Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 14, 2010

News Digest

Former Mayor Gary Fazzino fights serious illness

Former Palo Alto Mayor and longtime City Council member Gary Fazzino has been tentatively diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a "highly treatable" form of bone-marrow leukemia.

"But I'm certainly not at death's door," he said in response to some reports in the community. And "it's not a final final diagnosis," he added.

Fazzino, who has served multiple terms on the council since he originally hosted KZSU broadcasts of council meetings in the 1970s, underwent back surgery last week for compression fractures of two vertebrae.

He said he is feeling significantly better following the surgery after suffering serious pain earlier.

There is "a strong possibility" the fractures may be related to the disease, he said.

Fazzino said that he also had pneumonia, apparently unrelated to the myeloma beyond inactivity and lowered resistance.

He said he is continuing with treatments for the myeloma, but has a positive outlook and knows people in town "who have lived 10, 20 or 30 years" with the condition.

He said he is getting strong support from his wife, Annette, and "we have the best patient care anywhere in this area."

He said he will continue working as vice president for government affairs at Applied Materials in Santa Clara, and expects to see their twins, Julia and Matthew, who turn 3 in June, graduate from college.

Settlement in landmark Channing House case

Sally Herriot, a 91-year-old Palo Alto woman who sued Channing House senior community for the right to remain in her private apartment rather than being moved to assisted living, has reached a settlement with the senior-care facility, according to court papers.

Under the settlement agreement, Herriot will move out of her independent-living unit no later than June 1.

She will pay all costs associated with moving and at her new living accommodations outside of the care facility.

The order was signed March 18 by U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose.

In August 2006, Channing House officials sought to move Herriot from her apartment to assisted living, where she would share a hospital-like room with another resident. Channing House officials said she could no longer care for herself without assistance.

But Herriot had hired private caregivers at no expense to Channing House so that she could remain in her comfortable apartment and did not want to be removed from her surroundings.

Palo Alto council members may take pay cuts

Seeking to send the community a sober message about Palo Alto's budget woes, a City Council committee agreed last week to trim the council's salaries by 10 percent.

The council's Finance Committee voted 3 to 1 last Thursday, with Chairman Greg Schmid dissenting, to take the cut — a move that's expected to save the city close to $7,000. Each council member earns a $7,200 salary, while the mayor and vice mayor earn more than $8,000.

While the council's self-imposed cut does little to close Palo Alto's projected deficit of $7.3 million in the fiscal year 2011, council members agreed that it's the right thing to do in a year when other labor groups are also being asked to make concessions. The full council will have to approve the committee's recommendation before it's officially enacted.

The council also voted to reduce its budget for "general expense," a category that funds its travel budget, special events funding and award ceremonies, from $47,455 to $30,000.

Palo Alto proposes fees for parks, programs

Palo Alto's art lovers, park visitors and young actors are likely to feel the sting of the city's budget deficit after a City Council committee recommended implementing a host of new fees in July to reduce the city's budget gap.

Despite protests from various community stakeholders, the Finance Committee agreed on Tuesday night to support a package of new revenues and "cost recovery" proposals aimed at reducing a projected $7.3 million budget gap in fiscal year 2011, beginning July 1.

These include a new $5 parking fee for visitors to Foothills Park, the baylands and the Pearson/Arastradero Preserve; higher priced tickets for certain Children's Theatre shows; a new entrance fee for exhibitions at the Palo Alto Arts Center; and higher fees for recreational classes.

— Gennady Sheyner

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