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Laurel Street Spy http://laurelstreetspy.com the scoop on the streets of San Carlos Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:44:23 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1.2 The Spy Takes A Break http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=3555 http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=3555#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:43:43 +0000 debramonroe http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=3555 The Laurel Street Spy is on an extended hiatus.  Thank you for reading the Spy.

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Andy Klein Exits as Mayor http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2225 http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2225#comments Thu, 19 Apr 2012 15:44:00 +0000 debramonroe http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2225

Andy Klein, former Mayor of San Carlos

Today, Andy Klein is the former mayor of San Carlos. In a surprise announcement – at least to the community – Klein resigned from his office Wednesday after just ten months in the position. Effective immediately.

Klein filed a letter of resignation with the city clerk’s office. In it, he cited “major setbacks” to his personal life. He wrote he and his wife had decided to “dissolve” their marriage and that his busy schedule hadn’t allowed him time to cope with the loss.

Klein went on to write, “I have made decisions in my personal life that have become detrimental to myself and others,” but did not go into further detail. He also said he’d begun “treatment to address my situation,” but did not specify the treatment. Finally, he asked the public to give him privacy to deal with his issues.

Klein was first elected to the City Council in 2009 for a four year term, meaning he had one more year to serve.

The City Council chose Andy Klein as mayor last June after former Omar Ahmad died of a heart attack.

There was some discussion in the community – some of it heated – about the selection of Andy Klein, after an officer pulled him over in mid-May of 2011 on suspicion of driving under the influence. The D.A. decided not to press charges after blood-alcohol tests showed Klein’s blood-alcohol content was below the legal limit.

Some people objected to Klein for other reasons, calling him a polarizing figure or simply not liking his stance on outsourcing the police and fire departments, viewed by others as both financially necessary and innovative.

The city manager’s office says Matt Grocott will step in as interim mayor. At least until the remaining council members figure out what to do next.

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New Owners for Old Book-End House http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2212 http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2212#comments Tue, 13 Mar 2012 15:59:37 +0000 debramonroe http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2212

Ryan Connolly, New Owner of 1905 Cedar Street

There’s nothing like a man standing in a dumpster that screams a spiffing up is under way. That’s Ryan Connolly off to the left, new owner San Carlos’ famous brick “book-end” home in the White Oaks neighborhood at the corner of Cedar and St. Francis.

Ryan and his wife Brenna are still at their place in Emerald Hills but plan on moving in at the end of March. Ryan doesn’t work at Facebook or Google or Twitter, but a medical device start-up. Ryan says they aren’t doing any serious remodeling, just some minor improvements with plans to fence in the side yard.  For now, it appears even the retro pink appliances in the kitchen will stay.   The couple should be pretty easy to spot around the neighborhood. They have a 7 week old baby and a 2-year old. They’ll be the ones pushing a double stroller.

1905 Cedar Street

So now for the real estate angle…1905 Cedar sat on the market for 106 days. Not for the want of buyers or lack of creative marketing. Word on the street that sellers insisted on a too-high initial asking price of $1,399,950 and that one buyer walked after a good offer was rejected.

Intero realtor Dave Blewett will confirm that the listing was reduced to the appraised price of $1,226,000. (Redfin shows the property sold for $1.1 on Feb 8th).

Blewett says they had almost a thousand people through the home during the first open houses and between 50-100 showed up at the open houses after that. “EVERYONE wanted to see the inside of this Grand Old Home! The virtual tour received at least 1,000 hits per week for the length of the home being exposed on the Multiple Listing Service,” said Blewett.

Besides price, why did such a great old house with some nice square footage languish on the market? Blewett says buyer’s agents told him the house would have been snapped up if it had a back yard. “When the home was originally built, this intersection was not as busy at it is today. These buyers had the vision to do something with the side yard according to their realtor,” Blewett said.






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News Scout: Carlos Club Part IV (V?) http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2206 http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2206#comments Tue, 13 Mar 2012 14:59:45 +0000 debramonroe http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2206 There’s an app for that. This time, “app” is for appeal. The SC City Council voted 3-2 to appeal the Planning Commission’s go-ahead for the Carlos Club to expand. Mayor Andy Klein leading the charge against the CC. Hearing set for first city council meeting in April. Click here to read full coverage in SM Daily Journal.

Fred Duncan is the (safe to say…disappointed, frustrated) owner of the Carlos Club. He’d like to build a patio that can hold 96 people at the back of the historic building on El Camino. Police Chief Greg Rothhaus is the thorn in Duncan’s side…concerned about safety related issues that include too much alcohol consumption.

For the record….In San Carlos, The Carlos Club on El Camino had the dubious honor as the most frequently named place in 2010 where arrestees said they had their last drink. (click here to read the LSS piece on “After a DUI: Jail vs. First Chance.)


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News Scout: Schools…Carlos Club Continued http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2202 http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2202#comments Mon, 12 Mar 2012 15:32:42 +0000 debramonroe http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2202 Carlos Club:

Looks like not everybody was happy with SC’s Planning Commission decision to approve the Carlos Club’s request to expand. Strongly suspect Police Chief Greg Rothaus did a big eye roll and heaved a big, disappointed (disgusted?) sigh.

Mayor Andy Klein thinks the expansion is a lousy idea and plans to ask the City Council tonight whether the public should weigh in on the commission’s decision. That would mean a public hearing. If that happens, it’ll be very interesting to see how many people would show up. For details on the story, click here to read BANG’s Bonnie Eslinger’s coverage. Click here to read article by Michelle Durand in the SM Daily Journal.

Latest on New School Discussion:

The ongoing discussion about so many children-not enough schools and what to do about it has now expanded. Another idea: add new elementary schools on the grounds of Central and Tierra Linda middle schools, both of which have enough space. Click here to read Heather Murtagh’s coverage in the SM Daily Journal.

Cell Phone Antennas:

AT&T got the okay to put up six cell phone towers at 260 Shelford. Click here to read story by Bonnie E. at Merc.


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So Many Kids…Not Enough Classrooms http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2195 http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2195#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2012 16:45:54 +0000 debramonroe http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2195 School and city leaders are trying to solve the very complicated problem of adding classrooms for the growing number of students in San Carlos.

This is an ongoing process that will definitely not be solved at a meeting scheduled tonight. But it ought to be pretty interesting. Heather Murtaugh reports in The Daily Journal that an architect will share drawings of one plan that calls for building a new elementary school on the generous grounds of Central Middle School. Click here to read the full story.

Besides hammering out details of how to add badly needed “capacity” in a way that makes the most sense for the entire community, there’s still the thorny issue of how to pay for it all. Most common solution: school bond.

This is definitely one of those “incremental” stories that unfolds in bits and pieces….so stay tuned.


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Score for Carlos Club (& yeah, there’s a van) http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2184 http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2184#comments Tue, 06 Mar 2012 16:26:33 +0000 debramonroe http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2184 Expect the Porta Potty, the official symbol of expansion and remodeling in back of the Carlos Club sometime in the not so distant future.

SC’s Planning Commission Monday evening  approved the expansion of the Carlos Club on the bustling El Camino. To read SM Daily Journal reporter Michelle Durand’s excellent coverage of the decision , click here.

Some time ago…while scouting the outside of the building trying to envision the once disputed back deck area, the LSS spied a van operated by the Club. There. Absolutely no excuse for anyone to drink and drive with the “Carlos Club Shuttle Almost Free Rides” available.


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Enter the Craftsman http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2179 http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2179#comments Sat, 03 Mar 2012 19:20:26 +0000 debramonroe http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2179 Parts of San Carlos are beginning to look a bit more like Berkeley or Palo Alto, thanks to the number of craftsman style homes going up.

Jill Lewis with SC’s Planning Department says the city is seeing a growing  preference for this type of architecture. “Particularly in the flat land areas,” she said.

