The gallery allows people to upload their pictures, which will then be viewable by the public on www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Photos can be submitted in five categories: breaking news, community events, sports, travel and "just for fun." Captions will allow the photographers to elaborate on the context for the pictures.
Several of the submitted photos will be selected for display on the website's front page on a regular basis.
"The photo gallery is a prime example of our interest in encouraging citizen journalism," said Bill Johnson, CEO of Embarcadero Media, which operates Palo Alto Online and publishes the Palo Alto Weekly. "Every day numerous events take place in Palo Alto and neighboring cities, from nature walks and sporting events to impromptu get-togethers. Community members are there and often take terrific photos. We welcome these contributors to our website."
The photo gallery is available on the left-hand side of Palo Alto Online by scrolling down below Town Square.
The website this week also debuted an interactive tool that invites members of the public to choose how they would close the City of Palo Alto's projected $7.3 million budget gap in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
"Hard Choices," the budget tool, lists dozens of programs and services that Palo Alto City Manager James Keene has identified for possible elimination or reduction.
Among the 36 options are custodial maintenance of city buildings, a hazardous-materials specialist with the fire department, library hours, funding to nonprofit agencies, sidewalk repairs and the police department's traffic team.
Palo Alto Online users will be able to select the dollar amounts by which they would reduce each category.
Those who complete the interactive budget sheet will be able to see how others in the community voted. They can also discuss other ways to cut expenses or raise revenue on Town Square, Palo Alto Online's community discussion forum.
The budget tool will be posted on Palo Alto Online through the end of June. Currently, the City Council Finance Committee is in the process of recommending its budget cuts. The committee will issue its recommendations to the full council, which is scheduled to adopt the final budget at the end of June.