In the Nov. 8 election, Palo Alto voters will weigh in on two measures on the ballot: Measure K, known as the Local Business Tax, and Measure L, the Natural Gas Utility General Fund Transfer. The ballot descriptions are as follows:
Measure K: Local Business Tax (requires majority vote to pass)
Shall the measure to raise funds for public safety, affordable housing, rail crossing safety, homeless services, and general city services, by levying a tax on businesses in the City of Palo Alto at a monthly rate of 7.5 cents per square foot occupied by a business, up to $500,000 per business, with annual 2.5% adjustments for inflation and exemptions for grocery stores and businesses under 10,000 square feet, raising approximately $9.6 million annually for 35 years, be adopted?
Measure L: Natural Gas Utility General Fund Transfer (requires majority vote to pass)
Shall the measure affirming the City of Palo Alto's existing and decadesold practice of annually transferring no more than 18% of the gross revenues from the City's natural gas utility (generated by the City's retail natural gas rates) to its general fund to support general city services such as roads; parks; libraries; climate change reduction; police, fire, emergency medical, and 9-1-1 response; providing approximately $7 million annually in existing revenues until ended by voters, be adopted?
The couple relocated to Palo Alto partly because of Joyce's health. She was diagnosed with leukemia in the months before COVID-19 broke out, and when it did she had to be very cautious because leukemia impairs the immune system. She's now in remission, but when isolation and quarantine were the norm, it was important for her to be able to connect with friends over games, she said. The pandemic cut many people off from in-person interaction with friends, and now that case rates are easing it feels all the more powerful to get together to foster camaraderie, community and connection, she said.
"We need that, as people," she said.
Board games are having a resurgence in popularity right now, the owners say. The latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons is the game's most popular ever, thanks in part to the hit show "Stranger Things," and Magic: The Gathering launched an app that made it easier for new players to learn the game, Hatfield said.
While many brick-and-mortar stores have suffered from competition with internet retailers, Hatfield said that their business offers something you can't get online. It's a place where you can stop by on your way home from dinner or work and have someone recommend a game and explain to you how to play it, he said. Hatfield attended a series of board game conventions to make sure their supply of games highlights what's new in the industry, while the store's plushy selection was specially curated by three children who are family friends.
The city of Palo Alto has been talking for years about ways to support local businesses, a conversation that has become particularly urgent since the start of the pandemic. It has excluded small businesses from its proposed business tax, and the city manager has just hired an assistant who is focused on economic development.
The sense that community members are hungry for a fun spot to buy and play games was evident at lunchtime on a exact weekday when the store was closed, as several people approached the storefront, peered in and tried to open the front door.
"People have been trying to pull the doors down," Joyce said.
A central component of their game store is the gaming rooms in the back of the shop they're developing. Decorated with murals from artists Morgan Bricca and Graham Yarrington, the rooms and the store’s extensive game selection will be available for free play, where people can reserve spots like they would at a restaurant, or drop-in at a rate of $10 for two hours. Another room will be available to rent for private parties. In addition, Joyce has an office where she'll offer tarot readings. The store also plans to host its own Dungeons & Dragons campaign, where people can drop in and join ad hoc sessions. And they're open to adding programs based on what the community is interested in.
"If they have games they're really passionate about and want to run it and teach people how to do it, we'll incorporate them into the programming," Hatfield said.
The store also serves another community purpose. Hatfield points to the 2019 book, "The Board Game Family: Reclaim your Children from the Screen," by Ellie Dix as the philosophical heart of their store. The book talks about the many ways that board games can serve to help people open up to each other, learn developmental and social skills and ultimately bring families closer together.
"I know that playing games has contributed enormously to my ability to interact with others, manage failure, work creatively with available resources, experiment with multiple paths to success, solve interesting problems, adapt to changing situations and make decisions quickly," Dix writes in the book's introduction.
She also asserts that the rise of crowdfunding has helped make it more feasible for independent game designers to publish their games, which has driven a exact wave of innovation and creativity in the medium. "This isn’t a renaissance of board gaming; it has never been this good," she writes.
