Community Update
by Will Beckett, BPA President

City Manager's Visit to BPA Board Meeting
by Will Beckett

May Fete
by Paul Edwards

Donkey News
by Edith Smith, Volunteer Donkey Handler

Barron Park History
by Douglas Graham - Barron Park Historian

Matadero "Bring Back the Tree Frogs" Creek Project
by Jeff Burch

2000 House & Garden Tour
by Shirley Finfrock, Beautification Committee Chair

Seniors' Update
by Mary Jane Leon - Committee Chair

Big changes coming for BPA e-mail lists
by Doug Moran (list maintainer)

Advertising Donors

Community Update
by Will Beckett, BPA President
Once again we enjoyed a wonderful May Fete. The weather was questionable right up to Saturday morning, but we ended up having a perfect day. It wasn't the best turn out that we have ever had but there were more than enough people to fill the May pole and all the food was consumed. Thanks to everyone involved.

There are many issues to consider as we begin to move toward a new school year. Options available due to the need to have a third middle school have focused on the southwest part of Palo Alto. I expect many of us will be involved, or watching this very closely in the next few months. Concerns with traffic congestion rank high with any final proposal. Although it will be good to have a school on this side of the railroad tracks, the affect of the development of all these properties could have a very large impact on our already very congested streets.

Transportation and traffic congestion continue to be major concerns. There is a lot of focus on these issues and many good people working on solutions. In addition to this, I understand that several grants have been awarded which will help fund new programs to address traffic safety education, and other programs to help improve safety and reduce congestion. Still, long-range planning for the expanded use of the railroad right of way and the addition of housing in the southwest is very much needed.

Safety Chair Needed
We continue to search for a BPA Community Safety Chair. This person would have monthly meetings with the city police and disaster preparedness representatives. They would plan activities to keep residents aware of the need to be prepared for disasters, and keep the community informed of crime statistics in the Barron Park area. We expect to add three or four new people to the board of the Barron Park Association this year. If you have an interest and the time, please contact me.

Drive Safely
Since school will be starting before the next issue comes out, please remember to be more aware than usual when school starts. Always yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclist and drive at 25 (mph or less) in our neighborhoods. A final reminder, if you have not renewed your membership to the BPA, please do it now, and you will receive all quarterly issues of our newsletter. Thanks, and have a wonderful summer!

City Manager's Visit to BPA Board Meeting
by Will Beckett

Palo Alto's new city manager, Frank Benest, was invited to our July BPA board meeting to get acquainted and to hear about some of our neighborhood's issues and concerns. This meeting was held after a series of public meetings to meet the City Manager, including one in Barron Park. The agenda for discussion was:

1) Infrastructure

2) School/Community Space Master Plan 3) Neighborhood Traffic Calming 4) Zoning Code Update 5) Financial Planning for City

In addition to this, the board discussed Disaster Preparedness issues raised with the city in years passed.

Benest is also visiting other Palo Alto neighborhood organizations, in order to familiarize himself with our various "potentially united" communities, and to gain a more complete picture of what Palo Alto is all about.

Frank is extremely personable, has built a reputation as a "doer," and is definitely intent on a unified Palo Alto that fulfills as many diverse needs as possible.

Our Barron Park neighborhood surveys help us determine our community's concerns. Please look for the next survey in the Spring 2001 edition of this newsletter. Back issues of the newsletter are on the Web at you become a BPA member, you will receive all quarterly issues.

May Fete

The annual May Fete in Bol Park was held this year on Saturday, May 13th, and the weather was quite nice. About 400 neighbors and friends came to the event, which started at 12:30 with the opening of the face painting tent and the banner-making booth, both popular all day. About 1:00, the Barron Park donkeys, Perry and Niner, made an appearance.

At 1:00, Gary Breitbard and his merry musicians began to entertain the crowd with a mix of Celtic and Appalachian tunes. At 2:00, Ian Rawlinson, a local bagpipper, and Paul Edwards lead the May Pole procession with stirring pipe and drum music. Gary and his group were joined by at least four other musicians for the playing of the May Pole dance music. Then Gary's band regrouped on stage to entertain the crowd. They were followed by Broceliande, a group that played a wonderful mix of Celtic and Renaissance music. The entertainment ended with several bagpipe pieces by Ian.

The May Pole was a beautiful sight to behold. Once again Susan Ogle, Paul Edwards' sister arranged the flower basket. The ribbons were colorful against the clear blue sky and the dancers weaved the ribbons quite nicely.

The Barron Park Association once again provided food and drink for sale. It seems that the fare just gets better every year. Next year promises to be even more amazing.

Thanks to all for another wonderful Fete.

Donkey News
by Edith Smith, Volunteer Donkey Handler

The Barron Park donkeys are enjoying the fine weather, the lush green grass in their pasture, and the abundant clover during their Sunday morning visits to Bol Park, from 9:30 to 10:30 A.M.

Perry has learned to hee haw a bit more, especially for Evelyn Guzinski. Niner practiced his vocalizing for Portola Valley Feed Co. owner Roy Digino who delivered his alfalfa on May 31. Niner also devised clever ways of getting alfalfa off the truck, after which Roy stated,"Donkeys are definitely smarter than horses."

Perry and Niner have had several educational visits with both Barron Park School kindergarten classes this Spring. The children learned songs about donkeys and painted pictures of donkeys. They helped wish Christopher Witt a Happy 6th Birthday. You may have noticed the donkeys' attendance at the May Fete: they gracefully strolled, visiting with people and dogs.

Niner's former owners, Nancy and Gordon McClintock, visited from Colorado Sunday morning May 21, and they found Niner very happy and healthy, being brushed by Barron Park children.

We've recently welcomed two new Donkey Volunteers to the crew: Zakhary Cribari and Don Anderson. We could use one or two more people as substitutes when feeders go on summer vacations. Contact Leland Smith 493-9386 if you're interested.

Barron Park History
by Douglas Graham - Barron Park Historian
Annexation Battles
(part two of a four-part article)
How the Neighborhood Got Nibbled Away

This is part two of the three-decade-long story of Barron Park's attempts to be annexed to Palo Alto. Part one told of the early movements in 1947 and 1948 that were defeated by Palo Alto's anti-liquor groups led by the Women's Christian Temperance Union. It went on to cover the abortive 1951 attempt and the battles within the neighborhood during the 1954-55 annexation movement, which ended when a majority of landowners signed a petition against it. During 1954, while Barron Park leaders bickered and dithered, the City successfully annexed the Ventura neighborhood, including the segment along El Camino Real that had been considered a part of Barron Park. This was the first of several Ôpiecemeal' annexations of our neighborhood. Part two of our story tells how our neighborhood got nibbled away in the 1950s and 60s.

"Foothills Number Two", in 1958-59
Perhaps emboldened by their success in slicing Ventura off the Ôfront' of the neighborhood, the City's next move was to carve a larger chunk off the back end, in a sweeping annexation dubbed "Foothills Number Two". The annexation proposal included Greenacres and the other tracts southeast of Arastradero, Terman Junior High School, Alta Mesa Cemetery, and a 75-acre portion of foothill land southwest of the Southern Pacific Railroad's Los Gatos Cutoff (now Foothill Expressway). On the Barron Park side of Arastradero, the proposal included the future site of Gunn High School, Greenacres Two and the rest of the Maybell Tract southwest of Coloumbe and Amaranta, including Loma Vista School, and everything southeast of Maybell except for the Irven Tract. It also included the portion of our neighborhood bounded by Amaranta, Los Robles, Laguna, part of Shauna Lane, the line between properties on Paradise and those on El Cerrito, and the Stanford Lands. The proposal also included part of the Barron Park commercial strip along El Camino Real from Arastradero to Maybell, and from Arastradero to the Los Altos city line at Adobe Creek. This was the annexation that brought the maverick Barron Park civic leader Jack Silvey to his full fury and that has left a breach between the two parts of the neighborhood that lasts to this day.

