Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sand Hill Road Tops List Most Expensive Office Address in North America

Sand Hill Road Tops List Most Expensive Office Address in North America

1. Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park -- $114. per square foot

The epicenter of the technology universe, Sand Hill Road houses many of the venture capitalists that provide start-ups with funding to grow and spread the tech expansion.

4. University Avenue, Palo Alto -- $83. per square foot

With immediate access to Stanford University and abundant retail amenities, University Avenue has been a popular location for start-up companies and professional services firms, the most notable being Facebook, Inc.

Source: World Property Channel, Posted by Michael Gerrity

Monday, August 22, 2011

House of the Week -- 467 Gary Court, Palo Alto

Lovely new home in Palo Alto

New construction Tuscan 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath home located in prime Midtown on cul-de-sac steps from Herbert Hoover Park. Quality workmanship, lots of natural light, high ceilings, stone, tile and hardwood floors no wall to wall! All bathrooms with unique and exquisite tile work, expansive kitchen and family room along entire back of residence. Generous rear yard with lush plantings. Rustic fireplace.

Call me at (650) 888-6628 to see this or other quality homes in Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

I specialize in fine properties in the Mid-Peninsula, Stanford and Silicon Valley area.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

LEASED in Menlo Park -- Elder Avenue in Central Menlo Park

Lovely West Menlo Park Home just LEASED!!!

Close to best Menlo Park Schools, downtown Menlo Park, Stanford University and Silicon Valley.

Call me at (650) 888-6628 to see quality homes in Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

I specialize in fine homes in the Mid-Peninsula, Silicon Valley and Stanford vicinity.

Monday, August 1, 2011

SOLD In Palo Alto -- 6 Offers!!!

Great 4 Bedroom home in the Green Acres neighborhood of Palo Alto.

This home is two years new and boasts many designer features. Close to Juana Briones Park, Stanford University and Silicon Valley.

Call me at (650) 888-6628 to see quality homes in Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

I specialize in fine properties in the Mid-Peninsula, Stanford and Silicon Valley area. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tech Rebound Gives Housing a Lift

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The resurgence in the Silicon Valley tech industry is leading to a new boom in the area's real estate market, with rising rents and a scarce supply of homes to buy.

Sid Vismanathan, who sold his start-up to LinkedIn in January, purchased a three-bedroom house in Mountain View for $700,000.

When Ann Schneider advertised her 1,782-square-foot, three-bedroom town home in Mountain View for rent on online classifieds site Craigslist earlier this month, she was surprised to get nearly a dozen responses right away.

The modest house has a two-car garage and a backyard, and she had redone the master bath and repainted the walls so it looks in better shape than comparable units in the complex. But she also raised the rent 60% to $4,000 a month.

Nevertheless, she had one potential renter offer to pay two months up front, and another who came to look at the house ready to make an offer with a package of documents that included a copy of a completed rental application, a letter from his employer, additional letters of recommendation and a credit report.

"I've had offers over email without seeing it," said Ms. Schneider, adding that she hasn't experienced anything like it since she began renting the house five years ago.

Inquiries came from as far away as Spain, Germany and Finland, and many from people in the high tech or medical fields. She ultimately rented it to a family. The clincher was that they agreed to sign a two-year lease.

While the nationwide housing market continues to struggle, Silicon Valley is one among a small number of areas where demand is strong. According to website, the amount of rent that tenants are paying rose 11% in the first quarter in the San Jose market, which includes Palo Alto, Mountain View and Cupertino, compared with a 2.5% increase nationwide.

Ann Schneider had many offers to rent her Mountain View town home.

Realtors and real estate experts, meanwhile, are reporting a dearth of properties for sale, which often is a precursor to rising home values. Real estate statistics firm Altos Research of Mountain View found that, this spring, an average of about 76 homes were on the market in any given week in Palo Alto—the epicenter of the boom—compared with 110 a year earlier and about one-tenth the number in a similarly sized market near Dallas or Atlanta.

While in some cities, a lack of homes for sale could mean that owners are taking their properties off the market because they can't sell them, Altos Research Chief Executive Mike Simonsen said the very small number of homes listed with reduced prices suggested that this isn't the case in Silicon Valley. Properties with reduced prices comprised just 4% of current listings in Palo Alto, compared with a little more than 40% six months ago and 25% a year earlier.

