Around Town | January 11, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 11, 2013

Around Town

FIRST CHAPTER ... Palo Alto's two newest City Council members made their dais debuts Monday night, and the differences were striking. Liz Kniss, a political veteran who has twice been a Palo Alto mayor and just concluded her last term on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, opened the newest chapter in her council career by reverting to campaign mode and thanking supporters who helped bring her back to the council — her husband, her family and her campaign manager. Attorney Marc Berman, the only truly "new" member of the council, kept a lower profile but managed to inject a little levity to the august proceedings. His first comments after being sworn in came after Councilman Larry Klein nominated Greg Scharff to serve as the city's mayor in 2013. At that point, Berman — who was temporarily sitting in outgoing Mayor Yiaway Yeh's chair in the middle of the dais — asked staff for some clarification. "If Greg gets elected, do I lose this seat?" he asked. "It might change my decision." He did lose the seat, but it didn't change his decision. Berman praised Scharff, calling the new mayor "generous with his sage advice but also open to different viewpoints." Scharff was elected unanimously.

LAST CHAPTER ... The first council meeting of 2013 was the last meeting for two Palo Alto council members. Yiaway Yeh and Sid Espinosa, who both joined the council in 2008 and who had served as mayor, respectively, in 2012 and 2011, earned official commendations and an outpouring of praise from their colleagues. Councilwoman Karen Holman, in commenting on Yeh's tenure, pointed out that on Jan. 7, 1992, exactly 21 years before the Monday meeting, Tom Seaver and Rolly Fingers were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. "I thought it was appropriate to mention it this evening because you, as mayor, hit it out of the park," a somewhat verklempt Holman told Yeh. To Espinosa, she offered another date — Jan. 7, 1936. That was the day of the famous tennis match between Helen Moody and Howard Kinsley, in which the two combined for 2,001 volleys. She likened it to Espinosa's famous ability to go without sleep and to be seemingly everywhere at once. She referred to Espinosa's "boundless" energy and called him "omnipresent and indefatigable — which is what the tennis record is." Both former mayors returned the favor and heaped praise on their colleagues. Yeh, in a tearful speech, thanked his family, his fellow council members and the voters of Palo Alto who elected him in November 2007 despite his young age. "Let me close with what I know is very much in the room tonight — a deep appreciation and love for Palo Alto and all of our community." Espinosa also had kind words to say about Palo Alto's civic-minded populace. "We have a city full of ridiculously smart people who get involved, get the facts, rally the troops and want to be deeply involved," he said. "I have learned how rare this is in other cities, and we are all better off for it."

BLACK AND BLUE ... One Palo Alto neighborhood could soon see a major overhaul in trash collection as soon as April. The neighborhood, which city staff is in the final stages of identifying, will be asked to say farewell to their black garbage cans. Instead, residents would now be asked to load all their waste into one of the two remaining carts — blue or green. The green one would contain yard trimmings, food waste and all other compostable materials. The blue one would contain recyclable goods and "landfill" items such as pet waste, diapers, bathroom waste and, interestingly enough, granola-bar wrappers. The pilot program was scheduled for City Council consideration in December, but staff chose to kick the item forward to early 2013. On Monday night, the council will get its chance to approve the program and give the residents in the selected neighborhood the city's first residential compostables-collection program. According to a new report, the goals of the one-year pilot program are to divert more recyclable and compostable items from landfills, determine whether the new system is cost-effective, simplify waste-sorting for residents and reduce the number of garbage-truck trips.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Registration now open!

Registration is now open for the 33rd annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk. This family-friendly event which benefits local nonprofits serving kids and families will take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Register Here