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Frank Benest survives second-night evaluation

Original post made on Oct 25, 2007

At its second evaluation session relating to City Manager Frank Benest in two days, the Palo Alto City Council spent less than an hour behind closed doors Tuesday night -- with no announcement following.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007, 2:08 PM

Comments (16)

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Posted by Carol Mullen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2007 at 8:41 am

So, can we all relax and stop yelling about the virtues or defects of the brave new Palo Alto and its infrastructure? Bonds might make it to the ballot, but nothing's going to pass while Frank remains City Manager.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 25, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Carol,

Why you would spite your fellow citizens in their real needs, just because of your distaste for one person (or a few persons) is beyond me.

It seems you would rather see our city fall behind with failing infrastructure, lose property value, and lose services - just because you think you're right.

And how much will all these infrastructure repairs cost if we put off taking care of tham ASAP? Here's your answer: add 15-18% PER YEAR for construction inflation - for roads, schools, libraries, police infrastructure, etc. How are you going to explain THAT inefficiency to your neighbors?

You've been able to enjoy the investment made by those who came here before you; perhaps it's best to give the next generation a chance at having a city they're proud of.


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Posted by Anna
a resident of Southgate
on Oct 25, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Carol is right. As long as city management is peopled by managers who've given us the storm drain fiasco, the utilities scandal, the website mess....and on and on, there is no sense throwing more money down the corrupt sewer at city hall.

The notion that we should approve spending millions of dollars on infrastructure while these miscreants are in charge to save on hypothetical construction costs is pure fatuity. First, as the storm drain experience shows, there is no capability either creating or managing construction to a budget at city hall. Why waste more bond money on a process that's obviously flawed. Second, more efficient operation if the city may well yield efficiencies that greatly alter the need for bonds to improve our infrastructure.

Let's get our house in order before wasting more money on the failed policies and persons running our city now.


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Posted by the Real Anna
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Anna,

Apparently, you're not informed of the many comunity studies, community polls, and committees that have determined a real need for invenstment in failing infrastructure.

Apparently, you appear unfazed by the FACT that waiting to repair this infrastructure will cost 10's of millions of dollars more.

How do you square that with your call for efficiency in government?


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Posted by Duddie
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 25, 2007 at 1:54 pm

We've had this discusion before.

The Real Anna thinks we need infrastructure so badly that we should hand over lotsa money to the crooks and grifters currently in charge at city hall, on the questionable assumption that construction costs will rise as fast in the next few years as they have in the last few despite a slowing construction economy.

The other Anna thinks we should get rid of the crooks and grifters before spending hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure, arguing that the crooks and grifters would cost us alot more than construction inflation ever could.

I pretty much know which side I'm on.


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Posted by Carol Mullen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Something done badly is worse than something done over cost. I'd be willing to overpay for something done well, but I personally doubt that's within Benest's compass. The plans I've seen look worse than nothing. Another City Hall fiasco. If you don't have the sense to do it right, when will you have the sense to do it over?

You seem to have an undeserved sense of entitlement.
Many of us have lived here long enough to have paid our share of what remains of the city we chose to live in, Mike, in dollars that were worth a lot more than today's dollars. What was good, the street trees, parks, services performed by city personnel - those have been on the chopping block.

If you don't know what to do, it's not better to rush out and do something stupid.


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Posted by vote watcher
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2007 at 2:45 pm

All this is called the status quo, everyone supports it although everyone talks against it. Even when we are trying to select new council members which is our chance of breaking out of the status quo we are very hesitant in doing so. After all this hoopla, Frank will stay, and we will elect council members who are an extension of the current council.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 26, 2007 at 8:54 am

"Many of us have lived here long enough to have paid our share of what remains of the city we chose to live in, Mike, in dollars that were worth a lot more than today's dollars. What was good, the street trees, parks, services performed by city personnel - those have been on the chopping block."

Ah, nostalgia. Carol, it's tiem to deal with NOW, and stop wishing away the fact that we live in a different time than 40 years ago. You have enjoyed the fruits of Prop 13; you are able to opt out of revenue bonds; give the new generation(s) here a chance to have a city that that deserve, instead of spiting them because of your distatse for the way our region has turned.


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Posted by Carol Mullen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2007 at 10:14 am

Mike, you have the same tone and the same first name as a former councilmember who now gets no bid contracts from the city every year. Has for many years. Platitudes, attitudes, no substance.

I certainly don't want to support you, or your choices. Or your idea of good government.


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Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2007 at 10:58 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff]. There are people here working on finding the truth. Please....


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 26, 2007 at 11:21 am

Carol, I'm afraid your imaginings, and your wish for a "return to the old days" are somewhat far fetched, and misplaced. Perhaps it's time to debate issues, and not personalities?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


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Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2007 at 11:50 am

Mike;
One must be able to see the issues to debate them. One must be able to see the truth and be willing to grasp it. Other wise I think Carol would be wasteing her time on you. I very much like to hear what Carol has to say. Carol you are not wasteing your time with me.
Carol how can we make a change? This forum is to small. We need a larger more powerful area or group to talk/listen?

State Attorney General ?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carol Mullen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2007 at 11:57 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Whether or not you have a financial stake in what you present as a worthy cause is an issue. Quite a large issue.

I wouldn't go so far as Duddle. I have no evidence of law-breaking, other than no bid contracts. Which may simply be highly unethical. There may be loopholes in the city's law which should be closed.

That's serious issue. The Weekly should take it on. It's also serious when employees leave, and then are retained as contractors. It's serious in Louisiana, it's serious in the Federal government, and it's serious in Palo Alto. It's more than costly. It undermines public confidence, and results in waste and mismanagement.


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Posted by Naomi
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 27, 2007 at 11:26 pm

Our lame duck City Council is not going to fire Frank Benest. It's too much of a hassle to hire a replacement. They'll leave that decision to a future City Council.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carol Mullen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 28, 2007 at 10:57 am

City Council can order disclosure of all details of plans being considered for bond issues. They can order that no more staff time can be spent on defending, say, the website.

Council could order Staff to present the impact of any large new project on the neighborhood schools that would have to take its children.

The Council could order a notice in the local papers of all street disruptions planned for the next six months. They could open discussions with Stanford about a joint project on rental housing for the new expansion of the Medical School.

Senior Department heads could run the City perfectly well if the City Manager were absent. After all, Frank Benest could leave abruptly, fall ill, etc. It would be easier for this Council to take decisive action than for a new Council to do so.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2007 at 1:08 pm


I would think/hope This council could see who created this HUGE mess.
And take care of it,not pass it on the the next group.
It is ok to be conned, just do not let the Connman climb the ladder. ie; Last Fire Chief?..One of Franks Buddies..


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