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Behind the Headlines

Palo Alto never runs out of interesting and controversial issues to pick apart. Behind the Headlines is a weekly podcast featuring journalists from the Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online analyzing those issues and getting deep into the weeds and politics behind them, often with the help of prominent guests.

Introducing the Peninsula Foodist

On this episode, meet the Peninsula Foodist, also known as Palo Alto Weekly education reporter Elena Kadvany, who this week debuted a new e-newsletter covering the Peninsula dining scene, from parking lot food stands to Michelin-starred restaurants. Read our story on the launch of the Peninsula Foodist e-newsletter at https://bit.ly/2JC1XR9

July 19, 2019
Who are the RV dwellers?

Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss the diverse community of people living in recreational vehicles along El Camino Real and the various circumstances that brought them there. Read our story on the issue at https://bit.ly/2JuVK9C

July 12, 2019
Tug of war over Stanford growth

Palo Alto Weekly journalists break down the Santa Clara County Planning Commission’s supporting vote for Stanford University’s proposed expansion with requirements for building housing, mitigating the impacts of traffic and protecting the foothills. Read our story on the issue at https://bit.ly/2LqemJx

June 28, 2019
On the trail of a killer

Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss the cases against John Arthur Getreu, 74, a convicted killer and rapist who is charged with two murders of young women on Stanford University land in the 1970s. They also highlight DNA advances that allowed detectives to solve the cold-case crimes and reactions to his arrest from the brother of one of his victims and a survivor of one of his crimes. Read our story about Getreu at https://bit.ly/2WYaf9q

June 21, 2019
The plastic ban; Hacker sentenced

Weekly journalists break down Palo Alto's newly adopted ban on plastic straws and produce bags, which begins at the 0:43 timestamp, and recap this week's sentencing of Ross Colby, which begins at the 13:00 timestamp. In 2015, Colby hacked into and temporarily took down Palo Alto Online and four other Embarcadero Media websites.

June 14, 2019
Housing at Cubberley?

Palo Alto Weekly staff delve into a divisive proposal to build housing at Cubberley Community Center as part of a redevelopment project at the aged campus.

June 7, 2019
Growing concerns over Stanford's expansion

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian joins Weekly staff to highlight the key areas of contention around Stanford University's ambitious expansion plan, which is facing increasing scrutiny from local officials and Stanford students.

May 31, 2019
Students speak out 2019

High school students Claire Cheng, Caroline Furrier, Ben Gordon and Arjun Prabhaker discuss issues impacting students in Palo Alto with education reporter Elena Kadvany.

May 24, 2019
RV parking program takes off

Alicia Garcia, associate director of Project WeHope, discusses a new partnership between the nonprofit and city of East Palo Alto to help people living in their recreational vehicles through the new RV Safe Parking program, which provides services and resources with a goal of eventually moving them into permanent housing. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong, Sue Dremann and Cierra Bailey join her for the conversation.

May 17, 2019
Conflict over Stanford-expansion process

Palo Alto Weekly journalists explain recent and controversial developments in Stanford University's application process under the county of Santa Clara. The county's halted negotiations over a proposed development agreement and the university's sharply worded request to delay public hearings are among the latest actions that have occurred.

May 10, 2019
Preventing the next creek-flood disaster

Palo Alto resident Tom Rindfleisch discusses long-awaited recommendations on how to keep the San Francisquito Creek from overflowing its banks and flooding streets and homes. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong and Gennady Sheyner join him for the conversation.

May 3, 2019
Palo Alto eyes business tax

Former Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt discusses efforts to help south bay cities, including Palo Alto, put business tax measures business tax measures on their ballots to pay for critical municipal services, such as transportation programs and affordable housing. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong and Gennady Sheyner join Burt for the conversation.

April 26, 2019
Recycling at the crossroads

Phil Bobel, Palo Alto's assistant director of Public Works, talks about the uncertainty facing the city's recycling operation since China has become unwilling to buy recycled items that are considered "contaminated." Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong and Associate Linda Taaffe explore the impacts of the change and ways that cities are responding.

April 12, 2019
State bills on housing

Three California bills aimed at creating housing opportunities -- AB 302, SB 4 and SB 50 -- are discussed by Palo Alto Weekly journalists. AB 302, the "Safe Lot" bill, would guarantee that homeless community-college students can sleep overnight in their cars on campus. The discussion on that bill begins at the 0:50 timestamp. SB 4 and SB 50 are bills would allow for greater density of housing along transit corridors. The discussion on those bills begin at the 10:50 timestamp.

April 5, 2019
Debate over SB 50

Palo Alto Vice Mayor Adrian Fine and Greer Stone, vice chair of the Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission, join Weekly journalists for a discussion of state Senate Bill 50, a contentious legislative proposal that seeks to increase housing construction in transit-friendly and jobs-rich areas.

March 29, 2019
The charter school challenge

Weekly journalists discuss what the rapid rise of charter schools means for traditional school districts, including the K-8 Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto.

