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City's top manager proposes deep cuts - East Palo Alto Today


									A new high school opens ... page 4                                                     EPA teacher wins top award.. page 8                   Are you taking the right steps?              page 9

                                                                            Providing news that is relevant, informative and critical                                      

  East Palo Alto and Belle Haven                                                           March - April 2011                                                                                Vol. 6 No.26

City’s top manager proposes deep cuts
By Henrietta J. Burroughs                      plan, which was presented during          police department. Three depart-       services division, the affordable
East Palo Alto Today                           a special city council study session      ments would be eliminated: com-        housing division, and functions in
                                               on April 7, would eliminate three         munity services, housing services      engineering and maintenance.
  “This is the first wave of the tsunami.” -
    ML Gordon, East Palo Alto City Manager     city departments and bring major          and the public works departments.      These transfers in department
                                               layoffs.                                       Gordon’s restructuring plan       functions will impact not only engi-
    East Palo Alto's City Manager,                Under the plan, East Palo Alto's       would also eliminate three depart-     neering and maintenance, but
ML Gordon, announced a restruc-                seven city departments would be           ment heads and a minimum of five       also building services, finance,
turing plan that would bring major             reduced to four departments, leav-        clerical support positions. The de-    human resources, and planning.
changes and staff cuts to city de-             ing the community development,            partment cuts will necessitate           It is estimated that the proposed                 ML Gordon
partments in East Palo Alto. The               finance, human resources and the          transferring functions in the senior   changes will eliminate two million
                                                                                                                                                                         dollars in salary costs and de-
                                                                                                                                                                         crease the city’s three million dollar

Inside News Collaborating for high speed rail                                                                                                                            deficit to between one and two mil-
                                                                                                                                                                         lion dollars.
                                                                                                                                                                            When Gordon started his pres-
                                                                                                                                                                         entation, he asked that everyone
                             nology                                                                                                                                      focus only on the structure of the
                             is fun-                                                                                                                                     city and not on the individual em-
                             damen-                                                                                                                                      ployees whose positions might be
                             tal ...                                                                                                                                     eliminated. He made sure that the
                             Page 3                                                                                                                                      council understood that he was
                                                                                                                                                                         acting within his duties and re-
                                                                                                                                                                         sponsibilities as the city manager
 Teachers                                                                                                                                                                in deciding on the cuts. He justified
                                                                                                                                                                         his decisions by saying that he
 get funding
                                                                                                                                                                         was simply following the council’s
 for class                                                                                                                                                               direction in implementing the pri-
 projects                                                                                                                                                                orities that the council established
                                                                                                                                                                         for the city, especially, the priority
 Page 5
                                                                                                 Photo taken by Nozipo Wobogo for East Palo Alto Today
                                                                                                                                                                         to “increase organizational effec-
                                               This photo shows California State Assemblymember Rich Gordon, California State Senator Joe Simitian                       tiveness and efficiency.”
                        Protesters             and U.S. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo conferring at the Caltrain station in Menlo Park prior to their joint
                                               presentation regarding their vision of a high speed rail system on the Peninsula. See article on page 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                  continued on page 11
                        ask atty.
                        gen. for
                        justice                Exciting vision for 4 Corners and RBD
                                               By Sean Charpentier                       of 13 well attended public meet-       ating uses in the RBD north of Bay       approximately 1.3 million square
                        Page 5                 East Palo Alto Today                      ings over the last 15 months.          Road. Potential transportation im-       feet of new industrial, office, and
                                                                                              The CPA envisions a walka-        provements include a Dumbarton           R&D uses, 112,000 square feet of
                                                    In January, the Planning             ble downtown along Bay Rd. be-         Rail Station along University Ave.       new retail, 835 new residential
                                               Commission recommended an                 tween 4 Corners and the Bay Trail.     near the northern edge of town, a        units, and potential new parks and
 with the                                      exciting new land use vision for the      The downtown will have a mixture       rapid bus station, additional            community/civic spaces.
 Chief about                                   Ravenswood Business District              of residential, retail, commercial,    pedestrian and bicycle paths, and             The CPA has the potential to
 crime                                         and 4 Corners (University Ave.            and community uses that create a       a loop road that will keep traffic out   create four significant community
 reduction                                     and Bay Rd.). The land use vi-            pleasant environment with street       of the neighborhoods and connect         benefits for the City of East Palo
                                               sion is the Community Preferred           activity at all times of the day.      shuttles to the Dumbarton Rail sta-
  Page 10                                      Alternative (CPA) that is the result      There will be employment gener-        tion. The land use vision includes                 continued on page 13

Rocketship Education denied approval                                                                                                                                            Inside
By Henrietta J. Burroughs                      to East Palo Alto.                        posed charter school's supporters      tary charter school network dedi-               Editorial
East Palo Alto Today                                 In voting to deny Rocketship's      and opponents.                         cated to eliminate the achieve-
                                               request, the Ravenswood City                    Those who supported Rock-        ment gap in high poverty                        News Briefs
     After an impassioned late                 School District's board accepted          etship cited the high test scores of   neighborhoods." Currently the
night meeting, the Ravenswood                  the recommendation of the dis-            its students and the fact that many    Palo Alto based organization                    Opinions
City School District's Board of                trict's staff and it's legal counsel.     of the school's students went on       serves nearly 1,000 students, who
Trustees voted to deny the Rock-               Before casting its vote during its        later to gain college acceptances.     attend classes taught at two                    TV Listings
etship Education organization                  meeting on March 24, the board            Rocketship was founded in 2006
approval to bring a charter school             heard from a number of the pro-           as "a national non-profit elemen-
                                                                                                                                          continued on page 14
                                                                                                                                                                                Youth News
  East Palo Alto Today                                                                       Page 2                                                                      March - April 2011

East Palo Alto has an official emergency plan
By Henrietta J. Burroughs                                                                                             orandum of understanding               gency preparedness training.
East Palo Alto Today                                                                                                  with the school district and the       It also needed to increase its
                                                                                                                      East Palo Alto Sanitary District       collaboration with city agen-
   East Palo Alto now has an                                                                                          for shared responsibilities dur-       cies like the Ravenswood
emergency preparedness plan                                                                                           ing a crisis, and it was involved      Family Health Clinic and it
in place for the city and its res-                                                                                    in a multi-jurisdictional collab-      needed to do a “block by
idents. The East Palo Alto City                                                                                       oration with the Menlo Park            block, neighborhood by neigh-
Council adopted the plan by a                                                                                         Fire Department and with the           borhood push” to get more
3 to 1 vote at its regular coun-                                                                                      cities of Atherton and Menlo           residents prepared.
                                          The above image shows the beginning of the resolution that the
cil meeting on Tues., April 5.                                                                                        Park.                                     In the background material
                                          East Palo Alto City Council approved at its meeting on April 5,
   The plan, officially known as          2011; there- by adopting the East Palo Alto Emergency Opera-                   In 2003, the U. S. Federal          the council received, it was
the Emergency Operations                  tions Plan.                                                                 Government mandated that all           stated that by adopting the
Plan, was presented in a                                                                                              states, cities, municipalities         plan, “the City of East Palo
                                        meeting and added to the               than 500 residents who have
council study session by the                                                                                          and Tribal Areas adopt the Na-         Alto will not only provide a
                                        presentation.                          Personal Emergency Pre-
city’s Police Chief Ron Davis,                                                                                        tional Incident Management             more comprehensive and co-
                                            In outlining the Emergency         paredness (PEP) training,
who was accompanied by                                                                                                System (NIMS), which estab-            ordinated approach to emer-
                                        Operations Plan, Davis cited           which is a shortened version
three people he jokingly de-                                                                                          lished new emergency guide-            gency incident management,
                                        the important steps that had           of the CERT training.
scribed as his emergency                                                                                              lines       required       under       but will maintain the City of
                                        already been taken by the city           Davis also cited the develop-
team: the East Palo Alto Po-                                                                                          Homeland Security regula-              East Palo Alto’s eligibility for
                                        and its residents and the steps        ment and distribution of emer-
lice’s Community Service Offi-                                                                                        tions. So, Davis, Norris and           future disaster reimbursement
                                        the city still needed to take.         gency preparedness bro-
cer Elizabeth Lam; Ryan                                                                                               Schapelhouman all argued               and federal preparedness
                                           In mentioning the steps that        chures, flipcharts and informa-
Zollicoffer, the Menlo Park Fire                                                                                      that the city’s emergency plan         grant opportunities.”
                                        had already been taken, Davis          tional magnets that community
Protection District's emer-                                                                                           met the requirements and                  When it came time to take a
                                        listed: a city-wide notification       members could use to person-
gency services coordinator                                                                                            needed to be adopted as soon           vote on the plan, Council
                                        system; 10 certified emer-             ally access critical information
and Jeff Norris, the Office of                                                                                        as possible.                           member Peter Evans and sev-
                                        gency centers in East Palo             in the event of a local or wide-
Emergency Services' district                                                                                             As to future improvements,          eral audience members ob-
                                        Alto, a city evacuation plan; 50       spread emergency.
coordinator for the San Mateo                                                                                         Davis said East Palo Alto still        jected. Evans said, “Adopting
                                        residents with Community                  The council was told that as
County Sheriff. Menlo Park’s                                                                                          needed to increase the num-            a document from the study
                                        Emergency Response Teams               part of the Emergency Opera-
Fire Chief Harold Schapel-                                                                                            ber of participants in the city
                                        (CERT) training and more               tions Plan, the city had a mem-
houman arrived during the                                                                                             who were involved in emer-                      continued on page 14

