Around town | September 20, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 20, 2013

Around town

THE CHECK IS IN ... Palo Alto's rocky road to 21st century libraries took a welcome turn this week, thanks to the efforts of local volunteers. The Palo Alto Library Foundation, whose previous fundraising efforts helped furnish the renovated Downtown Library and the hopefully soon-to-be-completed Mitchell Park Library, on Monday submitted its latest gift to the city — a $1.2 million check to equip the possibly soon-to-be-renamed Main Library. The money will be used to purchase furniture and equipment for Newell Road facility, which is being renovated and expanded and which is the third and final component of the $76 million library bond Palo Alto voters approved in 2008. "We don't always get happy news, but this has been a wonderful experience," said Alison Cormack, one of the leaders of the fundraising effort. The list of donors is an expansive one and includes dozens of elected officials, past and present, a handful of notable locals (Google co-founder Larry Page and former 49er quarterback Steve Young) and hundreds of less-famous bibliophiles. Donations ranged from $5 to $1.5 million, the latter coming from the the Morgan Family Foundation. Susie Thom, the foundation's president and campaign co-chair, presented the giant check to the City Council Monday. The group's effort, she said, received "a broad base of support from every corner of the community." The foundation still receives six to eight checks a month for its campaign, which she said will remain open until the end of this year. For information, visit

GOING ON A FOOD TRIP ... This is a first: The Four Seasons hotel chain is sending a group of its chefs and culinary team members on a three-state, 18-city food truck tour for the next two months, starting in East Palo Alto. The FS Taste Truck, emblazoned with the Four Seasons tree emblem and a large "taste by Four Seasons" slogan, kicked things off this week at the hotel's University Avenue outpost, where Executive Chef Marco Fossati is bringing a piece of Northern Italy to northern California. Think fresh housemade pastas (gnocchi with chicken and marsala bolognese; bucatini with basil pesto and green beans), salad with beef tenderloin, a porchetta banh mi sandwich and bombolini and Italian-style donuts served with a salted caramel sauce. "Everything is $8 and yummy!!!" the truck's blackboard menu reads. The FS Taste Truck will be in East Palo Alto until Sept. 22, after which it heads off to San Francisco for a week. Each city gets its own menu, shaped by local flavor and farmer's market goodies. Hungry fans can follow the tour (and eat vicariously) from California to Arizona and New Mexico via Twitter with the hashtag #FSTasteTruck.

FATBERG DEAD AHEAD ... Oozing with her usual witticisms, Debra Katz, City of Palo Alto Utilities spokeswoman, recently reminded citizens to consider what they put down the drain in a post titledSewer Wars — The Waste Strikes Back. It was a notice that putting fat, grease, hair, diapers and other items down toilets and drains instead of in the trash frequently causes sewer backups into homes. An example of just how sticky that problem can get was in the news lately, she pointed out. "Please keep this 15-ton 'Fatberg' in mind before dumping stuff down your drains," she wrote, referring to a deposit of fat in the sewers of London, England, that was size of a bus and threatened to flood the London borough of Kingsley with sewage. Images of the London berg (which are not for the easily turned stomach) can be found by searching "fatberg" at

TAKEN FOR GRANTED ... The East Palo Alto Police Department is going to benefit big-time from a grant issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, but it won't get quite the boost Oakland will get. The Community Oriented Policing Services program, called "COPS" in an overt display of acronym reverse-engineering, will give the department an infusion of $250,000 to go toward hiring two new officers. The Department of Justice awarded $20 million from the program to 39 California communities, including Hayward, Vallejo and Oakland. The Department of Justice selected which departments got the grants based fiscal need, local crime rates and community policing plans. The long-struggling Oakland Police Department will receive the biggest grant of any department this year — $4.5 million.


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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 21, 2013 at 7:46 pm

bru is a registered user.

For the first time driving South on Middlefield I saw lights on inside the new library, and it looked pretty good. It's a little industrial looking, but so is the Pompidou Museum in France and it's world famous now. I think it looks great and will look better when trees grow in. It seems spacious and airy, and I'm sorry I have to travel all the way over from Crecent Park. It's just too bad it could not have been moved or traded with the school (or whatever) on the corner of Charleston and Middlefield so that people who are shopping could go to the Library and vice-versa. That would probably bolster intellectual and economic activity in the city.

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Posted by Not a Shopper
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm

bru: there has never been any suggestion of a land swap with the Challenger School on the corner of East Charleston and Middlefield. The land at that location is owned by the County.

I think it's much better to have the Mitchell Park Library attached to Mitchell Park, JLS and the baseball field in it's present location. We can all walk to the library and enjoy the open space of Mitchell Park instead of wasting our money at the Charleston Shopping Center.

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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

bru is a registered user.

Not A Shopper, and I'm sorry if I upset you with such a crass suggestion that someone using the library might like to get a snack, meal or drink while doing research or reading. The library will not be moved so you can relax. No one was, is or would have been forcing you to "waste" your money on anything, but why do you seem to hate Charleston Center so much?

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Posted by paly parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm

bru - there will be a Cafe in the new library, a wonderful addition!

Web Link

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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 22, 2013 at 5:29 pm

bru is a registered user.

> bru - there will be a Cafe in the new library, a wonderful addition!

Thanks Paly Parent, yes, sounds great. Libraries can be much more comfortable and welcoming, there's no need for the old harsh library environment of the past, but quiet is nice!

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