Larry Ventresca’s Memorial Service

Larry B. Ventresca
July 22, 1951-Oct. 1, 2011
Resident of Palo Alto

Larry B. Ventresca passed away on Sat. Oct. 1, 2011 at the age of 60 yrs. He had a career in property management and development. Larry was family oriented and was always dedicated to helping everyone. He was extremely good with children, spending significant time with them and being a role model.

Larry will be missed by his family and friends for the rest of their lives.
A Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, October 12 at 12:00 Noon at the Gates of Heaven Cemetary, 22555 Cristo Rey Drive, Los Altos, CA 94024

A memorial mass will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 1:00 P.M. at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 3233 Cowper St., Palo Alto. Please view/sign guestbook at:


Support The Businesses That Support Our Kids

 Help Us Support The Arts in Our Schools

Art in Action Student Art Exhibit and Reception Today: Sunday Oct 9th 2-5pm

Nature Gallery , 87 Town & Country Village (2-3:30pm) and Lyons Limited Antique Prints, 10 Town & Country Village ( 330-5pm) Promotions, raffles door prizes, Hear student testimonials.

During this down economy, it is wonderful to find small, local Palo Alto business owners have found a creative way to support the schools and our children, with a fundraiser for Art in Action.

Art in Action is a local organization that has been bringing high quality arts programming into local schools for over 25 years. While Palo Alto currently enjoys many wonderful arts programs, cutbacks have already started to affect our neighboring school districts.

Art in Action has been particularly effective in bringing hands-on arts experiences into our underserved schools, like those in Redwood City. The AIA program trains docents who come into classrooms and work with students; educating them as to the vision, methodology and materials used by the great current and historical visual artists. Students then use their own language to create artwork using similar materials and techniques.

With cutbacks across the board, Art in Action will be the only high quality arts experience many of these students will have, especially in our underserved schools.

“We’ve entered an age animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life – one that prizes aptitudes called ‘high concept’ and ‘high touch’…which involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative..High touch involves the ability to empathize with others, to understand the human subtleties ” -Daniel Pink

Besides these attributes..there is the pure joy embodied in an artistically enhanced life.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

One of your contributors, an opponent of Measure E, described the Clean Coalition as “mysterious” (Letters, Sept. 22). Please allow me to better acquaint your readers with our organization, and to demonstrate why the only mystery is how anyone could oppose this pragmatic, forward-thinking initiative.

The Clean Coalition ( is a non-profit energy policy organization based in Palo Alto; our mission is to implement policies and programs that transition the world to cost-effective clean energy now, while delivering unparalleled economic benefits.

Accordingly, we focus our efforts on wholesale distributed generation of renewable energy, which benefits public health and energy security. This is why we proudly endorse the Palo Alto Green Energy & Compost Initiative (PAGEI), and encourage Palo Altans to vote ‘Yes’ on Measure E.

For those who still feel the Clean Coalition is a mystery, you will be happy to know our organization is supported by a distinguished Board of Advisors with luminaries in the areas of energy, environment, economics and security. Among others, these leaders include:

·      Dr. Dan Kammen, Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, World Bank

·      R. James Woolsey, Chairman, Woolsey Partners and Former Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

·      Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University and Former Colorado Governor

·      Terry Tamminen, Former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and Special Advisor to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

·       Jeffrey Byron and John Geesman, Former Commissioners of the California Energy Commission (CEC)

By making clean local energy accessible now, we ensure a more secure and sustainable future. Yes on E.

City Manager James Keene housing subsidy by City of Palo Alto

Gentlemen and Ladies:

When Mr. Keene was selected to be the City Manager in 2008, the City Council expressed a requirement for him to live within the City limits as had been done with prior Managers.

He expressed an inability to do so without financial assistance as he owned a home in the Rockridge area of Oakland near Berkeley which would not sell quickly. The City therefore agreed to provide him with both temporary housing assistance and to help him buy a permanent home.

The provisions detailing that assistance are shown in the attachment “Keene_comp.pdf”, which I have previously sent to you as well. The pertinent sections in that document relating to the home purchase begin in section 6.3 on page 5, and are spelled out in sections 6.3.4, 6.3.6, and 6.5.

The net result of all this is that Keene lives in a $1.875 million house towards which he put up no cash himself, pays only on a $444,000 loan (and even that at a below market rate interest loan from the City), and the City paid the other $1.41 million.

Note that he pays no rent to the City for that $1.41M share, nor does he pay the property taxes on that City share. Thus, a man who makes a base salary of $260,000 per year pays only 1/4 of the cost to live in a $1.875M house in Palo Alto.

The purchase price and cost shares of the home are shown in the documents JKeene_deed2 and Keene_house_report. Note that the house was purchased in March 2010, some 18 months after he started as City Manager.

The attachment JKeene_deed1 simply shows the transaction placing the house in a family trust – an interesting move for a house which is 75% owned by the City. Note that the trust makes no mention of the 75% ownership by the City, and in fact refers to “all of that certain real property”…..

