The fate of Palo Alto's popular street closure program on University and California avenues will once again be up for debate at a city council meeting on Monday.
The menu of options that council members will consider includes staying on the current path, which directs staff to conclude the program on Sept. 30 but which also gives City Manager Ed Shikada discretion to keep either — or both — of the streets closed until Oct. 31.
A new report from the Department of Planning and Development Services outlines several other alternatives that the council could pursue, should it choose to keep streets closed to cars in the near term. The council can keep the streets car-free until November and then reopen them to vehicles in time for the holiday season. It can wait until the end of January before letting cars back onto the streets. It can limit the downtown street closures to weekends or it could direct staff to temporarily reopen the streets to cars during the holiday shopping season and then potentially revert them to car-free mode until the end of January.
According to the report, the lattermost option would "allow time to observe what happens this winter and decide early next year if the program continues to be needed."
— Gennady Sheyner
Police decertification bill moves to governor's desk
A bill that creates a process for decertifying police officers who have committed serious misconduct is on its way to the governor's desk after the state Senate voted on Wednesday to give the legislation its final approval.
The Senate's 26-9 vote came five days days after the state Assembly voted 46-14 to support Senate Bill 2. While the Senate had given the bill its initial endorsement on May 26, numerous senators who voted to support it in May expressed concerns about the legislation and suggested that they may vote against the bill when it returns for final approval.
Recent amendments to the bill from Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, appear to have mollified some of the critics, who had previously maintained that the legislation is biased against police officers. Opponents of the bill specifically objected to the proposed makeup of the new Peace Officers Standards Accountability Advisory Board, a panel that will be charged with making recommendations on decertification.
The prior version of SB 2 allocated two of the board's nine seats to individuals who have been subject to excessive use of force by police or to family members of individuals who had been killed by the wrongful use of deadly force by police. The amended version of the bill removes this requirement and only specifies that these two members will not be former peace officers and that the governor gives "strong consideration" to individuals who have been affected by police misconduct.
Another amendment in SB 2 raises the threshold of votes required to decertify an officer. The Commission for Peace Officer Standards and Training, which is currently charged with establishing standards for training and recruitment of officers, would review the recommendations of the new panel and make decisions on whether an officer should be decertified. Doing so, under the new amendment, would require a two-thirds vote of the commission's present members and only after the commission establishes that "serious misconduct has been established by clear and convincing evidence." The commission will also have the option of suspending but not revoking an officer's certification.
— Gennady Sheyner
Man allegedly shoots air rifle at student
A 62-year-old man who lives behind a Palo Alto elementary school has been arrested for allegedly shooting a BB gun and striking a child, Palo Alto police said in a statement Sept. 3.
Police said the neighbor's action was not accidental.
Around 12:28 p.m. on Sept. 3, a student playing on an athletic field at the Stratford School campus, located at 870 N. California Ave., was struck in the back with a BB that was allegedly shot from an air rifle by the neighbor.
The child suffered minor injuries and didn't require medical attention. The BB did not penetrate the child's clothing, according to a police press release.
Officers contacted the neighbor and placed him under arrest without incident at about 1:56 p.m. They recovered the air rifle from his home. His motive is under investigation.
The man was booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail for two felonies: assault with a deadly weapon and child abuse, and one misdemeanor, creating a disruption on a school campus.
— Sue Dremann