I've seen a bunch of threads about lowering the seat or suspension so that the rider's feet can be flat on the ground. How about buying a bike with a lower seat from the beginning? No, not a cruiser.
Looking at some of the (2004) magazine tests, you probably don't want a KTM 950 (36.7 seat height) or Suzuki V-Strom (32.7). Aprilia doesn't make a street bike under 32 inches. Here's some good choices: Honda's 599 is like a sensible CBR, with a ride height of 30.5, and so is Kawasaki's Ninja 500. Suzuki's 600 Katana is 30.9, and their 600 and 1200 Bandits are 31.1. Triumph's Thunderbird Sport is 30.5 and Yamaha's V-Max is 30.1. Yamaha's older YZF600R is a half inch shorter than their R6 (32.3).
Most aren't beginner bikes, but some may want to look at the Honda 599, a naked bike which is very popular in Europe.