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Palo Alto to ask residents for 'value' judgment

Original post made on Oct 1, 2013

What are Palo Alto's core values? If you understand the question and have an answer, the City Council is all ears.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 30, 2013, 11:57 PM

Comments (41)

Posted by what?, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 1, 2013 at 7:51 am

"If we really did a great job, it would be far more Gettysburg Address than it would be the Constitution,"

First we'll kick out all the homeless then we'll waste an hour pompously pontificating on the meaning of "value."

Is this a joke?


Posted by what?, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 1, 2013 at 8:11 am

And by the way, Karen, Henry Clay was a slave-owner, and dedicated apologist for slavery who as the architect of the Compromise of 1850 appeased the slave power and allowed it to grow in strength. The appeasement of repeated compromises eventually led to the bloodiest conflict in US history and an effort to keep millions in bondage. Clay was also the founder of the American Colonization Society which planned to gradually emancipate slaves on the condition that they would be deported to Africa. He was a hard-core white supremecist from Kentucky. He seems like a particularly clueless choice to animate a "values" discussion.

If the Onion wrote this article it couldn't be more funny. Larry do you think that this will be more like the Constitution or more like the Gettysburg address? Or more like something by Henry Clay? Palo Alto is so special it could be better than all three!


Posted by Really?, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:08 am

Historians of the era know that Henry Clay was basically a bad guy. He was no one to admire.

A word to the wise of the City Council ( if there are any): GET a set of values, and do your job of representing the residents of Palo Alto. It is that simple!


Posted by Baggage-Free-History-Please, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:15 am

> Karen, Henry Clay was a slave-owner, and dedicated apologist for
> slavery who as the architect of the Compromise of 1850 appeased
> the slave power and allowed it to grow in strength.

At the time Clay was alive, and visible member of the American experience, Slavery was a constitutionally accepted practice, that originated long before man began to record his history, and ideas about how things should be.

To look at the past through contemporary eyes doesn't do much for one's understanding of our collective history, and/or evolution.

> Henry Clay quote, "Government is a trust, and the officers
> of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the
> trustees are created for the benefit of the people."

The Clay quote would have still been true, even if he had not been a slaveholder.


Posted by what?, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:30 am

So long as you define "people" to mean "white people" that quote is just as ringing an endorsement of democracy as it was in 1830.

But let's not be ahistorical and presume that everyone in 1830 was in favor of slavery so we can forgive Clay. There were plenty of people in 1830 and 1850 who understood slavery as the repugnant crime against humanity it was. Henry Clay just wasn't one of them. The abolitionist movement had international analogues and grew into a full-fledged movement in the 1830s under the leadership of people like Lyman Beecher and William Lloyd Garrison.

Henry Clay was a white supremecist. If the Council wants to discuss values, then let's remove the words of Henry Clay, noted racist, from City Hall and replace his quote with one from someone who wasn't basically a Nazi.


Posted by Gary Gechlik, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:33 am

Liberty, Health, and Diversity are the modern values of America.


Posted by what?, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:41 am

Here's a good replacement for the Clay quote by someone who fought injustice instead of perpetrating it:

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Second Inaugural, January 20, 1937.



Posted by Midtowner, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:41 am

Suggested core values:

* Sustainability
* Equality
* Fraternity


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:04 am

These are the people Palo Alto elected?

Sometimes kids want to move away from their parents, Nancy. Did you? If all the children of Palo Alto stayed in Palo Alto, far more multi-story buildings would be needed to house them. So me-me-me but a core value??


Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:06 am

So, they want us to do their job for them? Only if we get all of their perks and benefits.

How about we just have a big citywide group hug? Of course, then the council would spend 6 months trying to figure out what to name it...


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:18 am

I've read this four times - and I'm still laughing. I also don't understand it. This council is clueless on what residents out-in-the hoods are thinking. Staff, most of whom do not live here, just don't 'get it'. Maybe a core value would be to stop meddling in residents' lives, protect the residents' quality of life, and cut spending - and hiring. This council has to get down to basics. Fix the streets, not rehab city hall! Stay out of national issues. Think about those who live here FIRST and stop worrying about all those who don't and want to. WE HAVE NO MORE ROOM!! And by the way, why is Liz Kniss absent so often? Would someone explain in plain language what all this discussion is about???


Posted by Time wasting busy work, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

Who suggested this time wasting idea? Scharff and Kniss. The two most dedicated to big development. They love PCs. They are worrying about the next election.
Berman said "a unique and awesome and exciting opportunity to engage the public."
News Flash: The public IS engaged. It's just that you don't like what we're saying.


Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Let's start with the easy one: efficiency!


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Neighborhood elections (secret ballot) on any major project in their neighborhood. Binding. This way, the values will grow from the ground up, not imposed from the top down.


Posted by Jo Ann, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Efficiency

Cost-effectiveness


Posted by Tom, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm

integrity: no more lies, distortions or omissions of fact

public service: no more serving developers at public expense

high quality low cost service: no more pet projects for vocal fanatics


Posted by all opinions considered equal, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 1, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Free thought and no censorship!