A call to reduce pesticide risks at California schools
By Paul S. Towers                                                                                                     cer, 14 are linked to endocrine dis-   effects of pesticide exposure are
East Palo Alto Today                                                                                                  ruption, 26 can adversely affect re-   amplified during critical windows of
                                                                                                                      production and 13 can cause birth               continued on page 13
      Across the state, parents,                                                                                      defects. Scientists increasingly
teachers and environmental or-                                                                                        find     that,
ganizations are celebrating efforts                                                                                   even in very
to make schools healthier places                                                                                      s m a l l
to work and play as part of Na-                                                                                       amounts,
tional Healthy Schools Day. In par-                                                                                   pesticides
ticular, California groups note that                                                                                  have a pro-
reducing pesticides on school                                                                                         found and
grounds is not only good for chil-                                                                                    serious im-
dren, but also saves schools                                                                                          pact on the
money in the long run.                             Photo courtesy of Californians for Pestide Reform                  health and
      “Healthy and green schools        The above photo shows a pesticide being applied at a local                    develop-
are within reach in California,” said   school.                                                                       ment of chil-
Paul Towers, director of Pesticide      state’s schools some of the na-        rent California laws, by compari-      dren.
Watch Education Fund. “But we           tion’s strongest protections against   son, only encourage transition              Accord-
need to take better steps to ensure     pesticide risks.                       away from the worst chemicals          ing to local
that schoolchildren and school                In recent years, California’s    without totally eliminating the use    physician Dr.
staff are protected from toxic pes-     steps towards healthy pest control     of pesticides on school campuses.      Cindy Rus-
ticides.”                               have lagged behind. States like             Unfortunately, toxic pesticides   sell, “Chil-
      Towers noted that the Califor-    New York and Connecticut have          are still regularly used in some       dren      are
nia legislature is currently review-    passed more aggressive laws that       California schools. Of the 40 most     especially
ing the proposed Healthy Schools        ban the use of some pesticides on      commonly used pesticides in            vulnerable
Act of 2011, which would give the       school campuses altogether. Cur-       schools nationally, 28 cause can-      because the
  East Palo Alto Today                                                                      Page 3                                                                         March - April 2011

Community News Briefs
In search of a new city at-        cause.                                     another city attorney.                  plete, there is now a new office
torney                                Why the firing? City officials                                                  for the city manager, a meet-
                                   can’t say, because it is an em-                                                    ing room for the city council
                                                                              Officially opening new city
   It came as such a                           ployee matter.
                                                                              offices                                 and a shared, private meeting
matter of fact state-                              Since the city
ment at the East                                                                                                      area for council members and
                                               needs legal coun-                On March 31, the city held an
Palo Alto City Coun-                                                                                                  San Mateo County Supervisor
                                               sel on a daily                 open house so that the East
cil meeting that it                                                                                                   Rose Jacobs Gibson.
                                               basis, Gordon de-              Palo Alto community could see
didn’t generate any                                                                                                      Although the council appro-           Photos courtesy of EPA Today
public comment.            Vincent Ewing      cided to rehire Va-             its newly renovated adminis-
                                                                                                                      priated $224,800 for the reno-           Visitors are beginning to ar-
  But it was an impor-                        lerie Armento, who              trative offices at the East Palo
                                                                                                                      vation at its meeting on                 rive to see the city’s new of-
tant announcement that could previously served as the                         Alto Municipal Building, lo-                                                     fices.
impact some of East Palo city’s interim attorney before                                                               December 15, 2009, the work
Alto’s future legal decisions.                                                                                        actually started in May 2010
                                   Ewing was hired.
     What was the announce-                                                                                           and progressed in three                      Gordon said that he was
ment? ML Gordon, East Palo              The council ratified Gor-
                                                                                                                      stages.                                  more than pleased with the
Alto’s city manager reported don’s hiring decision at its                                                               The total appropriation later          renovation. “I am very happy,”
out of closed session at the March 29 meeting, after which
                                                                                                                      came to $250,000. When the               he said.
East Palo Alto City Council it decided to forego using the
meeting on March 1 that the services of a search firm and                                                             work was completed in No-                  “This fits in with the council’s
council had agreed to termi-                                                                                          vember, only an additional               third priority - office efficiency.
                                   to contact the top two appli-
nate the contract of Vincent                                                  This photo shows the main               $10,000 of the additional                People need a pleasant place
Ewing, who was, at that time, cants it had interviewed before                 conference room in the reno-            money was actually used.                 to work and East Palo Alto de-
the city attorney.                 it had hired Ewing.                        vated city offices.                       The funding fore the renova-           serves to have a city hall that
    Ewing, who had served as            The city’s Mayor Carlos
                                                                                                                      tion came from bond refinanc-            its citizens can be proud of,”
the city’s attorney for two Romero estimated that it might                    cated at 2415 University
years was fired at the discre- take the city 60 days to hire                                                          ing and did not come from the            Gordon said.
tion of the city council without                                                                                      city’s general fund.
                                                                                 With the renovation com-

