Our Town: Around Town

Publication Date: Wednesday Mar 24, 1999

Our Town: Around Town

SHER OVER LEMPERT . . . The Loma Prieta chapter of the Sierra Club has endorsed state Sen. Byron Sher, D-Palo Alto, for re-election in 2000, calling him "an environmental hero." Endorsements are being lined up early for the election because Assemblyman Ted Lempert, D-Palo Alto, has announced his intention to run against Sher. In his long career in Sacramento, Sher has authored several pieces of environmental legislation, including the California Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the state's recycling law. Sher, a former Palo Alto City Councilman and mayor, was elected to the Assembly in 1980 and to the Senate in 1996.

TURNED DOWN . . . He tried driving around in a car shouting with a megaphone about how much he loved Stanford University and wanted to go to college there. But Woodside High School senior Tyler MacNiven won't be heading to The Farm this fall. In spite of his political campaign-like efforts, MacNiven, who has a 4.05 grade-point average, plays singles for the varsity tennis team and is student body president, was turned down by Stanford, according to an article in "Stanford" magazine. Instead, the magazine reports, he will most likely spend his freshman year at, of all places, UC Berkeley.

BUILDING BRIDGES ... In a meeting with Assemblyman Ted Lempert, Palo Alto City Council members expressed their strong support last week for reviving the Dumbarton railroad bridge to relieve congested traffic on the highway bridge. "It's just nuts not to use that rail line," Lempert agreed. Opened to rail traffic in 1910, the 11-mile railroad bridge has been closed since 1982 and was badly damaged by a fire in January 1998. In December, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority approved a plan to create a commuter rail service connecting Redwood City with the East Bay by 2003. Lempert said Palo Alto should lend its voice to San Mateo County's push for the bridge to gain more state and federal funding for the project. The San Mateo County Transportation Authority already has approved $60 million, but bringing the bridge back to life is expected to cost $120 million. "It's a 19th-century line, and using 20th-century technology we can build a bridge into the 21st century," joked Mayor Gary Fazzino.

GOOD MATH ... Budgets are a nightmare for most people. Not so for the folks at the Palo Alto Unified School District's business department. They seem to enjoy crunching numbers. Their superior mathematical efforts were acknowledged last month by the Association of School Business Officials with the Meritorious Budget Award. Palo Alto was one of only two districts in the state given the national honor this year, according to school board member Cathy Kroymann. The business office is under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent Bob Golton, who took over the department in the fall of 1997.

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