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City Council slate finalized at 12 candidates

Original post made on Aug 17, 2007

With no incumbents, the race for four seats on the Palo Alto City Council will pit connected political newcomers against those with less name recognition in a field of 12 candidates.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 16, 2007, 3:32 PM

Comments (29)

Posted by Sylvia, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 17, 2007 at 3:04 pm

Twelve candidates should provide plenty of choice, now I'm concerned about quality. Pat Burt, I've heard of; electing her to Council will help keep it balanced, as will Debbie Mytel.

Sid Espinosa seems to have raised the most money, have the most endorsers I know something about, and he looks pretty good in his website photos. I had trouble finding his website because I wasn't spelling Espinosa correctly. Once I got that straightened out (, I spent about 25 minutes learning all about his positions on things I care about.

It looks like he might stand up to Stanford. I am all for Stanford building a new, modern hospital, but why does it have to be so much bigger than before? If it is bigger, it will require more people to operate. Stanford doesn't pay that good, so all those thousands of new people will have to live in Stockton or Tracy or out there somewhere. A thousand new trips during a busy hour will completely jam our roads solid. We will all have to walk to work stepping from car roof to car roof. None of us will be able to go anywhere while Stanford people go to work or go home from work. And they won't just jam up our roads, they will jam all the freeways and the bridges to the East Bay, where my mother lives. She comes over to sit with my 3-year old, so she might not be able to get here a lot of mornings when I have to be at work by 8:30. It is just too big. The last time someone tried to build a huge block hospital in Palo Alto that exceeded the height limits, the people in town got out a referendum and defeated it. I forget the name of the guy in town who helped make that happen, maybe he could do it again.

Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 17, 2007 at 3:15 pm

I guess with people like Sylvia, too much traffic naysayers and predictors of doom and gloom, Stanford should just close it's hospital.
Not sure how 1000 more car trips spread out over an entire day will lead to the "doomsday scenario" that Sylvia envisions and that is assuming that every person driving will come through Palo Alto.
Why does it have to be so big? Because Stanford is a world class hospital/medical center that is keeping up with modern medical practices and technology. Would you rather have Stanford stay in the 20th Century or regress back to the 19th century--no antibiotics, using non-sterile saws for amputations etc???

Posted by Sylvia, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 17, 2007 at 3:42 pm

Gee, Mr Not So Fast; [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].

The Online story right below this one finally talks about all the new Stanford Medical Complex traffic...well, let's let the story speak for itself, "The new medical complex -- including Stanford Hospital, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and office buildings -- is expected to add nearly 1,100 vehicle trips during morning commute hours and 976 trips to the afternoon peak by 2020, according to a study by Walnut Creek-based Fehr & Peers produced for Stanford University.

"Existing facilities currently produce 1,671 morning trips and 1,585 during the afternoon, the study states.

"The whole complex would require more than 3,000 new parking spaces."

So these aren't thousands of trips spread throughout the day as you claimed, but rather 1,100 ADDED trips during morning commute. They are not even talking about the construction period, when thousands of construction workers and some pretty big trucks will be driving all over the place. Walking across car roofs will be the ONLY way to get around town. I hope you or your dear ones don't have any emergency requiring a ambulance. When traffic is bumper to bumper and stopped, they can't move either.

Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 17, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Anyway, I am sure that these 1100 additional morning trips will not occur all at the same time, but will be spread out over the course of the morning commute, as will the afternoon trips. Remember that hospitals are 24 hour a day places, usually 3 shifts per day.
Your doom and gloom scenario is way off-as I asked before why do you assume that all this traffic will come through PA? isn;t there access to Stanford via Menlo Park and I-280??
Hard to really believe that you are serious when you say that 1000 extra trips in the AM will completely clog ALL of the streets in PA.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].

Posted by Norm, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 17, 2007 at 4:12 pm

One of the big problems with the system ingeneral, and Palo Alto particularly, is the number of people who make up their minds without knowing even basic information or background of what they are making decisions about, thus making their opinion, decision, and judgment suspect.

For those who may be totally unaware, MISTER Burt can be recognized by the beard Mrs. Burt does not have.

Sylvia and Not so fast (gender unspecified), I don't know if that information will affect your opinions.

Posted by Norm, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 17, 2007 at 4:24 pm

I was looking at the thread from Monday, and saw a question that needs an answer.

"'By the way, does he still report all of his campaign donations
as $0 to the FPPC?
Posted by just thinking, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood,
on Aug 15, 2007 at 4:30 pm'"

Anyone know?

Posted by Voter, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 17, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Sylvia, you better do your homework Pat Burt is a MAN. Debbie Mytel is the only woman running for City Council. Pat Burt is the former Chairperson of the Planning and Transportation Commission - where have you been?

