WHO'S CALLING? ... Palo Alto residents received phone calls this week from someone asking an awful lot of questions. When asked to identify himself, one caller said he was with "Topical Research," a surveying firm. But he claimed not to know the client for whom he was asking the plethora of questions. One might make a reasonable guess, however, based on the tenor of the queries. While starting off in a general fashion ("What do you think is the most important issue facing Palo Alto?") the survey then hones in on the rate of Stanford University's growth, the need for housing in the community and the proposed expansion of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the main hospital. It finally gets down to brass tacks, querying the survey-taker on how generous or stingy he or she would feel Stanford is if the university provided a certain dollar amount of community benefits, such as transportation, affordable housing and free medical services. Lest anyone doubt that a PR campaign is being shaped by the answers to the questions, the survey also asks the resident which groups in town they respect or are suspicious of. Among the choices: all three Palo Alto news organizations.
HAPPY HAULING ... Palo Altans love their garbage collectors. For the fourth year in a row, the city has received a Voice of the People Award for garbage collection from the International City/County Manager's Association and the National Research Center. Public Works Director Glenn Roberts accepted the award, along with a round of applause, at the Nov. 16 meeting of the City Council. The award is based on a survey that the NRC conducted last year. The survey showed 92 percent of surveyed Palo Altans rating residential garbage collection service as either "good" or "excellent."
RECREATIONAL LOTTERY ... It's never too early for Palo Alto parents to start thinking about their children's summer-camp plans. The city's has moved up its randomized registration for summer camps to Jan. 14, about two months earlier than in previous years. On Jan. 15, the city's Community Service Department plans to conduct "The Draw," a random drawing to select participants in the city's broad range of summer camps. Results will be mailed out Jan. 18. To inform residents about the city's summer programs, the department has mailed out the Summer Camps and Aquatics Guide 2010 along with the Winter Enjoy! catalog. Those who miss the deadline for "The Draw" could still register in person, by mail, by fax or online starting Jan. 21 (Jan. 28 for nonresidents). Residents who would like more information may call 650-463-4900.
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