearts and their bank accounts and generously contributed to the Holiday Fund. This year's total is $162,537.

February 14, 2013 | 1 comment
Why the secrecy in Menlo Park?

Recent requests by the Almanac for information about police department matters have produced some troubling responses from the city of Menlo Park.

January 30, 2013 | 16 comments
Don't undermine the Brown Act

California journalists and advocates of open government are rightfully concerned over the Legislature's suspension of an important provision of the Brown Act, the state's open meeting law.

August 6, 2012 | 4 comments
A good year for Holiday Fund

Perhaps reflecting Silicon Valley's economic resurgence, the Almanac's Holiday Fund posted a sharp increase this year, welcome news for the 10 nonprofit organizations that benefit from the gifts from readers and local foundations.

March 14, 2012 | No comments yet
The slow death of high-speed rail

Time to wind down this project
The bad economic news keeps piling up in front of the California High-Speed Rail project but will it be enough to bring Governor Brown, the state Legislature and even the federal government to their senses?

August 16, 2011 | 15 comments
Happy trails, thanks to Audrey Rust

Under Audrey Rust's leadership, the nonprofit land trust worked with donors, public agencies and private landowners to save 53,000 acres of open space.

July 6, 2011 | No comments yet
A good year for Holiday Fund

Total contributions to the Almanac's Holiday Fund were $138,678 this year, up slightly from 2009 and a solid show of support from Almanac readers, despite the recession that continues to grip the region.

February 25, 2011 | No comments yet

2018

Your friend, not enemy

Unprecedented attacks on the media hit the very protectors of our democracy
In an effort to focus public attention on the dangers of President Donald Trump's attacks, we join in an unprecedented coordinated expression of concern by newspapers across the country.

August 16, 2018 | 20 comments
Unfortunate choices in sheriff's race

Those who remember and continue to be troubled by appointed Sheriff Carlos Bolanos' 2007 escapade in Las Vegas, when he and then-sheriff Greg Munks were detained at an illegal brothel, face a dilemma in the race for sheriff this election season.

May 25, 2018 | 63 comments
Support Measure R to finish campus projects

Las Lomitas school district officials are asking voters to support Measure R, a $70 million bond measure on the June ballot that would allow the district to finish the job, started in 2014, of repairing and renovating existing buildings, some of which have leaking roofs and outdated electrical and security systems.

May 21, 2018 | 8 comments
Fire board should broaden representation with appointment

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District board will soon appoint a new board member to fill a vacant seat. There are seven qualified applicants for the post, but one outstanding candidate would enhance the board's ability to understand the needs of an underrepresented area of the district.

October 4, 2017 | 9 comments
Threatened legal action is opportunity for better representation

The city of Menlo Park is the latest local jurisdiction to be threatened with litigation over its at-large election of governing-body members. And while threatened legal action may not create the best environment for making public policy, the City Council should consider this an opportunity.

September 6, 2017 | 5 comments
Menlo Park library decision should be revisited

The city is poised to embark on a major capital project that will require the spending of more than $20 million in public funds without having first identified that project as a priority and, equally troubling, without a meaningful public discussion.

August 16, 2017 | 21 comments
Time for city to create a policy on accepting gifts

Who should decide the timing of public-facilities development and the spending schedule for city funds in Menlo Park? The recent offer of a local philanthropist to contribute at least $25 million toward the rebuilding of the city's main library muddies the answer to that seemingly simple question.

August 1, 2017 | 10 comments
Protecting our community in the era of Trump

Last week the Menlo Park City Council gave preliminary approval to two ordinances that might be seen as "Resist Trump" measures. They may appear to be symbolic gestures now, but given White House rhetoric and recklessness, they may become needed strategies in the future.

May 30, 2017 | 7 comments
Vote yes on Atherton's Measure A to fund new civic center

Atherton's Measure A asks voters whether the town should supplement private donations and existing dedicated funds with available non-dedicated money from the general fund to build a new complex to replace the decrepit set of buildings and trailers that now serve as the Town Center.

May 23, 2017 | 4 comments
School district's lapse undermines public trust

The Woodside Elementary School District is doing the right thing this week by setting on a more transparent path in filling a board vacancy after earlier stumbling on a course of action that raised many questions about the openness of the process.

May 17, 2017 | No comments yet
Scope of Menlo Park library study far too narrow

Given the popularity of the city's library branch in Belle Haven, and the significant limitations of that branch with regard to space and hours that it's open to the public, why did the city focus only on the needs of the main library's users when considering the future of library services in Menlo Park?