March 22, 2019
Unpacking the admissions bribery scandal

Palo Alto college adviser John Raftrey discusses with Weekly journalists the implications of a multimillion-dollar nationwide admissions bribery scandal.

March 15, 2019
Mayor pushes back on SB50

Palo Alto Mayor Eric Filseth discusses with the Weekly his concerns with Senate Bill 50, which aims to boost California's housing stock, and his own ideas for addressing the state's housing shortage.

March 8, 2019
Ravenswood upheaval; VTA's new bus plan

Weekly journalists discuss the leadership battle at Ravenswood City School District, where the schools superintendent was just placed on leave beginning at the 0:20 timestamp, and explain why Palo Alto is so frustrated with Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's latest bus plan at the 10:59 timestamp.

March 1, 2019
Shedding light on region's black pioneers

San Jose author Jan Batiste Adkins talks about the struggles and successes of Santa Clara County's early African-Americans featured in her new book African Americans of San Jose and Santa Clara County." Adkins joins Palo Alto Weekly associate editor Linda Taaffe and reporter Sue Dremann.

February 22, 2019
Charter school expansion debate; downtown office cap repealed

Weekly journalists delve into the Ravenswood City School District debate over a charter school's expansion proposal (0:38); recap Palo Alto's move to allow more commercial development downtown (10:28); and discuss Gov. Gavin Newsom's new vision (19:58) for California's high-speed-rail project.

February 15, 2019
The new Cubberley

Palo Alto City Councilwoman Alison Cormack joins Weekly journalists for a discussion about the community effort to create a new vision for Cubberley Community Center.

February 8, 2019
The dilemma of deception

When a loved one has dementia, can it be an act of kindness to tell them a lie? Barton Bernstein, a caregiver for his wife and an emeritus history professor at Stanford University, talks about the ethics of what some call "compassionate deception." Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong and Linda Taaffe join him for the discussion.

February 1, 2019
Building affordable housing

Randy Tsuda, CEO and president of the nonprofit Palo Alto Housing, builder of affordable housing, talks about the recently approved 59-apartment Wilton Court project in Palo Alto and the challenges and opportunities for solving the Bay Area's housing crisis. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong and Gennady Sheyner join Tsuda for the conversation.

January 25, 2019
Restaurant critic retires

Longtime critic Dale Bentson looks back on 18 years of reviewing restaurants for Embarcadero Media. Read his retrospective of covering the Midpeninsula dining scene here. Bentson joins Palo Alto Weekly staff writer Elena Kadvany, who runs the blog "Peninsula Foodist," and Mountain View Voice Editor Andrea Gemmet.

January 18, 2019
Nonprofit's plans for Animal Shelter

Al Mollica, executive director of the nonprofit Pets In Needs, talks about what Palo Alto pet owners can expect once the organization takes over operations of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter in February. Mollica joins Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong and Gennady Sheyner for the podcast.

January 11, 2019
Best movies of 2018

Palo Alto Weekly film critic Peter Canavese and Tim Sika, host/producer of the radio show Celluloid Dreams, review their picks for the top 10 movies of 2018 with Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong. Canavese authors the film website GrouchoReviews.com and Sika's reviews can be found at CelluloidDreams.net and also on KGO radio.

January 4, 2019
Year in Review

In this episode, Palo Alto Weekly journalists close out the year by recapping the biggest events, controversies, surprises and newsmakers of 2018.

December 28, 2018
Rail resign update, President Hotel zoning

In this episode, Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss the latest on Palo Alto's largest infrastructure project since the construction of Oregon Expressway -- the redesign of the city's four rail crossings. And, around the 16-minute mark, they recap the City Council's decision Monday on zoning for the President Hotel.

December 14, 2018
Update on Stanford's expansion proposal

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian discusses the negotiation process with Stanford University over its proposed expansion of the campus by 2.275 million square feet. Topics include funding for the school district, housing requirements, traffic and how the development agreement process relates to county's standard land-use review. Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong and Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner join in the conversation.

December 7, 2018
Secret dealings over President Hotel

Documents released by the city of Palo Alto reveal how developer AJ Capital has been lobbying the city to change zoning laws and using the tenants of President Hotel Apartments in downtown Palo Alto as leverage. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong, Linda Taaffe and Gennady Sheyner discuss this week's cover story.

November 30, 2018
Treating postpartum mood disorders

Psychiatrist Nirmaljit Dhami, medical director of El Camino Hospital's Maternal Outreach Mood Services program, discusses the signs, symptoms and treatment for postpartum mood disorders, which affect one in five mothers after childbirth.

November 16, 2018
Analyzing the election

With ballots still being counted for Palo Alto's and East Palo Alto's Nov. 6 election, Palo Alto Weekly journalists analyze the results so far, including the clear winners, the race outcome that's still pending and the significance of local voters' choices

November 9, 2018
Challenges of caregiving

Paula Wolfson, manager of Avenidas Care Partners, discusses the rising numbers of family caregivers in Palo Alto and the many services available to help families navigate caring for a relative. Joining her in the discussion are Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong and Associate Editor Linda Taaffe.

