NEW FARMERS MARKET ...Palo Altans will soon have another weekly farmers market to frequent, with the Oshman Family JCC launching its own on Friday, May 2. About 20 fresh-food and produce stands will be selling their goods (fruits and vegetables, baked goods and the like) from 1 to 6 p.m. every Friday from then on. A variety of food trucks will also make an appearance for the Friday lunch rush, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. "Now people will have an easy way to stock up on healthy, local food for the weekend. Anyone in the neighborhood can just pop in at lunch..." OFJCC Event Coordinator Katie Chapin said in a press release.
GUNN GETS HIGH MARKS ... Gunn High School was the only Palo Alto high school to make it onto the U.S. News 2014 Best High Schools list, named the fifth best STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school in California, No. 17 in the state overall and No. 104 in the nation. U.S. News released the list Tuesday, explaining that a total of 19,411 public high schools were evaluated based on three elements: performance on state proficiency tests, college readiness and whether the school's typically disadvantaged students (black, Hispanic and low-income) were performing better than average for similar students in the state. Gunn ranked well across the board, with an Academic Performance Index of 918 (with the best possible being 1000), a College Readiness Index (calculated from the percentage of seniors who took AP classes in the 2011-12 academic year and how well students did on the tests) of 75.2 (with the best possible being 100, which would mean every senior took and passed at least one AP class) and disadvantaged students' proficiency at 727.6 (out of 1000).
THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' ... The Palo Alto City Council should change its official meeting time from 7 to 6 p.m., the council's Policy and Services Committee agreed unanimously on Tuesday. That recommendation is based on both the council's recent track record and its current workload. The Municipal Code states that regular council meetings begin at 7 p.m. on the first three Mondays of each month, but in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, only 27 percent of the council meetings began at that time (34 percent began at 6 p.m. and 39 percent at 5 p.m. or earlier), according to a staff report. Committee member Larry Klein wondered why so many meetings have moved to earlier times. "We have become either far more inefficient than our predecessors or far more busy," he said Tuesday. At least one very recent experience supports his point. The night before the committee's discussion, a council meeting that began at 6 p.m. stretched until about 12:35 a.m. State and local law allow the council to hold special meetings at times other than the regular meeting time. The city has given notice when those meetings start at 6 p.m. The council also often uses the time before 7 p.m. for study sessions and closed sessions. Committee member Greg Scharff said he regards the study sessions as public business. "Sixty-three percent (of public meetings) started before 7 p.m. It does the public a disservice to tell them public meetings start at 7 and the meetings are at 6 p.m.," he said. The committee also voted unanimously to support an ordinance that would use online or electronic filing of campaign statements, although member Greg Schmid wondered if the electronic filings would be secure, or if they could be sabotaged by opponents.