News

Two familiar faces enter Palo Alto council race

Undeterred by the past losses, Mark Weiss and Victor Frost seek seats on the council

The crowded race for the Palo Alto City Council further expanded Wednesday, when two familiar candidates -- Mark Weiss and Victor Frost -- signaled their willingness to join the fray, bringing the candidate field to 12.

For both Weiss, a concert promoter and frequent critic of new developments, and Frost, a panhandler best known for his protracted legal battle with the city over its sit-lie ordinance, running for council is a familiar experience, albeit one that has been fruitless thus far. Weiss ran in 2009 and 2012, finishing near the bottom each time (in 2009, he finished 13th out of 14 candidates, edging out only Frost). Frost has run in every election over the past decade save for 2012, when he pulled candidate papers but ultimately did not file them.

Weiss, 50, has been vocal in his criticism of new development, particularly the proposal to turn Varsity Theatre on University Avenue into a hub for high-tech workers. He has also been a proponent for public art and an advocate for new performing-art venues. He is the founder of the concert-production company Earthwise Productions.

Weiss has also been critical of the 2012 proposal by billionaire developer John Arrillaga to build an office-and-theater complex at 27 University Ave., a plan that ultimately fizzled in the face of community opposition. In an interview Wednesday, Weiss told the Weekly that he believed that "the leadership is not listening to citizens as much as to downtown interests."

Frost, who is perhaps the city's best-known panhandler, has been regular presence near Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Mollie Stone's, where he often sits on the sidewalks and solicits 26-cent donations. He lists as his address a telephone pole on the corner of Page Mill Road and El Camino. During past campaigns, he talked about the need to take better care of the homeless.

Weiss and Frost pulled their candidacy papers one day after two other candidates signaled their entries into the race: Barron Park resident Lydia Kou and Richard Wendorf, who lives at Alma Place and like Frost, said he wants to help the city deal with its homelessness problem. Other non-incumbents vying for the five contested seats on the nine-member council are Tom DuBois, Claude Ezran, Eric Filseth, John Fredrich and Seelam Reddy. Mayor Nancy Shepherd and Councilman Greg Scharff are also planning to seek their second terms on the council. Councilwoman Karen Holman hasn't made a formal announcement but has recently formed a campaign committee, suggesting an intention to run.

Councilman Larry Klein will be termed out this year, while Councilwoman Gail Price will complete her first term and will not seek a second.

The suddenly crowded field presents a stark contrast to the 2012 race, when only five candidates ran for three open seats. By contrast, 14 candidates ran for council in 2009, with Klein, Holman, Price, Shepherd and Scharff winning council terms.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Jul 23, 2014 at 7:34 pm

If all of these "candidates" really cared about Palo Alto they would throw their efforts behind the non-incumbents who actually have the experience, skills, and backing to win. All these people are doing is muddying the waters so the incumbants maintain their seats through brand recognition.

Stupid.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rambler
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Another newspaper reported that Frost lives in a redwood city apartment paid for by the city of Palo Alto. How is he eligible to run?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frosty D. Noman
a resident of Triple El
on Jul 23, 2014 at 8:52 pm

"Frost lives in a redwood city apartment paid for by the city of Palo Alto. How is he eligible to run?"

He uses that apartment for storage. His claimed residence address is a telephone pole number in Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 23, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Stupid and Hilarious! Bring on the clowns!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2014 at 9:23 pm

I'm actually a Gunn graduate, class of 1982 and have the backing of many of my classmates. I was Student Body President at Terman and Editor in Chief of the newspaper at Gunn. I believe I am the only candidate of the 11 who is a product of the local system. Frankly, I would trust virtually any of my Gunn classmates, chosen at random, of those who live her, over current leadership. Or my Dartmouth classmates, many of whom live here now.

To the extent that my vote total jumped dramatically, from 800 in 2009 to 4,300 in 2012, I would expect that trend to continue and to be among the leading vote-getters. Third time the charm and all that.

I waited until the end of the filing period to see if enough suitable candidates would turn out. By my standards, there is not.

I think we need more not less muck-raking.

I hope to earn the votes of even these cynical trolls.

On the other hand, like Wavy Gravy or the fictional Chuckles, or in Lear, playing the clown is not the worst thing. Keeps the ego in check.

I little song, a little dance, a little selzer down the pants...words to run by.

By the way there is also still time for "Neighbor" and "Seriously?" to man-up and join the race if they can do better.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2014 at 10:33 pm

And for the record, I do respect Victor Frost more than you "nattering nabobs of negativism" -- why don't you say something that you can put your name to?

We are not running as a slate, but I would doubtless chose him over you four in a fight, barroom or cyberspace.