Posted by Torquemada, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Oct 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Honesty, transparency, fair representation both north and south of Oregon. Expressway!


Posted by Sueanne, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Good one Kate!

"I've read this four times - and I'm still laughing. I also don't understand it. This council is clueless on what residents out-in-the hoods are thinking. Staff, most of whom do not live here, just don't 'get it'. Maybe a core value would be to stop meddling in residents' lives, protect the residents' quality of life, and cut spending - and hiring. This council has to get down to basics. Fix the streets, not rehab city hall! Stay out of national issues. Think about those who live here FIRST and stop worrying about all those who don't and want to. WE HAVE NO MORE ROOM!! And by the way, why is Liz Kniss absent so often? Would someone explain in plain language what all this discussion is about???"


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside
on Oct 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm

if the council is interested in being honest, I suggest:

"A veneer of faux compassion over a morass of self-dealing cronyism and greed"


Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm

One word: efficiency.


Posted by Really?, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 5:52 pm

One more time for those who missed it: the city council has no core values, at least none that are honest or noble or virtuous.

The solution: get some!


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm

This is another in a long line of feel good proposals that the council wastes it's time on. A few years back it was civic engagement.
I do find it ironic the Liz kniss is big on core Alves given her history. I also wonder what shephards children think. Talk about self centered.
And once again Holman has shown hw out of touch she is. Maybe she admires Henry clay because he is a HISTORIC figure!!!!?
Maybe at the next election we should those candidates supported by the good old boy network of former councilmembers, who endorse one another at evry opportunity. And definitely ignore the recommendations of the weekly. They are a for profit ( despite their constant asking for donations) and will endorse those that will further their money making agenda


Posted by Penelope, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm

I laughed when the city council was only thinking about their core values, and not the core values of their constituents. They got caught thinking only about themselves, again. It's all about them, and not the people they represent. This city council has no values.
They are totally out of touch and have done an abominable job as stewards of this town.


Posted by Stew Plock, a resident of Triple El
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:47 pm

I'd like to see Palo Alto adopt a core value related to being a good neighbor. While it's important for us to hold high our own needs for a high quality of life, we are surrounded by communities full of lower income families, and they need more of our help and leadership. If for no other reason than to protect our own way of life, we need to help our neighbors to be more successful, more financially sound, so that crime and drugs and unemployment don't continue to spill over into our city. Let us have as a core value "thinking and acting regionally" and making Palo Alto as a good neighbor to Redwood City, East Palo Alto and Mountain View.


Posted by Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2013 at 6:53 am


*Me First
*Mercedes Benz
*The Dollar (or Yuan)


Posted by Stuart Sutcliffe, a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm

"The new thing is to care passionately, and be right wing." -- Simon Marshal, "A Hard Day's Night" (1964)


Posted by Marlen, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Its important that we are also able to blame every issue on the city council, as well as tech companies, tech workers, Facebook, Stanford, Arrillaga, developers, Asians, Caltrain, students, bikers... did I forget anyone?


Posted by stark, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm

are you a mod or a rocker? ''i'm a mocker''. 1964---- palo alto ''core values'' ----money ----fear----prejudice. and little else.


Posted by Good Grief!, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Good Grief! What kind of dysfunctional city manager and city council have we hired. What an incredibly obtuse bizarre path this group has chosen. If you have to ask what the values and goals of the community are,then as government representatives, you should not even be in the business of representing residents of this community. There is something functionally wrong with the current city manager and city council whose actions are so unconditionally inept that even simple tasks in basic government operations are deemed too complex and daunting. What a pity!


Posted by Real values, a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm

@Stew,
I agree. But our City Council is all about using its position to claim they are about those things while actively thwarting those goals. For example, they are ramming the Maybell rezoning, over half of which will be for-profit market rate housing, and which provides a relatively small amount if affordable housing, ramming that down the throats of a neighborhood that, just a few blocks away in the same neighborhood, is trying to prevent the eviction of over 4hundred low-income residents of actual existing affordable housing. Those residents are being evicted because someone can make so much more on that property because the city is willing to, once again go completely against the will of the neighbrs, and hugely upzone that property all for the benefit of the for profir developer and giving the low income residents the shaft.

If the put the money they're putting into Maybell instead with the money the BV residents are offering, there woukd be a competitve offer, especially if the city told Prometheus they wouldnt rezone. If they really cared about affordable housing, they'd be acting to help save affordable housing. Instead, they are using affordable housing as a way to enable a new financing mechanism that lets them set aside all residential zoning anywhere they wish in Palo Alto. They give lip service to caring about affordable housing, while actually working against it overall where it conflicts with their favorite developers' plans and profit.

