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Yoriko Kishimoto named to open space district board Monday night

Original post made on Nov 30, 2010

Former Palo Alto Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto was named to the board of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Monday night, following interviews with three finalists. She will replace the late Mary Davey on the seven-member board, representing Ward 2. "The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has forever changed the face of the Bay Area," Kishimoto said Tuesday morning.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, November 29, 2010, 9:45 AM

Comments (25)

Posted by voter, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2010 at 9:01 am

Keep up the good work, Yoriko!


Posted by Just-Go-Away, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2010 at 10:05 am

Kishimoto was soundly defeated at the polls--when she sought voter approval of her big government ideas and a ticket to Sacramento ..

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2010 at 10:23 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Yoriko is also involved in a Friends of Caltrain group. She wants to maintain a profile in the area perhaps for another political run.
Unfortunately she is all style and no substance--too much traffic, walkable neighborhoods, climate change--all make for nice sound bites, but we have seen nothing in the way of solutions from her.


Posted by Timothy Gray, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 30, 2010 at 10:55 am

Yoriko is consistent in her support of conserving natural places.

She will be unswayed in her advocacy, and her selection is a win for everyone. Yes, being on the Board is an honor, but it is really a lot of hard work and an act of generosity. (Generosity is the habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return.)

Thank you Yoriko for your dedicated service.

Best regards,

Tim Gray


Posted by JT, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 30, 2010 at 10:56 am

This reeks of politics. Politician, out of a job, needs a place to land. Her political friends find a new job for her. What did she accomplish on city council that says she should move up to another office? I think the local voters answered that question in the state assembly primary.


Posted by JT, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 30, 2010 at 11:05 am

Where was the advance notice that the open space district was seeking candidates and that she had applied? Usually there are stories before such a vote, alerting the public, about who has applied for such an opening. Did I miss them? I hope this wasn't a situation where the Weekly decided to skip such a story to help the district's board "slip one by" the public.


Posted by Shocked and Disappointed, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 30, 2010 at 11:45 am

MidPen has the important responsibility to manage over 50,000 acres of hard won public open space. They're a smart bunch of people and have done an excellent job to date.
But Kishimoto has no qualifications to participate in sharing this responsibility, much less leading it.
During her failed CA Assembly campaign she personally told me she was qualified because she is a woman and an Asian. With that surprising and revealing self-description she laughed and walked off. The Assembly doesn't need another self promoting gadfly, so I was glad she wasn't elected.

MidPen has access to far better qualified people. I ask that they try again.


Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2010 at 12:09 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm

MidPen OS District has a $38 million budget, $26 million is from property taxes. Can't find ANY budget docs on their website; they do employ roughly 100 people. This is not a transparent body for getting so much money from the citizens.

This smacks of political payoff for all the votes that Kishimoto made while on Council, especially they way they down zoned residential properties in the Palo Alto Hills to devalue their land - which will make it less costly for the Open Space district to later buy in the future.

Federal government has rules about people going to work for lobbyists, and the same should apply here - government officials who vote on matters that may affect the MP OS district should not be considered for their Board to avoid the appearance of payback.


Posted by RJM, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Has anyone looked over the applications submitted by the candidates? Kishimoto is a great candidate, her ideas are specific, and will further the goals of MROS. True, she didn't win the assembly, which requires a broader range (but almost 30% in a three-way race isn't really "soundly defeated"), but in the environmental debate she was the most knowledgable of the candidates. This is her specialty, I don't believe she's "unqualified" for this position.

As for what was accomplished during her tenure - what about the percent of kids walking/biking to school reaching 54%? That's unheard of in many other parts of this country. I'm sure there are other positive things that are easy to write off if you have a personal dislike for this person. I believe she will be an effective and productive board member.


Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2010 at 2:29 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Shocked and Disappointed, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm

RJM: I read the candidates' submissions and don't feel ANY were qualified. That's why I feel Mid-Pen should step back to throw a wider net to find a candidate with land resource credentials and not to accept the first smiling person wearing a green jacket.


Posted by disappointed, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 30, 2010 at 3:43 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Steve, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Nov 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I could not find the original PAO/Weekly story on the death of Mary Davey, but suspect it mentions "board will appoint an interim until the next scheduled election" or something similar. The board information packet outlines the adopted appointment process. I'll bet few attended the couple of board meetings involved. Ms Kishimoto would not have been my choice, but I can vote my choice in the next election.

Seven applied, all were interviewed, three were further interviewed, one was selected. Other than an expensive special election, what appointment process would others suggest?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2010 at 5:16 pm

What did she do to encourage kids to walk/bike to school?

From my perspective, it is the PTA and other parents/biking groups that are working in the schools to encourage biking/walking.

My own kids have walked and biked to school, 3 miles each way at high school, from kindergarten onwards and she has done nothing to make it any easier for our family.


Posted by Too much traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2010 at 6:16 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Joseph Kott, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Congratulations to Yoriko! She is one of the most thoughtful civic leaders in the Bay Area and a champion of environmental preservation.


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Nov 30, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Joe Kott (if it really is Joe Kott who posted) was a high ranking manager in Palo Alto's transportation section.

Does that answer your question?


Posted by RJM, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 30, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Too much traffic, I think I remember reading in your deleted post that Kishimoto ran for city council in order to turn Embarcadero into a one-lane street. Where did you read that? She got involved in politics because they were going to raise the speed limit from 25 mph to 35 mph - there's a reason there aren't any schools on Oregon Expressway or other high speed streets around here. Maybe her reason was "selfish" - she had elementary school-age children at the time, walking to school on that street. The terms of use for this board are to be "respectful and truthful" in your postings, maybe that's why your posts were deleted.


Posted by Too Much Traffic, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2010 at 6:54 am

RJM--I recall that there was a plan, pushed by her, to put traffic circles on Embarcadero and otherwise reduce traffic on that street. Remember that streets like Embarcadero, Oregon, Middlefield, Alma etc are the main arteries of our city.
BTW, since you bring up the issue of truthful--I also asked you in a deleted post for evidence that it was Yoriko that got children to bike/walk to school--I believe you stated it is at 54%. I asked for the before and after data.


Posted by tomjordan, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 1, 2010 at 8:42 am

tomjordan is a registered user.

Yoriko Kishimoto is an excellent appointment by the MPROSD Board to fill the vacancy created by Mary Davey's death. All three finalists are well qualified, and Mary would have been pleased. Yoriko was first elected to the PA City Council in 2002, running second in vote totals among 13 candidates, then was re-elected in 2006, running first in the field of 11 candidates. She was elected Mayor in 2007, and also served as Chair of the Council's Policy & Services Committee and then as Chair of the Finance Committee. She was named to the Board of the Valley Transportation Committee and to the Board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. She served as president of the PA Civic League and was one of the founders of PA Neighborhoods (PAN). It makes my jaw drop to see a few people, all writing anonymously, write on this blog that she is unqualified or that she has not done enough. One wonders what more is required. People are entitled to their own opinions, BUT they are not entitled to their own facts.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:00 am

svatoid is a registered user.

I have never been a fan of Ms Kishimoto. As others have stated in this and other forums, she is all talk and no action. But let me ask Tom Jordan this--you list a series of offices that she has held, but the question that I and others have asked, is what did she accomplish in her 8 years on the council? I think that is what people are getting at--yes she has served on the council and she has been on this board and that board, but what has she done? I think that is why some people are questioning her latest appointment and feel that given her record, she may not be the best choice for the job.
And yes, people are entitled to their own opinions and people are also entitled to question the facts as well. Sorry you feel that questioning her qualifications is not fair game. Serving is not the same as accomplishing


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:24 am

svatoid is a registered user.

An addendum to the original story in this thread. It appears that, as reported in the other local papers, that this is a temporary appointment until January 2nd. At that time the board will decide how to proceed to fill the seat-- special election, reopen the application or appoint someone. It is too bad that the Weekly is not as zealous in getting all the facts out to the public as they are in editing/deleting criticism/questions about public officials


Posted by tomjordan, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:25 am

tomjordan is a registered user.

To svatoid: Your question is unfairly phrased and asks for an answer that cannot be given. Yoriko was one of nine members of the PA City Council, where no action can be taken without five votes or more joining, and even then one vote cannot claim to have DONE anything except be a part of the action taken. That means good proposals can fail if at least four others do not join, and good votes that are in the majority can go unnoticed. The best indicator of a good elected official is: What do the voters and her peers on the Council think of her? Yoriko was second out of 13 and first out of 11 in her two elections. She was elected Mayor by the other Council members and named as Chair of the two most important Council committees by the mayor serving at the time. She was named to two of the most important regional agencies by her peers. I think you statement "I have never been a fan of Ms Kishimoto" tells us all we need to know and explains your presenting an unfairly slanted question to press the predetermined result that you want. Question all you want, but it is for YOU to state specifically what actions of Yoriko's that you disagree with. Even then, you will be in a small minority, but you will at least be proceeding based on facts and not on unsupported conclusions and then demanding that I prove you wrong.


Posted by svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 1, 2010 at 10:10 am

svatoid is a registered user.

On the contrary, Tom, I think my question is very fairly phrased--I am asking what you thought she accomplished in her time on the city council. The fact that she was elected mayor is really irrelevant--everyone (well except for JAck Morton) is elected mayor if they serve on the council long enough (and remember that this is a position that is expected to be rubber stamped by the council--remember the outcry when Lytle spoke out against Mossar being appointed mayor??). The fact that she got x votes in each election is also irrelevant.
You are once again providing a list of the offices that she filled, but have not told me what you think she accomplished. I think that when we look at elected officials one of the things we look at is what have they done while on the job. What you have provided is a litany of excuses for why you cannot even mention one accomplishment that you believe she carried out .
As for your claim that my statement tells us all we need to know--yes, in a way it does. I am being honest. i am not a fan of hers and I do not think that she is qualified for this position. just because I state upfront that I am not a fan does not invalidate my comments/criticism. I guess you only want to hear from the people that like Kishimoto and only their opinions are valid?
As for the claim that I am asking you to prove me wrong, that is hardly the case. I am asking for her accomplishments--there is no right or wrong answer to that. You and I have differing opinions about her--the fact that I say that she is unqualified for this position is not an "unsupported conclusion", it is an opinion.
Finally you ask for specific actions of her's that I disagree with. Okay here is a list:

1) HSR issue--supported vehemently for months. Drafted colleague memo encouraging yes vote--then flip-flopped weeks after the election in 2008

2) Walkable neighborhoods--nice sound bite, she is even quoted again saying it in today's other local paper. But what did she do to ensure "walkable neighborhoods"? What was her plan to male all neighborhoods walkable. Why is Alma and Edgewood Plazas gone as neighborhood shopping centers?

3) Traffic--always complaining about traffic. Saying even one additional trip into Palo Alto is too many, yet supporting events like the tour of California, destination Palo Alto, which will bring traffic into the city

4) Stanford--during her tenure on the council, she fostered an adversarial relationship with Stanford, constantly painting them as the evil empire.

Many more issues that could be mentioned, but bottom line is that she did not bring forward any ideas or plans to back up her talk. I think that she was afraid to take a stand lest she upset certain people--maybe that is what made her popular.

Just my opinion--no right or wrong or any conclusions offered. Sorry you do not see it that way.


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