Almanac

News - May 25, 2011

Menlo briefs: Businesses boom and bust in Menlo

As businesses like Great Clips open in Menlo Park and others, such as Marche, close, you may be curious as to exactly how often that happens.

According to John McGirr, revenue and claims manager for the city of Menlo Park, a total of 217 new business licenses were issued in 2009 and 207 closed out. The following year saw 223 new licenses and 185 close-outs. He noted that some businesses, such as banks, don't need a local license.

Rotary furnishes furniture for troops

Troops catching a break at the USO lounge at the San Francisco International Airport can now lounge in $50,000 of new leather furniture, thanks to local Rotary clubs.

Mark Flegel, of Flegels Fine Furniture in Menlo Park, agreed to help when fellow Rotarian Don Bowcutt asked for five new recliners. After working with 10 clubs, and Hancock & Moore leather furniture in North Carolina that discounted the cost by 60 percent, they donated 10 recliners, a sofa, loveseat, and six dining chairs.

Budget, budget

It could be a long night on Tuesday, May 24, when the Menlo Park City Council meets to review the proposed 2011-12 budget, the capital improvement plan, and the city's proposed contract with the police sergeants union.

Visit tinyurl.com/MP-budget1112 to see the budget proposal.

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

Red-light camera bill passes state Senate

A bill that regulates how cities use red-light cameras passed the state Senate with a unanimous 36-0 vote.

Sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, Senate Bill 29 requires that:

• Warning signs be posted within 200 feet of intersections with cameras.

• Installation sites be chosen on the basis of safety and not revenue-generating factors.

• Tickets include information on whom the recipients can contact if they have questions.

• "Snitch tickets," which ask the recipient to identify the driver, explain that the recipient doesn't have to incriminate themselves or the driver. Snitch tickets are traffic violation notices meant to identify the driver during the alleged violation.

San Jose resident Vera Gil suggested the legislation as part of Sen. Simitian's annual "There Oughta Be a Law" contest after she got multiple red-light camera tickets for a car in Southern California she doesn't own and has never driven.

"People who get tickets for someone else's car need a way to straighten things out," Ms. Gil said in a press release. "In my case, the license plate was one letter different than mine. I understand how that mistake happens, but it took weeks and weeks to clear-up. There was no information on who to call."

The bill now goes to the Assembly for a hearing and vote.

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