April 7, 2017 | 7 comments
Pig chase is cruel, and sends wrong message to kids

Does an event that allows children to chase down frantically fleeing baby pigs to capture one for a ribbon constitute animal abuse? An equally important question: Do the values imparted to children who participate in such an event reflect the values we want our children to embrace as they find their way in the world?

March 15, 2017 | No comments yet
Woodside council ducks ethics issue, despite code's mandate

The town of Woodside says it spent nearly $27,500 on an ethics-related investigation of one of its longtime volunteers, an expenditure that Woodside residents might hope would result in something beneficial. What they got instead are troublesome unanswered questions, not the least of which is whether the investigation was warranted or merely a witch hunt.

February 22, 2017 | 3 comments
Woodside council needs to follow the ethics code, conclude investigation process

After the town of Woodside spent nearly $27,500 on an ethics-related investigation of one of its longtime volunteers, the Town Council at its meeting Tuesday (Feb. 14) may drop the matter cold without issuing a ruling on whether the volunteer actually violated the town's ethics code. The town's mayor is recommending that the matter be closed and "no further action be taken on this complaint" -- which is ironic, given that closing the case now may itself be a violation of the ethics code.

February 13, 2017 | 2 comments
Yes on Measure X to keep schools thriving

The Menlo Park City School District community is appealing to voters once again to support a parcel tax, 10 months after two tax measures went down in defeat.

February 7, 2017 | 68 comments
Compassion needed as the vulnerable face uncertainty

It's no coincidence that the incidence of harassment and crimes targeting vulnerable populations nationwide has soared over the last year with the rise of a presidential candidate who made a toxic practice of ridiculing and vilifying "the other" -- Mexicans and Muslims, for example, and the disabled.

December 28, 2016 | 20 comments
Menlo Park general plan update promising, but not ready for adoption

The Menlo Park City Council is poised to approve zoning changes to the portion of the general plan governing the city's M-2 area, east of U.S. 101, when it meets on Nov. 29. If the update is approved, the action will conclude a two-year process that included dozens of community meetings and deliberation by city advisory committees and commissions, as well as the council. But a bit more time is needed to improve the 30-year plan.

November 28, 2016 | 5 comments
County's Measure K is too vague; vote 'no'

Measure to extend half-cent sales tax would not go into effect for seven years
Over the last several years, an increasing number of San Mateo County residents have come to see the light regarding the pressing need for more affordable housing.

October 20, 2016 | 1 comment
Editorial endorsement: Mueller, Taylor for Menlo Park City Council

Menlo Park voters may have a tough time deciding on which two of the three candidates running for seats on the City Council to cast their ballots for this November, considering the impressive ballot roster.

October 11, 2016 | 8 comments
Editorial endorsement: Ackerman and Lucas for Menlo Park City School District board

The Almanac endorses David Ackerman and Caroline Lucas for the two open spots on the Menlo Park City School District board. We believe they can offer valuable new perspectives to the district's decision-making team.

October 4, 2016 | 80 comments
Caltrans must act swiftly on crosswalk safety

Trying to cross El Camino Real at an uncontrolled intersection in Atherton can carry great risk, as evidenced in the number of deaths and injuries occurring in crosswalks at these intersections in recent years. Although measures are being put into place at several of these locations, action has been far too slow, and not all of the dangerous crossings are being upgraded.

August 10, 2016 | No comments yet
A more regional vision needed for Facebook expansion

Menlo Park will reap a package of community benefits valued at over $15 million as Facebook expands its campus and adds some 6,500 employees. What will neighboring cities gain, besides traffic gridlock and more burdensome housing woes? It's time to think regionally about massive development projects on the Peninsula.

July 27, 2016 | 15 comments
Supervisors' bad decision to rush appointment of sheriff

"The public was completely removed from this process," Supervisor Dave Pine says, referring to the rushed and unexpected appointment of Carlos Bolanos to the office of San Mateo County sheriff.

July 18, 2016 | 64 comments
Housing crisis requires bold steps to resolve

Solving the housing crisis that plagues the Bay Area will demand Herculean resolve and enterprise if cities continue to welcome job-generating high-tech companies to set up shop. San Mateo County is taking a number of steps in the right direction, and is considering a ballot measure that could result in a giant step forward.

July 14, 2016 | 3 comments
Vote 'yes' on Measure AA, Bay restoration parcel tax

The nine-county, $12-per-parcel tax to fund the restoration of San Francisco Bay shorelines to functioning tidal marshes would deliver a bang for the buck.

May 26, 2016 | 22 comments
Vicki Veenker for District 24 Assembly seat

There are three standouts in the field of eight candidates for the state Assembly. We think Vicki Veenker would bring a fresh and important perspective to Sacramento.