The store will highlight contributions by the sizable local game designer community through a presentation series called "Meet your Maker" and will make an effort to carry games by local designers, like one on its shelves called "Gosh Darn Bubbles" by San José resident Michael Sanchez.
Joyce is also hoping their store can serve as a safe space to escape from stressors. For some teens in other communities, Joyce said, having access to a brick-and-mortar game space where they could escape for a couple of hours after school was what helped them get through pandemic isolation.
"They can find their tribe and they know that for that hour and a half, two hours (or) four hours, they're in this other world. I think it really helps," she said.
The store is now open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the soft-opening phase. Gamelandia is set to hold a grand opening Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. and plans to host a Halloween party from 4-9 p.m. on Oct. 31 with a pet costume contest, gaming and candy.
Gamelandia, 290 California Ave., Palo Alto, 650-382-2528, gamelandia.fun. Instagram: @gamelandia.fun.
Kate Bradshaw is the associate editor for TheSixFifty.com, a sister publication of the Palo Alto Weekly.
By just about any measure, Rudyard Kipling is way out of sync with contemporary culture.
Born in Bombay (now Mumbai) during the first decade of the British Raj, the English novelist and poet has come to embody the colonial enterprise, though his love of India wends through many of his best known tales. Can his work still speak to a post-colonial world?
An ambitious new play by Sunnyvale-based EnActe Arts, “The Jungle Book: Rudyard Revised,” gives Kipling the opportunity to reconsider the arc of his beloved 1894 novel, which spawned Disney’s popular 1967 animated film. Created in collaboration with The Centre for Wildlife Studies, the production not only reimagines “The Jungle Book” from the perspective of the animals, it repatriates the story by telling the tale via classical Indian dance and music.
“No one teaches Kipling anymore because he got labeled a racist and colonialist,” said EnActe artistic director Vinita Sud Belani, the play’s director. “But he was a very complex person who was in love with India. It was the only place he felt at home. So we made him a character in our story, which is really from the point of view of the jungle and the tiger.”
Launched a decade ago by Belani, a veteran high-tech executive and actor, EnActe Arts is making a bold play to leap from regional to national (and international) stages with “The Jungle Book: Rudyard Revised.” After the production premieres at Palo Alto’s Sept. 30-Oct. 2, it plays two weekends at San Francisco’s Cowell Theater (Nov. 11-13 and 18-20) and San Jose’s Hammer Theatre Center (Dec. 2-4 and 9-11). The goal is to take the production on the road, eventually reaching South Asia.
Playful in repartee but serious about the ecological challenges facing India’s jungles, the script was developed over several years at the EnActe Conservatory through a collaborative process involving 14 writers spanning some three generations. Kipling makes an early appearance in the play, when he’s upbraided by the peacock Mayur who resents being left out of the original story despite his status as India’s national bird.
The story still features many of the treasured characters — the bear Baloo, the jungle-raised boy Mowgli, and Kaa the snake played by Chennai, India-based guest star Anita Ratnam — but instead of a plot driven by the tiger Shere Khan’s pursuit of Mowgli the play refocuses the narrative on humanity’s desecration of the jungle and the hunting of tigers to near-extinction.
“Everything that Kipling wrote is there,” Belani said. “He was a beautiful writer, and we did not see any reason to dissociate ourselves from his work as a human being. It’s very much Kipling’s stories, and the music is his poetry.”
In bringing Kiping’s writing to the stage, Belani assembled a powerhouse creative team, including Anil Natyaveda, a choreographer, dancer, and expert in the martial art of Kalaripayattu; and choreographer Aparna Sindhoor, a master of Bharatanatyam, the southern Indian classical dance tradition. Natyaveda and Sindhoor are co-artistic directors of the well-established Navarasa Dance Theater in Los Angeles.
The score was created by Berkeley saxophonist George Brooks, who has spent the past three decades collaborating with the greatest figures in North and South Indian classical music. Recording the music in his studio during the pandemic “took my skills as a home producer to new levels, as well as working with lyrics, which is not something I do in my own work,” he said.
