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John Bentley’s in Redwood City closing after today

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John Bentley’s in Redwood City is closing after tonight’s service, as beloved Chef John Bentley is retiring.

We phoned the restaurant this morning and confirmed that tonight is the final service at the fine-dining eatery at 2915 El Camino Real. The restaurant has served seasonal American cuisine from that location since 2004, and previously operated in Woodside. Chef Bentley said he has been humbled by the community’s gratitude for his cooking. Locals were saddened by the news of the restaurant’s impending closure, which was reported in Palo Alto Online in December and the Mercury News this week.

The popular show, Check, Please! Bay Area shared the Mercury News article, prompting responses from diners such as “RIP Garlic’s custard” and “Oh no!”

“Such a loss to the community,” one poster said, while another lamented, “Sad to see it go.”

Bentley, 62, told the Mercury News it’s time to retire after four decades in the business and a 2-year-old grandson.

“I’ve had a very blessed and incredible run,” he told the newspaper.

Chef Bentley’s career traces back to his apprenticeship at San Francisco French-Vietnamese restaurant Lipizzaner while attending the California Culinary Academy. There, he was taught classical French techniques by chef-owner Joseph Roettig, who Bentley called the “best cook I’ll ever know,” according to the biography on the restaurant website.

Chef Bentley later worked at the Clift Four Seasons Hotel, then had first experience as executive chef at Michael’s Restaurant in Sunnyvale, and later his first experience opening a restaurant at Los Altos Bar and Grill.

“Working on another project in 1995, John happened by the small, old firehouse in Woodside,” according to his bio. “Seeing a ‘For Rent’ sign in the window, John realized that it was finally time to realize his dream of opening his own restaurant, where he could fully explore the intimacy between kitchen and customer that animated his cooking from the start of his career at the Lipazzaner.”

The chef built a loyal following and, in 2004, moved his restaurant to the expanded, more comfortable space in Redwood City.

Photo: Yelp

Art Garfunkel coming to Redwood City

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Art Garfunkel is scheduled to perform at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City on April 19 as part of his “In Close-Up 2018” tour.

The six-time Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee will present an evening of melodies and poetic storytelling at 2215 Broadway St. in Redwood City. From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $42 to $97. To purchase to tickets please visit here.


Library to host talk on government career opportunities

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Interested in a government job? The Redwood City Public Library is hosting a panel on Tuesday, April 10 to discuss government careers.

The event will take place at the Redwood City Downtown Library at 1044 Middlefield Rd from 10 a.m. to noon.

Opportunities, the human relations process and tips for being competitive are among the topics that will be discussed.

The event is free, but register for the event here.


Redwood City Rotary to host networking opportunity

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The Rotary Club of Redwood City is hosting a networking event on April 3 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The event is a social and networking opportunity that encourages Rotarians to support the success of their fellow Rotarian’s businesses by referring others to them. It is open to all Redwood City Rotarians and their guests. Beer, wine and appetizers are included.

To request an invitation, visit here.

Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Redwood City website. 

Library to host Iranian New Year’s celebration

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Celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on April 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Redwood City Library, 1044 Middlefield Road.

Nowruz is celebrated during the Spring Equinox and traditionally involves gifts that represent beauty, good health, patience, spring, fertility, rebirth, and prosperity.

The event will include music, dancing, and arts and crafts.

For more information, visit here.

So far, more than 100 nominees for “Best of Climate” Awards

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If you are on Facebook, you have probably seen a post for the Climate Best Awards, an opportunity for Climate to highlight and engage with businesses and community members.

We received over 100 nominees for the 42 different categories, including, Best Pizza Spot, Best Coffee Shop, Best Entertainment Venue, Best Salon and Best Festival.

“Redwood City is a dynamic place and is fast becoming the center of Silicon Valley. We wanted to showcase and honor the businesses that are contributing to that success. We look forward to the voting and to learn who takes home the 2018 Climate Best Award honors,” said Adam Alberti, Publisher of Climate Magazine.

Voting will end on April 18 and a celebration event is set for April 26 at Angelicas to celebrate all of our nominees and to announce the winners. Appetizers and drinks will be provided. To buy a ticket click here and don’t forget to vote for your favorite Redwood City Business!

