Deputy City Manager Rob de Geus, a City Hall veteran who has been temporarily leading Palo Alto's new Department of Transportation, will be stepping down at the end of February to start a new job as city manager of Westlake Village in Los Angeles County.
De Geus, who joined the city in 2000, had spent most of his tenure in the Community Services Department where he started out as recreation coordinator. He was promoted to director of community services in 2015 and spent two years in the department's top position before transitioning to the city manager's office.
Since then, he has been leading the city's various community engagement efforts and assisting with various infrastructure projects, including the renovations of the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course and the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. He has been the public face of the city's effort to redesign the city's four rail crossings and also has been managing the city's newly formed Office of Transportation.
City Manager Ed Shikada announced de Geus' resignation on Friday. In the announcement, Shikada added that the city has not yet made a decision about recruitment for the deputy city manager position.
De Geus' impending departure is the latest in the series of executive-level openings at City Hall.
Man's voice causes home burglars to flee
Two men who forced their way inside a Midtown home last week, one of whom was armed, quickly fled when they heard a resident was inside, Palo Alto police said Wednesday.
The Jan. 16 burglary took place around 11:20 p.m., at a home on Ellsworth Place, just off Middlefield Road and across the street from Keys School. A man in his 20s who lives at the home heard noises in the living room. He called out to another resident, a woman in her 60s who also was there at the time and asked what she was doing, police said.
As he looked for the source of the noise, the man saw that the door leading to the driveway had been forced open, police said. He checked his security camera app on his cellphone, which showed two men broke into the home and then left less than two minutes later without taking anything.
It's possible the two men were startled when they heard the man call out, according to police.
One of the men was described as a Hispanic male with a medium build and a mustache. He wore a dark-colored jacket and a dark-colored sweatshirt and appeared to be armed with a rifle, police said.
Police didn't have information on the second man's race, but said he had a beard. He wore a light-colored sweatshirt and light-colored pants. The department has released images of the men captured on the home's surveillance system.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.
—Palo Alto Weekly Staff
Rangoon Ruby settles wage theft case for $4M
The owners of local Burmese restaurant chain Rangoon Ruby have agreed to pay a $4 million settlement to cover unpaid wages for about 300 workers.
The Asian Law Caucus, which represented the employees who brought the case to the California Labor Commissioner's Bureau of Field Enforcement, announced the settlement on Thursday. The labor commissioner ordered the restaurant chain last summer to pay $5 million in back wages and penalties to the state for wage-theft violations.
Max Lee and John Lee of Rangoon Ruby Investment LLC and Burma Ruby Investment LLC operate six restaurants throughout the Bay Area, including Rangoon Ruby and Burma Ruby in downtown Palo Alto. Stanford University terminated its contract with Rangoon Ruby for an on-campus cafe after finding out about the state citation, according to the Stanford Daily.
"We were tired and frustrated because we were working extra hours without any additional pay," Ah Zhang, one of the employees who reached out to the Asian Law Caucus for help in 2017, said in a press release. The San Francisco nonprofit advocates for the legal and civil rights of low-income Asian Pacific American communities.
In an email to the Weekly, John Lee wrote that they had disputed the claims and that they "regret the tenor of many of the communications about the settlement.
The state labor commission cited the Rangoon Ruby owners for unpaid minimum wages, overtime, paid sick leave, inaccurate pay statements and related penalties. As the citation hearing started, they decided to settle the case, according to the Asian Law Caucus.
The settlement covers the full amount of unpaid wages owed to the workers as well as penalties.