Especially true on one particular short street in the White Oaks neighborhood, where a number of small, ranch houses are being replaced with distinctive craftsman style remodels.

Dan Biermann of Design Studio Dreams is a residential architect who’s done a lot of work in San Carlos. He says over the last five years, his projects have mostly involved craftsman style homes in the City of Good Living.

So what’s up with that? Why the preference for this particular style that began in the early 1900’s in California with the aim of elevating the modest homes of the middle class?

Biermann says in San Carlos, especially in the flat lands were lot sizes are not exactly generous, homeowners want to maximize floor area so “they go up” if they can afford to build a second story. Enter the utility of the craftsman.

A craftsman can “make a very large house look smaller…if you take away the architectural elements you’ve got nothing but a big box,” said Biermann.

Of course, San Carlos has a few of those…featureless behemoths pushing out to the lot line; cheap stucco and sterile landscaping.

Craftsman to the rescue: the style introduces warmth, heritage and tradition while its proportions and elements break-up mass.

Biermann says this is done by pushing back the second story, creating various roof lines, adding visual depth to the house. The large eaves help, too, by bringing down the sense of visual height. All the other elements work together to minimize size: stubby columns, some stone work, shingles, shutters and maybe some window planters.

Biermann says he thinks there’s another reason why craftsman are growing in popularity. “We’re living more informal. Formal living rooms are becoming a thing of the past. People like great rooms that blend into the kitchen.”

Sometimes, the craftsman style stops at the front door. It’s all about the façade. Inside is whatever moves the homeowner. A true craftsman extends inside and that’s a whole other matter involving cabinetry and lots of wood work.


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For One Week Only…The Laurel Street Project http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2170 http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2170#comments Mon, 13 Feb 2012 17:36:45 +0000 debramonroe http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2170

Alex Wu, Kristin Wu, Allie Vick, Alex Vick, Heidi Umber, Susie Vick, Sara Umber

A rather ingenious school project is now on display through Saturday at U.S. Bank: a model of Laurel Street. Gasp…it looks like children actually made it! (As opposed to parents …need the LSS say more).

Brittan Acres Teacher Heidi Umber assigned the project to her class of second and third graders. Last year, the class focused on the history of San Francisco. This year, they studied San Carlos history. Hence the 3-D model of Laurel Street…from San Carlos Ave. to Arroyo.

To pull it off, each student did about three store models. Very clever use of materials….painted straws to look like clay tiles; a champagne cork for the heating element of an outdoor heater at Spassos.

The model is not without a bit of commentary. There’s the hundred dollar bill stuck to Prairie. Umm. The LSS suspects some little artist has heard mommy say a thing or two about the prices at the boutique. (No twenty dollar bills outside establishments serving expensive glasses of wine, though).






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Mixed Week for PG&E http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2164 http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2164#comments Mon, 16 Jan 2012 16:03:46 +0000 debramonroe http://laurelstreetspy.com/?p=2164 On the same day…PG&E found itself both blamed and praised. Blamed by state regulators. Praised by leaders in San Carlos.

Last Thursday, the Public Utilities Commission issued a report…alleging the utility broke state and federal laws that led to the deadly pipeline gas explosion in San Bruno in 2010. Meaning the Commissioners will consider fines against PG&E. (Several newspaper editorials had a thing or two to say about PUC’s share in the matter)

Also Thursday, the City of San Carlos and the SC Chamber of Commerce singled out PG&E on another front…giving the utility a Green Business Award to be presented at the Chamber’s annual Recognition Gala Jan. 19 at the Hotel Sofitel.

The Chamber and the City says it focused on companies that made “major strides in increasing their diversion of materials from the landfill and composting as part of the City’s Mandatory Commercial Recycling Ordinance.”

Specifically, PG&E’s facility began a composting program, added recycle bins and its “diversion rate” is now 66%. Also, PG&E has been “a major resource” to the Chamber and the City in their work on green programs, etc. in the past several years.

More on green programs and other winners later.

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