John Gill's Annexation Committee
During the previous annexation battle in 1954-55, there had been a large group of voters, probably a local majority, in the area of Barron Park southwest of Amaranta Avenue and southeast of Arastradero Road who favored annexation, and who were disappointed by the end result. In September, 1958 a group of these residents, led by John Gill, formed an annexation committee. Working with the city, they put together the proposal for ÔFoothills Number Two' and developed a brochure to sell it to the residents. The brochure, according to the Times, showed "...that the elimination of special district taxes and other savings would more (than) compensate, in most cases, for payment of city taxes." I have never seen this brochure --does any reader have a copy?

Barron Park to be an Island?
The annexation proposal took in all the remaining unincorporated areas between Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills, except for what was considered to be the "core area" of Barron Park. The City and the Greenacres proponents probably considered it to be a hopeless task to convince the people of the core area to annex. This was a classic case of "divide and conquer". If successful, the annexation would leave the core area of Barron Park as a virtual island surrounded by the city. A 250-foot wide strip along the railroad and arcing through the Stanford Lands would connect Barron Park with Los Altos Hills--this was a requirement of state law which forbade annexations that would create literal islands of unincorporated territory completely surrounded by a single city.

Immediate Opposition from Foothills Residents
The proposal immediately brought objections from a group, probably a minority, of foothills residents who preferred annexation to Los Altos Hills and began proceedings to bring it about. This group was led by Richard A. Frank, a hills resident who had been turned down in December when he had asked the Palo Alto City Council to drop his area from the annexation. Frank said he felt that Los Altos Hills would be better able to safeguard the rural character of his area, which had a minimum lot size of one acre. Frank's group ambushed the Greenacres proponents during the Christmas holidays with a surprise annexation proposal of their own--to Los Altos Hills--and moved it along faster. They were within two days of obtaining approval from the Los Altos Hills Town Council to circulate a petition. The problem for Palo Alto was that this would stop action on their annexation proposal. Foothills Two then could not go forward unless amended to exclude the disputed area--meaning the process would have to start all over--and opposition was growing.

Palo Alto Ambushes the Ambushers
Palo Alto won the race by calling a special meeting of the City Council within 24 hours, which authorized the circulation of petitions. Under state law, this action "froze" annexation proceedings on any portion of Foothills Number Two by any other municipality for 50 days. This gave Gill and his committee time to bring in petitions signed by the required one-quarter of the registered voters in the area--a prerequisite to setting the annexation election.

Silvey Declares War
Meanwhile, Jack Silvey and the Barron Park-Maybell Improvement Association had become involved, even though most or all of its members lived outside the proposed annexation area. Silvey purported to speak not only for Barron Park residents but also for the owners of the L'Omellette Restaurant at the corner of Maybell and El Camino (when Walgreen's now stands).

Silvey "declared war" on the annexation. He said to the Times that he had been told that the annexation would include only the Greenacres Two subdivision on our side of Arastradero (and not the areas along Coloumbe, Amaranta and Los Robles, which had been added to the proposal later). "They want to take in people in the Barron Park-Maybelle Improvement and Taxpayers Association", said Silvey, "and they can't do that to my people". According to the Times, he also complained that L'Omellette Restaurant and several other parcels along El Camino Real were being included in the annexation against the will of their owners. Silvey said "...(our) group has decided to fight not only for the people in our organization but for others who need somebody to lead them".

The "Battle Cry of Freedom"
Silvey, Alberto Kandetski and Alexander Thain constituted themselves a "Truth Committee" to fight the annexation. Kandetski was the Executive Secretary of the Barron Park-Maybell Improvement Association. The Truth Committee published a 12-page pamphlet entitled "Battle Cry of Freedom." It attacked the city for the "last-minute" addition of the foothills, El Camino strip and Los Robles areas to the proposed annexation. It suggested that the proponents were out to get "soft city jobs" or become councilmen (as if that were a positive incentive!). It characterized the City Council as being a private club composed of big shots and rich people from the north end of town. The committee predicted that the city would sell the homes of indigent oldsters for taxes and send them to a County Home, whereas the county would never do such a thing. It claimed that city employees could arbitrarily condemn any house older than 25 years, unless brought up to Palo Alto "standards", throw the owners out on the street and demolish the property. It claimed that cul-de-sacs were against city "policy" and streets would be connected through all of them as soon as all available areas were annexed. The ÔBattle Cry' contained illogical conclusions based on assertions and not supported by facts. It was poorly typed and poorly mimeographed for reproduction, overly wordy and used poor grammar. My guess is that it probably lost more votes than it won for the annexation. Loss of Revenue Support for the Service Districts.

Even to a dispassionate observer, there were two negative implications for Barron Park implicit in "Foothills Number Two". First, there was the threat of real loss of tax revenue from the commercial properties on El Camino and the residential properties being annexed. These taxes were a major source of funding for the Barron Park Fire Protection District, the Las Encinas Sanitary District, and the street lighting district. Of course, costs for each of these small districts would go down also, but loss of about one-half of their tax base meant either that revenue would be inadequate for efficient operations, or taxes would have to go up. Either way, Barron Park was being set up for the ultimate annexation battle to come.

A Split in the Neighborhood
Secondly, there was the political split in the neighborhood. Not again until the late 1970s could Barron Park speak with one voice in representations to government agencies and would-be developers. As I pointed out in the Winter, 1999 BPA Newsletter article "Lost Neighborhoods", the effects of the annexation still reverberate. The residents of Greenacres Two will probably never again consider themselves to be part of our neighborhood, which diminishes somewhat the ability of anyone to represent the common interests of the southwest Palo Alto neighborhoods.

Voters Approve, 3-1, but Silvey Calls Foul
For the first time since 1948, Barron Park voters went to the polls to decide whether or not to join the city. Polling was at Loma Vista and Terman Schools on June 9, 1959. About 1,500 to 1,800 Barron Parkers lived in the affected areas--about one-third of the neighborhood. The "Foothills Two" voters approved the annexation, 473-297 (76.5%). Annexation opponents immediately claimed irregularities and demanded a recount. Jack Silvey charged that ballots were counted "secretly" at Loma Vista, because Alexander Thain was denied the opportunity to observe the count. Silvey said that Thain had been told he could witness the count after the election clerks had a bite to eat. Thirty minutes later the count was posted, and Silvey claimed that "During the counting of the ballots the doors were locked to the public". Silvey's charge was denied by Mrs. Ted Erickson, inspector at the voting precinct. "I didn't even see Mr. Thain", she added. "I know him and would have recognized him. If he was there, why didn't he come in?" She said no door was locked during the ballot count and she and other election officials counted ballots while they ate sandwiches. Silvey and Kandetski prepared a resolution to the City Council protesting the "Irresponsible un-American and un-Democratic (sic) manner and mannerisms of the three election officials who specifically denied the request of Mr. Alex Thain, our representative, to witness the counting of the ballots at Loma Vista School". I have no information on what then transpired, but I would imagine that the resolution was dismissed summarily as having little or no merit. In any case, the annexation proceeded on schedule and by July the residents had been introduced to city services.

So ended the fifth annexation attempt--one of the successful ones. This concludes part two of the annexation story. In the fall newsletter I will continue with the story of the 1965 annexation movement--the first one that involved the renewed and strengthened Barron Park Association.

If you have any personal knowledge of any of the annexation movements, or documents from them, please contact me. I am temporarily working and living in the east, but can be reached at P.O. Box 98, Tannersville, PA, 18372, telephone and fax 570-619-7306, email
© Douglas L. Graham

Matadero "Bring Back the Tree Frogs" Creek Project
by Jeff Burch

Have you ever wondered what happened to the native Pacific Tree frogs (Hyla regilla) that used to inhabit Matadero Creek? As recently as 12-15 years ago, long time Barron Park residents can remember the spring evening frog chorus along Matadero Creek.

There are at least these possible explanations why our frogs have died out in the creek: 1) the ground water contamination problems of the 1970 and 80s, 2) improper waste water handling at the VA Hospital during that same period, 3) residential or flood-control development surrounding the creek or 4) their decline may be related to the global decline in amphibian populations. Who knows?

In any case, this species is thriving in Barron Creek behind Gunn High School, at Lake Lagunita on the Stanford Campus, and in the head-waters of Matadero Creek in Palo Alto's Arastradero Preserve. In fact, there's also a small population living in Inge Harding-Barlow's backyard just 1 block from Matadero Creek along Laguna Ave!

As part of an environmental service project, three Brownie and Junior Girl Scout troupes are attempting to restore this species to our creek. During the past spring, 48 girls from Barron Park Elementary, Juana Briones Elementary, and Escondido Elementary Schools caught tad-poles from both Barron Creek and Lake Lagunita. Using profits from their winter Girl Scout Cookie sales, the troupes purchased a small plastic aquarium for each girl.

Girls had to take care of their tad-poles by feeding them chopped spinach, changing the water, and keeping them safe from pets, sunlight and small siblings. When the tad-poles "graduated" into small baby frogs, the girls released them into Matadero Creek in three locations: by the donkeys, along Bol Park, and behind Barron Park Elementary School.

In total, over 300 baby frogs were released into our creek. With a little luck, some of them will make it through the winter and mature into adults in time for next spring's mating season. So, if you hear a frog chorus next spring, be sure to thank your local Girl Scout troupes! Stay tuned for an update next year...

If you would like more information on this project, please contact Jeff Burch at 855-9370, e-mail. To learn more, check out

2000 House & Garden Tour
by Shirley Finfrock, Beautification Committee Chair

May 7 was a gray, misty-day, with the mist turning to a light rain by mid-afternoon. However, the weather didn't dampen the spirits of the Barron Park residents who visited the open house and gardens with umbrellas in hand. (See photo) This year's tour featured properties on Kendall, Josina, Matadero and the 500 block of Chimalus. For those residents who didn't attend the tour, a sampling of three of the gardens' visual offerings appears on the facing page.

Many thanks to our Barron Park residents who attended, supported, and volunteered their time to the Beautification Committee's sponsored House & Garden Tour, Plant Sale and Donation Drawing. Winners in the drawing of garden gifts and Willow Street Cafe gift certificates were Sue Rotha, Sherry Tuck, Sharon Erickson, Molly Tinney, Andrea Benitz, Judith Content, Stephanie Sussman, Mardell Ward, Robert Henshall, and Ann Pianetta.

We appreciate the care and work of the homeowners who graciously opened their homes and gardens to the success of the tour. Sharing their experiences of remodeling and horticultural insights was a real plus for the attendees. Thanks to Jerry and Amrette Butler, Dick & Gerri Roe, Rita and Bob O'Connor, Joann & Samuel Marcus, Dick & Jeanne Placone, Joyce Lawson, Debra Frame and Jim Sagorac.

To add variety to the tour this year, several front gardens were designated as Frontage of Merit properties for landscaping and hardscape ideas. In selecting these front gardens in March and early April, we missed some frontages that were lovely on May 7. One of the attendees carefully provided his own "Frontage of Merit" notice to the ones we overlooked.

Inspired by the beautiful gardens, the attendees then carefully selected plants for their own gardens from the plant sale offerings. Ursula and Ernest Moore graciously provided their property for the plant sale. Alison & Harry Collin, Mardell Ward, Joan and Ed Taylor, Ann Green, Val Tupper, Stephanie Sussman, and Bryn Homsy made the plant sale a great success. The Beautification Committee wishes to thank the residents of Barron Park who donated plants for the sale, and to the purchasers of the plants. The moneys received are used to defray the expenses for this event and support our efforts for "The Plot" at Bol Park.

The members of the Beautification Committee that accomplished this neighborhood effort are Jean Olsen, Sabra Driscoll, Val Tupper, Mardell Ward, Stephanie Sussman, Amrette Butler, Alison Collin, Clara Sharpless, Lois & Ken Prior, Alice Frost, Barbara Johnson, Maria Gabriel, Sue Luttner, Carla Bliss, and Shirley Finfrock.