I haven't talked to Victor in a while: at least he is not mentioned in the Grand Jury report of June 16, 2014 which barely hints at the corruption of our current leadership.

I'll publish my endorsements closer to the election but for now I am bullet-balloting myself and maybe John Fredrich, the former Gunn civics teacher [portion removed.]



 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:22 am

I would take Mark Weiss and Victor frost any day over some of the conformists, corporate enablers, establishment worshippers posting on this thread.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:45 am

Thank you Mark, and also Victor, for being willing to run for City Council (again).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by voter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:08 am

Mark Weiss,

"To the extent that my vote total jumped dramatically, from 800 in 2009 to 4,300 in 2012, I would expect that trend to continue and to be among the leading vote-getters. Third time the charm and all that."

I voted for you in 2012 because you were among the few who spoke out about developers. Now, I see other options for this election which, in my opinion, are candidates who have have engaged more specifically on zoning issues, so you would be losing my vote to them. Not personal, just want to let you know to not necessarily see a trend with my vote.

Victor Frost was lying flat on his back on the sidewalk by the Whole Foods parking lot the other day, and given that he doesn't have a platform other than the sidewalk and to ignore what other people think, I will consider him as a pro-developer vote. They also don't care what residents think, and developers are also infringing on the sidewalks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:40 am

If you get the chance to follow the campaign between now and November, you may change your mind.

Election cycle or not, I have a pretty consistent pattern of engagement here at least since 1992, when I moved back to the area after living in San Francisco. In a sense since about 1976 when my peers and teachers at Terman nominated me for student government and student rep to Site Council and SIP I have felt some responsibility to engage when I can.

My actual work -- organizing events, mostly here in Palo Alto -- is more integrated with my philosophy and more consistent for someone aspiring to civil service and public office than the more corporate backgrounds of Tom and Eric, no disrespect but facts are facts. Palo Alto does not need self-governance that is more business-like, that's what got us into this mess in the first place, the worship of the dollar and the dollar-mongers.

But if you are going just on head shots and what a few people post in the Weekly, my goose is cooked.

Maybe I can get Wavy Gravy to stump for me.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:06 am

Mark,

You've got a good chance of getting my vote if you can answer 2 questions:

1) The traffic light situation on Embarcadero at Paly near Town & Country. The backups are interminable. The city has been "studying" it for 9 years. Diana Diamond had an excellent column in the Merc. about a possible solution.

1a) Do you and the planners realize that there are no students at school at midnight and during the summer making the traffic light timing even more ridiculous?

2) When are our two shuttered libraries going to open? Who was the bright light who decided to close both at once? Can you get us a tax refund for deprivation of services for more than 2 years?

3) Is there any way the city can alert residents to where road repairs are happening so we can avoid them? Given our traffic tie-ups, that would be a plus.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Send-In-The-Clowns
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 12:31 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OldAlum
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 24, 2014 at 4:22 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by school board?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Any word on who is running for the School Board?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:36 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Fror what it's worth I forwarded the three of four questions on traffic per se to Rafael Ruiz of city staff, who you can try directly at Rafael Rius at (650) 329-2442 or rafael.rius@cityofpaloalto.org.

I corresponded with him about a year ago about how or why we upgraded or changed the street signs, especially on Bryant Street, which I had written about on my blog, "Plastic Alto".

You can follow up with me on my blog if you want me to press the issue myself.

I don't think being in leadership (transitioning from being an activist or "engaged") means you have to know everything about everything, more that you have to know who would know these things. I do keep a log of queries and suggestions.

I share your frustration about the libraries - I use them a lot, as office and for research. If this is not too tangential a response, personally I voted no on Measure AA, a capital fund initiative in the recent election: I think we are over-subscribed to capital projects. I tend to want to dissent from the IBRIC report; not sure we need a new Police Station.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Send-In-The-Clowns
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 1:47 pm

[Portion removed.]

> I share your frustration about the libraries - I use them a lot,
> as office and for research.

Most people don't use the public libraries—surveys in the past have demonstrated that point, although the City has misrepresented the data, or simply lied about it. The issue here is not what you may, or may not, be frustrated about—but what the City Council should have done in the past about this project, and what its options are in the future. Presumably you have ideas that are superior to the other candidates, and the general population at large?

> If this is not too tangential a response, personally I voted no on Measure AA,
> a capital fund initiative in the recent election:

Why? Don't you know that when these properties are taken out of the private sector, they stop generating property taxes to fund public services?


> I think we are over-subscribed to capital projects.