Runnymede Phase II Storm Drain is underway
By Brent Butler                       to                                            Bay Road must have a minimum             route signage, restriping widened
East Palo Alto Today        ,                                              4’ width to be installed, which is not   Class II bicycle lanes, such as the
                                      and once there scroll to the proj-                                              possible on most City streets due        one on University Avenue, and
     The City of East Palo Alto is    ects listed as SD-01, SD-02, and                                                to their narrow width.                   using speed humps.
in the process of implementing the    SD-03.                                                                                Number two on the list of pri-            The City’s recently adopted
Capital Improvement Plan by                 The projects are intended to                                              ority projects for funding is a series   Bicycle Technical Guidelines out-
completing drainage improve-          improve the City’s storm drain sys-                                             of Bicycle Safety Education              line the standards by which the city
ments. These improvements will        tem, which is consistent with the                                               Classes. As envisioned, these            will implement these improve-
allow the City to remove stormwa-     goals and policies of the Land Use                                              classes will focus on teaching the       ments. These standards identify
ters from the urbanized portion of    Element of the East Palo Alto                                                   ABC’s of bicycle maintenance,            when a sharrows can be used on
the City for the purpose of provid-   General Plan regarding the provi-                 Brent Butler                  and public education concerning          narrow streets (typically when the
ing increased flood protection.       sion of adequate infrastructure.                                                the rules of the road. New end-of-       vehicular volume is less than
This project includes the dredging    The most critical project within this                                           trip bicycle parking at public facili-   4,000), and the types of gutters
                                                                              Bicycle Transportation Plan
of the channel which extends from     category is SD-01, which is the                                                 ties, such as at City’s offices, and     and speed bumps that ease bicy-
                                                                                   On Tuesday, March 29, 2011,
Runnymede southward to the            completion of a Storm Drain Mas-                                                public schools, as well as busi-         cle commuting, and also recom-
                                                                              the City Council unanimously
pond at the base of the Friendship    ter Plan. The completion of a com-                                              nesses, is also part of the public       mends the type of bicycle
                                                                              voted to approve a Bicycle Trans-
Bridge, and the placement of cul-     prehensive Master Plan will                                                     education component. Acknowl-            detection systems that can be im-
                                                                              portation Plan, which identifies the
verts at the road ends where the      facilitate the implementation of the                                            edging that cities such as San           plemented for little or no additional
                                                                              completion of a new Class I bike
City’s streets end adjacent to the    other projects listed in this cate-                                             Francisco are increasing their           cost to the city. Approved also in-
                                                                              path or trail, part of a Hwy 101
dike. While the final design is not   gory. Projects in this category are                                             sales tax by providing bicyclists        cluded investigating the reopening
                                                                              pedestrian overcrossing, as the
yet available, some of the streets    funded from a variety of sources,                                               options to access their business         of the subway (underground pas-
                                                                              City’s number one bicycle trans-
that may also gain improved ac-       but the City needs to seek addi-                                                other than by vehicle are all part of    sage) between Euclid and East
                                                                              portation priority. Class I bike
cess to the Bay Trail include Run-    tional monies at the local, state                                               the plan. Also recommended are           Bayshore under Hwy 101 for the
                                                                              paths, just as the one on the Bay
nymede, Garden, Cypress, and          and federal levels to fully fund                                                specific improvements to the road-       dual purpose of emergency pre-
                                                                              Trail, are only for bicyclists and
Beech More information about          these projects into the future.                                                 way that accommodate bicycles,           paredness (allowing residents im-
                                                                              pedestrians. Class II bike lanes,
these projects are available on the                                                                                   such as installing sharrows                      continued on page 15
                                                                              which are found on University and
Planning Division’s webpage. Go                                                                                       (shared use pavement markings),

Technology is fundamental to business
By Oscar Dominguez                                                            printers.                               business owners use it to find data      million      dollar   operations?
East Palo Alto Today                                                               For more professional look-        on the competition, source suppli-       Founded in 1979, Merry Maids
                                                                              ing cards, there are many web-          ers or see what customers are say-       was once a tiny, local operation.
     For many business owners,                                                based companies like VistaPrint         ing about them on sites like Yelp        Today, it is a multi-million dollar
computers are something their                                                 providing customized business           or Chowhound.                            nationwide franchise. The turn-
children use or worse, something                                              cards for a fraction of a traditional        Other online tools that serv-       key systems of a Merry Maid or
to fear. Every single business                                                printer.                                ice businesses can utilize include       even McDonald’s franchise are
person should be using computers                                                   While the most valuable and        PayPal for accepting payments            all dependent on technology to
in some way to manage or grow                                                 well-known web sites are Web            and various calendars from               create and implement.
his/her operations.                                                           2.0 or user-created sites like the      Google and Yahoo for scheduling                  We at Renaissance Mid-
                                             Oscar Dominguez
     From the people cleaning                                                 Facebook, good old static or            or rescheduling client visits.           Peninsula understand the impor-
houses and maintaining our gar-                                               owner-created sites are still very              Beyond the Internet, tech-       tance of technology for business
dens to Fortune 500 CEO’s tech-                                               effective and inexpensive way to        nology can help business owners          and we are rolling out basic and
                                               While these businesses
nology is a key business success.                                             communicate to prospective and          create accounting systems and            intermediate computing classes
                                      may not necessarily find value in
        What’s that? You’re not                                               current clients. Building a static      make tax time less stressful.            this year. Give us a call at 650-
                                      social media, they certainly can
convinced? Well, let me explain                                               web site and conducting an email        QuickBooks or even Excel                 321-2193 to find out more about
                                      leverage technology to find and
how even service-based, seem-                                                 campaign can be done for a tenth        spreadsheets are both powerful           our services for current and aspir-
                                      keep clients. Business cards are
ingly technology independent                                                  of the cost of printing and mailing     tools for managing finances and          ing business owners.
                                      fundamental to marketing and can
businesses like house cleaners                                                1000 color flyers.                      staying out of trouble with the               Oscar Dominguez is the ex-
                                      be designed and printed on even
and gardeners can benefit and                                                      The Internet is also the           IRS.                                     ecutive director of Renaissance
                                      the most basic computers and
even become multi-million dollar                                              largest source of information in                 So how does technology          MidPeninsula.
                                                                              the history of mankind and savvy        help businesses grow into multi-
                     East Palo Alto Today                                                                       Page 4                                                                           March - April 2011

                   A new high school opens in East Palo Alto
                   By Nozipo Wobogo                                                              ished his term as a member of the       the Aspire Public schools network           every student at my school.
                   East Palo Alto Today                                                          Ravenswood City School District’s       and in 2006, EPAPA was born                      The smaller-sized institution is
                                                                                                 Board of Trustees, said, “It’s excit-   with a 5-year charter from Sequoia          our model; it’s more transforma-
                        A large audience gathered for                                            ing and a great demonstration of        Union High School District                  tive. A student can get lost at a
                   the groundbreaking of East Palo                                               what the community can do.              (SUHSD).                                    school with 1,200 kids. We have
                   Alto’s first new public high school                                                The school is not too large,            Presently the EPAPA is one             help from our partners like College
                   campus in 40 years. The new                                                   students can walk to it, and par-       of 30 schools run by Aspire Public          Track, the Lords Gym and others.
                   school will be run by the Aspire                                              ents are engaged. We needed             Schools. a non-profit organization          We are blessed to have the sup-
                   schools and will be built as the        Photo courtesy of Nozipo Wobogo       teachers who get results and who        which operates charter schools in           port of the community,” he said.
                   new East Palo Alto Phoenix Acad- This photo shows some of the                 raise the bar.”                         the state of California. The schools             Inthe mid-seventies, Ravens-
                   emy (EPAPA) High School Cam- groundbreaking ceremony, which                        In explaining the history of the   have a reputation of success at             wood High School closed. Over
                   pus.                                took place on March 1, 2011.              Aspire school in East Palo Alto,        getting students to maintain high           time, the desire for a local high
                        The various stakeholders of                                              Moody said, “Some years ago,            academic levels with their primary          school did not diminish. Cammie
                   the project who were present to industrial building without a recre-          East Palo Alto parents and con-         goal being “College for Certain.”           Vail, Executive Director of the
                   witness the momentous occasion ational area, the new facility will            cerned residents, who wanted                 EPAPA now serves approxi-              Palo Alto Community Fund said, “I
                   included students, teachers, ad- feature a state-of-the-art gymna-            their children to be able to bypass     mately 150 students in grades 9-            remember when they closed
                   ministrators, counselors and par- sium, science labs and an outdoor           some of the problems with educa-        12, however, according to the               Ravenswood High School. I’m
                   ents from EPAPA as well as their recreational space. The project will         tional issues encountered in the        school’s principal Thomas Mad-              glad to see a high school returning
                   partners; builders, funders, gov- be completed by the fall and is lo-         local school district at that time,     son, “The Garden Street campus              to the community.”
                   ernment officials and the commu- cated only a few blocks away from            came together.”                         will be able to accommodate al-                  Betsy Gifford, a donor to the
                   nity-at-large. Appropriately, the the present location.                            He said that the parents knew      most three times that number                project said, “I haven’t enough
                   ceremonial groundbreaking was             “I’m always pleased to see          that academic success for the chil-     when we are fully enrolled.”                good words for this effort.” Gifford’s
                   held at the construction site at Aspire doing things. This educa-             dren would be difficult without              When it was pointed out how            son serves on the board of
                   1039 Garden Street.                  tional environment will help stu-        strong achievement oriented pro-        this would still be significantly less      EPACS.
                        Unlike the current East Palo dents succeed,” said East Palo              grams beginning in kindergarten,        than some larger comprehensive                   Cynthia Medina, a student at
                   Alto Phoenix Academy, which is Alto City Councilmember Ruben                  “so they started the East Palo Alto     high schools with student bodies
                   located off of Bay Road between Abrica.                                       Charter School (EPACS).” Even-          of one thousand or more, Madson                       continued on page13
                   Clarke and Pulgas in a converted          Larry Moody, who just fin-          tually, EPACS became a part of          said, “I need to know the names of

