http://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2007/03/06/palo-alto---we-are-screaming-for-help


Town Square

Palo Alto - we are screaming for HELP!!!

Original post made by Resident on Mar 6, 2007

What is happening to our City. We have divided ourselves in regard to MI and Charter Schools. We cannot get our library situation sorted out, along with other infrastructure. We are letting anyone build what they want as long as it is residential but we are not letting any sensible retail in. Our roads, drains, flood control, overhead v underground cabling, etc. are all ignored. Our city council are more interested in themselves and their image rather than the real issues. What can we do? Many of us here although we pay our taxes do not have a vote but we are still residents and have to suffer the consequences. Help Us Please.

Comments

Posted by Observer, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 6, 2007 at 8:55 am

Calm down, Resident, you must be new around here - this is just par for the course for "Perfect Palo Alto"!


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 6, 2007 at 9:03 am

Last night the council voted 5:1 to direct staff to start negotiating a broad band contract with some rather obscure company after 14 out of 16 others refused to even get involved for good business and technical reasons. This could cost the city mega millions in the end. Why do the words 'council recall' keep coming to my mind? Call me frustrated and disgusted.
Fix the streets, fix the Creek. Pay attention to business - rational and good business.


Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 6, 2007 at 9:09 am

On the contrary, resident, our City Council is addressing important issues facing the city--the mayor has made climate change the centerpiece of her year as mayor, she is also aggressively promoting her "10000" steps program. Meanwhile Dena Mossar is traveling to national meetings spreading the word on how great we are and how other cities can learn from us. In addition the council has addressed important issues of national and international concern, why bother addressing local issues when you can deal with international matters. Finally in the time that is left the council members are issuing self-congratulatory statements on what a great job they are doing.
Why deal with local issues that will generate conflict (something the council cannot stand for)???


Posted by aw, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 6, 2007 at 9:17 am

Good points, and others are raising the same questions. What will it take to get support for a new Police HQ or Library? My answer is come clean on what our total capital budget over the next 20 years needs to be. My back of the envelope is if we committed $5000 per household per year we can get back to the 1980 infrastructure baseline by 2025. That's $750M in 2007 with 10% construction inflation built in to rebuild our City and Schools. Better to see the whole budget than to piecemeal it the way it's done today.

As a community we seem to be paralyzed by all the unmet civic desires. We can't move forward on any good, new ideas because what we have is falling apart. So let's just commit to a plan to fix it all and run it properly. The deal with Staff can be, "We'll fund it properly and hold you accountable that it's done properly."


Posted by help yourself, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 6, 2007 at 9:30 am

Apply for citizenship?


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 6, 2007 at 11:38 am

The best thing about PA Online is that it makes me realize I'm not the only "disgruntled" resident in town.

City councils for the last many years have seemed determined to destroy the city with their inane schemes -- e.g., broadband -- while completely ignoring the essential priorities.

If anyone has any ideas about how to organize for results, sign me up.

"Not so fast": I LOVE your style!!!


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 6, 2007 at 2:46 pm

The other good thing about PA Online is that it is reviving interest in our local newspaper, at a time when all newspapers are struggling to retain their readers.

Resident, those of us who vote aren't doing any better than you are. If that's any comfort.

The failure of these upcoming bonds will perhaps get the attention of Staff and Council. These votes are the only control residents actually have.

Doesn't it sound as if the school district might be thinking of coming back to the voters with another bond?


Posted by citizen, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Every critic should first take a look at what they are personally doing to make the city better. When you get involved, you might see how hard it can be, and you might also stop complaining about how someone else should "fix" everything and consider how you and your neighbors can be involved in solutions.

I wish we had a sense of the need to teach our kids good diplomacy, creative problem solving, peacemaking, citizenship, communication and negotiating skills. I wish I'd had a course or two in my own life, it would have done me more good than 95% of the other things I learned in school. If we do that, our kids will get a lot more accomplished than we are.

Tonight, there is a panel on "making citizens out of residents."
Web Link


Posted by Maria, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2007 at 10:17 am

Those Palo Altans who complain about City Council members should run for one of the available seats in the next election. Then they can show how much better they can run the City. Or if they can't, at least they will know that this is a thankless but needed job and requires dedication and ingenuity and will never make them rich.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2007 at 11:21 am

I think that there are many people who write in this forum who can do a better job on the council. I agree it is probably a thankless task which will never make them rich. However, I think that the present council has no idea of putting Palo Alto in the real world. Yes, global warming is important, keeping fit and healthy is important, but these are not local issues. I want to see my local council dealing with local issues which do affect us and can be put right locally. I think my neighbors do too. Granted, we may not agree with how they do it, but if at least they are doing something other than putting in fancy shops at Stanford and congratulating themselves on how wonderful they are and what a wonderful image they have nationally, it might be a start.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 7, 2007 at 11:35 am

Resident, you are right.

But dealing with potholes and the homeless is so boring. And besides if the Council actually did anything that had local impact, like tell the Fiber to the Home zanies to buzz off, somebody might be upset.

It's much easier to remain above it all, commission studies and polls that effectively put off real decisions, and focus instead on climate change and other ethereal topics. Meanwhile they can attend national "leadership" meetings at taxpayer expense so as to improve on their collective sense of self-importance. That's much easier and more fun than it is to deal with the actual problems that a small suburban town has.


Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 7, 2007 at 12:05 pm

You are so right, Chris.
The fiasco with the City Council has been going on for years--let's recap. Ten years and counting and no decision on Alma Plaza, Hyatt leaving town because of the inability of the city council to stnd up to "neighborhood leaders" and NIMBYists, the Historic Building ordinance, in which the council was lead around the nose by people who believe that their is actually something historic in PA, the eruv issue--which the city council did not have the spine to even go on record with a vote, numerous bond measures and the list goes on and on.
in the past this was not thought of too much because the city was in good shape (according to council in many of their self-congratulatory pronouncements). Now that the past has caught up with PA, people are taking a closer look at the (in)actions of our council.


Posted by Equal Justice, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 10, 2007 at 8:26 am

Tasers for the cops.

That will make it better. In fact, I feel a little safer already.

Who needs books anyway? We have eachother.

And don't worry, we''ll find somewhere to build a new cop shop.

Is there anything avail. near Happy Donuts?