Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - June 25, 2010

Seeking the cure

Stanford University Medical Center makes its pitch for $3 billion expansion

by Gennady Sheyner

Dr. Jeffrey Norton tugged at a malignant tumor protruding from a patient's stomach on a recent afternoon while conferring with a group of medical assistants in blue scrubs.

Norton, a surgeon at Stanford Hospital, was performing a "Whipple procedure," which involves removing a section of the patient's stomach to treat a cancerous tumor. A flat-screen television near the entrance to the room showed organs shifting inside a dark, cavernous chamber as the procedure progressed.

Next to the flat screen, a small board illuminated an X-ray — a throwback to the old days, before the movements of every organ could be monitored live and in full detail.

Norton performs this complex procedure nearly every day, and his experience showed through his calm, deliberate voice as he pulled a glistening, bulbous lump from the patient's stomach while explaining the next step of the procedure. A faculty member with the Stanford University School of Medicine, he was clearly comfortable operating and answering questions simultaneously.

Outside Norton's operating room, along smooth hallway floors, a legion of medical machines stood single-file along the wall. Behind them were metal shelves full of trays stacked with medical equipment.

Rooms and hallways throughout Stanford Hospital have little or no space to spare. The buildings that make up the sprawling Stanford Hospital complex were constructed in 1959, 1979 and 1989. These days, they meet neither California seismic standards nor the modern standards of medical care.

Dr. Jay Brodsky, medical director of perioperative services at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, said during a recent tour that the facility simply wasn't built with today's technology and volume of patients in mind. He motioned to a flat screen at the side of a hallway that tracks the status of every operation in every room. It showed a list of 10 patients who were waiting their turn.

"It's like a puzzle, but by the end of the day we will get it all done," Brodsky said.

The lack of facilities adequate to enable state-of-the-art, 21st-century health care is the fundamental pitch that Stanford officials have been making since 2006, when they first presented redevelopment plans for the Stanford University Medical Center to the Palo Alto City Council.

Since then, the details of the Renewal Project have unfolded, with plans changing — but never the essential purpose.

Most of the buildings at Stanford Hospital would be demolished some time in the next decade to make way for the massive reconstruction — a project that would bring 1.3 million square feet of new development to Palo Alto. Construction would include a vast new Stanford Hospital comprised of five glassy pavilions rising 130 feet above the ground.

The redevelopment would also expand Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, renovate the Hoover Pavilion and replace Stanford School of Medicine buildings.

The city, which must approve of the redevelopment, is in the midst of reviewing a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project and preparing to negotiate a development agreement (see sidebars).

The project has two major objectives: to meet California's seismic codes and to "right size" both Stanford Hospital and the Children's Hospital. That means larger rooms for patients, 248 new beds (144 at Stanford Hospital and 104 at the Children's Hospital), and enough space in the operating rooms for all the latest surgical equipment.

Both hospitals are overwhelmed by demand, according to the impact report. In 2005, for example, the Children's Hospital was forced to turn away 200 critically ill children because of the bed shortage, while Stanford Hospital turned away roughly 500 adult patients, the report states. The detailed analysis states that both hospitals "suffer from an outmoded ratio of semi-private patient rooms to single-bed patient room."

The massive expansion would add roughly 471,300 square feet of space to the Children's Hospital, which has already gone through a series of transformations since it opened in 1991. The hospital previously shared operating rooms with Stanford Hospital but in 2008 opened its own surgical facility tailored specifically to the youngest patients.

In one such operating room this week, a team of doctors was repairing the interior of an infant's heart. The heart stood still, but the baby's life was sustained by a heart-lung machine. Flat-screen monitors throughout the room kept track of all the vital signs.

Dr. Craig Albanese, director of pediatric surgical services at the Children's Hospital, said the new surgical center was urgently needed to meet a rising demand of child patients, many of whom come to the Children's Hospital as a last resort. Recent medical advances have made it possible for the hospital to save more lives than ever before. Many of the survivors, however, require multiple surgeries and thus, more space, he said.

"The partnership worked well when we had lower acuity and a lower volume of patients and when technology wasn't what it is today," Albanese said.

The Children's Hospital performed about 3,600 operations annually back when it shared the Emergency Department with Stanford Hospital, but the number jumped to 5,100 between January 2009 and January 2010, with the new operating rooms in place, Albanese said.

The Children's Hospital used to turn away about 40 children per month. Today, such instances are quite rare, he said.

But patient privacy and space remain a problem for both hospitals. In one Children's Hospital recovery room, two doorways lead to the same room, where on a recent morning four patients were recuperating. On one side of the room, two cribs stood side by side. On the other side, two occupied beds were separated by a curtain.