                   Dealing with a potential foreclosure
                   By Ken Harris                                                                 contact your Lender.                    can be obtained if the home owner           cal remedy for a homeowner. In
                   East Palo Alto Today                                                               Homeowner(s) have options          is working and can qualify for the          situations this is a viable option to
                                                                                                 in dealing with foreclosure: 1) Pay     lender offered loan modification            exercise.
                         The American housing mar-                                               the debt, 2) Negotiate a Modifica-      terms. When negotiating a loan                   Option 4) Give the lender
                   ket is in a recession where foreclo-                                          tion of your loan’s payments and        modification, try to negotiate terms        your deed of trust in lieu of foreclo-
                   sures have affected 56% of                                                    loan terms, 3) Negotiate a Short        from your Lender that you can af-           sure. This is where homeowner
                   households in California and                                                  Sale with your lender and 4) Give       ford. A lender will give an initial trial   gives the lender his deed of trust
                   many more across the nation,                      Ken Harris                  your lender your a deed in lieu of      repayment period. Then once the             back in place of foreclosure. This
                   leaving families in a state of eco-                                           foreclosure. Of these four options,     trial payment period is over and            is the least recommended of the 4
                                                          or for those who are in foreclosure.
                   nomic despair. Foreclose is a                                                 a homeowner will have to deter-         the payments were paid as                   options.
                                                               There are several steps that
                   tragically disruptive legal action                                            mine which option is the best for       agreed, long term financing will be              None of these options is an
                                                          a homeowner who is facing fore-
                   that adversely affects families,                                              their individual circumstances.         offered. This is one of many                easy solution for homeowners fac-
                                                          closure should take. The first ac-
                   communities and the nation’s                                                  An explanation of the options:          Lender offered scenarios for mod-           ing foreclosure. However, with
                                                          tion is to confront the problem
                   housing market.                                                                     Option1) Repay the debt, as       ification financing. Loan modifica-         careful thought, planning and ne-
                                                          head on. A homeowner facing
                         There are not many invest-                                              agreed, when you originally pur-        tion is recommended option, if              gotiation, you can come to a con-
                                                          foreclosure should contact his or
                   ments more sacred to a home-                                                  chased or refinanced your home,         obtainable.                                 clusion that best meets your
                                                          her Lender and get help from a
                   owner than his or her home.                                                   this is the best solution. However,           Option 3) A Short Sale nego-          family’s needs.
                                                          number of local organizations who
                         Our office has been assisting                                           many homeowner(s) would not be          tiation is where the homeowner                   Always seek the advice of a
                                                          can help resolve your foreclosure
                   clients with all their real estate                                            in this foreclosure situation if they   sells their home the open market            lawyer or a tax professional for
                                                          plight. Lender are reaching out to
                   needs since 1981.                                                             were able to repay their debt. The      with the Lender taking less than            legal or tax consequences when
                                                          help homeowners. The worst
                         I write with the utmost com-                                            homeowner must recognize that           the homeowner originally bor-               negotiating any of the previously
                                                          thing a homeowner can do is to
                   passion, particularly, for home-                                              the lender is collecting their debt     rowed. Should the Lender release            stated options.
                                                          avoid the lender. Be proactive and
                   owners who are facing foreclosure                                             and foreclosure is their remedy.        the homeowner from all liability                 See Ken Harris’ Century 21
                                                                                                        Option 2) Loan modification      from the loan, this can be a practi-        ad on page 11.

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  East Palo Alto Today                                                                         Page 5                                                                            March - April 2011

Petitioners ask atty. gen. for justice
By Diana Reddy                                                                  owners illegally foreclosed and the       Generals continue their investiga-         to suggest ways to hold banks ac-
East Palo Alto Today                                                            criminal prosecution of bank exec-        tion into foreclosure fraud and            countable for their crimes and
                                                                                utives responsible for fraud and          mortgage abuse, big banks and              abuses, and to get banks to be-
      With a petition bearing 10,000                                            abuse.                                    their allies are pressing for a quick      come better community players.
signatures calling for justice in the                                                The February 23 meeting              settlement. Community leaders              PIA leaders were among those
banking industry, a team of 24                                                  also included moving testimony            believe that a quick settlement will       who participated in the event.
homeowners and community                                                        from homeowners who had lost              let the big banks off the hook for               At the meeting on March 19,
leaders met with top officials from                                             their homes. A San Jose resident          their crimes and will not provide          PICO federation Oakland Com-
the California Attorney General’s                                               told of losing her home due to a          adequate help and compensation             munity Organizations (OCO) and
office in San Francisco on                                                      phenomenon called “dual track-            for homeowners.                            PICO California, together with
Wednesday, February 23. The                         Photo courtesy of PIA       ing.” She told the group that while             “We want a settlement with           ACCE, held a large town hall
                                        Protesters holding petitions
group conveyed its demands for a                                                she was in the process of obtain-         teeth,” said Alvin Spencer, a PIA          meeting with city and state elected
                                        asing for criminal prosecutions.
settlement between 50 state Attor-                                              ing approval for a loan modifica-         board member from Faith Mis-               officials in east Oakland, which
ney Generals and the major Wall                                                 tion, the bank continued to               sionary Baptist Church in East             has been rocked by foreclosures
Street banks.                           been fraudulently deprived of their     advance her home through the              Palo Alto. “The banks nearly               and is now dotted with vacant,
      The team represented a            homes.                                  foreclosure process.                      brought this country to its knees,         bank-owned homes. In addition
coalition of grassroots organiza-            The group called upon Attor-            Finally she received word that       and we believe they should be              to building support for the state
tions, including Peninsula Interfaith   ney General Kamala Harris to pro-       her loan modification had been            held accountable for their crimes.”        legislation, community and faith
Action (PIA), PICO California, the      vide leadership in pressing for a       approved, and on the very same                  After the meeting, the team          leaders lifted up local strategies
Service Employees International         strong and just settlement with the     day, she received word that the           held a press conference where              that the city and county can take
Union (SEIU) and Alliance of Cal-       banks. The team’s representa-           bank had sold her home at auc-            they announced a large public              to protect homeowners and hold
ifornians for Community Empow-          tives presented the AG officials        tion. The home that she could             meeting that a coalition of commu-         banks accountable. Watch home-
erment (ACCE).                          with its “Homeowner’s Bottom            now afford no longer belonged to          nity organizations would host in           owners giving testimony at
      The coalition demanded that       Line,” which is a plan outlining re-    her. “The right hand didn’t know          Oakland on March 19. Thou-       
the Attorney Generals hold Wall         quirements to include in the settle-    what the left hand was doing, and         sands of concerned community                     Watch Diana Reddy on the
Street banks accountable for their      ment.       The “”Homeowner’s           I lost my home as a result. My            members from PICO California,              Talking with Henrietta show at
crimes of the past three years and      Bottom Line” requirements include       family was devastated, and this           SEIU, and ACCE gathered to             
require those banks to provide          principal reductions for underwater     happens all the time,” she said.          meet with state officials to docu-         h?v=dLkbzmVWNBY
restitution to people who have          homeowners, restitution for home-            While the 50 state Attorney          ment the harm caused by banks,