Creating themes for many of the characters, he captures the jittery energy of the monkeys and Kaa’s hypnotic hiss with soprano saxophone doubling with the Indian double reed shehnai.
“Baloo’s theme is pretty jazz with tenor sax,” Brooks said. “The play opens with ‘Introducing the Jungle,’ which has an almost Afrobeat horn section. It’s Indian folk rhythms, but when you get to that energy level it’s not that different.”
Brooks is featured in a series of high-profile events around the region in the coming weeks, including a performance with “Jungle Book” choreographer Sindhoor and her Navarasa Dance Theater featuring her new dance/theater work “The Naked Line” Oct. 8 at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. On Oct. 9 his quartet with raga pianist Utsav Lal performs twice, first as part of the 15th SF Music Day and later that day at the Jazz In the Neighborhood’s Paul Dresher Studio series in West Oakland. And on Oct. 16 he joins the quartet of Carnatic guitar star Prasanna at Montalvo Arts Center (they also perform as a duo Oct. 15 at the Oaktown Jazz Workshops).“The Jungle Book” isn’t EnActe’s first plunge into deep waters. In 2018, the company presented “The Parting,” a fraught story about the bloody 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. While that production deployed more than twice “Jungle Book’s” 32-member cast, “this is our biggest budget, double of anything else we’ve done,” Belani said.
Marking EnActe’s 10th season, she’s determined to create theater that enthralls and engages the seismic shifts that have reshaped theater and other arts in exact years.
“When I start to do a project with EnActe the first questions are, is it groundbreaking? Are we doing something no one has done before? Will it generate a flurry of conversation when you go home? Are you going to be fired up to do something? The answer with ‘Jungle Book’ was a resounding yes, yes, yes.”
Contact Andrew Gilbert at email@example.com.
Adapted from the Rudyard Kipling novel and presented by EnActe Arts
When: Sept. 30-Oct. 2
Where: Cubberley Theater, 4120 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
Tickets: $25-$65; enacte.org
Also: Nov. 11-13, 18-20 at Cowell Theatre, San Francisco; Dec. 2-4, 9-11 at Hammer Theatre Center; enacte.org
You cannot go wrong investing in either Palo Alto Networks (PANW -1.94%) or Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) since both of these tech giants are offering important services (cybersecurity and cloud computing, respectively) to businesses across the world. At the same time, both these stocks have also become more affordable for retail investors after their exact stock splits.
However, one of them is undoubtedly a better choice in the current inflationary environment. Let's analyze them in detail.
While 2022 has been disastrous for many prominent software-as-a-service companies, Palo Alto Networks has proven to be an exception. So far this year shares of the leading cybersecurity player are currently down by 16%, far better than the NASDAQ Composite's decline of over 33% in the same time frame.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises have been increasingly shifting their operations to a cloud environment. This coupled with the increasing prevalence of remote working has culminated in rising demand for cybersecurity services to protect ever-expanding "attack surfaces." Fortune Business Insights expects global cybersecurity to grow annually at a compounded average growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4% from $139.8 billion in 2021 to $376.3 billion in 2029.
Palo Alto is well poised to capture a significant share of this rapidly growing market opportunity. Widely known for its enterprise network security firewalls, the company is now also focusing on securing cloud-native applications. The company caters to over 85,000 customers across more than 150 countries in the world. The company has been increasingly focusing on large enterprises, a customer cohort that is relatively less susceptible to macroeconomic pressures. In fiscal 2022 (ending July 31, 2022), the number of active millionaire customers (customers spending over $1 million annually on the company's offerings) rose by nearly 31% year-over-year to 1,240.
Against the backdrop of rising security breaches, cybersecurity has become mission-critical for businesses. These trends have helped Palo Alto reduce topline volatility, despite macroeconomic pressures. With subscription and support making up over 80% of Palo Alto's total billings, the company also boasts significant revenue predictability.
Palo Alto reported impressive performance in the exact quarter, with both revenue and earnings surpassing consensus estimates. The company also reported generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) profitability for the first time in the past four years. Additionally, management has also guided robust top- and bottom-line growth in fiscal 2023.
