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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, May 08, 2002

News Digest News Digest (May 08, 2002)

Police cleared in shooting death

Two Palo Alto police officers involved in the March 20 shooting death of an East Palo Alto man near the Stanford campus did nothing wrong, according to an investigator for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

In the incident, Pedro Calderon Jr. was shot and killed after two officers tried to pull him over on Stanford Avenue. A Palo Alto officer and a Stanford officer were involved in the incident.

The report, which contains no recommendations, was made last Friday to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office and will likely be reviewed by a grand jury.

Family members and community members held a protest March from East Palo Alto to Palo Alto in the week following the shooting, and the family is reportedly considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
A home for the schools chief

The Palo Alto school board voted last week to give Superintendent Mary Frances Callan an interest-free loan of up to $500,000 to help her buy a house in the Palo Alto area. The promissory note will be due and payable 18 months after Callan leaves the district or when the property is sold.

Callan, who was the superintendent of schools in Pleasanton, came to Palo Alto in January. The last time the school district gave financial assistance to a superintendent for housing was for former Superintendent Jim Brown, who initially used the loan to buy a home in Southgate before deciding to rent the home from the district instead.
Kniss optimistic about trails agreement

North County Supervisor Liz Kniss is optimistic about an eventual agreement on two Stanford trails required as part of the university's general use permit.

The county Board of Supervisors directed its staff last week to begin the environmental review of five possible alternatives for the two trails.

But difficulties may still lie ahead. Three of the five trail alternatives to be studied go too far into the interior of Stanford lands for the university to consider building them.

"There are some trails we are not going to do," said Larry Horton, Stanford's director of government and community relations. "We have to wait and see."

Kniss noted that Stanford has relented and agreed, in the case of the southern trail, to use a cow tunnel going under I-280, something the university formerly refused to consider.

But there are a host of potential difficulties ahead, even if political agreement is reached between Stanford and the county. The cow tunnel is Caltrans property and access to it would be along a Caltrans easement, meaning an agreement would have to be reached with the state agency.

There may also be some engineering difficulties with the northern trail, and there are also potential litigation problems on part of the northern trail, a dispute between property owners and San Mateo County which doesn't involve Stanford.

The county board will meet again in June to get an update from its staff on the trails issues. A final decision had been scheduled for August, but the environmental studies may delay that.

"It's now a balancing act between the property rights of the owner and the interests of the community," Kniss said. "I don't think anyone figured how difficult it would be to put this together."

-- Don Kazak

Utility rate decrease proposed Utility rate decrease proposed (May 08, 2002)

Palo Altans may see their utility bills drop by 8.8 percent in July, pending the City Council's discussions about next year's budget.

The Utilities Department is recommending the decrease, which reflects a drop in wholesale gas prices since last year. The drop stems from a 27 percent reduction in gas rates for residents, based on lower wholesale prices, conservation efforts and a sluggish economy, according to a staff report.

If approved, the new rates will go into effect July 1. The average residential bill will decrease about $20 a month, from $225.49 to $205.76.

The utility is also asking for increases of 25 percent in water rates and 20 percent in wastewater collection rates -- amounts that have been factored into the overall 8.8 percent decrease and will help cover rising costs and capital projects.

-- Pam Sturner
Nixon School moving across town in 2003

Students, teachers and everyone else at Nixon Elementary School on Stanford Avenue will temporarily move to Garland School in the fall of 2003 while Nixon is renovated.

The Palo Alto school district made the decision because work on Nixon will go much more quickly if the buildings are empty.

Garland, a former elementary school on North California Avenue, is the temporary home of Terman Middle School, which will be moving to Arastradero Road in September 2003, once its new building is renovated. Nixon officials say they won't start thinking about packing until this fall.

-- Elizabeth Lorenz
Stanford, KTEH form partnership

Stanford University and KTEH, the South Bay public television station, have formed a partnership to jointly produce programming.

"This collaboration brings together two institutions that are fundamentally committed to the creation and dissemination of knowledge in service of the public good," said Stanford President John Hennessy.

The partnership between the television station and Stanford will be for both local and national programming.

KTEH serves a 14-county area, south to Monterey, and has a weekly audience of almost 2 million viewers.


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