May 16, 2016 | 11 comments
Careless with facts, but not talking about it

In March, the Woodside Elementary School District board endorsed a "polling and communication strategy" for an effort to renew the district's parcel tax. That plan included the mailing of a "public education" brochure to be sent out in March or April.

May 5, 2016 | 8 comments
A reluctant 'no' on school parcel tax measures

The Menlo Park City School District's parcel tax measures contain a fatal flaw: They have no sunset clause, and that's why we cannot support them.

April 12, 2016 | 77 comments
Electronic billboards on freeway? Kill this plan now

It's hard to know where to begin in trying to sort out the San Mateo County manager's ill-conceived plan to boost revenue by installing billboards -- some, if not all of them, electronic -- on county-owned land along Highway 101 and Interstate 280.

March 23, 2016 | 7 comments
Why is Caltrans still spraying toxics along roadside?

Opponents of roadside herbicide spraying in San Mateo County are watching closely as Caltrans reviews its weed-removal policies affecting the county's state highways, including Highway 84.

February 10, 2016 | 3 comments
A means to help neighbors in need

Almanac readers have for 22 years risen to the challenge of helping neighbors in need during the holiday season, and we trust that this year will be no exception. Our Holiday Fund supports 10 local nonprofits, with private donations doubled by three foundations.

November 25, 2015 | 6 comments
'Clean energy' program the right choice for local towns

All towns and cities in the county are being asked to participate in what Supervisor Dave Pine calls "the biggest single step to reduce greenhouse gases for decades to come" — a program making renewable energy available to all. We urge our local communities to sign on.

November 4, 2015 | 4 comments
A troubling trend in public employment contracts

The departure of the Portola Valley School District's superintendent spotlights a problem: the lack of openness and public disclosure about the nature of a top leader's exit, even when a large sum of taxpayer dollars is involved.

October 23, 2015 | 5 comments
Editorial endorsement: Woodside Elementary School District

Edwards and Johnson for school board
With challenger Joel Hornstein announcing he has suspended his campaign, district residents shouldn't be concerned that they are left without good choices. Incumbents Kevin Johnson and Silvia Edwards are two deeply committed board members asking voters for another term, and the Almanac endorses them.

October 14, 2015 | No comments yet
Editorial endorsement: Sequoia Union High School District

Du Bois, Martinez and Weiner for school board
With plans to build two new high schools in the works, the continuing roll-out of the Common Core curriculum, and the pressing need for solutions to the district's achievement gap, particularly evident at Menlo-Atherton High School, members of the Sequoia Union High School District board have important work ahead during the next four years.

October 14, 2015 | No comments yet
When silence isn't golden

Nick Pegueros last month left his post as Portola Valley town manager under a shadow. But thanks to a new provision inserted into his contract only months before, the public and potential future employers may never know the nature of that shadow -- an "involuntary resignation" that followed a series of closed-session meetings of the Town Council to evaluate his performance.

September 2, 2015 | 13 comments
Drivers, stay calm -- give plan a chance

The city's project to put traffic safety measures into place in the Ravenswood-Alma area, near the train tracks, is a welcome move, but it's only a trial. Constructive criticism and ideas for improvement are welcome. Road warriors' tantrums-on-wheels are not.

June 17, 2015 | 4 comments
Increase the pressure on water wasters

Many individual area residents and our local water agencies have made tremendous efforts to save water in the face of the drought that's parching the state. But more effort will be required as we enter our fourth year of dry weather with no relief in sight anytime soon.

April 7, 2015 | 6 comments
Kudos to watchdog and city, but herbicide spraying issue is unresolved

Janet Davis of the Stanford Weekend Acres neighborhood, known by many as a watchdog of public works and traffic-related services provided by the county and the city of Menlo Park in the Alpine Road area, deserves a round of applause for her relentlessness in helping to track down the truth of the March 17 herbicide spraying right next to San Francisquito Creek.

March 26, 2015 | 1 comment
New leadership needed at Filoli

Unanswered questions about controversial decisions affecting some 1,500 volunteers at the historic Filoli estate continue to keep the ground fertile for anger, confusion and pain among those volunteers. And sadly, Filoli's leaders continue to remain silent about their actions, which have led to a mass exodus of volunteers.

March 17, 2015 | 24 comments
What's behind the Filoli fiasco?

Administrators of the historic Filoli estate have a lot to answer for with their strangely inept handling of introducing a first-ever volunteer agreement -- an ill-advised, five-item document that has sparked a rebellion among the people who donate their time and energy to keeping the venerable institution open.