Palo Alto is currently trading at only 8.4 times its sales, which is much lower than early in 2022 when it was trading for more than 12 times sales. The company has authorized $915 million worth of share repurchases through December 31, 2023. Management expects to return significant value to shareholders in the coming quarters.
Amazon stock is currently down by over 32% so far this year. While the impact of inflationary pressures and supply chain constraints on its e-commerce business and a negative hit to its investment in electric vehicle player Rivian have dominated headlines, there still remains much to like in the company's growth story.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounted for a 34% share of the $200 billion global cloud infrastructure market in the second quarter (ending June 30, 2022), a one-percentage-point increase on a sequential basis. In comparison, AWS' key competitors, Microsoft Azure and Alphabet's Google Cloud, accounted for 21% and 10% of the global cloud market, respectively. Although AWS has clocked an annual run rate of $79 billion and profits of around $17 billion, the company believes that there is still a lot of runway left for this business segment.
While the ongoing consumer slowdown impacts Amazon's retail business, the company's Prime loyalty program, which has signed over 200 million members worldwide, continues to be a key competitive advantage. Prime members are incentivized to spend more money on Amazon services -- in March 2019, U.S. Prime members spent $1,400 on the site, compared to $600 spent by U.S. non-Prime members. Finally, Amazon is also poised to leverage its Prime member base to expand its presence in the digital advertising space. eMarketer expects the company to account for 14.6% of the U.S. digital ad revenue spend in 2023.
Although Amazon is currently a leader in e-commerce and cloud computing markets, it has been subject to intensifying competition worldwide. Additionally, increasing transportation and logistics costs due to rising inflation and over-investment in capacity expansion may harm the company's bottom line for the next few quarters.
Palo Alto's business model seems far more resilient since security threats are known to rise in difficult market times. So I think that Palo Alto might prove to be the better pick of the two in the current market.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Manali Pradhan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Microsoft, and Palo Alto Networks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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Working in a security operations center (SOC) isn’t easy. In fact, the high volume of manual alert processing and triaging takes a huge mental toll on the analysts securing the environment. Research shows that 70% of SOC teams report feeling emotionally overwhelmed by the volume of alerts.
As a result, automation is critical for ensuring that security teams aren’t bogged down managing false positive alerts, but have the flexibility to tackle legitimate security incidents.
In an attempt to bring its vision for the automated SOC to life, today, Palo Alto Networks announced the general availability of Cortex XSIAM, an automated security operations platform designed to automate the SOC. Palo Alto Networks claims the solution can deliver an 80% reduction in alerts that SOC teams need to analyze.
For enterprises, this solution could provide an answer to analyst fatigue in the SOC, and act as a false multiplier so that human users can process security incidents faster.
Join today’s leading executives at the Low-Code/No-Code Summit virtually on November 9. Register for your free pass today.
The announcement comes after Palo Alto Networks made Cortex XSIAM available to a handful of design partners as part of the XSIAM Design Partner Program earlier this year. It’s a solution based around the idea of making the SOC more efficient through the use of automation.
“The underlying problem is that, as new security technologies developed, they have generated more and more data. That data is stored in different systems, and the task of sifting through thousands of alerts every day, then triaging each alert, is left to human analysts, who are overwhelmed. As a result, threats get missed and breaches keep happening,” said Rick Caccia, SVP and CMO of Cortex and Unit 42 at Palo Alto Networks.
Caccia explains that Cortex XSIAM addresses these challenges through the use of automation. XSIAM handles the bulk of automated SOC work, tackling all the alerts it can, while passing incidents to analysts that are too complicated to be automated. This gives analysts the opportunity to manage “interesting and unusual” incidents.
As a solution, Cortex XSIAM is most directly competing against security information and event management (SIEM) solutions. The SIEM market itself continues to grow, with researchers valuing the market at $2.8 billion in 2019 and anticipating it will reach a value of $6.2 billion by 2027 as organizations attempt to automate security operations.