Additionally, properties that were relisted, most likely because they couldn't be sold, also comprised just 4% of listings in Palo Alto, at the low end of the area's typical range of 4% to 15%. The median sale price in Palo Alto has largely remained unchanged in the past year at about $1.7 million, he said.

Real estate agents already see evidence of a housing crunch in a handful of communities such as Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton, which are known for their schools and are near many of the fastest-growing companies. They say a number of two- and three-bedroom houses that are less than 2,000 square feet have sold for $1 million to $2 million after receiving multiple bids.

"There's just not enough land to build [in this area]," said Keri Nicholas, a real estate agent in Menlo Park, though she added that the market appears to be heating up over the last five months at a slower pace and more unevenly than during the Internet bubble when "it happened very quickly and ended very abruptly." She said there were still pockets in the broader Silicon Valley area where homes are difficult to sell, especially in the lower-end price range where buyers might have a harder time qualifying for loans.

Those who aren't interested in buying or can't find adequate houses for purchase are looking to rent. Mara McCain, an agent at Alain Pinel Realtors, recently listed a three-bedroom 2,850-square-foot house in Menlo Park on Craigslist for rent for $9,500 a month. Despite the high price, she said she has received more than 20 inquiries. She ended up renting the house to a technology executive.

At the heart of the boom is the technology industry, led by heavyweights such as Apple Inc. and Google Inc., which has fueled jobs and created wealth in the area.

An additional factor has been the anticipation of public offerings from companies such as Facebook Inc., valued by some investors at more than $70 billion and expected to go public as early as next year. Already, employees and others who have received private shares can sell them through specialized markets.

"All of a sudden, there are a ton of millionaires coming out because of Facebook," said Katie Hammer Riggs, an agent at Coldwell Banker Menlo Park.

Already, the initial public offering of another tech company, LinkedIn Corp., a professional networking site based in Mountain View, is prompting some employees to upgrade their homes.

Sid Vismanathan is a 27-year-old co-founder of a business card reading app called CardMunch that was acquired by LinkedIn in January for an undisclosed amount. After the May IPO of LinkedIn, Mr. Vismanathan this month purchased a 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom house in Mountain View for $700,000, upgrading from the $400 a month he paid for a two-bedroom rental apartment shared with two others.
"I felt like it was a good deal," he said, adding that he lucked out because the owners wanted to sell quickly. "It was on the higher side of my budget, but it was a single-family unit and nothing of that similar type of house has sold for less than $769,000 in the last year," he said.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why Barbara Slaton for Fine Properties in the Heart of the Mid-Peninsula?

Why should you work with me?
You should work with me because I’m smart, creative, hard-working and enthusiastic. I have twenty five years of experience handling multimillion dollar transactions. I understand investments, contracts, people and finance. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, which gives me an eye for beauty, proportion and elegance with a comprehension of building styles and techniques. This can be an enormous advantage to you when considering a home for remodel or redesign. I have an extensive arsenal of Trade Resources to tap into when you need assistance with home repair, inspection, appraisal, finance, design, building or landscaping.

What do I know about the San Francisco Peninsula?
Menlo Park and Atherton have been my home since the Fifties. I know the schools, churches, Country Clubs, restaurants, shopping centers, hiking trails, parks and neighborhoods. I have an appreciation for the subtle differences between the various communities, cities and towns. The advantages of living near Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley are crystal clear to me. I can advise you as to the best climates and commutes. I “get it”.

What you can expect of me?
You can expect my total commitment and fiduciary responsibility to you as my client. I offer my honesty, integrity, scrupulous attention to detail and the determination to produce your desired outcome. I spare no expense to provide my clients with the best technology and market research. Fine properties in the heart of the Mid-Peninsula are my specialty.

What is my business philosophy?
Most importantly, I am your advocate. I will provide impeccable service, communicate clearly, and achieve results for you. I am sincere, trustworthy and will negotiate tirelessly on your behalf.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

House of the Week -- 2 Serrano Drive, Atherton

This house is the complete package...

Stunning, peaceful, park-like grounds, impeccable craftsmanship, woodworking, moldings, lovely windows and appointments -- all the bells and whistles!

The home has the ageless appeal of an East Coast home, all the hallmarks of outside-oriented California living, grace and charm galore! An ideal setting for your museum quality paintings or porcelains...

Call me at (650) 888-6628 to see quality homes in Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.
I specialize in fine homes in the Peninsula, Silicon Valley area.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fabulous Location for Homeowners -- between SF and Siilcon Valley

Check out my NEW LISTING!

