In the latest Around Town column, find out how Baylands Golf Links ranked in Golfweek Magazine's best courses list and which agency has former city auditor Harriett Richardson as its first inspector general.
ACED IT ... Palo Alto's new and improved golf course in the Baylands made a splash on the national scene in May, when Golfweek Magazine named it one of the top courses in California. The Baylands Golf Links, which opened in spring 2018 after nearly two years of work, made its debut at No. 13 on the publication's "Best Courses You Can Play" list (just 12 spots behind the storied Pebble Beach Golf Links course). Designed by the architect Forrest Richardson, the course replaced the former Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course. As part of the redesign, the new course includes 55 acres of native vegetation, 40% less turf and 7.4 acres of marshland geared to improve flood protection around the San Francisquito Creek. The new course also requires 35% less water than the former one. City leaders and course operators welcomed the national recognition. Kristen O'Kane, director of the Community Services Department, said the city is "honored to join the ranks of prestigious courses recognized by Golfweek" and called the new course "an exciting and beautiful course for all to enjoy." Matt Molloy, senior vice president of operations at OB Sports, which is managing the course, said his team "couldn't be more proud" to make Golfweek's list. "The City of Palo Alto had a great vision of what Baylands could become after the redesign, and this is just the first positive step of many toward giving Bay Area golfers a premier golf and dining experience," Molloy said in a statement.
ON TO BIGGER THINGS ... Former Palo Alto City Auditor Harriett Richardson is coming out of retirement to become BART's first inspector general, the regional transit agency announced June 21. Appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Richardson will be responsible for planning, directing and managing "the independent oversight of all District actives and operations to ensure the effective use of resources and compliance with applicable federal and state laws." Richardson retired from the city on Feb. 15 after nearly five years. Her departure was one of many recent high-profile vacancies at City Hall. The city has yet to name her successor. Before working in Palo Alto, Richardson was San Francisco's audit director and the audit manager/deputy director at Berkeley's Auditor's Office. "The appointment of Ms. Richardson as BART's new inspector general helps BART reach a new level of transparency and accountability to the riding public and the taxpayers who fund the cost of BART infrastructure and operations," BART Board District 1 Director Debora Allen said in a statement. The position was approved by voters in June 2018 through Regional Measure 3, which raises tolls at seven state bridges in the Bay Area by three $1 increases (the first hike took place on Jan. 1, the next two raises are set for 2022 and 2025). An estimated $4.5 billion raised from the toll fees have been earmarked for transportation improvements. Richardson, who was one of three nominees following a nationwide search, will receive an annual salary of $205,000.