Around Town | July 30, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 30, 2010

Around Town

THINKING OUTSIDE THE CHAMBER ... Somewhere in the greater Palo Alto community, far away from City Hall and below the City Council's radar, solutions to the city's most pressing problems could be taking shape. City officials want to hear these ideas. On Monday night, during a lengthy discussion on the council's work plan, Councilman Larry Klein criticized the city's policy-making process as being too "top-down" and wondered what the city can do to remain open to new ideas. He called the dilemma the "tyranny of the packet," referring to the weekly pile of staff reports council members have to review in preparation for the upcoming meeting. "Monday night after Monday night, we are faced with a large packet of problems that we have to vote on," Klein said. "How do we step back and think more broadly?" Klein said he was intrigued by Sunnyvale's policy of selecting one new idea every year from the general public. Ideas could range from things like a new golf course or art center to a new policy of directly electing the city's mayor. Kelly Morariu, assistant to City Manager James Keene, said the topic of engaging the broader community might be a good discussion for the council's Policy and Services Committee, which is charged with drafting the council's work plan.

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