News Digest | October 1, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 1, 2010

News Digest

Police investigate four indecent exposures in a week

Four reports of indecent exposure in the past week have Palo Alto police on alert. Although one person has already been arrested, police believe there is a second, unrelated suspect still on the loose, according to Palo Alto police Agent Kara Salazar.

The first incident was reported Tuesday (Sept. 21) at 7:35 a.m. in the 200 block of Stanford Avenue when a man allegedly exposed himself to an unidentified victim. On Thursday (Sept. 23) at 8:15 a.m., a similar exposure occurred at Birch Street and Oxford Avenue, just two blocks away from Stanford Avenue, police said.

The third exposure was reported Saturday (Sept. 25) at 6:30 p.m. at Bol Park, 3590 Laguna Ave., Palo Alto. Police "flooded the area" and arrested 47-year-old Reducindo Sandoval of East Palo Alto, who was positively identified.

Sandoval was booked into the San Jose Main Jail.

The most recent incident was reported Monday (Sept. 27) at 9:15 a.m. on the foot path near Terman Middle School. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 20 to 30 years old, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing approximately 180 to 200 pounds.

Pardee Park trees deemed hazardous

Ten mature eucalyptus trees in Eleanor Pardee Park are in poor condition and should be removed, according to an independent arborist's report.

The City of Palo Alto hired the consultant to determine the safety and condition of four manna gums (Eucalyptus viminalis) and five blue gums (Eucalyptus globulus) that surround the children's play area.

Sixteen trees attracted attention after several large limbs suddenly crashed to the pavement in January, nearly striking a man who was strolling near the park.

The city removed five trees earlier this year after they were determined to be hazards. A sixth tree is scheduled for removal in a few weeks, now that nesting birds have vacated the tree, according to Paul Dornell, assistant director of public works operations.

Residents' groups have come out strongly on both sides of the issue, with some demanding removal of all 16 trees and others for their preservation.

Torrey Young, registered consulting arborist for Dryad LLC of Castro Valley, gave a presentation to about 25 residents on Sept. 23 at Lucie Stern Community Center regarding his findings. The conclusion: All 10 trees pose a hazard to residents and property and should be removed.

Most conditions cannot be remedied and stopgap measures are minimal, he said. The trees currently have a significant potential for failure of smaller limbs and branches and potential for larger limbs and stems to fail, he said.

The city has not yet made a decision regarding immediate or phased removal. "Staff will now meet to quickly develop a work plan and present that plan to senior management," Dornell said.

Judge dismisses Victor Frost 'cussing' charge

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge dismissed a misdemeanor charge for disturbing the peace against well-known Palo Alto panhandler Victor Frost on Monday (Sept. 27).

But, Frost will appear in court again on Oct. 4 to continue his challenge against the city for citations that he allegedly violated the city's sit-lie ordinance. The city issued 12 citations but reduced the number to six.

Last week Senior Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin said the city would seek to reduce the six charges, which are misdemeanors, to infractions. Frost said he does not want the charges reduced — infractions would mean his case would not be heard before a jury — because he wants his day in court.

Frost was arrested Sept. 22, 2009, for allegedly shouting racial epithets at a homeless amputee near Whole Foods Market on Homer Avenue.

He was charged with disturbing the peace and using "words likely to produce an immediate violent reaction." If convicted, he could have received six months in jail, according to Palo Alto police.

Judge Julia Emede dismissed the charge this morning for lack of evidence, according to court papers.

Frost maintained the man was stealing money out of his collection bowl when he left his usual panhandling spot across the street from Whole Foods for a brief period.

Frost left his usual seat across Homer Avenue for an hour or two, at which time another panhandler, an African-American amputee in a wheelchair, claimed the spot, police spokesman Sgt. Dan Ryan said at the time of the arrest. Frost returned and allegedly shouted at the man. A woman called police when she saw Frost berating the man, Ryan said.

— Sue Dremann