At Stanford Hospital, patients share small rooms, some of which lack basic amenities such as air conditioning or private bathrooms. Patients who need to shower have to walk across the hallway to do so. On several occasions the weather has gotten too hot and the hospital had to transfer patients to cooler rooms, said Lynette Hay, a registered nurse at the hospital.

With the expansion, both hospitals would replace the prevalent curtain system with private rooms for patients.

In the Children's Hospital, such a room would also provide foldout beds, private bathrooms, a television and other amenities to the young patients, said Sherri Sager, spokeswoman for Children's Hospital.

Sager said the private rooms would enable families to spend more time with the patient and become fully integrated in the recovery process. The private bathrooms, meanwhile, would reduce the cases of infection, she said.

Nowhere is the need for renovation more evident than at Stanford Hospital's Emergency Department, where beds are bunched close together and separated by curtains. At the trauma center, ground zero for medical care after a major disaster, beds are in short supply.

Dr. S. V. Mahadevan, medical director of Stanford Hospital's Emergency Department, pointed to the hospital's two-bay trauma room this week.

If a major emergency were to occur, such as a bus accident that left 20 people hurt, the department would be able to squeeze a few extra beds into the trauma-treatment area, he said. Accommodating the rest of the victims, however, could require the hospital to treat some patients in the hallways or find beds in more peripheral locations, he added.

Mahadevan, who lives in Palo Alto, said he is proud of the work that goes on in the hospital's emergency room, which is one of only three trauma centers in the South Bay. But like other physicians throughout the hospital, he acknowledges that the facility has plenty of room for expansion and improvement.

"We can do better. We just need the space to make it so," Mahadevan said.

Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@paweekly.com.

Comments

Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 25, 2010 at 8:57 am

"Rooms and hallways throughout Stanford Hospital have little or no space to spare. The buildings that make up the sprawling Stanford Hospital complex were constructed in 1959, 1979 and 1989. These days, they meet neither California seismic standards nor the modern standards of medical care."

A very major point. Please note PA City Council.

"In 2005, for example, the Children's Hospital was forced to turn away 200 critically ill children because of the bed shortage, while Stanford Hospital turned away roughly 500 adult patients, the report states."
That is okay--the important consideration is that turning away these patients meant less traffic in Palo Alto.

I am sure that Morton, Kishimoto and Drekmeier never took any of the above issues into consideration. They were too busy bashing Stanford and seeing Stanford as the "evil empire".


Posted by Marilyn Tomsky, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 25, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Many of us have become severely ill in the night, faced a possible cancer problem, a heart attack or stroke or needed sudden surgery. We need Stanford for ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbors.

A Stanford updated and ready with all it needs in rooms, space in operating rooms for proper equipment and earthquake safety buildings, to give the best of itself. More traffic we can live with, but being turned away because of lack of room - this we can not accept.

Life is sacred let us give Stanford this chance to save us.


Posted by Bigger bigger, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

The Stanford Hospital expansion has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with providing service to Palo Alto. The expansion is a result of Stanford's _desire_ to expand its coverage area to a much larger portion of the Bay Area and beyond (they are advertising _internationally_ for patients).

This expansion benefits Stanford as a teaching and research hospital because the larger area to draw patients from provides more of the difficult cases. While this is a public good, Stanford's proposal requires a huge subsidy--in terms of infrastructure--to be paid for by Palo Alto taxpayers alone, and not from other communities in its service area. If you think Palo Alto should bear this grossly disproportionate burden, please explain why an unemployed engineer living in Palo Alto should have to pay (via property tax) while a CEO or VC living in Woodside or Atherton doesn't.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm

What we have above is a perfect example of the negative mindset of some people in Palo Alto, that feel that the city does not derive any benefit from Stanford. Stanford has best start looking to the north for a new location for their hospital/medical center--in a city that will be more appreciative of the contributions that Stanford makes.
Once Palo Alto's tax revenues take another major hit they will regret,as Bern Beecham put it, their "arrogance" and "irrational demands". It is funny how these people love all the money that Stanford directly and indirectly contributes to the city's coffers, yet have this antagonistic attitude towards Stanford--or do these people really believe that people come to Palo Alto to see the Eichler homes, Edgewood Plaza and the HP garage?


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Douglas - What infrastructure does Stanford need PA to provide in order to expand the hospital?

Bigger- Stanford HAS to build a new hospital because the current on is not up to Federal standards. And you have obviously never been in a hospital overnight, walking across the hall to shower when you are healthy is no big deal. If you have just had surgery, it is a long walk. Even getting a robe on is a project for some people when they are ill. Have a little compassion.


