Our Town: Around Town

Publication Date: Friday Jul 23, 1999

Our Town: Around Town

KNISS ANNOUNCES ... Palo Alto City Councilwoman Liz Kniss confirmed this week she will join the race for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Kniss, whose term on the City Council expires in two years, said she received strong encouragement from Supervisor Joe Simitian and Palo Alto Mayor Gary Fazzino to run. Kniss, 59, said she will take a leave of absence from her job with Sun Microsystems Inc. to prepare for the March primary. "I think I've realized that public service is what I've always enjoyed," said Kniss, who served on the Palo Alto school board for two years before she became a council member in 1989. "I think it's time to take that experience and apply it at another level." Kniss will run for the seat being vacated by Simitian, who is planning to run for the state Assembly. Five other candidates already have expressed an interest in Simitian's seat: Cupertino City Councilman Michael Chang, Mountain View City Councilwoman Patricia Figueroa, Foothill-De Anza College District board member Dolly Sandoval, Santa Clara County Planning Commissioner Terry Trumbull and former Saratoga Mayor Don Wolfe.

COMPASSIONATE CANDIDATE ... Medical marijuana advocate Mark Steinkamp, 42, is considering joining the fall race for the Palo Alto City Council to campaign for more compassion. "The whole issue of compassion is going to be my primary platform," said Steinkamp, who took out nomination papers this week. "I think we need that in Palo Alto." Steinkamp, a strong supporter of using marijuana for medicinal purposes, is a self-employed insurance broker who works with homeless people and Stanford patients. Last August, he offered to become a medical marijuana agent for the city of Palo Alto, to make the drug available to research patients at Stanford--an offer the city declined. A former medical marijuana user, Steinkamp considers himself an advocate for the homeless and children's rights. On Monday night, he brought his two daughters to the City Council meeting to request more playground equipment and increased hours at city-run swimming pools.

FOREIGN FIASCO ... The much-maligned Foreign Friends statue has run into trouble again. This time, the double life-sized wooden sculpture depicting a couple and their dog has lost an arm. This is the sixth indignity suffered by the statue since it was donated by Palo Alto's sister city in Sweden, Linkoping, 10 years ago. When the statue was located at Embarcadero Road and Waverley Street, the couple's heads were removed and never recovered. The city spent $3,000 repairing and moving the sculpture to a new site at Werry Park last year, according to Palo Alto's arts and culture director, Leon Kaplan. But Kaplan said he has nothing up his sleeve this time. "It is wood. It is 10 years old," Kaplan said. "I've been pretty clear that I'm not going to put a lot more effort into salvaging it and repairing it." College Terrace resident Susan Rosenberg, who found the wooden woman's hand in a nearby hedge, said she had no idea who was the culprit: "I think it was just goofy kids doing goofy things," she said.

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