I-BRICK ... And speaking of infrastructure: They've spent 13 months analyzing potholes, touring police facilities, surveying parks and comparing funding mechanisms and all they got for their efforts was a bunch of bricks. Not that members of the Palo Alto's recently disbanded Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission were complaining on Saturday, when the City Council recognized the group's efforts by handing each member a commemorative brick. Not the most visually striking award, perhaps, but certainly in keeping with both the panel's mission (survey the city's infrastructure) and its acronym, IBRC (pronounced "i-brik"). Each brick featured a golden plate with the commissioner's name and a brief explanation: "This 'Brick' is presented in recognition of your time and thoughtful work in analyzing and making strategic recommendations for meeting the challenges of maintaining and improving Palo Alto's extensive infrastructure inventory." The council didn't waste much time at the Saturday strategic retreat before digging into the report and its analysis of the city's public-safety needs. Council members also recognized that a topic as broad and complex as infrastructure would require many more strategic discussions in the coming months. Mayor Yiaway Yeh recommended meetings on at least three more Saturdays. His colleagues didn't object, though some had mild reservations about the overtime work. "I'd like to have staff have their Saturday off, in addition to the council, unless we do it at a five-star retreat," Councilwoman Nancy Shepherd said. "Which I'm not recommending," she quickly added.
ALL THAT JAZZ ... Not everyone is happy about Palo Alto's proposed ban on playing amplified music at Lytton Plaza. Namely, the very people making the music. Several musicians attended the Wednesday Planning and Transportation Commission meeting to complain about the ban, which was spurred by noise complaints from downtown businesses. Susan Webb, who runs weekly jam sessions at the prominent downtown plaza, said she was approached this week by a police officer who told her she has to get a permit to play, a permit that she said costs $300. "I encourage people to pick up some instruments and play — just make some music. That's really what it's all about." Webb said she believes her jam sessions keep people out of trouble. "I don't think there's any reason why police should hassle us for that." Other aspiring musicians concurred. Zack Sampson, who also plays at the plaza, shared her perspective. "It's great fun. Please don't end it." The commission did not discuss the subject, which was beyond the purview of its meeting.
MUSICAL CHAIRS ... Palo Alto ex-mayors stick together, particularly when it comes to political endorsements. So perhaps it's no surprise that when Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss announced her desire to return to the Palo Alto City Council, her former council colleague and current State Sen. Joe Simitian was among the early endorsers of her campaign. This week, Kniss returned the favor and announced her endorsement of Simitian, who is termed out of Sacramento this year and who hopes to take Kniss' spot on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. In her endorsement statement, Kniss lauded Simitian's previous experience on the board and said he will "hit the ground running" and will "represent the northern part of the county very well, having lived and served here for many years. ... Joe has interacted with Santa Clara County closely in the years I have served, understanding that the health and human services safety net provided by counties is essential for our well-being and depends on state dollars to provide those services."