Behind the Headlines
Palo Alto never runs out of interesting and controversial issues to pick apart. Behind the Headlines is a weekly podcast featuring journalists from the Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online analyzing those issues and getting deep into the weeds and politics behind them, often with the help of prominent guests.
Coronavirus closes schools
The Palo Alto school district's decision to close schools for one month to slow the spread of coronavirus is the topic of this webcast discussion with school board President Todd Collins and Vice President Shounak Dharap. Read our story on the issue at https://bit.ly/2ILuxyq and stay up to date on the latest coronavirus news at https://bit.ly/32VmFUa
March 13, 2020
Impact of the coronavirus
With the number of coronavirus cases rising tenfold in the past week in Santa Clara County, Palo Alto Weekly journalists talk about what public health departments and other organizations are doing to keep the virus from spreading. Stay up to date on the latest coronavirus news at https://bit.ly/32VmFUa
March 6, 2020
Critical juncture at auditor's office
As the Palo Alto City Council prepares to outsource the city auditor position, which was created by voters in 1983, former City Auditor Sharon Erickson discusses the auditor's function and her belief that moving it out of City Hall would be a mistake. Read the story at https://bit.ly/2uIpag6
February 28, 2020
Exploring the art of trees
Palo Alto Art Center Director Karen Kienzle talks about "Rooted: Trees in Contemporary Art," an exhibit featuring the works of 20 different artists, from photography to sculpture to a multimedia installation. Kienzle also discusses the unique role and programs of the Art Center in fostering creativity in Palo Alto. Read our story on the topic here at https://bit.ly/2Vc6Wyo
February 21, 2020
A playground for all
Magical Bridge playground co-founders Olenka Steciw Villarreal and Jill Hoffspiegel Asher have created a universal playground for all ages and abilities. The Palo Alto residents discuss how their idea, poised to go global, redefines what it means to play and creates an inclusive community for all generations. Read our story on the topic at https://bit.ly/2OVT7Qw
February 14, 2020
Teens tackle sexual assault
Palo Alto High School seniors Alexa Alami and Katherine Buecheler talk about their new student-advocacy group and why more conversation and education on consent, healthy relationships and sexual violence are needed at their high school. Read our story about the issue at https://bit.ly/31ClCI0
February 7, 2020
New plans for Ventura
Dramatic proposals to redevelop a 60-acre site in the Ventura neighborhood are stirring hopes and anxieties in the community and beyond. Weekly journalists discuss the latest plans and their implications for Palo Alto's efforts to build more housing. Read our story about the issue at https://bit.ly/2S7X2L2
January 31, 2020
Mike Price's big idea
Southgate resident Mike Price joins Weekly journalists for a discussion of his proposal to improve the Churchill Avenue rail crossing by building a road underpass -- an idea that received a boost from the City Council this week. Read our story about this issue at https://bit.ly/2GmJoOE
January 24, 2020
A tidal phenomenon
So far this winter, there have been two rounds of king tides at the Palo Alto Baylands and there's another expected on Feb. 9. City Naturalist Corinne DeBra speaks with Weekly staff about how these tides occur and how the local flora and fauna are impacted. Read more at https://bit.ly/2Rppbg8
January 17, 2020
Inside nonpublic schools
Jody Miller, head of Esther B. Clark School at the Children's Health Council in Palo Alto, talks about why nonpublic schools exist and the unique ways in which they serve students with special needs. Read our story about the issue at https://bit.ly/2Ta3K58
January 10, 2020
The highs and lows of 2019 film
Palo Alto Weekly film critic Peter Canavese and Tim Sika, host/producer of the radio show Celluloid Dreams, share their lists of 2019's best films, their takes on the year's big blockbusters and the movies they say is worth seeing in theaters with Weekly Associate Editor Linda Taaffe. Canavese authors the film website GrouchoReviews.com and Sika's reviews can be found at CelluloidDreams.net and also on KGOradio.com. Read our story about this year's picks at https://bit.ly/36iWpnE
January 3, 2020
Year in Review
Weekly journalists wrap up 2019 by recapping the biggest news and the most surprising trends of the year -- and the decade. Read our story about this topic at https://bit.ly/2F0DuBW
December 27, 2019
Fixing commissions; Middle school math
Weekly journalists discuss Palo Alto's effort to reform its commission system and a proposal to dramatically shift how math is taught in Palo Alto middle schools. Read our stories on the commission system at https://bit.ly/2LS1g7a and on middle school math at https://bit.ly/38CYpc7