Based on what? Are we oversubscribed because of the debt load that these projects are inflicting on private property owners? Or do you think we are oversubscribed because of a lack of capacity to manage these projects effectively?

Do you have any hard evidence to back up your opinions?

> I tend to want to dissent from the IBRIC report;
> not sure we need a new Police Station.

Fine. But for what reasons do you object, or feel include to dissent, from the IBRIC report? And as to not needig a new police station—what are your reasons for that view? Do you actually have any that are based on the nature of policing in Palo Alto, and long-term crime data?

It's fine to have opinions—but in the world of governance, we need people engaged who have a background in decision making, and have shouldered responsibilities [portion removed.]



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Regarding the post-et who asked about traffic near Paly and T&C, Rafael Ruis of City of Palo Alto staff got back very quickly -- kudos! -- to my/our query and says thus:

a) The City hasn't been studying it for 9 years. I haven't read Diana Diamond's article about it, so I can't comment on it. About 9 years ago or so, the Town and Country shopping center had a development proposal (currently the Trader Joe's building) that studied the intersection as part of its approval process. That study and approval process included some improvements to the intersection that were approved by the staff at that time. Just this year, our department started a separate study for an improvement the lane configurations, to connect the pedestrian crosswalk with the intersection, and to improve the overall timing. I believe we are trying to implement some improvements this year, but I will have to check with Jaime Rodriguez who is leading that effort.
b) Yes we know that. If the school approach is getting a full allotment of green time at midnight, then that typically means the detection is not working properly, and the timing will default to the max settings. If that is the case, please let me know and I will forward to our traffic signal department that maintains the signal. There may be issues with the detection due to the current construction that is occurring on the high school site however.
c) I will pass along the request to our public works department that does most of the road repairs. I believe they do have an outreach program, but I am not fully aware of its details.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Jul 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm

At least we have a candidate that knows how to cut-and-paste. Yay.

Mark Weiss: as a woman, being told by you to "man up" is a hoot. Very telling comment.

I don't know how it can be made more clear that my point is there are too many candidates diluting the pool. Telling me to "man up" and run makes it clear you are just not paying attention.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jul 26, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I didn't notice your curves.

I think of my country as a she but vitriolic, cynical and cowardly blog trolls as "he". That's how my mother raised me, I guess.

The point would have been moot, if under your own name you said "With due respect I doubt you have the community support and skill set of Sid Espinosa"...

But duly noted. For the record I am not a sexist.

This is ludicrous. How do I know you are a woman and not a man pretending to be a woman to catch me in this trap? (Which apparently you've also tagged and has been deleted, the offending sexist comment. It's actually a compliment to women that I don't imagine your post to be written by a woman).

I was also responding to an aggregate of anonymous attacks along various lines, which to me sounded like macho male-type locker-room slurs.

But seriously "Seriously?", who in particular do you think I should drop out of the race and support?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2014 at 4:01 pm

If you read my blog, talk to any of the 4,300 hundred people who voted for me in the past (it might be 5,000, if a different 700 voted for me in 2009), talk to current and past council and commissioners (including my girlfriend Terry Acebo Davis, a two-term arts commissioner) or my parents, you will find I am a viable candidate. You are free to disagree with me on the issues and not vote for me, or on any criteria.

But I would say closer to the truth, compared to the framing here, is that I am in the tradition of Gary Fazzino, Joe Simitian and Yiaway Yeh as people who were nominated by their peers and teachers to be in student leadership, in my case at Terman and Gunn, and then later in life offered to be involved in local self-governance of Palo Alto.

I am the only candidate in the race who is a product of local schools. I am also a Dartmouth grad. It's not Stanford but it has a proud history of training people for public service. (Melissa Baten Caswell, of PAUSD trustees, is a Dartmouth class, 1986).

I'm certain if I were a realtor I would get more press and more "love" here. Earthwise Productions, my concert company, was a cover story in the Weekly, not so long ago.

Anyhow, feel free to comment here, on my own blog, Plastic Alto, or approach me if you see me around, between now and November 5.

Bless!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kerry Yarkin
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 27, 2014 at 9:47 am

Good Luck Mark Weiss. You have my vote. It seems that you know a lot about the ins and outs of the development process here in Palo Alto. It is unfortunate for native Palo Altans (myself included) to see all this runaway development and loss of wonderful stores that once made Palo Alto a unique place. Your perspective will definitely make a difference on the status quo.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Weiss voter
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 27, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Let the people decide. Weiss is a serious thinker whose only fault I see is underselling himself.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 29, 2014 at 8:29 am

[Portion removed.]

