Archive of Linda Hubbard Gulker

Linda Hubbard Gulker first moved to Menlo Park a really long time ago (long enough that she started kindergarten at Hillview School and graduated there from 8th grade in the days it was a K-8). Following her four years at Menlo-Atherton High School, she went “SoCal” to attend UCLA and stayed too long in the Southland. She moved back to Menlo Park 20 years ago to find some things had changed – and some things remained the same. When she’s not blogging or taking snapshots for InMenlo, she’s jogging the Dish or other nearby hills.

has written 3531 article(s) for InMenlo.


Post image for Commander William Dixon and Menlo Park Police Department spearhead innovative approach to homelessness

Editor’s note: As it has done in the past, InMenlo is participating in Beyond Homelessness, a special project produced by the San Francisco Chronicle, which is again spotlighting the topic in its editorial coverage this week. 

At any given time, there are a dozen or so homeless people in Menlo Park. Commander William Dixon of the Menlo Park Police Department knows every one of them by name, where they hang out in the daytime, and where they sleep at night. He also works as a liaison with social services agencies such as LiveMoves and Street Life Ministries to find them appropriate services.

“The old way was taking someone to jail when there was a complaint, such as drunk in public,” he said. “That may have solved the immediate problem but it didn’t get to the root causes of why the person is homeless.’

Dixon’s innovative work with the homeless began in 2014. His police work began much earlier. He started working with the Menlo Park Police Department as an Explorer when he was 16. He’s been a police officer with the department for 20 years, and other family members are also with the MPPD.

He’s also a Menlo Park resident with kids that go to Menlo Park schools. “I’m connected to the community,” he said. “I walk around downtown and talk to merchants — and to the homeless.”

Dixon explained that Menlo has its own resident homeless along with transient homeless. “The residents have a routine, a spot they sleep in every night,” he said. “They are not criminals. The transients can prove more problematic.”

There have been various homeless encampments in Menlo Park. A year ago an encampment along the railroad tracks near Willow Road was cleared out after there had been a number of fires in the area. More recently Commander Dixon worked with an encampment near the railroad tracks and Menlo Center. “It gave us a central point to offer services — housing, medical, mental health,” said the Commander. “We found housing for eight of the ten; two are back.”

Sometimes people complain about homeless people because they smell bad. “So we are working on getting mobile shower facilities to come to Menlo Park,” Dixon said. “Sometimes we get complaints about behavior. But it’s not illegal to be disrespectful and rude.”

Because Menlo Park is a small suburban town — with a relatively small homeless population — Dixon explained the there’s more ability to follow through with any given individual. “We can find out if he or she has family and work to get them in touch and back to that family. That said, we realize that not every homeless person is receptive to help. We have a number of people here who have been homeless for years and have always refused help.”

Even with its more holistic approach, Dixon describes progress in dealing with homelessness in Menlo Park just “treading water.” “Part of my job is to keep abreast of other innovative programs and to meet people with new ideas.”

One thing both Dixon and Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith agree on is the value that Menlo Park-based LifeMoves brings in dealing with chronic homelessness. “We are fortunate to have LifeMoves, which provides housing and more for homeless people to help them become self sufficient again,” said the Mayor. “Our police officers use wrap-around services to connect homeless people to these services.” She added that the City recently helped build housing on Willow Road for homeless veterans at the Veterans Administration.

Dixon also praises Street Life Ministries. “The organization is here twice a week providing meals, and also acting as advocates for the homeless, getting them medical help and making sure each individual follows through.”

What can Menlo Park residents do to help with the homeless problem? “Support those two organizations [LifeMoves and Street Life Ministries],” said Dixon. “That’s my personal opinion.”

Photo of Commander Dixon by Irene Searles (c) 2017; photo of downtown green space shared by two kids and a homeless man by Linda Hubbard (c) 2017

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Hey Baby Boomers, time to dust off those memories and share on MyRetrospect.com

Thumbnail image for Hey Baby Boomers, time to dust off those memories and share on MyRetrospect.com

Talking with the founders of Retrospect Media — Susan Hansen, John and Patricia Zussman — it’s easy to see what drew them together to start their latest venture. They are all Portola Valley residents. John and Patti (as she’s known) are married to each other. Patti and Susan went to Mills College together. Then there’s their […]

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Spotted: Duke the dog riding high in 1928 Ford Model A

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We spotted Duke, a big yellow Labrador Retriever, on our way to the farmers market this morning. Or rather we would saw we spotted his ride, a 1928 Ford Model A. His owner said the truck has been in his family for years and that he’d taken his driver’s license driving it. We think Duke did a […]

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Fremont Park is transformed into triage center today for disaster response training

Thumbnail image for Fremont Park is transformed into triage center today for disaster response training

InMenlo contributing photographer Robb Most headed to Fremont Park in downtown Menlo Park today to capture some of the action at the emergency response training drill hosted by the City of Menlo Park, the Menlo Park Fire Department, the Menlo Park Police Department, and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). The objective of the drill was to prepare […]

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The building of a Menlo Park family’s mini retreat featured on Tiny House Nation

Thumbnail image for The building of a Menlo Park family’s mini retreat featured on Tiny House Nation

Fellow Menlo Park residents can spot familiar faces this weekend when CJ and Christina and children JJ and baby Max are featured on Tiny House Nation. The show airs on FYI (772 on Comcast Bay Area) Saturday, June 24 at 6:00 pm PDT. [Note: It is the show’s policy not to use participants’ last names.] CJ is an attorney […]

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Spotted: Local youth on church mission trip visiting Anna Eshoo

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Local youth on church mission trip visiting Anna Eshoo

Nine youth from Trinity Church in Menlo Park have been in Washington, DC, this past week on a mission trip that focused on homelessness. This morning they met with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo at her office on Capital Hill. The wrote on Facebook: “We appreciated your ear for our questions and concerns as well as providing us with […]

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Heat wave and Summer Solstice coincide in Menlo Park

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In Menlo Park — and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere — the Summer Solstice arrives this evening at 9:24 pm. Emails InMenlo weather watcher Bill Russ: “[This is] when the sun is the farthest from the equator. Days are not ‘longer,’ they simply have more daylight.” The sun rose this morning at 5:47 am and […]

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Spotted: M-A’s Wimberly and Snow at Cal Coaches banquet

Thumbnail image for Spotted: M-A’s Wimberly and Snow at Cal Coaches banquet

We’ve profiled Pam Wimberly as well as Steven Kryger and Paul Snow prior to their being honored by the California Coaches Association. Here’s a photo of Pam and Paul at the banquet that took place last Saturday night, thanks to Betsy Sergeant Snow.

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POST continues its 40th anniversary celebration with two coastside rides

Thumbnail image for POST continues its 40th anniversary celebration with two coastside rides

Continuing to mark its 40th anniversary, the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) held a “40 for 40” ride coastside today “to celebrate our donors, our accomplishments, and, most importantly, the beauty of the places we protect,” according to spokesperson Marti Tedesco.  “So many in our community are cyclists, we thought it would be great to do an […]

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Madeleine McGlynn takes the stage at Stanford Jazz Festival this summer

Thumbnail image for Madeleine McGlynn takes the stage at Stanford Jazz Festival this summer

Menlo Park resident Madeleine McGlynn started singing about the time she started talking. “My Dad listened to jazz standards, and every day when he got home from work, I’d have him play whatever songs he wanted to introduce me to. That music has remained my era. I love Harlem Renaissance jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday.” Madeleine will […]

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Spotted: Young rockers at Portola Valley summer concert

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Young rockers at Portola Valley summer concert

The first on the dance floor at tonight’s Portola Valley summer concert were the young kids in the audience. That they had never heard the great rockabilly tunes played by session guitarist Jinx Jones  (far right) mattered little. The music got their groove on. Photo by Linda Hubbard (c) 2017

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