Beautiful, turnkey Townhome in Foster City, the sweet spot between San Francisco and Silicon Valley...
This home has it all, lovely designer finishes, fabulous architecturally interesting spaces, two Master Suites and more --

Call me for a personal Tour of this, or other, wonderful Bay Area properties.

Barbara Slaton
Alain Pinel Realtors
(650) 888-6628

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Valley is BACK!

Source: Excerpted from, Dean Takahashi

March 26, 2011

Dean Takahashi comments, "The bulls are back in Silicon Valley in a variety of ways. Let’s hope reports of the recovery are true and that the optimism doesn’t get overheated too fast and turn into a bubble of the dot-com era’s scale".
The front pages of the San Jose Mercury News and the New York Times both have stories today about the return of good times in Silicon Valley (and let’s not forget the Los Angeles Times). They point to both hard figures in unemployment data and anecdotal evidence of a recovery, rather than a bubble.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Key to Happiness?

"Joining a group that meets just once a month produces the same increase in happiness as doubling your income."

Read this marvelous and thought-provoking article in the New Yorker by David Brooks.

Annals of Psychology
Social Animal
How the new sciences of human nature can help make sense of a life.
by David Brooks

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Forbes Midas 100

Check out the Midas 100
2011's Top Tech Investors
Source: Forbes Magazine, Editor Nicole Perlroth

Fascinating local angle on this story --

30 of the top 100 live in Menlo Park, California

23 of the top 100 live in Palo Alto, California

2 of the top 100 live in Woodside, California

1 of the top 100 live in Atherton, California

Monday, April 4, 2011

High-end Housing Sales in Silicon Valley are Booming...

The Menlo Park Office of Alain Pinel Realtors
just had their


The following article appeared in the Sunday
edition of the San Jose Mercury News --

Sales of houses in that price range were up 9 percent in January and February from the same period last year, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

The same trend isn't showing up yet in San Mateo County, where DataQuick shows sales in that range are down from a year ago. But DataQuick hasn't captured complete March figures yet, and agents are reporting a surge of activity in the past three weeks.

Beyond that, not every high-end sale gets into public records or the listings service that real estate agents use. The $100 million paid by Russian investor Yuri Milner for a home in Los Altos Hills on Feb. 3 wasn't known until Wednesday, when Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone released official records that had been confidential until then.

"The high end of the market is doing better than it has for the last several years," said Richard Calhoun of Creekside Realty in San Jose.

Twice as many sales

The highest end seems especially hot. Calhoun found that in the first three months of this year, twice as many homes were sold for $5 million or more in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties as there were during the same period of 2010.

Most of those sales for both counties took place in February and March,

Calhoun said. The number of sales in that price range is more than for any similar period since 2000, he said.

And most are taking place in the cities you'd expect: Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside.

"People feel like they have money in their pockets," said Wendy McPherson, manager of Coldwell Banker's Menlo Park, Woodside and Portola Valley offices.

Wait-and-see stance
The trend is being repeated around the state. In January, DataQuick reported that the number of California homes sold for $1 million or more in 2010 rose for the first time in five years while overall sales dropped by 9 percent.

Catherine Marcus, who specializes in high-end valley properties for Sotheby's, said "the market right now on the high end is probably stronger than we've seen since 2007."

"Things that are coming on the market are selling," she said. "We're seeing a lot of foreign buyers, a lot of money from China. There are properties we've had where nothing had happened for six months, and all of sudden there are multiple offers."

The high end is "definitely picking up," said Diane Kneis, a Coldwell Banker agent who is listing the Atherton home of 49er football legend Jerry Rice -- 16,000 square feet, not counting a seven-car garage -- for $13.9 million. "There's a lot of interest from agents with qualified buyers who are looking for large homes that are well-built and can accommodate large families," she said.

McPherson of Coldwell Banker said that "all of a sudden in Menlo Park in the last three weeks, we had six sales over $3.5 million. In Atherton, we just had a $17.5 million listing and an $11.5 million listing sell," she said.

She said recent sales in Palo Alto include one for $9 million, two for more than $6 million and "lots and lots of sales" between $2 million and $3 million.

"There's been quite a few recent sales," said Gary Campi of Campi Properties in Los Altos. "It's been pretty promising." Campi is listing an equestrian facility on 11 acres in Los Altos Hills, with plans for a 15,000-square-foot home and eight-car garage, for $26.8 million.

