SPEAKING OF 'PROCESS' ... Palo Alto officials hear no shortage of complaints about the city's frustrating permitting process. Jim McFall, a local architect who is part of a citizens group advising the city with the reforms, illustrated the complexities at this week's City Council meeting when he unfurled two scrolls, each longer than 4 feet, and displayed them to the council and the public. One was a list of Palo Alto's application and permit types; the other was a list of city regulations. "As you can see, it's not often times a simple process," McFall said as the scrolls dangled from his shoulder level to the floor.
SPEAKING OF COMPOST ... Palo Alto residents are invited to grab their shovels and buckets and come out to the city's soon-to-be-closed landfill for some free compost. The city will be holding "Compost Giveaway" days on March 26 and April 3, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each visitor will be able to come away with up to 1 cubic yard of compost.
ON THE ROAD ... The Palo Alto Art Center will be shutting its doors April 4 for its long-awaited renovation and is not expected to reopen until summer of 2012. But art lovers needn't fear. According to Art Center Director Karen Kienzle, the center will be able to maintain its art classes and programs for kids and adults by holding them at other locations throughout the city, including at Lucie Stern and Cubberley community centers. The center's "art truck" will also hit the road, bringing art projects to events throughout the year. The city is soliciting input on potential names for the truck, which can be offered in a suggestion box in the lobby of city hall. Arts Producer Rebecca Barbee said the art center's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/paloaltoartcenter, is currently the best way to get updates and information on all the center's happenings.
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? ... It's been a wet, gray week throughout the Bay Area and the weather prognosis for the weekend is no better. But Palo Altans have at least one reason not to feel too gloomy. Councilman Larry Klein, who sits on the board of directors at the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, told his colleagues that as of last week, the water supply at the Hetch Hetchy system (from where the city gets its water) was at 159 percent of the normal level. Even if the weather were to dry up for the rest of the fiscal year (which ends June 30), the water agency would end the year at 120 percent of the normal level. These numbers don't include the wet week that is just concluding and the rainy days ahead. As Klein put it, it's been "a great year for water."