Around Town | January 13, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 13, 2012

Around Town

HONORING DR. KING ... Palo Alto will celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., Monday when it hosts a "Day of Service" event. A wealth of local nonprofits, including Youth Community Service, Canopy and Break Through the Static, are teaming up with the city for the event, which will feature activity tables, live music and open mic. "It's a fun event but also an important chance for people to do something to help others," City Manager James Keene said. The event will go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lytton Plaza. Caltrain will also take part in Martin Luther King Jr. Day festivities by sending its annual "Freedom Train" from San Jose to San Francisco. The train, which is chartered by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara, is scheduled to stop at Palo Alto's downtown station at 9:59 a.m. to pick up passengers and arrive in San Francisco at about 10:55 a.m. Tickets to the train are available at

OFF-PUTTING ... A regional effort to boost flood protection around San Francisquito Creek could bring major changes to the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course — and not everyone is happy about it. The proposal by the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (the agency charged with calming the flood-prone creek) proposes a new levee that would run through the golf course. While Palo Alto officials view the flood-control plan as an opportunity to rethink the golf course's design and consider possible uses for the land, the Palo Alto Women's Golf Club is less sanguine about the proposed changes. In a letter to the council, club members wrote that while they support changes to the course to tame the creek, they oppose the reduction of the course from 18 holes to nine, which is one of the ideas on the table. The letter, which bears 46 signatures, states that golf is "important to the community and is a sport enjoyed by all ages in all of our clubs." It notes that golf is a "year round sport," that the "driving range is very busy" and that the "pro shop is one of the best in the area." "A decision to reduce the course to nine holes, and not properly maintain it, would have serious impacts on the golfing community."

THE INVISIBLE BRANCH ... It's been a banner year for Palo Alto libraries, with the refurbished Downtown Library opening its doors and the new Mitchell Park Library edging toward completion this summer. But while these two branches have attracted most community attention, the city is also working on a more discrete project that the Library Advisory Commission termed the "virtual library." The commission discussed the project Monday in a joint meeting with the City Council. The idea, said library commission Vice Chair Tolulope Akinola, is to "create a branch online where people can not only transact with the library in terms of having material on hold and checking things out and knowing whether you have to pay a fine or not, but also as a place where we can engage with library staff, engage with each other and really find an opportunity for the community online as well that the library can facilitate." The commission, he said, has been working on this project for several months and is looking to prepare a staffing plan and a funding plan for the virtual branch in the coming months with the goals to "really make this come alive this year."

ENERGIZED ... Sen. Joe Simitian, who this year authored a bill that raises California's renewable-energy requirements for utilities, was recognized for his effort this week by the nonprofit Power Association of Northern California (PANC), which named the former Palo Alto mayor its "Person of the Year." Simitian's legislation, Senate Bill 2X, requires utility companies to obtain 33 percent of the electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Jan Petter, a board member of PANC and electric division manager of Silicon Valley Power, lauded Simitian in a statement for his significant impact on the energy industry. "For this year, it was an easy choice to select Senator Joe Simitian, to recognize his success in passing legislation to increase California's renewable portfolio standard to 33 percent by 2020."


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