In the latest column, read news about the city showing its support to victims of recent high-profile crimes, notable people with Stanford ties making headlines and expanded hours at Palo Alto Library branches.
SHOWING SOLIDARITY ... The city of Palo Alto this week flew flags at half-staff at City Hall, the Municipal Service Center and other city buildings to honor the victims of mass shootings both near and far that have taken place in recent days.
On Monday, Jan. 23, the City Council meeting was adjourned in memory of seven people who were fatally shot in the Half Moon Bay area earlier in the day when a man opened fire at two farms, one of which he was said to have worked. The shooting came just two days after a mass shooting in Monterey Park, a city in southern California, took place at a dance studio and resulted in 11 deaths.
"Tragedies are perpetuated by those who have access to and use guns as weapons against innocent and helpless victims," Mayor Lydia Kou said before adjourning Monday's meeting. "Our hearts are with them (and) their loved ones in the communities of Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay."
Also on Monday, Palo Alto showed solidarity with its sister city, Bloomington, Indiana, where an Asian student at Indiana University Bloomington was stabbed on a public bus, according to multiple news reports. "The attacker was arrested after being followed by a witness, and police have described the attack as unprovoked and racially motivated," according to a city statement. "This is a horrific attack and reinforces how important it is to dispel the harmful stereotypes that have perpetuated throughout history," Kou said in the release. Anyone who is seeking mental health resources in response to the tragic events can visit medium.com/paloaltoconnect.
NEWMAKERS ... A few notable people with Stanford University ties have made headlines in recent weeks. Reed Hastings, who graduated from the university in 1988 with a master's in computer science, relinquished his title as Netflix's CEO. He had shared the job with Ted Sarandos, who was named co-CEO in July 2020. The CEO role is now shared between Sarandos and Greg Peters, who was previously the company's chief operating officer. Hastings, 62, will still have an active position at the streaming giant as executive chair, which is "a role that founders often take (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, etc.) after they pass the CEO baton to others," he said in a statement.
Disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes also has found herself in the spotlight again just months before she is scheduled to start serving her prison sentence. Holmes, 38, was convicted last year of four counts of wire fraud and conspiracy stemming from false statements she made while she was CEO of her blood-testing startup Theranos. She was ordered to serve over 11 years in prison starting April 27. Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the case have recently gone back and forth over whether she should continue to be free while her appeal works its way through the court system.
Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, founder of the cryptoexchange currency company FTX who was issued federal fraud charges last month, was recently interviewed by Puck News while confined to his parents' Stanford home. (Alan Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, both Stanford law professors, used their residence as collateral so their son could be released on a $250 million bond.) In a Jan. 10 article titled "The Only Living Boy in Palo Alto," reporter Theodore "Teddy" Schleifer described stepping inside the home and being met by the former CEO, who "was certainly a young man in need of both defense and a friend."
BOOKWORMS REJOICE! ... The Palo Alto Library expanded its days and hours of operations at numerous branches, reversing some of the reductions that were made during the pandemic.
The changes, which went into effect on Jan. 21, mean that the Rinconada Library is now open on Sundays, between noon and 8 p.m., while the Mitchell Park Library is open on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
The city also is looking to hire more staff so that it can expand service at the Children's, College Terrace and Downtown branches from three days to four.
Visitors to the Mitchell Park branch may have noticed on-site artwork getting a winter cleaning recently, as seen in an Instagram post by the library system. Staff from the Public Art Program shined the silver owls that greet visitors near the entrance (the work by Brad Oldham also is known as "Whimsy and Wise") and "Cloud Forest," the metal sculpture by Roger Stoller above the book drop slot.
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