FIGHTING FOAM ... It's been more than a month since Palo Alto outlawed polystyrene containers from local food joints, but those resilient pollutants haven't completely disappeared from restaurant shelves yet. The city's environmental-compliance officials recently visited 224 restaurants and found that 186 were in compliance with the new ordinance while 38 had not yet made the switch to other containers. City Manager James Keene said the compliance rate of 83 percent was very close to the city's goal of 85 percent and called the results a "good start for the project."
WE WANT THE TRUTH! ... If California's new high-speed trains move as fast as the information coming out of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, riders may never get from San Francisco to Los Angeles. That, at least, is the sense in Palo Alto, where city officials are getting increasingly restless about the rail authority's failure to answer their questions about the proposed rail line, which would pass through the city along the Caltrain tracks. This week, Mayor Pat Burt sent the rail authority a six-page chart listing the city's recent requests for information and the status of responses (in most cases, "No response"). In his cover letter, Burt said the city has been "more than patient" but is "very disappointed that most of our critical questions remain unanswered." "We want to be collaborative," Burt wrote. "However, if we do not receive the responses necessary to help inform our community by the end of June, we will find it necessary to explore other means to ensure you provide us with this essential information."
LABOR OF LOVE ... Win or lose, 21st Assembly District candidate Josh Becker is a winner in his mother's eyes. Marilyn Becker flew to Palo Alto from Villanova, Penn., with her husband, Lewis, on Saturday and immediately took up precinct walking and telephone banking at the former "Silicon Valley for Obama" headquarters in south Palo Alto, she said. Her mom mojo seemed to be working: "A woman said 'I'm voting for Josh Becker because his mother called me,'" she told supporters. But despite mom's efforts, Becker's campaign came up just short. Becker, a venture capitalist and longtime political activist on behalf of clean technology, managed to attract 33 percent of the votes but ultimately lost the three-way Democratic primary to San Mateo Country Supervisor Rich Gordon.