Menlo Park briefs: Districting committee begins work | January 31, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

Almanac

News - January 31, 2018

Menlo Park briefs: Districting committee begins work

by Kate Bradshaw

Members of Menlo Park's new Districting Advisory Committee took the oath of office Jan. 22 and laid the ground rules for their upcoming work over the next month.

The committee is racing against the clock to fairly divide Menlo Park into electoral districts in response to a lawsuit threat the city received in August, alleging that its at-large voting system makes it harder for the city's minority residents to elect candidates they prefer. The city must switch to a district system by the next election or be at risk of a lawsuit.

Committee members are to come up with recommendations for district boundaries that would fairly divide the city's population into five or six electoral districts that will ultimately go before the City Council.

In addition to taking the oath of office on Jan. 22, committee members spoke with consultants from the National Demographics Corporation about their assignment and learned about the rules of transparency they will have to follow, including abiding by the Brown Act, disclosing their financial interests and informing acting City Clerk Clay Curtin about discussions on the topic they have outside of the group's meetings.

The committee's next meeting was scheduled for Monday, Jan. 29, after the Almanac went to press. Following that, the next is planned for Friday, Feb. 2, at 1 p.m., at City Hall, 701 Laurel St.

Others are tentatively scheduled for Monday, Feb. 5; Monday, Feb. 12; Thursday, Feb. 15; and Thursday, Feb. 22, time and location to be determined.

World's largest ambrotype

In an event that claims to offer the world's largest ambrotype on display, Menlo Park's Art Ventures Gallery will host a reception for acclaimed Los Angeles-based photographer Ian Ruhter on Thursday, Feb.1, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Mr. Ruhter uses a 19th century photographic process for his art, which involves taking glass or aluminum plates, bathing them in silver nitrates and pouring iodides, bromides and a solution called collodion to make them light sensitive. Then they are exposed and developed.

An ambrotype is a positive photograph on glass made through a variant of this process. To make the process work with large plates, he converted a delivery truck into a large mobile camera and traveling darkroom, which he has taken around the U.S., including to Yosemite, Tahoe, Vancouver, Monument Valley and New Mexico.

In a video he made explaining his work, he said, "I didn't just build a camera, I created a time machine."

The exhibit will run from Feb. 1 through March 14 at the gallery, located at 888 Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park.

Belle Haven library advisory committee appointments

The City Council has appointed three members of the public and two council members to be on the city's Belle Haven Neighborhood Library Advisory Committee.

The advisory committee is tasked with providing input to consultants and staff as the city launches its Belle Haven library needs assessment.

The members are: Michelle Boire, Tiffanie Lai and Veronica Gonzalez.

The same council members who sit on the city's library subcommittee, Rich Cline and Kirsten Keith, were appointed to the Belle Haven committee.

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