Almanac

News - March 2, 2011

Menlo Park briefs: Teens mistaken for burglars

It's hard to be a pack of teenagers these days. A neighbor watched six teens jump a fence into the backyard of a house on Carlton Avenue, and called police. Officers in the area rounded up five of the kids, who reportedly said they were trying to visit family, but they weren't home.

According to the police, the house was locked up tight, and indeed, no one was home.

Pools, labor, drought on council agenda

Back from a two-week hiatus, the Menlo Park City Council resumes pondering existential matters such as swimming pools, how public labor negotiations should be conducted, and drought planning, at its next meeting on Tuesday, March 1.

If the council members stick to the agenda, the end of the meeting will see a new contract awarded to Team Sheeper to operate the Burgess and Belle Haven pools, after months of acrimonious negotiations between the city, Team Sheeper, and SOLO, a nonprofit competitive youth swim team over pool access. For once, bargaining with unions may seem like a refreshing change of pace.

The council meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.

Commissioner also working as publicist

As reported in local newspapers, Menlo Park transportation commissioner Katherine Strehl signed on to handle publicity for the California High-Speed Rail Authority earlier this year.

The new job means she'll have to recuse herself from any discussions and votes on high-speed rail that come before the Transportation Commission, which Ms. Strehl has served on since April 2010.

"Frankly I don't think many high-speed rail issues will come to the commission," she said. "The council has a subcommittee that deals with high-speed rail. I don't speak for the rail authority and it's not my job to try to influence the council."

Previously handling external affairs for BART, Ms. Strehl described her new role as coordinating statewide education and outreach by the rail authority to communities along the proposed rail route.

Meanwhile, in September Menlo Park joined with Palo Alto and Atherton in filing a lawsuit to challenge certification of the environmental impact report for HSR. Attorney Stuart Flashman, who represents the cities, said this lawsuit examines different aspects of the project from a lawsuit filed in 2008, such as widening its right-of-way and eliminating tunnels as an option for the Peninsula segment. The case is currently meandering its way through the courts.

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