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Palo Alto officials to ponder city's 'core values'

Original post made on Sep 30, 2013

After wading through the weeds of policymaking for much of the year, Palo Alto officials will consider a fuzzier, more philosophical question at their special meeting tonight: What are the city's core values?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 30, 2013, 9:35 AM

Comments (24)

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Posted by Unique
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 30, 2013 at 11:00 am

Great to hear about this process. Many of the core values being discussed though sound like they could apply to any city. What are the things that make Palo Alto unique and how does that tie directly to our values? Our past and our place offer some guidance: ie location, on the Bay = environmental stewardship. birthplace of Silicon Valley = innovation/entrepreneurship. Stanford = known for great schools/education at all levels.


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2013 at 11:08 am

Wonder if Mayor Scharff will repeat his claim that "the building is the benefit"--adding another dimension to the "timelessness" of the Palo Alto Process?

Or how having the Council authorize underparking for downtown property developers--forcing motorists to park in the neighborhoods is another of the many "Palo Alto values" that are "timeless".

Really do have to wonder if this is the best use of both staff, and Council time?


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Posted by Newly-minted cynic
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

Great! This Council is having a discussion about values. I'd distill it to:

Values: Get Some

and

Remember we are Public Servants, i.e., that means we serve the public first, not ourselves or developers.


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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 30, 2013 at 11:26 am

Values: To make the community safe for developers.

To cut more traffic lanes to create more traffic jams to discourage people from driving cars to show how "green" we are.

No doubt this will have as much "value" as the Utility Dept's "mission" statements which never, ever mention providing cost-effective services and LOWER rates.


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Posted by Louie
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

How about getting off the bicycle kick. The latest reports about parking problems at the local colleges are a clear demonstration that the younger generation is NOT interested in a biking commute. The sooner the Council and planners recognize that four-wheeled transport is here t stay, the sooner they will begin to make better decisions about housing density, parking, lane narrowing and so forth. We CAN be green and still practical.


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Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

I really think that value of service is critical - as "newly minted" said so well above, it's about serving the public, not monied interests. I think we need a discussion with the public about what Palo Alto should become and whether its more urbanization or a residential community. Either viewpoint is valid, and I know people that favor both sides. Let's put it to the community and then set policy to achieve what the community wants.


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Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm

SteveU is a registered user.

There is nothing wrong with providing pathways usable by bicycles as long as this direction is not: 'to the exclusion of cars (and trucks')


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Palo Alto Core Values: Quid Pro Quo for the developers who underwrote my election and any future campaign.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I hope the "values" represent the values of the residents not just the Council members. For example, quality of life is a great value, but what constitutes quality of life is different to different residents.


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Posted by Another Cynic
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 30, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I hope the council discusses how to regain a set of values and how to regain the public's trust.

An important topic would be why Palo Alto allows members with financial investments in certain developments, especially developments south of Oregon, are allowed to remain on the council. This is highly illegal everywhere else but here!

Palo Alto has lost its way, lost its vision and lowered its standards for far too long.


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Posted by oldschool
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm

This is a good idea, Palo Alto is turning into a tech version of Hollywood and has too much money and doesn't know what to do with it. Stop building just to build. Every square inch of the city does not need to be built. Stop turning this what used to be a down to earth University town into high class snob. I agree with "Another Cynic" Palo Alto has lost it's vision. Get rid of that monstrousity of a building on the corner of Homer and Alma. It's not modern it's a concrete wall that looks like a prison. Stop pushing the zone limits and building 3 or 4 story buildings up to the edge of every property. Stop letting so much population in. If there's not room, then there's no room. Allow surrounding cities to thrive from the Palo Alto success. And for heavens sake, give some money back to the Police Force. Crime is up and if we don't pay attention Palo Alto will turn into a overly dense populated city with a crime problem. We are an education people who know how to access knowledge when wanted, is 5 libraries really necessary? This city does a lot of good, but also a lot of damage. It's not what it used to be. BRING BACK HOBEES!


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Posted by Barron Parker
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm

PA Weekly can you post a link to the council members' value lists?


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Posted by Take a Hike
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm

It's too little too late, from this city council. Our current city council have been disgraceful stewards of our town. The city council sees the handwriting on the wall that they are not going to be re-elected when their terms are up. They are trying to salvage their reputations with all this core value nonsense.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that this council is corrupt and that they are not working in the best interest of Palo Alto and its citizens. They are working in the best interest of themselves, in the way of payoffs, political contributions, kickbacks, etc.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm

"Some suggestions are more abstract than others. Holman, for instance, proposed "quality in all endeavors that foster pride in results," .

Wow. She really said that???
As I have stated before, Holman is in way over her head as a council member. Completely out of touch with reality and the real needs of our city.


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Posted by Take a Hike
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Here are the "core values" of the Palo Alto City Council:

1) Get more re-election contributions from developers.
(Especially if I sell out to them and let them build ugly, cheaply constructed monster buildings with no parking)

2) Sell out to developers so my law firm, wife's architectural firm, etc, get business from the developers that I suck up to.

3) Get a bike bridge or other city structures named after myself.

4) Get invited to fancy parties and allowed to stay at developers Hawaiian and summer homes, free of charge.

5) Perks from the city.

6) A sense of power by lording it over the citizens of Palo Alto.

7) Use the PA city council position as a stepping stone to higher political positions.

8) Free 24 hour a day reserved parking space in a choice location in the city hall garage.


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Posted by Newly minted cynic
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

@ Take a Hike,
Don't forget:
9) Spend lavishly on boondoggles like trips to visit other cities for another study of their fiber networks or $2.1million to cosmetically renovate city council chambers and $8million for a gym out at the Baylands near the boondoggle golf course while the kids on the other side of town where the schools are get to stare at high-density developments because CC won't man up and just pay for the actual cost of all the things it wants to plop out of sight in those neighborhoods south of Oregon.


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Posted by Take a Hike
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Newly Minted Cynic:

Here are a couple more "core values" of this city council:

10) Spend many hours at council meetings discussing whether the town should fly a multi color gay flag.

11) Spend money on finding out the color of Palo Alto. It turned out to be a muddy green. What a joke.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Here's another one:

12) manipulate the city election process so that there will be a council seat to run for when you are termed out of your elected position


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Posted by Josh
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Have to say that Take a Hike is right on the money! Could not agree more!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2013 at 6:28 am

The core values proposed by the committee are: quality of life, safe and healthy community, stewardship (which refers to both financial sustainability and environmental sustainability), open government and civic participation; and innovation and entrepreneurship.
>>

These are wonderful sounding values, but why have they not been invoked in decisions that have been made in the past.

If these values were here we would still have a bowling alley, teen centre, charming library buildings (updated not razed), decent affordable shopping, pay per hour parking, intersections that make sense, Baylands interpretive center and boardwalk open and functional rather than dangerous.

It is obviously evident that there have been no values in the past and I am delighted to hear that now we have values and life is going to be so different.

Or, am I reading this wrong?????? Perhaps I should just hold my breath.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:23 am

And a good question, if they get $300k from the Castilleja fine, where will it to? I suspect it will just vanish.


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Posted by member
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I think we need to come up with better questions and criteria for people running for city office. So far we don't dive into their vision and intent regarding development and future planning goals during the election process. Looking at the comments above there is a general disappointment with the results of who we elected. We need to get people with better management and financial experience. The city is hiring too many "Consultants" to perform analysis which should be born by the hired staff. We do not need people wasting time on their personal causes - or we should know what those personal causes are during the election process. PA is not a major city with infrastructure elements like major airports, major ports, etc. Let's get real in that we are a city that supports a major institution of learning. We are also a city with a highly educated population that needs to focus more of where this city is trying to go and qualify the goals of the people running it during the time when we have the vote.


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Posted by Wayne
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Palo Alto's enduring, if not timeless value? Real Estste.

In the meantime, consider Oscar Wilde's definition of a cynic: "A cynic is someone who knows the price of everything qnd the value of nothing."


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Posted by Almighty US $
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm

The Palo Alto City Council and core values? Sounds like an oxymoron to me!


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