Around Town | August 17, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 17, 2012

Around Town

WHAT'S IN A NAME? ... The Main Library in Palo Alto will undergo a metamorphosis in the next few years when its rooms are renovated, a wing is added and the driveways around the Newell Road campus where it's located are redesigned. But there is another major change that the city is considering that wouldn't require bricks, mortar or expanded lanes: the library's name. Unlike the city's Downtown, College Terrace and Mitchell Park branches, the Main Library has a name that is fairly vague, somewhat bland and, geographically speaking, neutral. It implies that the branch is the city's largest, a suggestion that is false (the Mitchell Park library, which is undergoing a complete reconstruction right now, is the biggest branch and the most ambitious of the three library-renovation projects financed by a 2008 voter-approved bond). But what should the city call the library? That's the question that the Library Advisory Commission is scheduled to tackle at its April 23 meeting. Library Director Monique le Conge said the idea of renaming the Main Library came out of a joint meeting between the library commission and the City Council in January. "The idea is that we have several strong neighborhood libraries," le Conge said. "There really is no one central library."

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE ... Palo Alto City Council candidates Tim Gray and Mark Weiss have one thing in common: Each thinks the city's political process has become far too exclusive and too welcoming to entrenched politicians. Both had run for council in 2009 and both finished near the bottom of the 14-member pool. Both are planning to run again in November. But they have one major difference. Gray, whose 2009 campaign chest totaled of $800, said he plans to make a "big loan" to his campaign in hopes of being more competitive this time around (though he said he will be the campaign's sole funder). Weiss, who often bemoans the influence wielded by local developers, is less interested in money. He told the Weekly that he will not accept donations and he will put together his campaign ideas through "crowd sourcing" — that is, figuring out between now and November what residents would like to see on his platform. "I'm trying to be someone in the election who is creating an alternative to a machine, or to a system that cranks out a particular type of candidate," he said.

JEAN MAPPING ... Shoppers too busy, too lazy or too technologically hip to walk into a traditional fitting room now have a new and quintessentially Palo Altan option at their disposal: sizing pods. The company Bodymetrics last week unveiled its first Northern California "body-sizing pod" at Bloomingdale's at Stanford Shopping Center. The company had launched its first California program at a Bloomingdale's in Los Angeles, where according to Bodymetrics "shoppers were able to quickly find perfect-fit jeans that match their size, shape and style." Before that, it provided its body pods to Selfridges, a department store in London. So how does it work? According to the company's announcement, shoppers step into a private pod "where their body is carefully mapped with hundreds of measurements and contours to determine the best jean from all leading brands in stock at Bloomindale's." The statement touts the mapping process as one "designed to find styles of jeans that will fit, flatter and accentuate shoppers' unique shape."

SECOND IN COMMAND ... Palo Alto's Department of Planning and Community Environment is often Ground Zero for City Council dreams and resident protests. Its to-do list includes some of the hottest community issues, from high-speed rail and cellular antennas to new bike paths and the controversial redesign of California Avenue. This month, the department added a new high-level staff member to help deal with the workload. On Aug. 6, the city's newly hired Assistant Planning Director Aaron Aknin had his first day on the job. Aknin, who had spent the past five years as planning director in San Bruno, is filling a position that has been vacant for more than a year, ever since the retirement of Chief Planning Official Julie Caporgno (city officials decided to change the position title). Department Director Curtis Williams said Aknin's responsibilities will include the overall day-to-day overview of the department, giving Williams more time to focus on City Council priorities. Aknin will also be involved in special projects, including high-speed rail. Williams said the city had recruited for the position three times but did not find a satisfactory candidate until now.


Posted by Mark Weiss , a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Thanks, Gen. Rage Against the Machine? I'm more about AFI, who played Cubberley in 1996, in terms of style. Or Ozomatli, or Steve Earle. AFI stands for "a fire inside" or "asking for it." fyi
The biggest news right now in terms of agitprop is Pussy Riot: Web Link

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Call it the
Newell Library or the
Community Center Library or the
Brick Library or the
Naked Lady Library (how that statue ever got "erected there I will never understand)

but why isn't the Library downtown the main library?

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Call it the surplus to requirement library, the old fashioned libray (after all we now have a virtual library), the expensive library, the superfluous library, need I go on?