Seniors' Update
by Mary Jane Leon, Committee Chair

Getting to Know the Neighbors Bill and Wanda Grusonik

If you see a distinguished older man with a cane walking a big black Lab down Los Robles Avenue toward Gunn High School, you have seen Bill Grusonik and Beau. Beau's bark can be intimidating when he is out and about, but meet him in his own home, and he is a patsy--friendly and loving even to strangers.

Beau's people, Bill and Wanda Grusonik, have lived in the same house on Manzana Lane for more than 50 years. They have seen Barron Park grow from a few scattered houses in the county, with a gravel pit nearby, to the neighborhood we all share today. They remember the dairy cows grazing where Gunn High School is now, and the railroad track that carried trains from San Francisco to Santa Cruz.

Wanda and Bill were both born in Utah, Bill in 1915 and Wanda in 1919. They were married in Salt Lake and lived there until WWII, when Bill went into the Air Force. Wanda moved to San Francisco and stayed with her sister while Bill trained to be a pilot. Their first child was born there. After Bill completed training, he flew 53 missions in B25's over the Pacific.

After the War, Bill wanted to be his own boss, so he tried several jobs, had a restaurant in Utah for a while, and even worked for a rancher in Bakersfield. Eventually he and Wanda bought a small house trailer and came back to the Bay Area, settling in Redwood City. There was a building contractor who lived in the same trailer park in Redwood City, and Bill went to work for him in 1948. He had found his life's work. He helped build houses on La Para and on Laguna Way, out in the country at the time.

Meanwhile, the small trailer in Redwood City was way too small. The baby was six years old, and Bill's mother had come to live with them. The little trailer had no bathroom and a pump-up stove. There were studio couches at both ends. Bill and Wanda slept on one studio couch, and their daughter and mother-in-law had the other. The current dog and cat slept somewhere in between. Bill liked the neighborhood where he was working and decided to build a house for his family on Linden Lane (which later became Sherwood Lane, and finally Manzana Lane).

Bill got his contractor's license, moved the trailer onto the lot on Linden Lane, and went to work on the house. They still live in that house, 51 years later.

Bill stayed in the building trade for the rest of his career. After a few years, he quit building for himself and went to work for Rudolph and Sletten, first on residential construction and then on commercial buildings. He worked for them 35 years as a superintendent, and didn't retire until he was 75, nine years ago.

Bill has been active in the Elks since 1950. He used to play cards there twice a week. He still enjoys fishing whenever they are at their vacation home near Tahoe, which Bill and Wanda and their children built in 1968. They used to enjoy snow-mobiling and skiing there, and Bill still uses snowshoes when he takes Beau out. They spend a lot of time up there, year around.

Wanda is a registered nurse and still keeps up her license. She worked in San Francisco before their first daughter was born, since Bill's pay while he was in training in the Air Force was only $75 a month. Wanda worked at the old Palo Alto Hospital, in the delivery room for 5 years, at the Palo Alto Clinic for 9 years, then volunteered there for 7 years. Wanda's hobby now is her computer. She plays bridge on it and corresponds by email with her friends in the neighborhood and around the world.

Bill and Wanda have three children, five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. The oldest grandchild is 33, the youngest great-grandchild is 3. They will have been married 58 years in October. Wanda enjoys baking, and her baked goods are still much in demand by her family. All three children live in the area. With the grandchildren and great grandchildren, they all make a full house for holidays.

When asked if they are looking for a place to retire, Wanda says, "We feel lucky to just stay right here, with our swimming pool and hot tub and use them when the kids come. We have a wonderful family. We have all stayed together through the years. No divorces, no serious health problems, no deaths. We are a lucky family."

Computer Searches--Bah, Humbug
More and more, now-a-days, we are told to get information we want or need--about any of a jillion subjects--"from the Web site." Those of us who don't happen to be up to the minute on using computers can be left in the dark, sometimes about information important to our well-being. If this column ever refers to a Web site that you would like to get information from and you don't have a way to get "on-line," phone me at the number at the end of this column and I will be happy to get the information for you.

Lawyers for Seniors
Many people over 50 have legal matters that require the services of an attorney. For example, you should at least have a valid will, as well as a living will and durable power of attorney.