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Re: "svatoid"
A large part of the acrimony of the debate over Stanford projects is a result of egregiously disingenuous statements by Stanford supporters that disparage [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] anyone who dares question, much less disagree, with Stanford's proposals.

First, I did not say that Palo Alto derives no benefit from Stanford. The hospital project has two parts: (1) replacing the _current_ facilities (seismically inadequate), and (2) a substantial _expansion_ to service a larger area. The [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] tactic being used by Stanford and its supporters is that if Stanford isn't allowed its massive expansion, it will cut back service to its existing customers. Notice the contradiction: Stanford tries to portray itself as a community hospital, but then says that if it can't expand as much as it wants, it will give priority to the "interesting cases" from its expanding service area and handle more routine cases from its current service area only on a space-available basis. Of course, when one points this out to Stanford reps or supporters, they deny this is what they meant, but are unable to explain what they said.

Second, on the economic benefit of the Stanford expansion: The supporters portray patients and their visitors as providing substantial business to Palo Alto stores and restaurants. Nobody I know regards a hospital stay or visit as an impetus for dining out or leisurely shopping. To the contrary, the hospital trip tends to soak up their available time, plus they are rarely in the mood for discretionary spending. Plus, the circumstances surrounding being in the hospital often means you can't engage in discretionary spending.


Posted by Bigger bigger, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Stanford created suspicion of their motives when they
1) hired a former Palo Alto mayor-lawyer to be their developer-in-chief
2) tried to get their PR manager a job as a MANAGER in our Planning Department. Yes, they really tried, and with Frank Benest in charge, almost succeeded --even though he had no planning experience or education. None.
These are just the tactics they tried that got into the public eye. Who knows what they try behind the scenes with the legal documents and job offers.


Posted by Pria Lytle Fletcher, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Mr. Moran says:
"...the debate over Stanford projects is a result of egregiously disingenuous statements by Stanford supporters that disparage [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] even demonize, anyone who dares question, much less disagree, with Stanford's proposals."

Yet he has no problem labelling one of the concerns raised by Stanford and their supporters as a "[portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] tactic".

He also makes some overreaching comment ("Of course, when one points this out to Stanford reps or supporters, they deny this is what they meant, but are unable to explain what they said")--who said it? When did they say it? Naturally, we are dealing in generailites here, as is Mr Moran's forte.

Mr Moran also states:
"The supporters portray patients and their visitors as providing substantial business to Palo Alto stores and restaurants. Nobody I know regards a hospital stay or visit as an impetus for dining out or leisurely shopping."

Now he is disparaging comments and twisting facts provided. I do not know if the hospital visitors provide "substantial" business--but they do provide business--they have to eat, many need a place to stay etc.
No one has said that they use the visit "visit as an impetus for dining out or leisurely shopping" (BTW, Mr Moran has brought up this factoid nyumerous times in this forum).
Regardless of that, and Mr Moran conveniently ignores this fact--Stanford hospital/med center people contribute to the city's economy. Let Stanford pull up stakes and move somewhere else and PA will get an inkling of how much they do contribute.

Mr Moran has no problem in engaging in the same conduct that he claims that Stanford supporters engage him--but I guess he feels that he is "right" so it is okay. I do have to say that these so-called "neighborhood leaders" really do not show any leadership whatsoever when it comes to working as a partner with Stanford and not like a clone of Morton/Drekmeier/Kishimoto. I am certainly glad Mr Moran is not on the council.


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Para 3: As to where this has been said, apparently she hasn't attended the workshops and other meetings or listened to Council sessions, or read Letters to the Editor.

Notice that both she and "svatoid" make the now common threat that if Stanford does get all it wants (regardless of cost to Palo Alto taxpayers), it will leave Palo Alto.

A significant portion of the additional traffic to the expanded Stanford Hospital will come from the patients and visitors. In response to the expression of these concerns, Stanford and its supporters cite the business that such people will bring. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Apparently I am guilty of misrepresenting what Stanford said because I should have known, and taken into account, that they were being disingenuous in their response.

Note that Ms Fletcher turns around in the same paragraph and says Palo Alto benefits from people needing a place to stay. Since most of the expansion is for a larger _local_ clientele, such as southern San Jose, Morgan Hill, ..., this seems to assume that their families and friends would get hotel rooms here rather than commute. And for those from out of the area, why wouldn't they get cheaper rooms a short commute away, such as in Mountain View? Similarly, when supporters cite the increased benefits to Palo Alto restaurants and you ask them about what proportion of that business goes to other cities, especially Menlo Park, not only do they not have an answer, but they seem to have not even considered the possibility.

