Around Town | October 7, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 7, 2011

Around Town

TAKING SIDES ... A ballot measure that would scrap binding arbitration for public-safety workers from the City Charter continues to divide Palo Alto's elected officials, to the point where some have lost track of where everyone on the City Council stands on the issue. While Vice Mayor Yiaway Yeh and Councilwoman Gail Price officially came out against the measure and Councilmembers Greg Scharff, Karen Holman, Pat Burt and Greg Schmid remain the repeal's staunchest proponents, the rest of the council has been less clear. Councilman Larry Klein, for instance, voted against placing the repeal on the ballot (he advocated modifying, rather than scrapping, the existing ordinance), but now supports Measure D and has contributed $250 to the repeal effort. The confusion reached its peak last week when opponents of Measure D released a video asking residents to join Councilwoman Nancy Shepherd and Mayor Sid Espinosa in voting against the measure. In fact, though both opposed placing the repeal on the ballot, neither has taken a side on the issue. The video, which was since taken down, surprised Shepherd, who remains ambivalent about the repeal. Though Shepherd was one of four council members who voted against placing the repeal on the ballot, she told the Weekly that she has not taken an official stance on the issue. Shepherd said she does not support the effort by the firefighters' union to defeat the measure because the firefighters did not step up to the table over the past year to discuss possible modifications to the existing ordinance. At the same time, she said she cannot urge voters to support the repeal because of her basic convictions about union rights.

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