Public opinion sought on future of Cubberley Community Center

Advisory committee invites residents to speak their minds at forum this Thursday

Public opinion on the future of Cubberley Community Center will be sought in a community forum scheduled for the evening of Thursday, Nov. 8.

The Cubberley Community Advisory Committee, which has held dozens of meetings to hammer out recommendations that are due in late February 2013, will sponsor the meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Cubberley Theater at 4000 Middlefield Road.

The 28-member committee is advising city and school officials pending the 2014 expiration of the city's lease of Cubberley from the Palo Alto Unified School District.

The city has leased Cubberley for the past two decades, providing about $7 million a year in revenue to the school district and offering low-cost space for an array of nonprofit organizations in education, the arts, health and sports.

The school district has indicated it hopes for renewal of the lease -- at least in the short term -- but may need to reclaim part or all of the Cubberley campus sometime after 2020 to accommodate projected enrollment growth.

City officials have said they want to gather community opinion on Cubberley to help them decide whether to include facilities upgrades there for inclusion in a larger city bond measure projected for November 2014.

At this Thursday's meeting, the Cubberley Community Advisory Committee will explain its work and seek residents' opinions on what should be done with the former high school campus.

The committee, co-chaired by former mayor Mike Cobb and former school board president Mandy Lowell, has been working since June.

Besides Cobb and Lowell, its members are Ken Allen, Jerry August, Susan Bailey, Bern Beecham, Michael Bein, Lessa Bouchard, Brian Carilli, Damian Cono, Tom Crystal, Penny Ellson, Sheri Furman, Jennifer Hetterly, Claire Kirner, John Markevitch, Pam Radin, Diane Reklis, William Robinson, Rachel Samoff, Jim Schmidt, Tracy Stevens, Greg Tanaka, Susie Thom, Tom Vician, Lanie Wheeler, Jean Wilcox and Anne Wilson.

Chris Kenrick


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2012 at 9:10 am

This is a very important reach out to the community meeting, particularly in view of the fact that it is after the election when we know who the school board will be.

I hope as many of us attend as possible and that the meeting will be given full coverage by the PA Weekly. Unfortunately, I am not able to attend, but I would like to be there. I would also like to know what is said and by whom.

Like this comment
Posted by Sell-It!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2012 at 9:15 am

Sell it! It's a huge public burden with little public benefit.

The cost of maintaining this facility (meaning to rebuild it to modern standards and expectations) would run in the millions. The people who use it do not want to pay what the use of the property needs for proper management--so best to say goodbye to the past, and find an owner than has the financial resources to make the site revenue positive, rather than the current sink-hole of public funds that it is.

Like this comment
Posted by my 2 cents
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Nov 5, 2012 at 9:58 am

My thoughts on the future of Cubberley is that we should entrust our most valuable community asset to Mandy Lowell Munger, who has donated with her husband $35 million dollars to attack Prop 30. The failure of Prop 30 (which is very likely) will cost PAUSD 5 million dollars this year alone and will trigger pressure to sell Cubberley to fill the Munger hole in our budget. Mandy Lowell is equally responsible with her husband for this catastrophe and she should not be given a position of community trust to determine how we will use Cubberley. This is especially true since one of the best uses for it is for Foothill and the community colleges are going to be crushed by the failure of Prop 30. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by my 2 cents
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Nov 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

I mean should NOT be entrusted. Mandy Lowell should not be chairing this or any other commission about how to manage education after what she has done to public education in CA. Please just go count your money Mrs. Munger and leave CA in peace.

Like this comment
Posted by Cubberley neighbor
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 5, 2012 at 10:46 am

Well, I don't necessarily agree that Mandy Lowell is the devil, particularly since I don't understand where all of the anti-30 money is actually coming from. However, the Cubberley process is going to be hard enough without getting all bound up with the politics of school funding statewide and in Palo Alto. I think it's best to find others who can help move this along who don't have the same negatives. Is she even playing a big role in Cubberley, I thought it was all under discussion between the School Board and the City Council?

Like this comment
Posted by my 2 cents
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Nov 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

Mandy Lowell is the co-chair of the committee. The school district is very reluctant to let the city do anything to Cubberley or to take it back and use it because the district gets 7 million per year from rent from the City due to some utility tax from a long time ago. The city's hope of getting out of that payment (for which the purposes are lost to history and it is not really fair to make them keep paying) have been effectively dashed by Mandy Lowell Munger and Charley Munger's decision to kill Prop 30. That created a $5 million crater in the PAUSD budget so what do you think the chances that the district will want to give up the 7 million rent payment from the City is now that Lowell and her husband have done that? Once we are trying to fill the Munger gap are we really going to let go of Cubberley revenue? She's all conflicted and just can't be effective -- she should not be leading this thing or even serving on it. How can we trust her judgment?

Like this comment
Posted by Munger Shmunger and Lowell too!
a resident of Triple El
on Nov 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

@my 2 cents: Thanks for the information about yet another area where Mandy Lowell should not be involved. I couldn't agree with you more that she shouldn't even serve on this committee. I am totally disgusted by all the revelations about Mandy and their money bags being used to hurt our children by manipulating the election monetarily. I think we need to hold on to Cubberley and not make the unfortunate mistake of selling this valuable asset. I recall when so many elementary schools were being sold off. I don't understand why the PAUSD in their infinite wisdom did not think that people living in Palo Alto would be producing children again. So little foresight and then our kids had to be warehoused on outdated campuses filled with portables.