I would say absolutely that candidates in 2009 and 2012 adapted their platform after hearing mine, if that is the least of my impact. I will win this time. I will likely be the top vote-getter. I'm the only local product in the race; the rest are relative carpet-baggers (save Karen, who's been here as long as me, or John Fredrich who taught at Gunn when I was a student there).

Bring it!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 31, 2014 at 3:23 pm

The resiendt from Fairmeadow needs to take a deep breath. The term man up is a term...no matter who you are, and besides that, you never mentioned your gender...so I think you're just making something out of nothing. Can you guess my gender by reading this "Seriously"?
I love seeing many people run for City Council, especially if they are as smart and practical as our Mr. Weiss. He has my vote!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 31, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Mark Weiss: I have never heard of you before this article announcing your decision to run, so my only impression of you is what you have written here. I see a lot of confrontation, name-calling, thoughtless remarks and just plain noise. I also see grammatical errors (e.g. "sexist" is an adjective, not a verb) and poor communication skills. And, contrary to "Weiss voter," I see nothing but self-promotion.

"Man-up" is not just a "term," it is an attitude. Your next comment starts with, "I didn't notice your curves." Cute attempt to be funny, but just another sexist, belittling comment. I can't help but notice you spent an entire post denying you are "a sexist" (sic) - me thinks thou doth protest too much.

I did not "tag" your post - I would much rather it was still there so everyone could read it. Most likely one of your supporters tagged it to save you from yourself.

>> How do I know you are a woman and not a man pretending to be a woman to catch me in this trap?

My, what a suspicious mind you have! And you think this is a "trap?" LOL!

>> I'm certain if I were a realtor I would get more press and more "love" here. Earthwise Productions, my concert company, was a cover story in the Weekly, not so long ago.

Nice! Not-so-subtle dig on another candidate, immediately followed by your claim to fame.

As I said, I have never heard of you other than this article and all your posts, but you've left a very lasting impression, and I will question the sanity of anyone who thinks they should vote for you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Jul 31, 2014 at 8:54 pm

@member: You are missing the point - my gender, your gender, and everyone's gender, should be irrelevant. We should be able to post and converse in a gender-neutral environment. Mark's assumptions about gender (including his desperate attempt to turn around the insult) shows he very much treats, and speaks to, men differently than women - a very bad sign.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:47 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2014 at 11:53 pm

I'm actually doing other things when I am not checking the internet -- most of what I do in campaign season is not built around the Palo Alto Weekly's website.

I've lived here on and off since 1974 -- I still see some of my friends from 5th grade.

I was making a joke about the word "Seriously?" -- which does have a lot of curves: the two "s"'s, the "r", the "e", the "o", the "r". Compared to the guy (just a guess) named "Send in the Clowns" has more jagged letters: the "w", the "t"

You know, Henry David Thoreau was lamenting just fifty years after the founding of this nation that it's pretty tough to keep up the standards of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and I am beginning to see just how right he is.

Why don't you just introduce yourself ("Seriously?") in real life and see if I can do any better. Or, I have also posted about 800 times on my own blog, "Plastic Alto" mostly about the arts, but a subset of about 200 on policy. Also, between August and November of 2012 I had a separate campaign blog called "Svayambha-PA" that is another peek into how I think (for those of you who don't know me since 1974).

[Portion removed.]

I am sorry if I offended you. Seriously.

Not sure what else to say. Listen to Dar Williams 'When I Was a Boy"

Actually I would guess that two-thirds of the 6,000 people who voted for me in 2012 were women. Eighty percent of people who comment positively on my sites and identify themselves by name are women, I estimate.

I do commit the occasional typo, especially on this site. Sorry. "Post-et" was "poster". My life is not generally filtered thru a computer. Nor do I think public policy should be mediated. I spoke at PATC last week about wanting to sacrifice expediency for thoroughness and depth of thought.

You are correct about my use of an adjective as a predicate nominative. I should have said "I am not a sexist...candidate" or some such. Or

For the record I am not a misogynist.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Aug 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Seymour Butz
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 3, 2014 at 9:52 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Aug 3, 2014 at 10:50 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Syemour Butz
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 3, 2014 at 11:27 pm

[Post removed due to referencing a previously deleted comment.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Aug 3, 2014 at 11:51 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 5, 2014 at 12:32 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Nice seeing Kerry Yarkin at other candidate's event over the weekend and thanking her in person for stemming the tide of trolls here. So far in the real world the players outrank the haters by a wide margin...

Kerry's brother Don Yarkin the realtor endorsed me -- we both played for Hans Delannoy, he at Cub me at Gunn, although I did not meet him until about post-college, we were teammates at the JCC at Terman -- this is hoops, y'all. Don was better much better at 30 than I was at 24, I admit.


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