News

Eric Filseth enters Palo Alto's council race

Downtown North resident hopes to address 'misalignment' between city leaders, residents

Eric Filseth, a Downtown North resident who emerged over the last two years as a leading voice in Palo Alto's debate over downtown growth, announced Monday that he will seek a seat on the City Council in November.

A high-tech executive who has spent 25 years in the semiconductor and software industry, Filseth has recently become a vocal, if measured, critic of downtown's rapid growth and its impacts on local neighborhoods. He has been a persistent critic of new downtown developments, including Lytton Gateway and 27 University Ave., and an advocate for fixing existing parking woes.

Last year, he and his neighbor Neilson Buchanan unveiled an interactive program that maps out current parking saturation and predicts future congestion based on existing development plans. The program projected that downtown's parking shortage, which is currently estimated at 900 spaces, will grow to 1,858 in 2015 and by more than 2,500 in 2016, pushing Palo Alto's parking woes beyond downtown.

Around that time, Filseth also took part in the residents' campaign that successfully overturned the council's approval of a housing development on Maybell Avenue last year. The effort culminated in the defeat of Measure D in November and in the creation of a new citizen watchdog group, Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, of which Filseth is a member.

In recent weeks, Filseth has been addressing the council on topics related to the Comprehensive Plan and the Housing Element and urging elected officials to prioritize "livability" and sustainability of neighborhood character in the city's long-term vision documents. At the May 5 council meeting, Filseth addressed the council, arguing that significant growth is not inevitable but a "choice." Preserving quality of life should take precedent over other city goals, such as a global reputation for innovation, he said.

"I like a global reputation as much as the next guy, but I have two kids in Palo Alto High School and they both had classes with 40 kids in them," Filseth said. "That's a lot of kids in one high-school class. ... As a resident, if I have to prioritize between the city being famous and having good public schools with enough space for our kids, that's an easy choice."

A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Filseth has been living in Palo Alto for the past 23 years. He worked as corporate vice president at Cadence Design Systems and, since 2007, served as the CEO of software company Ciranova. He became more immersed in local issues in 2012 after his company was sold, leaving him with more time for civic involvement. He told the Weekly that he decided to run because of a "misalignment" between the city's and residents' visions for Palo Alto's future.

In the last few years, he said, there's been a gathering momentum for recreating the dense, big-city atmosphere of San Francisco and San Jose in Palo Alto. Most residents, however, don't want to make the trade-offs associated with this kind of densification, he said.

"I do think there's a clear misalignment between where the city wants to go -- where a lot of the leadership wants to go -- and where the residents want to go," Filseth told the Weekly. "That's a really unfortunate thing that we need to fix."

In announcing his candidacy, Filseth said he will prioritize issues such as "neighborhood quality, traffic, congestion, city infrastructure and services and a sensible zoning and development policy that considers cumulative impacts on livability in Palo Alto and the integrity of our public school system."

"Palo Altans are at an inflection point," Filseth said in a statement. "Over the next council term, we'll make decisions that shape the character of our city for many decades to come. To preserve and enhance the things that make Palo Alto a great place to live and raise families, within the context of intense regional and economic pressures, is the central challenge before us. I want to help lead this effort. I will always be an advocate for residents' concerns."

Filseth is the third non-incumbent to announce his candidacy for the City Council, which will see five of its nine seats up for grabs in November. Tom DuBois, who announced his candidacy earlier this month, is also a member of Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning and a critic of the city's development policies. Claude Ezran, a former Human Relations Commissioner and founder of World Music Day, is also seeking a seat on the council.

Of the five council members whose terms are expiring in November, only Mayor Nancy Shepherd and Councilman Greg Scharff have said they plan to run. Councilman Larry Klein will be termed out while Councilwoman Gail Price said she will not seek another term. Councilwoman Karen Holman has not yet declared her decision.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Great News
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Thank you Eric for running! Between Eric and Tom Dubois, we have two candidates who will stand for residents and not hop into bed with development interests at the first opportunity. You have my vote.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Voter
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Another easy vote for me! Thank you for running , Eric.

Anyone who wants to stop the rampant developer giveaways should vote for Tom, Eric, any other PASZ candidates, and then Holman if there are fewer than 5 PASZ endorsed new candidates.

Scharff (Mr developer himself) and Shepherd (completely in over her head and overwhelmed) should be left off the ballot completely for good reason.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr Clean
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Absolutely right. Yes on Holman, no on Shepherd (painfully unqualified) and Scharff.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Great to have another candidate ( in addition to Tom Dubois) who actually cares about the entire Palo Alto community.
Eventhough Eric and Tom were probably not directly effected by proposed city planning changes they cared enough to assist neighboring communities. Hope we can find a few more caring, open-minded "residents" to run for council.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm

[Portion removed.] The one that is painfully unqualified is Holman. She is tone deaf to what Palo Alto wants. And if you are using Maybell as a barometer, she voted for it.
When you say you want someone that cares for the entire palo,alto community, what does that mean. Residents only? Supporters of PASZ only? What about businesses in Palo Alto? What exactly is the " entire" Palo Alto community?
This might be the year for a run by victor frost!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Thank goodness, a smart person for our city! Traffic congestion is out of control!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm

It is a popular claim to suggest that traffic congestion is out of control. There are areas that are impacted by parking issues. Unfortunately the city has not taken steps to deal with this issue and it has gotten out of control. There are some streets that see heavy traffic-- Oregon, embarcadero. Arestadero. However these are main roads that are the to carry plenty of traffic. Are people upset that they a not zoom across Palo Alto at 50 MPH at any time? Do not forget that traffic is a good- businesses, visitors, locals etc. you cannot have the kind of vibrant city that Palo Alto is without traffic.

BTW, I would recommend that all the candidates buy plenty of advertising in the weekly during the campaign season. Let's look back at Timothy gray. He ran without spending any money ( he also a very well written slam of the weekly a number of years back) He did not get an endorsement from the weekly. During the Maybell and measure D issues, he was very vocal in his stance on the matter. The weekly completely supported his stance. Imagine if the weekly had endorsed gray for election to the council.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 23, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Mr. Filseth - you had me "growth is not inevitable but a "choice."" and "Preserving quality of life should take precedent over other city goals"

We have had too many years of Council member who are interested in sustainability, growth and contributing Palo Alto's voice to world events (all worthwhile topics) instead of concentrating on the quality of life in our City. And for every Steve Levy promoting "smart growth", there are dozens of residents interested in "Sensible Zoning".