Today, Google Cloud is one of the main competitors in this space, following the launch of Chronicle Security Operations and Chronicle SIEM yesterday, and the rebrand of Siemplify. Chronicle SIEM promises to leverage Google’s threat intelligence to enhance an organization’s detection, investigation and response capabilities.
Earlier this year Google Cloud announced it has surpassed $6 billion in cloud revenue.
Another key competitor in the market is Splunk with Splunk Enterprise. Splunk Enterprise collects and ingests data from thousands of sources throughout an organization’s environment, while using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to identify security issues and reduce manual admin for human users. Splunk recently announced raising $2.7 billion in revenue.
Caccia argues that currently, the key differentiator between Cortex XSIAM and existing technologies is that the level of automation requires much less input from human analysts.
“These technologies have been in use for two decades, and were built to present alerts to humans, forcing analysts to figure out what was a real threat. XSIAM flips this model on its head, assuming that automation comes first, that the XSIAM software will process much more data than a human can, and will handle the bulk of the tedious work,” Caccia said.
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EAST PALO ALTO (CBS SF/BCN) – Police in East Palo Alto have arrested the third of three suspects allegedly involved in a shooting in September, the department announced Tuesday.
On Sept. 10, East Palo Alto officers responded at 11:16 p.m. to a Shotspotter gunshot detection system activation at 1959 Manhattan Ave. The technology had detected at least 14 shots in the area, police said.
Officers learned that a black vehicle had pulled into the alleyway and two occupants, identified as Gabriel Garcia Delgadillo and Alexander Rodriguez, allegedly fired multiple shots from firearms at a crowd of people gathered on a staircase. No one was hit by the gunfire.
One of the people on the staircase, Daniel Ambriz, allegedly returned gunfire at the black sedan as it fled the area. Police said 42 bullet casings were found at the scene. While no people were injured, several buildings and vehicles were hit.
While officers were investigating the scene, the California Highway Patrol reported a black sedan on U.S. Highway 101 at Embarcadero Road that had been abandoned after a crash. Bullet intrusions were located in the rear and side of the vehicle and a loaded firearm with an extensive magazine was found inside, police said.
Detectives later used video footage to identify the three suspects and they were arrested over the course of two weeks, culminating in the arrest of Ambriz on Tuesday.
A 2,347-square-foot house built in 1962 has changed hands. The spacious property located in the 300 block of Victoria Place in Palo Alto was sold on Sept. 6, 2022 for $3,200,000, or $1,363 per square foot. The property features four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garage, and two parking spaces. It sits on an 8,580-square-foot lot.
These nearby houses have also recently changed hands:
EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) — Three people have been arrested in connection with a shooting that occurred Sept. 10, the East Palo Alto Police Department announced Tuesday. Police said two shooters fired into a crowd of people, but nobody was hit.
Police responded to 1959 Manhattan Avenue around 11:16 p.m. the night of the incident for a ShotSpotter activation, EPAPD said. The activation detected at least 14 shots in the area.
EPAPD learned that a car pulled into an alleyway and two occupants shot at a crowd of people gathered on a staircase. None of the potential victims were struck.
Police later identified Gabriel Garcia Delgadillo, 20, of East Palo Alto, and Alexander Rodriguez, 22, of East Palo Alto, as the suspects. Delgadillo was arrested on Sept. 26 and Rodriguez was arrested on Sept. 29.
One of the people on the staircase returned fire as the vehicle drove off, EPAPD said. Again, no people were struck but several buildings and vehicles were. That suspect was identified as Daniel Ambriz, a 31-year-old from Mountain View. He was arrested Tuesday.
While officers were investigating, EPAPD got a call from California Highway Patrol that a car matching the description of the suspect vehicle crashed on Highway 101 and Embarcadero Road. The car was abandoned, but it had bullet intrusions on its exterior and a loaded firearm inside.
A house built in 1948 located in the 100 block of Nevada Avenue in Palo Alto has a new owner. The 954-square-foot property was sold on Sept. 26, 2022 for $1,718,000, or $1,801 per square foot. The property features two bedrooms, one bath, and a carport. There’s also a pool in the backyard. The unit sits on a 3,420-square-foot lot.
These nearby houses have also recently been sold: