Around Town: Room to roam; corporate shake-up | News | Palo Alto Online |


Around Town: Room to roam; corporate shake-up


In this week's Around Town column, find out which Palo Alto park could add an off-leash area for dogs, an upcoming leadership change at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and how a teen skater is turning a setback into a lesson.

ROOM TO ROAM ... Palo Alto's dog owners, rejoice! Your faithful companion will soon have a new place to frolic without a leash. After nearly a decade of talking about the need to add dog parks, the city is getting ready to actually build one at Peers Park. On Tuesday, the Parks and Recreation Commission is set to approve a "park improvement ordinance" to create an off-leash area at the back of the park, near to the Caltrain tracks. After the council does the same, the city will solicit bids for a contractor and then construct the 0.72-acre park, which will include a vinyl-clad chain-link fence, separate enclosures for large and small dogs; picnic tables; trash receptacles; a bag dispenser; water fountains for dogs; and wind screens for the adjacent tennis courts. The project is part of the city's broader effort to expand the city's meager inventory of dog parks, which currently includes little green slivers at Hoover and Greer parks (each is less than 0.15 acres in area) and a larger off-leash area at Mitchell Park (0.52 acres). A new parks plan that the council adopted earlier this fall calls for these three dog parks to be expanded. It also identifies other local parks that could accommodate exercising canines: Eleanor Pardee Park, Bowden Park, Robles Park, Kingsley Island, Werry Park, Juana Briones Park and Heritage Park. In the past, city officials had encountered some resistance from neighbors of parks where they considered putting dog runs. That does not appear to be the case at Peers Park.

CORPORATE SHAKE-UP... Former California governor hopeful Meg Whitman will be stepping down as CEO of Palo Alto-based Hewlett Packard Enterprise, effective Feb. 1. She will be replaced by Antonio Neri, who currently serves as the company's president. "I'm incredibly proud of all we've accomplished since I joined HP in 2011. Today, Hewlett Packard moves forward as four industry-leading companies that are each well positioned to win in their respective markets," Whitman said in a press release Tuesday. "Now is the right time for Antonio and a new generation of leaders to take the reins of HPE. I have tremendous confidence that they will continue to build a great company that will thrive well into the future." Her six-year tenure is filled with many changes -- notably the organization's split from HP Inc. in 2015 and plans to take its global headquarters south to Santa Clara made public on Nov. 2. Neri, an HP employee since 1995 when he was hired as a computer service engineer, has worked closely with his soon-to-be predecessor, said Pat Russo, chair of HPE's board of directors. "HPE is in a tremendous position to win, and we remain focused on executing our strategy, driving our innovation agenda, and delivering the next wave of shareholder value," Neri said in a statement.

RISING ABOVE... Palo Alto's own Vincent Zhou is a living example of bouncing back from low points: case in point -- his reaction to a ninth-place finish at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Internationeux de France on Nov. 17-18. The 17-year-old fell twice during his short program performance to "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol. Despite the mishaps, he redeemed himself in his free skate to "Nature Boy" from the "Moulin Rouge" soundtrack. He ended the performance with a triple Lutz-single loop-triple flip combination, according to U.S. Figure Skating. The athlete, who's in his first Grand Prix Series this season, earned 222.21 points overall last weekend. When the competition was over Vincent neatly hand-wrote a two-page letter to sort out his feelings and later posted the message on Twitter. "Today, I fought. I performed with all the passion and spirit I could muster. I made mistakes, I failed my expectations, and I am disappointed with the results. However, I am Vincent Zhou. I am young, ambitious, hungry, and motivated. But most importantly, I am still learning," he wrote in a message at 12:17 a.m. He continued his soul searching on the next page written at 12:36 a.m. "I am doing my best to handle all I go through, dawn till dusk, so that I may one day meet my standards and group my seemingly impossible dreams."


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


20 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2017 at 9:00 am

I am not a dog owner at present, but have lived with dogs most of my younger life. I would not want to take a dog to the dirt filled parks we have in town. Dogs end up filthy and would need to be bathed before being allowed in the house from the dust in summer and the mud in rainy season.

Can we please have a sensible grassy dog park? It would be nice to have an area where we can actually walk and train a dog to walk to heel also rather than just let them run free.

I do like the dog area in the new San Antonio center - it is about the only thing I do like about the center. If I was a dog owner I am sure I would be going there to exercise my dog knowing that he wouldn't get covered in dust or mud.

10 people like this
Posted by dog lover
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 25, 2017 at 11:33 am

Although my dog prefers people to other dogs, I am happy that there will be a dog park with separate spaces for large and small dogs in nearby Peers Park. I concur with Resident that it would be ideal if the dog park is covered with grass, rather than simply dirt.

4 people like this
Posted by Thoughts of secession again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2017 at 11:42 am

It is completely inappropriate to slate Juana Briones Park for a dog park. This is more revenge against neighbors on that side of town. The City report stated that side of town should be one area prioritized for acquisition of property for parks and open space because of density and development impacts. The City should buy property and create s dog park which we need, not destroy the only community asset over here at the same time that overdevelopment has robbed our children of benefiting from the majority of community assets on the north side of town because of traffic.

9 people like this
Posted by Thoughts of secession again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2017 at 11:54 am

Of course, the city once tried to put an electrical substation here. There have been other times the school was treated like it was just empty and could be taken over. What is it about City Council that they think we're a remote and exploitable outpost? We need adjacent amenities. The Fry's site should become a community center and community maker space, maybe even with a city pool the kids can reach on this side of town by bike.

Council is disproportionately north pa - there should be a restriction that half must come from south of Oregon since half or more live there and we are chronically shafted by City employees. (Who are one day in for a rude awakening when they've overdeveloped away enough residents - who do they think is going to pay their pensions if they keep favoring development interests who don't at the expense of residents?)

8 people like this
Posted by Go, Vincent!
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 25, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Vincent Zhou is a shining example of determination, grit, and grace.

We're rooting for you, Vincent!

Like this comment
Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 25, 2017 at 7:26 pm

DTN Paul is a registered user.

Does the northern bias of our city council really exist? What are the primary examples of this bias? Why would they be biased in this way? I find the whole sentiment very hard to understand.

6 people like this
Posted by Thoughts of Secession Again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2017 at 11:44 pm

DTN Paul,

You can begin learning some of the history from longtime residents like Doug Moran, who summarized in a July blog post

"North Palo Alto Bias

"One of the persistent problems in Palo Alto politics is a strong North Palo Alto bias. ... The city has a long painful history of its North Palo Alto political elite being uninterested in even learning about conditions in the rest of the city, often to the extent that they projected a sense that the "hinterlands" was so irrelevant that it might as well not exist. "

I've given some examples above. Imagine the City deciding to plunk an electrical substation in the middle of the Lucie Stern courtyard. It's a double standard.

City amenities and access to City government are centered in north PA, and overdevelopment has had greater impacts in the south. It wasn't as bad when one could zip downtown in 15 minutes. But trips downtown and back can now take 45 minutes each way. Now that all the great retail areas have been decimated, not that we even try as much. We have been seriously impacted by overdevelopment in terms of our family time, quality of life, productivity, etc. Downtown may as well be a different town now. We have nice city pools on the other side of town that my family and others effectively has/have no practical access to anymore, to the detriment of our youth on this side of town, especially since fewer can afford to join a private club.

That doesn't really answer your question, which you could answer yourself if you make a little effort, but the way you have asked indicates the kind of lack of interest Moran describes. He has written about that issue, perhaps you can speak with him. And also the publisher of the Weekly who has witnessed the long history of dominance by north residents in City Hall. If you don't understand where that relates to bias, you may wish to study some of the underlying reasons for representative democracy.

One of the structural issues is that northern residents are generally wealthier and Council is not a paid position.

1 person likes this
Posted by No more whiners
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Nov 27, 2017 at 3:21 pm

We have a city called East Palo Alto; why not another called South Palo Alto? Then all the whiners can take charge of their own city, have their OWN city council, community center, downtown, etc., etc.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Los Altos's State of Mind opening NYC-inspired pizza shop in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 16 comments | 8,477 views

Wait, wait – we’re working on it
By Diana Diamond | 19 comments | 2,638 views

My Pet Peeves
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 7 comments | 2,064 views

Premarital and Couples: Here Be Dragons!
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,413 views

Goodbye toy stores
By Cheryl Bac | 9 comments | 1,383 views


Short story writers wanted!

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 27, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details