At this point, DataQuick is taking a wait-and-see stance. "It's really early to know how this is going to shape up for the year," said Andrew LePage, an analyst for DataQuick. "In the next two or three months, we'll get a better idea."
Source: By Pete Carey,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nadir is here!

Nadir: The word is also used figuratively to mean the lowest point of a person's spirits, or the quality of an activity or profession.


The Real Estate market in our very special local area has changed!!! Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton have lately been recognized by wealthy individuals from many countries to be valuable. These are actual, real dollar valuations. In the past four weeks we have seen numerous all cash transactions, full price Offers, and multiple Offers on single family homes.

We have a Sellers market! CALL ME.

Please call me at (650) 888-6628 to LIST YOUR HOME or see the special properties located within this valued and coveted area...

Barbara Slaton
Alain Pinel Realtors
1550 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, California 94025

Russian Billionaire Yuri Milner Drops $70M on Sweet New Digs

In order for one to become a Russian billionaire, they make you take a test to determine whether you're committed to buying egregiously egregious real estate.

Shipping magnate Alexander Ponomarenko passed—he bought a Russian palace (from Prime Minister Putin's right-hand man) for $350M. As did Roman Abramovich—he owns more than 10 properties.

Now Yuri Milner, the billionaire founder of Moscow-based venture firm DST, has reportedly scooped up a 25,000-square-foot number in Silicon Valley for $70M. Apparently Milner has no real plans to relocate stateside, but as far as his portfolio goes, consider it seriously beefed up.

Source: Sarah Firshein, Curbed National

Monday, March 28, 2011

15 (other) Uses for Vodka...and you thought it was just for drinking

These are real uses for vodka in Russia

1. To remove a bandage painlessly, saturate the bandage with vodka. The solvent dissolves adhesive.

2. To clean the caulking around bathtubs and showers, fill a trigger-spray bottle with vodka, spray the caulking, let set five minutes and wash clean. The alcohol in the vodka kills mold and mildew.

3. To clean your eyeglasses, simply wipe the lenses with a soft, clean cloth dampened with vodka. The alcohol in the vodka cleans the glass and kills germs.

4. Prolong the life of razors by filling a cup with vodka and letting your safety razor blade soak in the alcohol after shaving. The vodka disinfects the blade and prevents rusting.

5. Spray vodka on vomit stains, scrub with a brush, and then blot dry.

6. Using a cotton ball, apply vodka to your face as an astringent to cleanse the skin and tighten pores.

7. Add a jigger of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo. The alcohol cleanses the scalp, removes toxins from hair, and stimulates the growth of healthy hair.

8. Fill a sixteen-ounce trigger-spray bottle, and spray bees or wasps to kill them.

9. Pour one-half cup vodka and one-half cup water in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for a slushy, refreshable ice pack for aches, pain or black eyes.

10. Fill a clean, used mayonnaise jar with freshly packed lavender flowers, fill the jar with vodka, seal the lid tightly and set in the sun for three days. Strain liquid through a coffee filter, then apply the tincture to aches and pains.

11. To relieve a fever, use a washcloth to rub vodka on your chest and back as a liniment.

12. To cure foot odor, wash your feet with vodka.

13. Vodka will disinfect and alleviate a jellyfish sting.

14. Pour vodka over an area affected with poison ivy to remove the Urushiol oil from your skin.

15. Swish a shot of vodka over an aching tooth. Allow your gums to absorb some of the alcohol to numb the pain.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Neighborhoods -- Menlo Park

In its earliest years of the latter 19th century, Menlo Park was awash with bucolic charm. Because of that, a temperate climate and a newly minted train station, many San Francisco businessmen chose to reside there. Leafy, secluded neighborhoods are still a hallmark, and with a small population plus a convenient Peninsula location, it remains an attractive place to live. The downtown's main artery, Santa Cruz Avenue, bustles with boutiques, shops and excellent restaurants, in addition to markets at either end: upscale Draeger's on one side and casual Trader Joe's on the other.

A favorite gathering spot is Café Borrone, across the street from downtown on El Camino Real. There's plenty of seating indoors and out, perfect for perusing material purchased at adjacent Kepler's, an independent bookstore that has been around more than 50 years.

The crown jewel of Menlo Park's architectural treasures is the Allied Arts Guild, a collection of shops, gardens and artists' studios. For golf enthusiasts, there is the highly regarded members-only 18-hole course at the Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club. Sunset magazine has its headquarters in Menlo Park, where every spring the facility hosts Celebration Weekend, a festival of activities featuring Sunset experts.