Thanks for running!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A.J. L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Eric Filseth has consistently been one of the most intelligent and thoughtful citizen voices on civic matters. This is indeed good news.

Thank you for running, Eric!! (And thank you to whomever twisted your arm to do it!)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JD
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 23, 2014 at 7:45 pm

You can count on my vote!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2014 at 8:36 pm

It's always interesting to Google someone to see just what pops up. Doing so with Eric Filseth as the search key doesn't generate a lot of search results for this man that are related to Palo Alto's government, or the multiple issues that confront this town in the coming years.

Also do the same thing for the Weekly's archive.

Mr. Filseth's interest seem to revolve around downtown traffic, and Maybell. Perhaps his depth is greater than that--but hopefully he has some interests that lie closer to all of the town's problems, not just the ones that he happens to find at his doorstep.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tom DuBois
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Tom DuBois is a registered user.

I am thrilled Eric has decided to run, he has my endorsement and vote. He is thoughtful and focused on what is best for residents. I look forward to the campaign and debates with him as a candidate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carlos
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 23, 2014 at 9:39 pm

"Preserving quality of life should take precedent over other city goals, such as a global reputation for innovation, he said"

This candidate has my vote and those from my family.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A.J. L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2014 at 9:51 pm

@Joe,
I've seen Eric write and participate on a range of City matters. You should read his Vision A versus Vision B, I saw him give that in Council chambers. He is extremely smart and principled, and we will be extremely lucky to have him on the Council while the Comprehensive plan is being redone so that it isn't boobytrapped by developers.

Whether you agree with him on a past issue or not, he arrives at his opinions through thoughtful analysis and will be someone who thinks and listens. This is such a hopeful civic development, I am still pinching myself. If only we could get a few more like him on the Council!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent of 3
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 23, 2014 at 11:39 pm

@Rupert of henzau: Are you a senior citizen who has time to be patient with traffic? Or do you have young children to drive to school and activities after school? While I grew up here in the 70s and am pleased with how vibrant the city has become, this is enough.

The traffic is negatively impacting family life. A decade ago, it was fine, but the traffic has increased to an uncomfortable level. Try driving from South PA to Gunn High in the morning during the school year - there's a reason it's called the "One hour mile." Sure, waking up earlier could be the resolution, but these kids need their sleep, as ours are college prep schools. Try driving toward Stanford on Embarcadero Road in the morning at 8:00 and then again at 9:00 - both times are traffic back-ups. Most of the cars are NOT going to Paly during the school year (I drove it when my child had a cast). 1000 students bike to Paly daily, and it's amazing there aren't more cars hitting bicycles. There are cars who drive on Churchill towards El Camino in the mornings when they aren't supposed to between 7:45-8:15AM due to students biking (there's a sign, difficult to see). Churchill is backed up in the mornings, NOT from Paly, but from cars cutting through. The corner of the PAUSD district office is all dirt (unused space) and the city could cut that corner so more cars can turn right instead of being backed up on Churchill. The city is becoming too busy and it should be stopped.

Thank you, Eric Filseth, for your dedication to our families! Finally someone who will fight for us!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2014 at 12:06 am

Wonderful news. Eric, you have my vote.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 7:40 am

Many of the cars on Churchill backup are because it is the best route to Sand Hill Road from Alma. Opening the Sand Hill/Alma at El Camino to through traffic would help alleviate traffic congestion on Churchill. Any competent traffic engineer would insist on opening that intersection to alleviate traffic congestion in other parts of town.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GoodNews
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

He's got my vote! Thank you for running for city council. We need council members who care about Palo Alto's quality of life.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by For the Tom/Eric Duo
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:00 am


This is great news. Both Tom Dubois and Eric Filseth have my votes too. Anyone else who is interested in preserving Palo Alto want to run for council?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:09 am

From reading the posts on this thread, it's not hard to conjure up a mental picture of the end of the film Frankenstein, where the villagers mob up with their pitch forks and torches, and head up the hill to the Castle where they plan to put an end to the Monster—once and for all!

So far, no one—including this now professed candidate for the City Council—has any idea how to fix the problem of overdevelopment, and the attendant traffic.

>Whether you agree with him on a past issue or no

"A past issue" .. kind of means one past issue, doesn't it? What other issues has Mr. Filseth ever taken a position on in the public forum?

For instance, we've just had a scathing review of some aspects of Palo Alto City government by the Santa Clara County Grand Jury. By now, shouldn't all of the candidates be taking a position on the Grand Jury's comments—with suggestions about how they would fix these problems?

One of the obvious problems is the City Manager. What is Mr. Filseth's view of the current City Manager. Does he have an opinion? Does he have any criticisms? What would he do to manage the City Manager differently, within the bounds of the Charter?

What about the Mitchell Park Library project. Does Mr. Filseth have an opinion about the effective management of this project? Does Mr. Filseth believe that those City employees should be held accountable—or will he join those at the ribbon-cutting project and herald this as "a great day for Palo Alto"—and quickly forget the wretched management of the project.

So far, none of the candidates seem particularly knowledgeable about the width and breadth of City management issues.

Maybe this guy is "smart"—but "smart" doesn't always get the job done. And let's not forget that he is the CEO of a hi-tech company. If he's doing his job right, shouldn't he be putting in at least 60+ hours a week?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A.J. L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:34 am

"Maybe this guy is "smart"—but "smart" doesn't always get the job done"

[Portion removed.] Smart and with a cohesive vision for Palo Alto with the chops to change the ship in the right direction is so much better than stupid and willing to make El Camino Real into a tunnel of tall buildings with the excuse that it will somehow reduce emissions.

In the past two years, anyone who has been involved in civic matters has consistently seen Eric Filseth make the most intelligent analysis of what is going on. I wish I could write like that. If I could have put together a dream team of candidates for City Council, he would have been first on my list. And no, I don't know him beyond seeing him at City Hall and reading his input.

Give me the principled smartest guy in the room with a strong vision for a liveable Palo Alto any day over what we have had.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A.J L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:38 am

P.S. I hope this augers a return to the days when people like Bill Packard served on the school board and there was a real spirit of making Palo Alto a great place. Thank you for running, Eric.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob Niederman
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:41 am

Great News!!!

