The Great Recession's silver lining | May 20, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - May 20, 2011

The Great Recession's silver lining

How the economic downturn is helping the City of Palo Alto get its house in order

by Gennady Sheyner

A jaunt through Palo Alto City Hall these days can make visitors feel like they're on the set of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," with plastic sheets covering hallway floors, streaks of primer stretching along walls and curly wires dangling from circular holes in the ceiling.

This story contains 3616 words.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@paweekly.com.

Comments

Posted by Wow, a resident of another community
on May 20, 2011 at 10:26 am

Interesting. Clearly Palo Alto needs to get a handle on salaries and benefits for employees, but it doesn't exactly sound like they are doing that bad.

The mere fact that they are spending money on projects and thinking of spending lots more money on projects means they have their house in order.

Can't say thast in most cities.


Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2011 at 10:43 am

I wish that Palo Alto were a city that had a crappy City Hall but well-maintained roads and infrastructure. That's what it *would* have looked like today if the bureaucrats in City Hall cared about us residents. Unfortunately, they're too busy seeking their own comfort and padding their retirement packages. So instead they spend our dollars on their office while the roads go to hell. *#&%bags!


Posted by Sally, a resident of another community
on May 20, 2011 at 11:46 am

I think the report is excellent. It's extensive, thorough and very understandable. I think we're lucky to have such capable people at City Hall AND in the various commissions, etc., that volunteers serve on. These are complicated problems with few easy answers.

I find it hard to believe there are people like David P., above, who really believe the "bureaucrats at City Hall" don't care about us residents. I think they not only care a great deal, but they also act on that caring in their jobs and interaction with the public.

Thank you to all city employees and council members for all your efforts.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Midtown
on May 20, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I second the comment of well-maintained roads. I'm jarred to pieces every time I get caught in the far right, southbound lane in front of Stanford Shopping Center - horrid piece of road in front of a community feature that draws people from far away.

I'd rather hear (and I confess I didn't read the entire article, perhaps it's happening) that they are converting every city-owned building to solar power. That would be a wise use of our tax-payer money and would live up to the "Green" image they keep promoting.


Posted by Tom, a resident of Community Center
on May 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Elizabeth, El Camino Real is CA State Highway 82 and its maintenance is the responsibiity of Caltrans. And I agree with you. That stretch of road all the way to Galvez-Embaradero is a nightmare. Sen. Simitian....do you read this blog?


Posted by Bill, a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm

People should attend the finance budget hearing on June 9 and the City Council meetings of June 13 and 20. The budget will be adopted by the end of June. There are several ways to access budget information. One is at www.cityofpaloalto.org/budget

The only way to present your ideas is to come to a meeting and speak out. City Management is working very hard to cut the budget gap - lower revenues and higher costs in the coming years. Learn what the problems are and what steps are being taken. At this time "everything" is on the table.


Posted by Ernesto, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Time to privatize the fire department. Too many years of caving to the union has left us overpaying for inefficiency. The money is better used elsewhere.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of Atherton
on May 22, 2011 at 11:35 pm

"Time to privatize the fire department."

That's funny.

You really want to depend on someone in a life-or-death situation that won the gig by being lowest bidder?

Or count on a corporation, who's first motive is profit, when your kids need help?

Yup. That's funny.

Look up Wackinhut and vodka shots.

Animal House in Afghanistan.

Funny.

Not.


Posted by George, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 23, 2011 at 10:17 am

So there is one good thing that came of the George W. Bush presidency?


Posted by Kalamanjaro, a resident of Greater Miranda
on May 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm

"People should attend the finance budget hearing on June 9 and the City Council meetings of June 13 and 20. The budget will be adopted by the end of June. There are several ways to access budget information. One is at www.cityofpaloalto.org/budget

The only way to present your ideas is to come to a meeting and speak out. City Management is working very hard to cut the budget gap - lower revenues and higher costs in the coming years. Learn what the problems are and what steps are being taken. At this time "everything" is on the table."

Go see the waste in your local PD www.paulzumot.com and bring the overtime waste by detectives to your local govt. No police officer with no university degree should be making 130k a year, for framing people and crappy investigations.


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