(Which is another reason to vote against Measure D, because there will be ongoing legal battles if it passes, but if it is rejected, then neighbors can turn their energy into fighting the upzoning/overdevelopment at Buena Visa, and people can spend their energy fighting to get the council to protect far more existing affordable housing in the same neighborhood. We have to focus more on getting the council to ACT those values, rather than using them as cover for their own ends.)


Posted by Chris Gaither, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Real Values - very well stated!


Posted by Penelope, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm

I think our current city manager should be fired. He's incompetent. I think he sees the handwriting on the wall, too. At city council meetings, he doesn't even look up when he speaks. His body language says it all.
The sooner he is relieved of his duties, the better. He has been a costly mistake and an embarrassment to this town.


Posted by Member, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 2, 2013 at 8:07 pm

When the next election comes up we need to ask the hard questions up front regarding development and planning. We need to know how these people stand and hold them to it if elected. We need to quit depending on cronyism listing of supporting local luminaries to qualify who the people running for office are. We need to understand their financial and management qualifications to run a small city. The city does not invent technology so quit trying to sound like they do. We encourage qualified people to locate here to develop technology which is highly protected. Stanford knows very well how to protect their technology and run their show. Being a small city we do not need to go to foreign countries on taxpayer funds - we need those funds to finish the projects we start - like the community center. Don't worry about Redwood City and Mountain View - they have their act together and are doing a great job.


Posted by Sunshine, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I am surprised the council would ask this question. They are so completely out of touch with the residents, with the possible exception of the ultra-elite "400".
What residents want is Thor the council to listen to them and follow through. Council has lost 2 votes on the proposed new police station, yet they are back once again with another underhand way around the voters. The same holds for the sudden uprising of ugly, overly large low income housing locks. Many residents remember their early working years when they could not afford to live in palo alto. Later after working hard and saving carefully they were able to move to palo alto. It was a desirable place but not all could afford it. We accepted that. So it should be now. Not everyone can live in palo alto. Palo alto is fully built out. Unless council decides to split some of the lots in Professorville or old palo alto they should to expect other neighborhoods to welcome huge multi family buildings in their midst, especially when they are as ugly as what is on the corner of alma and homer.
Traffic is a problem. Unfortunately the city traffic engineers do not understand the laws of physics. When a major road is narrowed traffic will move into nearby neighborhoods. D


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2013 at 11:05 pm

@Real values
Exactly right. This is the "wolf in sheep's clothing".The whole thing
is a sham on a huge scale. Pull back the covers- Palo Alto is a cesspool of developer control and staff incompetence cloaked in
buzzwords.


Posted by Nice Person, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 3, 2013 at 10:44 am

The Fake values of Palo Altoans: Compassion, being green
The Real Values of Palo Altoans: Exclusivity/exclusionism, superiority, materialism


Posted by fake or real?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2013 at 11:33 am

"Nice Person", EPA

Don't buy everything you hear or read.

Recent City Palo Alto ads for a summer concert series, these were banners that were lining Hamilton Ave.

"Cargo shorts, Cold beer, Tech Tycoons"

"Fancy Flip flops, Ice Cream, Industry Captains"

"Floppy Hats, Frozen Yogurt, Mind Melds"

Mind melds, I had to google that one. It's from Star Wars?

If the City thinks this is who I am, or who I want to be they would be wrong, though I do like ice cream and frozen yogurt.


It's kind of like I always wondered why men are the ones who design fashion for women. Low cuts, see through, of course.


Posted by member, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Stew Pot - Mountain View has Google - they have a beautiful city and great tax base. Redwood City has the most successful city social calendar on the peninsula bar none and a great industry tax base. Why are you concerned about them? Why do you think we are better and need to help them? We need to copy the elements that are making them successful.
Nice Person - why are you living here if you really feel that way about the city? We have limited space and facilities to work issues that need to keep clear of where we have the children centered - the children safety comes first. Put the homeless in the bay land area where they can have facilities and relative safety.
I think the city needs to publish the priorities and associated funding so everyone knows what is happening. The city keeps popping up with new ideas without finishing the current, in-process activities that needs to be addressed - like finishing the construction projects currently in process.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 4, 2013 at 11:39 am

To: Nice Person
Before you take pot shots at Palo Altans, get the facts - and take off your green-tinged glasses. Residents, especially churches, do a mammoth job of supporting EPA in more ways than you evidently know. YOU don't know the wonderful people who live here: who work tirelessly for the EPA YMCA, for the PA Downtown Food Closet, for the Ecumenical Hunger Program, for the St. Vincent de Paul programs, for the organizations that quietly support EPA. And then there is the Tinsley Program in our schools accommodating 600 EPA children -for over forty years. YOU don't know how hard Palo Altans worked, studied to get what they have. Green-eyed envy and snide remarks are unproductive. And many fought for their country when called. Army, Navy,Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard. Did you? Would you?


Posted by Marlen, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 5, 2013 at 8:38 am

Kate, if you're going to take credit for the accomplishments and actions of other Palo Alto citizens, I could just as easily blame you, as they're responsible for most of those problems in EPA to begin with.


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