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Claude Ezran enters Palo Alto's council race

Original post made on May 27, 2014

Claude Ezran, a veteran of the Human Relations Commission and the founder of Palo Alto's World Music Day, announced Tuesday that he will seek a seat on the City Council in November.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 5:11 PM

Comments (34)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Thank you Claude for doing this. We really need a group of great people to enter this race. I remember speaking with you when you were running for school board. I think if you had tried a second time, you would have made it.

I hope you put the residents first but also hope you have a thick skin because I think you will need it.

Welcome to the fray.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on May 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Did Claude Ezran support or oppose high speed rail (HSR), when it mattered? I opposed it...still do.

Does he support the fiasco of anaerobic digestion at our sewage plant? I oppose it.


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Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Craig- why don't you just contact and ask him. I am sure he will gladly answer you. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Midtown Mom
a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2014 at 7:50 pm

He really wanted to strip funding to Catholic Charities, which does so much good for the poor, because of his ideological views? Too extreme for me. Hope others decide to run.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on May 27, 2014 at 7:52 pm

>Craig- why don't you just contact and ask him.

Unless he is completely out of touch, he got my message (and yours). He can answer on this blog, if he cares to. However, I am not aware of
Bill Johnson's rules regarding active candidates...I wish that he would leave it open...good for the democratic process (and increased readership).


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Posted by Ezran-Not-Good-For-Palo-Alto
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Ezran tried unsucessfully for PAUSD school board on two occasions. He did not seem to have any idea as to what being on a school board in the United States was all about--and his low vote count revealed how poorly he, and his ideas, were received by the public.

A couple of years ago, he wrote a particularly loathsome guest opinion for the Mercury that clearly demonstrated that he had no belief in the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution. Once the 2nd Amendment is dismisssed, it's difficult to believe that the 1st, 4th and 5th would be far behind. He clearly is not a person who does not seem to understand American values, or American history.

He certainly seems to be a part of the Left Wing political class that has tried to use access to the Palo Alto local government as a megaphone to blare out his extremist views opposing most values that Americans hold dearly.

While Ezran has spent a lot of time on the periphery of "public service"--he has absolutely no experience in the "meat and potatoes" of local government. Certainly with the expenditures of the government growing yearly, and the unfunded liabilities of the City now over one billion dollars (and double that if bonds are used to pay off these liabilities)--he has no clearly demonstrated talent in the area of government financing. To make matters worse--with his unswavering support for increased school funding--it's difficult to believe he won't use that same tax-and-spend religion of his to simply vote every spending proposal that comes across the Council's desk.

It's a shame that we can not vote Yes/No for candidates. Claude Ezran would be a strong No vote, for sure. There is no way to know what he will say, or do, if elected to the Council.


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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on May 27, 2014 at 8:27 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Village fool

The changes were the introduction of new bloggers and the transfer of most editorial review on those blogs to the bloggers.

They started in October 2013.J9bDZ


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Posted by sf transplant
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 9:46 pm

He sounds good. I'm glad to hear that he's running for city council.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on May 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Claude is already hedging his stance on development by using words like "balance". And he wants to push his world views from the city council chamber - I'm looking for someone who will only focus on our local issues - there's plenty of work to be done there.

So I will not be voting for Claude. It's just a Scharf or Shepard redux.


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Posted by correction
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 27, 2014 at 11:13 pm

PTAC is not a "public office."


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 28, 2014 at 5:37 am

I could be wrong...but I get the feeling that he would be much more comfortable moving to SF or Berkeley...where the Supervisors/CC have all day to make political statements and use their vote/platform to foist their views onto others.

I want someone who will stop messing around with city zoning, stop giving waivers, will protect neighborhoods, knows that taxpayers are not an endless source of funds, will stop HSR. I don't want someone who thinks the CC is a place to re-shape the world politically or otherwise.

He mentions the infamous patio on Channing/Alma...but he fails to say whether it was a good thing or an example of how a deal was struck and the city was bamboozled all the way.


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 28, 2014 at 9:16 am

I have to say. Anyone who wants to get rid of the 2nd amendment, or at least interpret it the way it was intended by the original framers, is going to get my support for that issue. Unfortunately, the crazies on the supreme court have made it impossible to legislate reasonable gun restrictions. Back on topic, I don't know much about Ezran's stands on city issues, so don't know whether I would end up voting for him.


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Posted by EZRAN-Not-Good-For-Palo-Alto
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2014 at 10:06 am

> Anyone who wants to get rid of the 2nd amendment, or at least
> interpret it the way it was intended by the original framers,

And just how did the Founding Fathers intend for the private possession of firearms by the citizens of the new country that they had just fought the British Government for seven years, or so?

