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City Council decries Myanmar's military

Original post made on Jun 13, 2008

A resolution decrying the ongoing actions of the Myanmar military, passed Monday, marked this Palo Alto City Council's first foray into national and international affairs.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 13, 2008, 2:53 PM

Comments (27)

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Posted by wow
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 13, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Shame on you city council. Contrary to what Burt claims, you are NOT "on your own dime' when convened as a group representing the City of Palo Alto.

We did not elect our council members to opine on internation matters -why is this not fundamentally clear?

My sympathies go out to Ms. Slone but this is such an ineffective and misplaced priority for the council to spend even a minute on this subject. Why not pass a resolution weekly condemning ALL the internation injustices going on in the world? There's no way to rationalize Council's decision to proceed on this.

Bravo to Espinoza who's got more common sense as a first-year member (& Klein although he's still trying to understand conflict of interest issues with his role as executor)for having some sense of what they were elected to do and NOT do.

No surprise that Morton is behind this as he too is stumbling on the most basic understanding of a council member's obligations and responsibilities (think conflict of interest again).

Yeh - can't rationalize it but chalk it up to youthful idealism unbalanced by perspective (although Espinoza seems to be able to reconcile the two).

Perhaps it's council's version of the "mouse that roared" -- a not-so-subtle distraction from their helping hand in the Children's Theater "lack of oversight/blame the cops" fiasco.




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Posted by Casey
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2008 at 4:26 pm

I guess now that Alma Plaza is out of the way, the City Council can refocus its efforts on matters that truly matter to Palo Alto residents. During the last election, I didn't recall any candidates running on the Burma platform. Strange...


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Posted by What a nuthouse
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Unbelievably arrogant and narcissistic of this Council.

What in the name of all that is on this Earth do these people think this will do? Suddenly make the Junta of Burma sit up and say "Oh NO! A few people in Palo Alto are upset with us, we better change our ways!!"

Why doesn't this Council do something unusual and take care of the business they were elected to do? This would be, in case anyone is unclear...taking care of business that AFFECTS PALO ALTO.

This place is becoming more and more nutty every day.


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Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jun 13, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Espinosa has his head screwed on straight.


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Posted by Howard
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2008 at 7:10 pm

I would have said that this shows that only Klein and Espinosa have any sense, but I know from his behavior regarding the Children's Theatre that Klein has no sense, so that just leaves Sid.


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Posted by What a Council!!!!
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 13, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Clearly there is nothing really important facing the PA City Council--it's not like our infrastructure is crumbling or our retail tax base is dwindling. There are no problems with city council members having conflict of interest issues. You would think that there was a company in Barron Park spewing dangerous chemicals into the air, endagering the lives of nearby residents which the council is ignoring. But that is not the case.
So of course it is okay for our council to meddle in the affairs of Burma. They have other important things on their plate--getting the Tour of California bike race back, choosing a stylish racing outfit for the event, placating the Friends of PACT, vilifying the PA police Department. Yes, there isonly so much time to lecture the military dictators in Burma. In fact, I suggestthat each week the council choose a dictatorship in the world and draft a memo condemning said dictatorship--that way they will have something to do during council meetings.


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Posted by Ashamed of Postings
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 13, 2008 at 7:22 pm

I beg to differ on whether municipal actions can have any affect on national or world policy. It has happened on a number of occasions.

What troubles me is how mean spirited so many people are who have posted comments here. Shame on you people that can't think of anything better to do than take inventory of Klein and Morton's conflict of interest issues. This isn't a Children's Theater thread in case you didn't notice. It seems like there are some people can't think of anything to applaud about the way the City Council handles anything.

I am here to break the attack mode. I have something nice to say about the council (what a concept!)

I for one am proud of a council that takes a stand on issues that are everyone's business. Crimes against humanity that are being committed right now no matter how far off the shores of Palo Alto are each citizens responsibility to acknowledge. When people can help alleviate suffering (even if they don't think it will affect a brutal military dictatorship in some far off land) it is their responsibility to do so.

Thank you Council Members all for doing the right thing.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2008 at 8:15 pm

"I for one am proud of a council that takes a stand on issues that are everyone's business. Crimes against humanity that are being committed right now no matter how far off the shores of Palo Alto are each citizens responsibility to acknowledge. When people can help alleviate suffering (even if they don't think it will affect a brutal military dictatorship in some far off land) it is their responsibility to do so. "

Ashamed, I agree with you. Therefore, this City Council, surely, has taken a stance in favor of the liberation of Iraq, from Saddam, by GWB, right? I just cannot seem to find that particular resolution. Can you help me find it?


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Posted by wow
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 14, 2008 at 1:48 am

Ashamed, Gary

What the two of you are guilty of is mixing issues with avenues. None of the posters above ever suggested they endorsed or didn't condemn actions against humanity. But the two of you, and obviously all but two of city council members (Sid/Klein) are oblivious to the fact that there are avenues to address international issues far beyond the shores of Palo Alto.

Void of any ideas? Here's a few: Write your Congressman. Email your senator. Call your President. Organize a demonstration. But DO NOT waste the taxpayers money by deciding to take on the humanity issue of the day.

That is NOT why these council members were elected to do and it is BEYOND the scope of their responsibilities - AS COUNCIL MEMBERS. They are free to do this on their own time, not as representatives of our city.

Read "What a Council's" excellent post above if you've forgotten there still remains an issue or two facing Palo Alto, ones that Council could actually do something about.

As far as mean-spiritedness. Yeah - there's a certain element of that. And why do you think that's the case? Becasue of the frustration with the lack of common sense exhibited by council members in carrying out their responsibilities. INCLUDING a basic understanding of both their responsibilities (Palo Alto issues) and their obligations (integrity such as recusing themselves from conflicts of interest). Frankly, I'm ashamed that you're ashamed and that council, apparently, is not.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2008 at 5:09 am

What if, on your day job, you were to neglect what you were paid to do while you participated in a worthy but unrelated activity?
And why decry the Burmese situation but not the Zim atrocities? Why concur with the sale of slave grown chocolate within the city? This latest action is analogous to taking office supplies home to your kids, probably illegal but definitely unethical. You want to ake a statement, councilfolk? Step outside and make a personal statement.


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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2008 at 6:43 am

Ashamed of the postings, Just has a much lower standard of conduct and ethics then most who post here. I guess ? Sounds like? Good people do bad things. Crazy Excuse.


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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2008 at 6:51 am

Gary, Baum? Anyway. Gary were would crimes against Employees and Citizens fit in on your HUMANITY list. Sounds like they might not have made your list?

This Council and Franks gang are so much better than Jerry Springer. Just to watch ,not deal with.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 14, 2008 at 8:20 am

Council was elected to focus on local issues. I did not elect them to take sides on national political or international issues of any kind. They did not reveal any of their views in this regard prior to the election. Council needs to pay attention to local issues and stop procrastinating on everything else.


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Posted by Elizabeth Henin Misich
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2008 at 11:51 am

Yes, city council should focus on local issues with individual members free to speak out on other issues on their own.
Two issues not yet addressed: One-year mayors don't make sense.
Why does P.A. Utilities require SS#?
Elizabeth Henin Misich.


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Posted by Wilson
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 14, 2008 at 12:45 pm

What's amazing about this resolution is that it focuses on tiny little Myanmar--which has absolutely no presence in the world and can't do anyone (like the US) any harm.

On the other hand--North Korea and Communist China--have a presence in the world, are maintained by vast military organizations, and can do us some harm.

Wonder when Morton, Drudgemier and Yeh are going to get up a resolution condemning these two nations for their lack of "democracy".


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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Wilson, Who do you think Morton, Drudgemier and Yeh use as there bench marks.?

If you answered North Korea and Communist China. Give yourself 20 points for each answer.


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Posted by Jarred
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2008 at 9:39 pm

I eagerly await the Council providing its official opinion on other important local issues including whether or not Pluto is a planet, who should win American Idol, and the mind-body problem.

This is a can-do group, and I for one await their next steps on the random walk away from their actual duties. They should go far!


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Posted by wow
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 15, 2008 at 10:17 am

I am putting forth a challenge to all of the council members (other than Klein and Espinoza) to put forth their individual responses to these posts explaining why they believe it is appropriate to divert City Council's time, energy and attention from city matters to pass resolutions such as these.

You don't need to enter into a debate about it, just post your own individutal reasons as to why you believe Council acted properly in this regard.

Also, aside from the appropriateness of your actions,feel free to comment on why this DOESN'T open up a black-hole Pandora's box of never-ending resolutions that quite logically would PARALYZE city council operations if these resolutions were applied equitably to ALL of the world's injustices.



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Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm

I wonder what those defenders of council outreach would do if a council declared a city day of prayer.


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Posted by tiny
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 15, 2008 at 11:38 pm

wow, good question...let's see more community engagement


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Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2008 at 6:22 am

Tumbrils, anyone?


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Posted by jill
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2008 at 1:19 pm



Two council members have close ties to the theater and many in the community have rallied to the defense of the theater staff, particularly theater director Pat Briggs, who remains on administrative leave, and criticized the police.

So the council stepped in. It voted 8-1 in favor of an audit of the police investigation, turning up the heat on a department that, for all its shortcomings, helped shine a light on cash-handling problems. It's a classic shoot-the-messenger strategy. Council members want staff to draw up a special contract with its police auditor, Michael Gennaco of the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review.

We don't know exactly what the council expects Gennaco to find. Some council members and theater supporters have suggested police were on a witch-hunt, trying to pin theater employees with criminal charges for what they pooh-pooh as sloppy bookkeeping. But asking an auditor to probe the police's conduct without specifying what misconduct they expect to find is tantamount to a witch-hunt and hints at demagoguery.

Give credit to Council Member Yiaway Yeh, the lone dissenter. He rightly called the audit a distraction from the real issues.

All this has led to a full-fledged fiasco. As an administrative review hopefully takes aim at the real problems, council members busy themselves with and prepare to waste tax dollars on an audit that shoots wide of the mark. from Palo Alto Daily News


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Posted by James
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Human rights violations, as atrocious as it is, cannot be repaired by a city council. A voice on the issue may seem great, but without action, what meaning does it have?

As citizens, we all believe each human being is entitled to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Now moving beyond our rhetorics, what can we do as individuals? Pressure our government to act. No, I meant the government with international diplomats.


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Posted by Duddie
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 16, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I'm happy the Council is spending time on irrelevant items and subjects over which they have no jurisdiction or power - like Burma. In fact, given their performance on items over which they do have jurisdiction, and the damage they do to the city almost every time they legislate, I wish they would spend all their time grandstanding over moral and international issues, and preening in their collective sense of self importance. The less time they spend demonstrating their incompetence in governing the City, the better off we all are.

What would you rather have: the Mayor getting her picture taken with Al Gore and decrying climate change....or the council voting to spend real tax money on an Environmental Commission that will only make it even harder to get anything productive done in town?


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Posted by anon.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2008 at 10:36 pm

What a waste of time, energy and money. Council should be focusing on LOCAL issues.


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Posted by DJC
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2008 at 8:09 am

I've read the comments... Isn't LOCAL government meant for LOCAL issues? Yes! I don't know what they're sniffing before their meetings. With all the budgetary constraints at hand, could there be better time spent addressing city priorities? I suppose next they'll shuffle some of your tax dollars to send a city council peace envoy abroad. Oh well, Palo Alto is still a nice place to live - though it's not New York or Paris. When is the next election?


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Posted by wow
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 19, 2008 at 4:58 pm

I am re-submitting my post challenging all council members (other than Klein and Espinoza) to put forth their individual responses to these posts explaining why they believe it is appropriate to divert City Council's time, energy and attention from city matters to pass resolutions such as these.

You don't need to enter into a debate about it, just post your own individutal reasons as to why you believe Council acted properly in this regard.

Also, aside from the appropriateness of your actions,feel free to comment on why this DOESN'T open up a black-hole Pandora's box of never-ending resolutions that quite logically would PARALYZE city council operations if these resolutions were applied equitably to ALL of the world's injustices.


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