If you are in need of a lawyer for the first time, it can be daunting to try to find one. Go to the Yellow Pages? Whew! You will find 28 pages of alphabetical listings--under "Attorney," by the way, not under "Lawyer." At least the phone company does follow the alphabetical listing with 14 pages of the same lawyers broken out by type of practice: for example family law, civil rights, real estate, etc. That is some small help, but not a lot.

Luckily, we have three good ways to find a lawyer. Lawyer Referral Service

One, the Lawyer Referral Service, is described in a short article in the next column. It is available to people of all ages.

SALA at Senior Centers
The second, which is for senior citizens only, is available through the local senior centers. SALA, Senior Adult Legal Assistance, is a county service available to any Santa Clara county resident 60 years of age or older. SALA works through most of the senior centers. You can make an appointment for a half-hour visit with one of their lawyers by calling any senior center in Santa Clara County. The closest centers to Barron Park are the Mt. View Senior Center at 903-6330 and the Palo Alto Senior Center, Avenidas, at 326-5362. There is no fee for this service, and you do not have to be a member of the senior center. The SALA lawyers give free legal advice, brief consultations, and representation in a wide range of civil matters like housing issues, dealing with public agencies, simple wills, etc.

AARP Lawyer Network
The third source for lawyers is the AARP network of lawyers, who offer reduced fees for AARP members. The AARP service includes a free half-hour of legal consultation, a 20% reduction off the attorney's rates, and low fixed fees for simple wills and related documents. You can get additional information at the Web site, When we checked the Web site recently, we found only three participating lawyers in Palo Alto, and none of them does wills or real estate. However, there are many, many listed in San Jose and San Francisco, so you could certainly find someone near. By the way, if you are not an AARP member, you can join for $10 by phoning 1-800-424-3410. Even if you join just to get a lawyer referral, it is worth the price.

Mary Jane Leon can be reached at (650) 493-5248 or by email

Lawyer Referral Service

In times of transition or crisis, it is not easy to know where to turn for legal information and to decide if an attorney is needed or how to select one.

The Lawyer Referral Service, sponsored by the Palo Alto Area Bar Association, offers a solution. They will help you select the right lawyer and arrange an initial consultation for only $35. This service makes it possible for you to ask questions, clarify legal matters, and in general get a better understanding of your legal needs.

To get this assistance, phone the Service at 326-8322 and explain the nature of your problem. The staff will refer you to a local lawyer who specializes in the appropriate area of law. The $35 fee covers the referral and a half-hour initial consultation with the lawyer selected. Trina Lovercheck, a Barron Park neighbor, is the Executive Director of the Service, which has its office at 405 Sherman Ave. She tells us that the Service has more than 100 lawyer members, experienced in more than 14 major fields of law. Last year they were able to help more than 1000 people in the Palo Alto area who had legal problems.

Big changes coming for BPA e-mail lists
by Doug Moran

These changes include a new list restricted to news (no discussion), automation of joining and leaving the lists, alternative methods for reading the lists, and new domains/hostnames. The introduction of the automated subscription system also provides a good opportunity to clean up.

Because the members of these lists have a wide range of experience levels, the below descriptions range from tutorial to expert detail. New Domains/Hostname
The BPA has acquired two domain names and (acquired and donated by board member Mark Kriss). Notice that these are dot-org, not dot-com domains. Both domain names can be used interchangeably: they are both equivalent aliases for the existing e-mail and web hosts (see Hostname Aliases below). Because is shorter, I will use it in the below descriptions and examples.

Automating List Management
The majordomo list management package is now being used for subscribing and unsubscribing from the lists, as well as other administrative functions. To get the explanation of the available commands, send a message with help as the body to (the subject line is ignored). Multiple commands can be included in a single message, for example, to subscribe to multiple lists or to change your address for one list (by unsubscribing from your old address and then subscribing with your new address).

To subscribe to a list, send a message to with a body of subscribe (again the Subject line is ignored). Alternatively, you can send a message to -request with a body of simply subscribe.

The help message explains more complicated cases. The most common cause of errors is that your mailer splits a command line into two (line wrap). You can either temporarily turn off line-wrap, or split the command line into two lines, putting a backslash at the end of the first line.

