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Palo Alto council struggles to define milestones

Original post made on Apr 8, 2008

Following a messy discussion Monday night, the Palo Alto City Council unanimously approved a work plan for its four 2008 priorities.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 10:10 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2008 at 10:51 am

Let's see we are 3.5 months into the new year and the council is now finally developing a work plan for their 2008 priorities?? While one priority has been put off until July?
is it a wonder that things do not get done here?
the important question is when will the other council member have a carbon footprint test on their home? Or is that only done when the council member is mayor and can pose for the press photos.


Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2008 at 11:08 am

Interpreting Civic Engagement.

Would that mean, Serving the PUBLIC? AS A PUBLIC OFFICIAL AND LEADER.

Honestly and in an open manner? Without personal goals,$$$,EGO,need for POWER at the public's and Employee's cost.

These LEADERS have to ask.. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY, AFTER HOW MANY YEARS OF DOING THIS TYPE WORK???? of this city.


NICE HOUSE FRANK. Maybe you can have a Civic Engagement party there?


Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2008 at 11:30 am

"City Manager Frank Benest responded that as much as 90 percent of the city staff's time is spent on routine matters such as patrolling the streets."

Obviously minding the store bores Frank.


Posted by Tim, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Did I read that correctly? Ninety percent of the city staff's time is spent on routine matters like patrolling the streets. Good heavens, no wonder very few people at City Hall actually answer the phone and the caller usually gets voice mail. They are not THERE!! No wonder it takes a long time to get a reply. Now if these staff members are out patrolling the streets, one hopes they are on a bicycle and not walking or they may trip on the bad sidewalks like one resident who died of a broken neck. Or another senior who suffered a split open head. They can't patrol in an auto except the PAPD lest they are not 'green' and harming the environment. But if they are out there patrolling the streets, you'd think somebody can report on burned out street lights and crumbling asphalt and generally deplorable streets north of the Oregon Expressway.
(see Guinda, Parkinson, Hamilton and Lytton). Maybe this is why the city hires so many consultants. The staff is doing routine work - also often called 'busy work'. A lot of this consultant work could be done 'in house'.


Posted by Herb Borock, a resident of Professorville
on Apr 8, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Assistant City Manager Emily Harrison said the city is interpreting civic engagement as a partnership with the city's residents and businesses taking responsibility for community problems.

City staff members are no longer going to operate under a "customer service" model, she said.

"Civic engagement is a fundamentally different relationship" between residents and city staff, Harrison said. "This is a cultural shift."

---

So, four years after former Library Director Paula Simpson started referring to library patrons and users as "customers", city staff are no longer going to operate under a customer service model.


Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Sounds to me like this "civic engagement" is another way for our council to avoid having to make tough decisions.
When will Alma and Edgewood Plazas be resolved? What about libraries? Streets? Creek repair? Keeping auto dealerships in town? Maintaining our tax base to pay for services?

No problems however with getting the homer Avenue tunnel built, okaying the "Color of palo Alto" or testing for carbon footprints.


Posted by Mickey, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 8, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Not so fast, if you really lived in Duveneck/St.Francis neighborhood you would know that the developer of Edgewood Plaza has said he does not yet have a plan.

The council member most opposed to any metric attached to any goals was John Barton. His buddies Morton and Espinosa voted with him, as usual.


Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Mickey--I know what is going on in Edgewood Plaza--but that is part of my point. Shouldn't the city council be taking some kind of leadership role in the re-development of Edgewood Plaza? Maybe they need to put some pressure on the developer to come up with something.
This piece of real estate has been sitting almost empty for too long or does the council feel that they should wait until EVERYONE has put in their two cents worth about it and then they will vote depending how the wind is blowing (i.e. does the vocal minority approve it or not).


Posted by Mickey, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 8, 2008 at 4:29 pm

> Shouldn't the city council be taking some kind of leadership role in the re-development of Edgewood Plaza? Maybe they need to put some pressure on the developer to come up with something.

Who do you have in mind? which council member would he listen to?


Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Mickey--no single council member--that is why we have a council. They need to decide by majority vote how to proceed with Edgewood Plaza, for example, and what to approach the developer with.


Posted by fireman, a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2008 at 6:03 pm

You might think that Developments like sandhill and Edgewood could help or build a Fire Station or Public safety building..

Like ??????????? Many other Cities make developers do???.... wow.. ever think of that Frankie??


Or is that something new for baby boomers???? Maybe you could get one of these developers to pick up your half of home improvements on your home??? Like that one don't you.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2008 at 5:17 am

If you cannot govern in real time, get out of the way.


Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2008 at 9:05 am

Maybe Emily could/should of asked for direction 15 years ago?. Then we might not of had a CULTURE OF FEAR... She just misunderstood how the CITIZENS wanted there City run..??


Posted by Mike, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 9, 2008 at 8:50 pm

"Assistant City Manager Emily Harrison said the city is interpreting civic engagement as a partnership with the city's residents and businesses taking responsibility for community problems.

City staff members are no longer going to operate under a "customer service" model, she said. "

"Civic engagement is a fundamentally different relationship" between residents and city staff, Harrison said. "This is a cultural shift."
**** Oh good. We 'residents' had better get busy-looks like doing the city work is going to be our problem now with the customer service model voided. The city employees will of course need more time to decide what to do on their alternate Friday off days, and plan for their early reirement, and we are going to make it possible.

You couldn't make things like this new civic engagement policy up.


Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Apr 10, 2008 at 9:52 am

Hello Mr Mike;

Words, words and more words.. These people get paid how much and have been for how long.

Yet they still have no clue of what they are doing????

More smoke,BS and stories to cover up a terrible job these leaders have done and do..


Posted by Glen, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 11, 2008 at 2:06 pm

How about a focus on Crime Prevention and Law Enforcement? Isn't that something that we all expect in this community. With the recent gun crime wave in East Palo Alto spilling into Palo Alto, I am worried about the safety of our citizens. Is environmental protection really a higher priority than protection from crime?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I am with Glen on this.

Crime in Palo Alto has reached a milestone (milestone used in the same way as in the headline) and our goals are the environment? Come on, we need some real police policy on this and no photo ops.


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