Palo Alto Weekly

News - December 23, 2011

News Digest

Man charged in child's death seeks case dismissal

A Redwood City teenager accused of shooting and killing a 3-month-old boy in East Palo Alto in June sought to have charges against him dismissed Friday (Dec. 16) in San Mateo County Superior Court.

Fabian Zaragoza, 17, and an unidentified accomplice allegedly fired 15 gunshots into the vehicle where baby Izack Jimenez Garcia, his parents Ivonne Garcia Lopez and Oscar Jimenez, and 3-year-old brother sat on June 5.

The family had just left a party on Wisteria Street, and police believe the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. The infant was killed as his mother shielded the older boy in the car's back seat. Both parents were injured but survived.

On Aug. 17, the San Mateo County Criminal Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Zaragoza with murder, the special circumstance of lying in wait, two counts of attempted murder with the infliction of great bodily injury, and use of a firearm.

Zaragoza's attorney, Peter Goldscheider, last Friday (Dec. 16) argued that evidence presented to the grand jury was insufficient to support the charges. But Criminal Presiding Judge Lisa Novak rejected the motion to dismiss. She set the trial for July 9, 2012. A pretrial conference is scheduled for April 9, 2012.

Zaragoza will be tried as an adult and remains in custody on no bail status. If convicted of all charges, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Bloomberg taps Cornell after Stanford withdraws

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Monday (Dec. 19) named Cornell University the winner in a competition to partner with the city in building a science and technology campus in the Big Apple.

The prior Friday (Dec. 16), Stanford University abruptly withdrew its application to construct a 10-acre applied science and engineering campus on New York City's Roosevelt Island.

Stanford had been a top contender in the competition for city-owned land and up to $100 million in funding to spark a Silicon Valley-style tech innovation hub in New York.

Blooomberg said applications the city received from universities around the world "were much more than we had hoped for," and he expects the Cornell undertaking, in partnership with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, will be a "game changer" that will "prime the economic pump for years to come."

Stanford said Friday that after weeks of negotiations with New York City, university leaders — including the board of trustees — "have determined that it would not be in the best interests of the university to continue to pursue the opportunity."

Stanford's ambitious proposal, dubbed " StanfordNYC" involved a 30-year university commitment of $2.5 billion to create a 1.9 million-square-foot science and engineering campus, with 100 faculty members and 2,000 masters and doctoral students.

The bid monopolized the attention of top university officials, including Stanford President John Hennessy, for much of this year. Stanford marshaled the support of former students, including Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, to argue that the university fosters a unique "culture of entrepreneurship" and would be a good fit for New York.

Hennessy said Stanford will continue to explore expansion opportunities in the future.

Palo Alto mulls new Professorville parking restrictions

Spurred by a flurry of complaints from the Professorville neighborhood, Palo Alto has formed a new community group to explore creating a parking-permit program in the downtown neighborhood.

If implemented, a permit program would set a time limit for how long nonresidents can park in Professorville. Employees at downtown businesses frequently park in Professorville to avoid the time limits that are in place throughout the rest of downtown, residents said. The city already has one such program in place in College Terrace.

Despite heavy outcry from Professorville about inadequate downtown parking and numerous requests for a parking program, the City Council has been hesitant to implement a program out of fear that the parking problem would simply spread to other sections of downtown. The business community has expressed concern about the city making parking too difficult for employees.

But according to a new report from Jaime Rodriguez, the city's chief transportation officer, a parking program in Professorville is still on the table and could be put in place as early as next summer. Staff has created the Downtown Parking Community Group, which includes business representatives and Professorville residents, to "assess the impacts of parking on downtown residential areas and to develop recommendations for the Residential Permit Parking Program." The group's first meeting was scheduled for Thursday night (Dec. 22).

— Gennady Sheyner

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