November 2, 2018
Palo Alto's traffic challenges

Palo Alto Assistant City Manager Ed Shikada discusses challenges facing the city when it comes to traffic and Palo Alto's plans for improving transportation for residents and commuters. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Gennady Sheyner and Jocelyn Dong join him in this episode of "Behind the Headlines."

October 26, 2018
Election 2018 - East Palo Alto

Weekly editor Jocelyn Dong leads a discussion with staff writers Sue Dremann and Gennady Sheyner about the East Palo Alto City Council race and the city's Measure HH commercial business tax, which could bring funding for building new housing and job training.

October 19, 2018
Election 2018 - Palo Alto City Council Race

Weekly journalists preview the City Council election with a discussion about Palo Alto's five candidates and their stances on some of the city's most urgent issues.

October 12, 2018
Election 2018 - Palo Alto School Board Race

The 2018 Palo Alto school board race involving six candidates is the subject of this week's "Behind the Headlines" discussion with Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong and Staff Writers Elena Kadvany and Sue Dremann.

October 5, 2018
Election 2018 - Palo Alto City Council Debate

Palo Alto City Council candidates Pat Boone, Alison Cormack, Tom DuBois, Eric Filseth and Cory Wolbach speak about their platforms and positions during a debate sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly and moderated by journalists Jocelyn Dong and Gennady Sheyner at Cubberley Community Center on October 3, 2018

October 3, 2018
Election 2018 - Meet Alison Cormack (Palo Alto City Council)

Palo Alto City Council candidate Alison Cormack got her first taste of Palo Alto politics by leading the 2008 library bond campaign, which voters passed. In this interview, she talks about her career in high tech, her perspective as the only woman running for a seat on the council and her experience as a caregiver for family members.

September 28, 2018
Election 2018 - Meet Cory Wolbach (Palo Alto City Council)

Palo Alto City Council candidate Cory Wolbach grew up in Palo Alto and was elected to council in 2014. In this interview, he talks about how his love of politics was ignited in high school, his decision not to go to four-year college immediately after high school, and his involvement in the Democratic Party. He also shares "Cory's Five Steps to Policymaking."

September 28, 2018
Election 2018 - Meet Eric Filseth (Palo Alto City Council)

Palo Alto City Council candidate Eric Filseth is a tech executive who was elected to council in 2014. After growing up in rural Canada, he came to Palo Alto to get his bachelor's degree at Stanford University, where he met his wife. In this interview, the avid cyclist talks about his love for the environment, as well as the tech colleagues who've made a big impression on him.

September 28, 2018
Election 2018 - Meet Pat Boone (Palo Alto City Council)

Palo Alto City Council candidate Pat Boone grew up volunteering for political campaigns in Washington D.C. and eventually became a TV journalist. In this interview, he talks about his passion for getting to know people and his impressions of Palo Alto. He also reveals his love of roller coasters and details about his brief acting career.

September 28, 2018
Election 2018 - Meet Tom DuBois (Palo Alto City Council)

Palo Alto City Council candidate Tom DuBois is an entrepreneur who was elected to council in 2014. The gift of a personal computer when he was in seventh grade changed his life and led to a career that has taken him around the world. In this interview, he recalls his childhood in eastern Ohio and talks about the importance of music in his and his children's lives.

September 28, 2018
Palo Alto's Housing Plans

Weekly journalists discuss Palo Alto's response to a recent Santa Clara County Grand Jury report, which urged cities to do more to address the regional housing crisis.

September 21, 2018
Election 2018 - Election Measures E and F

Weekly journalists delve into Palo Alto's Measure E, which would raise the city's hotel-tax rate, and Measure F, which would cap how much health care providers can charge patients.

September 14, 2018
Peninsula Photo Contest

Palo Alto Art Center Director Karen Kienzle discusses the Peninsula Photo Contest with Weekly Associate Editor Linda Taaffe and staff photographer Veronica Weber.

June 8, 2018
Students speak out 2018

A discussion with the incoming and outgoing Paly, Gunn student board representatives High school students Advait Arun, Richy Islas, Arjun Prabhaker and Caroline Furrier discuss issues impacting students in Palo Alto with education reporter Elena Kadvany.

June 1, 2018
Palo Alto's financial outlook

Palo Alto City Councilwoman Lydia Kou discusses the proposed 2019 city budget with Palo Alto Weekly city-beat reporter Gennady Sheyner and Editor Jocelyn Dong.

May 25, 2018
Regional Measure 3

Weekly journalists discuss a measure on the June 5 ballot that would raise bridge tolls to fund $4.5 billion in transportation improvements.

May 18, 2018
Palo Alto's superintendent pick

Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss the career of Don Austin, Palo Alto Unified's pick for superintendent, and his proposed contract with Palo Alto Unified.

May 11, 2018
Walter Hays traffic; new bell schedule

Weekly journalists discuss the recent changes at the intersection of Middlefield and Embarcadero roads which parents say has created dangerous road crossings, and the approval of a new schedule at Paly, which will allow students to start school at a later time.

May 4, 2018

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