December 13, 2019
Rising wildfire risks
Fire agencies warn that the Santa Cruz Mountains could produce a large-scale blaze, similar to recent wildfires in the north bay, under the right conditions. Weekly journalists discuss local agencies' preparations for a big blaze in open space areas, the area's vulnerability and how the community can prepare. Read our story about the issue at https://bit.ly/34Y0uwX
December 6, 2019
Weekly associate editor Linda Taaffe chats with music writer Yoshi Kato and arts and entertainment editor Karla Kane about a few of the many upcoming holiday-themed performances and events on the Midpeninsula this season. Read about the holiday highlights here: https://bit.ly/2pYgpw3
November 29, 2019
The Churchill dilemma
Weekly staff discuss the question that has been pitting Palo Alto neighborhoods against each other: Should the city close Churchill Avenue to cars near the railroad tracks as part of a broader plan to redesign the rail corridor? Read our story about the issue at https://bit.ly/2XEZPgV
November 22, 2019
Debate over Foothills Park
Ryan McCauley, a member of Palo Alto's Parks and Recreation Commission, talks with Weekly staff about the commission's new proposal to open up the city's pristine and exclusive Foothills Park to non-residents. Read our story about the issue at https://bit.ly/2qhsCvU
November 15, 2019
Stanford plan hits dead end
With Stanford University deciding to withdraw its ambitious plan for campus expansion, Weekly staff recap the contentious review process and consider the university's options for future development. Read our story about the issue at https://bit.ly/2NRVtig
November 8, 2019
Philip Kamhi, Palo Alto's newly hired chief transportation official, talks to the Weekly about the city's plans to revamp its parking policies, launch a scooter-share program and improve community outreach for bike boulevards and other transportation projects. Read our story about the issue at https://bit.ly/2pP3sUW
October 25, 2019
Woman breaks silence about Harvey Weinstein
Palo Alto resident Rowena Chiu, who says movie mogul Harvey Weinstein attempted to rape her when she was his assistant in 1998, speaks about her decision to come forward, the cultural stigmas she faced and the impact of the #MeToo movement. Read our story about Chiu at https://bit.ly/2MWD4Aj
October 18, 2019
Reflecting on Palo Alto
As the Palo Alto Weekly celebrates its 40th anniversary, Editor Jocelyn Dong gives an overview of the newspaper's beginnings and highlights work by the editorial staff to commemorate the milestone, including a project that asked city residents to complete this thought: "When I think of Palo Alto, I think of ..." View articles, photos, interactive timelines and more at https://bit.ly/2oBEurD
October 11, 2019
Vaping's rise and risks
Kyle Greenman, clinical associate at Adolescent Counseling Services' Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, discusses the growing prevalence of vaping among local teens and what parents, school administrators and public officials should know about the phenomenon. Read our latest story on the topic at https://bit.ly/2mcQzmc
October 4, 2019
How one school went phone-free
Adam Gelb, assistant principal at San Mateo High School, talks with reporter Elena Kadvany about the school's decision to prohibit cellphones during school hours. Read our story on the topic at https://bit.ly/2lMOBIU
September 27, 2019
A hospital for the future
Dr. George Tingwald, medical planning director for Stanford Health Care, gives an overview of what's inside the new Stanford Hospital and provides insight into the planning involved to help the institution deliver top-notch medical care. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong and Sue Dremann join him for the conversation. Read our story on the topic at https://bit.ly/2lSFEgY
September 13, 2019
Staying heart healthy
Robin Wedell, director of HeartFit for Life, joins Weekly staff to give an overview of the program's cardiac therapy services and their long-term impact on the nonprofit's members as the organization prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Read our story on the topic at https://bit.ly/2m4xtOA
September 6, 2019
Gail Price, a member of the North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan Working Group, joins Weekly staff for a discussion about the goals, challenges and latest complications in Palo Alto's effort to craft a vision for the Ventura neighborhood. Read our story on the topic at https://bit.ly/34hvok7
August 30, 2019
The state of the Ravenswood school board
Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss tensions between Ravenswood City School District board members and the implications for a district in transition. Read our story on the issue at https://bit.ly/2MyslhB
August 23, 2019
Palo Alto's superintendent, one year in
Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin joins Weekly journalists to discuss his vision for the district and upcoming issues for the new school year. Read our story on the topic at https://bit.ly/2HbR72Z
August 16, 2019
The story of Glory
Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss the potential closure of Glory Mobile Home and RV Park in East Palo Alto, which would eliminate a precious resource of low-income housing in the city. They explore what the loss might mean for renters who have lived there for decades. Read our story on the issue at https://bit.ly/2MPvPLX
August 9, 2019
The rise of pickleball
Monica Williams, president of the Palo Alto Pickleball Club, joins Weekly staff for a discussion about the city's fastest growing sport, pickleball, and ongoing efforts to build more courts and attract more players. Read our story on the topic at https://bit.ly/2T2XmKR
August 2, 2019
The power of ketamine
Palo Alto psychiatrist Rameen Ghorieshi joins Weekly journalists to discuss the potential of ketamine to treat severely depressed patients, who have seen remarkable results. Read our story on the issue at https://bit.ly/2Y7rzOH
July 26, 2019
Introducing the Peninsula Foodist
On this episode, meet the Peninsula Foodist, also known as Palo Alto Weekly education reporter Elena Kadvany, who this week debuted a new e-newsletter covering the Peninsula dining scene, from parking lot food stands to hole-in-the-wall noodle shops to Michelin-starred restaurants. Read our story on the launch of the Peninsula Foodist e-newsletter at https://bit.ly/2JC1XR9
July 19, 2019
Who are the RV dwellers?
Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss the diverse community of people living in recreational vehicles along El Camino Real and the various circumstances that brought them there. Read our story on the issue at https://bit.ly/2JuVK9C
July 12, 2019
Tug of war over Stanford growth
Palo Alto Weekly journalists break down the Santa Clara County Planning Commission’s supporting vote for Stanford University’s proposed expansion with requirements for building housing, mitigating the impacts of traffic and protecting the foothills. Read our story on the issue at https://bit.ly/2LqemJx
June 28, 2019
On the trail of a killer
Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss the cases against John Arthur Getreu, 74, a convicted killer and rapist who is charged with two murders of young women on Stanford University land in the 1970s. They also highlight DNA advances that allowed detectives to solve the cold-case crimes and reactions to his arrest from the brother of one of his victims and a survivor of one of his crimes. Read our story about Getreu at https://bit.ly/2WYaf9q
June 21, 2019
The plastic ban; Hacker sentenced
Weekly journalists break down Palo Alto's newly adopted ban on plastic straws and produce bags, which begins at the 0:43 timestamp, and recap this week's sentencing of Ross Colby, which begins at the 13:00 timestamp. In 2015, Colby hacked into and temporarily took down Palo Alto Online and four other Embarcadero Media websites.
June 14, 2019
Housing at Cubberley?
Palo Alto Weekly staff delve into a divisive proposal to build housing at Cubberley Community Center as part of a redevelopment project at the aged campus.
June 7, 2019
RV parking program takes off
Alicia Garcia, associate director of Project WeHope, discusses a new partnership between the nonprofit and city of East Palo Alto to help people living in their recreational vehicles through the new RV Safe Parking program, which provides services and resources with a goal of eventually moving them into permanent housing. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong, Sue Dremann and Cierra Bailey join her for the conversation.
May 17, 2019
Preventing the next creek-flood disaster
Palo Alto resident Tom Rindfleisch discusses long-awaited recommendations on how to keep the San Francisquito Creek from overflowing its banks and flooding streets and homes. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong and Gennady Sheyner join him for the conversation.
May 3, 2019
Palo Alto eyes business tax
Former Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt discusses efforts to help south bay cities, including Palo Alto, put business tax measures business tax measures on their ballots to pay for critical municipal services, such as transportation programs and affordable housing. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong and Gennady Sheyner join Burt for the conversation.
April 26, 2019
Recycling at the crossroads
Phil Bobel, Palo Alto's assistant director of Public Works, talks about the uncertainty facing the city's recycling operation since China has become unwilling to buy recycled items that are considered "contaminated." Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong and Associate Linda Taaffe explore the impacts of the change and ways that cities are responding.
