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Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 1, 2012

Around Town

BATTLE OF THE BANDS ... Every summer, Palo Altans flock to local parks and plazas for the city's annual concert series. And every spring, city officials debate whether or not to cut or dramatically reduce this popular program. This year was no different. City Manager James Keene's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 had initially proposed slashing the $10,000 program. This week, the city considered a less dramatic proposal that would have trimmed the Summer Concert budget by $5,000 an adjustment that would have required the city to start booking less-popular bands. But at the end of the day, the City Council Finance Committee decided that this is still too much. "It's the one time people say to me, 'Boy, the city is really doing something right,'" Vice Mayor Greg Scharff said, referring to the summer concerts. "Every year, I see this coming to us, and I see Community Services trying to cut it." Scharff and the committee decided by a 3-1 vote to fully fund the series. Councilman Pat Burt called the proposal to slash funds for the popular program "pennywise and dollar foolish." Councilwoman Gail Price was the lone dissenter. "I have great faith in the staff and in their ability to secure high quality talent," she said. "There are lots of very talented musicians and bands in this area who'd be delighted to perform in this venue." Even Keene sounded a note of relief after the committee voted to keep all the concert funds intact. "Looks like the bureaucrats won't be playing next year," he said.

PAYBACK ... Members of the Greenmeadow Community Association in south Palo Alto were shocked to discover in early 2011 that a former manager had embezzled close to $70,000 from the association. Kimball Allen reportedly used the association's credit card to pay for a trip to Hawaii, a hair-replacement surgery and a membership to a high-end fitness club. He later wrote a letter to the association acknowledging his crime and claiming that he "got caught up in a vicious cycle of greed, selfishness and deceit." As part of his plea deal, Allen was sentenced to six months in a county jail and ordered to repay the entire sum within a year. This month, the association finally got its money back. The Weekly has learned that the neighborhood group received its final restitution payment from the Department of Justice. According to association President Sean Giffen, the entire judgment of $69,905 has now been recovered.

NO BULL ... Wanted: a charming, energetic life-of-the-party, meet-and-greet sort who would be willing to throw people off a mechanical bull. That's not a joke but a Craigslist ad submitted by the Old Pro, Palo Alto's bustling downtown watering hole that bills itself as a "VERY busy, long standing, local-loved, sports themed restaurant." The job is tough but lucrative. The winning candidate stands to earn $15 per hour plus tips, and the bar expects no shortage of applicants. Last time, the ad points out, more than 100 people applied for the job. Giddyup!

ANOTHER FAZZINO ENTERS THE FRAY ... Gary Fazzino is well-known in Palo Alto as a former mayor, a local-history buff and an analyst of the city's political scene. But now, the political spotlight is shining on another Fazzino Gary's brother, Wayne. He grew up in Palo Alto and had served in the Santa Cruz District Attorney's Office before moving to Nevada, where he now serves as a special investigator with the Nevada Attorney General's Office. He is also campaigning. Wayne Fazzino hopes voters will elect him justice of peace of the East Fork Township, Nev. His ambitions have their limits, however. On his website, he assures voters of East Fork Township that their court "will not be used as a political springboard for a District Court position in two years." "Politics in special favors have no place in the People's Court," his website states. Gary Fazzino lauded his brother's first venture into politics and advised him on the importance of building grass-roots support. Gary Fazzino said Wayne is the only other member of his immediate family to seek a political office, though he may not be the last. "My 4-year-old son Matthew has some political skills," Fazzino said. "He might run for council after Liz Kniss' final term," he added, referring to the former Palo Alto mayor and current Santa Clara County supervisor who is looking to return to the council in November.

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