Of course, many residents just might cite Menlo Park's prime location as its No. 1 asset. It offers quick access to Interstate 280 and Highway 101, and is next door to Stanford University and Stanford Shopping Center. The city seems to straddle the bustle of the South Bay and the acres of lush woods and sprawling grasslands that form nearby open space. Quiet life in Menlo Park is deliberately reserved and protected.

Population: 30,785
Average household income: $89,100
Average household size: 2.4
Median age: 37.4
College graduates: 61.7 percent
Parks: 9

Source: San Jose Mercury Online

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How does Google Know?

This is what I encountered this morning when I logged on...if I move my cursor accross the image a message pops up "Happy Birthday, Barbara". WOW!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Venture Capital is Happening Here

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Vinod Khosla and his Khosla Ventures took part in one of the biggest venture capital funding rounds of the year, joining some investing giants in backing WeatherBill to the tune of $42 million.

The San Francisco-based WeatherBill has developed a technology platform that enables the pricing and purchasing of weather insurance using global weather simulation modeling and local weather monitoring systems.

The recent funding was the company's second round of venture capital.

Khosla Ventures and Google Ventures joined previous investors NEA, Index Ventures, Allen & Co., First Round Capital, Atomico and Code Advisors.

WeatherBill said it will use the money to support "aggressive" product and sales expansion in the United States and internationally. Products pay out automatically based solely on measured weather conditions, requiring no claims process and no waiting for payment, according to the company.

"With a firm belief that technology can create new markets and address vital global challenges, Khosla Ventures immediately recognized the potential of WeatherBill to fundamentally change the risk profile of the global agriculture industry," said Khosla, founder of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Khosla Ventures. "WeatherBill is one of those rare companies that has the leadership and vision to apply new technology to an ancient and daunting problem — weather's impact on agriculture. Now WeatherBill can help farmers globally deal with the increasingly extreme weather brought on by climate change."

"Global agriculture production is more than $3 trillion per year, and it is at risk today from extreme weather conditions, as evidenced by the recent droughts in Russia and China and extensive flooding in Australia, which have decimated global commodity supplies," said David Friedberg, CEO and co-founder of WeatherBill. "More than 90 percent of crop losses are due to unexpected weather and climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events. Dedicated to addressing this global concern, WeatherBill is applying the use of our technology platform to become the first company to provide every farmer, from the developing world to the technologically sophisticated, with a simple and effective solution for removing weather-related risk from their financial profile, in order to support and ensure the sustainability of the global food supply."

Source: IndUS Business Journal Online. March 7, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Peninsula Cities Face Uphill Battle in Trying to Join Forces over High-speed Rail

Source: By Mike Rosenberg,

Tired of being a national "laughingstock" on high-speed rail, a splintered group of San Mateo County cities is joining to form a lobbying effort they hope will put them on equal footing with San Francisco and San Jose.

San Mateo, Burlingame, Millbrae, Redwood City and South San Francisco have already banded together to form the San Mateo County Rail Corridor Partnership. Officials in Belmont and the county supervisors have also expressed interest, while other cities are set to discuss joining the effort.

The officials behind the idea think the county's 12 cities along the Caltrain line can relay their concerns about California high-speed rail to the state and federal governments more easily as a unified group. The problem is that many of the cities -- even the ones that have joined -- don't necessarily agree on many aspects of the massive project, which could run along the Caltrain line later this decade.

While leaders in Burlingame are fighting to slow down the project, for instance, their neighbors in Millbrae are pushing for the rail line to come to town as quickly as possible.

Burlingame Mayor Terry Nagel, one of the group's founders, acknowledged they may not be able to get every city along the tracks to join or agree on many controversial areas. But she argues the cities are helpless by themselves.

Nagel said the seeds of the group's founding were planted in a fall meeting between officials from several Peninsula cities and

"They basically told us we're not going to get any money for high-speed rail or transportation because all our cities do is fight," Nagel said. "One of them said we were the laughingstock of Washington, D.C., because of our constant bickering. They were saying cities have to work it out."

Extra federal funding is key because cities fear they will have to pony up for local parts of the project, such as rail crossings, and will almost certainly need more money to bury the tracks underground, as several cities want.

The cities say they also have had virtually no luck pleading their case with the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The authority declined to even study -- let alone implement -- a key part of the project local cities want, namely tunneled tracks.

