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Overdevelopment: learning from the past - RECALLS

Original post made by Remember on May 25, 2013

I just wanted to share this article about the 1967 Recall Election.

Web Link

"For years, "representative businessmen" had governed Palo Alto without much opposition. But in the 1950s, Palo Alto grew at a dramatic (some said alarming) rate, doubling in size from a population of 25,475 in 1950 to 52,287 in 1960. Some worried that growth might continue unabated from the foothills to the bay. "

"And soon the Residentialists began to chip away at the Establishment's power. In 1961, NASA physicist Robert Debs won election as the first Residentialist council member. Two years later he and Enid Pearson led a successful court challenge to the city's practice of spot zoning and forced the adoption of a Master Plan."

"By mid-February of 1967, the Recall Committee had managed to collect over 2,000 signatures, enough to put the entire Council up for reelection."

Anyway, you can all read the rest. Strong echoes of what is happening today! Perhaps it's time again to throw the bums out before every inch of Palo Alto is filled in by tall unliveable buildings!

Comments (11)

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I missed something. What is happening today that is echoing this?

Posted by Today, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 25, 2013 at 10:04 pm


The zoning plan is no longer a guide for developers, just as it was made irrelevant before.

Posted by resident, a resident of Community Center
on May 25, 2013 at 10:39 pm


What is happening today that is echoing this?

WHat is happening today is laying the groundwork for a BevMo or an ugly high rise coming to a block near you. WIthout sidewalks.

Posted by What else?, a resident of Community Center
on May 26, 2013 at 8:34 am

What else is echoing this? More and more people calling for a recall of the school board, the city council, the planning commission.......

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 26, 2013 at 9:43 am

Is this the beginning of a grass roots to organize Palo Altans to do something concrete to prevent the shenanigans that have been going on and prevent more in the future?

There must be something that can be done to prevent more foolhardy decisions being made.

Mitchell Park library, Main library, ugly buildings, poor money management, disregard of safety for children getting to school, poor planning particularly in regard to shopping, traffic holdups, etc. etc.

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 26, 2013 at 10:48 am

It's funny, this was a little like a Rorschach test, with different people hearing different echoes, depending on what they are concerned about. I particularly like the last two posters, who are upset about basically everything and want to replace everyone. Good luck to the next bunch!

As for BevMo and high-rises - we already have high-rises near me on Arastradero (not to mention the trailer park), and I'd welcome a BevMo (or any large-format store) vs. the un-helpful rag-tag retail on El Camino in southern PA.

Posted by resident, a resident of Community Center
on May 26, 2013 at 11:08 am


"I'd welcome a BevMo (or any large-format store) vs. the un-helpful rag-tag retail on El Camino in southern PA."

Progress is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

Recalls are ultimately elections, and a healthy way to flush out different people's concerns. Certainly better than having things happen in secret chambers.

Posted by Pro Bono, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 26, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Recalls are hardly healthy ways to flush out different people's concerns; they are blunt instruments that should be used with caution and only in dire circumstances. And the idea of recalling the entire city council or board of education is ridiculous in the current situation in Palo Alto, as nothing they have done rises to the level of dire.

Posted by Dire, a resident of Green Acres
on May 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm

It is dire.

The city government no longer serves the residents of the city.

As always, the resumes of the actors come first.

But instead of serving the city as a secondary concern, the council and staff serve developers who mostly live outside of the city.

This is evidenced by the unbridled disregard of the interests of current residents.

Posted by Got a clue?, a resident of Downtown North
on May 28, 2013 at 10:46 am

The city council and school board, including the superintendent, are NOT doing their jobs! They were elected, meaning the public put them there, and should be able to take them out, too.

Most or all of these elected and appointed people have a reckless disregard for the residents of Palo Alto who put them there. They have hidden agendas that they serve instead of serving the citizens of Palo Alto. If anything, they IGNORE the wants, needs, and best interest of the residents, and therefore deserve to be removed by a recall.

It is easy to vote them in, it should be nearly as easy to get them out quickly!

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 28, 2013 at 10:57 am

Whenever I have had a reporting manager tell me that they want to replace someone, the first thing I ask is, "With who and/or how will you find a suitable replacement in a timely manner?"

Same applies here. Throw them all out and all at once? Between the city council and the BoD, who are the approximately 15 qualified replacements that can step in and run things without missing a step?

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