Yes! Let's get some folks on the council that care about the people who live here! You have my vote!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bravo!
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

Thanks for running Eric! Two great candidates now.

The post above illustrates how desperate the Scharff/Shepherd (and Berman/Kniss for that matter) apologists are becoming: when the current council has such a terrible track record of developer giveaways, lousy management, non-existent fiscal discipline, their defenders have to look beyond the single most relevant issue: the current council's incompetent leadership, and try to paint "all candidates" with the same brush. Mr Filseth and Mr Dubios are clear upgrades from Scharff and Shepherd. One need only look at their positions and actions on Measure D to see that clearly.

Scharff and Shepherd tried to steamroll a neighborhood with an oversized developer-enriching giveaway project on the city's busiest school corridor. Tom Dubois and Eric Filseth lent their considerable expertise and efforts to an effort that prevailed despite being outspent over 10:1 and facing biased ballot language (again that's on Former-Mayor Scharff).

Eric (and Tom), sign me up for 20 votes that I will deliver by making sure all of my neighbors and friends vote in November.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bravo!
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

Clarification: When I refer to "the post above" I mean the one by "Joe."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

Error of mine: Correction - the hours where driving across Alma on Churchill are not allowed are 7:45-8:30AM.

Joe, I suggest you run for City Council since you seem to know it all. The past and current City Council have failed Palo Alto miserably, if you want to talk about being "smart." From overdevelopment of homes and businesses to allowing vehicle dwelling, to parking issues and congestion, they have failed.

Resident: Thank you for the reasoning behind the Churchill back-up. Back in the 80s, Alma did connect to Sand Hill Road - perhaps it's time to change it back again.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:51 am

Bravos post illustrates how,desperate the Holman/Schmid apologists are. They attack the rest of the council, especially Scharf and shepherd. Yet seem to ignore the factbthat Holman and Schmid voted for maybell as well ( shall we also discuss Holman and relationships with developers?)

Bravo, how will you make sure all of your neighbors vote and who they get for??


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 10:00 am

> In the past two years, anyone who has been involved in civic
> matters has consistently seen Eric Filseth make the most
> intelligent analysis of what is going on

Really? Other than the reference to one written effort—what else has he to say about the past, present and future of Palo Alto?

And let's keep one point clearly on the table. The Council is very limited by the Charter. Even with a couple of votes arguing for "residentialist" viewpoints—whatever that happens to be--at least five votes have to align to get any single issue approved.

And notice—a number of issues were put on the table, and none of them were answered. Just a caterwall of "he's smart!" .. "he's smart!" .. that's enough for me.

> Smart and with a cohesive vision for Palo Alto

Guess what .. there are over 65,000 of us here .. how many people have signed up for this person's "cohesive vision"? Does that mean that once set in motion this is the way it's going to be forever?

Bellow as you will—words don't make reality come true.

> Bill Packard .. Palo Alto a great city ..

And what exactly did Mr. Packard do to make Palo Alto great? Did he put it on the map? Did he leave his fortune to the people of Palo Alto? Did he teach the children of the city to read?

Really? All this hero worship isn't getting us anywhere.

> The post above illustrates how desperate the Scharff/Shepherd
> (and Berman/Kniss for that matter) apologists are becoming:

If this comment is being directed at my posts, then let it be known to one and all—I did not vote for any of these people, and will not vote for them in the future. If there were any hope of recalling Berman/Kniss, I would help collect signatures—but that's not going to happen.

I am suggesting that one-issue candidates are going to prove problematical downstream—and an hoping that voters who often don't vote for Council elections take note, ask questions, and actually start voting for Council members.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2014 at 10:00 am

Marie is a registered user.

Another candidate I can support! Yay!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 10:28 am

@Joe,
Methinks thou doth protest too much.

The more you write, the more you make it obvious that you either haven't been involved in Palo Alto lately (or perhaps you have your own agenda).

To which of the writings or statements Filseth has made are you referring when you think it has been only one? He is the opposite of a "one-issue" candidate. He has demonstrated an ability to think holistically about civic problems, and a real problem-solvers attitude, something we desperately need.

As for that one issue, he lived all the way across town, and yet made the most insightful and powerful statements about it. He was willing to be involved long before any of the neighbors could have even imagined stopping the upzoning. When I have watched him speak or read things he's written that neighbors have passed around - I have wished he would run for Council.

Joe, please stop trying to mischaracterize this candidate.

To Eric Filseth, where do I go to endorse your candidacy and donate to your campaign?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CryingFire
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

It's wonderful to have candidates who are there because they care. Eric's level of engagement on issues that matter to so many of us demonstrates his commitment to really doing his homework, in-depth analysis and doing what's right. I'm happy he'll be on the ballot. A welcome addition!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 11:34 am

Another CEO in the news ... big deal.

Most CEOs' major talent is "spin" to put it politely ... how is that going to help the city - I thought we had enough of that. How do we know we are going to get straight talk instead of just standing with all the other council members.

All the word-bytes I see here are just the kinds of comments that sound good but reality mean nothing if and when they are elected. Who is going to be a part of actually changing the system so that it works for people?

Sorry to be critical, but I'm just as critical of our current council and would like to know how a potential council member would work with or bring change to the city, and what kind of change - specifically ... from all our council members.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Janet Dafoe
a resident of University South
on Jun 24, 2014 at 11:47 am

To Eric Filseth: Please tell us how to contact you to support you!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 12:49 pm

@Crescent Park Anon,
The best way for you to answer your own question is to get involved as constrctively as Filseth has been over the past two years. He has been a measured, intelligent, effective voice.

Watch the December 3 Council meeting for his Vision A versus Vision B speech.

He's very good at analyzing a problem, and without drama, distilling the path forward.

What I see here are a lot if positive voices from people who know what Filseth has to offer [portion removed.]

For once I am glad to see an intelligent candidate with all the executive and communication skills, someone with a backbone who is also thoughtful and measured, running for Council to make Palo Alto a better place for residents.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

The "Vision A/Vision B" speech has been referenced multiple times here. To listen to it, Web Link takes you to the beginning of that comment (in the YouTube video covering the whole Council meeting).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm

> What I see here are a lot if positive voices from people who know what Filseth has to offer, and a view of the usual armchair cranks making broad critiques with no persinal knowledge of the candidate.

