HERE COMES THE SUN DAY ... If Monday feels a little long, you're not hallucinating. Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, falls on June 21 this year, prompting a sun-themed celebration across the nation this weekend. Most of the celebrations around the Bay Area are set for Saturday, which has been declared "SolarDay 2010." Palo Alto is commemorating the longest day of sunlight with a special proclamation, citing city's support for "solar energy and energy conservation and SolarDay 2010 events." The proclamation, signed by Mayor Pat Burt, also urges all citizens to participate in SolarDay activities. The city will also commemorate SolarDay with a Tuesday event focused on solar water heating. Attendees will hear a presentation by Katrina Phruksukarn, who manages the Solar Water Heating Program at the California Center for Sustainable Energy, and learn how solar-water-heating technologies could help reduce fuel consumption and lower one's carbon footprint. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 22 at the Lucie Stern Community Center Community Room, 1305 Middlefield Road.
LEGAL BATTLE ... Palo Alto City Attorney Gary Baum won a tentative victory for his department during a Monday night showdown with two other attorneys. Councilmen Larry Klein and Greg Scharff, both attorneys, sought to trim a legal secretary from the City Attorney's Office budget — a proposal that would have saved the city about $117,000. Faced with the looming cut, Baum issued a detailed memo analyzing the workload in his office and arguing against the proposed cut. The office, he said, receives 295 calls a week, with roughly half coming from city residents and the rest from city staff. It also receives about 3,000 work requests per year, he wrote. "The demands on our support staff are intense," Baum told the committee. "They include handling every document you see and every contract the city sees." His argument persuaded the two non-lawyers on the Finance Committee, Vice Mayor Sid Espinosa and Chair Greg Schmid. Espinosa acknowledged Klein's and Scharff's expertise in legal matters but said Baum made a "compelling case." With the committee split 2-2, the proposal to lay off the legal secretary failed. It could, however, still re-emerge in the coming weeks, when the full council is scheduled to review and adopt the 2011 budget.
DID SOMEONE SAY 'HELP'? ... If you're going to have an accident, it pays to do so near the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. A cyclist found that out firsthand Tuesday after riding headlong into a leash stretched between a dog and its owner, Barron Park resident Bob Moss reports. Lying stunned on the path, the cyclist was first approached and aided by a respiratory doctor. Then along came a surgeon, who assured the injured man he might need one or two stitches at most. "Typical Palo Alto," Moss wrote. "Lots of experts and specialists ... and very willing to help."
POWER OF CONCENTRATION ... Stanford University commencement speaker Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and member of the Stanford Class of 1986, said she developed "focus and discipline" during her years at The Farm. "Once you've learned to study in a bathing suit on the grass, with muscled men throwing Frisbees over your head, you can accomplish almost anything," she told the 4,800 bachelors-, masters- and doctoral-degree recipients and their families Sunday.