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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2001

News Digest News Digest (December 12, 2001)

Police to conduct interview connected to terrorism Police to conduct interview connected to terrorism (December 12, 2001)

The U.S. Attorney's Office has asked the Palo Alto Police Department to locate and interview a person, believed to be a Palo Alto resident, in connection with the investigation of recent and possibly future terrorist acts against the United States.

In a statement to the press, Palo Alto Police Chief Patrick Dwyer confirmed the department agreed to the request, "as long as such assistance can be rendered in a legal and ethical manner which protects the rights and dignity of all Palo Alto's residents and visitors."

The statement emphasized the individual would not be detained unless there is specific probable cause to indicate involvement in criminal activity. More details about the person in question were not available.

It is not known if this is the first such interview conducted by the Palo Alto Police Department for the U.S. Attorney's Office. -- Bryan Chin
Sept. 11 victims honored

Stanford University has created five scholarships to honor the five Stanford alumni who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. The scholarships will provide assistance to three undergraduates and two graduate students.

The five former Stanford students who died in the attacks were Ulf Ramm Ericson, Naomi Solomon, Waleed Iskandar, Bryan C. Jack and Vincent M. Boland.

Boland, who earned a master's degree in the program in Learning, Design and Technology in 2001, was a New Jersey native who was working on the 97th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

Ericson, a Swedish native, earned bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering in 1948 and 1949. He was on the 91st floor of Tower Two.

Iskandar, a native of Lebanon, earned bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial engineering in 1988 and 1989, and was on board American Airlines Flight 11.

Jack, a Texas native, earned a master's degree in business administration from Stanford in 1978 before going on to earn a doctorate degree in economics from the University of Maryland, and was a professor of economics at George Washington University and a lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. He was aboard American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon.

Solomon was the daughter of Stanford economics professor emeritus Herbert Solomon and grew up on the Stanford campus. She earned a bachelor's degree in French and a master's degree in education in 1970 and 1971. On Sept. 11, she was attending a conference in the Windows on the World restaurant in the World Trade Center. -- Don Kazak
Conflict of interest probe requested

East Palo Alto Mayor Duane Bay has asked the state Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate possible conflicts of interest of several City Council members, including himself.

The City Council has been hampered in its deliberations over the proposed IKEA furniture store because Bay and City Councilwoman Myrtle Walker have possible conflicts of interest due to their ownership of property within 500 feet of the IKEA site.

Walker, who has declined to talk to reporters about the issue, has said that City Attorney Michael Lawson ruled she was in possible conflict of interest, but also implied she disagreed with that assessment. Bay's letter also is asking the FPPC whether Walker is in any conflict because of her role as the board chair of Drew Health Foundation, which has agreed to lease its property to the developers of property nearby.

Bay's letter to the FPPC also asked the state commission whether City Councilwoman Sharifa Wilson is any conflict because of her job with the nonprofit group Leadership Midpeninsula, which -- in the past -- had received donations from IKEA and University Circle developer Linda Law and her husband. -- Don Kazak
Terror response funding approved

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors last week approved $3 million in emergency preparedness funding. This will include funds for bomb-sniffing dogs and funding for deputies trained specifically in anti-terrorism duties.

The board had earlier created a $5 million fund for emergency purposes. The remaining $2 million in the fund will be kept in reserve.
Family initiative launched

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors last week launched a Violence In Families Initiative Program, aimed at reducing domestic violence and child abuse.

The effort will include a host of existing agencies working together, with financial assistance provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

"It's imperative that these partnerships be established to best serve victims of domestic violence and child abuse," said Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, who announced the formation of the new program. "It is our hope that with the collaboration of public and private agencies, we can more effectively reduce the rate of family violence in San Mateo County."

The county receives 500 reports of child abuse every month.
Man to be arraigned in scalding of girl

Arraignment proceedings were postponed another two weeks Friday for Sean Romes, a man charged with scalding a 1-year-old girl in East Palo Alto.

Romes has resisted having an attorney appointed by the court because he believes his family hired one for him.

Court-appointed defense attorney Tom Kelley appeared with Romes in San Mateo County Superior Court, but said he was reluctant to proceed if Romes had, in fact, retained an attorney. Romes has told the court repeatedly that his family hired San Francisco attorney V. Roy Lefcourt to represent him, but neither Lefcourt nor a representative has shown up.

A spokeswoman for Lefcourt said this afternoon that although the attorney's office was contacted regarding Romes' case some time ago, no retainer had been paid for his services.

Romes, 25, was arrested after a 1-year-old girl he was babysitting on Nov. 20 for his girlfriend suffered second-degree burns from scalding-hot bath water. The girl reportedly spent more than a week in a hospital burn unit after the incident before being released to the custody of Child Protective Services.

Since his arrest, Romes has appeared in court four times and been charged with child endangerment, inflicting corporal injury on a child and mayhem, for the disfigurement of the child. He has yet to enter a plea or set a date for a preliminary hearing, however, due to his lack of legal representation.

The court appointed an attorney over his protests earlier this week, and Judge Jonathan Jones today set the matter over to Dec. 20 to allow time for the confusion to be resolved.

Romes' girlfriend, Keisha Commander, and her mother, Yolanda Green, also face charges for allegedly failing to obtain medical care for the child forseveral hours after the incident. Commander is caring for the child on behalf of the natural mother, who is reportedly a transient.

Romes remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail, and is next scheduled to appear on Dec. 20 to enter a plea and set a preliminary hearing date. - Bay City News Service


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