[Portion removed] this is just the kind of criticism that seems to motivate just ignoring everyone who does not agree with the poster, and the form of it is content free.

I'm just going to go through and cut and paste just the blandly positive posts that could be about anything and from anyone that just seem like cheerleading comments to me. Let's get some metrics on that fact-free post to see if it is accurate:

Out of 35 posts, here are the gist of most of them:

1. Between Eric and Tom Dubois, we have two candidates who will stand for residents and not hop into bed with development interests at the first opportunity.

2. Another easy vote for me! Thank you for running , Eric.

3. Absolutely right.

4. Great to have another candidate ( in addition to Tom Dubois) who actually cares about the entire Palo Alto community.

5. Thank goodness, a smart person for our city!

6. Mr. Filseth - you had me "growth is not inevitable but a "choice."" and "Preserving quality of life should take precedent over other city goals"

7. Eric Filseth has consistently been one of the most intelligent and thoughtful citizen voices on civic matters. This is indeed good news.

8. You can count on my vote!

9. I am thrilled Eric has decided to run, he has my endorsement and vote. He is thoughtful and focused on what is best for residents.

10. This candidate has my vote and those from my family.

11. Whether you agree with him on a past issue or not, he arrives at his opinions through thoughtful analysis and will be someone who thinks and listens.

12. Wonderful news. Eric, you have my vote.

13. He's got my vote! Thank you for running for city council. We need council members who care about Palo Alto's quality of life.

14. Anyone else who is interested in preserving Palo Alto want to run for council?

15. In the past two years, anyone who has been involved in civic matters has consistently seen Eric Filseth make the most intelligent analysis of what is going on.

16. Thank you for running, Eric.

17. Yes! Let's get some folks on the council that care about the people who live here! You have my vote!!

18. Another candidate I can support! Yay!

19. To Eric Filseth, where do I go to endorse your candidacy and donate to your campaign?

20. It's wonderful to have candidates who are there because they care.

21. To Eric Filseth: Please tell us how to contact you to support you!


So, factually about 2/3 of the posts here are just this guy is good I'm gonna vote for him, he has Palo Altans' best interests at heart ... yada yada. What does that mean ... seems to this "armchair crank" it doesn't really mean anything.

I'm not being critical, or at least too critical, all politics are done this way lately. Heaven help us if anyone says what their opinion is, who is backing them, what they want to do, etc. I'm just saying I hear none of that.

I went to the video and am still looking through it, waste of time thank you ... someone please post the timestamps of where Eric is talking please. AND, but the way just about everyone on this video is making intelligent good comments in this City Council video.

I'd like to hear someone put it like it is. Where do they see Palo Alto, what is right, what is wrong. What do Palo Altans think? Does anyone ever poll us residents with questions that will actually tell us something?

What about the city payroll and all these experts we are paying for.
What about the fact that Palo Alto Utilities keeps raising prices.
What about making contracts that no one is responsible for when they blow up and cost us all money?
Just tell us what is going on, who are the major drivers of policy in this city?

Why do we keep seeing problems that do not get resolved ... big problems, and when they don't get resolved, no one is pushing ... biggest issue I think is the creek that flooded years ago and nothing has been done about it, no one is rallying the Palo Alto City Council to make a noise and push it past whatever to provoke some action?

The thing that gets me is that people who have an agenda in government are using their wiles, money and connections to get people in office that work for them basically ... we have a captive government at most levels in the US now. So, is it too much to ask that either the candidate divulge who put them in office, or who is supporting them. The way they get in is by all of us voters getting nothing but cheerleader content-free discussion ... and it is so easy for local politics because now many people get involved or have the time to get involved?

The biggest argument I am hearing is that the people who support this candidate knows what he has to offer and the rest of us, even if we are asking for more information are "armchair cranks". Last I check even "armchair cranks" have a right to speak, and an "armchair cranks" might just ask an intelligent question or make a good point. That's the process. I don't particularly think "armchair crank" comments are better or worse than trying to wave away all the comments that are not blindly positive with no real information.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm

The problem with elections in palo,alto,is that they are so bland. Candidates basically parrot the same hackneyed stuff over and over-- how wonderful Palo Alto,is, how much they live palo,alto,etc. candidates are discouraged from challenging one another on the issues. They cannot confront one another on anything-- that would be considered a " personal attack". Throw in the usual endorsements from the good old boy network of former council members ( in some elections these emeritus council members actually more candidates then there are available seats). We then have council members manipulating th election process for their own benefit, while keeping secret their health issues which may prevent them form serving. Then add in the self- appointed king maker-- the weekly. Their endorsements for council are based on what will benefit them-- check out if there is a correlation between being a member of the good old boy network and an endorsement. Also see if the endorsed candidate has bought advertising on this website. Until we actually have real election campaigns, we will not know whom we have elected until are actually seated on the council


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm


I believe I can link to the City Council Meeting of December 2nd 2013 and Eric's comments there.
If the link does not work the comments are at the 1:30:20 ... 1 hour 30 minutes 20 seconds ...

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Impressed
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Eric, welcome and thanks for running. I have two observations:

1. Eric is an excellent candidate: thoughtful and intelligent and with loyalties in the right place (residents before developer profits)

2. [Portion removed.]

Given this, Eric you have my vote unless you murder someone between now and November!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm

"1. Eric is an excellent candidate: thoughtful and intelligent and with loyalties in the right place (residents before developer profits)"
Didn't people say the same thing about Holman?

"2. [Portion removed.]
What about Holman and Schmid? They are okay. They both voted for the Maybell project. They both were aware of the 27 university matter. Do they get a pass because th so- called residentialist think they should get a pass, while the other members do not?


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Posted by Janet Dafoe
a resident of University South
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Found it! ericfilseth.com


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Vision A - medium density family town with great schools and community.
Vision B - San Francisco south.

Filseth says that Vision A is what most Palo Altans want.

There is opposition, the guy who spoke before him was one.

Vision B comes with unsolvable traffic and parking problems, over-stressed infrastructure and schools. If you want Vision B these things are the price.

Most of what exists in Palo Alto in terms of plans and laws supports Vision A - the community.

He says the problem is that the Planning Commission, the Architectural Review Board, the City Council and most of you folks sitting up there tonight are trying to implement Vision B in a Vision A framework - BUT most Palo Alto voters want Vision A.

He states the council itself has stated they are being "bullied by residents into obeying zoning laws".