Notice that when Ms Fletcher argues that Stanford benefits Palo Alto as a justification of the high costs to taxpayers of the expansion that I don't make the mistake of assuming that she is claiming that those benefits are in any way commensurate with the costs.


Posted by Gene, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Stanford is a big employer, including its hospital and medical school. I have had many neighbors who work at Stanford, but live in Palo Alto. These people pay property taxes and shop in PA. More importantly, they are smart people, and make this town more interesting. Stanford is an ecnomic engine for PA. It needs to stay on the front edge of research and patient care.

Some Palo Alto people seem to want to keep things as they are, even though things now are not what they were before (they came here). This is not surprising, but this aversion to change should be resisted for the sake of a better society, including a more prosperous PA.

Let Stanford build!


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Gene,
One of the impacts of the proposed expansion is substantially worse congestion in the University Avenue downtown and the streets leading to it because of pass-thru traffic to the hospital. The assessment is that this cannot be mitigated.

The normal reaction of business and customers to such congestion is to shift their offices, restaurants, ... to more accessible locations. Since the infrastructure cannot accommodate the level of growth proposed by Stanford, letting Stanford grow is likely to come at the expense of other Palo Alto businesses and property owners.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 25, 2010 at 9:46 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Yes, there will be more traffic on University. Somehow I can't imagine Evvia will leave town because of traffic. Or Restoration Hardware, etc. And I don't think the global cachet of a Palo Alto address for a business will go away because a world class hospital creates more traffic.


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Re: Palo Alto Mom
The report of the traffic engineers is that the congestion will be so bad that numerous intersections will have a "Level of Service" that they refer to as "failing". This is _their_ term because of its adverse impact on businesses that I cited. This is not my speculation or projection, but the assessment of experts hired to do this study.

Notice the contradiction: Stanford supporters warn that Stanford will leave if it doesn't get all that it wants in terms of _expansion_, but that other businesses will NOT leave if their ability to conduct their _current_ businesses is substantially degraded.


Posted by MidtownMom, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2010 at 6:36 am

Pray that you never have to dash to Stanford in the middle of the night; Pray that your child is never serverely sick and you never have to go to Stanford for inpatient treatment; Pray that your lovedone is hale and hearty that you never have to go through the doors of the main hospital .. if you ever have experienced any of these situations - you will understand why this expansion is critical. Trying to find a parking spot with a sick loved one in the car; trying to find a spot while you know your sick loved one is alone in the room; trying to figure out if your loved one can be admitted , since the rooms are not available .. its a nightmare that no one should have to go through. In times like these, all you should need to do is focus on the loved one ..

Yes, Stanford advertises internationally. I believe there are quite a few patients who fly in for treatment .. you know what, these patients are highly appreciative of the care they get at this facility.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2010 at 7:12 am

Some of the best medical service in the world is being practiced everyday in military hospitals in Iraq, and out of the line of fire in Kuwait, Germany and the US by some of the finest nurses on the planet. It doesn't take fancy buildings to be a first class medical facility unless that facility has superior nurses . So, Stanford, pay your nurses what they are worth and let their professions soar!! Without them, your proposed first class buildings mean NOTHING.


Posted by Gene, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2010 at 7:48 am

"_excessive_ Stanford growth"

That is a loaded term. It assumes some type of underlying truth, but there is none...just opinion.

I've been around long enough to remember when Stanford was referred to as "the farm", becasue it still had remnants of the old horse farm of Leland Stanford. With each new expansion of Stanford there have been those who bitterly resisted it. Traffic was an issue with almost every Stanford expansion. There are ways to deal with institutional mass workforce traffic, including charter buses, that are currently being used by other Silicon Valley employers. There are always dire warnings about how unlivable our town will become with each new major development in the area, yet I find our town more interesting and conducive to 'living' now than I did 40 years ago. Of course, I could be biased, because my property values have increased so much in that period of time...thanks to Stanford and its Research Park (formerly it was called the Industrial Park), where I used to be employed, and where I earned my living from which I raised my family and sent them to college, etc.

Hard working smart people still want to work for Stanford, and I think we, on balance, benefit from having these people in Palo Alto. Will Palo Alto change? Of course, as it always has. The anti-growth people want to freeze a snapshot of the PA they knew into the cornerstone of city hall. In my view, this is a very regressive approach.

