On May 13, the city's Rental Housing Committee set the annual allowable rent increase for the coming year. Based on inflation data, all rent-controlled units in the city will be restricted to no more than a 3.5% increase, starting on Sept. 1.
At the same meeting, the rental committee also analyzed the annual budget, including a per-unit fee that underwrites the cost of city's oversight of rental apartments. For the coming fiscal year, each rent-controlled apartment will be expected to pay a fee of $101 annually.
City housing officials pointed out the new fee is a significant drop from the $155 per-unit cost imposed on each apartment in 2017, when the city's rental program was just launching and faced litigation and startup expenses.
Train tracks tunnel
After nearly a decade of dreaming, debating and designing, Palo Alto's bid to build a train tunnel from the north end of the city to the south came to a screeching halt Monday night.
In an unexpected move, the Palo Alto City Council voted 4-1 on May 13 — to eliminate from consideration what has been both the most popular, the most expensive, and — in the opinion of most council members — most unrealistic alternative for separating the rail tracks from surface streets: A tunnel that would start near Channing Avenue and stretch south toward San Antonio Road.
The option, which has an estimated price tag of between $2.5 billion and $3.8 billion, is one of six that the council has been considering as part of its plan for "grade separation," the redesign of four rail crossings so that tracks and streets will no longer intersect. The option to build a shorter tunnel, from Oregon Expressway south to the Mountain View border, remains in play.
Local teacher eliminated from 'Jeopardy!'
Palo Alto High School teacher Trevor Crowell fell short on Monday's episode of "Jeopardy!" Teachers Tournament, where incorrect answers, including missing the final clue, cost him a spot in the finals.
The Mountain View resident's knowledge of local figures proved useful in the first round when he was presented with this question under the colleges and universities category: "John Steinbeck studied marine biology at this private California school on and off from 1919-1925, but never got a degree." (Answer: Stanford.)
He racked up more errors as the competition entered the second round. In a category about medical conditions, he was given this clue: "One more reason to monitor this substance in your diet: It can build up & cause strawberry gallbladder." Crowell said sugar, but the correct answer was cholesterol.
Another mistake came through a Daily Double question on which William Shakespeare play had the future Henry VII declare "We will unite the white rose and the red." Crowell said King Lear, but the correct answer was Richard III.
Going into the Final Jeopardy round in second place with $10,600, he took a risk and wagered all but $100. The clue on Americana got the best of him (and his fellow competitors): "John and Priscilla Alden lie in the USA's oldest maintained cemetery, which like a poem about the couple, is named for this person." The Paly teacher said Arlington, but the correct answer was Miles Standish.
Crowell managed to pull a smile despite falling short of his chance at $100,000 and congratulated the tournament finalist at the end of the show.
MVPD picks new outreach officer
Mountain View police announced this month that Ruben Gonzalez, one of the department's longest-serving officers, will be the new department's new community outreach officer.
The Mountain View Police Department created the position two years ago in an effort to assist homeless residents living in the city, particularly those living in vehicles, which has become an increasingly important aspect of law enforcement. The last citywide count found that there are nearly 300 inhabited vehicles parked on streets in Mountain View.
The job was previously filled by Officer Mike Taber, who helped "define" the role over the last two years, according to a statement by the department. The job involves a careful balance between assisting homeless residents and linking them to social services as well as enforcing laws against illegal dumping and other violations.
"I believe in the Community Outreach Officer position and the impact it makes on the vulnerable population in Mountain View," Gonzalez said in a statement. "I have always wanted to help the homeless and this is just another way I can help make their lives better and to make the community safe."
Gonzalez has been with the department for 25 years, serving in a variety of roles including the SWAT team and the department's "bicycle team," according to the statement.
This story contains 802 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.