Teachers get funding for school projects
By Henrietta J. Burroughs                                                       Ileana de la Torre, who teaches sci-      can use in the classroom. Although         funding for a new rug that does not
East Palo Alto Today                                                            ence to seventh and eighth graders        Belle Haven has a bookroom, it             have stains and can occupy each of
                                                                                at the Ronald McNair Academy.             would be great to have a wider vari-       my students comfortably.”
      Many area teachers are taking                                                   As a first time teacher in the      ety of books that are more readily               During the two hour program at
advantage of a special website,                                                 Ravenswood City School District,          accessible inside my classroom.            Microsoft, the teachers received raf-
funded by Microsoft, to fund their                                              Torre said that she had a lot of ma-             “I plan on sharing these with       fle prizes, including money for their
classroom projects. The websiteis                                               terials for science labs in Oakland,      the other first grade teachers so that     projects, kits and gift cards, in addi-
called, which                                                  where she taught previously, but she      we can all benefit from this project.      tion to their training.
grants teachers up to $2,500 in fund-                                           “unfortunately, didn’t have a lot in      The students have also expressed                 For more on the program read
ing to pursue their ideas to enrich                                             Ravenswood.We have to be very             that if they could get one new thing       Mayor Sid Espinosa’s article on the
                                             Photo courtesy of EPA Today
their students’ academic training.      Deanna Lane stands with Ileana
                                                                                creative in getting materials,” she       in the classroom, they would like a        East Palo Alto Today Opinion page
      Teachers from all over the de Torre at Microsoft.                         said.                                     new rug where each of them has             in this issue.
country use the website to request                                                    Lane said that she also had a       enough space to sit. I could not
such things as books, materials,                                                new classroom that didn’t have a lot      agree more with their suggestion.
                                        to talk about their classroom needs
technical equipment and anything                                                of materials and found out aboutthe t           “So, I am also going to try to get
                                        and to get special training on how to
else they think will enhance their stu-                                program from
                                        use the website.
dent’s classroom experience. Thus                                               another teacher in the district.
                                              Eleven of these educators
far, the program has been credited                                                     Both Lane and Torre ex-
                                        came from East Palo Alto and they
with funding nearly 185,000 projects                                            pressed their gratitude for the pro-
                                        requested “everything from binders
to the tune of $76 million for over 4.5                                         gram.
                                        and books, to projectors to PA sys-
million students.                                                                     Lane said, “In terms of
          Last March, 150 teachers                                              DonorsChoose, I am hoping to get
                                               I spoke with two East PaloAlto
from both San Mateo County and                                                  a project funded that will help my stu-                                            Photo courtesy of EPA Today
                                        teachers at the conference: Deanna                                                Teachers stand with the gifts that they received at the Donors-
Santa Clara County met at Mi-                                                   dents with their reading. I am in dire
                                        Lane, who teaches first grade at the                                     program held at Microsoft’s Mountain View office.
crosoft’s campus in Mountain View                                               need of guided reading books that I
                                        Belle Haven Elementary School and
  East Palo Alto Today                                                                      Page 6                                                                      March - April 2011

From the Editor’s Desk
Looking at the Individual: On the horns of a dilemma

      East Palo Alto City Manager money.
ML Gordon is poised to make                 I was personally shocked
some drastic cuts in the city’s de-   when I went, a few years ago, to
partments and in its staff. He has an East Palo Alto Youth Summit,
the power under the city’s munic-     which featured several rappers. I
ipal code to do it, with or without could hardly contain myself as
the council’s consent.                one of the rappers, responded to
      During the presentation of his a question about the impact of his
city restructuring plan to the East lyrics on the morals of his young
Palo Alto City council,                                   listeners. He
Gordon said some fas-                                     said, “This is
cinating things that are                                  about how I
truly worthy of utmost                                    make my liv-
consideration                                             ing. This is
      His presentation                                    about         my
outlined some very                                        money. Don’t
clear ethical and moral                                   mess with my
dilemmas. He empha-                                       money.” I’m
sized that the council Henrietta J. Burroughs sure the peo-
should focus solely at                                    ple who cap-
the structure of his plan and not at tured slaves and sold them at
the individuals who might be in-      slave auctions said that, too.
volved.                                     Who could not feel the words
                                      of the former slave Sojourner                                                                                   Photo courtesy of Meda Okelo
      For some people, this per-
                                      Truth, when she said, “And ain't I      This photo shows the some of the young runners who participated in the Al Julian Track and Field Meet,
spective might cause consider-
able concern. When some people a woman? I have borne thirteen                 which was held at the Cesar Chavez Academy on Saturday, April 2, 2011. The track meet was sponsored
and organizations callously over-     chilern, and seen 'em mos' all sold     by the Kiwanis Club of East Palo Alto, the City of East Palo Alto’s Community Services Department and the
looked the individual, there were off to slavery, and when I cried out        Ravenswood City School District.
painful, negative consequences. with my mother's grief, none but
For example, in their headlong Jesus heard me! And ain't I a
pursuit of money, banks, lenders, woman?"
                                            When you take the individual
                                                                              Letters in East Palo Alto Today
realtors, investors and all others
who stood to gain, didn’t care one dimension away, you can even               Dear Editor,                           farm subsidies and weapons re-         ship be located? How or who con-
bit about the millions of individuals justify the wholesale killing of peo-         Just when it couldn’t get any    search.                                tacted Rocketship in the first place
who would later be hurt. Ask all of ple in wars, because they are             worse, with millions of foreclosures        New homelessness can be           and asked them to come to
those people who are facing fore-     “kooks,” “chinks,” “japs” “redskins”    and layoffs across the country of      prevented by federal government        Ravenswood?
closure and have faced foreclo-       and “ragheads.” They can even           state workers (many who have           policies, but we have to demand              Many orgainzations out there
sure whether they feel that their be seen as “niggers” and “wet-              mortgages to pay)—now the              it. Write to Congress, to the Presi-   claim that their programs have all
individual circumstances were backs.” They can be tortured and                deficit hawks in Washington pro-       dent and to Attorney General Eric      the answers to Ravenswood's
taken into account.                   killed, because they give God a         pose cutting 750,000 rent subsi-       Holder.                                problems. We have great, "No,"
      Isn’t that what also happened different name and pray in a dif-         dies in the Section 8 program.                                                excellent teachers working hard
in the Page Mill Properties fiasco? ferent way. They can even be a                  The government has the           Gertrude Reagan                        everyday to help their students be
The owners of the property fo-        member of the wrong gang,               means to prevent new homeless-         Palo Alto, CA 94303                    successful. I feel that parent par-
cused solely on their investment wearing the wrong color. Or, they            ness. Department of Justice, put                                              ticipation and teacher input is what
and they didn’t care a hoot about might have a different tribal mark-         those big banks on notice that you     Denial of Rocketship Peti-             is missing. If we (Ravenswood)
the individual tenants. I always ing and a different skin color. Just         will prosecute for shoddy, toxic       tion for elementary school             could require parent participation,
cringe when I hear someone say, take away their humanity and
                                                                              mortgages! HUD and regulators,         Dear Editor,                           and allow the teachers to give their
“This is about business, leave the make them invisible. Then, it’s not
                                                                              knock their heads together to               I would like to many    advice and treat each class and
emotions and all that other stuff necessary to see them as individ-
out of it.” What that means is: uals with similar hopes and                   make them help the victims! Tell       others are wondering, since the        grade level as there own depart-
Never mind emotional and ethical dreams.                                      banks: Keep people in their            Board did not approve the coming       ment of a part of a well run ed
considerations so long as there is          I remember the time that          homes if they can afford it with       of Rocketship, what are the next       company, there would be nothing
money on the line.                    East Palo Alto City Council mem-        lower mortgage payments (Banks         steps?                                 that Ravenswood could not ac-
      Well, many think as does bers took pride in the fact that               foreclose, because it takes less ef-        If many of the parents wanted     complish. Why invest in some-
Gordon that life is about the health while other cities were laying off       fort. But, unsalable foreclosed        Rocketship to come, what are           thing new when we can fix...with
and well-being of communities, of workers, East Palo Alto avoided             houses don’t benefit anyone, even      they (Rocketship leaders) plan-        training, collaboration, and dedca-
people and of individuals. It’s also layoffs. But that time might now         banks!).                               ning to do to support those parents    tion that the Ravenswood teach-
about economic vitality, about civic be coming to an end.                           Federal government, help the     and their children?                    ers all have shown by their years
stability and about all of the things       I have the utmost respect for     states! Cutbacks in state jobs de-          Also what will be the differ-     of service... New is not always bet-
that Gordon outlined in his vision, Gordon who acknowledged that              press the economy further. Unem-       ence between Rocketship and the        ter.
when he made his presentation to      his restructuring plan, if adopted,
                                                                              ployed people don’t spend,             Stanford New School? They                    I am tired of organizations
the council.                          would bring hardship to some of
                                                                              especially if they lose their homes.   came, failed to meet their goals       from the outside always trying to
      Is there ever a time when de-   those who would be affected by it.
                                                                                    For people who don’t make a      and in only two years, their charter   come into Ravenswood to fix it or
cision makers should stop looking Some would say that the choices
                                                                              living wage, Section 8 rent subsidy    was revoked and they were asked        save our students from the current
at the individual and the impact he has made are for the good of
                                                                              vouchers are a godsend. 750,000        to leave. Many of those students       teachings of Ravenswood. This is
that their actions and decisions will the city as a whole and the vision
have on those around them? that has been held out for the city                vouchers gone—three-quarters of        were transferred to other schools      my opinion and does not reflect
When should we ever stop putting cannot be achieved without mak-              a million???? Congress, don't cut      throughout the district, and feel      the opinion or opinions of others
a face to the statistics? We know ing some sacrifices in staff jobs           these. Find cuts elsewhere -- in       displaced. Where would Rocket-         from RTA, CSCA or others who
what happened with Bernie Mad-        and departments.
                                            We all know that there are
off, who only cared about the
money, and we’re all too aware of sacrifices that must be made to             EPA To da y’s P ol i cie s & Pri nci pl es
the suicides and the personal achieve most goals. Having said
devastation that happened to so that, I’m a very empathetic per-                  In order to better serve the       within our service area.                  We will hold ourselves ac-
many people, who suffered be-                   continued on page 15          communities of East Palo Alto              East Palo Alto Today is ded-       countable to common stan-
cause of his wholesale quest for                                              and Belle Haven, East Palo             icated to conscientious jour-          dards of decency, treating our
                                                                                                                                                            colleagues, news sources,
                 East Palo Alto Today                                         Alto Today has made the com-
                                                                              mitment to operate with high
                                                                                                                     nalism. We maintain this
                                                                                                                     commitment by seeking and              and the public with respect.
    Publisher:East Palo Alto Center for Community Media                       professional standards and to          reporting the truth, acting with          We are committed to main-
    Editor- in-chief: Henrietta J. Burroughs                                                                                                                taining our independence by
                                                                              adhere to a strict code of ethi-       integrity, and serving the pub-
                                                                                                                                                            avoiding partnerships, invest-
    East Palo Alto Today is published bimonthly;                              cal conduct.                           lic interest. We will report the
                                                                                                                                                            ments or business relation-
    Address all letters to: East Palo Alto Today                                 The principles and policies         news thoroughly and accu-              ships that would compromise
    321 Bell Street,East Palo Alto, CA 94303                                  stated herein serve as an              rately and include multiple per-       the integrity of our news re-
    (650)327-5846, ext 311 (phone) (Fax) (650)327-4430                        agreement with our readers,            spectives without favoring one; and                                                                                                             ports.                                                          advertisers and all others             over the other.
  East Palo Alto Today                                                                      Page 7                                                                       March - April 2011

                     The ideas expressed on this page are solely the views of the individual authors who do not represent East Palo Alto Today’s Board or staff

Local teachers get creative as funding evaporates
By Sid Espinosa                                                               traordinary.                            project ideas and funding require-     could benefit from each other’s ex-
East Palo Alto Today                                                               Here’s how it works: Teach-        ments and met with representa-         periences. We were thrilled to
                                                                              ers post descriptions of the sup-       tives from to         reach so many inspiring educators
      Our teachers face tough                                                 plies, technology or other              understand how to employ the site      in Silicon Valley, and have been
times. Larger class sizes, pres-                                              resources that their particular stu-    to support their classroom activi-     amazed by the flood of grateful
sure to teach-to-the-test, potential                                          dents need, and then individual         ties. Their brainstorming and idea-    comments, thoughtful questions
changes to their benefits -- and on                                           donors can make contributions to-       sharing      resulted     in    the    and interesting projects posted
top of all of this, their classroom                                           wards those gifts. When a project       disbursement of thousands of dol-      since the event.”
budgets and resources continue                                                reaches its funding goal,               lars to address local classroom             I couldn’t agree more. At Mi-
                                               Palo Alto Mayor
to be slashed. In other profes-                                      delivers the           needs. While this was an exciting      crosoft, I’m charged with leading
                                                Sid Espinosa
sions, these hardships would                                                  materials to the school. So far the     event, there are thousands more        the company’s community part-
cause workers to run away in frus- was created          program has raised more than            local teachers and potential sup-      nerships in Silicon Valley, so I’m al-
tration, but teachers are tenacious.    by Charles Best, a social studies     $77 million to fund nearly 189,000      ports who don’t know about             ways       looking     for     those
Here in East Palo Alto, I have          teacher in the Bronx who realized     projects for more than 4.6 million                      organizations that are having the
watched numerous teachers and           that many people in the commu-        students. 4.6 million!                        As the Vice President of the     biggest impact. Of course, Mi-
everyday citizens take matters into     nity wanted to help their schools          A few weeks ago, more than         West            Region           for   crosoft invests millions in educa-
their own hands to get creative         but did not have an effective way     150 educators from San Mateo  ,          Carolina    tional programs each year -- from
about finding funds. It’s the best      to do so. In true Silicon Valley      and Santa Clara counties -- in-         Martín, told me, “The goal for this    curriculum development to soft-
kept secret around, but it shouldn’t    fashion, he solved this problem by    cluding those from East Palo Alto       event was to bring educators from      ware and technology donations,
be.                                     creating         a         website    -- came to Microsoft’s Silicon Val-     every grade, subject and level of      including everything from lesson
      Let me introduce you to           ( and the re-        ley Campus to learn about               expertise        together      with                                                    They shared  so that they                    continued on page 12
                                        sults have been absolutely ex-

211 - a place to turn for help in San Mateo County
Adrienne J. Tissier and                 the 211 helpline has launched                                                 will provide residents with crit-      workers and other community
Anne Wilson                             in San Mateo County. The ad-                                                  ical information about evacua-         service providers, who call 211
East Palo Alto Today                    dition of San Mateo County                                                    tion routes, food and shelter.         directly to get information to
                                        completes the 211 network in                                                  After the disaster, 211 can pro-       help clients and constituents.
   Sometimes the search for             Bay Area, which now serves                                                    vide information about finding         ·      211 benefits businesses
food, shelter and other basic           all 12 counties in our region.                                                jobs and permanent housing             by reducing employee absen-
necessities can end in frustra-              211 is a toll-free, 24-hour,                                             during long-term recovery.             teeism and increasing produc-
tion. Navigating the myriad of          multilingual information line                                                 Should calls overload our local        tivity due to fquality referrals
telephone numbers, auto-                that connects people in need                                                  operators, 211 call centers            for a comprehensive array of
mated directories, search en-           with health and human serv-                                                   across the nation can assist           services.
gines and social service                ices. You can now pick up a            San Mateo County Super-                using locally supplied informa-        ·      211 reduces the number
agencies can be confusing               phone anywhere in the Bay              visor Adrienne J. Tissier              tion.                                  of non-emergency calls to 911.
when you need help the most.            Area, call 211, and immedi-                                                        In addition to disaster re-       211 also provides 911 opera-
                                        ately gain access to hundreds         shelter and more.                       sponse and recovery, 211 of-           tors, as well as first-respon-
But now there is a place to                                                      The expansion of 211 in the
turn in San Mateo County that           of local organizations that pro-                                              fers tremendous economic               ders, with a place to easily
                                        vide services such as child           Bay Area will prove crucial in          benefits for our region:               refer non-emergency calls.
can help.                                                                     the next earthquake or disas-
   United Way and its partners          care, flu shots, employment                                                   ·       211 is a cost- and time-
                                        assistance, counseling, food,         ter. When disaster strikes, 211         saving tool for police, social                   continued on page 10
are pleased to announce that

Standing up for teens
By Leigh Ann Pusey                                                            350,000 injuries could be pre-          have comprehensive licensing           comprehensive GDL law, accord-
East Palo Alto Today                                                          vented each year, according to the      systems - including appropriate        ing to a recent survey by the All-
                                                                              Center for Disease Control and          nighttime and passenger restric-       State Foundation. Even wider
      Car accidents are the number                                            Prevention.                             tions - in place. The STAND UP         majorities of teens favor bans on
one killer of teenagers in the                                                      GDL programs save lives be-       Act would strengthen and improve       texting (93 percent) and cell phone
United States.                                                                cause they target the key behav-        existing laws - the same way ear-      use (85 percent). Much like their
      Government data show that                                               iors that raise crash risk among        lier federal mandates increased        elders, teens recognize the impor-
each day, more than ten teens are                                             teenage drivers -- speeding, night-     seat-belt use and reduced              tance of sharing the road with re-
killed nationwide in a motor vehicle                                          time driving, and distractions from     drunken driving.                       sponsible and experienced
crash. Due to inexperience and                                                peer passengers and cell phones.              GDL proponents recognize         drivers.
                                                Leigh Ann Pusey
bad habits, young drivers are                                                       While teens are still mastering   that parents want to keep to their           We all know that teen
more likely to be involved in a fatal                                         the complexities of driving, GDL        children safe on the road, but they    crashes - and the tragic losses that
                                        ually easing restrictions on teen
crash than any other age group,                                               laws limit unsupervised driving         also need flexibility to manage        result - are preventable. GDL laws
                                        drivers as they gain more experi-
and the risk is highest during their                                          hours and ban teens from using          family schedules. That's why the       are a proven, effective strategy for
                                        ence behind the wheel. Drivers
first years of driving.                                                       electronic devices such as cell         STAND UP Act makes exceptions          reducing risk to teens, their pas-
                                        must complete a three-step licens-
      Now, a new teen driving act                                             phones or iPods when driving.           for teens driving with an immedi-      sengers, and others who share
                                        ing process in which they spend
introduced in the U.S. Congress                                               And since young teens are the           ate family member under age 21         the road with them. Parents,
                                        a minimum of six months at the
seeks to slow this dangerous                                                  most vulnerable, GDL laws would         and for traveling to workplaces or     teens, and lawmakers should
                                        learner's permit stage, followed by
trend and spare thousands of                                                  raise the age at which drivers can      school-sanctioned events - in-         "stand up" for national graduated
                                        another six months with an inter-
families the heartbreaking loss of                                            get a learner's permit from 14 or       stances where teens are already        driver licensing standards and en-
                                        mediate license. Once drivers turn
a teenage child.                                                              15 in most states to 16.                less likely to engage in risky driv-   sure that the next generation of
                                        18, they are awarded full driving
      The Safe Teen and Novice                                                      The idea behind GDL laws is       ing. The bill would also exempt        drivers is well-prepared for the se-
Driver Uniform Protection (STAND                                              simple: Minimize risk while maxi-       most teens who work on family          rious responsibility of driving.
                                              Research shows that states
UP) Act would set national stan-                                              mizing experience. With GDL pro-        farms.                                       Leigh Ann Pusey is Presi-
                                        with strong GDL laws have seen
dards for graduated driver licens-                                            grams, teens gain driving                     Thanks to the flexibility and    dent and CEO of the American In-
                                        as much as a 40 percent de-
ing (GDL) programs, which have                                                privileges commensurate with            protection GDL laws provide, nu-       surance Association. This piece
                                        crease in teen crashes, and the
been proven to reduce deaths and                                              their developing skills and good        merous surveys show that par-          was originally published in Prop-
                                        longer licensure is delayed, the
injuries among the least experi-                                              judgment.                               ents strongly endorse the system.
                                        better. If every state had strong
enced drivers.                                                                      Although 49 states have           What's surprising is that nearly 75
                                        GDL laws, 175 deaths and about
      GDL programs work by grad-                                              some form of GDL, only a handful        percent of teenagers support a
  East Palo Alto Today                                                                         Page 8                                                                 March - April 2011

Honoring two city residents
By Henrietta J. Burroughs                                                        terson and Julie C. Paisant.                                              pearing in court as a character
East Palo Alto Today                                                                  The ceremony, which took                                             witness to save young people
                                                                                 place on March 27, was held                                               from incrceration and for pro-
Patrick Brock: Inducted                                                          in the Grand Ball Room of the                                             viding food and shelter to
into the Blues Hall of Fame                                                      Airport Hilton Oakland.                                                   many, for example.
                                                                                      Brock received the award                                                  During the presentation,

        n what was billed as                                                     because of the 40 years that                                              Steele was quoted as saying that
        the biggest night for                                                    he has spent as a promoter of                                             when she heard the phrase”a
        Blues recognition on                                                     musicians.                                                                purpose driven life,” she felt con-
        the West Coast, one                                                                                                                                nected to it because she felt that
of East Palo Alto’s own native                                                   Rosemary Steele: Honored                                                  she wakes up every morning
                                                Patrick Brock                                                                 Rosemary Steele
sons, Patrick Brock, was in-                                                     as “a committed commu-                                                    with a purpose.
ducted into the West Coast                                                       nity leader”                           mony which took place in the            The luncheon honoring
                                      Ellis Williams III, Barbara Tay-
Blues Hall of Fame.                                                                                                                                        Steele was opened by Pearlie M.

                                      lor, Chuck Johnson (Soul                                he National Council of    community room of the East
    Brock was one of thirteen                                                                                           Palo Alto Municipal Building, it   Young-Rainer, the founder and
                                      Beat), Bonny Simon, Bruno                               Negro Women, Inc.
“extraordinary” artists who was                                                                                         was said that Steele was           president of the East Palo Alt
                                      Brunecker, Church of John                               held its appreciation
inducted. In addition to Brock                                                                                          known in the community as          section of the National Council of
                                      Coltrain and Arch Bishop
recognition was given to such                                                    recognition celebration and gave its                                      Negro Women. Deputy Clerk
                                      Franzo King, Eddie Wilson,                                                        “Mama Rose” by many of East
notables as Buddy Guy, Jimi                                                      Community Service/Humanitarian         Palo Alto’s young people.          Minette Warren presented Steele
                                      Henry Dalton Williams, Phil Gi-
Hendrix, David “Honeyboy”                                                        award to Rosemary Steele.                  Steele was lauded for the      with a city proclamation.
                                      vant and Johnny Winter. The
Edwards, Winton Marsalis,                                                            The award was presented to         continuing assistance that she          Marie Davis served as the
                                      Bob        Geddins      Lifetime
Lonnie Brooks, Lester Cham-                                                      Steele for her more than 35 year       has provided to young mean         mistress of ceremony for the
                                      Achievement Awards was pre-
bers (Chamber Brothers), Ben                                                     dedicated service to the community.    and women in crisis-- assis-       event.
                                      sented to Vivian Waldrup-Pat-
Hodges (Flamingos), Minor                                                            During the award cere-             tance such as counseling, ap-

