A HERO FOR THE HOMELESS ... Ending homelessness is no easy endeavor — just ask Downtown Streets Team founder and CEO Eileen Richardson, who was recently recognized for her work in leading the nonprofit founded in Palo Alto. She's one of six recipients of The James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, which honors leaders tackling some of the state's top challenges. The reward comes with a $250,000 grant benefiting the organization, which has grown to serve more than 1,000 people across 13 communities in Northern California. This year, all of the honorees are women, a first in the award's 14-year history. "Finding concrete solutions to end homelessness can seem unattainable, but Eileen Richardson has shown that there is (a) path for those seeking a way back into the workforce," foundation President and CEO Don Howard said in a statement. In a Feb. 10 announcement, Richardson was applauded for creating the organization after volunteering at a local food bank while taking a break from working in the tech industry (she was the former CEO of streaming music service Napster). Volunteers who are homeless spend up to 20 hours a week cleaning streets in exchange for job training sessions, stipends, case management assistance and employment services.
BACK ON THE COUNCIL ... If a disaster happens in 2019 that renders current City Council members unable to serve, their seats will be filled by an "Emergency Council" full of familiar faces and former adversaries. Former council members Karen Holman and Greg Scharff, political rivals who both termed out last year, will find themselves back at the dais. Greg Schmid, an economist who served as vice mayor in 2015 and who led last year's grassroots effort to adopt a new citywide cap on non-residential development, would sit on the council with Cory Wolbach, a housing advocate who fell short in his re-election bid last year and who was instrumental in removing the downtown cap on new non-residential construction from the Comprehensive Plan. Rounding out the seven-member roster are three former mayors: Pat Burt, Peter Drekmeier and Bern Beecham. Though the members of the emergency council would bring dozens of years of political experience to the dais, not everyone on the existing City Council is thrilled about his or her would-be replacements. Council members Liz Kniss and Greg Tanaka both voted against the emergency council, which was selected by staff and presented to the council for approval this week. Kniss said she was disappointed that the council wasn't asked to make its own recommendations for the emergency council.
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