Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 21, 2008

Around Town

NO FUN FOR FASTERS? ... The popcorn and cotton-candy chow-down at Gunn High School's Carnival won't be shared by all students, student board member Andrew Tesler reported at the last school board meeting. Members of Gunn's Key Club are fasting against world hunger that day, he said with a sympathetic smile. The unfortunate coincidence — and much fun and celebration — will occur during Carnival at the school Friday, from 3 to 9 p.m. The party is open to the whole community, according to organizer and Gunn junior Alix Farhat.

DAVE'S COMING B-A-A-CK ... Dave Price, the frequently feisty newspaper publisher who founded and later sold the Palo Alto Daily News and sister papers, is about to re-enter the journalism field in the Midpeninsula. Price confirmed that he's planning something newspaperish, with longtime partner Jim Pavelich, but declined to say precisely what. He's been talking to former Daily News staffers and advertisers, and has hired longtime journalist Diana Diamond back as editor. She will be ending her monthly column-writing stint for the Weekly and leaving an assignment with the San Jose Business Journal. Price said the new publication will be called the Palo Alto Daily Post, not the "Peninsula Daily," as one report had it. He confirmed that name had been considered. "West Bay Warrior" was also considered — but not for long, he quipped. Publication is rumored for just after Memorial Day weekend. Price declined comment on a report that the MediaNews group, which inherited the Daily News Group when it acquired the former Knight-Ridder papers around the bay, offered to sell the group back to Price and Pavelich.

FOND MEMORY, BOND AMITY ... Some things haven't changed at Palo Alto schools since the 1930s, resident Kim Webster said last week. But other things have — such as the number of students. Webster recalled a day in 1936 when Palo Alto High School students crowded into the Haymarket Theatre to listen to the abdication of King Edward VIII of Great Britain. "You could never have those kinds of assemblies in that old theater today," she said. "It wouldn't hold half the students." To support enlarging and sprucing up schools, Webster and her husband, Sam, became the 1,000th and 1,001st endorsers of the proposed bond Measure A last week, according to the pro-bond measure group. The June 3 ballot measure would continue the current $44.50 property tax per $100,000 assessed valuation to raise $378 million. Of that, at least $8 million is budgeted for theater improvements at Paly, according to Co-chief Business Official Bob Golton. Paly's Haymarket may even be torn down to make way for a new performing arts center, according to Superintendent Kevin Skelly.

DON'T VOTE FOR PROP. 98, CITY SAYS ... The June 2008 ballot contains competing propositions related to eminent domain — the governments' ability to take private property for public purposes. The Palo Alto City Council, acting on the advice of City Attorney Gary Baum, recently urged the public to support Proposition 99 and vote against Proposition 98. Supported by anti-tax groups, 98 expands the definition of "taking" property to include affecting its value. "Read literally, this provision could make unconstitutional virtually all regulation of land use," a memo from Baum and Senior Assistant City Attorney Cara Silver states. The measure would also invalidate rent-control laws and could jeopardize Palo Alto's Below Market Rate Housing program. It could also affect open space protection and public water projects, the attorneys wrote. Proposition 99 is sponsored by the League of California Cities and the League of Conservation Voters. It would prohibit a government agency from using eminent domain "to acquire an owner-occupied, single-family residence and resell it to a private person." It has several exceptions, which include efforts to protect public health and counter serious criminal activity.

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