February 25, 2015 | 8 comments
When 'choice' undermines public health

There's little to celebrate about the measles outbreak now hitting the nation. But one positive outcome is the level of attention being given to laws that allow parents to opt out of immunizing their children.

February 12, 2015 | 22 comments
Progress made on Menlo Park police camera policy; more needed

Rule on when officers can turn off cameras must include more specific criteria
Menlo Park Police Department and city officials, with the help of an advisory committee of residents, are stepping up to the challenge inherent in the department's decision to require police officers to wear body cameras, working to create a responsible and effective protocol for the cameras' use.

February 4, 2015 | No comments yet
$156K raised for Almanac Holiday Fund

Almanac readers reached deeper into their pockets this holiday season to help their less-fortunate neighbors with food, housing assistance, job-skills training and other needs through the Almanac's Holiday Fund.

January 27, 2015 | No comments yet
School district was right to cancel meeting

The Menlo Park City School District board's scheduled closed-session meeting late last week to discuss "existing litigation" would have violated the Brown Act, according to a legal expert on the Act. The district ended up canceling the meeting, and deserves credit for doing so.

January 13, 2015 | 3 comments
Fatal shooting calls for camera policy refinement

Body-worn cameras for police work has escaped much of the criticism directed toward other technological surveillance tools. But the policy for using the cameras must be carefully crafted and followed, as the recent fatal shooting in Menlo Park has demonstrated.

December 4, 2014 | 15 comments
Menlo Park consultant's election-year work needs hard look

Menlo Park's divisive Measure M initiative may have been settled at the ballot box earlier this month but, regrettably, newly surfaced facts about the city's dealings with a consultant hired to "inform and educate" the community on the issues that led to the ballot initiative continue fanning flames that might otherwise be dying into embers by now.

November 11, 2014 | 12 comments
Money and politics in Menlo Park

The unseemly role of money in politics at the state and national levels has a local counterpart these days. Rather sizable amounts are being spent for and against Menlo Park's Measure M, which aims to reduce the scale of office complexes allowed on El Camino Real.

October 29, 2014 | 30 comments
Almanac No on Measure M

When they vote on Measure M this fall, Menlo Park residents will be participating in what may be the most consequential ballot-box decision ever made regarding the future character of their community. One of the most complicated as well.

October 16, 2014 | 188 comments
Making streets safe for kids walking to school

A mother's anger and the tempest that ensued over a recent incident involving a Menlo Park police officer's decision to help a young child get home after school has resulted in a welcome dialogue about children's safety on our streets.

September 24, 2014 | 22 comments
Bills would help curb growing crisis over antibiotics

Good news hails from Sacramento in the form of two bills successfully sponsored by Sen. Jerry Hill. Both are important first steps in reining in the overuse of antibiotics in an effort to control the growing health crisis that results from that excess.

August 21, 2014 | 2 comments
More must be done for safety on El Camino

The death last week of 32-year-old pedestrian Shahriar Rahimzadeh, who was struck by a car and killed while crossing El Camino Real in Atherton at Almendral Avenue, near his home, has thrust the issue of pedestrian and bicyclist safety on that major thoroughfare onto center stage, once again.

July 29, 2014 | 24 comments
Get serious about conserving water

Town council members from both Portola Valley and Woodside at recent meetings expressed concern about the significant increase in water usage in the towns. Portola Valley appears to be more serious than its neighbor about addressing the troubling development.

July 18, 2014 | 6 comments
Good move by Woodside commission on construction violations

Every so often city council members and planning commissioners are put in the uncomfortable position of trying to determine whether residents who have violated the terms of their building permits are being sincere when they say: "Oops. I made a mistake. I'm sorry -- have mercy." The Woodside Planning Commission was in just that situation on July 2, and acted wisely.

July 9, 2014 | 1 comment
Solid year for Almanac's Holiday Fund

During a year when the economy was lukewarm at best, Almanac readers dug deep and contributed more than $150,000 to the Holiday Fund, which supports 10 of the area's nonprofit agencies.

February 7, 2014 | No comments yet
Senators try to close transitional kindergarten loophole

The bill is a long way from passage, but at least two influential state legislators, Sens. Jerry Hill and Darryl Steinberg, are committed to passing a measure that would require all school districts in the state to provide another full year of kindergarten, allowing 4-year-olds to attend.

January 30, 2014 | 3 comments
Gym teacher's firing still hurts

Despite a state ruling that there was no illegal behavior involved prior to the dismissal of Menlo Park gymnastics instructor Michelle Sutton, she may continue to press her case in a civil lawsuit.

