News Digest | July 22, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 22, 2011

News Digest

Palo Alto delays debate on vehicle-dwelling ban

Palo Alto officials are delaying their plan to institute a ban on vehicle dwelling after hearing complaints about the proposed ordinance from a group of homeless residents and advocates.

Planning director Curtis Williams told the Weekly that city officials decided to postpone their discussion of the ordinance until Sept. 12. The City Council was originally scheduled to consider the issue Monday (July 25).

About a dozen residents — some of them homeless — attended the council meeting this week and urged the council not to pass a law that would make living in cars illegal. The Rev. Greg Schaefer, pastor at the University Lutheran Church, asked the council to delay its discussion and consider other alternatives for residents with no place to live.

Williams said the delay would give city officials a chance to consider some of the issues that were brought up at the meeting. He said the goal of the new ordinance is to identify those vehicle dwellers who cause disturbances in their neighborhoods.

"If someone is minding his business and not causing any problems, that's not what we want to aim our ordinance at," Williams said.

Most cities in the region already ban vehicle dwelling. Palo Alto officials were urged to institute a ban by residents from the College Terrace neighborhood who complained that vehicle dwellers create unsanitary conditions in their neighborhood.

Palo Alto's proposed ordinance would make vehicle dwelling a misdemeanor that could be punished by a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

Palo Alto Andronico's to close

Andronico's market, a high-end grocery store that's been a fixture at Stanford Shopping Center since 1997, will close its doors Sunday (July 24).

The "rough decision" to close the Palo Alto location came as the family-owned business works through a recapitalization with an unnamed equity partner, a spokeswoman said.

Employees said they were told of the closure July 15.

Around opening time Monday morning it appeared to be business as usual, with freshly stocked shelves of cheese, baked goods and still-warm bread.

"We're hoping to stabilize and strengthen the company long-term" through the reorganization, Diane Krebs, the company's operations administrator, said July 18.

Signs on the store windows touted big discounts through the July 24 closing and referred shoppers to the Andronico's in Los Altos' Rancho Shopping Center for the future.

Andronico's was founded in Berkeley in 1929 by Greek immigrant Frank Andronico and is currently operated by Bill Andronico.

The company has four stores in Berkeley, one in San Francisco, one in San Anselmo and the one in Los Altos.

In 2006, a Danville store was sold and a Walnut Creek location was closed.

"It's unfortunate they are closing because they're a great grocery store and a wonderful addition to the shopping center," said Julie Kelly, Stanford Shopping Center's director of marketing and business development.

"We have a number of options currently under consideration, but no decision has been made for a replacement at this time."

Silicon Valley tech industry on rise, study shows

Silicon Valley's tech industry is emerging from recession and heading for a 15 percent growth in jobs over the next two years, according to an economic development study of Silicon Valley released Tuesday (July 19).

The study, conducted over a period of eight months and based on 250 employer surveys and more than 50 executive interviews, was released a day after Cisco announced the company is eliminating 6,500 of its jobs.

Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy and an author of the study, said it is unclear what implications that decision will have on growth prospects. He said the move indicates that Silicon Valley is in a constant state of flux.

"Cisco has had a very strong rise in employment over the last 10 years, so this has to be put in context," Levy said. "There are always going to be companies that for some reason or another shrink."

The study suggests the industry is shifting from hardware-oriented sectors to the Internet, applications and social networking.

Since December 2009, tech companies have added 13,000 jobs with expansions planned for Google, Facebook and Skype, Levy said. The sponsoring workforce boards for the study included NOVA, based in Sunnyvale, and Work2Future in San Jose and San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

The report, titled "Silicon Valley in Transition: Economic and Workforce Implications in the Age of iPads, Android Apps and the Social Web," can be accessed at

— Bay City News Service