We are exploring ways to leverage City and non-City funding for critical infrastructure needs.
At the start of the year, I announced that 2012 was the Year of Infrastructure and Renewal. We continue to explore different financing models to achieve the most cost effective way to invest in our community’s physical assets. We are leveraging our capital improvement dollars by establishing public-private partnerships, benefiting from volunteer fundraising efforts, and applying for grant monies and securing state and federal tax revenues. City Council remains focused on investing in our community’s infrastructure needs and has discussed asking voters to support a potential ballot measure in 2014 to help fund our City’s needed infrastructure.
As year-end draws near, here are some highlights of these kinds of collaborative efforts.
The community is fortunate to benefit from the commitment of volunteers who help fundraise to supplement budgeted City infrastructure dollars. The Palo Alto Library Foundation (PALF) donated $1,335,000 for Children’s and Downtown combined, beginning with the first gift in 2006. College Terrace was funded by the City. The PALF also donated $1,900,000 for Mitchell Park Library in 2011, for a grand total of $3,235,000 over the past six years. For our libraries in Palo Alto, the PALF has been a key partner in raising funds to stretch City library project funds for the reopening of the Children’s, College Terrace, and Downtown Libraries over the last four years.
In 2009, the bobcat enclosure at the Junior Museum & Zoo was replaced under a cooperative partnership between the Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo (Friends) and the City of Palo Alto. The Friends raised the $500,000 and the City provided $120,000 in Capital Improvement Funds.
We also saw this model work very successfully with last month’s opening of the Palo Alto Art Center where the Art Foundation contributed at least $2 million towards the $4 million project. to supplement the City’s capital project investment.
On September 10, 2012, the City Council discussed the possibility of a public-private partnership to achieve the long-identified need of a new public safety building. This model is important to consider its potential to save the community up to $27 million, where a private sector partner would construct the new public safety building rather than the City as part of a negotiated agreement involving the development of new office space.
We continue to aggressively pursue funding infrastructure investment through community grants. We recently funded new park structures for our community’s youth and secured $45,000 to design and construct structures in three neighborhood parks over the last few years.
To meet our infrastructure investment in our street improvements, in 2010, the City Council doubled the amount budgeted to speed up our street improvements from $1.8 to $3.8 million without any new taxes or fees. At the same time, we secured revenue from the federal and state government through the federal stimulus (ARRA funds) and highway tax revenue.
It is important for the public to know that as the City makes progress on its investment in the community’s infrastructure needs; we are seeking funding models that will decrease any request for new revenue from Palo Altans in a potential 2014 ballot measure to help fund our City’s needed infrastructure.
Mayor Yiaway Yeh
Tuesday, November 6
Presidential General Election: 7 AM - 8 PM Be sure to have your voice heard by voting! For more information about this election and local measures, click here. For a list of polling places in Palo Alto, click here. If want to know your specific polling place, click here and enter your home address; this Registrar of Voter tool works for all residences in Santa Clara County.
Wednesday, November 7
Utilities Advisory Commission Monthly Meeting: 7 PM Tentatively scheduled topics for this regular monthly meeting include a discussion of Utility-related legislation and policy guidelines and an informational update on Demand-side Management (efficiency) programs. To see the final agenda topics, click here. Location: Council Chambers, 1st floor, 250 Hamilton Avenue.
Twitter Q&A with the City: 7 PM Join us for this last 2012 "live" Twitter discussion with City Manager Keene, Mayor Yeh, and other City officials. Send your questions to #AskPaloAlto now or during the session. For more information about this fifth and final Q&A session for 2012, click here.
Pilot Program for Residential Compostables Collection Public Meeting: 7 - 8:30 PM Attend this community meeting to learn about the residential weekly compostables collection pilot program and give your feedback about the different pilot options. Nearly 44% of our residential ‘garbage’ is compostable. Removing this material from our garbage can help us achieve our community goals of Zero Waste by 2021 and 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. For more information about the pilot click here. Location: Cubberley Community Center, Room H1, 4000 Middlefield Road.
Thursday, November 8
Terman Middle School Walk and Roll Community Meeting: 7 - 8:30 PM The City is developing Walk and Roll maps to highlight suggested routes for students walking and biking to school. A draft map will be presented for review at this community meeting. Findings from field surveys and community input will be used to prioritize short term signage and striping updates and future capital improvement projects. For more information about the City's Safe Routes to School program, click here. Location: Terman Middle School, Cafetorium, 655 Arastradero Road.