Stanford will need to continue to grow, even after this hospital expansion. Each new gneration of PA citizens will adapt to that growth...and benefit from it.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 26, 2010 at 10:29 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Birt Harvey, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2010 at 10:38 am

As a pediatrician who practiced in Palo Alto from 1958 until retiring, I would like to comment on two of the Douglas Moran statements.
1) "The proposal has nothing to do with providing service to Palo Alto."
Currently, children who live in Palo Alto and need hospital care are often sent to El Camino hospital because of a lack of available beds.
As good as care is at El Camino, for many illnesses it cannot provide the level of care available in a hospital with a staff that is trained and facilities that are dedicated to the care of very ill infants and children. Increasing bed availability will benefit children who live in our city.
2) Stanford "requires a huge subsidy to be paid by Palo Alto tax payers"
Residents to the north of us pay property tax that includes money that has gone to support Sequoia Hospital. Similarly residents to the south of us are taxed to support El Camino Hospital, including its current expansion. We who live in Palo Alto do not pay any tax to support our hospital. Might this mitigate the subsidy concern expressed by Mr. Moran?


Posted by stanford nurse, a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm



Kate----your are so right!


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Re: Brit Harvey

Re #1: The reason for the lack of available beds for PA children is not that there are more such PA children than Stanford can accommodate, but rather that Stanford has already expanded its service area, creating this shortage of beds. Since Stanford wants to further increase its service area, the same conditions--PA children being turned away--are almost certainly going to persist after any expansion. When the question about what Stanford could guarantee about such turn-aways (for adults) at one of the meetings, the Stanford rep had no response.

Notice that this is a version of the disingenuous argument that Ms Fletcher (above) challenged me to document.

Re #2, Subsidies: The subsidies that I am referring to are PA taxpayers have to pay for infrastructure and other improvements that are normally paid by the developer. Even though taxpayers are directly handing cash to Stanford, these are very real subsidies.

Re #2, Sequoia and El Camino hospitals: These are hospital districts where the taxpayer subsidies are collected from the intended service area. In contrast, Stanford wants to extend its service area to south of Morgan Hill, almost to San Francisco and well into the East Bay but would have PA taxpayers bear the brunt of those subsidies (Menlo Park gets hit with some of the traffic mitigation). I am not opposed to taxpayer subsidies for hospitals, but I do oppose a small fraction of the service area having to bear the burden for the larger group. Plus Stanford hospital is not a community hospital: It is out-of-plan for many Palo Altans (because of side-effects of being a teaching and research hospital??).


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Re: Gene (2nd comment): '"_excessive_ Stanford growth" That is a loaded term. It assumes some type of underlying truth, but there is none...just opinion.'

"excessive" is neither a loaded term nor my opinion. There is an "underlying truth": The studies by experts show that the expansion will _exceed_ not just the current infrastructure but also projected improvements.

On this alone, the expansion is technically "excessive". But even if the expansion were limited to what could be accommodated by projected improvements, it would still qualify as "excessive" because it would be taking away other property owners' fair share of future growth potential for their properties. One of the basic functions of zoning/planning/project approval is to provide for this equitable sharing


Posted by Gene, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm

When Oregon Ave. was expanded to become Oregon Expressway, in order to service the Stanford Industrial Park, there was a huge fight. That was over 40 years ago. The Industrial Park (now the Research Park)has been an economic bonanza for Palo Alto, as well as a job producer for many Palo Alto citizens. Palo Alto Square was another huge fight in the early 1970's. So was Sand Hill road. The arguments against them were very similar to what we now hear from the current anti-growthers.

Contrary to the notion that such progress "would be taking away other property owners' fair share of future growth potential for their properties", all properties in Palo Alto have gone way up in value, without exception, since those projects were built.

One trick that anti-growthers use is to limit choices of solutions, then argue that there are no solutions. Thus statements like, "the expansion will _exceed_ not just the current infrastructure but also projected improvements." can be made with a straight face. If the projected improvements do not allow consideration of improvements like an overpass at the Page Mill x El Camino intersection (something that has been proposed in the past), then the problem is lack of projection, not lack of solutions.

The anti-growthers want to use scare tactics in order to prevent progress. I think PA citizens have awakened to the consequences of suppressing growth. It means that we will have structural budget problems, declining services and declining quality of life.

Growth of Stanford is vital to our economic and social health in Palo Alto.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 26, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Douglas - What infrastructure would we pay for for the Stanford expansion? Will we be building new roads, running new electrical lines, gas line, water lines, adding sewer lines? Building a new power plant? It seems perfectly reasonable to ask Stanford to pay for any infrastructure they need, somewhat silly to ask for many of the "kitchen sink" items we seem to want to include.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 27, 2010 at 11:04 am

Mr moran claims:
"is a result of egregiously disingenuous statements "

Yet he has no problem stating:
"it would still qualify as "excessive" because it would be taking away other property owners' fair share of future growth potential for their properties"

and

"but rather that Stanford has already expanded its service area, creating this shortage of beds."

