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May 26, 2004

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Around Town Around Town (May 26, 2004)

VULGAR? WE'RE AGHAST! ... The Weekly contacted former Palo Alto City Attorney Ariel Calonne to get his reaction to the news that the council had offered Santa Clara's Assistant City Attorney Gary Baum Calonne's old job. Calonne was noncommittal, but recalled watching Baum give a good presentation at a conference. "He is probably a capable guy," Calonne wrote via e-mail. Calonne also reported that he passed the Colorado state bar on April 30, and was officially sworn in as city attorney of Boulder last week. His first project is a resolution urging the county to issue same-sex marriage licenses. He wrote that the City of Boulder is awesome. "The parallels to Palo Alto are amazing, but the affluence level is not yet so vulgar as what became of Palo Alto," Calonne wrote.

CALLING ALL ARTISTS ... Landscape artists are invited to submit paintings to the Committee for Green Foothills for an exhibition later this year. Some of the paintings will be part of the Nature's Inspiration: Celebrating the Arts show, at the Family Farm in Woodside Oct. 30. One artist will receive the Jane Gallagher Award, including a small cash prize. More info can be found at, or by calling Velma Gentzsch at (650) 968-7243.

WEBSITE WOES... The city of Palo Alto's Web site could get a redesign, especially its confusing and often inept search engine. Councilwoman Hillary Freeman made a successful motion to that end at last week's Finance Committee meeting. Less successfully, Freeman suggested that city staff hold a contest with local high school students to redesign the page. "They looked at me like I was crazy, but they were nice," Freeman said.

JUST SAY G'DAY! ... Palo Alto's Chief Transportation Official Joe Kott is going back to school -- in Australia. Kott has been accepted as a part-time, external doctoral student in the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. His research topic: The use of advanced electronics and traffic-engineering measures to create safe, multi-modal arterial streets. No worries, mate, Kott will only spend two weeks a year on campus in Perth, at his own expense, until his dissertation is completed. After that, just call him "Dr. Kott."

A SQUEAKER ... It couldn't have been closer. The Southgate neighborhood's recent poll on whether to form a neighborhood association came up with 41 residents in favor and 40 against, with two undecided. About one-third of the neighbors participated in the vote, which was held both online and via paper ballots. Jennifer Hagan, head of the association's organizing committee, stated: "Given the positive support of the residents, the committee has decided to move forward with organization efforts." No word on what would have happened if the vote had been tied. The next step for the budding group is to elect a five-member board of directors, which Hagan said would take place in the next month. Wisely, the association will initially focus on community building in Southgate, a neighborhood across the street from Palo Alto High School.

PTA PROTEST ... Palo Alto resident Joyce Osagiede protested the district attorney's decision to clear Officer Brad Kilpatrick, who was accused of using excessive force when he ticketed a black teenage boy in March, in front of the PTA Council's luncheon Friday afternoon. "The city let black citizens down this week," Osagiede said Friday morning. Osagiede said Palo Alto's "black residents are not comfortable" with the way the schools or the justice system handled Kilpatrick's case.

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