California Avenue Concept Plan Public Meeting: 7 PM Join us for a status update on the California Avenue Concept Plan, an ongoing effort to develop a community vision for the future of this important area of Palo Alto. At this public meeting, the project team will update the community on the status of the Concept Plan and give an overview of two alternatives developed on the basis of previous community input. You are invited to provide input on the two alternatives that will be considered by Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission and City Council later this year. For more information, contact Elena Lee at (650) 617-3196 or Elena.Lee@CityofPaloAlto.org. Location: Lucie Stern Community Center, Community Room, 1305 Middlefield Road.
Friday, November 9
Performance of Sleeping Beauty: 7 PM Join us for this elegant, amusing version of the Perrault romance, with just the right balance of comedy, suspense, and a touch of dance. In between the lines of the story you know is a deliciously funny and amazing adventure, replete with troublesome fairy folk and a riddle-challenging Spider King. Tickets are $10 for children and $12 for adults; there are two performances on Saturday, November 10 at 2 and 7 PM. For more information, click here or call the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre Box Office at (650) 463-4970. Location: Children’s Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road.
Saturday, November 10
Pilot Program for Residential Compostables Collection Public Meeting: 10 - 11:30 AM Learn about the residential compostables collection pilot program and discuss the different pilot options. Approximately 44% of our residential ‘garbage’ is compostable. Removing this material from our garbage can help us achieve our community goals of Zero Waste by 2021 and 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The City is creating a pilot program to evaluate weekly compostable waste collection in combination with reduced garbage collection frequency. We’re interested in your feedback on the pilot options. Come to this meeting and be a part of the discussion. For more information about the pilot, click here. Location: Lucie Stern Community Center, Community Room, 1305 Middlefield Road.
Backyard Compost Workshop: 10 AM - Noon Attend this FREE workshop and learn how easy it is to compost. Discover how easy it is to use composting techniques to create a vibrant, healthy and beautiful garden. Backyard composting conserves energy and reduces pollution and waste. Learn how to turn your food and yard waste into a wonderful soil amendment or mulch that will help your garden thrive by suppressing weeds, protecting the soil, improving soil structure and conserving water. Attendees may purchase reduced cost backyard composting and/or worm bins following the workshop. Worms will also be available for purchase. Workshop requires pre-registration since space is limited, click here to register. Location: Murphy Park Building, 250 N. Sunnyvale Avenue, Sunnyvale.
Pinterest Program for the Palo Alto City Library: 3 - 5 PM Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard that lets you organize and share things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. You can browse other people's pinboards to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. We’re looking for program and collection ideas, but also want to share what inspires and engages our community. Registration is required. Register on the calendar here. Location: Downtown Library, 270 Forest Avenue.
Wednesday, November 14
Panel Discussion on Where Art Originates: 7 PM The Palo Alto Art Center & Djerassi Resident Artists Program present 2012 Where Art Originates, a series in conjunction with Community Creates. Attend this series of lively discussions showcasing artistic inspiration and process. These talks, featuring artists included in Community Creates along with their community collaborators, provide an insider’s perspective into the underlying motivation to create and the materials used in the process. For more information, click here. Free admission. Location: Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road.
Thursday, November 15
Crime Watch and Personal Preparedness: 7 - 9 PM Learn how to prepare for disasters and crime in your neighborhood. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, click here. Location: Palo Alto Art Center, Conference Room, 1313 Newell Road.
Briones School Walk and Roll Community Meeting: 7 - 8:30 PM The City is developing Walk and Roll maps to highlight suggested routes for students walking and biking to school. A draft map will be presented for review at this community meeting. Findings from field surveys and community input will be used to prioritize short term signage and striping updates and future capital improvement projects. For more information about the City's Safe Routes to School program, click here. Location: Briones Elementary School, Multipurpose Room, 638 Maybell Avenue.
Friday, November 16
Drop by the Mayor's Office Hours: 2 - 4 PM Come by during office hours if you prefer a more informal setting to chat with Mayor Yeh. The Mayor will be available to community members and have a chance to meet you and listen to your concerns or opinions on important issues. Please click here to view office hours for the year of 2012.
Sunday, November 18
Drawing Marathon: All Day Figure Drawing Event: 10 AM - 4:30 PM Participants can draw, paint or sculpt from a variety of models at these all-day drawing marathons held throughout the year. The event features nude and clothed models posing for twenty minute to one hour periods, including individual, couple and group poses. No photography. Co-Sponsored with the Palo Alto Models Guild. Bring a sack lunch! Fee is $20 half day/ $30 full day paid to group liaison. Location: Palo Alto Art Center - Studios, 1313 Newell Road.