Do you know that the farmers who made up the initial military units used their own firearms in the early days of the war? There were many, frequently disorganized, units that fought the British, up and down the colonies. Without their own weapons, they would have been dependent on borrowing money from foreign sources and then shipping munitions across the Atlantic, and then through British blockages. Not likely that the Revolution would have gotten into high gear with those kinds of restraints.

The Restoration of the Monarchy in Britain via the Grand Revolution of 1687 gave every Protestant subject the right to own firearms for their defense. So, these formerly British farmers were totally within their rights to own rifles for their protection on the American frontier. Eventually the Colonists->Revolutionaries did manage to borrow money (mostly from France) and buy rifles to meet their military needs (mostly from France). There probably weren't enough rifles in the Colonies to sucessfully fight the British, so support from a foreign power (France) proved necessary to arm our fightinng men.

It really is difficult to believe that the Founding Fathers, who had depended on farmers becoming soldiers, often without pay and proper food and clothing, would take away their guns with the formation of the second government in 1787, just a few years after the end of the war.

Perhaps it's understandable that someone who is foreign born, and not at all interested in American history, or cultural values, might be ignorant, or even dismissive towards, the formation of the US. But it is really sad that native born people are so poorly informed about their own history.

Here are a couple of links to fill in the gaps of those of you who don't believe that the Founding Fathers approved of private ownership of firearms by US citizens—

Glorious Revolution/Bill of Rights:
Web Link

British Protestants Granted Right to Own Arms:
Web Link

Article 7

That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defense suitable to their condition and as allowed by law.

Article 7 asserted the right of Protestants to bear arms for their defense. It is a direct response to the charge that James had forced the disarmament of Protestants while at the same time allowed Catholics to be armed and employed contrary to law.[17] The original draft of the article would have allowed all Protestants, regardless of economic and social status, to possess arms. However, the House of Lord insisted it be changed to limit the right to arms possession to the Protestant upper classes according to current laws.[18] Therefore, the terms "suitable to their condition" and "allowed as law" were added to the article.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 28, 2014 at 10:13 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 28, 2014 at 11:14 am

Could he be any worse than the pro-development, pro-density, pro-gridlock council we've got now?


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Posted by senor logger
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 28, 2014 at 11:17 am

The Militia Farmers were also REQUIRED by the their Government to buy and own their own firearms.


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Posted by Old Palo Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2014 at 11:28 am

To Brian.....every meaningful gun legislation idea that has been proposed at the federal level has been shot down (no pun intended) by the congress and senate with bipartisan votes.


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Posted by Craig Thom
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 28, 2014 at 11:34 am

I applaud Ezran's entrance to the City Council Race. We need good people who are willing to do the hard work demanded by our fellow citizens. One of the hardships they must endure is the petty and nasty posts from people who do not have the courage to identify themselves. How can we improve the tone of civil discourse when we call each other names and disparage honest effort?


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Posted by More information, please.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

I would like to hear a more in-depth interview with Mr. Ezran. though he is a very nice person, I did not vote for him when he ran for school board (not PTAC). I thought his knowledge of the Board's role was thin. I want to know what he knows about the legal limits on Council's power to "balance" what the developer and city get (whatever that means).

I want to see evidence that he has carefully read the city's Comp Plan and zoning code. I want to hear that he has looked through recent decisions and understands their basis--including positions taken by Council on the PAHC project. What are his thoughts about these projects?

What is his vision for the future of Palo Alto? Development? Transportation? Collaboration with schools? Cubberley's future? Downtown parking? Cal Ave? Comp Plan revision? More in-depth reporting on this, please.


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Posted by Palo Alto Lifer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 28, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I'm with Crescent Park Dad on this. The city council is the wrong forum for Supreme Court issues. He apparently is not against the idea of concessions to developers for density, he just wants to extract more from them. More of the same...hopefully we'll get some new candidates that are a breath of fresh air.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on May 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm

>The city council is the wrong forum for Supreme Court issues.

That hasn't stopped our CC before...I am used to hearing it. I would just like to hear what Ezran (or any other candidate) actually thinks about high speed rail and anaerobic digestion, etc. Their views on plural marriage should not overly concern us, unless they demand that we step in line to support their issues.

Claude, what is your view of anaerobic digestion, as a solution to our human sewage sludge issues?


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Posted by Old-time VOTER
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2014 at 12:41 pm

His ideas differ too greatly from the average citizen here. Just because he is at the top in terms of wealth does not mean he holds the same values as do the majority of taxpayer residents.

Making money for oneself is one thing. Making laws for the masses is another. Nothing would cause me to vote this man into public office. He is too radical. He belongs in San Francisco or Berkeley.

Or now that he made his wealth and he wants to tamper with legislation, how about going back to France and ruining things over there?


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Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm

I wonder what mr ezrans stance on prop 41 is? If passed next week will provide money to build housing for homeless veterans. Would mr ezran support the building of units in Palo Alto. I would not think that anyone would be against providing housing for homeless veterans. That would be a great way to honor their service.


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Posted by User
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2014 at 10:09 pm

>> Ezran also had a hard time convincing the council to stop providing grants to Catholic Charities, a nonprofit whose parent organization faced criticism for not offering adoption services to same-sex couples.

This guy sounds exactly like what we DON'T need. He sounds like a radical who has misjudged the wants/needs of the people multiple times. Trying to stop grants to a charity that does a world of good for the poor, including women who choose to keep their babies, is just criminal. Anyone can support and advocate for same-sex couples' right to adopt, but there is no need to cancel a wonderful, charitable organization simply because they do not agree that same sex couples make the best parents.

I DO NOT oppose the adoption of children by same-sex parents, I just am not willing to cater to that minority and ignore the wonderful good that organizations like the Catholic charities do because their core fundamentals are in conflict with some others' agendas.

There is a whole world that exists beyond same-sex marriage and adoption, not the least of which is the poor, the hungry, and the distraught. Cutting funding for the masses to cater to a political minority is just criminal. The Catholic charities are not HURTING the rights of same-sex couples to adopt, they are just not actively promoting it.

How much do same-sex advocate organizations and Planned-Parenthood type organizations spend helping unwed and destitute mothers who choose to keep their babies?

As a society we have sought to protect abortion and foster care systems over supporting mothers who could/would keep, love, and raise their children if they had help. Imagine spending tax payer dollars to support the mothers instead of funding abortions and running a dysfunctional system of foster care.


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Posted by Ben Lenail
a resident of Community Center
on May 29, 2014 at 11:48 am

Claude is a hothead of no particular ability who wants very badly to hold elective office. He ran a pesky campaign for PAUSD twice and was soundly defeated. He could do a lot of harm on the City Council. I will actively campaign for a better alternative.


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Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm

We need a "no growth" slate of candidates. I'll support with my vote and wallet.


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Posted by Claude Ezran
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 1, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Thank you all for your comments and interest in my candidacy. Here are more details on my priorities and answers to many of the questions expressed above:

PRIORITIES
- Preserve the quality of life in Palo Alto and its neighborhoods.

- Much more moderate, better planned and controlled growth. Too many huge projects have been approved. Rebalance the PC (Planned Community) process for real, long-lasting, and quantified benefits to the city, not just developers. Affordable and subsidized housing to preserve/improve economic diversity in Palo Alto.

- Address infrastructure needs, e.g. new public safety building, street repairs.

- Resolve downtown parking issues through a combination of means: better utilization of existing parking capacity with electronic signs displaying spaces available, permitting programs for the employees of downtown merchants and for residents, improved public transportation such as City shuttles, and only if really needed, a new parking structure.

- Continue environmental efforts; finalize planning of new anaerobic digestion waste treatment facility and start implementation.

- Improve community building with additional city-wide events, e.g. public concerts, movies, events for children.

- Increase regional collaboration, especially for public transportation and public safety issues.

- Preserve small local commerce. University Avenue and California Avenue should not become bland shopping malls.

- High Speed Rail: only if done right, which increasingly seems unlikely. Right means: not splitting Palo Alto in half, not ruining the lives and property values of all the residents along the corridor. Most likely other routes ought to be considered. Furthermore, the whole project must be economically viable, and not started in the middle of nowhere with no realistic plan to get the balance of the necessary funds.

- Fiscal responsibility.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 1, 2014 at 2:35 pm

>finalize planning of new anaerobic digestion waste treatment facility and start implementation.

Claude, what do you propose that we do with the human sewage sludge residue ("biosolids" is the euphemism that you will hear), after the anaerobic digestion process? It is banned as an additive to soils ("compost")to certified organic farms, due to the toxics that it contains. Please explain your concept, Claude.

>Affordable and subsidized housing to preserve/improve economic diversity in Palo Alto.

You are talking about welfare housing, Claude, just be honest about it. Please tell us what neighborhood you intend to dump that welfare housing into, and if you are willing to allow each neighborhood to have a secret vote about accepting it. Or are you suggesting that it get dumped into your own neighborhood ((Leland Manor/Garland Drive)...and have you asked your neighbors if they want it?


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Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Craig-- are you against BMR housing for military veterans in Palo Alto?
You wrote last week that we should honor our veterans. Are you also in favor of throwing into prison the homeless-- does that also,apply to homeless veterans?
I am sure mr ezran would be I favor of honoring our veterans with BMr housing if needed-- something real instead of lip service made on online forums.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 1, 2014 at 3:05 pm

>Craig-- are you against BMR housing for military veterans in Palo Alto?

I am for honoring our vets by respecting their dignity, and providing opportunities for them to work and live in areas where they afford to live, according to market conditions.

However, I am more interested in what Claude Ezran, who is thinking about running for CC, thinks, instead of you Rupert.

>Are you also in favor of throwing into prison the homeless-- does that also, apply to homeless veterans?

I am in favor of criminalization of homelessness. This means that homeless people cannot refuse help. This applies to vets and non-vets. My approach is humane, while the benign neglect approach, the current approach of limo-libs, is inhumane.


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Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm

"I am for honoring our vets by respecting their dignity, and providing opportunities for them to work and live in areas where they afford to live, according to market conditions. "
So you are against helping veterans in any substantial manner, I.e. Providing affordable housing. Your " help" goes as far as posting on a blog that they should be honored, but " honoring" them means not doing anything real for,them they may conflict with your narrow view of how decent people should act towards those that have sacrificed for the country.

"However, I am more interested in what Claude Ezran, who is thinking about running for CC, thinks, instead of you Rupert. "
Do you support limiting comments on this forum to only those that " interest " you?

"I am in favor of criminalization of homelessness. This means that homeless people cannot refuse help. This applies to vets and non-vets. My approach is humane, while the benign neglect approach, the current approach of limo-libs, is inhumane."

Good,to know. You would " honor" a homeless vet by throwing him in prison rather than providing for his needs. Your position is quite clear now.


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Posted by Ezran has my vote
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 2, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Mr. Ezran - thank you for posting your priorities. You have my vote and thank you for running!


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Posted by resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 4, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I will not be voting for Mr. Ezran unless it's a choice between him or ousting Nancy Shepherd. Then I would vote for him (anyone but Shepherd and Scharff -- follow your ABC's: Anyone But Councilmember incumbents!)

He sounds great above, and I really appreciate what he's done with the World Music Day, but on civic matters, I see a lot of talk with less behind it.

Despite the "historic" levels of input about the rezoning at Maybell before there even was a Measure D, he endorsed Yes on Rezoning the neighborhood. I can't believe any of the rhetoric now about being against overdevelopment.

I hope people don't think that vote is some kind of liberal Shibboleth - many of us were quite upset that the purchase of the Maybell property (which the City pushed and brokered) tied up all the affordable housing funds when the City knew they then wouldn't be available to help at Buena Vista (further concerning since Mayor Scharff I'm told is former head of acquisitions for Prometheus?)

If you want to understand better why people were upset about the rezoning/plan itself, go stand under that monster hotel going up near Arastradero and El Camino, dwarfing Hobees and everything else there -- and blocking out the sun and sky and making the area feel incredibly closed in -- and realize, it's smaller than the planned development in our residential neighborhood would have been. (Though, looking at that thing, no wonder City Council thought they could get away with it!)

Also, please realize that neighbors did try to get Council and PAHC to negotiate something more reasonable long before they referended, still outside of zoning, but more to scale. (PAHC and the City didn't think they could lose a land use referendum, so they never made a legitimate effort at compromise. They publicized a fake effort, but never made a legitimate one. Councilmember Klein even said he'd never seen so much "stonewalling" from an applicant, though Council was no better.) And realize, a lot of rules and possibly laws were broken in doing what they did in pursuing state and federal grant money for it -- which (according to the state) meant someone else's affordable housing project lost out and state reviewers weren't going to revisit considerations in that funding round. (So if we consider that affordable housing is supposed to be an unselfish act, how is it that we are then so selfish when it comes to more affordable housing in less wealthy areas than here?)

Anyway, I'm not dismissing Mr. Ezran as a person, I appreciate his involvement in civic matters and realize everyone is entitled to their opinions. But the anti-overdevelopment sentiments ring hollow to me as a resident who spent a great deal of time just trying to give the City feedback and ask for a working group and a real negotiation so that everyone's goals (including PAHC's) could be met. Such a working group is what saved the Terman Middle School site from development and resulted in the 92-unit affordable housing development there. It could have worked this time, but the City did what it wanted regardless of the wishes of people in the neighborhood who should have been able to expect their zoning to be respected.

The vote in the neighborhood went 80% against the rezoning, which was almost the same as in an informal poll -- City could have gotten that feedback for free if they had been listening, instead of putting us through an expensive election.

I also think that people can change their minds with more information, but the involvement at Maybell before Measure D was even an issue was deemed "historic" and there was plenty of coverage. So, while he has many fine qualities, I do not see a sincere willingness to stand up against these overdevelopment pressures we are facing as one of them. And for that reason, I will not be voting for him (though I will hold my nose and choose him over Shepherd or Scharff if need be).


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Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm

@Claude - so to clarify, you support building more affordable and subsidized housing, and you support high speed rail if it is done right?


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