and

"but I do oppose a small fraction of the service area having to bear the burden for the larger group"

It is quite clear that Mr Moran sees a picture of Palo Alto frozen in time from 30-40 years ago and is against any change to that picture.
Does Mr Moran really believe that people come to Palo Alto because it is Palo Alto? They come to Stanford and Palo Alto reaps the benefits, though they constantly complain about "traffic" and "growth" and treat Stanford as some evil empire (i.e. the Drekmeier, Kishimoto/Morton school of thought regarding Stanford)


Posted by move aside!, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 27, 2010 at 11:09 am

Doug Moran: "One of the impacts of the proposed expansion is substantially worse congestion in the University Avenue downtown and the streets leading to it because of pass-thru traffic to the hospital. The assessment is that this cannot be mitigated.
-------
I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: Doug Moran and the most ardent no-growthers re: building in Palo Alto, especially along major transit lines - are trying to have it both ways. If they're as informed as they say they are, the should know that study after study after study clearly shows that the *primary* contributor to messeing our environment (here in America) is ex-urban and suburban development. It's a *fact* that building patterns imposed, over decades, have led to our dependence on the automobile (and the resultant environmental degradation caused by the auto mobile). Given the latter (and the "greens" awareness of same), and given that neither Moran (don't even get me started with Kishimoto, who did almost nothing to promote intra-urban improvements in mass transport during her tenure on Council), and many other so-called "green" neighborhood leaders do everything they can to keep housing from being built here, they essentially maintain a stance in the matter of housing. I see little in the way of real innovation coming from Moran, just a whinny mantra that's repeated over and over again every time a housing effort comes to the surface.

About Moran's claim re: pass through traffic on University, where are Moran's suggestions about creating better and more integrated inter-and intra-urban mass transit? We never see those suggestions, even though Moran and his anti-development crowd know that as one solution. Bottom line: this group wants to "keep things as they are", period. They are afraid of *change*. They see, and treat, anyone who disagrees with them as an enemy. They appeal to the most primitive instincts when making their arguments, with all their talk about how "growth will ruin our community". Even that, in the face of the fat that we are where we are now - as a primary municipality (fast fading) on the Peninsula - *because* of growth! How about that Mr. Moran?

As many have stated above, if Stanford wasn't here, why would anyone come to Palo Alto? To see the famous "garage"? To visit the dilapidated libraries, the expansion of which Mr. Moran was against?

We need, and are beginning to see (given the tone of some ofo the posts above) a *new* group of community leaders arising in Palo Alto. Many of these leaders are going to come from the Southern portion of our city; they will not be under the influence of people like Mr. Moran, whose opinions are always laced with skewed facts.

As for Stanford, the Planning Commission, with many politico wannabes, and people like Mr. Moran need to get out of the way so that our region can develop without burdening natural growth with so many new wrinkles that people actually begin to suffer.

How do those who want to cost Stanford 10's or 100's of millions more in this project think that Stanford will ultimately pay for those costs? Answer: Stanford, like any enterprise that wants to stay in business, will And why shouldn't they? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

What's called for, but what we've never had here, is a mneasured relationship with a powerful neighbor. I don't know where the hubris has come from, but it has not optimized the relationship in a way that benefits most Palo Altans. We have wasted many policy discussion hours (and years) beating up on Stanford, and guess what, we have *lost* in the balance, by a wide margin.




Posted by Bigger bigger, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 28, 2010 at 4:38 am

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

To Palo Alto Mom: "Douglas - What infrastructure would we pay for for the Stanford expansion? Will we be building new roads, running new electrical lines, gas line, water lines, adding sewer lines? Building a new power plant? It seems perfectly reasonable to ask Stanford to pay for any infrastructure they need, somewhat silly to ask for many of the "kitchen sink" items we seem to want to include."

There is a misconception fostered by certain local media known for its disinformation that the City of Palo Alto is demanding ("extorting") unrelated improvements from Stanford. Because the proposed Stanford expansion will be built over the years, the related impacts will phase in over the years. What the City and Stanford have agreed to is that Stanford will contribute a certain amount to the City for improvements (the amount being negotiated) and the City takes responsibility for performing the improvements as they are needed. This has the advantage of avoiding battles in future years about those improvements and their costs, and it provides Stanford with predictability up-front about what its project costs are.

I don't know why the City and Stanford chose to express these payments to mitigate impacts in terms of unrelated projects--it could be legal or political or... Just think of it as bartering.