He asks the City Council, half of whom are running for re-election next year ... i.e. this year, why are they running? They don't get paid, so why are they putting up with so much stress and opposition in order to push Vision B on the city?

--

Good starter speech ... but has he drilled down to analyze this deeper. One of his comments was that the city of Vision A is gone or unsustainable. What are the arguments to support this?

A good thought experiment would be to ask ourselves the question, what happens if for the next 10 years Palo Alto had a complete moratorium on development? Whose rights, bank accounts, freedoms, etc would that hurt or trample on and to what extent.

The counter question would be after we lose Vision A ... what do we have? What good to anyone is an over-developed rats nest that no one wants to live in, except when it gets to the point of just tearing it up and selling it off to build more and bigger buildings?

Filseth says that Vision A is what most Palo Altans want. I guess maybe we need to look at how much money is behind both sides to see if this whole discussion is just kidding ourselves?


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Posted by A.J. L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:48 pm

"So, factually about 2/3 of the posts here are just this guy is good I'm gonna vote for him, he has Palo Altans' best interests at heart ... yada yada. What does that mean ... seems to this "armchair crank" it doesn't really mean anything."

@Crescent Park Anon,

All of those things are true. To those of us who know something about Filseth, he does have Palo Alto's best interests at heart. I think we are really lucky that someone like him has been as involved as he has as a citizen and would consider running for Council.

When I say something positive, as I have noted above, I do so from months and months of being amazed at Filseth's intelligent input on the civic matters I have watched and been involved in.

[Portion removed.] You've now taken a lot of our time by regaling us all with a lot of general negativism that has no connection to facts or situation.

How about taking some time to learn about this candidate as those of us who have been involved in civic matters [portion removed]?

By the way, above your post, Doug Moran has provided a link to Filseth's Vision A versus Vision B speech that cues the speech.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

I would recommend that Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth have a talk about the affordable housing plan at the heart of Measure D with Karen Holman and Greg Schmid before getting deep into the campaign. Why did even they, along with all other members of the council, conclude that this was a project worth standing up for?


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:01 pm

@ Janet,
Thanks! I just made a donation. I wonder... I'm willing to pay for my own lawn sign -- would it be possible for me to buy a lawn sign (does that count as a campaign donation?)


@Crescent Park Anon,
"Good starter speech ... but has he drilled down to analyze this deeper. "

Yes. Since you are apparently not familiar with civic involvement, when you speak at Council, you have pretty strict time limits. Filseth not only gave a great, complete, insightful speech, he did so within the constraints of the few minutes he had. Council decides right before the public input how much time each speaker will be allowed, and whether they can pool time from others, so he wouldn't have known in advance, either.

And yes, from my own observation, Filseth has a deeper understanding of civic issues than virtually anyone I've met, including most of the sitting Council.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm

[Post removed.]



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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:11 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm

From Eric Filseth's web page, Web Link

Top priorities for the City will be:

1. A sensible zoning and development policy that puts residents first.

Excessive traffic, congestion, safety and infrastructure issues, school crowding, spillover parking, pollution, and overburdened city services are important issues to residents.

We don't need more unappealing projects that exceed size and height limits. The "big is best" mentality must end.
City policy must recognize the link between large-scale office development and the skyrocketing demand and cost of housing.


2. Better fiscal management.

Our regular revenues should be enough to plan and maintain our infrastructure as we go. We should not need bond issues and fee increases

The City's ongoing revenues and costs must balance. Accurate accounting for long-term obligations such as pension and health costs must be part of our standard budgeting and spending process, not set aside to be passed on to our children as debts.


3. Push back on state housing mandates.

ABAG is demanding that Palo Alto zone for 1% more residents each year. Over 30 years this represents a very large density increase – and a significant negative impact on traffic, infrastructure, city services, and our school system. This will drastically affect our quality of life. In 30 years, the City borders will not increase 30%, nor will our streets be 30% wider, nor will we have 30% more park space.

City policy must be based on quality of life and our supply of resources. We will never fulfill the unlimited demand for space in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Leon Leong
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2014 at 7:25 pm

I support Eric Filseth for city council. His positions on what I think are the key issues facing our city are right on the mark, and without any hedging.


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Posted by Kick the Bums Out
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Eric has my vote. How do we get a his lawn sign? I want one.


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Posted by anonymus
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Eric might be the candidate with the most common sense, but can he take one car off of Palo Alto's streets? Can he make the horrid town homes at Alma Plaza go away? I think not.

Not badmouthing, just trying to get a feel for the impact a new councilman will have - Palo Alto, lower your expectations!


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:13 pm

"Eric might be the candidate with the most common sense, but can he take one car off of Palo Alto's streets? Can he make the horrid town homes at Alma Plaza go away? I think not."

No one can make those horrid town homes at Alma Plaza go away, land use is basically forever. But if we vote in Filseth and other good residentialist candidates, we can restore more sensible and high quality development (including reducing the pell mell piling on of more and more traffic-producing large developments).

That's why you should vote for someone intelligent with leadership skills who stands for minding the big picture and protecting quality of life, so we don't continue to get repeats of Alma Plaza all over town.

One of the most important reasons is so that we have some residentialist candidates in City Hall before they finish and vote on the Comprehensive Plan. The same people who have been violating our zoning rules left and right are now rewriting the guidebook for our City's future. We desperately need better people in City Hall to represent residents' interests.

Eric Filseth would be a game changer for better governance, but only if we have a few more good candidates like him.


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Posted by Margaret Fruth
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Margaret Fruth is a registered user.

I am pleased to endorse and support Eric for election to the Palo Alto City Council.

Anyone with concerns about what he stands for, please visit his website:

ericfilseth.com

Thanks!


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Posted by Irritated
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2014 at 2:27 am

I know nothing about Eric Filseth other than what I have read here and what I have dug up via hi-tech contacts that know him or of him. He sounds like a pretty solid guy that cares about much of what Palo Alto residents also care about. I am planning to vote for him as long as what I find out about him continues to be positive,

[Portion removed.]

There are some posts on this forum that are truly difficult to read and understand due to poor grammar and typos, but we need to be considerate of each other and not denigrate others' opinions and ideas just because of a typo or grammatical error. When I see people ridiculing others for such things I tend write off their posts as shallow.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2014 at 2:41 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2014 at 8:17 am

Eric Filseth has it exactly right. This is not one faction, i.e. residents
vs developers. This is about preserving a community, "our unique and
valuable character", quality of life, rational planning based on
holding capacity and infrastructure. The track record of the present
Council majority represented by Shepherd and Scharff is the antithesis of
everything Filseth is talking about.