April 12, 2019
State bills on housing
Three California bills aimed at creating housing opportunities -- AB 302, SB 4 and SB 50 -- are discussed by Palo Alto Weekly journalists. AB 302, the "Safe Lot" bill, would guarantee that homeless community-college students can sleep overnight in their cars on campus. The discussion on that bill begins at the 0:50 timestamp. SB 4 and SB 50 are bills would allow for greater density of housing along transit corridors. The discussion on those bills begin at the 10:50 timestamp.
April 5, 2019
Debate over SB 50
Palo Alto Vice Mayor Adrian Fine and Greer Stone, vice chair of the Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission, join Weekly journalists for a discussion of state Senate Bill 50, a contentious legislative proposal that seeks to increase housing construction in transit-friendly and jobs-rich areas.
March 29, 2019
Shedding light on region's black pioneers
San Jose author Jan Batiste Adkins talks about the struggles and successes of Santa Clara County's early African-Americans featured in her new book African Americans of San Jose and Santa Clara County." Adkins joins Palo Alto Weekly associate editor Linda Taaffe and reporter Sue Dremann.
February 22, 2019
The dilemma of deception
When a loved one has dementia, can it be an act of kindness to tell them a lie? Barton Bernstein, a caregiver for his wife and an emeritus history professor at Stanford University, talks about the ethics of what some call "compassionate deception." Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong and Linda Taaffe join him for the discussion.
February 1, 2019
Restaurant critic retires
Longtime critic Dale Bentson looks back on 18 years of reviewing restaurants for Embarcadero Media. Read his retrospective of covering the Midpeninsula dining scene here. Bentson joins Palo Alto Weekly staff writer Elena Kadvany, who runs the blog "Peninsula Foodist," and Mountain View Voice Editor Andrea Gemmet.
January 18, 2019
Year in Review
In this episode, Palo Alto Weekly journalists close out the year by recapping the biggest events, controversies, surprises and newsmakers of 2018.
December 28, 2018
Update on Stanford's expansion proposal
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian discusses the negotiation process with Stanford University over its proposed expansion of the campus by 2.275 million square feet. Topics include funding for the school district, housing requirements, traffic and how the development agreement process relates to county's standard land-use review. Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong and Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner join in the conversation.
December 7, 2018
Secret dealings over President Hotel
Documents released by the city of Palo Alto reveal how developer AJ Capital has been lobbying the city to change zoning laws and using the tenants of President Hotel Apartments in downtown Palo Alto as leverage. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong, Linda Taaffe and Gennady Sheyner discuss this week's cover story.
November 30, 2018
Treating postpartum mood disorders
Psychiatrist Nirmaljit Dhami, medical director of El Camino Hospital's Maternal Outreach Mood Services program, discusses the signs, symptoms and treatment for postpartum mood disorders, which affect one in five mothers after childbirth.
November 16, 2018
Analyzing the election
With ballots still being counted for Palo Alto's and East Palo Alto's Nov. 6 election, Palo Alto Weekly journalists analyze the results so far, including the clear winners, the race outcome that's still pending and the significance of local voters' choices
November 9, 2018
Challenges of caregiving
Paula Wolfson, manager of Avenidas Care Partners, discusses the rising numbers of family caregivers in Palo Alto and the many services available to help families navigate caring for a relative. Joining her in the discussion are Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong and Associate Editor Linda Taaffe.
November 2, 2018
Palo Alto's traffic challenges
Palo Alto Assistant City Manager Ed Shikada discusses challenges facing the city when it comes to traffic and Palo Alto's plans for improving transportation for residents and commuters. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Gennady Sheyner and Jocelyn Dong join him in this episode of "Behind the Headlines."
October 26, 2018
Election 2018 - East Palo Alto
Weekly editor Jocelyn Dong leads a discussion with staff writers Sue Dremann and Gennady Sheyner about the East Palo Alto City Council race and the city's Measure HH commercial business tax, which could bring funding for building new housing and job training.
October 19, 2018
Election 2018 - Palo Alto City Council Race
Weekly journalists preview the City Council election with a discussion about Palo Alto's five candidates and their stances on some of the city's most urgent issues.