One might ask what kind of landlord lets a tenant or partner live rent free in the majority owners share of the property. If it is rent free, then it is either a subsidy or compensation and should be declared as such.

The value of that subsidy can be easily calculated. A loan in the amount of $1.41M would be a “Jumbo” loan in the financial market, and would carry an interest rate of 5.5% at current rates, which calculates to a payment of $5.68 per $1000.00 financed per month. For a “loan” of $1.41M that has a value of $8009 per month, call it $8k per month for the sake of discussion.

Similarly, the property tax payment value can be computed. A home valued at $1.875M would have a beginning base property tax rate of 1% per year, not including special assessments and tax increases for schools, libraries, etc. At that 1% base alone, the annual property taxes would be $18,750.00 or $1562.00 per month. The City paid share (subsidy) of that at 75% is $1172 per month, or $14,064.00 per year.

Thus, the  value of the housing subsidy/compensation that Keene receives from the City in the form of principal, interest, and property tax payment shares at 75% of the total is $8000 + $1172 or $9172 per month, equaling $110,064 per year. Let’s call it $110k per year for the sake of discussion, on top of his base salary of $260 plus other compensation as previously discussed.

Oh, by the way, that house he owned in Oakland/Berkeley that wouldn’t sell and thereby necessitated all this City “assistance”? It sold in July 2009 for $1,006,000. See the attachment Keene_Oklnd_hse_sale for confirmation.

Thus, the Palo Alto home was actually purchased some 9 months after the Berkeley home was sold, raising the question of why such assistance was still required at all.

No pay down of the City “assistance” has been noted subsequent to that sale. One wonders what Keene did with the proceeds from the sale of his prior home, since he obviously did not put it into the Palo Alto house even though he had ample time to do so.

Perhaps it should have been used to reduce the amount of the City subsidy, which came out of General Fund Reserves, and could thus have freed up additional funds for the City’s infrastructure backlog needs.

In the final installment I will summarize what I believe to be the total annual value of all of the compensation Mr. Keene receives from the City.


James’ Dough

Genetically Modified Organisms, (Foods). GMOs Harmful or Harmless?


Ask yourself this question. When you do a job or complete a project are you willing to put your name on it? Are you proud of it and want people to know that you are the creator?

Imagine an Orange farmer who doesn’t want anyone to know that the Oranges he is selling to the public are his. Why would any reputable Orange farmer not want the public to know that the Oranges he is selling to them are his? This is what the corporations that are selling Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) are trying to do.

If you’re not doing anything wrong, then you should have nothing to hide. Whether you believe GMOs are safe or not, most people would believe that GMOs should be labeled just like the amounts of sugar, sodium and fat are required to be labeled on food packages. is a website created by an earnest and caring group of people attempting to place an initiative on the 2012 ballot requiring that all GMO foods be labeled.

Detailed information about GMOs can be found at their website as well as:

Fact: There were no human trials conducted before Genetically Modified crops were introduced into the U.S. food supply. The health effects of most GM food products have never been fully tested.

Regarding the book, “Genetically Modified Foods: Debating Biotechnology (Contemporary Issues Series)” put out by editors Michael Ruse and David Castle, Khuffling writes, “Since this book has “debating” in the title you would think that it would provide a balance of both pro and con viewpoints on the subject of genetically modified foods. I did not find this to be the case.

The majority of essays in this book are pro genetically modified foods. Also, several of the pro GMO authors have ties to companies with an economic stake in GMO foods, like Monsanto, that are not disclosed. This significantly damages these authors’ credibility. I would not recommend this book if you are looking for a well-rounded exploration of this subject.”

Author Jeffery Smith reveals in his latest book “Seeds of Deception,” how industry manipulation and political collusion-not sound science-allow dangerous genetically engineered food into your daily diet.

Company research is rigged, alarming evidence of health dangers is covered up, and intense political pressure applied.
Scientists were offered bribes or threatened. Evidence was stolen. Data was omitted or distorted. Government employees who complained were harassed, stripped of responsibilities, or fired.

Laboratory rats fed a GM crop developed stomach lesions and seven of the 40 died within two weeks. The crop was approved without further tests. When a top scientist tried to alert the public about his alarming discoveries, he lost his job and was silenced with threats of a lawsuit.

Read the actual internal memos by FDA scientists, warning of toxins, allergies, and new diseases-all ignored by their superiors, including a former attorney for Monsanto. Discover how industry studies are designed to avoid finding problems. Learn why the FDA withheld information from Congress after a genetically modified supplement killed nearly a hundred people and disabled thousands.

Eating such experimental food is gambling with your health. Find out how you can protect yourself and your family.!

Is Biometric Technology Solving Palo Alto’s Police Department’s Identity Crisis

To help solve this problem the Palo Alto Police Department has quietly rolled out a new crime fighting tool to assist officers in identifying individuals encounter with little or no personal information if and when detained.