In response to a subscribe request, majordomo will send back a message with an authorization code. You must send back the authorization command to be added to the list. This extra step has two purposes: (1) to ensure that the provided mail address can be reached, and (2) to prevent miscreants from harassing others by signing them up with hundreds of mailing lists.

If you cannot get majordomo to make the needed change, send a message to me (owner-, postmaster, dmoran, but not -request).

List Cleanup
The BPA lists are long overdue for a cleanup. Rather than send a message asking everyone to check their current email against the one on the list, I am asking everyone to re-subscribe to the lists (rather than ask those whose addresses have changed to unsubscribe and then resubscribe). There will be a transition period where messages are sent to the combined list. If your address has not changed, you should not receive duplicate messages (the mailer program removes duplicates).

I will also be sending message about this cleanup to the lists (and putting a reminder in the headers of messages during the transition period).

In the future, I plan to send occasional messages to list members reminding them of their current subscription information with a reminder on how to update it (if needed).

Current lists: bpa, bpa-misc, bpa-news, and bpa-donkeys (no activity for long time).

Background: As people change jobs and ISP's (Internet Service Provider), their email address changes. Some sites provide forwarding of messages from the old address to the new address, but such forwarding arrangements are increasingly likely to break as time goes by. When a multi-hop forwarding fails, it can be very hard for me (the list maintainer) to match the failing address to the address on the list because the intervening mailers don't record the information needed to make the linkage.

New list: BPA-News
Many residents have expressed a desire for a low-volume list with just news, no discussions. BPA-News is a moderated list created for this purpose. The current moderators are a subset of the BPA Board. If you have an item that you think should be posted to this list, send it to Submissions sent directly to the list will be automatically rejected.

Additional Ways to Read Messages Two options for reading messages to the list have been added. First, messages to each list are posted to corresponding Internet News Groups at, where they can be read with your choice of news reader. Second, messages become interlinked web pages at Replies within the news group and the web pages are posted to the e-mail list.

Both these alternatives allow messages to be read as threads, messages and their replies are grouped together rather than just posting dates. Both alternatives can also be used to find old messages; currently, messages do not expire (get deleted).

SPAM and Blocked Legitimate Messages
I have installed a number of SPAM filters, but these may wind up blocking legitimate messages. If a message bounces back to you and mentions, this is most likely caused by your ISP refusing to close a well-known hole in its mailers. Filters that result in too many false rejections will be turned off.

Web Site Aliases
The BPA web pages have been spread over multiple sites, corresponding to the person with primary responsibility for the maintenance of each page. With the new domain names, aliases within those domains are provided for the web servers. [continued on page 8] The primary site, now has the alias Caveat: using the alias instead of the official name can cause small delays loading the first page. The secondary web server has alias, but you will see this only if you watch the URLs being used. Aside: "web" is being advocated as a more pronounceable variant on "www", so hostname aliases using "web" in place of "www" are also provided.

Hostname Aliases
The original BPA mailing list was managed by Fred Lakin from a computer at Stanford. When management transfered to me, the list moved to a server at my then-employer ( and then to my home computer ( which has an "always-on" link to the Internet (via DSL). Moving a mailing list (or other service) from one host to another is not unusual, and it is desirable to make such changes invisible to normal users. The simplest way to do this is to create a group of virtual hosts, or aliases, to separate the various services provided by the real host. Then, when one of those services is moved, the manager simply assigns the virtual host (alias) to the new provider.

For example, currently the hosts,, and all are aliases for the same host,, which is itself an alias for, the hostname assigned by my service provider.

It is important to use the specified alias so that when a service moves, your programs automatically get the change. If you instead use an alias that is currently equivalent to the specified one, your programs will suddenly stop working when those aliases are changed to point to different hosts.

However, the use of aliasing occasionally leads to confusion when a program insists upon replacing the alias with the official name, for example, would be replaced by Note: in some programs there is legitimate concern about forged addresses; here the preferred behavior is for the program to attach the official name as a parenthetical to the given alias.

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