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In The News

Top 10 Buzzworthy Stories of 2011
In the past year, we’ve covered some pretty heavy, at times controversial, stories.

By Stacie Chan, Redwood City Patch, 12/13/11

Patch reviews the top 10 stories of 2011, some of which we will continue to provide up-to-the-minute coverage. 

1.  Recology garbage rate increases, ongoing

Nobody likes a garbage rate increase, but the South Bay Waste Management Authority ultimately selected Recology as the provider for 12 jurisdictions around the area. Though Recology didn’t quote the cheapest price, the Authority cited better service with a more thorough transition plan. The Redwood City city council approved the 18 percent rate increase. Now there is another proposed 7.81 percent increase up for approval in January 2012.

2.  Shark Stranding, April - ongoing

It baffled even the most knowledgeable of marine scientists and still an explanation eludes the Department of Fish and Game officials. As dozens of leopard sharks were washed ashore, some officials attributed this to a variation in salinity levels due to the unusually rainy season. Studies show that the sharks suffered from brain hemorrhaging. However, pathologists believe otherwise. The investigation is still pending.

3.  Redwood City School District parcel tax, ongoing

It’s the only district that feeds into the Sequoia Union High School District that does not have an additional parcel tax for revenue. A Redwood City parcel tax vote has failed three times in past 18 years, while eighboring school district, Woodside Elementary, receives more than twice the amount of funding than our district due to higher property tax values. Community members have rallied a campaign for a tentative June 2012 special parcel tax election.

4.  Kennedy Middle School field trip sexual assault, June - August

It shook the foundation of our community when we learned that five middle school boys had sexually assaulted two girls on a field trip to Stulsaft Park. The juveniles were convicted and face up to 120 days in juvenile hall. It brought up important conversations about field trip ratios and what sexual assault resources are available.
5.  Occupy movement, October 28 - ongoing

While Occupy Wall Street and other movements were gaining media attention for sometimes raucous riots, the Occupy Redwood City peacefully coalesced in Courthouse Square to articulate their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. Meeting weekly on Fridays, the Occupiers have won victories, such as saving a woman from eviction from her home and speaking with officials like Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.

6.  City council elections, November

It was a six-person race for four city council seats, until anti-Cargill candidate Brett Garrett dropped out of the race. Then challenger and CHP officer Paul McCarthy ran a fair campaign, gaining The Daily Post’s endorsement, despite outgoing Mayor Jeff Ira labeling his candidacy as “sad.” Ultimately, the four incumbents handily won their seats back. 

7.  Biz license tax, November

In a time of budget constraints and less-than-robust revenues, the city council felt it was a crucial part of its “three-legged stool” to bring in additional revenue. Many small business owners disagreed with a business license tax increase, stating that it would put an additional burden on them when the city should be encouraging businesspeople to move into Redwood City. Ultimately, the measure narrowly passed.

8.  Mountain Lion killing, March

It sparked a controversy amongst community members, with ardent voices on both sides of the debate: was it necessary to kill the mountain lion once it found itself trapped in a homeowner’s backyard? She, a pet owner herself, said yes it was necessary for the safety of the neighborhood, while others were outraged about the “senseless killing” when the mountain lion was not harming anyone.

9.  Clifford rash, September

A rash broke out at Clifford School, sending dozens of children home with what appeared to be bug bites. The suspected predator, a slender winged-insect called thrips, was finally identified after a thorough investigation that cost the district $78,000. Though some parents thought this was a “waste of money,” the state mandates that districts set aside money specifically for emergencies like this.

10. Cargill project, ongoing

Perhaps the most controversial Redwood City development of the decade (and for decades to come,) the proposed Cargill development has everyone in town sharing some opinion. Advocates cite the great need for more housing, parks and flood control, while many environmentalist groups and residents vehemently oppose the development over concerns of sea level rise and traffic concerns. A local group, Redwood City Neighbors United even formed specifically to oppose this project as the city council moves forward with the scoping process.


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