Three San Francisco residents were arrested in downtown Palo Alto on Tuesday night, March 26, and charged with smashing and burglarizing cars. They were allegedly caught acting suspiciously by plainclothes officers who were patrolling a garage on High Street in the aftermath of a burglary spree.
Palo Alto police arrested Shane Springer, 43, Oleg Nevidomyy, 23, and Julia Nenaydokh, 21, on multiple charges relating to burglary and drug possession after stopping the vehicle they were in and finding stolen items, heroin and syringes. Police made the arrest minutes after the car, a 2004 Lincoln Navigator, was spotted by plainclothes officers in a parking stall on the second floor of the garage, known as Lot "R." The officers were driving an unmarked car and were specifically on the lookout for burglaries, about 45 of which have occurred in this garage over the past six months.
The officers became suspicious when a man next to the Navigator appeared startled and tried to look busy upon seeing the officers cruise by. Though there was no shattered glass or any other disturbances in the area, the officers took down the Navigator's license plate and proceeded to patrol upper levels of the garage. When the officers returned less than 10 minutes later, they saw that the Navigator was gone, that a car parked two stalls away had a broken rear window on the passenger side and that there was shattered glass on the ground, according to a police statement. They broadcast the information about the Navigator over the police radio, triggering a search for the car.
Anyone with information about this incident should contact the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.
Greenmeadow to lead organic-waste experiment
For residents of Palo Alto's Greenmeadow neighborhood, the routine chore of putting out black trash bins for Wednesday's garbage pickup took on added significance this week.
That's because Wednesday, March 27, was the last time that the traditional trash bins would be used in the south Palo Alto neighborhood in the coming year. Starting next week, the black bins will be replaced in Greenmeadow with ones that are, appropriately, green.
The neighborhood and nearby apartment buildings were recently chosen by the city for a yearlong pilot project in which residents will consider whether a piece of waste is organic — rather than whether it's recyclable or not. If so, it would go in a green bin and be picked up for sorting and composting at the Z-Best facility in Gilroy. Otherwise, it would go in the blue bin and get shipped to the Sunnyvale Material Recovery and Transfer (SMaRT) Station, where recyclable goods are separated from everything else.
The City Council approved the project in January, but it was only in recent weeks that the Public Works Department identified Greenmeadow as the pilot neighborhood. The area's location had a lot to do with it. The city was looking for a neighborhood sufficiently isolated from others, to avoid confusion among residents using the traditional model and those participating in the pilot project.
Palo Alto water rates set to rise again
Palo Alto residents will see their water bills rise yet again in July, despite successful efforts in recent years to conserve water.
The City Council Finance Committee voted last week to approve a recommendation from Utilities Department staff to raise water rates by 7 percent in July, a change that would add about $5.19 to the average residential monthly bill. Like in years past, the recommendation is driven by two factors: the increasing cost of buying water from the city's supplier, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and various capital projects related to the water system.
The rate increase is less dramatic than what staff had previously projected. Last year, the Utilities Department estimated that it would have to raise rates by 15 percent in the fiscal year 2014, which begins on July 1, to accommodate rising wholesale and capital costs. Each of these costs increased by less than expected.
But the latest rate adjustment is far from the end of the story for local ratepayers, who saw their rates go up by 15 percent last year and by 20 percent the year before. More 7 percent increases are on the horizon for each of the next three years, according to a staff report. This year, the 7 percent increase will add about $2.4 million in revenues.
The rate adjustment would add to what are already some of the highest water bills in the region. As of February, the median residential monthly bill in Palo Alto was $62.16, compared to $61.87 in Menlo Park, $51.53 in Redwood City and $39.69 in Mountain View.