Since then, however, the eclectic, spontaneously assembled and generally beloved dining areas have become permanent fixtures along University and California avenues and other commercial blocks. The City Council is no longer debating whether to keep them around, having voted several times now to extend the pilot program.
The Architectural Review Board considered design rules for the new parklet program on Thursday, and the council will consider the changes on Monday.
In addition to design rules, restaurant owners will face new restrictions. Propane heat and generators will not be allowed in parlets, and restaurants will not be allowed to store power cords or conduits under sidewalk. Restaurants may also now be subject to permit fees.
One methodology proposed by staff would charge businesses based on the market price of a parking space, setting a one-space parklet at $9,125 annually. Larger parklets that take up two and three spaces would cost $18,250 and $27,375, respectively.
Other methodologies proposed by staff would charge considerably less, in one case as little as $210 per month for a downtown parklet that takes up two spaces. The new report suggests that the rates should strike a balance between generating the revenues that the city needs to support the program and ensuring that the program would be affordable enough for businesses to participate.
— Gennady Sheyner
City considers outlawing hate speech
Seeking to demonstrate their commitment to oppose racism, Palo Alto leaders are preparing to consider on Monday a legally dubious proposal for an ordinance that would make hate speech a local crime.
The law, which has been championed for months by council member Greg Tanaka, would target individuals who engage in hate speech based on factors such as race, ethnicity and gender identity. At recent meetings, Tanaka pointed to recent incidents targeting Asian residents and business owners, most notably the racial-hate tirade that was directed at the owner of Fuki Sushi last year.
While city leaders routinely acknowledge that hate incidents are a major problem, not everyone agrees that a local law is the right way to go. A new report from City Manager Ed Shikada notes that hate-based criminal conduct is already punished by existing state law and suggests that the city focus its efforts on education and outreach rather than draft a new ordinance.
Among the biggest challenges for the city in adopting an ordinance of the sort proposed by Tanaka is the need to ensure that it does not run afoul of free speech rights, which are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Aram James, a former public attorney who frequently advocates for social justice and criticizes police policies, said this week that he strongly opposes Tanaka's proposed ordinance.
The council agreed on Monday to schedule a hearing for May 9 on a broad range of efforts pertaining to hate crimes and incidents, including a discussion of the new misdemeanor ordinance.
— Gennady Sheyner
Striking nurses ratify agreement with hospitals
Nurses at Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals overwhelmingly voted to end a weeklong strike, their union, the Committee for the Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA), said on Monday. The strike was the first in 20 years by the union against the hospitals.
The nurses walked out on April 25 after a 93% approval vote that authorized CRONA to call a strike. The nurses chose to strike against the hospitals due to conditions they said were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Intense pressure of understaffed units and constant requests for overtime were pushing as many as 45% of union members to consider leaving the hospitals soon, according to the union, which represents about 5,000 nurses.
The nurses returned to work on Tuesday, CRONA said.
The nurses will receive across-the-board wage increases that keep up with the high cost of living in the Bay Area, rising prices and competitive contract nurse rates.
Nurses working in units that are difficult to staff and require care for the most severely ill patients will receive additional incentive pay.
The new contract also offers significantly increased retiree medical benefits and student loan assistance.
— Sue Dremann
This story contains 728 words.
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