City Problems Ignored as Mayor Jets to London for Climate Photo-Op. Palo Alto Issues, posted by Alyssa, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Oct 11, 2007 at 10:38 pm
Our finances are a mess. We just paid a quarter of a million dollars for a useless website. The infrastructure is crumbling with no clear way to pay for renewal. The Assistant City Manager was suspended for harassment of subordinates. Crime seems to be rising and homeless people are panhandling families lined up for flu shots.
What's our Mayor doing to help solve these problems, which are very serious, even if one thinks this list is a bit exaggerated?
Well, she's jetting over to London to participate in another of her series of Global Warming photo-ops. Web Link
Is there no limit to the foolishness of our current leadership? Which of the current crop of council candidates will do something to stop this kind of nonsense?
Posted by Native Girl, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 11, 2007 at 11:59 pm
Carly and Terry,
Our mayor is deeply interested and committed to improving the environment in our area.
Perhaps she was trying to explore alternative ways for our city to retro fit some of our outdated structures, or consider implementing them in new public buildings to be built in the future in our city.
Our mayor and Larry Klein both attended a very important City Council Election debate this evening where they heard all these issues discussed.
If you attended, I am sure that she would have discussed any of these issues with you afterwards.
Posted by Not so fast, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 7:13 am
From the above cited story:
""We have so much to learn from each other," said Kishimoto, who has made establishing a green economy in Palo Alto a priority since her election in January."
--There is no doubt about that--is there a term to describe something that is more than a priority--something that takes up every waking moment of your lif eto the detriment of the community at large?
""The public is hungry for a greener economy. Palo Alto, working with Stanford University, can do it," Kishimoto said. "
--has yoriko actually in tune with the community really wants? Now she want sto work with Stanford? I always had the feeling that she saw Stanford as the evil empire, the cause of the bane of her existence (i.e. too much traffic). I guess Stanford is important if it can be used to fulfill your pipe dreams.
Do you think yoriko was disappointed that she was not named with Al Gore to be recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for work on climate change? Maybe next year.
Posted by Carly, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 7:14 am
Native Girls says that the Mayor is deeply committed to improving the environment.
No one would dispute that. The problem is that the Yoriko was elected as the Mayor of the small city of Palo Alto - not as Climate Change Czar of the world or London.
I think the point of Alyssa's post is that Yoriko focuses on Climate change to the exclusion of our local problems, or at least that her monomaniacal attention to that global issue prevents her from giving adequate attention to fixing potholes and doing all the boring things that small town politicians are expected to do.
Jet-setting to Climate Change publicity events is fine for rock stars and Al Gore. We need people to do that in my opinion. But we expect our mayor to think as well as act a little more locally than she does.
Posted by Jenny, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 7:41 am
Several Citywide organizations have advocated changing our City's Charter to allow for the election of s Mayor to a four year terms. Mayor Kishimoto is the perfect example as to why this is a bad idea.
We could end up with a Mayor like Kishimoto who is more interested in photo-ops and taking international junkets, than solving PA's immediate problems. At least this Mayor will be out of office in two and a half months.
Posted by Ian, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 7:56 am
Mayor Kishimoto and our City Council's plans for dealing with PA's environmental problems. Close down the composting and recycling center and ship all our discarded waste to another City. How irresponsible is that?
Posted by Terry, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 9:06 am
Jenny, I agree if the Mayor is largely ceremonial and elected by the council, there is no benefit from a longer term. The idea I would support is a directly elected, paid, full-time Mayor with executive responsibility - someone with "the buck stops here" sitting on his/her desk.
Sure, we might choose duds - it happens. But since this would be the single most important job in the city, full-time and paid, the idea is that it would attract a different type/caliber of candidate who would have the authority and charter to get things done.
Posted by Terry, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 10:10 am
Forum Reader, I believe the Council sets policy and priorities, as well as supervising and hiring/firing the city manager. When the "Mayor" focuses her time and attention on global warming, why should the City Manager think paving roads and putting out effective web site is a priority? The "fish rots from the head down" as the saying goes.
Posted by ten18, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 10:33 am
The whole climate change debate is a convenient vehicle for:
Neo-fascists and environmental zealots who want to control where people live, how much energy they use, and how they transport themselves.
Greedy politicians who see the potential for reaping huge tax windfalls under the guise of "saving the planet."
Ineffective and inept politicians who can mask their inability to deal with the real issues of running a government by spending their time championing the "fight against climate change" - what a joke - if the climate wants to kick our a$$, it will.