Like this comment
Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2012 at 12:12 pm

After the "Munger Games", PAUSD is going to need the income from Cubberley.

But, PAUSD will need another high school soon and will probably end up building one somewhere, because they won't be able to get it back from the lessors. Remember all the hullbaloo with getting Terman back because another middle school was needed? That was a much smaller school building, bringing in far less income, but remember the outcry, especially from the Albert Schultz Center? I don't think PAUSD wants to go through that again, especially if it is on a bigger scale.

However, if Cubberley is sold, would that be enough cash to build another high school? I doubt it.

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Perhaps Mandy Lowell simply believes that Prop 38 is a better answer for our schools than 30. She has been a passionate supporter of our District for years .

Like this comment
Posted by Charles
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 5, 2012 at 5:36 pm

@Sell it! who said - "It's a huge public burden with little public benefit. The cost of maintaining... <Lucie Stern> (meaning to rebuild it to modern standards and expectations) would run in the millions."

All public facilities cost millions in upkeep over the decades. We've spent millions at Lucie Stern, at The Arts Center, at Rinconada Pool, and at every other city facility, yet no one is screaming to sell them.

The only difference is because we know that PAUSD will need the site back in 10-20 years, so the City has not and will not want to invest heavily. The terms of lease and maintenance agreements need to be renegotiated. The community services that are provided at the site through public-private partnerships need to be maintained.

KEEP Cubberley Community Center!

Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm

It is nice to see several people from Greenmeadow on the Cubberly committee. This property butts up against Greenmeadow and seems like it just belongs; an extension to Greenmeadow.

Keep Cubberly just the way it is. Our kids depend on it.

Like this comment
Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Discussion of selling the Cubberley property is pure insanity. You will never be able to get that land back. Schools were sold off in the 70's or 80's, the property then turned in to houses (think Crescent Park Elementary) and PA Schools have been paying the price ever since. If you keep cramming more and more people into Palo Alto, you will SURELY need the Cubberley property as a ...... SCHOOL!

Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Keep this outstanding central site as a public school or schools! No specialty or exclusionary daycares or nonprofits. It is worth a lot and a real gem of the city of PA.

Like this comment
Posted by With friends like these...
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 6, 2012 at 6:44 am

"Perhaps Mandy Lowell simply believes that Prop 38 is a better answer for our schools than 30. She has been a passionate supporter of our District for years ."

Mandy Lowell and Charles Munger have spent tens of millions of dollars opposing Prop 30, which as a result may well fail today. Prop 38 has been going down for months and is at this point a red herring. Lowell is pursuing a strategy of keeping down taxes on the rich, which is no surprise given her vast wealth.

If she's successful, our District will lose $5 million a year in state funding, more than PiE provides. If that's "passionate support" I would hate to see what opposition looks like.

Like this comment
Posted by friends
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 6, 2012 at 6:54 am

Frineds are those who would laugh watching you are near death and struggling;friends are those who do not care everytime you are in real need;better yet friends are those when you are drowning in a well,he would throw a stone inside.

Like this comment
Posted by laura
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 6, 2012 at 7:58 am

We desperately need a third high school now. Why is this so complicated? Refurbish it now and put it to good use!

Like this comment
Posted by soccer mom
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 6, 2012 at 8:05 am

It is not about keeping taxes low. Taxes are chump change to the Mungers. Like the other members of the Republican elite that we have heard about in this election, they have access to ways to decrease their effective tax rate which are not available to the rest of us. What this is about is an ideology of privatization. Starve government and education. Check. Without Prop 30 PAUSD will lose millions and Foothill/De Anza will be even more impacted. Distract the voters. Check. The red herring of Prop 38 and the spreading of rumors in the local school board race have done their job. Sell off public assets. Watch out Palo Alto - there goes Cubberley. And replace with what? Private donations, private control. At this point PIE already represents a large share of the district's discretionary budget. What happens when PIE is the largest share? Did you know that the school board does not control PIE funds - that is left to the wealthy PIE donors and their PTA proxies. Follow the money. The Mungers are already making school policy outside of the control of the Board. What comes after that? Charter schools. Ask Los Altos how it's going for them. The Mungers do not represent the values of our community and Mandy Lowell Munger should not be co-chair of the Cubberley committee.

Like this comment
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 6, 2012 at 10:04 am

Obviously we need a positive voice for kids chairing this not a polarizing figure. Mandy Lowell just doesn't fit that bill.

Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 6, 2012 at 11:00 am

I attended a high school (Berkeley) of 3300 students, 1100 in each class, with several multiple story buildings. PAUSD does not need an additional high school, it needs to better utilize and if necessary build multiple story classroom buildings.

Like this comment
Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 6, 2012 at 11:49 am

rem is a registered user.

LEAVE IT ALONG. It is a very EXCELLENT use Community Center.

Like this comment
Posted by betty schneider
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 16, 2012 at 12:11 am

Keep Cubberley as it is.... it has turned out to be most useful as a second community center and we would all be poorer for losing it.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Mountain View: French bakery to replace Drunken Lobster
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 2,334 views

A New Way to Think About High Speed Rail
By Steve Levy | 10 comments | 1,489 views

Sweet Potato Canapé and Food Party! Holiday Favorites
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 856 views

Twenty Years in the Sixties: How an Alcoholic Hippie Became a Self-Giving Servant
By Aldis Petriceks | 0 comments | 811 views

Couples: Slowing Down & Content and Process Conversation
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 763 views


The holidays are here!

From live music to a visit with Santa, here's a look at some local holiday activities to help you get into the spirit of the season.