Redwood City council approves renters protections, including relocation assistance

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The Redwood City Council voted unanimously to pass two ordinances Monday aiming to provide protections for renters in an increasingly costly housing market, including one that requires landlords owning rental properties with more than three units to offer a minimum 1-year lease term to tenants.

A second ordinance requires landlords to provide relocation assistance to eligible displaced tenants that includes the cash equivalent of three month’s rent, the security deposit, and a 60-day subscription to a rental agency service.

Revised after city staff discussions with the California Realtors Association and San Mateo County Association of Realtors, the two ordinances passed council despite mixed reviews by dozens of community members who spoke during public comment both in favor and against.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the ordinances were implemented to respond to increasing rents both in Redwood City and on the Peninsula, according to city staff.

The minimum 1-year lease term rule applies to properties with three or more units. Landlords must offer a minimum 1-year lease term to tenants as of Jan. 1, 2019. The ordinance prohibits rent increases during that lease term, but provides leeway for a renter and landlord to agree in writing upon a term of less than one year.

The relocation assistance ordinance applies only to properties with five units. The new law requires landlords wanting to evict tenants before the 12 month lease is up to provide renter money equal to three months rent, except in cases such as when renters fail to pay rent.

Landlords also won’t have to pay relocation fees when the lease agreement ends.

Certain tenants called “special circumstance households” will receive the cash equivalent of four month’s rent rather than three in cases of displacement.

Complaints by opponents of the new rules described the ordinances as confusing, convoluted and a detrimental invasion of the relationship between landlords and renters.

Some argued they push the city closer to a rent control requiring a costly, bureaucratic rent board – a position denied by several elected officials.

“We are not going down the road of a rent control board,” Mayor Ian Bain said.

The ordinances will be revisited a year after they are enacted in order to review whether they’ve had any unintended consequences.

San Carlos City Council rejects plan to install traffic signal at Alameda de las Pulgas and Eaton Ave.

in Featured/Headline/Infrastructure by

This week, the San Carlos City Council voted against installing a traffic signal at the intersection of Alameda de las Pulgas and Eaton Avenue in San Carlos, near the Redwood City border, following opposition by local residents.

The four-way intersection in the residential area is currently slowed by stop signs, but San Carlos city officials proposed installing a traffic signal there in order to reduce congestion and backups on Alameda de las Puglas, particularly during commute hours.

Residents in the area expressed safety concerns about that plan, saying a traffic signal would encourage drivers to speed through green and yellow lights, making the roadway less safe, among other issues. About 345 people signed a petition to oppose it, with a number of them attending Monday’s City Council meeting to voice concerns.

They effectively convinced council to vote against the plan Monday.

“We’re looking for ways to improve traffic congestion,” Vice Mayor Cameron Johnson said. “That’s what we want [city staff] to do and we want them continue to do it, we all benefit from it. But they also have to make the case to the neighborhood that it’s the right thing to do, and in this case it is very clear to me that we have not succeeded to do that.”

But Johnson said the problem of congestion at the intersection still exists and will eventually need to be addressed.

“I think this intersection traffic congestion will continue to get worse over time and I think we should continue to look for ways to improve it in ways that are acceptable to the community,” he said.


Political Climate with Mark Simon: March For Our Lives is largest Courthouse Square assembly

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The largest crowd ever assembled in Redwood City’s Courthouse Square – officially estimated at 3,000 but appearing closer to 5,000 people – enthusiastically cheered Saturday as an array of determined high school and middle school students pledged to take the necessary political steps to bring about meaningful and effective gun control and gun reform legislation.

But amid articulate and impassioned speeches and the warm response of a crowd that overflowed the square and shut down Broadway, a question lingered: Will it actually happen? Can the fierce urgency of now translate into a continued effort that will survive setbacks, opposition tactics and the changing tides of time and circumstance?

The students say yes, and there are elements of how this one rally was organized and carried out, and how it occurred in concert with hundreds of rallies on the same day throughout the nation, that suggest they could be right.

In speeches and interviews, participants and organizers acknowledged that this could be a long fight. That was implicit in the repeated calls to vote out of office those who would resist meaningful gun legislation, the calls to register to vote, the assertion that this generation of students would soon be old enough to vote, to launch political campaigns and to run for office. And there was an assertion that the youngest students, middle schoolers, would be right behind them.