January 19, 2014 | 1 comment
The food truck conundrum

Although we are sympathetic to the concerns of unfair competition raised by some Menlo Park restaurant owners, we do not think any of these establishments will be irreparably harmed if the city permits eight to 12 food trucks to set up shop for a few hours once a week in the Caltrain parking lot.

January 8, 2014 | 33 comments
Permanent solution needed for noisy planes

Surely there is a way for the Federal Aviation Administration to address the sea-change in noise impact caused by a small airline's eight flights per day over North Fair Oaks and Atherton into the San Carlos Airport.

December 19, 2013 | 81 comments
Editorial endorsement: Rick DeGolia for Atherton council

Besides deciding whether to renew the parcel tax Atherton residents will select one of three City Council candidates to replace Jerry Carlson, who resigned in July.

October 24, 2013 | No comments yet
Clear choices in fire board race

In this election in the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, five candidates are vying for three seats, including one being vacated by Stephen Nachtsheim after only one term on the board.

October 22, 2013 | 19 comments
Hands off open government laws

Residents of California, you nearly got screwed. The latest attempt by Sacramento to weaken the public's access to their government has been defeated, thanks to quick-acting open-government advocates who last week succeeded in getting lawmakers to kill a provision in a bill, soon to be signed into law, that would have made compliance with a key component of the California Public Records Act (CPRA) optional for local governments.

July 3, 2013 | 2 comments
Norm Colb leaves a rich legacy

The local education community has lost a major player with the departure this month of Norman Colb, who has retired from his post as Menlo School headmaster after 20 years.

June 23, 2013 | 2 comments
Gap year -- a Year of Living Adventurously

It's not always obvious when we as individuals arrive at a crossroad. Decisions that seem inconsequential at the time can lead to events and situations that can be life-changing. Some crossroads, however, are quite predictable and it is useful to consider the options when we're at one. Personal character could be at stake.

June 13, 2013 | 3 comments
Binding arbitration leaves public in dark

Menlo Park and at least 15 other jurisdictions in California rely on binding arbitration to resolve police disciplinary cases. The Almanac spent five months investigating the process. Among the findings: The arbitrator's decision can be legally and factually wrong, and it's still binding.

June 4, 2013 | 6 comments
City has bargaining chips on Stanford project

The protracted debate over the Stanford/Arrillaga application to build up to 450,000 square feet of offices, housing and retail space on eight acres at 300-500 El Camino Real, the gateway to Menlo Park's downtown, is well under way and now the City Council must decide its position.

April 23, 2013 | 12 comments
Tax would help Portola Valley schools

Officials at the two-school Portola Valley district have their hopes riding on a successful outcome of the Measure O election. Note: Ballots must be received by the Elections Office no later than 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 7. This is a mail-only election.

May 1, 2013 | 7 comments
City needs to release results of probe

Menlo Park's stance that the results of an investigation into the firing of instructor Michelle Sutton and allegations of a toxic workplace environment within the gymnastics program are not public record is yet another in a series of missteps by the city that have characterized this messy situation from the start.

April 11, 2013 | 7 comments
Holiday Fund shines for 20th year

Donors give $162,537 to 10 community organizations
As they have for the last 20 years, residents of the Almanac's circulation area opened their hearts and their bank accounts and generously contributed to the Holiday Fund. This year's total is $162,537.

February 14, 2013 | 1 comment
Why the secrecy in Menlo Park?

Recent requests by the Almanac for information about police department matters have produced some troubling responses from the city of Menlo Park.

January 30, 2013 | 16 comments
Don't undermine the Brown Act

California journalists and advocates of open government are rightfully concerned over the Legislature's suspension of an important provision of the Brown Act, the state's open meeting law.

August 6, 2012 | 4 comments
A good year for Holiday Fund

Perhaps reflecting Silicon Valley's economic resurgence, the Almanac's Holiday Fund posted a sharp increase this year, welcome news for the 10 nonprofit organizations that benefit from the gifts from readers and local foundations.

March 14, 2012 | No comments yet
The slow death of high-speed rail

Time to wind down this project
The bad economic news keeps piling up in front of the California High-Speed Rail project but will it be enough to bring Governor Brown, the state Legislature and even the federal government to their senses?

August 16, 2011 | 15 comments
Happy trails, thanks to Audrey Rust

Under Audrey Rust's leadership, the nonprofit land trust worked with donors, public agencies and private landowners to save 53,000 acres of open space.

July 6, 2011 | No comments yet
A good year for Holiday Fund

Total contributions to the Almanac's Holiday Fund were $138,678 this year, up slightly from 2009 and a solid show of support from Almanac readers, despite the recession that continues to grip the region.

February 25, 2011 | No comments yet

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