Some cities simply may not fit in a larger coalition, however. Atherton and Menlo Park, for example, have sued the state to reverse its decision to run the high-speed railroad along the Caltrain line, but the new partnership group is pushing to "accept" the route.

"Our voice can get lost, when we join with all the (San Mateo County) cities," Menlo Park Councilwoman Kelly Fergusson said at a meeting this week to discuss the new group.

Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline added that the group "doesn't make sense."

"It's another overlapping group of talking heads," Cline said. Nonetheless, he said Menlo Park's full council will vote on whether to join the group.

Yet there is some common ground. San Mateo Public Works Director Larry Patterson recently asked San Mateo County cities for a list of their high-speed rail concerns, and he found each jurisdiction's problems fell into five categories: track alignment, adjacent property impacts, land use and economics, traffic and construction.

Patterson, who is leading the coordination between cities, said one goal of the group is to make peace between the various cities, a process that is typically difficult regardless of the issue.

"But we need to find a way to do that," Patterson said. "We don't want to be lost in the shuffle. I think we make the task much more difficult if we try to do it as individual cities."

Monday, February 28, 2011

Bloomberg Launches West Coast Show from San Francisco

Bloomberg News’ San Francisco team is launching a new one-hour show. Called “Bloomberg West,” the show will focus on technology news with a Silicon Valley angle on business information.

It will air weekdays at 3 p.m. Pacific time and then again at 8 p.m. It’ll will be available to 250 million people worldwide who have Bloomberg TV.

Bloomberg has 65 reporters and editors in the local bureau, up from 32 in 2007, and plans to add five more soon. The bureau itself has about 250 employees.

The new show is hosted by Emily Chang, formerly with CNN in Bejing, and Cory Johnson, who was most recently a hedge fund manager and was CNBC’s first Silicon Valley correspondent.

Bloomberg’s new show will cover the impact of Bay Area companies including Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Twitter Inc.

Johnson told the San Francisco Chronicle that “New York media looks at things they don’t understand as numbers and trades and stock charts. We don’t care if a company made their numbers or missed their numbers. We care what that tells us about the business and the technological changes that the company may be succeeding at or failing at.”

Source: Bloomberg News, by Robin J Phillips on Feb 28, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Menlo Wants to Stop Traffic at Santa Cruz and Elder

$291,000 in traffic signal changes coming to intersection near school

Source: by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff

The Menlo Park City School District and the city will each chip in $120,000 to add a new traffic light at the intersection of Santa Cruz Avenue and Elder Avenue, and take away a pedestrian signal in front of Hillview Middle School at that intersection.

The lighted, in-pavement pedestrian signal will shift to the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Olive Street.

The city will spend an additional $15,000 for staff time and $35,000 to create a right hand turn lane from Elder Avenue to Santa Cruz Avenue.

First things first, though. At the request of the City Council at its Feb. 15 meeting, Menlo Park will also spend $1,000 to create a "keep clear" zone in front of Atkinson Lane, a residential street that intersects Santa Cruz Avenue about a block from the school.

During the meeting, three Atkinson Lane residents expressed concern about traffic problems worsening if the city installs the traffic signal, saying it's already hard to pull in and out of their driveways.

"I do know that if we want to get into our driveway on Atkinson we're stopping all the traffic behind us and we can't go, because the cars are in front of our street," Anny Levin told the council. "Traffic is much more dangerous at that particular intersection than where it is now (on Seymour Lane)."

The residents asked the city to postpone the changes until it knows whether there truly is a problem with the current arrangement.

Data provided by the Menlo Park police department shows five accidents occurred at intersections around Hillcrest Middle School during the past two years. Three happened at the juncture of Santa Cruz Avenue and Olive Street, while Elder Avenue and Atkinson Lane had one each where those streets joined Santa Cruz Avenue.

Engineering services manager Chip Taylor told the council existing traffic issues would already benefit, and that waiting could make the problems worse. "The student population is going to slowly increase over the next four to five years," he said. "It takes time to get a signal in place, so if you wait until you see the problem, it could be six to eight months before you can get the signal installed."

The school district would like to see the changes made sooner rather than later since it plans to use bond money to pay for its half of the costs, Mr. Taylor said, and hopes to have construction start by May 2012.

The council unanimously approved the changes, as well as creating a "keep clear" zone as soon as possible.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Atherton Apparently Not on Obama's Circuit, but Woodside May Be

Rumors that President Obama would be stopping by Atherton during his Bay Area visit today (Feb. 17) are apparently unfounded.

However, there are other reports that he might make a stop in Woodside. If so, that could result in the closing of parts of Interstate 280 near or during the rush hour.

The White House says the president is due to arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 5:45 p.m. and will meet with business leaders at 6:45 p.m. at an undisclosed private residence.

With respect to Atherton, Police Chief Mike Guerra said that no roads would be closed off in the town and no presidential visit is in the cards.

He said that, in connection with the president's visit, one police officer from Atherton's force would help staff a police unit in Redwood City or Millbrae as part of a mutual aid agreement with other Bay Area jurisdictions.

Below are the guests expected to dine with Obama tonight. Many are residents of Atherton or Woodside:

- John Doerr, partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
- Carol Bartz, president and CEO, Yahoo!
- John Chambers, CEO and chairman, Cisco Systems
- Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter
- Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO, Oracle
- Reed Hastings, CEO, NetFlix
- John Hennessy, president, Stanford University
- Steve Jobs, chairman and CEO, Apple
- Art Levinson, chairman and former CEO, Genentech
- Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO, Google
- Steve Westly, managing partner and founder, The Westly Group
- Mark Zuckerberg, founder, president, and CEO, Facebook

Source: Almanac Online

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Facebook friends Menlo Park

Facebook is moving and hiring

Source: BBC, dot.Maggie, Maggie Shiels
09:20 UK time, Wednesday, 9 February 2011

A year and a half after cutting the ribbon on its Palo Alto HQ, Facebook has just unveiled plans to quit that complex and move six miles up the road to Menlo Park to a home that will house the social network's expanding employee base.

With a workforce of around 2,000, two-thirds of which are in the Bay Area, Facebook is busting at the seams. That is very evident when you walk around the place with people always milling around, the cafeteria's always brimming with employees and the overcrowded car park.

The world's biggest social network, which celebrated its seventh birthday last week, is growing like a weed and predicts that this year will see their hiring department working overtime to fill new posts.

There are 3,700 parking spaces at the new campus and room for 3,600 people, reporters were told during a news conference to unveil the new premises. When questioned, David Ebersman, chief financial officer admitted the company is planning to "add people". While he refused to be drawn on precise figures he did say "Facebook is growing 50% a year in terms of headcount and our growth plan is to continue hiring in the Bay Area."

The new digs which were built between 1993 and 1995, was Sun's corporate HQ until Oracle bought it for $7.4bn in 2010. The campus takes up 57 acres, has nine sprawling buildings and totals about one million square feet.

Facebook said it has also purchased an adjacent 22-acre tract that is connected to its new campus by a tunnel for possible future development.

Facebook did not say how much this is all costing but said Menlo Park did not offer any tax breaks to entice the hot Silicon Valley company to its neighbourhood.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Yummy House of the Week

I love this home!

an Art Gallery vibe, mixed with great small hotel, a pinch of Asia and a dash of Florida Keys -- all on a lovely West Atherton 1.24 Acre.

If you would like to Tour this home, or other fine properties in the Mid-Peninsula area, please call me at (650) 888-6628.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Home of the Week --

WOW! This home has it all

Light and bright with French Doors to the garden and expansive windows allowing the sun to fill the rooms.

A fine 1.25 Acre parcel in West Atherton with Heritage Oaks and a level garden area that could accomodate hundreds of guests for outdoor entertaining. 

Six Bedrooms with all the amenities...extra-wide hallways, high ceilings and gracious rooms for gathering...

Priced at $6,900,000.

Please call me at (650) 888-6628 if you would like to see this or other fine properties in the Mid-peninsula area --

Monday, January 17, 2011

No McMansions for Millenials -- Gen Y Says NO!

Source: Wall Street Journal
By S. Mitra Kalita and Robbie Whelan, Jan 14, 2011

Here's what Generation Y doesn't want: formal living rooms, soaker bathtubs, dependence on a car.
In other words, they don't want their parents' homes.

Much of this week's National Association of Home Builders conference has dwelled on the housing needs of an aging baby boomer population. But their children actually represent an even larger demographic. An estimated 80 million people comprise the category known as "Gen Y," youth born roughly between 1980 and the early 2000s. The boomers, meanwhile, boast 76 million.

"One-third are willing to pay for the ability to walk," Ms. Duggal said. "They don't want to be in a cookie-cutter type of development. ...The suburbs will need to evolve to be attractive to Gen Y."

Outdoor space is important-but please, just a place to put the grill and have some friends over. Lawn-mowing not desired. Amenities such as fitness centers, game rooms and party rooms are important ("Is the room big enough to host a baby shower?" a millennial might think). "Outdoor fire pits," suggested Tony Weremeichik of Canin Associates, an architecture firm in Orlando. "Consider designing outdoor spaces as if they were living rooms."

Smaller rooms and fewer cavernous hallways to get everywhere, a bigger shower stall and skip the tub, he said. Oh, but don't forget space in front of the television for the Wii, and space to eat meals while glued to the tube, because dinner parties and families gathered around the table are so last-Gen. And maybe a little nook in the laundry room for Rover's bed?

In his presentation, KTGY Group residential designer David Senden showed slide after slide of dwellings that looked like a cross between a hotel lobby and the set of "Melrose Place."

He christened the subset of the generation delaying marriage and family as "dawdlers."

"A house in the suburbs is not for them," Mr. Senden said. "At least not yet."

Places to congregate are more important than a big apartment, he cautioned. He showed one layout of a studio apartment-350 square feet, as big as Mom and Dad's Great Room. Common space has migrated to "club rooms," he said, where Gen-Y residents can host meals and hang out before heading to a common movie-screening room or rooftop swimming pool that they share with the building's other tenants.

The Great Recession and its effects on young people's wages will affect how much home they can buy or rent for years to come.

"Not too many college grads can afford a lot of space in the city," he said. "Think lots of amenities with little tiny units-and a lot of them to keep (fees) down. ...The things these places are doing is constantly coordinating activities. The residents get to know each other and it makes for a much livelier and friendlier environment."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It Takes a Village - An Old-Fashioned One

Source: Playborhood Blog by Mike Lanza
Posted: 01/06/11 12:57 PM

I agree with Hillary Clinton that It Takes a Village to raise a child. I just don’t agree with her on what kind of village it takes.

In her bestselling book of that name, Clinton finds the original notion of a village to be quaint and outdated. She writes, “The village can no longer be defined as a place on the map.” Instead, “it is the network of values and relationships that support and affect our lives.” Many other writers agree with her that a village isn’t physically delimited. Even fifty years ago, communications theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the term “global village” to argue that mass communications technology had created a single, global culture.

The problem with this modern definition of a village for children is that they can’t use most of the technologies that adults routinely use to extend a village beyond a small local area. They can’t drive cars on their own until they reach the age of 16, and they can’t interact with others using interactive communications technologies like mobile phone texting until sometime in the elementary or middle school years. So, for children, this modern village concept would force them to depend on the the intervention of parents.

As I’ve argued repeatedly here on, children have a deep need to experience things on their own. The more rich is the physical (not virtual) domain that children can access on their own, on foot, the better.

So, I strongly believe that it takes a village - i.e. an old-fashioned, tight-knit neighborhood - to raise a child. Not some “network of values and relationships.” Not a “global village.” This village is a place where children can wander safely on their own, where they have many meaningful relationships with people - children and adults - outside of their families.
Because children need parenting help when they’re outside our homes, our kids need other kids’ parents to step up and be surrogate parents to our kids when we’re not there. And, we need to do it for those parents’ kids.

We need to feed each other’s kids, soothe them when they get hurt, protect them from danger, and be a resource when they need something. If we parents in a neighborhood (or our surrogates - i.e. babysitters or nannies) join together and do these things for each other’s kids, our kids will feel comfortable wandering up and down the block on their own. We’ll be comfortable letting them do it, too.

Sociologist William Julius Wilson coined the term “reciprocal guardian behavior” back in the 1980s to describe the phenomenon of adults caring for children who aren’t their own in urban poor neighborhoods. Lyman Place in the South Bronx is an excellent example of such a neighborhood. Wilson thought this behavior was a key to making these neighborhoods safe, so that kids could feel comfortable going outside to play.

It’s clear to me that the benefits of reciprocal guardian behavior extend to all social classes. It’s about more than just safety - fundamentally, it’s about creating the conditions for a life of independent play in the neighborhood.

We parents can help make our neighborhoods into villages by spending time in our neighborhoods, socializing with other parents and encouraging our kids to play with neighbor kids. is full of suggestions on how to make this happen.

Have you invested significant time in making your neighborhood into a village? Or, do you fill up all your kids’ free time driving them to activities outside your neighborhood?