News Digest | January 6, 2023 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 6, 2023

News Digest

Palo Alto Museum prepares for construction

More than two decades after Palo Alto's elected leaders began exploring the idea of building a history museum to celebrate everything from HP to the Grateful Dead, the project is finally on the cusp of transitioning from dream to reality.

Bolstered by a recent federal grant and newfound political support, the project hit a milestone last month when the City Council approved two of the three documents that needed to be finalized before the rehabilitation of the Roth Building can begin: a 40-year-lease lease with the Palo Alto Museum for the Homer Avenue building and a licensing agreement that establishes the city's right to move its historic archives to the new museum.

The third required document, a tenant work letter, is now being reviewed by Palo Alto staff .If the plans move forward, construction will begin in the spring, Rich Green, president of the Palo Alto Museum board of directors, told this news organization.

The lease allows the nonprofit to use the facilities at a cost of $1 per year while requiring that the new museum be open to the public for at least 20 hours per week. The city, meanwhile, would have exclusive use of about 1,300 square feet of space in the building to house its historic archives, which are currently stashed in a bungalow at Cubberley Community Center and in storage areas at city facilities.

Palo Alto also would contribute 9.6% of the museum's operation and maintenance costs for the new building, accounting for its proportionate use of the facility, under the lease terms.

— Gennady Sheyner

New laws that will impact Silicon Valley

A flurry of California state laws went into effect at the start of the new year that could impact the daily lives of Silicon Valley residents. Here's a look at the biggest changes involving housing, transportation and more. All laws went into effect on Jan. 1 unless otherwise specified.


With the passage of AB 2011, affordable housing could pop up near the neighborhood mall. Developers will be able to take advantage of underused commercial areas with parking, office or retail buildings and repurpose the land for affordable housing projects. The bill goes into effect July 2023.


AB 1041 lets workers use paid sick leave to take care of loved ones other than immediate family members.


AB 1909 sets several changes in motion: eliminating ordinances that required cyclists to obtain a bike license, allowing e-bikes in bike lanes, allowing cyclists to cross with pedestrians on walk signals and requiring cars to change lanes to bypass cyclists on the road.

AB 2147, the Freedom to Walk Act, decriminalizes jaywalking in California.

Social justice

California provides a safe haven for transgender individuals with the passage of SB 107, co-authored by Assembly members Kalra, Lee and Evan Low. The law prevents state agencies from complying with information or extradition requests from other states that have laws against transgender health care. This also prevents California law enforcement from aiding out-of-state agencies in taking transgender children away from parents from states that punish families for allowing children to undergo gender-affirming procedures.

— Loan-Anh Pham/San Jose Spotlight

Police arrest Tech CEO for bathroom peeping

A tech CEO in Palo Alto was arrested on Monday in Mountain View for allegedly peeping into a woman's restroom stall, the Mountain View Police Department said.

Police dispatchers got the call around 11:40 a.m. from a woman who said she had been in the bathroom at Panera restaurant on El Monte Avenue when she saw a man stick his head underneath the stall to look at her, according to a press release. The woman screamed and the man ran out of the restroom and out into the street.

The woman gave chase on foot and confronted the man near El Camino Real, police said. She attempted to take a picture of him but he grabbed her phone and pushed her to the ground.

According to police, he then took off running toward Marich Way, took off his shirt and jumped a fence, and then returned to Panera, where he was tackled by a group of bystanders.

The victim identified the 35-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of robbery and peeping.

Detectives are concerned that there may be more victims that have not come forward. If you or anyone you know may be a victim of the alleged peeper, contact Detective Josh Gould at [email protected] Police would also like to talk to anyone who witnessed the event.

— Bay City News Service


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2022 at 11:17 am

felix is a registered user.

So glad this is at last happening. I can hardly wait to be at the opening. Thanks to all who persevered and funded.

It’s not just the history of the famous, but the history of us all - from way before European settlement, to our first school teachers, the early shop owners, the train that ran just behind Bol Park, the Cannery where Fry’s was, etc.

It’s going to be terrific to find out who we are.

Posted by Mauricio Gonzalez
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 30, 2022 at 12:40 pm

Mauricio Gonzalez is a registered user.

A terrific idea but who will decide what is of historical importance and the overall connection?

The old Kepler's Bookstore and defunct Magoo's Pizza in Menlo Park were just as significant in regards to the roots of the Grateful Dead as are the former Swain's and Dana Morgan & Son music stores in downtown Palo Alto.

And the joint Grateful Dead/Ken Kelsey Kool-Aid Acid Tests took place in Menlo Park...not anywhere in Palo Alto.

Surely PA town is not claiming exclusive fame for these pioneering cultural endeavors.

Lastly, I read awhile back in Palo Alto Online that the mechanical gorilla at the now defunct Antonio's Nut House was potentially slated to be a Palo Alto Historical Museum exhibit...seriously?

The proposed exhibits should be relative and pertinent.

Hopefully that hideous wooden 'Friends' sculpture from Sweden that used to occupy a space near the lawn bowling site on Embarcadero will not be included.

Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2022 at 2:49 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

Very good news, indeed. This is an interesting building and a good choice for the museum. I have admired some of the offerings the History Museum has in its collections at the Midtown Ice Cream Social in past years. It will be nice to see a lot more on display when the museum opens.

Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 31, 2022 at 9:15 am

Neal is a registered user.

That building should be bulldozed and used for housing.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2022 at 5:27 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

Once again, the city is using Cubberley, which is falling into awful disrepair, as an ATTIC to store stuff from north Palo Alto community facilities that are under construction to make them nicer, newer, bigger. As the city moves forward plans to build many hundreds of new housing units in close proximity to Cubberley, creating demand for community services and school capacity in south Palo Alto, this seems like the city is thumbing its nose at south Palo Alto again. We need our community center operational again. What is going on? When is Cubberley going to be prioritized?

How, exactly, did this project rise to a top priority? Let's see...We are upzoning huge swaths of south Palo Alto for housing. Maybe we should improve their rundown major public community center. No. Instead, they decided to create a historic museum in north Palo Alto even though they just built a new Junior Museum and Zoo, upgraded the Art Center, expanded and renovated all three libraries and Lucie Stern community center in north Palo Alto...even though south Palo Alto helped pay for electrical undergrounding which was supposed to be implemented citywide and stopped dead when north PA was done...even though south PA helped pay for FIVE grade separations in north PA and there are none yet south of Oregon Expressway. At what point is the city going to start addressing long-term disparities? How and why did this project rise to the top of the list of city priorities?

Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 1, 2023 at 5:56 am

S. Underwood is a registered user.

20 years later this is still only a shell of a plan. The numbers don't add up. We will be paying dearly, and for years...

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2023 at 7:45 am

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Yes by all means build a museum to celebrate ... not sure exactly what. Museums are monuments to decades of backslapping, in this case from the Mayor's office to Stanford and back again.

We could save a bundle by training a cadre of docents who could give guided tours through Alta Mesa Cemetery. There IS link from PA to the GD. PigPen is buried in Alta Mesa. Also, Steve Jobs is lurking there in an unmarked grave. David Packard and Shirley Temple are there, too. We could create interactive audio. When a person stands on a famous Palo Altan's grave, an audio would surround them with their life story. Maybe Tennessee Ernie Ford will serenade them with "The Ballad Of Davy Crockett". As a nod to Stanford, Stephen Timoshenko's grave could operate some kind of engineered whatnot, while singing "I was Ukrainian, when Ukrainian Wasn't Cool".

I can't wait to read the tenant work letter.

Posted by JonnyK
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 1, 2023 at 10:05 am

JonnyK is a registered user.

So many are completely in the dark regarding all of the important history of this town. Most have no clue. The museum will be able to educate the next generation(s) and help lessen the profound ignorance.

I think it is a travesty that the entire building can't be dedicated as a museum. It's footprint is not all that large and I fear that it will force the displays to be minimalistic, further downplaying the history.

Also, I took a look at the designs.... do people really think that it's a good idea to store most of the historical items in the basement? Is the basement currently flooded? We just had a major flood. This should be a warning!

Hopefully this deal doesn't fall through. I don't have another 20 years to wait.

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