A lawful detention can be best described when someone is pulled over on a suspected vehicle violation.  A non-working taillight would serve as an example in this case.

Once pulled over, the officer will undoubtedly ask you for your driver’s license, registration and insurance information.  But, what if you don’t have your diver’s license or for that matter any identification or information at all.

First, what you should be aware of is that well before the officer has pulled you over he’s already engaged and accessed California Department of Motor Vehicles records.

This preliminarily information allows the officers to determine well in advance just who’s behind the wheel and statistically, most, if not all taillight infractions as described earlier have resulted in not only being detained but have lead to arrests on outstanding warrants.

However, if you’re driving someone else’s car without the proper identification you may be asked and subjected to a new Mobile ID Device implemented / deployed on August 21, 2011 by the Palo Alto Police Department.

Mobile ID Device

The following new Policy was recently obtained through the California Public Records Request Act and would not have been voluntarily provide or discussed otherwise.


Officers sometimes find themselves in contact with person in the field with insufficient form of identification during a detention or arrest.  Additionally, wanted subjects often lie about their identities to avoid arrest.  To assist officers in positively identifying suspects, the Palo Alto Police Department authorizes the use of the Mobile ID System.

The Mobile ID Device is a hand-held computerized apparatus that utilizes biometric technology to identify suspects in the field be electronically capturing the subject’s fingerprints.

The device electronically sends the fingerprints to Cal-ID Automated Fingerprinted Identification System (AFIS) for comparison.  The device will advise the officer if the suspect’s fingerprint either match or did not match any fingerprints in AFIS.

The purpose of this device is to accurately identify suspects, decrease the obstruction and delay of investigations, and increase officer safety.


The Mobile ID device is a hand-held computer with fingerprint and card reader device attached.  The device is part of the Santa Clara County Mobile ID Project. All of the enforcement agencies in anta Clare have implemented the use of these devices.


Only qualified and sworn personnel who have successfully completed the Palo Alto Police Departments’ Mobile ID Device training shall be authorized to use the Mobile ID Device.  The utilization of the Mobile ID Device shall be subject to this policy.

A)    Only sworn officers and designated Technical Services Support Staff shall use the department issues Mobile ID Device.

B)    The Mobile ID Device shall be stored in its charging station and carried in the designated Patrol Team Boxes.

C)    Each Patrol Team Supervisor will designate an officer to bring the devise into the field each day and secure the device in its charging station at the end of their shift.

D)      Each officer that uses the Mobile ID Devices is responsibility for syncing any information (fingerprints) to the server at the end of their shift.

E)     Every officer that uses the Mobile Device will log on with their log on ID and log off after each use.

F)     Although the device has several other features, unless approval by a supervisor, officers are only authorized to utilized the fingerprint capture (Mobizent Mobile Works application0, phone, and ID reader features.

G)    Officers will not tamper with or change any settings on the device.

H)    Any issues with the device shall be forwarded to the Technical Services Division.


Authorized personal may use the Mobile ID Device during a detention, with the subjects consent, or an arrest, wherein the subject has failed to provide valid form of identification, or the officer has facts to believe that the subject is not being truthful about his identity. Supervisor may approve the device to be used in other circumstances.

The use of the mobile ID Device in the field is discretionary.  Other methods of identifying a subject can be utilized along with the device.  Officers should not compromise officer safety.

The information provided be the Mobile ID Device shall be considered supplemental information to corroborate, compare, and evaluate information obtained through other investigative methods.


Training will be provided to sworn staff.  No officer may use the device until receiving department approved training.

Notwithstanding, all should be vigilant concerning privacy issues especially when encountered by the police.  What you say to the police may in fact place you behind bars for a crime you did not commit.  A result of mistaken identity. This new technology is far from perfect and there are additional “biometric” technology concerns.

“What we don’t want is for them to become a general surveillance tool, where the police start using them routinely on the general public, collecting biometric information on innocent people,” said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the national ACLU in Washington, D.C.

If encountered with this new technology when confronted by the police you have the right under our constitution specifically, the 5th Amendment  to remain silent and answer no questions posed by the police if detained or arrested.  In addition, you have the right too legal representation if arrested.

And what may seem to be innocuous benign consensual questions presented by the police and if answered incorrectly without proper legal counsel present, you just may in fact find yourself behind bars.  Always err on the side of caution and remain silent if unsure when confronted by the police.  Just say no to the PoPo!!



Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa Stands Corrected

City of Palo Alto Message from the Mayor.

Was I the only one who noticed?…….Apparently the Mayors message got changes real quick………Aftermath link below…..

“From the symphony to digital media to children’s art — Palo Alto’s arts scene has never more vibrant!”

Design Element

Message from the Mayor
Mayor Sid Espinosa
Design Element Design Element Design Element
“From the symphony to digital media to children’s art — Palo Alto’s arts scene has never more vibrant!”