East PaloAlto teacher wins top award
                                      Palo Alto Charter School, where            has developed a reputation as a
                                      he has worked for 11 years. In             rap artist known as Kontac who
                                      speaking about the award and his           creates videos to inspire children.
                                      selection, he said that someone            Ashford said that he was asked
                                      nominated him for the award. “I’m          to coordinate and co-produce a
                                      not sure why I won. I have done a          video project for First Lady
                                                                                 Michele Obama's Lets Move pro-
                                      lot of work for the youth in East
                                                                                 gram. His video called 1 2 3
                                      Palo Alto as well as Richmond.             LET’s GO c a n v i e w e d
                                      There were a lot of other teachers         at .
                                      who also do great things,” he said.        He said that the video will be on
                                             Ashford received his cash           President Barack Obama’s fit-
  Photo courtesy of Stephen Ashford   prize at an award's ceremony,              ness web site in June.
Stephen Ashford is shown stand-       which took place on Saturday,                    Ashford created another                                          Photo courtesy of Stephen Ashford
ing with Dennis Richmond              March 19, in San Ramon, CA. The            video focused on those with dis-       Stephen Ashford stands with his daughter, Lashea and his son
                                      award is sponsored by Ala Costa            abilities. This video, which is ti-    Keyshawn during the Dennis Richmond Community Impact Award cer-
By Henrietta J. Burroughs
                                      Centers, an agency in Berkeley,            tled, Heartbeat – Ala Costa            emony in which he won the top award for the work he does to inspire
East Palo Alto Today                                                                                                    youth. The ceremony was held in San Ramon on March 19, 2011.
                                      CA, that was created to empower            Students, can be seen at

                                      children and young adults with de-
             n East Palo Alto
                                      velopmental disabilities. According        w5hvYkss.The remix of his origi-
             teacher, Stephen Ash-
                                      to the agency's website, the Den-          nal video called Stay in School,
             ford, was selected
                                      nis Richmond Community Impact              which was produced to encour-
over 250 other teachers to win the
                                      Award is given each year "to rec-          age students not to drop out of
Dennis Richmond Community Im-
                                      ognize three individuals who have          school, can be seen at
pact Award. The award, which car-
                                      inspired and empowered children  
ries a top prize of $5,000, is
                                      and youth in the community                       The second place winner of
named after former Bay Area tel-
                                      through their position at a public         the Dennis Richmond Community
evision news anchor, Dennis
                                      school, therefore furthering the           Impact Award won $2,500 and the
Richmond. Richmond retired from
                                      mission of Ala Costa."                     third place winner received
KTVU Fox Channel 2 in May
                                             Ashford said he will use the        $1,000.00.
2008, after a 40-year career at the
                                      award money he received to fund
television station.
                                      field trips and to help his eighth grade
     Ashford currently teaches
                                      students visit Washington, D.C.
physical education at the East               The award-winning teacher

        Do you have an
       interest in sales?
   Do you like to meet
  people and help them
  solve their problems?
    If so, we just might
   have the job for you!
         Contact us at:
  East Palo Alto Today                                                                    Page 9                                                                       March - April 2011

  Are you taking the right steps?
By Adriana Flores-Ragade                                                    or joining special fly-in programs.    learn best? What are my goals          enrollment and financial aid.
Special to East Palo Alto                                                         I followed my high school        and what makes me happy? I was         Searching for institutions with
Today                                                                       counselor’s advice. Choosing my        lucky to have very supportive par-     rolling admission that are still look-
                                                                            college was not solely based on fi-    ents who trusted me.                   ing for students is another option.

             uring my tenure as a                                           nancial aid but on the school that I         They allowed me to have the            Use April to select or find the
             college admission of-                                          felt was the best fit for me. Al-      final word on this big decision. The   right college. Sending the required
             ficer, my colleagues                                           though I didn’t end up going to the    school I chose, Claremont              deposit to the school of your
and I looked forward to April 1                                             institution that gave me the most      McKenna College, was not just          choice to save a spot is very im-
when we shared admission deci-                                              aid, I did get a package that in-      where I earned my degree but           portant since many selective insti-
sions with students. While some                                             cluded grants, loans and work-         where I started my career as an        tutions have students on waitlists
students knew exactly what to do     Photo Courtesy of the College          study.                                 admission officer.                     eager to take your spot. Seek help
and met the May 1 commitment         Board. Photograph copyrighted                Since my award letter noted            I often advise students who      from the College Board at
decision deadline with ease, many    by George Lange.                       aid from these various sources, in-    are not accepted to find out what
Latino students who were the first                                          cluding parent loans, it was impor-    happened by sending a letter to        under the section “Apply to Col-
in their families to go to college   gate the process. She encour-          tant to get clarification from         the college or the representative      lege.” Remember, luck is not as
needed a bit more guidance with      aged me to visit colleges within       financial aid counselors to make       who visited their school and begin     important when you are prepared.
the process.                         driving distance and to connect        sure I’d be able to cover my col-      seeking potential transfer advice.     Don’t miss the May 1 deadline
     I was one of those students     with alumni in my area from out-       lege costs.                                  Students can get information     and the opportunity to make the
although I was fortunate in many     of-state colleges.                           When I was making my col-        about their local community col-       decision that promises to trans-
ways that point to key steps.             Nowadays, students have           lege decision, I asked myself:         lege and make an appointment           form your life for the better.
     I had the guidance of a great   the option of doing online virtual     What do I value in a college? In       with their school counselor to find
counselor who helped me navi-        tours, participating in chat rooms     what type of environment do I          out these colleges’ deadlines for

¿Estás dando los pasos adecuados?
Por Adriana Flores-Ragade            mayo        para       darnos     su   esora académica que me ayudó           que creía que mejor encajaba           universidad, lo cual hizo posible
East Palo Alto Today                 decisión,muchos estudiantes lati-      a lo largo del proceso. Me animó       conmigo y no la que me dio más         que cubriera los costos de mi ed-
                                     nos que eran los primeros de su        a visitar universidades cerca de       ayuda financiera. Siendo que mi        ucación universitaria.
     Durante mi etapa de fun-        familia en ir a la universidad nece-   casa y a hablar con egresados en       carta de aceptación ofrecía dinero         Cuando estaba tomando mi
cionaria de admisiones universi-     sitaban un                             mi área de universidades fuera del     de varias fuentes, fue importante      decisión, me hice las siguientes
tarias el 1 de abril era muy         poco más de ayuda en el                estado. Hoy en día, los estudi-        cerciorarnos de aclarar dudas con      preguntas: ¿Qué valoro en una
especial porque compartíamos         proceso.                               antes tienen la opción de realizar     los asesores de ayuda financiera       universidad? ¿En qué tipo de en-
con los estudiantes las decisiones        Fui una de esas estudiantes,      visitas virtuales por Internet, par-   ya que algunos préstamos irían         torno aprendo mejor? ¿Cuáles
sobre admisiones. Aunque al-         aunque tuve suerte en muchos           ticipar en foros o beneficiarse de     por cuenta de mis padres. Con-
gunos estudiantes sabían exacta-     aspectos que apuntan a pasos           visitas pagadas a las escuelas.        seguí un paquete que incluía               continuacion de la pag. 15
mente qué hacer y cumplían           claves.                                      Al final elegí la universidad    becas, préstamos y trabajo en la
fácilmente con el plazo del 1 de          Tuve la guía de una gran as-

In memoriam
 Treasured Memories
                                     Oneida (Mother) Branch
                                     Sunrise: October 23, 1928
                                     Sunset: March 22, 2011
                                       Mrs. Branch’s journey began in Don-
                                     aldsonville, Louisiana in 1918. She was
                                     the youngest ofthree children born to
                                     William and Grace Brisco. Her mother
                                     died when she was only three months
                                     old and she was then placed in the lov-
                                     ing care of her “adopted” Christian par-
                                     ents, Stephen and Harriet Terry. It was
                                     from Harriet, that she learned to share
                                     openly and indiscriminately with those
                                     who were in need.
                                       Read her complete obituary at East
                                     Plo Alto Today’s Treasured Memories
Mrs.Oneida (Mother) Branch           site:
                                     Gregory Malcolm Kendall, Sr.
                                     Sunrise: February 8, 1949
                                     Sunset: March 28, 2011
                                        Gregory Malcolm Kendall, Sr. was
                                     born on February 8, 1949 in Berkeley,
                                     California to the late Christopher
                                     Kendall, Sr. and tp Vivian Kendall. The
                                     Kendall family moved to Menlo Park
                                     where Greg gave his hear to the lord
                                     and united with the Menlo Park Chris-
                                     tian Methodist Episcopal (CME)

                                     Continued at:
 Gregory Malcolm Kendall, Sr.

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