Most communities learn from their mistakes of the past and are trying to create a better future. In Palo Alto now it's the opposite, the City is destroying its legacy, the past, and creating a future which is painful to witness and experience more and more each day as this Council rolls it out. What is happening in Palo Alto is so shocking,it is really unbelievable.



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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2014 at 8:31 am

Eric, thank you for being willing to run. It seems that already you have many supporters and some dissenters. I hope you have a thick skin, but so pleased that we are being given an opportunity to have a real choice in this election.

We need some great candidates and an opportunity for getting some real debate. This should be an election on issues and not on backpatting.


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Posted by Eric F
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2014 at 8:39 am

Folks,

I'm overwhelmed by the depth of support for my candidacy on this page, and it means a great deal to me. Thank you all very, very much!

Let me respond to a couple of questions here. As others have posted, please visit my web site at www.ericfilseth.com. You can also email me at ericforcouncil2014@gmail.com.

Lawn signs: I hope to have them in mid-August.

Other candidates: I want to endorse Tom Dubois, one of the smartest and most thoughtful people on city affairs that I know. He'll be great for Palo Altans!

Also Karen Holman, if she decides to run. Yes, we differed on Maybell, but reasonable people can have principled disagreements and still support a common cause. Ms Holman has been a strong and consistent supporter of residents in this town and if she runs, I'm voting for her.

Finally, everybody please mark your calendars for my LAUNCH PARTY on Sept 7 from 12-2. Final location to be posted on the web site.

Best regards, Eric


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Posted by anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 25, 2014 at 9:28 am

. We look for excellence, not perfection.
. Tom, Eric and Karen will have my vote.
. However, we also need to support these candidates, not just in words but also in actions.
. It is a very difficult job and quite often very thankless.
. May I ask each of these three candidates to form a small group of trusted advisers around them who can work with their Palo Alto neighborhoods to ensure citizens are heard at all times.
. We have a wonderful city with very smart, intelligent and caring citizens.
. Representing the citizens does not mean we have to be anti-developers. Quite the opposite. We need to work with developers in a balanced manner.


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2014 at 10:40 am

@anneke,
You have made a really good point. Typically when there are abuses, the whole industry is called to task, but really the best of the industry benefit from laws that curtail the worst of the industry.

The best example from a few decades ago - mail order was a dirty business akin to used car sales. Mail order companies would send out unsolicited merchandise then charge people if they didn't send it back. The whole situation would have just been made worse by making people have to deal with company rules for when they could get their money back, etc. People's time is valuable and finite. Congress fixed it by making a rule that if someone sends you something you didnt explicitly ask for, it's yours.

Naturally during this process, the mail order industry howled that they would be decimated. And indeed, the bad guys then were or had to clean up. But mail order in general then thrived as an industry because the good guys could operate without the stigma. Cleaning up the industry helped the industry in general.

So it will be with developers. But City business needs to be conducted in a way that first prioritizes safety, quality of life, etc, and isnt about constantly asking how high when developers say jump.

To Irritated - as one of those people who posts using a tiny device and not very good vision to correct my device's translation, I thank you. There is a hilarious web site called something like damnedautocorrect that explains why I choose to go it on my own.
When I see others whose posts reflect their device limitations, I translate rather than judge. Thanks for doing the same.

Back to the topic. I do not know Tom Du Bois and didnt know what to think but if Eric Filseth is giving such a strong endorsement, he has my vote, too.


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Posted by JYL
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 26, 2014 at 10:30 am

Thanks for running. 10 lawn signs are too much?


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Posted by A.J. L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:02 am

@JYL,
More than the lawn signs, begin working on just personally reaching out through your own networks in town and start telling people who know you to vote for Filseth and du Bois.

Since we do not have ranked choice voting, if there are more running than slots available, I would say ONLY vote for the most important candidates, don't vote for all the slots unless they are all new, good residents-first candidates like Filseth. The rest don't matter that much, and if you cast a vote for, say, Shepherd over Ezran, it's a vote against your first choice candidates because it adds to Shepherd's voters and lazy-incumbent-voter numbers.

Just vote for the good guys, even if it's fewer than the number of slots on the ballot.


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:21 am

Oops, let me be more explicit to explain.

Let's say there are 2 available seats and 3 candidates. For the sake of argument, let's call them Shepherd, Filseth, and Doe.

Let's also assume there are strong constituencies for the first two candidates but not so much for the third.

If everyone who is strongly for Shepherd also votes for Doe, and everyone who is strongly for Filseth also votes for Doe, then Doe gets the most votes even though he's everyone's last choice.

More scary scenario.

Let's say again there are 2 available seats and 3 candidates. Again, let's call them Shepherd, Filseth, and Doe.

This time, for the sake of argument, let's say all the voters who follow City politics would really like to see Shepherd ousted and a really good candidate like Filseth take Shepherd's place. For the sake of argument, let's say that's half the voters. Let's say that hardly anyone knows anything about candidate Doe. Let's also say there are also a lot of voters who don't know much about City politics and tend to vote for the incumbent.

Let's say a lot of Filseth's supporters are unsure about Doe so they vote Filseth and Shepherd, but many also vote Filseth and Doe. The incumbent voters all choose Shepherd, but their other vote is split between Filseth and Doe because they just don't know them and they vote what they know. One has to assume this is a large chunk of voters. Doe has his/her supporters, and they vote for combinations of Doe and the other two.

In this very plausible scenario, Shepherd wins the most votes, even if there is no great support in the community.

In such a scenario, a certain percentage of Filseth's voters have to choose to vote for just him. If they think about what is most important -- getting a really good candidate on the council and ousting one who has favored developers time and again, or more likely ushering in a last-place candidate along with the developer candidate with a false mandate -- they will realize what's at stake.

Only vote for the absolutely indispensable candidates, even if it's fewer than the number of seats. Right now, sorry Eric, that's Eric Filseth and Tom du Bois. Sorry, but I don't think anyone should vote for Karen Holman unless it's REALLY clear Filseth and du Bois have huge majorities. Think about how you would feel if your third-choice vote for Holman ended up bumping one of the new good candidates because of incumbent voting habits?


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

The other way to look at it is this: If you have 2 seats, and only 1 candidate you really like, only vote for that one candidate, and don't make 2 votes.

In the above scenario, if you want Filseth to win, just vote for Filseth. Because the second vote you make will not be between the two second choices you have, it's really between Filseth, Shepherd, and Doe. If you can't answer honestly that you would feel fine with Shepherd or Doe winning instead of Filseth, don't cast a vote for them at all, even if you prefer Doe over Shepherd.

People tend to look at the second vote as a choice between the two lesser candidates in their own ranking, but we don't have ranked choice voting. So the second vote ends up being like a vote against the first choice in a close election.

Hope that's more clear. We should consider ranked choice voting.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:38 am

> start telling people who know you to vote for Filseth

[Portion removed.]

When I listened to Eric talk at the city council ... 3 minutes, he made good sense. When I look at his website there is not the clear mention of that. My concern is that like Obama with a brief history as a community organizer and Senator we put someone on the council that again we do not really know who they are and what they stand for.

Ask questions, demand answers. What does Eric Filseth know about the City Coucil and why does he want to serve on it? In his appearance before them he said the City Coucil, Architectural Review Board, Planning Commission were the problem ... and I agree, but so how does he intend to deal with that?

In his statement to the Palo Alto City Council, Eric Filseth asked them why they were there? I think that is a reasonable question to ask him as well? It is not enough to say you are anti-growth, or don't like certain buildings. Unless a workable alternative solution can be created this is just putting someone on the council who perhaps intends to use that position as a stepping stone into politics by saying lots of the right things to get good press but who may not be able to get the right things done to fulfill it.

I want to know what is the vision? What is the reality? Could be impose a moratorium on growth and the thing the State is pushing on us, and what would be the consequences of that?

I'm sorry but what I don't want to hear, at least on a City Town Square discussion is one guy controlling the discussion and "telling" people stuff, but not adding any information or value to the discussion. If this is the debut of Eric Filseth's campaign, what a great time to distinguish and inform the voters of Palo Alto what he thinks is the problem and solution. From what I now know about him, no thanks to some on this board, he's got my attention, so now I want information, and proof of vision and competence. I already know I don't like the other guys in the council and have been saying that here for a long time.

In my opinion, overly pushy and underly informative supporters on the public chat boards really do not help your cause Eric Filseth.


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm

@CrescentParkAnon,

I'm really sorry you think I'm pushy. No one is dismissing your questions, it's just that a lot of us have been involved over the last few years and if we could have chosen anyone to run, it would have been Filseth. It looks like there are a lot of people above who feel as I do.

I was addressing JYL who clearly already feels as I do because he or she wants 10 lawn signs. In that case, I felt it was appropriate to discuss election strategy, because even if one is feels very strongly for a candidate, the way these multi-person races work out, the results can end up favoring 2nd or last-choice candidates.

[Portion removed.]

You have asked a litany of of good questions, and I hope you are sincerely hoping for answers rather than asking them rhetorically, because I think if anyone can answer them well on behalf of Palo Alto residents, it's Filseth.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2014 at 12:41 pm

@CrescentParkAnon,
There will be opportunities to attend candidate forums before November. Also, since Filseth is a member of PASZ, you could attend a few meetings, and afterwards ask some of the people there for their feedback and experience. Do make it clear that you are looking for analytical information rather than endorsement-type information.


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm

A.J. L is advocating a form of "bullet voting". The idea is to withhold your vote from a less-preferred candidate who you fear could beat your most-preferred candidate(s).

Web Link

If you don't want Shepherd or Scharff to beat Dubois or Filseth, don't vote for them, even if you only "use" 2 of your votes. (In fact, you would be "using" your 3rd vote by denying it to candidates who would otherwise use it to defeat your favorites).

Makes good sense to me.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

"Also Karen Holman, if she decides to run. Yes, we differed on Maybell, but reasonable people can have principled disagreements and still support a common cause. Ms Holman has been a strong and consistent supporter of residents in this town and if she runs, I'm voting for her."--Eric F (PASZ backed candidate for city council)

"Sorry, but I don't think anyone should vote for Karen Holman unless it's REALLY clear Filseth and du Bois have huge majorities. Think about how you would feel if your third-choice vote for Holman ended up bumping one of the new good candidates because of incumbent voting habits?"--AJ L (PASZ booster)

Is AJ L hoping that Karen Holman will decide not to run despite the congruence of interests identified by Eric Filseth? Does this difference of opinion between candidate and PASZ booster have to do with different positions on the centrality of Karen Holman's yes vote on Measure D?


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm

A.J. L,

[Portion removed.]

If I ask too many questions for you, how about responding to one question - besides his 3 minute comment at the City County meeting over a year ago, what is it about Eric Filseth's candidacy and what specific ideas that he supports for Palo Alto has you fired up? Please. Personal interactions, specifics on the website. Thank you.


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Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2014 at 4:41 pm

""Also Karen Holman, if she decides to run. Yes, we differed on Maybell, but reasonable people can have principled disagreements and still support a common cause. Ms Holman has been a strong and consistent supporter of residents in this town and if she runs, I'm voting for her."--Eric F (PASZ backed candidate for city council)"
What about the fact that Karen has taken money from a developer for over 10 years? [Portion removed.] What about the fact that she cannot get the facts straight about her last disclosure agreement regarding those funds ( am still waiting for the weekly to look into that, despite the cozy relationship between the weekly and Karen). [Portion removed.]
What about the fact she knew about the secret plans for 27 university. [Portion removed.] Why give her a pass and not the other council members? Please explain to us why you think Karen is a " strong and consistent" supporter of residents. Those are the tough questions candidates should be addressing instead of saying how much they love Palo Alto and congratulating them for a job well done.


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2014 at 6:48 pm

@CrescentPark Anon,

[Portion removed.]

But you asked, "If I ask too many questions for you, how about responding to one question - besides his 3 minute comment at the City County meeting over a year ago, what is it about Eric Filseth's candidacy and what specific ideas that he supports for Palo Alto has you fired up? Please. Personal interactions, specifics on the website. Thank you."

[Portion removed.]