My focus has been on traffic and housing because my experience has been in those areas. But there are many other infrastructure impacts, for example in a presentation of several months ago, the water requirements of the Stanford expansion are proposed to be met with requiring substantial reductions in water usage by the rest of the city (homes and businesses). There would be costs to the City (taxpayers) to administer the education and enforcement program. There are also likely to be substantial costs to residents and businesses to reduce usage, but I leave it to the reader to determine how to attribute those costs. My _speculation_ is that water reduction would be implemented by a variety of measures, such as restrictions on landscaping and higher rates.

On "building roads" to reduce the congestion from the additional traffic: The reason that the traffic study projects the congestion levels (eg failing intersections) is that there are not practical mitigations for all the expected traffic -- widening the key roads and intersections would involve condemning too many buildings and other "takings" of private property (via eminent domain), a very expensive proposition (and also politically unpalatable, especially when you consider who owns many of those homes and businesses).


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

One of my big objections to Stanford's expansion is the expectation that Palo Alto should bear the brunt of high-density/low income property development. We lose the spirit of community (as is seen in Greenmeadow) when these condo complexes grow and pack people in like sardines. Stanford has lots of land (1800 acres worth) -- why don't they designate areas for housing workers? That would mitigate traffic problems to some degree and stop the trend of making Palo Alto communities look like Sunnyvale. It would also be more "green".


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

While I understand the moderators' deleting the most egregious lies and scurrilous attacks, it has the side-effect of lending credibility to all the falsehoods that don't exceed that threshold.

For example, "Posted by Gene, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jun 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm" lies by calling me "anti-growth" -- this is a knowing, intentional falsehood because my earlier comment to which he was responding was about proper _sharing_ of the growth. Also Gene would have the reader falsely believe that "anti-growth" people somehow distorted the results of the traffic study by excluding some possibilities, when the fact is that the study was done by professionals with substantial input and involvement by Stanford (and the City).

For example, "move aside!" claims that my "opinions are always laced with skewed facts" but doesn't even cite an example (I am not saying that I don't make the occasional mistake, but I try to be careful and correct those errors that occur). He attacks me for not investing effort in promoting public transit, as if I somehow control the agenda. Note: When the county voters endorsed giving priority to BART-to-SJ for county transit money, they effectively voted to cut/eliminate funding from most other transit projects and to cut bus service. Similarly for Caltrain. The public-transit ideologues loathe me because I point to current usage levels and patterns, and ask them to explain how to get to their projected levels. Their response effectively boils down to one of several variants of "You have to believe".

I have long been labeled "anti-business" because I oppose individual businesses using their political power or connections to shift their expenses onto others (residents and other businesses)--getting what are hidden, indirect subsidies.

Similarly I am labeled "anti-growth" because I ask questions and point out inconsistencies and outright contradictions in the cases for proposed projects. "Things will somehow work out" is not an acceptable answer for me.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:50 pm

"While I understand the moderators' deleting the most egregious lies and scurrilous attacks, it has the side-effect of lending credibility to all the falsehoods that don't exceed that threshold."

You will note, Doug, that the editors deleted quite a bit of your postings. Talk about the kettle calling the pot black!!!


Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 28, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

There were two categories of deletions:
1. Responses to sections of others' postings that were deleted.
2. Deletions due to TSF staff's policy of "Lies are bad, so don't point them out" For example, I am not allowed to say that I am being xxxxxized despite posts in this and earlier threads demonstrating just that. Similarly I am not allowed to use the common term "xxxxx tactic" for something that has demonstrable xxxxx'd people.


Posted by Gene, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm

"proper _sharing_ of the growth"

The underlying reasoning of such a statement is that growth is bad, and that we need to spread it out, presumably to other cities or regions. In fact, growth is good, and Palo Alto has benefitted immensely from it. Should we share our economic benefits of growth with other cities or regions, too?

The problem with Palo Alto is that it has become spoiled with the benefits of past growth. The current economic downsturn has made some people wake up to the fact that we need more jobs, not less.

Absoulte height limits and 'no-new-net-trips' and absurd demands of builders, like BMR units, are about to become a thing of the past.


Posted by move aside!, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 28, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Doug Moran: ""Things will somehow work out" is not an acceptable answer for me."

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Let's take a look at all this "not working out". Like Alma Plaza, which is working out fine, now that the costly delays you and other anti-growth groups helped cause are being passed on to the developer. And for what purpose. I wonder if the non-front-facing retail slots that your group helped to force will help the retailers? And guess who's going to pay for those increased development costs? Palo Alto citizens - that's who, with higher prices for rent and goods and housing caused by interminable delays.