“I’ve always been really passionate about gun control and reform,” said Carlmont High School senior Sophie Penn, one of the Saturday rally organizers. “It’s upsetting that this opportunity is before us. I’m really glad to see all these students are really rising to the occasion.”

Carlmont High senior Sophie Penn addresses the crowd at the March For Our Lives event in Redwood City Courthouse Square on Saturday, March 24, 2018.

But less than a year from now, Penn will be in college, miles away from Redwood City and apart from the circle of friends and peers who staged Saturday’s successful rally. And within four years, so will all the other rally organizers.

“There have been a lot of historical movements that have been led by young people across this nation,” Penn said. One of her goals, she said, is to “inspire the next group coming along” of middle school and younger students, many of whom were evident in Saturday’s crowd.

Jordan Hanlon, also a Carlmont senior, said that when the demonstrations and protests die down, “I’ll still be fighting for the same cause.”

Holly Newman, one of the rally speakers, asked for a 17-second moment of silence, symbolizing the 17 students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Then she said, “The time for silence is over. We are ready to be heard and we are going to be heard. We will not stay silent and we will not back down until we succeed in making our nation a safer place.”

Will they?

Any student of national mass grassroots movements can tell you that each has struggled to sustain itself over the years, sometimes decades, it took to overcome the entrenched interests they were seeking to challenge and to change. Revolution takes time and makes people uncomfortable.

The civil rights movement, which some would argue still has far to go, was marked by dissent and disagreements between established leaders and young activists over tactics, targets and rhetoric, even as an older generation worried about incurring the wrath invited by confrontational behavior.

In the women’s movement, there were decades of dispute about the “proper” role of women in the home and the workplace, disputes still in evidence.

The antiwar movement of the Vietnam era generated mass demonstrations on a scale akin to the gun reform demonstrations. But demands to “end the war now” were also met with counter-demonstrations and an entrenched military-industrial-political establishment and the war continued for years. And the leadership of the movement was a mixed bag of idealist, sincere organizers, opportunists, and outlandish radicals who often dominated the attention of the news media.

So, why might this be different?

For openers, the students leading this effort are the best and the brightest – a generation of students taught to work on group projects and to speak publicly. The speakers at the rally, to a person, were remarkably poised, as if they had been doing this their whole lives. Certainly, it could be argued, their schooling had prepared them for this moment.

Spurred by parents and taught in classes with heightened expectations, they demonstrated a level of critical thinking and sophisticated political understanding that could not be innate but learned.

Brooke Bettinger, a 16-year-old from Los Altos High, carried a large tri-fold cardboard poster at the rally that read: “This used to be my brother’s science project but now it’s a protest sign because politicians think money from the NRA is more important than our lives.”

The antiwar movement of the ‘60s was led by a generation that had grown up with air raid drills, the Cold War and the reality that a nuclear holocaust could destroy everyone in a moment.

This generation has been going to school in the era of school shootings, campus lockdowns and a seemingly unending string of moments of silence and flags at half-staff.

“I’m part of a generation growing up knowing nothing but school shootings,” said Stefan Sujansky, a Woodside High School senior, rally co-coordinator and event emcee. “It’s far too normal. I’m sick and tired of having to watch school shooting after school shooting while politicians do nothing. … We should have a voice in how this issue ends.”

And this is a generation raised on technology and social media, armed with tools that facilitate networks of like-minded people.

One of the criticisms of social media is that it reduces our exposure to opposing points of view. But as a tool for unifying like-minded people interested in embracing a singular cause, it is unprecedented in American or world history as a means to that end.

As they prepared, the rally organizers sent out a call for speakers. Those who wanted to speak had to submit a Google form and a copy of their remarks to make sure their speech was in line with the overall message.

And everyone got the message. The words, the sentiment, the calls for action, the list of priorities were in sync with the speakers at the rally in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco and throughout the nation.

So, it could well be that this time is different – that the circumstances, the people, the means at their disposal and their facility in leading have come together at this time and this place and in a way not seen before.

Menlo-Atherton freshman Brynn Baker, standing with four of her friends in the crowd, put it this way: “Something needs to change and the adults are not going to change it. … In four years, we’ll all be eligible to vote.”

Stefan Sujansky, a Woodside High School senior, addresses the crowd at the March For Our Lives event in Redwood City Courthouse Square on Saturday, March 24, 2018.
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