Pat Burt to run for second Palo Alto City Council term

Former Palo Alto mayor says he wants to continue efforts to make city more efficient and better prepared for emergencies

Pat Burt, who served as Palo Alto's mayor in 2010 and who has been a central player in the city's opposition to high-speed rail, plans to seek another term on the City Council.

Burt, a former member of the Planning and Transportation Commission, was elected to the nine-member council in 2007 and has been heavily involved in land-use issues. He told the Weekly that he plans to continue to pursue his primary goals in transforming the city government into a leaner and more efficient organization; establishing Palo Alto as an environmental leader; and boosting the city's emergency-preparedness efforts.

Burt represents Palo Alto on the Peninsula Cities Consortium, a coalition of cities working on high-speed rail issues, and serves as board chair of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, an agency that aims to improve flood control around the volatile creek in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

Burt called emergency-preparedness a priority that's "not particularly glamorous but extremely important."

Among the most important goals, But said, is creating a "more efficient and innovative city government." This means curbing long-term employee costs, particularly pensions and health care expenses, he said.

"Over the past four years, we've made great progress, but there's more work to do," said Burt, who works as CEO of the medical-device company Vascular Access Technologies.

Burt is one of four council members who will be running for re-election in November. Greg Schmid, an economist who has been one of the city's leading critics of regional housing mandates, also said he will seek another term on the council. Sid Espinosa, who took over for Burt as mayor in 2011, said Thursday that he will not run for a second term. Current Mayor Yiaway Yeh has not announced a decision yet.

The race for council seats will also include former Mayor Liz Kniss, whose last term on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will expire this year, and Marc Berman, an attorney who last year served on the city's Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Task Force.


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Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 13, 2012 at 11:40 am

My hat is off to those of you who are willing to stay up late on Monday nights (and no doubt many other nights) to look after us. My personal wish list for you, Pat: ban leaf blowers of all types. They are noisy, dusty, and unnecessary; a particular curse if you work at home, as many of us do. Rakes and brooms work fine.

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Posted by Leslie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm

My one disappointment with Pat Burt is he opposed a new Foothill College campus at Cubberley, a great opportunity missed.

It now transpires that the School District may not need the Cubberley site until the 2020s and only then if school enrollment continues to increase which it may or may not do. The School District's present building program will satisfy their enrollment needs for the next 5 - 7 years.

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Posted by m2
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

In the interest of accuracy, the Weekly should have pointed out that Pat Burt was a high-speed rail supporter in the 2008 election.

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Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Annette Ashton is getting Palo Alto prepared for emergencies. All Burt has to do is get out of her way. Go Annette! And thank you.

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Posted by I'll pass this time
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Pat is a nice guy, but he's not leadership material. Burt is a perfect example of someone who would excel as a community volunteer; his heart is in the right place, but he just doesn't have what it takes to lead, or inspire.

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Posted by Annette
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I'd like to respond to the South of Midtown comment. I am flattered by your accolades, but I am only one of a team of fantastic and competent individuals who work together effectively to make our city more resilient.
To touch on a few points: Pat Burt has been a supporter of the PAN (Palo Alto Neighborhoods) EPrep efforts for years, as well as a supporter of the bigger issue of Public Safety for the City. Pat crafted the motion to make Emergency Preparedness a city priority for the last 3 years and has been an honored adviser to our efforts.
He has shown leadership in setting local policy and at the county level on the County Emergency Preparedness Council.

Pat has been very active with the JPA and the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Progress is being made. We have been lucky that the last few years have not caused flooding. He helped pave the way for multi-year grants with the SCVWD

One tidbit that demonstrates his character:
When we held the 2010 Citizen Corps Council annual awards ceremony and keynote, Pat opened and closed the program in a most eloquent and motivational fashion. It was only later that I found out that he turned down an invitation to meet with President Obama that night; he honored his commitment to our program.

Just because actions are not visible, please do not assume that Pat has not played a strong role in getting us where we are today.

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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2012 at 10:58 pm

I think Pat has done some good - he's generally been a voice of pushing for better fiscal planning and budgeting, and has been one of the drivers towards getting employee compensation on a more sustainable budgetary path.

Pat has good knowledge of zoning issues.

The negative on Pat is that he has blinders on when it comes to environmental issues, such as voting to endorse the High Speed Rail in 2008 because the Sierra Club endorsed it.

The other negative on Pat is that he is a little too cozy with the developer crowd, for example his recent support for the Lytton Gateway project, even though from his knowledge of zoning, he knows the project is way under allocated for parking.

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Posted by He favors big development
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Well stated, common sense:
<The other negative on Pat is that he is a little too cozy with the developer crowd, for example his recent support for the Lytton Gateway project, even though from his knowledge of zoning, he knows the project is way under allocated for parking.>
This affects the entire community; he is too cozy with developers. And too cozy with the other developer advocates, Klein and Scharff.

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Posted by Annette Fan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Before crowing Pat with a halo, let's remember an EPrep event is free, and the Obama Bay Area fundraiser cost what - $50,000 a plate?

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Posted by David Pepperdine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2012 at 9:26 am

This guy's problem is pretty simple: he doesn't realize that the tax revenues and CPAU profits are our money. And I say that based on my personal discussions with him.

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