Tuesday, November 27
Duveneck School Walk and Roll Community Meeting: 7 - 8:30 PM The City is developing Walk and Roll maps to highlight suggested routes for students walking and biking to school. A draft map will be presented for review at this community meeting. Findings from field surveys and community input will be used to prioritize short term signage and striping updates and future capital improvement projects. For more information about the City's Safe Routes to School program,click here. Location: Duveneck Elementary School, Multipurpose Room, 705 Alester Avenue.
Thursday, November 29
EcoHome Open House: 3 - 5 PM Don’t miss this next chance to visit the cool demonstration home. See firsthand some of the latest home efficiency technologies from blue jeans insulation to clover leaf solar panels. Engaging posters give you a range of no-cost to larger investment ideas for saving on your utilities bills and improving your comfort. Materials available for both kids and adults so bring the family! For details, including a link to the virtual tour, click here or call (650) 329-2241. Location: Girl Scout House at the Lucie Stern Community Center.
Saturday, December 1
FREE Household Hazardous Waste disposal: 9 AM - Noon This event is for Palo Alto residents only so bring your items (and proof of residency). The Household Hazardous Waste Management program provides Palo Alto residents with an environmentally safe, convenient way to dispose of unwanted hazardous household products-such as used or expired medication, paints, solvents, fuels, cleaners, pesticides, etc., which contain hazardous substances. This event happens, rain or shine. For more information about the Household Hazardous Waste Program and what is accepted, click here. Location: Water Quality Control Plant, 2501 Embarcadero Way.
Monday, December 3
Tentative Council Study Session on Expanding the Plastic Bag Ordinance: 6 PM Staff from the Environmental Services Division of Public Works will discuss a major environmental initiative with Council. Learn more about the proposed expansion of the current plastic bag ordinance. For more information, click here. Please check the council agenda as study session dates may change. Location: Council Chambers, 1st floor, 250 Hamilton Avenue.
Connect with us!
Learn more about Palo Alto's emergency water supply project, a one million gallon water reservoir in El Camino Park; this major construction project will be completed in late 2013. (Produced by the Mayor's Video Youth Corps.)
Access your City of Palo Alto Utilities services on the go! Find who to call, review your bill, check out rebates and more! For your iPhone: Download here For your Android: Download here
A transformed Palo Alto Art Center opens its doors
Years of dedicated work by City staff, Palo Alto Art Center Foundation staff and board members, and community volunteers came to fruition on October 6 with the long-anticipated grand reopening of the Palo Alto Art Center. More than 2,000 community members participated in a diverse celebration that included hands-on art activities, performances, demonstrations, and more! Community members praised the transformed Art Center facility and the celebration: “Such a great start to a new era at the Palo Alto Art Center,” commented one community member. “Great festivities, lots of open and lighted classrooms, impressive exhibitions,” shared another. Watch this GREAT video (produced by Veronica Weber/Palo Alto Online) about the grand opening celebration. The opening celebration provided an opportunity to thank the numerous individuals and groups who made the Palo Alto Art Center renovation possible. The $7.9 million renovation represents a landmark public private partnership between the City of Palo Alto, the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation and community members.
Palo Alto Library Foundation supports new and renovated libraries
The Palo Alto Library Foundation launched a $4 million campaign to fill our three new and renovated libraries and one new community center with all the things that make them work, such as modern furniture, new computers, and thousands of books and e-books. Their mission is a crucial one since the city cannot use the Measure N bond money, which is going into the renovation or building of new libraries and the Mitchell Park Community Center, to pay for what goes inside the buildings. So far, they have raised $3.8 million towards their goal of $4 million! You can help them reach their goal and find out more by visiting the Palo Alto Library Foundation website.
November’s Asset of the Month is Positive Cultural Identity
It is important for youth to feel that they belong. Positive identity brings self-assurance, a sense of belonging, a positive view of personal future, and better success in school. Developing a positive cultural identity—a critical element of personal identity—can be difficult for young people, especially when they may be bridging more than one culture. The way that youth are treated in regard to her/his identity, including but not limited to disabilities, ethnicity, faith/religion, family status, gender, language, and sexual orientation directly affects their ability to develop a positive personal identity. As adults, it is critical that we model recognition, understanding and celebration of all cultural identities, including the cultures to which we and/or our children do not belong. Sharing and celebrating different cultural identities increases self-esteem and promotes cultural competence among all young people. The diversity of Silicon Valley is a benefit to our young people as they are exposed to many different cultures.