Posted by Carly, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 10:45 am
It would almost be better if our mayor were one of the greedy politicians trying to control our lives that ten18 describes.
At least then she'd be indicating that she actually believes in something other than having her picture taken with trendy politicians and celebrities as she flies around the globe (spewing CO2 into the atmosphere all the while.)
Has anyone found out if we paid for this latest junket, by the way?
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:02 am
That we *currently* maintain a "strong city manager" model of governance is somewhat inefficient, and will become more so as this region evolves.
The governance model that we currently maintain (9 elected policy makers/city manager) works best when there is a surfeit of wealth and opportunity. That's the cycle that we're currently emerging from, as we migrate toward a more challenged, constrained revenue environment.
What significant things can a city manager do to improve *intra-regional* efficiencies (where we must go, if we are to create the efficiencies needed to make our city sustainable)
Is it in a City Manager's charter to initiate negotiations with other muncipalities for cooperation on things like housing, large inter-municipal efficiencies (e.g. sharing police and fire facilities, in a LARGE way)? Answer: no.
Of course, the city manager can suggest things like this to Council, but what's in it for a busy city manager, to do this? More busy work? Managing more consulting contracts to see if his idea is a "good idea", and so on? Forget it.
Further, how does a nine -person Council, already strained with the burden of having to maintain a careful balance of power necessary to maintain focus on things that used to take care of themselves (in better days), deal with city-manager-ideas that significantly alter the political and operational landscape that intra-regional efficiencies (if executed properly) tend to create? Answer: City Councils don't have the bandwidth for this.
Why elect a mayor? So we can ne *led* a comprehensive vision - a vision that residents mostly agree with. We're trying to maintain a focus here (my hat is off to the current policy-making crowd), but it simpley won't be enough down the road.
Some people ask: "What if we elect a "loser"? To that I say "find a better one next time". Voting populations can be adaptive, too. Better that, than continuing to slog through, as other cities and other regions slowly pass us by.
Better to dither towards the best working vision, than slog through years of delay - handcuffed by the inability to move quickly. Times are changing; along with this are new governance needs. We really do need to reconsider how our city is managed - in terms of its governance model - with due respect to all those have managed it so well *to this point*.
This is not about incompetence, bad management - it's more about recognizing the need for change, and having the courage to engage the need to adapt, step outside the comfort zone, and make change happen.
I won;t hold my breath waiting for a goevrnance change that calls for a popularly elected mayor, but that doesn't change the need. one way or another, we'll adapt. Whether we adapt in an optimal fashion remains to be seen. Unfortunately, unless we find the political will (guts) to make ourselves slightly uncomfortable for a time, we'll never know what could have been, or what we missed. Se la vie.
Posted by Not so fast, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:34 am
No money involved, which is very nice for Palo Alto, however what about the contribution made by Yoriko towards global warming by flying to and from London?
I guess that does not matter when you have a photo-op in Britain. Maybe she purchased carbon offsets ( or whatever these environmentalists buy to make their consciences feel better when they do things they should not).
I heard that when yoriko was asked, in Britain, what she thought of London and all of it's sights and history etc. She answered "Too much traffic".
Posted by Forum reader, a resident of Stanford, on Oct 12, 2007 at 2:15 pm
The vice-mayor is Larry Klein so he is probably going to be the next mayor. Are you going to rant against him too, for approving so many oversized developments that are giving us infrastructure problems and huge financial debts? And remember, he was in charge of the storm drain fiasco. Are you going to write about that?
My guess, probably not, because he didn't vote against you.
Posted by Carly, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 2:20 pm
I have no idea what Forum Reader is talking about, but if the next mayor - be he Klein or anyone else - takes up a pet project to the detriment of the real problems that Palo Alto faces, I'll be ranting and raving with the best of 'em.
The storm drain fiasco is exaclty that - a fiasco. Were it up to me, I'd toss out all nine of the preening comedians who comprise our council and replace them with Forum Reader and eight of his best friends - sight unseen.
Even a random selection of residents couldn't do worse than the current bunch.
Posted by An Observer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2007 at 10:59 pm
The mayor isn't a front for the developers and business in the city so she is constantly critized and degraded.
Anyone who isn't in bed with the developers is "bad" for the city. What a joke. The developers probably live in LosAltos Hills, Portola valley and Woodside so to H with what happens to Palo Alto. We are here to make Money" type of attitude.
Wake up Residents of Palo Alto who like private homes and are fed up with the "need for high density developments"
When you vote check their connections and where they live in the city and are they sponsored by others who love big developments as long as they are not in the enclaves they live in.