Also, there are a lot of supporters of both the Stanford Hospital and Stanford Shopping Center projects. This doom and gloom about Stanford projects which will generate tax dollars for Palo Alto is misplaced.

Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 17, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Norm, why do you assume, in your words, I made up my mind without knowing even basic information or background of what I am making decisions about?

Posted by John, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2007 at 8:51 am

Here's a story about that last time when the hospital was blocked in Professorville in the early 1970s...
Web Link

Posted by Mark, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 18, 2007 at 6:33 pm

I am Mark Nadim one of the candidates to the City Council race. I now have my website available online. Please check it out and read about my views. All suggestions are welcome,

Web Link

We need new ideas and someone to look at the city issues from a different perspective.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2007 at 6:55 pm


I have looked at your web page and am pleased with what you say.

I note that you do not state which area of Palo Alto you call home, but you have entered here the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood which makes sense of some of your comments.

I would be interested in finding out how well you know the south of Oregon part of the city. At present most of our city councillors live north of Oregon and there is a feeling that they are not interested in the south side. If indeed you do live in the foothills, I have no objection to your interest in that area, but would like to know if you feel that you know the southern problems well enough?


Posted by Mark, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 18, 2007 at 9:29 pm

Dear Sir Anonymous

Thank you for visiting my website. My interest is the whole city of PA, traffic, housing etc. Although I live in the PA Hills area I am in the downtown and midtown areas most of the week. Whatever effects any neighborhood in PA normally ripples through to the rest of the neighborhoods. Please drop me a line via the "feedback" page in my website so we can discuss the issues better, if you like to talk in person I am more than happy to meet with you. I am going to have a gathering for the people in my neighborhood this coming Thurs and you are welcome to stop by. Please send me an email.


Mark Nadim

Posted by Noah, a resident of University South
on Aug 18, 2007 at 11:26 pm

Mark, that's a great website.

It's nice to see a candidate clearly express their top priorities, and provide an easy to use feedback form. Although we differ on some of the issues, I would rather elect leaders who listen to the broad community issues rather than one-issue candidates.

As for Resident's comment above, I too had an additional concern which I registered on Mark's site. Thankfully, it had a fast and easy to use comment form that works in Firefox.

Cheers, Noah

Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Nice website, but I would like more detail on exactly what you would do and how you would do it. For example, you say, "Our libraries used to be first class and we need to bring them back to their original status." How will you do that? Where will you get the money?

I would like to see explicit action plans for solving the problems you list.


Posted by library lover, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2007 at 9:23 am

pat, that's easy - we're going to pass a bond, in 2008

Posted by Midtown Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 21, 2007 at 3:09 pm

Mark and other candidates.

I would really be interested in hearing what you all say about the derelict gas station on Middlefield beside the Winter Lodge. Is this appropriate for you to leave to its own devices or can something be done to alter this horrendously ugly site.

Posted by Mark Nadim, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 24, 2007 at 3:28 pm

Dear Midtown Resident

I drove by this gas station this afternoon. It is ugly with the chainlink fence around it. As a candidate I am not sure what the issue is with Chevron that let this gas station in this bad state. I would assume there is a problem with the underground tanks. Chevron normally indemnifies their stations, and as much as we like to hate oil ocmpanies my experience with Chevron was good in spending a lot of money doing the testing and in some cases replacing the contaminated soil with clean soil. Basically, I am assuming there is some litigation going on that forced them to leave the station in this state. They normally either rebuild it or sell the property. The city council should address it and I am not sure if thye have or have not. It is a prime real estate location, on the other hand maybe it is good that they did not address it otherwise we would have seen a huge multi family project there :-)

Mark Nadim

Posted by Grumpy, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Mark, It was an ARCO station. I want to suggest again that we consider and appreciate this as an environmental art project a la Christo of the Running Fence. We could call it "Decaying gas station and the Palo Alto Process." Included in the project, of course, would be documents marking all the actions and non-actions by the various city regulatory agencies and property owners.

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2007 at 5:15 pm


Do you support keeping Foothills Park for Palo Alto citizens?

Posted by Mark Nadim, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 26, 2007 at 6:37 am


The Foothills (FH) Park is a jewel for Palo Alto and needs to be protected, if it is opened to everyone, it will be like Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, which is now full with homeless people and where crime is a common occurrance. Opening the Park to certain neighboring cities will open the door for law suits against Palo Alto for being selective. It is a shame that the FH Park is not being used by many people, but opening it to everyone will be a cause to regret about.

What I would like to see and that might upset some people is to organize concerts in the FH Park ala Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, which everyone can attend. I think such venues will be controlled enough for people to come and enjoy the Park's setting and the music.


Mark Nadim
Web Link

Posted by Mark Nadim, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 26, 2007 at 6:44 am

Dear Grumpy

As I drove by and saw the blue and white painnt I thought it was a Chevron station. Sorry about that. Being funny about it is one way to overcome the pain of seeing it every day. I honestly do not have the details about it and why it is left in this state. I am not sure if you have addressed it with current council or the one before that. I am actually curious of what you have been told.

Mark Nadim

Posted by Mark Nadim, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 26, 2007 at 7:42 am


The other reason for not opening the Park to everyone else outside of Palo Alto is the fire danger caused by irresponsible people, and there is no shortage of those, all we need to do is remember what happened in Lake Tahoe two months ago when someone tried to start an illegal camp fire. So the more people we let in the higher the probability of a disaster. The fire in the Park might not effect my neighborhood because fires go uphill normally but it will burn all the way to Skyline Blvd, and there are people who live there. A fire in the hills is an environmental disaster that will take decades to recover from, if there is a recovery at all.

For all these reasons I support keeping the Park for Palo Alto residents and their guests.

Mark Nadim

Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 26, 2007 at 8:51 am

Hi Mark -

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Are you being tongue-in-cheek when you say that FHP would be like GG Park (homeless and crime) if it were open to all? If not, any thoughts on why all the other mid-Peninsula and PA open space (Huddart Park, Windy Hill, Arastradero Preserve, Rancho San Antonio, Monte Bello, Wunderlich) don't have those issues? Especially since, on most weekdays, the FHP gate is not staffed.

Please explain - that seems like a strong claim, I want to make sure I am understanding your meaning.


Posted by chris, a resident of University South
on Aug 27, 2007 at 1:58 pm


What is your interest in opening Foothill Park to everybody? Palo Alto has plenty of issues to deal with currently, including building more housing for people to live in Palo Alto, than creating more issues by opening the park.

Creating more housing in Palo Alto will be better for the environment (reducing commutes) as well as creating more users of Foothills Park who will use less gas getting there.

What is environmental about encouraging people from 10-20 miles away to come to Foothills Park? I fail to see the logic in that.

Posted by Mark Nadim, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 28, 2007 at 3:02 pm


The other parks you mentioned do not have BBQ pits, tables and a large grassy area to play and spend the time in. The parks you mentioned are mainly for hiking. The FH Park also adjoins a residential neighborhood. If you go back to recent history, non of the adjoining cities wanted to pay to acquire the FH Park, so PAlo Alto purchased the land and it because execlusive for Palo Alto residents.

As Chris from University South indicated, why are you focusing on the Park, there are lots of other more important issues Palo Alto is facing that make the Park issue pale in comparison. We have new housing, increased traffic, loss of retail revenue, increase demand on our stretched out infrastructure, the cost of upgrading infrastructure etc etc. Once we reolve the some of these issues then we will turn to the FH park to decide if it is going to be opened for everyone else or not.

Mark Nadim

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2007 at 3:50 pm


Thank you for your straightforward response to my question about FHP. It is refreshing to hear an honest answer from a politician!

I happen to agree with you that FHP should remain exclusive to PA citizens. We paid for it, when others would not. We also have many other parks that are open to the general public.

I would mention that the avaialability of BBQ pits and picnic tables is not the determining factor, when it comes to attracting the homeless. It has to do with enforcement. Palo Alto simply refuses to enforce its own rules! For example, the private Little League Park in PA, which has both BBQ and tables, used to have several homeless who camped there (I remember, becasue my kids were scared of them!), but it has been cleared out for several years, now. Apparently, they decided to enforce the rules. It CAN be done!

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2007 at 3:54 pm

Let's get three bids for FHP: two for development and one from Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST).

Let the voters choose status quo or one of the bids.

A development bid could fetch $500M and generate $10M per year in new tax revenue. Would buy a lot of infrastructure.

A POST bid might fetch only $5M, but then operations are their problem and we solve the who can use it problem.

Status quo means we have a plurality who care what happened 50 years ago and prefer to just leave it alone.

Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Chris, you say that "Creating more housing in Palo Alto will be better for the environment (reducing commutes). . . " I often hear that, but where's the proof to back it up? Everyone who lives here doesn't work here. Lots of people come here for the schools. Also, people change jobs frequently, but they don't move each time they get a new job.

Does anyone have any data on how many residents actually work in town? I'd like more proof points on the supposed correlation between more housing and fewer commutes.

Posted by Peter, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 28, 2007 at 5:48 pm

pat, see ABAG statistics for a good rationale...
Web Link

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