October 12, 2018
Election 2018 - Palo Alto School Board Race
The 2018 Palo Alto school board race involving six candidates is the subject of this week's "Behind the Headlines" discussion with Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong and Staff Writers Elena Kadvany and Sue Dremann.
October 5, 2018
Election 2018 - Palo Alto City Council Debate
Palo Alto City Council candidates Pat Boone, Alison Cormack, Tom DuBois, Eric Filseth and Cory Wolbach speak about their platforms and positions during a debate sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly and moderated by journalists Jocelyn Dong and Gennady Sheyner at Cubberley Community Center on October 3, 2018
October 3, 2018
Election 2018 - Meet Alison Cormack (Palo Alto City Council)
Palo Alto City Council candidate Alison Cormack got her first taste of Palo Alto politics by leading the 2008 library bond campaign, which voters passed. In this interview, she talks about her career in high tech, her perspective as the only woman running for a seat on the council and her experience as a caregiver for family members.
September 28, 2018
Election 2018 - Meet Cory Wolbach (Palo Alto City Council)
Palo Alto City Council candidate Cory Wolbach grew up in Palo Alto and was elected to council in 2014. In this interview, he talks about how his love of politics was ignited in high school, his decision not to go to four-year college immediately after high school, and his involvement in the Democratic Party. He also shares "Cory's Five Steps to Policymaking."
September 28, 2018
Election 2018 - Meet Eric Filseth (Palo Alto City Council)
Palo Alto City Council candidate Eric Filseth is a tech executive who was elected to council in 2014. After growing up in rural Canada, he came to Palo Alto to get his bachelor's degree at Stanford University, where he met his wife. In this interview, the avid cyclist talks about his love for the environment, as well as the tech colleagues who've made a big impression on him.
September 28, 2018
Election 2018 - Meet Pat Boone (Palo Alto City Council)
Palo Alto City Council candidate Pat Boone grew up volunteering for political campaigns in Washington D.C. and eventually became a TV journalist. In this interview, he talks about his passion for getting to know people and his impressions of Palo Alto. He also reveals his love of roller coasters and details about his brief acting career.
September 28, 2018
Election 2018 - Meet Tom DuBois (Palo Alto City Council)
Palo Alto City Council candidate Tom DuBois is an entrepreneur who was elected to council in 2014. The gift of a personal computer when he was in seventh grade changed his life and led to a career that has taken him around the world. In this interview, he recalls his childhood in eastern Ohio and talks about the importance of music in his and his children's lives.
September 28, 2018
Palo Alto's Housing Plans
Weekly journalists discuss Palo Alto's response to a recent Santa Clara County Grand Jury report, which urged cities to do more to address the regional housing crisis.
September 21, 2018
Election 2018 - Election Measures E and F
Weekly journalists delve into Palo Alto's Measure E, which would raise the city's hotel-tax rate, and Measure F, which would cap how much health care providers can charge patients.
September 14, 2018
Peninsula Photo Contest
Palo Alto Art Center Director Karen Kienzle discusses the Peninsula Photo Contest with Weekly Associate Editor Linda Taaffe and staff photographer Veronica Weber.
June 8, 2018
Students speak out 2018
A discussion with the incoming and outgoing Paly, Gunn student board representatives
High school students Advait Arun, Richy Islas, Arjun Prabhaker and Caroline Furrier discuss issues impacting students in Palo Alto with education reporter Elena Kadvany.
June 1, 2018
Palo Alto's financial outlook
Palo Alto City Councilwoman Lydia Kou discusses the proposed 2019 city budget with Palo Alto Weekly city-beat reporter Gennady Sheyner and Editor Jocelyn Dong.
May 25, 2018
Regional Measure 3
Weekly journalists discuss a measure on the June 5 ballot that would raise bridge tolls to fund $4.5 billion in transportation improvements.
May 18, 2018
Palo Alto's superintendent pick
Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss the career of Don Austin, Palo Alto Unified's pick for superintendent, and his proposed contract with Palo Alto Unified.
May 11, 2018
Walter Hays traffic; new bell schedule
Weekly journalists discuss the recent changes at the intersection of Middlefield and Embarcadero roads which parents say has created dangerous road crossings, and the approval of a new schedule at Paly, which will allow students to start school at a later time.
May 4, 2018