Around Town | August 23, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 23, 2019

Around Town

DIPLOMA DREAMS FULFILLED ... Over the past 18 months, when she wasn't hashing out community issues or voting on new ordinances, East Palo Alto Mayor Lisa Gauthier could be found working toward her bachelor's degree, which she received at a ceremony on Aug. 15 in Mountain View. She's one the 18 people who make up's first local graduating class of its Working Scholars Program. She now holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a focus in general management. "As a single mom of three young adults, I had limited resources when it came to making sure my family could get degrees, so I focused on getting my children through school," Gauthier said. However, she did obtain two associate degrees in marketing management and business administration from De Anza College before going after her bachelor's degree. She first learned about the program when gave a presentation at a City Council meeting. As she was introduced to Working Scholars, she said her first two thoughts were, "Is this real?" and "as an elected official, is this something I could do?" Before she knew it, she dove into the coursework that was always available on her phone or laptop. Her participation as a student also led to an employment opportunity. Gauthier is currently the government affairs manager for, which involves attending conferences and meeting with other cities to help bring the program to more communities among other tasks related to education and policy. "I'm always encouraging young people to go to school and, even older adults who want to go back to school, and this is a great opportunity to lead by example," Gauthier said. "I was able to accomplish one of my dreams and earn a degree without any student debt."

MAKING THE GRADE ... A proposal by Palo Alto City Manager Ed Shikada to establish a new citizens commission devoted to redesigning Palo Alto's rail crossings received a rough reception this week from members of an existing citizens commission devoted to redesigning Palo Alto's rail crossings. The Expanded Community Advisory Panel (XCAP), a beefed-up version of the recently disbanded Community Advisory Panel, had some questions for Shikada on Wednesday about the planned Rail Blue Ribbon Commission (RBRC), which under his plan would be appointed by and report directly to the City Council. (These groups are not to be confused with the Rail Corridor Task Force, a prior citizens panel that explored grade-crossing improvements between 2010 and 2012). Some argued that appointing yet another group would further slow down the process of choosing a preferred alternative. "Why duplicate, and lose a lot of time in the process?" asked XCAP member Phil Burton. Former Mayor Larry Klein, an XCAP member, didn't object to the idea of the new committee, but took issue with Shikada's suggestion that the new group be composed entirely of former elected officials. Judy Kleinberg, president of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and herself an XCAP member and former mayor, shared his concern. "I guarantee, most former elected (officials) have moved on to their condo in Maui. They are not up to speed on this," Kleinberg said. The City Council was scheduled to consider the new committee on Monday but deferred its decision to Sept. 9. Under Shikada's proposal, the RBRC would take the regional view on grade separation, while XCAP would continue to reflect neighborhood perspectives. But Burton said that the new group will allow the council to "delegate politically fraught decisions to people who have not been elected." Klein countered that such concerns are unfounded, given that all committees merely advise the council, which has always been "very jealous about maintaining the right to make decisions." "I don't think you need to worry that the council will be able to avoid the responsibility of making final decisions," Klein said.


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Posted by Interested
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 21, 2019 at 10:04 pm

Will they also make graduate degrees available?

2 people like this
Posted by Online Conveniences
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 22, 2019 at 2:20 pm

I would be interested in getting an online medical or dental degree with the option to specialize.

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