Filseth's comment was not more than a year ago, it was this past December after Measure D concluded, I think in the meeting in which the City considered whether to purchase the Maybell property as it had the right to do in a non-competitive situation. If you watch other matters involving residents, like Doug Smith's architectural appeal, you will see Filseth making the best comments of all. He really is the smartest guy in the room, every time I have seen him.

But in answer to your question, you have only to read his election page -- or the things you reprinted -- to see some of the things that have me fired up about his candidacy. All of it. [Portion removed.] He is focused on reclaiming Palo Alto for its residents and from overdevelopment, and retaining our quality of life. He analyzes things so astutely and knows how to write and communicate unusually well. (Far better than you or I do.)

Specifically during the Maybell situation. [Portion removed.]

When Measure D became necessary, there was much soul searching about how to best proceed. We had no money at all, typically we raised money we needed with whatever people had in their pockets at the meetings, or passing the hat through email lists. Again, we were just neighbors. We didn't have expensive campaign consultants or election experience. Forming a traditional campaign structure of one group from the diffuse grassroots was the most painful thing we did. When it came to submitting the ballot argument, we realized only then that we could submit only one argument, and we had a short time to do it. "Argument" is more describing what we did behind the scenes! [Portion removed.]
Then through our electronic lists, someone started passing around the most astute and effective assessment of the situation anyone had seen. At first, no one in the core leadership group knew who had written it, it was first passed around without proper attribution. When the author was found, he was fine with being credited and having his work shared. Here was this guy from the north side of town, who was very likely going to take a lot of blowback by taking a position in such a divisive issue — WELL before anyone could have expected the neighbors to win — and he wrote something better and more apt than any of us had written, together or on our own. We were falling all over ourselves to figure out, first of all, who had written it and how to contact him. One of the first things we spent major money on was publishing his essay in the Weekly during the election. (I did not like the edits made to the essay by whomever printed it, just realize it wasn't printed as is.) We feel his essay was instrumental in the broad support for the NO side, and for keeping the focus on the right issues in the debate. [Portion removed.] I really feel if someone like Filseth were at the helm, that whole mess would have been headed off long before it got started.

Through that experience, more cross-town connections were born. Every time I have seen Filseth involved, his input has been measured, astute, well-written, insightful and with obvious care for the wellbeing of our City and its residents. We need someone like him in Council. I feel like he's another Greg Schmid, only younger.






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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Crescent Park Anon,
I'd like to point one other thing out in relationship to Measure D and this candidate. During the whole development of the Maybell situation, many people were involved who did not want to be public figures. We were all just neighbors who really truly would have preferred a more positive path of collaboration with the City and PAHC. Very few wanted to put their names on anything when it all degraded in opposition, no one really wanted to go to referendum.

Eric Filseth was willing to put his name on what he said and wrote in a climate where very few actually were. I myself passed things around for others who really didn't want to be in any way named, and there were times I asked others to go to the community for me. Filseth on the other hand was very low drama but also willing to put himself out there when most weren't.

I hope if we get candidates who understand technology that we can find better ways for citizens to be involved without it being such an overwhelming commitment (with so little effect -- really, except for Measure D, which forced Council to do something, nothing I have ever done or requested or suggested as a citizen has had any impact at City Hall) Many of us feel like we should be able to count on City employees to enact the vision of the Comprehensive Plan, not try to undermine it at every turn. I'm seriously worried they will try to rewrite a new Comp Plan with their development agenda already written in. We need smart people at the helm who have the residents' interest as the priority. Eric Filseth, Tom du Bois, and Greg Schmid. We need at least 2 more... I'd love to do a write-in campaign for Tim Gray if he'd accept it.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

"Eric Filseth, Tom du Bois, and Greg Schmid. We need at least 2 more..."

You'd only need one more if you were willing to accept Karen Holman as an acceptable choice. What are the key issues that cause such a sharp delineation in your estimation between Greg Schmid (acceptable) and Karen Holman (unacceptable) as candidates?

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2014 at 12:05 am

@ Jerry Underdal,
I don't speak for PASZ and haven't even been able to attend a meeting in 2014, even though I support what they are doing to try to restore sensible zoning rules in our town.

The opposition to the Maybell rezoning wasn't "anti-PAHC" until PAHC rolled out their boilerplate NIMBY attacks on the neighbors, and even then, there was no big "anti-PAHC" campaign. [Portion removed.] Many of us were extremely pro-PAHC before this [portion removed.]

PAHC and the City overreached and didn't think the neighbors could do anything about it. Neighbors didn't agree. End of story. [Portion removed.]

RE: Greg Schmid and Karen Holman

[Portion removed.]

Greg Schmid is a true public servant. I look at the totality of his record, and how he conducted himself in the Maybell situation, too. Even though he also voted for, he made tremendous contributions to the democratic process through his astute comments and questions. I did not feel the same about Karen Holman's participation.

If I had to choose between Karen Holman and Greg Scharff or Nancy Shepherd, hands down, I'd choose Holman. But if there is a multi-person election in which I have to choose between the three for the last spot, I'm not going to cast the vote at all for any of them. Because casting that kind of vote actually ends up working against my first choice in a multi-person election because we don't have ranked choice voting. Especially since Holman is an incumbent.

Because in my opinion, it matters a lot less which one of the incumbents ends up on the Council if there is a choice than it does that someone like Eric Filseth or Tom du Bois ends up on the Council, so that we have a more sensible and balanced Council. I think Palo Alto is better off if Eric Filseth and Tom du Bois are on the Council, regardless of which of the incumbents remain, than if the incumbents all make it because people think they need to cast all the votes they have and people's 2nd choices end up getting the most votes. But, I'm not going to make a final judgment until I see the entire field.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2014 at 9:30 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2014 at 9:39 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by AJ L
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2014 at 9:46 am

@Jerry Underdal,
"Is AJ L hoping that Karen Holman will decide not to run despite the congruence of interests identified by Eric Filseth? Does this difference of opinion between candidate and PASZ booster have to do with different positions on the centrality of Karen Holman's yes vote on Measure D"

[Portion removed.]

Whether Karen Holman runs or not was not at issue in my analysis, in fact, wasn't even something that has ever crossed my mind. I was assuming she's running. [Portion removed.] I'm looking at the big picture here. I really don't have strong opinions about Holman.

I have strong opinions about Eric Filseth because I think people like him could move our Council into such a better place.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2014 at 9:55 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2014 at 10:01 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 27, 2014 at 1:34 pm

[Post removed.]


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