PREPPING FOR THE BIG ONE ... As one of 13 students chosen nationally to serve on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Youth Council, Gunn High School junior Divya Saini is already deeply immersed in emergency preparedness. But Saini says Palo Alto could be doing a lot more. With the lure of fun — fake injuries — she's urging teens to come out for this weekend's simulated-emergency "Quakeville" campout at Cubberley Community Center. "Teens will get decked out in fake injuries and we still have spots for victims," Saini told the school board Tuesday. On a serious note, she asked that schools incorporate emergency-preparedness education into the required high-school Living Skills class — and even offered to help create the curriculum.
OUR FRIENDS IN CHINA ... Palo Alto already has more siblings than the Partridge Family, but that's not stopping the city from looking for more partners abroad. Weeks after celebrating the 25th anniversary of its sister-city relationship with the Swedish city of Linkoping (one of six sister cities in Palo Alto's municipal family), Palo Alto is now looking even further east. The City Council will on Monday consider a formal partnership with the Yangpu District of Shanghai, China, an area known for a dynamic high-tech sector and the prominent Fudan University. The Palo Alto-based cloud-computing giant VMWare also enjoys a presence in Yangpu. Under a staff proposal, Yangpu wouldn't be a "sister city" but rather a "partnership city" focusing on economics and technology. The "intention agreement" between Palo Alto and Yangpu would commit the cities "to explore mutual economic interactions to, among other things, enhance the economic health and betterment" of the two communities and "keep each other informed on important economic and civic issues." Officials from the two municipalities are scheduled to formalize their agreement at a signing ceremony Thursday.
FOLLOW THE MONEY ... Palo Alto residents now have a new tool at their disposal for tracking city expenditures. The City of Palo Alto has just partnered with local company Delphi Solutions in launching an "open government" platform that uses graphics, charts and spreadsheets to lay out the city's budgets over the past five years. The new tool was unveiled last week and heralded as the latest effort in the city's push to promote "open government." "It translates to a deeper relationship with our community," City Manager James Keene said in a statement. "We're removing barriers and supporting a more informed and engaged citizenry here in Palo Alto." The new tool can be found at http://data.cityofpaloalto.org/openbudget .