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Palo Alto asks public for input on growth
Original post made
on Dec 1, 2013
After suffering a stinging defeat on Election Day at the hands of residents frustrated about recent development trends, Palo Alto officials will on Monday unveil a process for engaging their critics and reforming the zoning process.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Sunday, December 1, 2013, 9:00 AM
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm
Ray Bachetti claims that 'Democracy, identity, and dialogue are out; monologues, fury, and anonymity are in. Having only a few settings on one's civic dial--outrage, disparagement, ranting--doesn't leave much room for the kinds of behavior that got Palo Alto to be the community that we treasure--analysis, planning, entrepreneurial thinking, teamwork, civic engagement, sensible development, collective responsibility, and a commitment to the social contract.'
Does he bemoan the lack of democracy because, as a board member of Channing House, he invited the YES side to come to present their case to residents, but did not invite those AGAINST? That was not very democratic.
But democracy is definitely IN, thanks to over 4,000 residents who signed 2 petitions to get Measure D on the ballot, which then won by 56.1%. That's democracy in action.
Dialogue is only out because the city staff and council don't like to have dialogue with residents. We get 3 minutes to speak to the council, but it's a one-way conversation, not a dialogue.
Like so many staff and council members, Mr. Baccheti equates any form of criticism with 'fury, outrage, disparagement, ranting.' By doing so, he is able to dismiss the comments, and then claim anonymity is the problem.
But all those people who went to numerous meetings about the Maybell project, the Gateway project, 3159 El Camino, California Avenue narrowing, Arastradero road diet, etc. were not anonymous. They stood up and voiced their opposition, yet Council and staff still ignored them.
Mr. Baccheti claims that 'we treasure--analysis, planning, entrepreneurial thinking, teamwork, civic engagement, sensible development, collective responsibility, and a commitment to the social contract.'
The only people who treasure those things are the residents. Council and staff are pretty bad at analysis. Just look at all those bogus traffic studies and decisions made based on expectations and wishful thinking vs. hard data. How about the Mitchell Park library? Who's responsible for the analysis and planning on that disaster?
As for 'sensible development,' the reason that council is finally owning up to the problem with PC zoning is because so much irresponsible and unsustainable development has already taken place or been approved ' to the detriment of the city.
'Civic engagement'? 'Commitment to the social contract'? The only contract the council has is with developers. 'The building itself is a public benefit.'
If the city council had a social contract with residents, councilmembers would pay attention to their wants and needs and wouldn't now be looking at a 'visioning process,' which will go the way of other such excuses for communication. Remember 'Open City Hall,' which is still being paid for in spite of sitting vacant in cyberspace for years?