How about including TOTAL downstream costs AND benefits in your anti-growth philosophy? Sorry, but raising red herrings based on partial knowledge and selective choice of impacts shoudn't move policy makers (but,just leave it to Palo Alto policy makers to prove me wrong, as they have largely pandered over years to the no growth crowd), They have swallowed the "no growth" meme hook, line, and sinker, over years - largely placating the the very same people who are **now whining about the loss of services, or revenue shortfalls**. Ironic, isn't it?

All we hear from Doug Moran is how much something will *cost*, while through analytical blinders he only looks at the *surface* double-bottom-line impacts of development, and then goes on to make claims that those costs are a problem **without ever looking at the fiscal and/or social benefits of a project**.

We saw the same thing happen with our public library. Imagine, arguing against the overall impacts of library expansion by focusing only on upfront costs.

We saw the last administration (under Benest) junk a perfectly great opportunity to have a performing arts center right on the edge of downtown, because it knew that anti-growthers would make the effort a living nightmare. Cost to Palo Alto - the loss of downtown revenues that would have accrued from proximity business to the arts center.

Just look at the junk yard heap on Park Blvd. that was sued into oblivion by Bob Moss. Guess how much more the units are going to cost Palo Alto residents, and how much more the rent in the lower commercial units will cost the lessees? Guess who will pay for those costs, ultimately? Palo Alto citizens - that's who. And all because a few people didn't like the facade design of the building?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Just as we really start to need revenue, these knee-jerk anti-growth decisions of past years are looking a little short-sighted, aren't they? Will the Weekly publish an analysis of what all the anti-growth and project delay has meant in terms of opportunity cost? Forget it, there are ad revenues to chase; detail doesn't make headlines.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

That said, there do need to be limits to growth. That goes without saying, but the knee-jerk anti-growth sentiment in this town has managed to undermine our ability to *sustain ourselves* without having to make hard compromises. Will the no-growthers take credit for that? Don't hold your breath.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Have we ever seen a real analysis of what opportunities will be brought by the new Stanford development? Have we ever see how those benefits outweigh the projected (social and fiscal) costs. Of course not! Why? Because the habit here is to listen to the munchkin anti-growth voices that troop down to City Hall every week, telling their tale of woe.

Will we learn a lesson from this? Maybe. Like I said last post, we need new blood in leadership, and we need other things that make sense re: policy-making governance structures. Also, we need more diversity of opinion coming before policy makers, as the revenue problems we are currently encountering fall squarely on the mostly misguided policies and delays that are currently leading to hard choices that we wouldn't have had to make, if only a more measured approach to local growth would have been taken.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 29, 2010 at 6:09 am

Mr Moran--me thinks the "neighborhood leader" doesth protest too much.

Mr Moran equates criticism of his stances with being "demonized".

You will note that one of the portions that was edited from Mr Moran's post:
"A large part of the acrimony of the debate over Stanford projects is a result of egregiously disingenuous statements by Stanford supporters that disparage [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] anyone who dares question, much less disagree, with Stanford's proposals."

is clearly an offshoot of his philosophy regarding opinions that differ from his own. It is unfortunate that Mr Moran refuses to recognize other's opinions and lumps all support for Stanford into one handy group that casts them in a bad light.

BTW, Mr Moran, I read a number of years ago, your website in which you detailed how to deal with people that you disagree with. You have since deleted said pages (any wonder why???), but I am familiar with your tactics.


Posted by move aside!, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 30, 2010 at 11:08 am

Seriously, why are the obsessives at the Weekly editing things out of so many these posts to the degree that removes all sense if their intended style and impact? I disagree most pointedly with Doug Moran, but let the man speak! Same for the others. Get a an editorial life, people! I know of no other forum, including the NYT times forum, and many others, that controls comments in the weak-kneed way that is done here. What the heck are you afraid of? Let ideas flow. Let personal style flow. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Bigger bigger, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Move aside says Alma Plaza "is working out fine." I guess he doesn't live in south palo alto which will get 51 more housing units there, in addition to the explosive growth they already have. 51 households, many with children who will need schools and parks. The city is already subsidizing the developers by building a big Community Center and Library there but the schools are in trouble.

As for the Weekly's deletions, they immediately delete any criticism of themselves. That is the first principle.


Posted by Bigger bigger, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Stanford is now calling their 3.5 BILLION dollar project a RENEWAL. That is the title of the expensive mailer sent to most Palo Alto households this week.
The project will add 1.3 Million square feet of new development. And add several thousand workers with families who will crowd the crowded schools, roads, etc.

How can you trust people who misrepresent so? Manipulation of the language like that is immoral. Manipulation of public opinion. Their head PR person is the man who tried to get the job as Manager in our Planning Department. Until the public found out about it. No holds barred. The ends justify the means.
Shame on you Stanford. We hardly recognize the great institution you once were.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields