Tidbits collected by the Weekly staff on people, events and other happenings.
RUFF RECEPTION ... Palo Alto officials often talk about the need to add a new dog park in the northern half of the city, where none currently exist. Recent proposals have been dogged by environmental regulations, concerns about tree health or good-old-fashioned opposition from neighbors in the proposed area. According to a new memo from Daren Anderson, from the Community Services Department, a December meeting focused on building a park in a large grassy area near the edge of Pardee Park (away from the oaks) elicited a mixed reception from the roughly 70 people in attendance. While roughly half supported the idea, the rest opposed it, citing the location's close proximity to homes, the fact that the park is already heavily used "and shouldn't be overly programmed" and their belief that a dog park would "create additional traffic, noise and smell." Staff encountered a different obstacle in Bowden Park, which is best known for its prominent sculpture of a car with human legs. Bowden Park was initially identified as one of the most promising locations for a dog run, but staff had since found challenges in relocating the public art. Now, the top contender is Peers Park. A December community meeting about adding a dog park at Peers Park attracted about 25 people, most of whom supported the idea. The Parks and Recreation Commission is set to consider this site -- and other possible options -- at its March 28 meeting.
OFF TO THE CAPITOL ... The Palo Alto City Council normally relies on lobbyists to carry its message in Washington, D.C. Last week, however, Mayor Greg Scharff, Vice Mayor Liz Kniss and Councilmen Adrian Fine and Cory Wolbach took on the role of lobbyists themselves when they traveled to the nation's capital for the National League of Cities Conference. They met with Congressional leaders, legislative staffers and policy administrators, including members of the Federal Aviation Administration. While the trip, was smooth and productive, there were few grounds for optimism. Kniss said that what she found most discouraging in D.C. was "such a negative feeling for California." Several council members referred to a fashionable new acronym making its way around D.C. in the Trump administration: ABC, short for "Anything but California." The attitude may have explained the recent decision by the feds to freeze an expected grant to Caltrain for its long-awaited electrification project. Wolbach said he and others are now awaiting Trump's "skinny budget" (a preliminary and abridged precursor to the proposed budget) to see if the electrification project makes it in. Wolbach said the group's meeting with the FAA was particularly reassuring, with the agency indicating that it has recently undertaken several studies into airplane noise, a topic that has generated a groundswell of community interest. Scharff said Monday that one of the most useful components of the trip was talking to Republican senators, who he said shared the city's concerns about cuts in transportation. "I'm still hopeful the feds will step up and do the right thing and fund electrification," Scharff said.
HONORING TERMAN JUNIOR ... In recent weeks, as the community hotly debated the value of renaming David Starr Jordan and Terman middle schools given their namesakes' advocacy of eugenics, it was suggested that the name Terman could be retained not in honor of Lewis Terman, a Stanford psychologist who promoted eugenics, but his son, Frederick , an accomplished Stanford electrical engineer with no found connection to eugenics. While some argue only a new name will firmly disavow the more problematic aspects of the elder Terman's legacy, others urged caution in castigating the son for his father's sins. Perhaps little known is that in 2015, a local stretch of U.S. Highway 101 at Shoreline Boulevard was named to honor Frederick. A resolution proposing the naming, introduced by state Sen. Jerry Hill, hails Frederick "one of the most successful American administrators of science, engineering, and higher education in the 20th century." It is likely a citizens committee (or committees) will be tasked with recommending new names for both schools to the Board of Education, which voted to rename the schools by the start of the 2018-19 school year.